With the takeover of four cycle/four stroke outboards the use of top quality oil to lubricate and protect your engine is more important than ever.
Stern drive powered boats have used modified (gasoline or diesel automotive engines, gasoline engines being four cycle) since their inception. Stern drives dominated the family bowrider and recreational boating market for decades. With the introduction of four cycle outboards recreational boating power changed forever and many say, for the better. Stern drive power preference will continue for many but outboards are far outpacing stern drive sales for now.
As was learned with stern drive powered boats, the engine must have good lubrication to keep running efficiently and simply to keep running.
Any marine engine experiences the same operational stresses. Unlike the automotive application, marine engines never get to coast along the waterway. They always are pushing, even when at idle for trolling or slow cruising.
Over the decades, marine engine manufacturers have marketed what they felt were the best lubricants for their engines. That's great for the boater and in all honesty, self-serving for the manufacturer. Once an engine leaves the factory, the manufacturer really never wants to see it again. And, other than for periodic maintenance, the local dealer doesn?t want to see that engine back in their shop, in particular, for warranty work. Engine failure and possible warranty claims cost the dealer and engine manufacturer a lot of money.
Mercury Marine offers 4-stroke lubricants under their Mercury and Quicksilver brands while Yamaha has Yamalube, Bombardier (SeaDoo) has the XPS line and other engine manufacturers offer premium quality oils.
Each "marine grade" engine oil must pass National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) requirements. For two-cycle oils that now is TC-W3 (two-cycle, water-cooled, version #3). For the four-cycle engines the most recent update is FC-W Catalyst Compatible "FC-W" (Four Cycle, Water-cooled). Make sure to look for the NMMA "bug" on the bottle.
Those standards require:
Shear stability testing including High Temperature-High Shear tests
Outboard engine test to ensure overall performance, no scuffing, spalling, scoring or wear combined with reduced carbon deposits, varnish, sludge or other "distress".
Intended for all gasoline-powered marine applications.
Low phosphorus levels.
Filter plugging testing to ensure flow.
Your engine oil needs to lubricate and protect the engine from corrosion. It needs to be slippery yet be able to stick or adhere to the internal engine surfaces to help protect them from corrosion in our very water friendly environment.
Mercury Marine has offered premium 4-stroke engine oils under both the Quicksilver and Mercury brands since they introduced the MerCruiser Stern Drive. Those products have undergone improvements over time. As Mercury introduced their 4-stroke outboards they created both mineral based and synthetic lubricants to best provide necessary performance for those engines. At one time, Mercury offered up to six different 4-stroke engine oils, being marketed under both the Mercury and Quicksilver brand.
Now, after investing five years in development, Mercury has just formulated the two families of mineral base and synthetic blend into new 4-stroke engine oils to replace all previous lines. They offer a mineral and synthetic blend 4-stroke oil. The 10W-30 weight oil is mineral base and recommended for manual start and colder weather applications. The 25W-40 mineral base oil is for use in outboards or stern drives. They recommend using the 25W-40 synthetic blend for either outboards or stern drives.
Enjoy your summer of boating. Use the best products to protect your investment and your boating fun.