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Author Topic:   Mercury Optimax Alternative Fuel Engines
Merc_Fan posted 06-23-2003 08:06 PM ET (US)   Profile for Merc_Fan   Send Email to Merc_Fan  
Mercury Marine will soon be supplying alternative fuel marine engines for the US Military. The development is in response to the directive by the D.O.D. that it will discontinue transporting gasoline on ships or aircraft by 2010.
Mercury's Racing divison has created a 3 liter V-6, 2 cycle low-emission OptiMax outboard that runs on JPS class jet fuel. It's based on the 250XS. The outboard cowling features a special stealth-like flat black finish and tone-on-tone graphics.
Working with the D.O.D. is nothing new for Mercury Racing president Fred Kiekhaefer, who is also president of Brunswick Commercial and Government Products. The Edgewater, FL based company produces specialized vessels for the D.O.D. and Homeland Security.
BillB posted 06-23-2003 08:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for BillB  Send Email to BillB     
No disrespect to you Merc_Fan.....but 2 posts (see ) from you and both sound like press release cut and paste jobs. Spam is bad enough. I surely don't need to find what amounts to advertising here.

I'm not talking about getting a heads up on something new from a member...this is something else there is no other content in your posts.

I would suggest that in the future you add some text explaining why you are sharing this type of news with us.


lhg posted 06-23-2003 08:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Merc_fan - as another Merc-fan, welcome to the Forum and thank you for your informational comments. It is nice to see obviously credible information showing up here, as opposed to all the half/truth rumor mill gossip, which helps all of us make informed decisions and this Forum an interesting place to visit.
BillB posted 06-23-2003 09:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for BillB  Send Email to BillB     
Actually, in my own very humble opinion, credible would have been a link to the source from which the information was gleaned.

Lack of attribution = Lack of credibility in my book


lhg posted 06-23-2003 09:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
BillB - What's your brand of engine? Mercury maybe? I think you're off base here in accusing Merc-Fan of cut and paste spam and advertising. Even though I have absolutely no idea who this poster is, he seems informed on what's happening at Mercury, and that adds value to our Whaler Forum. I think JimH is interested in this being an information Forum rather than a non-stop, irrational trashing of various products, engines or otherwise. All Boston Whalers do need to have outboard engines on them, and Mercury is the biggest player in that field.

If he was talking about Grady White or Mako, that's a different story. But like it or not, Mercury basically owns Whaler, Whaler's come with Mercury Outboards, so the information is of legitimate value here, and I welcome it, as should any potential buyer of either a new Whaler or one considering re-powering, no matter what you currently are running. Many here are interested in hearing what's happening with the new high performance 250HP 4-stroke also.

Since Classic Whalers can also be powered by the other brands, information on what's happening at those companies would also be of value here, and appreciated, I'm sure.

As a subscriber to "Soundings Trade Only", I know for a fact, from a two page advertisement I recently saw there, that the 65th anniversary 200 EFI is legitimate information.

I am also happy to hear that the Optimax engines are good enough, and reliable enough, to be developed for the military with jet fuel as an energy source. There has been much previous comment on Whalers in the military, so why not this?

Hopefully "fans" of other engine brands will contact those insiders and have them post some informative on what they are bringing out. Some people are already requesting information on E-tek DFI, for example.

lhg posted 06-23-2003 09:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
BillB - You need a new book. Why don't we give this new participant a chance, rather than a trashing?
cyclops posted 06-23-2003 09:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for cyclops  Send Email to cyclops     
I just read an article on this in my July issue of "Trailer Boats" magazine which I was thumbing through today.
lhg posted 06-23-2003 10:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
I was shocked to just learn that BillB is an OMC owner.
Ulterior motives abound on the web.
BillB posted 06-23-2003 10:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for BillB  Send Email to BillB     
Merc_Fan, Sorry if I came across as cranky, it was not intended.

lhg, Take a step back and a deep breath. Man, you do have a short fuse

I believe that I was making a valid suggestion that one might present this type of news to the community with personal commentary as to why it was being offered.
Something like:

" I am a BIG Merc Fan and I just read the following information in this month's Expensive Yachts and Blowboats, which I would like to share with you...yadda yadda yadda"

I was not trashing anyone. I too enjoy the open and credible atmosphere that JimH fosters here. Perhaps that's why I was suggesting something that would add value to Merc_Fan's post. Something along the lines of what we would expect from a reputable news organ to separate news from propaganda.

As to product bashing, after 50 years messing around in boat yards, I am pretty much outboard agnostic.
The power on my Whaler is a Johnson Ocean runner, nice engine.....but then back in the fifties a Merc Mark 30 did pretty much "get me home" in some really snotty weather, with not much boat left under it. I LOVED that engine.


BillB posted 06-23-2003 10:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for BillB  Send Email to BillB     

sorry I didn't see your last post before I sent mine.

I am attempting to approach this is a calm and rational manner while you seem to be getting more paranoid and pugnacious by the minute......What's up with that ?


lhg posted 06-24-2003 01:59 AM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Well, lets see where we are on this. Merc_Fan, whoever he may be, decides to post some rather official sounding information from Mercury, that brand so many here love to hate openly, and on both posts two different people immediately jump on it, without much thought or benefit of the doubt. With new posters here, you're suspect right out of the box by the anti-Mercury crowd. This makes Continuouswave look like it's populated by a bunch of idiots, which we are not, mostly. Surely the criticism of Whaler and Mercury that gets posted here has not gone unnoticed by the respective Companies. Sites like this are worth thousands in market research.

We know that people from Whaler regularly visit here, which at least JimH considers a plus and a compliment to the high standards of his work. So it is reasonable to assume that people from Mercury might also, and should, be interested in what's happening here, so that could be considered a plus also. None of these people will actually reveal who they are. Under the even REMOTE possibility that this person is somewhere involved with Mercury, which we may never know, do we want to be this rude? Those that do shouldn't wreck it for the rest of us, or JimH.
Any boating website that is fortunate to have Marine products personel participating in the site, whether it be Bennett Trim Tabs, E/J, Yamaha, Whaler or Mercury, is better off for it. More facts and fewer rumors.

And if this person is simply another Whaler owner with a legitimate interest in Mercury engines, like me and large numbers of others here, new boats and old, that should be fine too and not deserving of being called a spammer by the very first response.

BillB posted 06-24-2003 10:48 AM ET (US)     Profile for BillB  Send Email to BillB     
I think I'll toss a breast line on this and haul it over to the META-Forum as "Establishing Credibility On This Site"


jimh posted 06-24-2003 11:57 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I like that nautical metaphor! I'll meet you at the META-dock.
BillB posted 06-24-2003 02:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for BillB  Send Email to BillB     
To get back on the rhumb line.....

I'd be very interested in learning more about the use of jet fuel in outboards. That would be the reason I logged on to this thread in the first place.

Can anyone hook me up with some in-depth discussion and data ?


tomroe posted 06-24-2003 05:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for tomroe  Send Email to tomroe     
I find the semantics interesting. I can see people saying "my boat is powered by jet fuel", but how many people would brag "my boat is powered by kerosene" or "my boat has a diesel on it". I know jet fuel has additives but it is basically just kerosene, which would make the engine a diesel engine in my thinking. Anyway, nothing at all against Mercury or any other outboard manufacturer past present or future, just a comment on the clever marketing.
lhg posted 06-24-2003 05:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
I'm not an airplane expert, but isn't jet fuel a form of high grade kerosene? I assume the Navy wants to get rid of on-board gasoline to reduce the explosion/fire hazard in the event the ship is hit, suffers a crash landing, etc.

Is it possible this could be another source of lower cost fuel for all DFI outboards?

Dr T posted 06-24-2003 05:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dr T  Send Email to Dr T     
Whether or not the cost is lower is problematic. Jet-A runs well over $2.00/gal at the local airports.

I think the right way to look at this is as a matter of logistics. If you have fewer types of fuel to keep onboard (or on hand), you have simplified your logistics by eliminating types of storage and inventory.

Also, it a war you want to be able to burn whatever fuel is on hand. Hence, you develop your engines to be able to accomodate a wide variety of fuels. Since there is a lot of jet fuel being used for helicopters and airplanes, it makes sense to use it for outboards. Also, diesel engines are quite happy running on kerosene. I recall that the manual for my old 89 Ford diesel, a 7.3 L normally aspirated Navistar, said that you could use a mixture of diesel and gasoline (up to 30% gasoline) without harming the engine.

Does anyone know if these engines will also burn gasoline? And what do the ignition and induction systems look like? Will they burn regular diesel fuel?


Dr T posted 06-24-2003 05:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dr T  Send Email to Dr T     
Since I fired off a few questions without doing any background research, I felt it necessary to do a bit of backfill on the research.

The Argonne National Labs has been actively engaged in research in this area. The development project was mentioned on their website. One of the problems was finding materials that could stand the stress. Nothing yet on the ignition or induction (other than the direct fuel injection). But, this link provides a start (sorry JimH, it is off the site.) .


P.S. The bigger window DOES tend to make one verbose.

BillB posted 06-24-2003 06:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for BillB  Send Email to BillB     
Thanks for fleshing this out with the background.
Argonne is a great lab.

I wasn't familiar with JPS class fuel so I did some digging around. So many acronyms and so little mind ;).I did find a conflict in the search engine for the NRC report cited below. The search engine gave me a hit on JPS, but the text it pointed to was JP-8.

On a DOD list of acronyms I found JPTS or Jet Propellant Thermally Stable. I'm making the leap here that it refers to Jet-8. Jet-8 is our universal battlefield fuel with planned usage out through 2025.

Apparently a big improvement over the previously utilized Jet-4&5...Jet-8 doesn't blow you to kingdom come quite as easily.

However there is a downside. (There always is) This go-juice is not as simple as kerosene. It is a precise and complex brew of hydrocarbons and other goodies. They (our government) are still working on exposure indexes for military personnel.

I refer you to a recent National Research Council report on the toxicological potential of Jet-8. The report seems particularly concerned with skin contact.

I understand that they are primarily concerned with exposure levels that occur in personnel that handle this stuff on a daily basis, however I'm not sure I'm going to want to switch to Jet-8 just yet.

How about a nice hydrogen fuel cell powered outboard (A Merc would be fine) for that classic Whaler?


Merc_Fan posted 06-24-2003 07:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for Merc_Fan  Send Email to Merc_Fan     
Yikes, I sure didn't mean to get someone's britches in a knot over this informative posting. It's certainly not spam since I'm not selling anything and YOU (retail) can't buy one anyway.
The source for this post and the other one referenced by BillB above is the Mercury "Messenger" magazine that is identified as "Exclusively for Mercury Marine Trade Partners", May/June 2003, Volume 2, Issue 3.
BillB posted 06-24-2003 09:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for BillB  Send Email to BillB     
Merc_Fan...See what happens when you post something then go away for a while ? :)

No twisted knickers here, just the energetic exchange of information and views that characterizes this site. I think lhg was worried that I spooked you off. I'm glad I didn't.

At any rate welcome to the forum.


BillB posted 06-25-2003 06:28 AM ET (US)     Profile for BillB  Send Email to BillB     
So, I found a link to the Mercury Racing press release on this. Couldn't find it on the Merc own site in Racing's news or releases. It's even got a picture.

The press release notes the fuel as JP-5 not JPS.


Bigshot posted 06-25-2003 11:51 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
To add a little of nothing:

My VW jetta is a TDI which stands for Turbo Direct Injected. It runs a DFI system comparable to outboards with diesel fuel. his makes them peppier and no smoke. They get up to 150hp from a 1.9L powerplant. My US version is 90 but with a small tuning device it goes up to 110.

Mercedes is unveiling a new TDI for the US for 2004 or 2005. It will produce 230hp and sill get mid 30's mpg. There is no reason why they can't adapt a jet-fuel(diesel?) system to an outboard, 2 or 4 stroke.

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