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High Performance Marine Engines
Updated: 16 min 37 sec ago

Get a Step Up with K-Plane Trim Tabs

Thu, 01/25/2018 - 06:38
K-Plane trim tabs were first developed to endure the harsh environment of offshore powerboat racing.

Mercury Racing® K-Planes® have long been considered the gold standard of trim tab design, durability and performance.

Originally developed to endure the punishing rigors of offshore racing, K-Planes feature a strong, corrosion resistant aluminum casting with large support ribs for enhanced durability.

The Reasons Why More Performance Pleasure Boaters, Racers, and the Military Trust K-Planes over Competitive Brands:

  • The proven gold standard on the liquid battlefield of the offshore race circuit
  • They plane boats faster and keeps them level for a safer, smoother ride in a variety of conditions.
  • Heavy duty, corrosion resistant aluminum casting with large support ribs for unparalleled durability
  • Double-acting hydraulic trim cylinders maintain position and react immediately to fingertip control from the helm
  • Elastomer mounts on each end of the hydraulic trim cylinders dampen impact loads, eliminate free play and eliminate contact between the stainless steel pivot points for enhanced durability, trim accuracy and corrosion resistance
  • Electrically bonded components and large sacrificial anodes further protect the tabs from the corrosive salt water environment
  • Heavy-duty hydraulic trim pumps, designed specifically for K-Planes, withstand the torture of offshore power boating

Getting on Plane

Trim tabs work in-concert with outdrives when powering a boat on plane. Tucking the drives under and the tabs down forces the bow of the boat down. This brings the boat on plane quicker, without a loss of visibility. Once on plane, the operator first trims the tabs up and then trims the drives out until the most efficient running attitude is achieved.

Tabs, when put in a level position with the bottom of the hull, act as hull extensions or after planes. As a wave throws the bow up, the tabs dampen the boats reaction, leveling and smoothing the ride.

Tabs and drives should be trimmed up when operating in a follow sea. The raised bow will compensate for the waves lifting the stern. Tabs are also used to fine-tune the handling of a boat such as a catamaran that may have a gentle bounce or porpoise when accelerating to optimum running speed in mild water. In this case, the drives are set at their optimum trim.  Dropping the tabs, a touch at a time, will dissipate the porpoising while maintaining hull efficiency.

At idle, trimming tabs full down will slow boat speed, reduce the wake size and straighten the boat’s track.

Independent Actuation

Sea conditions or an unbalanced load may cause the boat to lean (or list) to one side or the other. List may occur in a quarter following sea. The waves lift the stern unevenly, causing the boat to pitch forward and roll opposite the lift. Dropping the tab opposite of the side being lifted will correct the listing for a dryer ride. Similar adjustments can be made for boats listing due to an uneven load. Bumping the tab on the heavy load side down will cause the stern on that side to lift, leveling the load.

K_Plane trim tabs feature electronic trim senders which enable the tab positions to be displayed on modern displays such as Mercury VesselView monitors.

Boats equipped with K-Plane trim tabs require a trim indicator that provides the operator an accurate, real-time reference of both drive and tab positions. SmartCraft electronic trim senders are available with 150S, 280S, and 380S K-Planes. The electronic sender provides the option of having drive and tab trim positions displayed digitally on a variety of large, easy-to-read electronic displays available from Mercury’s SmartCraft Vessel View to Simrad and other manufacturers.

Mercury Racing continues to offer a full array of mechanical trim indicators first developed by Kiekhaefer Aeromarine for use with sterndrives, outboards and K-Plane Trim Tabs.

 

The 380S K-Plane in Hulkin’ Green.

Custom color options enable boaters to color match the tabs to boat graphics and color optioned Mercury Racing M6 M8 sterndrives.

Available for boats 21-feet and longer, K-Planes are available for outboard and sterndrive raceboats, performance boats, center consoles, commercial, and government applications.

Don’t Knock It!

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 06:43
Engine knock (aka “detonation”) is an undesirable phenomenon that occurs when a “left over” pocket of air-fuel mixture in the combustion chamber ignites after the spark plug has already fired. When this happens, cylinder pressure jumps as high as 25 times that of normal combustion, and in doing so creates a sharp metallic noise audible to the human ear.

So, what exactly is engine knock?  Well, put on your engineering hats for a moment, as we’re going to get a little technical here.  Simply put, engine knock (aka “detonation”) is an undesirable phenomenon that occurs when a “left over” pocket of air-fuel mixture in the combustion chamber ignites after the spark plug has already fired. When this happens, cylinder pressure jumps as high as 25 times that of normal combustion, and in doing so creates a sharp metallic noise audible to the human ear.  This noise is referred to as “knock”, and left unchecked, it can lead to engine damage ranging from relatively mild to complete engine failure. The extent of engine damage that can occur from knock is highly dependent on the specific output of the engine (horsepower/cubic inches or liters) . . . the higher the specific output, the more extensive the knock damage may be.  In addition, external factors influence an engine’s propensity to knock.  For example, higher air and/or water temperatures make it harder to cool the engine, and therefore create an easier environment for knock to occur, while higher humidity helps reduce the chances for knock.  By now you’re probably wondering “how can I protect my engine from the weather?”

Using high quality fuel with an octane rating that complies with your engine’s requirement is your single best defense against engine knock.

The good news is using high quality fuel with an octane rating that complies with your engine’s requirement is your single best defense against engine knock.  This is why certain Mercury Racing consumer outboards and sterndrives require a minimum of 91 octane (98 RON) pump fuel.  The higher-octane fuel allows your Mercury Racing engine to safely produce maximum power while protecting against engine knock.

Octane ratings at the pump are typically determined by the following equation: (RON + MON)/2; commonly written as (R + M)/2. This is called the antiknock index (AKI).

Octane, in fact, is a measure of gasoline’s antiknock performance. There are two test methods used to measure gasoline octane rating. One method results in the Research Octane Number (RON); the other produces the Motor Octane Number (MON). Octane ratings at the pump are typically determined by the following equation:

(RON + MON)/2; commonly written as (R + M)/2. This is called the antiknock index (AKI).  In general, a higher-octane fuel, such as 91, provides greater protection against engine knock than a lower octane fuel, such as 87 or 89.

400R and Automatic Knock Protection

The 400R produces its advertised horsepower at 7,000 RPM on 91-octane (98 RON) pump fuel; however, the engine control unit will automatically adjust spark timing on individual cylinders should it start to detect engine knock.

All Mercury Racing outboards and sterndrives require a certain minimum fuel octane to protect against knock while maximizing performance. The Verado 400R outboard takes it one step farther with an advanced computer controlled knock protection system. The 400R produces its advertised horsepower at 7,000 RPM on 91-octane (98 RON) pump fuel; however, the engine control unit will automatically adjust spark timing on individual cylinders should it start to detect engine knock. The amount of spark removed and subsequent power reduction is highly dependent on ambient conditions (water and air temperature, humidity) and other factors.

The 400R’s knock protection system provides the ultimate flexibility by allowing you to maximize performance on 91 octane without having to compromise where you run your boat based on available fuel grades at the gas dock.

The great thing about the 400R’s knock protection system is it is designed to always give you as much power as possible under all conditions while still protecting the engine from knock damage.  Running your 400Rs with the recommended 91 octane fuel will help ensure you always have the full 400 horsepower at your fingertips, but sometimes on the water, 89 octane or Rec 90 is the best you can find.  Don’t sweat it . . . your 400Rs will run safely and reliably on this fuel as well, you just may not see the same top speed you will with the premium fuel.  This knock protection system provides the ultimate flexibility by allowing you to maximize performance on 91 octane without having to compromise where you run your boat based on available fuel grades at the gas dock.

What About Other Race Product?

Currently the 400R is the only Mercury Racing engine with a built-in knock protection system.  This means with other Mercury Racing outboards and sterndrives, it is absolutely necessary to comply with specified fuel requirements for each engine. Using a fuel with an octane number lower than an engine’s specified rating will likely result in engine failure, which is not covered by Mercury Racing’s limited warranty. While most fuel grades are readily available for boats that are trailered, it is important to understand what is sold at the gas docks for boats that are kept in the water or run for long distances.

The 600 SCi is one of three Mercury Racing sterndrives designed to run on 87 octane fuel.

Fortunately, all but three of Mercury Racing’s outboard and sterndrive products are designed to run on 87 or 89 octane (see chart below for octane requirements by engine model).  Since most gas docks carry 89 or Rec 90, the vast majority of Racing product may be operated virtually anywhere.  The consumer Race product which requires 91 octane includes the 300XS outboard and the QC4 1350 sterndrive.  Finally, the dual cal 1350/1550 QC4 consumer model requires 91 octane in 1350 mode and 112 octane race fuel in 1550 mode.  Typically race fuel (112+ octane) is not readily available and must be ordered in advance for speed runs or competition race activities.  Recommended race fuels per the chart below are Sunoco Supreme 112 AKI or Sunoco 117 MON, VP C16 or equivalents.

Can’t I Just Add Octane Boost?

As previously mentioned, most marinas today are carrying Rec 90; a cross between 91 and 89 octane pump fuel. In other areas, the highest available fuel rating is often 89 but sometimes 87-octane. This is a huge gamble if your engine requires 91-octane fuel and is not equipped with knock control, one that often leads to serious engine damage.

As a result, it comes as no surprise that many of our customers turn to aftermarket products (fuel additives) promising to raise the octane in their boats to acceptable levels which comply with our specified fuel requirements.  Internet forums are full of discussion threads arguing whether these products actually work.  Here at Mercury Racing, we are frequently asked for our opinions on these additives. To date, we have not been able to validate the effectiveness of any aftermarket octane boosting products on any Mercury Racing product.  Thus, we do not recommend or support using them as a substitute for using the specified minimum octane fuels our products require.

Higher volume fuel tanks found on most powerboats or center consoles would likely require a substantial amount of octane booster, and even at that, there is risk the final octane in the tank may still not be enough to meet the specified requirement.

Many of these products advertise that they boost the octane by a certain percentage or factor when mixed with the fuel at a certain ratio.  It is unclear how much of the product is truly required to boost the fuel octane in the tank by a full point.  Higher volume fuel tanks found on most powerboats or center consoles would likely require a substantial amount of octane booster, and even at that, there is risk the final octane in the tank may still not be enough to meet the specified requirement. This is a major risk to take with your high dollar investment, and one that would not be covered by Mercury Racing’s limited warranty.

Our advice?  Don’t risk it.  Top off your tanks with the correct fuel grade specified for your Mercury Racing engines prior to your day on the water. Plan your route to ensure you have access to your required fuel when needed. Your engines will thank you with top performance and unwavering reliability.

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrating 25 Years of Performance Boater’s Paradise!

Wed, 11/08/2017 - 08:00

Greetings from Key West! We are here to support and celebrate the Florida Powerboat Club’s  25th anniversary Key West Poker Run. We are proud to again be the Presenting Sponsor of this prestigious event which has over 180 registered poker teams from around the globe taking the 170 mile scenic tour from Miami to Key West.

We are proud to again be the Presenting Sponsor of this prestigious event which has over 180 registered poker teams from around the globe taking the 170 mile scenic tour from Miami to Key West. Photo Credit: Pete Boden Shoot 2 Thrill Pix

“Congratulations to Stu, Jackie and the entire Florida Powerboat Club on 25 years of this signature poker run. You have set the bar for safe, well organized events and we are honored to be affiliated with such a quality organization. We wish you many more years of success;” Mercury Racing General Manager Erik Christiansen.

Mercury Racing Experience

The Mercury Racing Experience Truck is again a featured display in the Poker Run Village.

The all-new, naturally aspirated QC4 860 sterndrive in standard Super Silver Metallic. The 860 display motor, transom plate and M6 sterndrive are painted Hulkin’ Green Pearl. A total of 12 color options are available.

The truck is packed with exciting products including the all-new, naturally aspirated QC4 860 sterndrive. Other featured products include the 8.6 Liter 540 sterndrive and a cutaway of the venerable 400R outboard!

Performance Propeller Manager Scott Reichow (right) is ready to talk props!

Factory reps will be on hand to answer questions and provide details regarding our Race to Repower program. Scott Reichow is available to provide advise regarding  propeller applications.

Get you Race Gear Here! 

Official Mercury Racing Merchandise is available for purchase. Don’t miss out! Quantities are limited. The Experience truck and merchandise tent will be open 3 pm to 10 pm Thursday; 10 am to 10 pm Friday and Saturday.