Outboard Engines vs. Air-Cooled Engines, Part 2

In our continuation of yesterday’s post, we will examine the differences between the oil specifications for two-stroke outboard engines versus two-stroke air-cooled engines. Outboard engines, because they are water-cooled, require oil with a high percentage of heavy oil to prevent piston scuffing. Oils with detergents should not be used as they may form ash deposits that can clog plugs. To compensate for lack of detergents, more dispersants and rust oxidation inhibitors to control deposits and rust are needed. Responsible owners of two-stroke outboard engines should give Mercury outboard oil a try.

Air-cooled two-stroke engines require much lower levels of heavy oils; in fact, too much heavy oil can cause piston rings to stick together. High detergent oil is preferable because air-cooled two-stroke engines operate at higher temperatures. The detergent keeps temperatures in check while the vibration of the engines keeps deposits from building up.

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Outboard Engines vs. Air-Cooled Engines, Part 1

Two-cycle oil needs to be added to gasoline for both two-stroke outboard engines and air-cooled two-stroke engines. There are notable differences between the oil specifications for the two applications. Let’s start by examining the differences between outboard and air-cooled two-stroke engines:

Outboard engines operate at constant speeds. Two-stroke outboard engines also operate in water, meaning they have a constant supply of coolant which is not re-circulated. Air-cooled engines, on the other hand, are used in spurts; turned on and off or left idling. These engines typically have smaller displacements than outboard engines, and are frequently overloaded. For , Mercury 2 stroke oil is recommended.

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Checking for Compression

Air, fuel, compression, and spark are the four main elements that keep a two-stroke engine running. If any one of the four elements is missing or damaged, then the engine will not go. A loss of compression can be caused by several reasons, but the most likely culprit is a faulty seal between cylinder, piston or piston rings. Fortunately, this is an easy problem to spot and fix.

Start by removing all of the spark plugs from the motor and ground those spark plugs against the engine case. Take a compression tester and screw it into the spark plug hole of the first cylinder to be tested. Twist the throttle and kick the motor over a few times. Check the tester’s gauge; if the gauge reads at least 100-125 then you’re good to go, at least on that particular cylinder. While you’re poking around the insides of your motor, consider replacing your Mercury 2 cycle oil.

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How to Change Your ATV Oil: Part Four

Now that the oil filter has been changed and all of the used oil is out, the only thing left to do is put in the new Mercury engine oil. Remove the oil cap and place the funnel into the fill hole. Pour your oil into the funnel slowly to prevent any drips or spills. (Always consult your owner’s manual to see your manufacturer’s specifications for oil.)

Once you’ve poured the oil in, turn on the engine and let it run for a few minutes. While the ATV is running, check around the machine for leaks before turning it off and waiting for a few minutes while it cools. Insert the dipstick into the fill hole and make sure that the oil is up to the full mark. Screw the cap back into place, reattach the panels and you’re done.

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Environmentally Safe Boating: Part Three

Due to the systemic risk of petroleum and oil in our water systems, there are several federal laws pertaining to the proper disposal of these fluids. Under The Federal Water Pollution Control Act, any expulsion of oil or oily substances into navigable water or water in the contiguous zone is illegal and carries up to a $5,000 penalty. Of course, you can always find ways around the law, but as we’ve learned in previous blog posts, the detrimental effects of oil in the water vast, so you shouldn’t need any additional coercion to deter you from dumping.

In addition, The Clean Water Act forbids you to use soap, dispersants or emulsifiers in an attempt to clean a spill. Unauthorized use of these cleaning agents carries a hefty penalty—as much as $25,000. If you accidentally spill any oil or see a fellow boater leaking gasoline or dumping mercury engine oil, the best M.O. is to call the Coast Guard and give a detailed report of the spill.

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Mercury Marine Company Overview

While Evinrude may get a lot of publicity, Mercury Marine is actually the world’s leading manufacturer of marine propulsion engines. Unlike other companies that produce complete watercrafts, Mercury focuses exclusively on engines, providing units for recreational, commercial and government usage. The company creates both Mercury and Mariner engines.

You won’t see Mercury Marine on the NYSE, but that’s because they are a division of Brunswick Corporation, who also owns Bayliner, Sea Ray and other leading marine manufactures. In addition to their award-winning engines, Mercury also produces a wide line of accessories and Mercury oil. The Mercury Marines mission statement outlines their commitment to excellence and their customers.

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Winterizing Your Boat Trailer

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Just as we take precautions to winterize our boat by changing the mercury oil, using a gasoline treatment to clean the tank, and greasing the propeller, it’s also important to winterize your boat trailer. The first step you should take is to prevent the buildup of rust, especially if your trailer and boat are stored outside. For rust protection, you’ll want to coat your trailer at least once every few years with rust prevention paint. It’s also important to re-grease the wheels on your trailer to avoid them from freezing and becoming immovable over the winter. If possible, drape your boat cover over the boat trailer as well, as preventing water runoff will help to maintain its condition.

With the proper precautions, you’ll be ready and rearing to go once the weather grows warmer; you’ll be out on the lake or the ocean before everyone else!

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Browsing for Used Boats in the Offseason

mercury-oilNow that winter is on the way and likely to stay in parts of America for the next several months, many boaters enter a planning stage. Since they cannot get out on the lake to go fishing or just to cruise around aimlessly, a number of thoughts begin to enter their heads. Foremost among these is the question of whether to buy a new boat. Every spring like clockwork, thousands of people show up at marinas and dealerships ready to make such a purchase.

From an economic standpoint, these last few years have been slightly different. The uncertainty of the job market has made some people wary about investing too much in luxury items. These concerns have led to a resurgence in the used boat market, convincing consumers to look at the bright side of an aging vessel. The key is to think about the purposes for which one plans to use the boat.

Fishing boats and those intended for recreational water sports feature a completely disparate construction. After you’ve narrowed down your selection to the type of boat, take a gander at the hull to check for structural damage. Then study the inner workings such as the outboard motor. Does it look like it’s been given plenty of mercury oil over the years? Signs of corrosion and leakage might be enough to keep you away from making the investment.

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Have You Winterized Your Boat?

mercury-engine-oilAs much as we might hate to admit it, most anglers are faced with an offseason that lasts at least several months. When spring comes around, we can start our love affair with the fishing boat all over again. Until then, it’s up to us to winterize and find other ways to pass the time – such as snowmobiling. But before you hop on that sled, let’s take some time to ensure that you’ve done all you can to winterize the boat effectively.

If possible, store your boat on land. This prevents the possibility of water seeping through the hull fittings or gate valves, freezing and expanding. Over the course of an entire winter, this can cause severe harm to the structure and cost you lots of money. Add anti-freeze to parts of the boat that are intended to contain water such as water tanks, septic holding tanks and toilets.

Drain the boat’s cooling system and add anti-freeze. Do so dipping the water intake into a bucket of anti-freeze and running the engine for a few minutes. The battery should be disconnected and stored on land. Drain the existing motor oil and replace it with Mercury engine oil. Drain and replace the transmission and outdrive oils and top off the tanks with a fuel stabilizer.

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Basics of Outboard Trimming and Tilting

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Although not every outboard motor allows boaters the option of power trimming – also known as raising and lowering the drive unit – it’s a feature that’s widely available in most new outboards. “Trim” is maritime jargon used to refer to the running position of the engine drive unit. Think about the way your own outboard descends from the transom and into the water.

If a motor is neutrally trimmed, it will be positioned in an almost perfectly vertical manner; the bow will be lowered and the propeller shaft stays parallel to the water’s surface. As one might expect, operating a boat with neutral trimming is probably the most fuel-efficient technique as it streamlines the machinery’s progress through the water. “Trimming in” occurs when the top of the outboard is pointed slightly back and way from the stern. Again, this method lowers the bow but improves the ability to plane and ride through choppy seas.

The final option, “trimming out” actually lifts the bow and boosts the craft’s top speed considerably. When a motor is trimmed out excessively, the boat will begin to bounce. This technique is often employed in racing and for achieving quick bursts of speed during short-term trips. However, be prepared to replenish the engine with a supply of Mercury oil. Trimmed out boats are never as efficient as they could be.

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Mercury Marine’s Latest Offer

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September is a bittersweet month for many boaters; when the cool winds begin to blow, we know it won’t be long before it’s time to take those small vessels out of the water and into storage for winterization. Unless you’re lucky enough to live in an area where there’s open water all year long, these same thoughts are probably running through your head. Mercury Marine, manufacturers of the two-cycle OptiMax engines, has timed its latest promotion with the end of the boating season in mind.

With its “Trade Up America” event, Mercury is offering sizable rebates – ranging from $300 to $1,000 – when boat owners upgrade to a fuel-efficient OptiMax outboard. According to one Mercury representative, the event has been timed to coincide with the start of the winterizing process, when boat owners are starting to think ahead about next year. The offer is valid through Halloween.

It wasn’t long ago that outboard motor manufacturers came under fire from the Environmental Protection Agency, inspiring them to up their fuel-efficiency standards. These days, Mercury engine oil is specially formulated to meet rigorous lubricity and viscosity guidelines. The net effect is that engines like the OptiMax can run with tremendous power and efficiency, all without taking a serious toll on the environment.

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Never Mess with a Biker’s Oil

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My father’s motorcycle club is called the Black Bandits. A group of burly old men in their fifties, they wear – or should I say squeeze into – leather pants, jean jackets and colorful bandanas. They ride around our small town every Sunday, revving their engines, racing through the streets and howling like coyotes. All of this is actually embarrassing to admit, but it’s also something I need to vent about.

During the workweek they tune their bikes at Dale’s Greasy Garage down on Oleander Street. And as they work they are notorious for pulling pranks on each other. One day Curly Sue replaced Dad’s Mercury engine oil with olive oil, and that’s when all the drama unfolded. In retaliation, he filled Sue’s tailpipe with Cheetos and maple syrup. The chaos of it all went back and forth for weeks until one day Dad said, “Let’s make call it truce, only if you agree never to mess with my oil again, it’s just plain wrong!” And the rest is history.

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