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Direct Fuel Injection or DFI is now at the marketplace. Spurred on by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations governing exhaust emissions, Mercury Marine has produced a clean burning, fuel efficient outboard engine design.

Present outboard engines are almost all two-stroke in design. These engines run on a mixture of gas and oil that is directed into the cylinders by a carburetor or fuel injectors. The problem with this type of system is that some of the fuel and oil mix is not completely burned. This is necessary as this unburned residue is what lubricates the moving parts of the engine. The problem that exists however is that some of this residue escapes with the exhaust gases and enters the water in which the engine is running. Visual proof of this is evident in the form of a blue cloud of smoke that always is produced by outboards, especially when they are running at slow speed or at idle. These exhaust gases pollute our environment. The EPA was keenly aware of this problem. Tough environmental and exhaust emission regulations were enacted which begin to take effect in 1998 and gradually increase in restrictions and standards through 2006. Mercury Marine has taken a giant step to not only meet these tough new standards but to aggressively go beyond with this new technology. Together with Australia’s Orbital Engine Corporation, Mercury Marine has developed a completely new line of DFI engines marketed under the trade name of OptiMax. These new engines currently meet and surpass the EPA standards for 2006. They offer exceptional performance and fuel economy in addition to being environmentally friendly.

This new design has been thoroughly tested for several years and commercially proven last season with introduction of their 3.0 liter V-6 DFI 200 horsepower outboard. My statement, "exceptional performance and fuel economy" is really understated. One can expect a savings of 80-percent less fuel burned at low speeds and 40-percent less at cruising speed. In addition there is virtually no smoke produced at any speed including at idle. The potential for fuel savings in the course of a season are enormous. How can this all be possible? Not without an incredible amount of research and development. In essence, an entirely new system was developed. I will briefly summarize what makes it work so well. The Mercury DFI system still utilizes the mechanically efficient two-stroke design. A compressor and fuel injector for each cylinder directs a high pressure fuel/air mixture into the combustion chamber. The heart of this system is a ECM (electronic control module) which monitors all the action, adjusting all vital engine functions and warning systems. Because fuel is precisely measured first, then injected as desired, maximum efficiency (99.9 percent of the fuel charge is burned) is achieved. An electronic multipoint lubrication system keeps everything running smoothly by monitoring and delivering oil directly to the cylinders for precise lubrication. This reduces oil consumption and exhaust emissions therefore NO SMOKE!

After successfully introducing this new concept in 1996, Mercury has fine tuned the product, adding to the engine’s performance, fuel efficiency and durability. No test is tougher than that given a product by the average consumer. Mercury has more than met the challenge in all respects. The 1998 OptiMax product line (available in July 1997) will include models in 135 and 150 horsepower (2.5 liter block) and 200 and 225 horsepower (3.0 liter block) with counter-rotation available for all models. Mercury Marine is dedicated to this technology and to a clean environment. In the near future, all models of 75 horsepower and higher will utilize DFI technology while all engines below 75 horsepower will be four-stroke in design. This innovation is one that must be considered by all boaters using outboard engines. The next time you repower, OptiMax is the way to go!

For more information on Mercury’s product line and OptiMax engines contact Mercury Marine at 1-800-MERCURY or visit their web site at <>.

Good Fishing and Boating, Capt. Al Lorenzetti Web Site: Al Lorenzetti 1997

Published in "The Fire Island Express" 1997


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