Mercury Marine

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For the unrelated former Ford automobile marque, see Mercury (automobile).
Mercury Marine
Type Division (Parent company: Brunswick Corporation)
Industry Marine engine manufacturer
Founded 1939
Headquarters Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
Key people Carl Kiekhaefer
Website http://www.mercurymarine.com
Headquarters
A Mercury 50 HP outboard motor circa 1980

Mercury Marine, founded in 1939, is a division of Brunswick of Lake Forest, Illinois, in the United States. Mercury provides engines for private, commercial and government sales, primarily for small boats.

Mercury Marine's primary business is outboard motors. Mercury Outboards, 30 Hp and less, are made by Tohatsu in Japan.[1] Mercury Marine builds 40, 50 and 60 horsepower outboard motors in Suzhou, China.[2] Mercury also manufactures engines over 75 horsepower at its facility in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin in the United States.

Mercury also makes the MerCruiser line of sterndrives (inboard/outboard drives) and inboard motors. Mercury Racing is the company's division for racing engines tailored for power and speed.

Company beginnings[edit]

The company began when engineer Carl Kiekhaefer purchased a small outboard motor company in Cedarburg, Wisconsin. Kiekhaefer's original intention for the Kiekhaefer Corporation was to make magnetic separators for the dairy industry. The purchase included 300 defective outboard motors. Kiekhaefer and a small staff of employees rebuilt the motors and sold them to Montgomery Ward, a mail-order company. The motors were much improved, so the buyer purchased more. Kiekhaefer designed motors that withstood the elements better than his competition and called the motor Mercury after the Roman god.[3] Kiekhaefer took more than 16,000 orders at the 1940 New York Boat Show.

World War II[edit]

World War II changed the corporate climate, and Kiekhaefer sought a government contract to design two-man air-cooled chainsaws. Army engineers were unable to design a lightweight motor. Kiekhaefer designed a new lightweight chainsaw in 2 months. The Kiekhaefer powered chainsaw was able to cut through a 24-inch (610 mm) green log in 17 seconds, while it took the nearest competitor 52 seconds. Mercury was awarded the contract, and was the world's largest chainsaw manufacturer by the end of the war.

Post-war history[edit]

Mercury foresaw that the average American's interest in boating would increase after the war. Kiekhaefer introduced a 19.8 cubic inch, 10 horsepower (hp), two-cylinder alternate firing design motor at the 1947 New York Boat Show called the "Lightning" or KE-7.

NASCAR racing[edit]

1955 Tim Flock racing car
Main article: Carl Kiekhaefer

Kiekhaefer decided to promote his company by owning a NASCAR and AAA team. The team dominated NASCAR Grand National (now Sprint Cup) (at one point winning 16 straight races), even though it only competed in 1955 and 1956. The team won the 1955 and 1956 NASCAR championships with drivers Tim Flock and Buck Baker. One of Mercury's innovations was using dry paper air filters, which are still standard in automobiles today.

1950s through 1970s[edit]

In 1957 Kiekhaefer started testing at a Florida lake he called "Lake X" to keep the location secret. Later that year the company designed a new inline 6-cylinder 60 hp (45 kW) motor named "Mark 75". Like its 2- and 4-cylinder brethren, the Mark 75 featured internal reed valves. The reed valve blocks served as intermediate main bearings. Because the valves occupied space already necessary for the main bearings instead of mounting to an extension of the crankcase, crankcase volume was minimized, resulting in a higher crankcase compression ratio, and more power in proportion to displacement than the competition.

Mercury's first 6-cylinder engines featured "direct reversing". Instead of a lower unit with forward, neutral and reverse gears, its lower units were more compact, with only drive and driven gears, and no submerged shift mechanism required. Reverse was selected by turning off the engine and restarting it in opposite rotation, and neutral by simply switching off.

Two Mark 75 motors set an endurance record by running non-stop for over 50,000 miles (80,000 km) over 6834 days on Lake X. The motors were refueled as they ran, and averaged 30.3 miles per hour.

When Mercury's top-of-the-line model Merc 800 was introduced, direct reversing as standard equipment was replaced by full forward, neutral and reverse gear shifting, as on Mercury's 2- and 4-cylinder models, and "thru-hub" exhaust was introduced. Previously, as with other outboard brands and Mercury's smaller models, exhaust exited from a chute at the rear of the cavitation plate above the propeller. Thru-hub exhaust was claimed to be more efficient by omitting the added drag of an exhaust chute, and using the low pressure area necessarily created by the gear housing and propeller moving through the water to assist in exhaust evacuation. Over the next several years, thru-hub exhaust became a standard feature of all Mercury models, and later was adopted near industry-wide for both outboards and stern-drives.

In 1961 the company merged with the Brunswick Corporation.

The company introduced the MerCruiser stern-drive line at the 1961 Chicago Boat Show. The line would later take over 80 percent of the world market.[4]

In 1966, 6-cylinder Mercury models featured the introduction of electronic ignition, another first that eventually became an industry standard.

Carl Kiekhaefer resigned as President of Kiekhaefer Mercury in 1969, and the name was changed to Mercury Marine. During this time, Mercury produced snowmobiles, like many other companies in the late 1960s. The first ones incorporated a 250 cc two-man chainsaw engine. In 1971, they came out with the Rocket and Lightning models. These sleds combined aluminum tunnels with Canadian Curtiss Wright (CCW) engines. The Rocket was a 340, and the Lightning a 400 with electric start. By 1972, Mercury started production of the Hurricane, a more modern snowmobile with optional with slide rail suspension (as opposed to bogie wheel). In 1974 Mercury introduced the Sno-Twister 400cc snowmobile designed primarily for racing. It featured a Kohler free-air engine and succeeded in dominating the 400cc class. In 1975 Mercury introduced 340cc and 440cc versions of the Sno-Twister and both were dominant at the track. 1976 saw a change in the Sno-Twister, this time 250cc, 340cc, and 440cc versions were all introduced. These were radical for their time and were the result of Mercury Sno Pro sleds developed and raced the previous year. These 1976 sleds were featured water-cooled Kohler engines. The chassis were small, lightweight, very low profile, with curved handlebars and seat cushions that were designed for left turns (oval tracks). In 1975 and 1976 Mercury also produced the Trail Twister snowmobiles which were available in 340cc and 440cc which were fan-cooled. These were some of the fastest lake racers around in their day. This started off a new era in snowmobile construction for the whole industry and the sled's basic format set up what is seen today in modern snowmobiles. Mercury was renowned in the 1970s as one of the best racing and performance snowmobile manufacturers, as well as an industry leader in marine engine production. Sno Twisters and Trail Twisters are highly sought after sleds due to their ahead of the time design, power, and unique styling.[citation needed]

Engine specifications[edit]

Year Model Disp. (CID) Type Comp. HP TKS/MPI WOT (RPM) Weight (lbs) Alpha Ratio (lbs) Bravo One Ratio (lbs) Bravo Two Ratio (lbs) Bravo Three Ratio (lbs)
2010 3.0L (181) I4 9.3:1 135 TKS 4400-4800 2.00, 2.40 (635)
2010 3.0L (181) I4 9.3:1 135 MPI 4400-4800 2.00, 2.40 (695)
2010 4.3L (262) V6 9.4:1 190 TKS 4400-4800 1.62, 1.81, 2.00 (848) 2.00, 2.20 (893) 2.20, 2.43 (902)
2010 4.3L (262) V6 9.4:1 220 MPI 4400-4800 1.47, 1.62, 1.81 (865) 2.00, 2.20 (912) 2.20, 2.43 (921)
2010 5.0L (305) V8 9.4:1 220 TKS 4400-4800 1.62, 1.81 (946) 1.50, 1.65 (987) 2.00, 2.20 (1004) 2.00, 2.20, 2.43 (1013)
2010 5.0L (305) V8 9.4:1 260 MPI 4600-5000 1.47, 1.62, 1.81 (952) 1.50, 1.65 (993) 2.00, 2.20 (1010) 2.00, 2.20, 2.43 (1019)
2010 350 MAG 5.7L (350) V8 9.4:1 300 MPI 4800-5200 1.47 (946) 1.36, 1.50, 1.65 (987) 2.00, 2.20 (1004) 2.00. 2.20, 2.43 (1013)
2010 377 MAG 6.2L (377) V8 9.0:1 320 MPI 4800-5200 1.36, 1.50, 1.65 (993) 2.00, 2.20 (1010) 2.00, 2.20, 2.43 (1019)
2010 496 MAG 8.1L (496) V8 9.1:1 375 MPI 4400-4800 1.36, 1.50, 1.65 (1199) 1.81, 2.00, 2.20 (1214) 1.26, 1.35, 1.50 (1224)
2010 496 MAG HO 8.1L (496) V8 9.1:1 425 MPI 4600-5000 1.36, 1.50, 1.65 (1199) 1.81, 2.00, 2.20 (1214) 1.81, 2.00, 2.20 (1224)
2010 8.2 MAG 8.2L (502) V8 8.75:1 380 MPI 4400-4800 1080 1.26, 1.35, 1.36, 1.50, 1.65 1.81, 2.00, 2.20 1.65, 1.81, 2.00, 2.20, 2.43
2010 8.2 MAG HO 8.2L (502) V8 8.75:1 430 MPI 4600-5000 1080 1.26, 1.35, 1.36, 1.50, 1.65 1.81, 2.00, 2.20 1.65, 1.81, 2.00, 2.20, 2.43

Today[edit]

Today, Mercury product brands include Mercury, Mercury Racing, MerCruiser, and Mariner outboards (sold outside the U.S.). Outboard sizes range from 2.5 horsepower (1.9 kW) to 350 horsepower (260 kW). MerCruiser sterndrives and inboards range from 100 to 450 horsepower (340 kW) and Mercury Racing outboards produce up to 350 horsepower (260 kW) and sterndrives to 1,200 horsepower (890 kW). Subsidiaries include Mercury Precision Parts and Accessories as well as Mercury propellers and Mercury Jet Drives. In the U.S. Mercury outboards, from 30 hp and below are rebadged Tohatsus.

This is a 2007, 3.5 horse power Mercury engine.

Mercury has recently developed a processor enhanced line of outboards called the "Verado" outboard engine.[5] The "Verado" system integrates the outboard into an entire system, including "fly-by-wire" steering and advanced diagnostics.

This is a 2008, 250 horse power, Mercury ProXS series engine.

In 2007 Mercury Marine began selling its Zeus drive system.[6] Developed by Mercury and its joint venture company Cummins MerCruiser Diesel (CMD), the Zeus drive is a dual engine pod drive system. Some of the most notable benefits from this class design for boaters will be enhanced helm control. While underway an automated trim control feature simplifies operation. Also, Zeus includes Skyhook Electronic AnchorTM which will keep a vessel on a fixed heading within a tight range. The system might be called all weather as it will keep a heading in strong currents and winds.

Mercury Marine is one of the world’s leading providers of marine propulsion. As $2.3 billion division of Brunswick Corporation, Mercury and its 6,200 employees worldwide provide engines, boats, services and parts for recreational, commercial and government marine applications.

Mercury’s brand portfolio includes Mercury and Mariner, Mercury MerCruiser sterndrives and inboard engines, MotorGuide trolling motors, Mercury and Teignbridge propellers, Mercury inflatable boats, Mercury SmartCraft electronics, and Mercury and Quicksilver parts and oils. MotoTron electronic controls was also a part of Mercury Marine, but as of October 2008 Brunswick Corp. sold MotoTron and its intellectual properties to Woodward Governor of Fort Collins, CO.[7]

SeaCore is a brand of sterndrive marine propulsion systems manufactured in the United States by MerCruiser. The SeaCore engine design utilizes materials, technologies, and systems, created specifically for Mercury Marine, to prevent galvanic corrosion within its engine, transom and drive. SeaCore propulsion includes models generating between 220 and 425 horsepower (317 kW). SeaCore is designed for a wide variety of vessels operated in or moored on saltwater.

Mercury Marine also provides various training programs through its training arm called mercury university.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ About TohatsuOutboards.com, Tohatsu Outboards, date accessed 2011-03-21.
  2. ^ Profile Mercury Marine's Made in China Outboard Motors, Mercury Marine's Chinese Outboards, date accessed 2011-08-14.
  3. ^ Company History - Mercury Marine, Stumbling into the outboard business… the best mistake ever, date accessed 2011-08-14.
  4. ^ "Heritage". Mercury Marine. Retrieved 2014-01-15. 
  5. ^ "Verado Six-Cylinder". Mercury Marine. Retrieved 2014-01-15. 
  6. ^ [1][dead link]
  7. ^ "Woodward Governor buys Oshkosh's MotoTron." Business Journal of Milwaukee 06 Oct 2008: n. pag. Web. <http://milwaukee.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2008/10/06/daily2.html>.
  8. ^ "Mercury Marine University". Edumaritime.com. Retrieved 2014-01-15. 

External links[edit]