Crusader has no new engines to report but says it has developed an engine-synch and cruise-control system for all of its Captain's Choice gasoline powerplants.
Sync-N-Cruz is designed to enable boaters to align the rpm of their boat's twin gasoline inboards with the push of a button. That's right, no more throttle jockeying. (That's a long way from when one of our editors was a kid and his Dad had him looking into this Star Trek-like device, which had a glowing orange light that pulsed slowly and evenly when the engines were synched.) This setup also allows for single-throttle capability, much like the slave and master controls on single-lever electronic diesels. Just set one throttle as the master and it will control both engines. Keeping your vessel's powerplants in the sweet spot should help save a few fuel dollars. Sync-N-Cruz also has an rpm bump feature, which lets the helmsman adjust engine speed in 20-rpm increments.
The Sync-N-Cruz-capable Captain's Choice lineup, which is compatible with NMEA 2000 and J1939 and will be offered by many boatbuilders as standard equipment, includes the 275-hp 5.0 and 330-hp 5.7 HO multiport, fuel-injected powerplants for small- and medium-size cruising and fishing boats. These engines, like all the Captain's Choice engines, are based on the GM Vortec base block.
Moving up the horsepower range, the 6.0 HO MPI develops 375 hp at 5200 rpm. Crusader says that pound for pound, this multiport EFI engine is the strongest engine it has ever built. While having many features found on the 5.0 and 5.7 HO, including freshwater cooling, EFI, and an engine-management and fuel-control system, the 6.0 also has distributorless ignition. This coil-near-plug system has no points, rotor, condenser, or cap and utilizes platinum-tipped plugs for longer maintenance intervals.
Finally, at the top of the line, the 8.1 and 8.1 H0 MPI offer horsepower ratings of 385 at 4600 rpm and 425 at 5000 rpm, respectively. Features include a modular stainless steel water pump, heavy-duty engine-transmission oil cooler, forged-steel crankshaft, heavy-duty rods and pistons, four-bolt bearings, and a single serpentine belt system.
Mercury MerCruiser has no new gasoline inboards or stern drives, but it is offering a new anticorrosion system for its stern drives called SeaCore. It starts with hard anodizing all XK-360 aluminum alloy drive components. (Non-aluminum components are made of stainless steel.) The parts are said to actually undergo a molecular change during the anodizing process that makes them much more resistant to the corrosive effects of the saltwater environment. To further strengthen the anticorrosion properties, exposed areas are then painted using a proprietary process.
Closed-loop cooling protects the engine's internal components. The system keeps engine coolant encapsulated and flowing around the copper tubes that draw salt water from the drive, eliminating any chance of salt water working its way into to the engine.
SeaCore is currently available on Mercury MerCruiser engines ranging from the 220-hp 4.3 MPI to the 425-hp 496 MAG HO and is compatible with Bravo One, Two, and Three drives.
While the company reports no new engines for 2007, it says it will have new drives for current powerplants.
The SX and DPS drives replace earlier generation SX and DPS drives, are nearly 20 pounds lighter, and feature redesigned exhaust systems designed to reduce backpressure. Easier maintenance was also on the agenda for these drives. On both models you can remove the drive anode with the drive in the water, which should save boaters costly haul-outs and lost on-the-water time.
Other changes include an integrated power trim system that eases installation for builders and improved access to areas such as the gearshift. The issue of corrosion has been addressed with Volvo Penta's Active Corrosion Protection System (ACPS). The system, which supplements the fact that drives are an aluminum alloy containing copper and then finished with a 19-stage surface-treatment system, utilizes reference and active anodes placed on the transom no less than three inches below the waterline and wired to LED readouts at the helm. The reference anode detects electrical current in the water. This information is then delivered to a control unit onboard the vessel, and the active anode is then sent electrical current to counter the charge in the water. The active anode releases ions into the water, which helps reduce the potential for galvanic corrosion. The LEDs confirm that the system is working.
This article originally appeared in the January 2007 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.