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ContinuousWave: Whaler Performance
WHO MAKES MERCURY'S 4 STROKE ENGINES?
|Author||Topic: WHO MAKES MERCURY'S 4 STROKE ENGINES?|
posted 09-13-2003 01:29 PM ET (US)
I have heard that the merc 4 strokes are yamaha powerheads. I am not sure what models this includes. I am interested in knowing specificly about the 90, and the 115 EFI 4 strokes.
posted 09-13-2003 03:18 PM ET (US)
Old topic. See
posted 09-13-2003 04:05 PM ET (US)
Still didn't see specific info on the 90 and 115 4 strokes.
Are they yamaha? Can anyone give me any info on these motors?
posted 09-13-2003 10:47 PM ET (US)
I was told by the dealership that my '03 115 Merc 4s has a Yamaha power plant with a Mercury lower unit.
Take it for what it's worth...
posted 09-14-2003 09:41 AM ET (US)
Although appearing to be fierce competitors at the consumer level of the North American recreational outboard market, Mercury and Yamaha have been doing business with each other for many years.
Mercury partnered with Yamaha many decades ago to bring Japanese engines to the North American market under the MARINER brand name. It might have been that in that era an engine marketed with a brand name that had an Asian connotation would not have been as well received as in the current marketplace. Since then, Yahama has grown and has its own brand firmly in place in the North American recreational outboard market.
In Japan, there is practically no recreational outboard market. Most outboard motors are used for commercial fishing. In order to produce outboard motors, a large investment in engineering, design, and production facilities is required. It probably takes a thousands time more capital investment to start up an outboard engine manufacturing business than it does a boat building business.
Manufacturers like Yamaha, Tohatsu, Nissan, and others have large investments in plant and manufacturing facilities in Japan. The capacity of these plants exceeds the domestic demands of their nation for outboard motors. Thus, they turned to overseas markets many years to sell their excess production capacity.
Mercury offers an extremely wide range of outboard motor products, and has, for a long time, partnered with some overseas makers like Yamaha and Tohatsu to supply engines to them for sale in North America as MERCURY branded engines. Demand for Mercury branded outboard motors likely exceeded the manufacturing capability of Mercury's domestic plants. Also, no doubt, the lure of reduced cost manufacturing by using offshore suppliers also contributed to the tendency to use foreign-based manufacturing facilities.
In the case of the 115-HP 4-Stroke engine, to the best of my knowledge this is a shared engine between Mercury and Yamaha. As mentioned in the article to which I referred above, it is thought that both Mercury and Yamaha use the same power head in this engine. I do not know if they both manufacture it, if one makes it for both, or precisely what the exact source of the power head is. It might be that THE HAPPY-LUCKY ALUMINUM CASTINGS INDUSTRY LIMITED of HONG KONG makes the basic aluminum casting for the power head and each machines it into their own engine. Mercury has a world-class aluminum casting plant, but reserves it for making high-performance engines for themselves and other customers like GENERAL MOTORS (who use these castings in their top-of-the-line products like CADILLAC NORTHSTAR V-8 32-valve engines). I don't think any one really knows this much detail. In any case, by comparison of the dimension of the power head, its bore and stroke, one can make the inference that it is the same power head.
I don't know if it was made in Wisconsin by a bunch of bachelor Norwegian farm boys who wear flannel shirts to work and drive in each morning in their Silverado pick up trucks from their family farms, or if a team of young Japanese boys from Yokahama wearing identical powder blue jump suits put it together right after riding their bicycles over to the plant from the company dormitory and doing their morning calisthenics in unison in the courtyard while listening to inspirational messages from management.
Does it make a difference?
In the 115-HP 4-stroke Mercury, the power head is equipped with electronic fuel injection. In the Yamaha variant I believe the fuel is delivered with carburetors.
Generally, in the United States, products are required to bear some mark indicating the country of origin. Yesterday I was under the chassis changing the oil of my 1995 Chevrolet LUMINA (which, by the way, was assembled in OSHAWA, ONTARIO, CANADA--the automotive assembly plant with the highest quality rating in North America), and I noticed that on the transmission oil pan the following was embossed:
I assume that if Chevrolet were making cars with transmissions made by CRAPPY-DAN'S of TIAWAN, they'd have to emboss that somewhere on the transmission to identify it.
When I spun the oil filter off--installed by a service shop while I was under the weather--I noticed that it was some off-brand cheapo version of the AC-DELCO PF47 marked MADE IN TEXAS. It was probably a border town with a Maquiladora supplier.
When I was putting some NGK spark plugs in my outboard, they did not say MADE IN JAPAN, but there was so much KANGI or KATAKANA or HERIGANA writing on the box that it was pretty clear they weren't packaged by Betty Sue in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
I would suggest you take a close look at the Mercury 115-HP 4-stroke and look for any telltale identifying marks. Maybe a close visual inspection of the engine power head will turn up some MADE IN NIPPON markings on the casting. Take that cowling off and look around.
In any case, if you buy the MERCURY brand version, you will get a slightly different engine than the YAMAHA version. You'll get a warranty from Mercury, support for it from 5,000 Mercury dealers in the USA, replacement parts available from those dealers or from Mercury's new on-line express parts service. You'll get Mercury's paint process, a corrosion resistant paint with excellent reputation. You'll get a Mercury lower unit, set up to use Mercury brand propellors, and you'll be able to choose a propeller from the finest and widest selection of propellers in the industry.
Now I don't guarantee that when the guy was running the hone down the cylinder walls to make that power head that he had a SHINTO SHRINE and a candle burning to bring good luck to it. Maybe it was honed in Wisconsin and the guy had a LEINENKUGEL'S RED LAGER calendar taped to the end of his machine. Or maybe it was made in MALAYSIA and the hone operator has a WAYANG hanging overhead to help him make a good product.
It is hard to tell these days exactly where things are made and who made them. That is part of the global competition in the manufacturing marketplace.
One thing for sure: if you go to Japan you probably won't find any Mercury brand outboard motors. The Japanese protect their home market with tariffs, duties, regulations, and other devices to insure that it is practically impossible to bring a product into their country that competes with something they make domestically.
posted 09-15-2003 01:35 PM ET (US)
The Merc 30, 40, 50 & 60 EFI 4-strokes are NOT Yamaha powerheads. They are all Mercury from what I have been told. But the Yamaha 30,40 & 60's are Mercury powerheads, minus the EFI!
My Mercury & Yamaha dealer tells me the bigger 75-115 powerheads are built by both companies, in their own plants.
The Yamaha 115 EFI comes on the larger Yamaha V-6 gearcase, which is why it weighs more than the Mercury, which uses the mid-size gearcase. The V-6 gearcase enables Counter rotation, which Mercury doesn't offer at the 115 HP level.
Mercury is now saying their new 75-115 Optimaxs will outperform this line of 75-115 4-strokes. Time will tell.
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