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Mercury Racing Builds OptiMax Diesel Outboard

Developed for the Department of Defense, Mercury Racing has created a 175-hp OptiMax direct-injected two-stroke outboard engine that runs on low-sulfur diesel fuel. The news was announced via a press release this morning from the Fond du Lac, Wis., company.

mercury optimaxdiesel1

Mercury Racing’s new OptiMax Diesel outboards are available with the 2:1 Fleet Master gearcase in both right-hand and left-hand rotation.

“A Navy ship crash in 1995, which resulted in an explosive gasoline fire, spawned a D.O.D. directive for all gasoline-powered engines and gasoline fuel tanks be removed from Naval ships by 2010,” said Tony Nahitchevansky, Mercury’s government accounts manager.

mercury optimaxdiesel2According to the release, the Department of Defense mandate called for the development of engines that run on fuels that improve ship safety by minimizing fire hazards, are more economical and efficient, and are readily available as “a single battle space fuel.” The 3.0-liter V-6 OptiMax Diesel outboard reportedly shares 95 percent of its components with the gasoline-powered counterpart. Only a few unique parts are necessary to produce it as a diesel outboard.

According to the release (download the product sheet PDF), features of the OptiMax Diesel include:

• Industry Exclusive Direct Fuel Injected—Spark Ignited Diesel: A two-stage, direct-injection system uses a small charge of compressed air to finely atomize the diesel fuel as it injects into the combustion chamber. Atomizing the fuel into a fine mist allows for ignition via spark to occur, while delivering enhanced high rpm running quality. A glow plug works in concert with the spark plug for improved cold weather starting and idle quality. An on-board Propulsion Control Module (PCM) microprocessor optimizes fuel and spark timing for improved running quality and performance throughout the engine’s operating range. SmartCraft Engine Guardian provides real-time, self-protection engine fault diagnostics and messaging.

• Race-Derived Powerhead: The advanced 3.0-liter powerhead, customized with a unique cylinder head designed specifically for combusting diesel fuel, is matched with high-performance cylinder liners for maximum horsepower and optimal engine running quality.

• Race-Inspired Graphics: OptiMax Diesel features stealthy, tone-on-tone graphics with the latest Mercury Racing word mark similar to those featured on the new Verado 400R consumer performance outboard models. Mercury Racing OptiMax Diesel outboards are available with a 25-inch (635 mm) center section and the 2:1 Fleet Master gearcase in both right-hand and left-hand rotation.

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