Ilmor - 380 HP MV8 6.0L with One Drive (on Formula 310 BR)

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Captain's Report

Ilmor 380 HP MV8 6.0L with One Drive engine

Ilmor 380-hp MV8 6.0L


Ilmor 380 HP MV8 6.0L with One Drive plenum
Ilmor uses a cast-aluminum air-intake plenum designed to resemble those used on supercharged racing engines. While the look is striking, the MV8 6.0L is naturally aspirated.

Boaters who like a dose of racing heritage with their horsepower may want to learn more about Ilmor Engineering. The Roger Penske-owned company got its start building IndyCar race engines in the 1980s, partnering with GM Chevrolet, Mercedes and Honda, and later branching into NASCAR and ARCA. The company waded into the fray with marine racing engines in 2002 with the “SuperCat” Offshore Racing Series of the American Power Boat Association, and established a division to serve that segment in 2004. Ilmor began producing MV8 recreational marine engines in 2010.


Ilmor MV8 6.0L Specifications



    Displacement: 5.98 liters


    Power Rating: 380-hp (283 kW @ 5200 RPM)


    Peak torque: 401 ft.-lbs. @ 4400 RPM



Cool Running


Multiple closed cooling systems use glycol-based coolant and heat exchangers to take heat away from components such as the exhaust manifolds and steering system, keeping everything operating within temperature tolerances for optimum performance and durability. Hoses for the system are molded in the shapes they need to be for the system, rather than using a standard hose that is ungainly to bend. This procedure helps ensure proper seating on nipples without creating stress points, and also allows the hoses to mount more closely to the block to keep them out of the way.


Ilmor 380 HP MV8 6.0L with One Drive cooling system
A glycol-based cooling system keeps engine components running at optimal temperatures.


Ilmor 380 HP MV8 6.0L with One Drive bends
These bends, indicated by yellow arrows, are molded into this cooling hose, another way Ilmor helps ensure durability.

Exhaust Intelligence


The hard-anodized exhaust manifold is glycol-cooled to help prevent corrosion in the upper section. Additionally, Ilmor uses a clever design in the lower pipe, which is the only section of the exhaust manifold that is raw-water cooled: It is a separate casting mounted to the manifold with a cuff clamp, allowing for an easier (and likely much less expensive) change of that part if it should suffer corrosion. This section of the exhaust manifold is vertical which allows raw water to drain out after every use.


Ilmor 380 HP MV8 6.0L with One Drive manifold
On either side of the Ilmor MV8 engine is an exhaust manifold that is cast in two parts, so the lower pipe (indicated by yellow arrow), which is raw-water cooled, drains when the engine is off, and can be replaced easily.

Simplified Maintenance


Ilmor makes the more common maintenance tasks easier, too. The engines have a recommended oil-service interval of 75 hours with a 150-hour interval for the sterndrive unit (or once annually). All service points are located on the top of the engine for easy access, and the oil filter is prominently placed within its courtesy tray.


Ilmor 380 HP MV8 6.0L with One Drive maintenance
Maintenance and inspection points are all designed for ease of access on the Ilmor MV8 6.0L, shown here installed on the Formula 310 Bowrider.

One Drive


The One Drive is a sterndrive unit that looks a little larger than most, but for all the right reasons. For one thing, the lower unit was initially engineered by Yanmar to be coupled with high-torque diesel engines. The One Drive is fitted with forged gears for added durability and less wear-and-tear.


Ilmor 380 HP MV8 6.0L with One Drive diesels
The One Drive was initially designed to link up with diesels, so it is a robust system for engines that produce substantial torque and operate in rugged offshore conditions.

One Drive Features



  • The entire housing is bigger because it contains the hydraulic transmission within the upper unit, which makes shifting in and out of gear incredibly smooth and quiet.

  • An electro-magnetic actuated clutch that’s quick and smooth, eliminating the clunk of cone clutches used by other sterndrive systems.

  • Larger water pickup and exhaust for better water flow and less engine backpressure.

  • Ilmor can wrap the upper housing of the One Drive to match the theme and graphics of the boat’s paint job.

  • The Ilmor One Touch joystick system is designed to simplify the use of the One Drive propulsion system in close-quarters maneuvering around the dock.

  • The Ilmor MERLIN Digital Dashboard is a touchscreen on the helm that allows the user to access information about the engine system and even download data that may help service professionals schedule maintenance and head off problems.


Ilmor 380 HP MV8 6.0L with One Drive
Larger water intakes, contrarotating propellers and larger diameter exhaust all mean better performance for the Ilmor One Drive.

One Drive Design and Build Details


Each drive is outfitted with precision forged gears for durability, contrarotating propellers for superior acceleration and directional stability, and large rudder dimensions for enhanced handling on single and twin engine boats. The One Drive transom has a significantly larger exhaust output than comparable systems, minimizing backpressure for improved engine performance. The system is also equipped with the latest in active and passive corrosion protection, and is complete with power assisted steering and hydraulic trim.


Ilmor One Drive Specifications



    Maximum Input Speed: 6000 RPM


    Gear Ratios: 1.78 / 1.97 / 2.18


    Steering Angle: 30-degrees (to either side)


    Tilt Angle: 51-degrees (industry standard = 37-degrees)


    Trim Zone: –6-degrees to 10-degrees


    Propeller System: Contrarotating twin propellers


    Propeller Range: 22 / 24 / 26 / 28 inches


    Propeller Input: Counter clockwise


    Front Propeller Rotation: Counter clockwise


    Rear Propeller Rotation: Clockwise


    Clutch System: Hydraulic multi-friction plate


    Shift Control System: Electro-magnetic


    Power Steering System: Mechanical cable with hydraulic power assist (single engine installation)


    Trim / Tilt System: Hydraulic


    Exhaust System: Integral through hub


    Water Pick-up System: Integral through drive


    Anti-Corrosion System: Hard anodized and electronic active control


    Weight: 253 lbs. (with fluids)



Ilmor 380 HP MV8 6.0L with One Drive exhaust port
The Ilmor One Drive has a larger through-transom exhaust port, vented here in the hub of the aft propeller.

Quiet Operation


In the twin engine configuration on the 310 Bowrider, the One Drive engages and disengages gears at two shifts per second, thanks to the hydraulic clutch that’s actuated electromagnetically. And because the transmissions are in the sterndrive unit, outboard of the transom, the whole setup runs quieter. The smooth shifting is especially helpful when a twin One Drive installation is used with the One Touch joystick system, which results in the system’s two sterndrives shifting in and out of gear quickly to deliver thrust in conjunction with the boater’s control. And, there is no clunk.


Ilmor One Touch Joystick System


For twin-engine installations of One Drive systems, Ilmor offers the optional One Touch joystick system. The joystick offers easy proportional control and the quick, quiet shifting delivers reliable low-speed maneuvering with the power and torque of the MV8 6.0L engines backing it up. The One Touch allows the boater to rotate the boat 360° within a boat length, as well as crab the boat sideways and diagonally.


Instant Joystick Response. While it actually has nothing to do with the joystick itself, it is when maneuvering the boat in tight situations with a strong current running that most operators need instant response from the propulsion system to joystick commands. Unfortunately, in drives that use a cone clutch, the gears must first be moved to neutral and then to the opposite gear before being engaged to follow the joystick’s command. This is this joystick/cone clutch “two-step” – and the clunk. Ilmor’s joystick and One Drive system shifts at two times per second, for virtually no delay between joystick demand and drive response.


Ilmor 380 HP MV8 6.0L with One Drive helm
The Ilmor One Touch joystick and MERLIN Digital Dashboard are handy to the helm.

The Ilmor MERLIN Digital Dashboard Display


The MERLIN Digital Dashboard engine display shows a variety of engine data and can be equipped with autopilot compatibility. It’s a CAN-based touchscreen instrument panel that comes standard with One Touch joystick systems. Engine data can be rendered in analog gauge format, digital text, or even in a graphical treatment that shows the force vectors applied to the hull – including where the power is coming from – when the joystick is manipulated.


User Friendly. Directional and force-vector graphics are a first for Ilmor and are not available on other digital systems. The control buttons on the frame of the screen let the user change settings when conditions are too rough for effective touchscreen use.


Ilmor 380 HP MV8 6.0L with One Drive dashboard
The MERLIN Digital Dashboard touchscreen display can show analog gauges, as well as shift indicators.

As a standard feature, the MERLIN also logs data to help boaters understand how to use their boats better, including real-time fuel-burn measurement, a great tool to help boaters dial in efficiency. The system can even provide engine data to service providers, to help them diagnose any problems that could crop up, and aid in troubleshooting.


Ilmor 380 HP MV8 6.0L with One Drive display
An indicator display on the Ilmor MERLIN Digital Dashboard display indicates the force vector on the boat (red arrow at center) resulting from the engine propulsion. It just may make you a better boat driver.

Engine Installation


The Ilmor throttle-and-shift control binnacle lets the propulsion system be programmed to optimize performance for the boat on which it’s installed.


Engine Room. On the Formula 310 Bowrider where we got our first test of the Ilmor 380-hp MV8 6.0L with One Drive, the engine compartment is accessed from a switch at the helm that lifts the aft seats with a powered ram. Forward of the engines we find flip-down steps that allow easy access for daily checks and light maintenance, yet still offer access beneath. For more involved maintenance, the lift arm can be easily undone by removing a pin and the hatch can be opened fully.


Ilmor 380 HP MV8 6.0L with One Drive engine space
The Ilmor MV8 6.0L engines are accessible in the engine space of the Formula 310 Bowrider.


Ilmor 380 HP MV8 6.0L with One Drive racing heritage
Ilmor and Formula both have a racing heritage and the Formula 310 Bowrider captures the essence of both companies with impressive performance.


Ilmor 380 HP MV8 6.0L with One Drive cowl cover
Because Ilmor partners with Formula (and other builders), the sterndrive cowl cover can be customized to match the paint job of the boat. Here’s one example.

Observations


We are struck by Ilmor’s level of detail in this system, and the company’s familiarity with the needs of a boat owner. But isn’t that what we have come to expect from almost anything Roger Penske touches? (Penske is also an ardent boat owner.) This marine propulsion system seems to exemplify his corporate culture of excellence.


Ilmor’s strength is its engineering and its experience with high-performance engines and drive systems – and their vulnerabilities. Most of its components are outsourced to quality vendors, thus reducing Ilmor’s expense in building a comparatively few engines for the marine market. And, that is one of its strengths: It is not saddled with old technology that is the company’s legacy.


The selection of the Yanmar sterndrive transmission and lower unit is a prime example of this quality outsourcing. By utilizing this drive and integrating it into a larger Ilmor propulsion system with engine, joystick, and MERLIN diagnostics, Ilmor has been able to create an excellent system for more refined maneuvering and cruising – and we suspect it is better and far more affordable as a result.


Ilmor 380 HP MV8 6.0L with One Drive roger penske
Racing fans have watched Roger Penske in the pits at Indy and other venues monitoring and coaching his team of professionals for decades. Few people bet against his race cars.

Warranty. The system has a 5-year/500-hour limited warranty. This is putting Ilmor’s money on the table where it counts.


While the instant shifting, no clunk, MERLIN joystick vector graphics, cool-looking engines with its painted aluminum air intake, and its 380 horses, are all terrific features, we think that the system’s potential for reliability and high owner satisfaction is its most important attribute.