Part 3: Exhaustive testing and evaluation.
By Capt. Ken Kreisler — June 2002
That 1,000-hp 1050 SCi stern drive package I looked at in the dyno room is another new development from Mercury Racing. "The engine is all new, from its 557-cubic-inch block to its SmartCraft monitoring and control system," Mackie says. (SmartCraft is Mercury's electronic monitoring system, linking power, controls, and internal and external sensors. Vital functions monitored include fuel flow, fuel used, rpm, water depth, trim angle, water pressure, range, and battery voltage. Fuel, water, and waste tank levels are also indicated.)
Most noticeable on the 1050 is a pair of Lysholm twin-screw superchargers. Combing multiport and throttle body fuel injection, the engine enjoys high output with a smooth idle and less chance of stalling out at low rpm. "The engine idles on eight multiport fuel injectors, with the four secondary throttle body injectors activating when the engine reaches 70 percent load," he says. Other features include an electronic boost bypass control valve, PCM 555 engine computer, eight independent ignition coils, dry-sump lubrication system, stainless steel head gaskets, cooling system with triple-stage pump, custom power steering pump reservoir, a high-output, 65-amp alternator, and seamless chrome headers with the kind of curves that just might make your wife or girlfriend a bit envious. "And the engine is hand-crafted in our four-cycle race shop. That means it's built by these guys and not machines," adds Craig.
Handmade engines are also the order of the day when it comes to the 500-hp 525 EFI. And on this line that means it's "Hammer-time," as in a one-name Mercury Racing tech. As Mackie and I stop to watch, he's putting the finishing touches on one of his engines. "Hammer here builds the 525 from the block up. It's all his. One man, one engine," says Mackie. "Custom Edelbrock aluminum cylinder heads, stainless steel headers, and longer exhaust runners, and that's just for starters," Hammer says, as he bundles up a wiring harness to the SmartCraft computer. A bare, freshly CNC-machined, 502-cid/8.2L block waits on a skid, along with its heavy-duty performance parts: forged crankshaft, machined 4340 steel rods and aluminum pistons, among others, just behind his work area. "Do you sign the head when you're done?" I ask Hammer. He smiles and finishes the harness.
Just before I leave, Mackie and I manage to view a prop pour at the foundry building as 3,000-degree molten stainless steel is cast, shaped, honed, and polished into a precision, handmade propeller at the rate of 525 per day. Like these cleaver and chopper props, many of these engines, parts, and accessories will eventually find their way not only to hard-core racers but to enthusiasts as well--but only after exhaustive testing and evaluation. And if it's not there yet, the engineers, tech personnel, and workforce at Mercury will keep testing until they get it just right.
This article originally appeared in the February 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.