While you may not be in the market for a new boat, you may be feeling underwhelmed with your current inboard engine’s performance or just want an entirely fresh experience. Your best bet is to sit down with a certified dealer and find out the best options in regards to getting your experience to where you want it, and one of those options is repowering your Mercruiser inboard engine to give your boat new legs. Let’s take a look at some of the basics.
1. Compatibility With Current Mounts and Stringers
Your first concern is getting an engine that fits. Some engines are designed as “drop-in replacements,” intended to fit in the same space you already have, take advantage of the same mounts, and are compatible with existing wiring and controls. Newer engines can come equipped with catalytic converters, which has some environmental benefits but can require substantial fiberglass, exhaust, or fuel system reconfigurations.
2. What About Power Needs?
If you’re concerned about overdoing it, check the boat’s capacity plate for the maximum rated horsepower, which is a good safety standard to be aware of. If you’re going above 330 horsepower on your engine, it’s recommended to move into the Bravo line of outdrives from Mercury. Likewise, even if you aren’t going above 330 horsepower, it’s not a bad idea to upgrade to a Bravo if you’ve previously damaged your outdrive.
3. Controls and Instruments—DTS Vs. Cable Driven
When going through the repowering process, many people take a look at some other updates. One of the most common is a DTS, or a digital throttle and shift, versus your traditional analog cable driven shift. Digital gauges are another option. Most engines can retain their analog options, especially drop-in replacement engines, but some choose to upgrade to digital systems as a matter of personal preference and luxury.
4. Do I Need to Replace Fuel-System Parts?
When repowering, it’s best to install new fuel-system components. This includes new fuel hoses, which must be Coast Guard-approved ethanol-resistant hoses. Older boats have A1 rated hoses, which is a fire rating, whereas A1-15 is required now, which breathes less fuel through the line. It’s sometimes recommended to equip your engine with a 10-micron water-separating fuel filter, but this isn’t required.
5. What About the Old Engine?
In many cases, the old engine needs to be returned to Mercury either because of core charging or for emissions purposes. Your old Mercruiser inboard engine may not have a catalytic converter and if you plan on replacing it with a drop-in engine without a catalytic converter, you need to return the original engine for an EPA credit. If you replace your old engine with a new engine that does have a catalytic converter, you can keep the old one and sell it, likely through boating groups on Facebook or via eBay. Just remember that it’s up to you then to figure out how to get the engine into the hands of the new buyer.
6. What About Installation?
Once your Mercruiser inboard engine is installed, you must go through a pre-delivery checklist. This must be completed by a certified Mercruiser dealer like Tidewater Yacht Service and involves registering the warranty to keep you protected for years to come.
Reach Out to Tidewater Today!
If you’re in the greater Baltimore area and are in need of boat services, contact Tidewater Yacht Service at 410-625-4992 or by email at email@example.com. Our location is at 321 East Cromwell Street Baltimore, MD 21230. Get in touch with us today! Whether you need hauling, systems repaired, or storage, we have the experience and expertise to help. We’ve been providing our services to the Chesapeake Bay for over 35 years and know how to properly handle your vessel with care.