By Matt Trulio
Mercury Unveils High-Output Four-Stroke Outboards at 2004 Miami International Boat Show
Four supercharged models released for 2004.
MIAMI — Executives and engineers from Mercury Marine pulled the sheets off the Verado 200-, 225-, 250- and 275-hp four-stroke outboard engines at noon today at the Miami International Boat Show. Five years and more than $100 million in the making, the Verado series isn’t just Mercury’s first foray into the big-horsepower four-stroke outboard market, it’s the world’s first line of supercharged, intercooled outboards.
Full production of all Verado outboards is slated for April. During a sneak preview for select members of the marine press in Hawks Cay, Fla., a few weeks before the Miami unveiling, Patrick Mackey, president of the company, dispelled any notions that Mercury might have adapted the Verado outboards from existing Mercury engines or another outboard builder’s product.
“This is absolutely a completely new Mercury Marine engine,” he said.
Based on either a 2.6-litre (158.5-cubic-inch) platform, the engines feature an in-line six-cylinder, double-overhead-cam, 24-valve design. The in-line-six configuration was chosen by the company’s design team for a number of reasons, most notably balance, lack of vibration, narrow width and compatibility with a screw-type supercharger, which was built by an outside vendor.
The engines’ aluminum bed plates, blocks, cylinder heads and four-point mounting bracket are cast using the lost foam process, which enables the company to create a high level of detail into each casting.
(Mercury built its own foundry, as well as state-of-the-art assembly line, for the Verado outboards at its facility in Fond du Lac, Wisc.)
Long bolts connect the pans, blocks and heads—Verado outboards have no head bolts—to give the engines outstanding rigidity, according to Mercury engineers.
Making up to 15 pounds of boost, the twin-Teflon-coated-rotor supercharger is cooled by an air-charge intercooler that reportedly maintains boost air at the same temperature as intake air. Mercury developed the supercharger with IHI Turbo America, which builds the units. To further reduce engine temperatures, pistons are individually oil cooled.
The boost system, like the electronic multi-port fuel injection system, is completely managed by the PCM 555 controller—the computer brain behind Mercury’s SmartCraft gauges and controls. All Verado outboards come with Mercury’s SmartCraft Digital Throttle and Shift, a drive-by-wire setup that eliminates cables and translates to instant throttle response.
Also standard for all Verado outboards is electrohydraulic steering. The system eliminates steering wheel torque regardless of engine trim or sea conditions. Thanks to the PCM 555 controller, programmable trim also is an option.
Weight for each outboard engine, including the steering system and the four-point mounting bracket, is approximately 630 pounds. According to Mercury’s representatives, that makes it the lightest engine in its class.
Look for the complete story of the Verado outboard engine line in April 2004 issue of Powerboat magazine.
- Matt Trulio is the co-publisher and editor in chief of speedonthewater.com, a daily news site with a weekly newsletter and a new bi-monthly digital magazine that covers the high-performance powerboating world. The former editor-in-chief of Sportboat magazine and editor at large of Powerboat magazine, Trulio has covered the go-fast powerboat world since 1995. Since joining boats.com in 2000, he has written more than 200 features and blogs.
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