How to Find an Oil Leak

How to Find an Oil Leak

Outboard motors are manufactured through different methods, and thus each engine tends to be unique. However, there are a few central locations of all engines that are prone to oil leaks – here’s where to look. If you find oil in the exhaust manifolds, most likely the valve covers are the cause of the leak. If you find oil on top of the motor but not elsewhere, it’s probably a lower intake rear gasket leak. If the engine is leaking oil from the rear and over the transmission, the likely cause is a rear main seal leak (commonly attributed to overfilling the engine). If motor oil is leaking from the front of the engine, it’s probably the front main seal.

Based on where you find the oil leak, there are various steps necessary to successfully repair it. Consult your user’s manual and contact a technician about parts and repairs. It’s also a good idea to stock up on Mercury oil to replace all the leaked oil from the engine.

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Disposing of Oil Waste

Disposing of Oil Waste

When it comes to changing your boat’s motor oil, we all know how convenient it is to do it yourself. However, most avid boat owners also need to dispose of their motor oil waste now and then, and this can be more time consuming than the actual process of changing the oil. When your oil pan fills up, it’s time to head to the nearest hardware store or marina. In general, the same locations that sell oil will also dispose of used oil for free. The motor oil we consider waste can actually be refined back into regular oil.

In most cases, locations that dispose of oil don’t care what kind of oil it is or how it was used. Whether you’re disposing of the Mercury engine oil from your outboard motor, or the standard motor oil from your automobile, it all goes into the pot of oil waste and will later be refined. Ensure that your used oil is disposed of in the proper manner, as oil waste can contaminate water sources, vegetation, and cause all manner of harmful effects on the environment.

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Two Strokes: Yamaha vs. Mercury

Two Strokes: Yamaha vs. Mercury

Yamaha and Mercury are two leading manufacturers of outboard motors, and both offer quality products that tend to be a solid investment. However, in some circumstances, such as two stroke motors, one brand shines over the other. Yamaha two stroke motors are renowned for their longevity, despite Mercury offering a more powerful motor. The parts for Yamaha motors are a bit more expensive, but because they almost never give out, you won’t be replacing parts often, if at all. In addition, the Yamaha two stroke is one of the highest ranked outboard motors amongst users.

Whether you use Yamaha’s Yamalube oil, or Mercury oil, either brand will work in these outboard motors. The stigma that you must use a particular brand’s oil in the corresponding motor is mostly used to boost sales, though there are some circumstances in which it’s true, however this is more dependent on how the outboard motor is used by the owner.

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Formulated Oil for Verado Engines

Verado-Mercury-outboard-engine

The Verado four cylinder and six cylinder outboard engines are without a doubt some of the most powerful outboards on the market. In the last year, Mercury formulated a special oil, Mercury 25W and 50W oil, designed to compliment the level of torque and acceleration in a Verado outboard engine. The oil is a combination of synthetic and mineral based stocks of the highest quality, and meets all the demands of the most powerful outboard engines. Mercury engine oil in all its formulations is renowned for superior protection from corrosion, as well as enhanced lubrication to increase the performance of all engine parts.

In addition to Mercury 25W and 50W oil designed for the Verado, there are also 10W and 30W oils which can be used in two cylinder outboard engines.

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Used Motor Oil for Heating

furnace health

I’ve been asked a couple times now by different persons whether it’s possible to burn used motor oil in a home furnace. The answer is that it is possible, however you wouldn’t want to do it. Take your leftover Mercury engine oil from an outboard motor for example, now you could pour it in your home heating oil tank in place of kerosene, or mixed with kerosene, but this will cause a lot of pollution and an awful smell. Used motor oil contains a lot of dirt and grit particles that when burned up, cause environmental damage and will coat surfaces with a black residue.

There are furnaces designed to be run on used motor oil, but these often contain special filters to remove the dirt and grit, and even then are banned in most states for causing unnecessary pollution.

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Oil Injector Problems

quicksilver-mercury-oilNow and then with certain models of outboard motors, the oil injection system will appear to not work properly. However with most oil injection systems, this is a wrong diagnosis. It would seem that an outboard motor can damage itself by running lean, but in actuality, an engine wearing down due to running lean is not related to oil injection. Bearing failure and seizing in engines are oil related; running lean is a carburetion issue.

There are several ways to test the oil in the engine which can be done without a lot of technical knowhow. For example, if using a mercury outboard motor, mark the level of the oil in the tank with the engine perfectly vertical. Then add a known quantity of mercury oil, and mark the new level. If you have a separate tank, add an amount of fuel corresponding to the amount of oil you added in a 50:1 ratio. Run the measured amount of fuel through the engine. The oil level should go to the first mark, if it doesn’t, it’s not oiling at 50:1, and thus something is wrong.

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How to Change Outboard Motor Oil

quicksilver-mercury-oilChanging oil in your outboard motor is much like changing the oil in your car. First you will want to locate the gearcase and loosen the top screw. Next place a drain pan beneath the unit to collect the used oil. Loosen the bottom drain screw and remove it. Let the oil drain for about five minutes, longer if it is slow to drain. Check your oil for metal particles, or if other liquids like water are present. Should either be present, consult a mechanic or qualified service individual.

When the oil is done draining, using mercury oil or your brand of choice, fill the unit from bottom to top, until oil comes out the top screw hole. Screw the top screw in first, and immediately replace the bottom screw. Ensure both screws are tight to prevent leaks.

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Mercruiser Engines

Mercruiser Engines

A recent post focused on sterndrives, and Mercruiser by Mercury Marine is the most popular one available in America. Mercruiser exposes engine systems to rigorous testing in the toughest conditions to assist in the development of some of the strongest and most reliable sterndrive packages in the industry. They cast components in special alloys and utilize computer-controlled painting processes that have withstood immersion and corrosion testing. Mercruisers also include an expanded passageway in the exhaust elbow to prevent saltwater from clogging the system. The standard production gas sterndrive and inboard packages by Mercruiser are protected by Mercury Marine’s three-year limited warranty against corrosion failure. Check your operation and maintenance manual for complete information regarding warranty.

Power steering is standard on all Mercruiser sterndrives 4.3L and larger and are optional on the 3.0L. 3- and 6-inch risers to further prevent saltwater clogging are optional on all Mercruiser sterndrives and inboards with the exception of the 3.0L. Remote oil filters are standard on all gas fuel-injected sterndrives, Bluewater inboards, diesel engines, and are available as a kit for all carburetor sterndrive models. There is an audio warning system mounted under the helm to alert the boater to low Mercury engine oil pressure, high engine temperature, and other potentially damaging engine conditions which is standard on all gas and diesel models, available as a kit on the 3.0L sterndrives.

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What is a Sterndrive?

mercury oilA sterndrive, or stern drive, is a form of boat propulsion also known as inboard/outboard or I/O. The upper unit engine is located inboard, just forward of the boat stern, producing power by way of a shaft that goes through the stern to the lower drive unit (also known as the outdrive) located outside the hull, which resembles the bottom half of an outboard. The lower drive unit carries the boat propeller and contains gearing for the engine system. This unit controls the steering of the boat, as with an outboard motor. No rudder is necessary. The sterndrive engine itself is usually the same as those used in true inboard systems. The most popular sterndrive engines have historically been Chevrolet and Ford V-8 car engines that have been adapted for marine use. The most popular brand of sterndrive is Mercruiser by Mercury Marine, who also manufactures outboard motors and Mercury oil. Advantages of the sterndrive versus the outboard include higher available engine horsepower, a clean stern with no cutouts for outboard motor installation and no protruding powerhead, making for easier egress and ingress for pleasure boat passengers and more convenient fishing. Advantages of the sterndrive system versus outboards include simpler engineering for boat builders and space savings with engines mounted all the way aft, allowing more occupancy space for the boat’s passengers. Performance with sterndrives is better than inboards, due to the inherent loss of force with inboard propellers due to the angle of the prop shaft.

The main disadvantages of sterndrives versus inboards is that their components–namely oil lines, hoses, and rubber bellows, some of which are in the water–are more vulnerable to corrosion and damage from being exposed to the elements. Maintenance on sterndrives is more complex than outboard maintenance in several ways. Sterndrive oil changes may necessitate complicated pumping mechanisms, and engine repairs are often difficult to perform due to tight engine compartment spaces. In some sterndrive boats, the entire engine must be removed to perform even simple repairs, whereas with an outboard motor, only removal of the cover is necessary. With both inboards and sterndrives there are fire and explosion hazards from fuel vapors within the engine compartment. It is recommended that these boats run a blower for several minutes prior to starting the engine, while idling, or moving below cruising speed. The blower circulates the fresh outside air inside the engine compartment and vice versa. Sterndrives have become sought after for use in pleasure boating due to their practical advantages and attractive costs, and there are many current boat product lines that include models for which sterndrive power is the only option for available propulsion.

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The Mercury Trailer Boat at Rest

The Mercury Trailer Boat at Rest

If your Mercury boat takes you into salt water, it is recommended that you park with the outdrive in the down position. This prevents barnacle formation on the bellows; if barnacles form, they can cut into the bellows and ultimately sink the boat. There have been many recent instances in the Midwest where beavers have eaten enough boat bellows to sink the craft and render it useless. If your Mercury outboard is stored in the sun with the outdrive down, it will also alleviate the effects of dry rot on the bellows.

Bellows should not have to be replaced more than once every five or six years, barring formation of a leak or hole. When performing preventative maintenance on the bellows, you may have more success with Mercury parts-they have a bellows kit-the Mercury shop manual, and/or Mercury’s Master-certified mechanics. There are special tools, a thread lock and a certain adhesive you will need for bellow replacement. Once all this is done and it’s time to go out on the water again, stock up on Mercury engine oil and happy boating!

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Mercury Builds on Success

Mercury Builds on Success

Expanding on the success of its 9.9 hp Pro Kicker Four Stroke outboard engine, Mercury Marine has launched its 15 hp Pro Kicker Four Stroke, which also comes in 15 Bigfoot and 15 Prokicker models. The specifications of the straight 15 hp include a maximum rpm of 4500-5500, a water-cooled system, manual or electric starters, tiller or remote steering, standard propellers, and a standing recommendation to use Mercury engine oil.

The 15 Bigfoot model has a larger gearcase designed to haul heavier loads, such as pontoons. This expanded gearcase has a better torque ratio, enabling the use of larger propellers. The 15 Prokicker model is meant to incorporate the best features of the 15 Prokicker Four Stroke, but its construction is purposely lightweight to allow for versatility and use in any number of boating applications.

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History of Outboard Motors

History of Outboard MotorsThe creation of the first practical outboard motor is often credited to Norwegian-American inventor Ole Evinrude in 1909.

Historically, a majority of outboards have been two-stroke powerheads fitted with a carburetor due to the designs inherent simplicity, reliability, low cost and light weight.

In the 1990s, U.S. and European exhaust emissions regulations led to the proliferation of four-stroke outboards. Though fewer in number, four-stroke outboards have always been with us.

Outboard motors benefit from the ability to draw coolant from the water, obviating the need for radiators and cooling fans, thereby simplifying the design and lowering component weight. The motors also have several brands (i.e. Yamalube, Mercury and the creator’s namesake, Evinrude) of oil to choose from, giving the consumer a seemingly infinite amount of options based on their needs.

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