Mercury Marine is celebrating its 75th Anniversary since founder and Wisconsin native Carl Kiekhaefer purchased an outboard motor manufacturing company Jan. 22, 1939. A division of the Brunswick Corporation since 1961, Mercury presented its improved line of mid-range outboards in Oshkosh, Wis. in June.
In production since March, the four-stroke 75, 90 and 115 horsepower engines weigh 359 pounds and are lighter than previous models. The 115 hp weighs 20 to 80 pounds less than five other models in its class, according to Mercury.
Kevin Grodzki, President Global Sales and Marketing said, “These new designs give the 75, 90 and 115 horsepower engines the highest performance with the lightest weight.”
The complete line of Mercury four-stroke outboards has been completely updated in the last ten years, with the latest innovation and quality improvements focusing on weight, noise, vibration and handling. Equipping the line with QR codes on the engine and color-coded locations, makes maintenance easy. The valve train is maintenance-free and there is no mess when changing the oil.
At the Fond du Lac plant, a collage of buildings with more than 1.5 million square feet dedicated to testing, production, design and administration, 400 engineers and technicians put each new design and modification through a series of experiments and analyses.
For example, the NVH sound lab with dynamic acoustic holography, tests noise, vibration and harshness. Wedges on the walls and ceiling absorb sound as the floor reflects it. Immersed in 30,000 gallons of fresh water, the engines are monitored from a remote control room for sound pressure levels, intensity and quality, material evaluation and vibration. “Jerry,” the binaural head located near the engine, performs blind jury evaluations as “he” doesn’t know which engine is being tested.
At the Indoor Test Center, Doug Czaikowski monitors data on engines running 24/7 from eight fuel sources, burning 800,000 gallons of fuel per year. The Data Acquisition System pulls ten samples per second to record water temperature and air for combustion. “We can determine if the chicken or egg comes first,” he said. Tests can range from hours to months, depending on the test request.
The 115 hp was put through 17,000 hours of endurance testing for commercial grade standards. “It is tough enough to withstand extreme conditions, yet light and quiet with efficient performance,” said Czaikowski.
Command Thrust, an optional feature on the 90 and 115 hp engines, uses a heavy-duty, oversized gearcase on a smaller base power head to, “get heavier boats on plane faster and hold them at slower speeds.” Designed for lighter hulls, skiffs, bass and flats boats, the all-new standard gearcase has a higher hydrodynamic efficiency, less drag and better fuel economy than its predecessor. The exhaust system acoustic filter weakens noise for a “whisper quiet” ride at low speeds.
The new MerCruiser 4.5L, 250 hp, V6 sterndrive engine has a raw water flush system and is built with cast iron for better noise control. It “performs as a V8,” according to Marty Bass, Vice President, Global Category Management. “We chose the hard path, building the marine-purpose engine in-house rather than ‘marine-izing’ an auto engine.”
Whether the choice is two stroke, four stroke or an inboard/outboard motor, innovative, powerful, light-weight, efficient, reliable and best in class are attributes in common for Evinrude and Mercury Marine.