MerCruiser Stern Drive- By BoatTEST (60175 views) 9/23/2009 9:15:26 AM is asking its members to share their experiences with specific brands and models of stern drive systems as applied to specific boat brands and models. We always say that there is no test as good as the “test of time” and owner input can be invaluable to buyers of new or used boats. Since both Volvo Penta and MerCruiser use the same GM Vortec blocks the differences between these two brands lies in the “marinization” equipment added, its electronic monitoring and control devices, the performance of their lower units, the quality and alacrity of warranty settlements, pricing, and general customer service. (No dealers please, the forum is strictly for owners.) To take part in this important information sharing program.
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R. massaro 5/9/2015 1:17:45 PM
bad vibration in drive on a 396 mag 270slx

G. tate 11/17/2014 3:26:46 PM
my present 2002 29scr maxum with a 20p prop on a 6.2 mercruiser with 320hp has been repowered with a 383 with 350 hp. Do you think a 22 p prop would be better as the wot was at 5400 rpm?

S. c 7/30/2014 1:59:12 PM
IAC valve went causing fire that melted the surrounding wiring harness. Left us stranded in the middle of the lake. Seems like an issue many have had. Could have been dangerous. Should there be a recall procedure for these repeated dangerous issues?

L. stanfield 9/28/2013 5:34:12 PM
vibration in drive??????????

P. daniels 8/10/2013 8:50:44 AM
how much for a normal service of two inboard 5.0mpi plus outdrives at mercruiser dea;ler

J. CIRILLO 4/30/2012 8:10:59 PM
I am still having a ticking noise in my 2008 5.0 EFI Mercruiser even after both exhaust manifolds replaced

P. Gugliotta 11/1/2011 1:26:51 PM
I have a 2009 5.0 MPI installed in a 2009 Caravelle 217. I'm very pleased so far with one exception: This past summer the tempeture was in the upper 90's and the engine got vapor lock and had to be towed. I didn't know what it was at the time. The engine was still under warranty. I took it to the shop, the mechanic knew right away what happend based on my description. I looked on the internet and found that quite a few people had the same issue; some received support from Mercury. I called Mercury and almost got them to help me until they spoke to the mechanic and he told them he had good results by having his customers just use premium gas (the tech support had already told me that was bogus) but they used it as an excuse not to pay for an added on booster pump. The booster pump was the only fix available, the engine already has a check valve (that obviously didn't help). I paid for the booster pump addition and I started letting the engine run a few minutes now before I turn it off to get out and swim. I also use the blower for awhile to cool the engine compartment. So far all is well. Oh, and I am using premium fuel with Sta-bil added. I'm not wanting to take any chances with it happening again. Mercury needs to come up with a fix for this. Some of it was probably opperator error because I had been driving for about an hour and shut it off without giving it a chance to cool.

J. CIRILLO 10/13/2011 4:41:49 PM
I have a 2008 5.0 EFI Mercruiser. I had one exhaust manifold replaced at 40 hours and now at 100 hours I am having the other one replaced. I hope this eliminates the ticking noises I have heard almost since the day I first put the boat in.

D. Park 6/4/2011 10:05:38 AM
my drive lube resevoir alarm sounded, i added lube but alarm wont shut off. is there a float thats stuck? any suggestions?

D. Park 6/4/2011 10:03:17 AM

T. Howland 5/1/2011 12:02:40 PM
I have gear lube coming out of resevoir. Appears to be pressure back up. Is it safe to run the engine if I keep filling up the resevoir?

E. Palmer 12/28/2010 3:33:55 PM
I had a Four Wins H240 with DP Volvo and Ford powered 351 EFI. The boat ran great and no problems. 49.8 GPS speed with 1/2 tank fuel and two persons on board ( 400) lbs. I loved it and wishy that combination of power was still avail.

A. Flood 10/25/2010 3:04:48 PM
Hi I have a 2004 Mercruiser with an Alpha 1 leg and when I was flushing it out I noticed that water was coming out through the leg up near the transom. Can anybody tell me where the RAW water should exit through the leg?

K. Steiger 8/17/2010 8:09:21 PM

K. Benes 5/31/2010 10:55:07 PM
I have a 496 Bravo three in a 2008 formula 260. This year it appears to be using a lot more gear lube. The season is young and today after three hours of medium use, the alarm went off and I had to add a few ounces of lube.

K. lifavi 5/21/2010 10:52:18 PM
why did my gimble bering fail five times could there be a factory defect in the drive or transome sheild?

D. Jefferson 4/21/2010 7:55:27 AM
2007 Chaparral 276SSX. Mercruiser 496HO 425hp with closed cooling and captains call exhaust. Engine has been strong however problems early on with batteries supplying enough power. Now, having a hard time getting on plane with full throttle. Dealer says the plugs are fouled, need replacement. Wants $1250 for full service. I'll do on my own and hope that solves the issue.

G. McCrary 11/21/2009 8:10:39 AM
2001 Sea Ray 240 Sundeck 5.0 EFI Bravo III 201 hrs. Runs very smooth love how it tracks in the water. No major issues yet, “fingers crossed”. Have the lower unit pulled and aligned each year along with change raw water pumps, spark plugs all the goodies annually. Only wish the raw water pump was easier

B. Lahargoue 11/13/2009 9:28:30 AM
I have a 2004 Bayliner express cruiser with a 5.7 /Bravo III combo. The boat has been well maintained and has approx. 200 hours, much of that trolling. The engine has been perfect. As for the drive, I just suffered a coupler failure. The stock aluminum coupler is being replaced with the stainless steel upgrade. My dealer can't explain the early failure. $1600 repair. I'm not happy.

J. Crowe 11/11/2009 11:06:00 AM
searay br22o bravo three stern drive and 350 cu in engine. great drive except for lubricant usage/alarms

D. Albin 11/10/2009 2:08:53 PM
1993 Sea Ray 23 sundancer with Mercruiser GM 350 engine and Alpha 1 drive. Purchased 5 years ago and no major problems. Annoyances: shift cable needs to be installed properly and no kinks or else engine will stall when shifting. Overheat at idle caused by corroded thermostat housing. Engine appeared to be running too warm but this was due to new temp sensor which read about 15 degrees higher than the old one. Love this boat for now but next one will be outboard. Stern drive too many issues and vulnerabilities.

D. Albin 11/10/2009 2:02:37 PM
1993 Sea Ray 23 sundancer with Mercruiser GM 350 engine and Alpha 1 drive. Purchased 5 years ago and no major problems. Annoyances: shift cable needs to be installed properly and no kinks or else engine will stall when shifting. Overheat at idle caused by corroded thermostat housing. Engine appeared to be running too warm but this was due to new temp sensor which read about 15 degrees higher than the old one. Love this boat for now but next one will be outboard. Stern drive too many issues and vulnerabilities.

T. Fowler 11/10/2009 4:12:28 AM
1991 Tiara repowered in 2006 with 5.0 MPI's with alpha gen II, boat runs great no issues with engines, some with smart craft and Merc tech support is great!! Will seek Merc's out again.

A. Gayle 11/8/2009 10:16:01 PM
A. Gayle 2008 Crownline 19SS, MerCruiser 4.3L, 190HP, Alpha One stern drive. This is my first boat, and quite pleased with boat, motor and drive. I have had the boat 2 seasons now with 47 hrs operation with no problems or issues. Had my marine mechanic do a complete winterization at the end of last season and will also do the same this year. When I put the boat in the water for the first time this season it fired right up after a couple attempts and performed flawlessly all season.

M. Stroven 11/7/2009 5:52:25 PM
M. Stroven 2001 Chaparral 230 SSi, 5.7 EFI with Bravo III. 280 hrs, regular maintenance and no breakdowns to date. Love the performance and handling of drive and boat combination.

M. Michaud 11/7/2009 12:27:52 PM
2004 Sea Ray 225 Weekender, 5.0 MPI with Alpha 1, 30hrs fuel pump failed, replaced by dealer, 120 hours idle air motor failed. 250 hours exhuast riser cooling water gaskets at manifold replace due to leakage, 260 hrs now, no new issues.

J. Laule 11/6/2009 4:58:50 PM
1981 Sea Ray 255 Amberjack with over 1600 hours. single 454cid chevy engine powering the electric shift TRS Mercruiser outdrive. The engne was totally rebuilt at 1200 hrs. The drive is original. Regular maintenance and never a breakdown. Love the unit

R. Read 11/6/2009 2:25:48 PM
2007 South Bay 22 foot pontoon with Merc 350 mag 300hp Bravo 3 drive. No problems at all but I get regular maintenance done.

D. Smyth 11/6/2009 12:31:54 PM
1994 5.7 gen II alpha, no prob with drive except for cheap coatings, I need to sand it down & repaint, this has always been a freshwater boat! Hard starting, need to fix that.

K. Oakes 11/6/2009 12:17:18 PM
K. Oakes 1986 Mercruiser 260 w/ Alpha 1 drive. I haven't had any major problems outside of normal maintenance issues. Leaking exhaust bellows, impeller change out, complete tune up etc. Runs better than when I first bought it and very reliable.

R. Browning 11/6/2009 10:43:30 AM
R Browning. 2004 280 sundance twin 4.3 mp mercs alpha drives, both IAC valves changed, also trim sensors, otherwise excellent power package very reliable.

E. Plourde 11/6/2009 9:48:14 AM
E.Plourde- 2007 Discovery 246 5.7 Bravo 3, 100 hours. I love the set up, fast and maneuverable especially in reverse getting into the slip, no problems so far.

R. Trent 11/6/2009 8:43:16 AM
2006 6.2's w/BravoIII. Anodes almost gone after first 20 hr inspection & corrosion on drives. Dealer checked between water and boat and is within specs. Must sand and repaint drives to try and keep alive as long as possible. Mercruiser won't help but that doesn't come as a surprise does it?

R. Smith 11/6/2009 6:30:37 AM
Bought Mercruisers for many years (over 7 sets of drives and engines on several boats since 1995). Engines are great and hard to kill-- I averaged over 1100 hours before needing major service or replacements. the drives vary. Bravo 1 is great. I have 2 bravo 3's (bought in 2008)and they have leaked since day 1. Getting mercruiser to repair or replace them is like pulling teeth. My Formula 330 ss runs great but the leaking drives leave us uneasy during long trips. Too bad Merc does not service their customers like Formula does--it is all talk andno action with Merc. I love my Formulas . I will never buy any other boat other than Formula(due to quality and customer service). I have second thoughts about Merc though. To bad there is not more competition for them--it would make their service more customer oriented. For now it's buyer beware I guess. Off to buy lots of drive fluid for next season-- happy boating

T. Wright 11/5/2009 9:02:54 PM
07 Mariah 5.0 no issues with engine or drive at all. It has good low end pop and will do about 56 MPH on the speedo. I had a VP previously and had some corrosion issues with it after two years. I like the Merc better.

E. Nelson 11/5/2009 5:36:14 PM
2000 202 Crownline 5.0 EFI Bravo III. Engine pushes the boat a solid 55 with 4 of us in the boat. Engine is strong and economical as long as your not WOT. Have easily traveled 70 miles in a day and not burned over 20 gal of gas. I am currently having some fuel starting issues. I can start and stop the engine a hundred times, but if i run it a long time and stop and park for 30minutes to an hour. It doesnt want to start until the 12th or 15th time turning it over and then all the sudden it will spray two beautiful cones out of the injectors and everything is fine. I have replaced the fuel pump and it still does it if I run it all day. Email me if you have any suggestions. Over all I love the merc. engine and drive.

R. Anthony 11/5/2009 5:34:26 PM
70hrs and both B3s are corroded. No its not a hot marina. MERC S U C K S

J. Sandhofer 11/5/2009 5:07:26 PM
1999 Rinker 212 W/5.7L EFI Alpha gen II. Who knows how many hours no meter. But have only had one issue and that was vaporlocking taken care of by installing Service Bulletin. Have actually seen 41 MPH with 10 in boat. Normally can hit 54+ with me and a passenger.

D. Thomas 11/5/2009 1:49:51 PM
7.4L 330 HP Mercruisers Bravo II I/O's 1992 350 EB Sea Ray 600+/- hours Aligned and new bellows 100 hours ago. All fluids changed 30 hours ago. Super fast 35+mph for a 37'10" boat. Shift linkage a little too tight but working on that issue over the winter. Otherwise very pleased with this set-up Lage learning curve coming from past 10 boats being straight drives.

B. Mccarthy 11/5/2009 1:45:34 PM
R. McCarthy: 2007 Cobalt 250 with Merc 496 Magnum and Bravo III sterndrive. No problems at 113 hours. I love the control and power I get from the Bravo III.

R. Schultz 11/5/2009 1:44:39 PM
5.0l EFI on an Alpha One leg in a 1900 SR3. Needed to put on a High 5 prop to pull skiers. Carburated models blow the doors off my EFI out of the hole.

C. Flores 11/5/2009 9:29:59 AM
C. Flores I have two 6.2 Liter in my boat my question is why the paint use in those blocks engines is bad quality remember those parts is expose to the salt water all time and why in many case the engines converts in 6 months or less in a big rust problems you need to keep paint all time with other kind of paint better than the parts was received.

R. Mehne 11/5/2009 4:43:13 AM
2004 Baja 302 twin 496 with stern drive Bravo 1's. Water temp difference between engines were constant 15 degrees. Could not be explained by dealer and mechanic at purchase date. What I found (two years later) port engine begins to over heat now and only at high RPM's. What I discovered was corrosion formed in the port engine gimbal housing sea water pickup. This corrosion caused the plastic water pickup hose retainer to collapse in on itself restricting water flow inducing engine over heat fault. Removed all corrosion as best as possible. Next sealing the exposed area with a clear enamel in hopes to stand off further bouts of corrosion. Next replaced hose and retainer and back to original 15 degree temp separation between engines but, now not with a over heating engine - so far. Mercury cathode system maintained and checks good to this day. No rust or other corrosion found anywhere to this date. The only other notable issue it that I have had two IAC failures in 3 years (one on each engine).

R. sharpe 11/5/2009 1:08:04 AM
2006 Bayliner 325 w/5.0L twins..only problem is IAC went out in both engines within 2 days of each other. Part cost $110; could've been ugly if they went out together as at the time, didn't know how to bypass! Will continue to by Mercs.

C. Magory 11/5/2009 12:59:24 AM
I have a merc 454 with a bravo 1 drive they need better corrision protection I have a mercathoe system and it seems like the dealers don't have enough information on how check if the unit is working. Also the rust on the motor needs to be addressed so take care of the outdrive and also the motors parts and corrision on the motor itself

M. Boles 11/4/2009 11:49:16 PM
This power package is in a 2009 Chaparral 256SSX

M. Boles 11/4/2009 11:47:13 PM
I have a 2009 Mercruiser 8.1L 496ci 375Hp Bravo III out drive. So far I haven't had any problems out of mine. It shift's real quiet and smooth. The horsepower with the bravo3 is a good combination.

D. Stroud 11/4/2009 11:13:52 PM
2008 larson 228 lxi 350 mag bravo 1 300hp. works well for everything I have tried !!!

J. Davis 11/4/2009 10:53:26 PM
Two years ago I had a new 265 HP Mercruiser 5.0L MPI installed in my 1994 Sea Ray Sundancer 230 with Alpha drive. Love the power, performance, and smooth ride. However, I've had to replace three riser gaskets since the initial install. Twice on the right and once on the left. Pin hole breaks would develop and get bigger and bigger making a loud ticking noise until the engine sounds like it has a bad valve lifter. Don't know for sure if it's bad engine design or if I need to find a new shop for maintenance. Other than that, the engine and drive work great.

S. El Damaty 11/4/2009 10:07:30 PM
i used to be a boat dealer, and decided to quit this business due to the low integrity and reliability of stern drives, i kept comparing them to the much reliable outboars and inboards. the drive technology and engine block is ancient, and the problem is that both volvo and mercruiser share the same old generation engine blocks. we are 2009, and those guys are still using 1980s technology.

M. Catanese 11/4/2009 9:21:15 PM
2003 Larson 274 Cabrio w/ single 350 Mag & Bravo III. No problems with engine but I did have corrosion on the Bravo III (which I hear is common). Mercury replaced the drive even though I'm the 2nd owner. Mercruiser's website has been very good with answering questions by email. Customer service goes a long way.

E. De Bernardis 11/4/2009 8:59:53 PM
I have a 2008 Glastron GT 205 with a Mercruiser 5L 220HP and Alpha 1 Sterndrive. So far I am pleased. It takes the boat on plane in 3.5 secs. and goes up to 53 MPH. In case you have a problem (I didn't), Mercruiser can be fixed at any marina or service. I wouldn't go with any other brand that nobody knows how to fix.

J. Means 11/4/2009 8:41:17 PM
29' 2001 Maxum 2900 SCR w/a single 6.2L Bravo III. 38MPH, gets on plane slowly... more than 6 people on board requires many move forward! About as big of a boat I'd get w/a single engine, but for the most part I'm happy w/Merc.

G. Wortz 11/4/2009 8:32:40 PM
2005 Baja 245, w/375HP 8.1, Bravo1 drive. After 4 seasons not a problem. Pushes the boat to 67MPH with a mirage Plus 25. Mercury is the only way to go.

P. Moeschler 11/4/2009 8:14:28 PM
1998 searay w 7.4l B3. 200 hrs and no problems

J. Cooper 11/4/2009 8:09:01 PM
I have a 2003 Sea Ray 280DA with twin 5.0 litre MPI. With 268 hours, both IAC valves have been replaced. The Starboard transom developed water leak at the top swivel-very expensive. Thank goodness for Mercury warranty. I wouldn't own any other brand.

C. Ramirez 11/4/2009 8:05:52 PM
I have a 2003 8.1L 496 Merc with the Bravo III drive. In the first 3 years we had nothing but problems. Went through 3 starters, overheating issues and horrible corrosion. Drive had to be replaced in 2006 because of corrosion. Would never buy another bravo III again and would hesitate at other mercrusier power.

D. Northc 11/4/2009 7:36:34 PM
D. Northcutt 1999 5.7L 260hp EFI Bravo III drive. With scheduled maintence this combo has been great! The docking monuverability, hole shot,fuel econ, and top in at 42 mph with a 27ft 6in Rinker Cruiser. We love it and have taken many trips via ICW Lake Charles, La to Galveston and Kemah Tx. Avg. MPG 2.2 to 2.8.

D. Marek 11/4/2009 7:34:35 PM
Purchased new, and has worked perfectly right out of the box. It is a 2009 5.0 MPI/Bravo III with the new shifters. Love the easy shfts. Three point drain for winterizing is a great feature, though some drain points are difficult to reach on starboard side. Overall, a great package and no issues this year.

J. Mann 11/4/2009 7:25:35 PM
2001 496 HO merc in a crownline LPX - 370 hrs and still as pure and powerful as the day it was born!

S. Desteoglu 11/4/2009 7:20:32 PM
2004 245 bayliner 5.0 l no ploblems with the engine at all but alpha 1 paint is just pitting away in fresh water. only complaint is boat is under powered way under power {thats bayliner for you}

R. Terrell 11/4/2009 5:51:24 PM
I have a 1998 Mercruiser 5.7L 260hp EFI Alpha 1 stern drive. It has 375hrs. on it and my only complaint is the shift linkage is very slack and it clunks a lot when shifting. So far so good.

D. Orris 11/4/2009 5:31:01 PM
I have had my first sterndrive since 2004. I have a 5 liter mercruiser with the Alpha 1 drive. It has run very well and seems to be nicely matched to my 3000 lb Glastron. I it rated at 220 hp and gets the boat out of the hole very quickly. so far, no problems. My wife and I like how we can actually have a conversation while we are cruising down the lake.

R. Matthews 11/4/2009 5:28:58 PM
I have twin 4.3 L Mercrusiers w/190HP each (carb, not injected)- My boat is a Maxum SCR2700. Whenever I have any major work done, the engines (or engine) is pulled because there is not enough space in the room/compartment to work. That is a very expensive issue.

D. Gimpert 11/4/2009 5:04:33 PM
This is my second new boat with the 496 MAG HO engine from MerCruiser with the Bravo X. The engine provides a good power package for the investment. I have had one warranty issue on the newest boat that was taken care of by Mercruiser without any problems; the fuel pump module failed. This was caused by an air leak in the boat fuel supply system that has not been warranteed by Advantage Boats. So Mercruiser went the extra mile to make up for the boat manufacturer. My only complaint with the system is the need to run gas without added alcohol (if possible). Mercruiser needs to make the fuel system a little more bullet proof. I also preferred the spin-on fuel filter of my first 496 engine. The new filter is part of the fuel module.

R. Radtke 11/4/2009 5:02:58 PM
I have the 496--425 H.P. twin Merc Cruiser's Great performance. Now problems

R. Radtke 11/4/2009 5:02:58 PM
I have the 496--425 H.P. twin Merc Cruiser's Great performance. Now problems

J. Giorno 11/4/2009 4:53:06 PM
J.Giorno completley satisfied with my Merc I have 6.3 (377 horse runs great no leaks, bravo III out drive and plenty fast.

G. Kneeshaw 11/4/2009 4:39:32 PM
Mine is a 246 JC Tritoon 5.0 MPI with 260HP and the Alpha Drive and stainless prop. My only issue in over 5 years was noticed early on. The outdrive got to hot, boiled water on the top and was starting to build up hard water scale(only fresh water usage). I purchased a Shimrik outdrive shower and installed it in about ten minutes. Problem solved, the cooler is the exact remedy needed.

R. Cox 11/4/2009 4:32:12 PM
R. COX I own a 1989 Wellcraft with a 5.7L Mercruiser. The engine runs fine and is a pleasure, until tune-up time comes along. The spark plugs are near impossible to get at (unless your arms are made of rubber), and the oil filter is almost as difficult. The Alpha 1 is almost impossible to shift gears unless the engine is turning 500 RPM's or lower. I had one about 35 years ago, and nothing has changed. Same problem ! My next one will be another outboard.

K. Leake 11/4/2009 4:11:52 PM
97 Rinker 182 with 4.3L Alpha I. First boat, no major issues, but a few minor. Run on is terrible unless running 91 octane. oil sending switch quit leaving us stranded when it shut off the fuel pump. It does have a u-joint noise when turned almost full left or right, but I'm not sure how normal that is. Previous owner said the u-joints and drive system had been serviced before we bought it. Overall, the engine and drive have performed very well, and I expect a few minor things on a 12 year old boat.

S. Korpon 11/4/2009 4:10:37 PM
I have a 1989 Larson with a 3.7L MerCruiser Alpha 1 (4 cyl. fresh water cooled). Replaced the heat exchanger after 18 yrs. This year (20th) it needed a carb rebuild and exhaust manifold replacement. One recent problem involved finding water in drive unit but it turned out that the water pressure in my domestic supply was too high and forced water past water pump seals during flushing. A $5 pressure reducer on the hose solved that problem. Only other problem in 20 yrs. was a shift linkage that slipped off leaving me in neutral - a quick fix. Other than that, I have nothing but good things to say about my MerCruiser

K. Leake 11/4/2009 4:07:17 PM
97 Rinker 182 with 4.3L Alpha I. First boat, no major issues, but a few minor. Run on is terrible unless running 91 octane. oil sending switch quit leaving us stranded when it shut off the fuel pump. It does have a u-joint noise when turned almost full left or right, but I'm not sure how normal that is. Previous owner said the u-joints and drive system had been serviced before we bought it. Overall, the engine and drive have performed very well, and I expect a few minor things on a 12 year old boat.

J. Gardner 11/4/2009 3:59:50 PM
J Gardner. Had a SeaRay with Bravo3 and couldn't keep paint on outdrive. had to double up on controller to keep out drive from rotting away. The onl good idea about the whole outdrive is how it was set up to drain the oil.Noisey and hard to shift.Volvo from now on.

C. Jones 11/4/2009 3:59:31 PM
C. Jones I own a Formula 310 BR with twin 377 Mags they only have 96 hours on the but I have not had any problems. The boat before this one was a Crownline 240EX with a 300 Mag it had approximately 220 hours and had 0 problems. Both boat were used in the Gulf of Mexico the Formula has SEA CORE motors.

N. Ernst 11/4/2009 3:46:08 PM
'05 Crownline 220 EX, 350 Mag MPI, Bravo 3, about 275 hours on it. We haven't had one issue with our boat/engine/drive. We started to get stuck in the kelp once. The boat wouldn't go forward much...sounded like gears were stripping or something. I then put it in reverse under power, then went forward again and it cleared the kelp. No issues developed with the drive, all is well. I assume there must be a "slip" sort of drive function for cases like this. No complaints at all! I've done regular maintenance on it, change the oil each season, that's it.

R. Bakker 11/4/2009 3:41:20 PM
New Bayliner 28.5 with Mag 350 MPI ( 300 HP ) I had a electronic problem , engine stopped suddenly without reason , ater a warning signal. Problem solved by dealer with help of Mercruiser ( new electronic component ) repaired under garanty ) Robert Bakker Almere The Netherlands

K. Hylton 11/4/2009 3:28:28 PM
'06 Crownline 250 CR with MAG 350 MPI (300 HP)- lost most of 2nd year to elec. problem (not power pkg related) that was either bad batteries (installed by dealer) or bad selector switch (replaced all and no problems since). Moved to NC after buying boat in NY. Nearest Crownline dealer was over 4 hours away in NC so had to troubleshoot warranty issues over phone. Took forever then Crownline went into limp mode & that added more downtime. Back in NY now and very satisfied with boat and power.

J. Bergstrom 11/4/2009 3:24:11 PM
2004 Baja 245 w/ 496 mag and 145hrs. All regular maintenance on engine and drive. I replace the impellar every 50hrs as preventive maintenance, usually when I get the drive service done. Great engine, very happy. I also recommend Rex Marines dual pick up drive shower. No more hard water stains on the drive and cool to the touch after long runs at 3300rpm. I trailer the boat all over WI and wipe it down after every trip. Bottom line, drive the boat within it's limits (easy on the W.O.T.) and do regular maintenance and you'll get over +500 hrs of boating easy.

T. Pettigrew 11/4/2009 3:05:08 PM
2003 Striper 2600 with 5.7 MPI Horizon and Bravo III with 200 hours. Lost the impeller at about 120 hours and given the location of the water pump underneath the engine, resulted in a $600 repair bill. Leaking shifter cables has caused some water to leak into the gimble housing causing some rust and hard gaskets -- caught early before major damage but will result in a large repair bill this week. For the weight and size, engine is a pig on fuel (about 1.5 MPG) and maintenance has been very expensive. New zincs every 4-6 months and some corrosion evident on the drive housing.

A. Messer 11/4/2009 3:05:04 PM
1997 Cobalt 252 with 502 mercruiser - Outside of standard maintenance, I haven't had any repairs. the 502 is strong and dependable.

K. Kukas 11/4/2009 2:58:34 PM
Glastron GS 259 with 5.0 Mercruiser MPI 260 HP Alpha. 2007, in salt water 40 days only this year, no problems. CROATIA, Europe

M. Hoople 11/4/2009 2:57:12 PM
Boat 1 2009 Rinker 360 Hardtop with twin 350 DTS Mags Bravo 3 with 68 hours and only one problem with starboard drive trim indicator-the seal was compromized and repaired quickly by Barrett's in Spring Lake. Boat 2 4.3 carb alpha drive on our 2006 Rinker 192 openbow; at five hours the power steering pump gave out and we were towed back by a FANTASTIC boater passing by. Barrett's again fixed it in one day with no hassle and has been perfect since with no other reported problems. Boat 3 our 2000 Rinker 242 fiesta vee with a 5.0L efi Bravo 3 with 450 hours. The steering calbe needs to be replaced and earlier this fall we replaced the therostat gasket-$45 repair and other wise very happy going black(Mercury) with every boat-all seven Rinker's to date and with Mercury's support we will again without a doubt! Thank you Rinker ,Premier Motorsports and Mercury from our family to yours!!!

T. Heyer 11/4/2009 2:41:02 PM
T.Heyer 1989 Thompson Cutlass 180, 3.0 Liter Mercruiser 135 HP. Boat and Engine have been flawless. The engine and outdrive both have 800 hours. Oil changed in engine and drive every 50 hours. Normal (maintenance) tune ups, bellows boots, and impeller have been changed over the past 21 years. Engine doesn't burn a drop of oil. Were the original owners and the boat performs like the day it was bought. The boat runs at about 45 mph W.O.T with a 21 pitch prop.

J. Probala 11/4/2009 2:37:32 PM
I took my used premium brand 1997 boat 28' long with twin Mercury V-6's with B-3 outdrives. I had them install a new expensive shifter and all new shifter cables. Then we started to work on the outdrives to get them to shift. We bought update kits from Mercury twice to try to get them to shift. Finally they were acceptable, not excellant! Then the marina said they had learned of another update from Mercury for the shifters. Mercury is still trying to get 1997 B-3's to shift!!!!!!! I then declined the latest modifications.

T. Williams 11/4/2009 2:37:24 PM
2003 Rinker 312 w/twin 5.0 Mercruiser MPI 260 HP Bravo III. Leaking out drives during the initial season. At the beginning of the second year, Mercury replaced the lower section of the drives which included two additional zincs per drive. Shifting linkage was very stiff from the beginning. Told by the dealer it would losen up. Never did. Had my local service marina replace the cables with a different cable system in the fall of 2008. The new cables are far superior to the originals.

J. Hill 11/4/2009 2:33:18 PM
1996 trophy 2352, repowered in 2007 with 350 MAG MPI Alpha. Problems with both water sensor and fluctuating trim sensor. Thankfully has not put the boat into limp mode.

G. Kauzlarich 11/4/2009 2:23:15 PM
G. Kauzlarich - Sarasota FL 2004 Cruisers Yachts 370 Express w/Gas 8.1 /370 HP Mercs. Bought w/ 167 hours and all service records from Galati in St. Pete's FL. Now has 518 hours and I'm a stickler for maintenance. Other than scheduled filters/impellers/plugs/Merc Semi Synthetic oil changes every 50 hours,etc, I seem to be having excess problems. Warranty replacement of aluminum manifolds in 6/06 ($2,475 of which $300 was out of pocket); 5/08 Starboard Heat Exchanger failed ($1,054); 1st Raw Water Pressure Sensor Failure "RWPS" 7/08 ($453); 2nd RWPS 6/09 ($287 after MC paid for parts); 3rd RWPS 9/09 (Galati paid for all); After 6/09 RWPS failure, Smart Craft gages indicated PITO Error Code. Boat DOES NOT HAVE PITO UNIT, cost $247 to eliminate; 4/09 Port Starter Solenoid failed ($171); now Starboard appears to be failing - have not yet replaced; 6/09 IAC Valve failure on Port ($107); Strong "Dripless" seals are leaking, evaluating replacing with PSS Shaft Seals. But what really chaffs my butt in the fuel burn. Cruisers indicates I should burn 28 GPH @ 27 MPH, yet I've NEVER COME CLOSE TO THAT. Routinely we burn 34 GPH at 27 MPH - a 21% GREATER BURN RATE THEN INDICATED. I replaced both props and had them prop scanned along with new bottom paint before last trip to Key West, where we STILL BURNED 33.5 GPH @ 27 MPH!! Yikes! I'm very disappointed with the excess fuel burn, never mind the RWPS repeated failures. And Galati mechanic says all my systems are 100%. Any suggestions to improve? Gino

J. White 11/4/2009 2:18:06 PM
2005 Chaparral 280 w/496 mercruiser, 375 HP Bravo III w/150 hours. Great performance with top end around 50 mph. Only issue to date, noticed that the gear lube was very low at end of season. Not sure where it is leaking yet? I change lube annually.

T. Kirkpatrick 11/4/2009 2:17:24 PM
2002 Sea Ray 220 Bow Rider with 6.2 MPI Mercruiser/Bravo III outdrive. I have not had my first problem with this setup. I love this little engine. My boat has adequate takeoff response for a 4500 lb boat and the 320 horsepower engine hits speeds close to 65 mph.

R. Becht 11/4/2009 2:09:28 PM
2003 Sea Ray 240 Sundancer w/5.0 Mercruiser MPI 260 HP Bravo III 380 hours. Power and take off appear to be adequet for this model. However, I thought my old 5.7 efi had better torque. I've hed serious corrision issues with the Bravo III plus I had to replace the coupler after only 350 hours. I also had to replace the IAC valve but this was covered under warrantee. I may seekl out other power options for my next purchase

K. Leake 11/4/2009 2:08:43 PM
97 Rinker 182 with 4.3L Alpha I. First boat, no major issues, but a few minor. Run on is terrible unless running 91 octane. oil sending switch quit leaving us stranded when it shut off the fuel pump. It does have a u-joint noise when turned almost full left or right, but I'm not sure how normal that is. Previous owner said the u-joints and drive system had been serviced before we bought it. Overall, the engine and drive have performed very well, and I expect a few minor things on a 12 year old boat.

J. Gooding 11/4/2009 2:04:10 PM
1994 Chaparral 1930, had a 5.0 L Mercruiser 190 HP until last year. It got to be too unreliable (block crack due to a winterizing mistake). Replaced it with a 5.0 MPI Mercruiser 260 HP, retaining the same outdrive. There was some concern on the part of the shop about gearing and possibly a need to change the prop pitch, but it has been fine overall. WOT is pushing the upper limit, but 50 - 55 knots in a 19 ft boat is really more than enough! I've been very happy with my Alpha I outdrive, and had no issues with shifting or leakage. One thing I noted from a post below: Shimming is a HUGE issue when have a motor or out drive replaced. That linkage can ruin one or both components of the power package

J. Brown 11/4/2009 2:03:11 PM
1999 Bayliner 3255 Avanti w/ twin 5.0 and Bravo 2 outdrives 360hours. No real complaints,good power to fuel economy and have had only a few minor issues such as needing to replace impellars every 50 to 100 hours. the starboard shifter linkage is a bit sticky and most likely will need to be replaced soon.

D. Foster 11/4/2009 2:02:47 PM
2008 Formula 34PC - twin 496MAG w/ Bravo3 Overall an extremely impressive power package. Pushing 50mph in the right conditions. However, we had a lube leak (both drives). Mercruiser claimed it was leaking out the prop shaft (at least that is what they did to gix it). So far, so good, but I find myself checking the level religously (and still needing to top off now and again!?). Of course when I first really noticed it (alarms going off, etc.) I was stuck in a rainstorm in a river. Nothing like getting drenched with the engine hatch up while the wife uses the one running engine to hold position in the river while I refill the lube monitor bottle. Good stuff... :(

J. Jackson 11/4/2009 1:42:02 PM
2007 Glastron 185 GXL w/4.3 MPI MerCruiser 220 hp Alpha 1 gen 2 drive, 74 hours. I have been impressed with the performance thus far with this combination. Great power and EFI is very much appreciated. Only issue is a the shifter linkage which was replaced under warranty. Just by comparison, I have found the Volvo's in the same boat to give off a lot more engine drone then the mercs.

M. Salome 11/4/2009 1:12:55 PM
1999 Maxum w/4.3L Alpha I gen 2, about 150 hrs on it. Sometimes tough to start when cold, but generally runs well. Consumes a little bit of gear lube. Watch the starter relays on these things...not carrying a spare could leave you stranded!

H. Doyle 10/1/2009 10:02:39 AM
With regard to D. Shack and my sensor comment, Im spoke to the owner of my marina and he said they replaced over 70 of them this summer. He said Merc needs to address the issue. Hopefully Mercs people read for real world input on their productline.

N. Bazzi 9/30/2009 6:04:08 AM
1992 Tropy 2352 WA. In 2007 i replaced the old 5.7L with a new 5.0L MPI Alpha One. i had few little problems during the first year: overheating (thermostatic valve blocked), water pressure (sensor), little transmission oil leakage, trim/tilt sensor signal not accurate. Now everything is working fine, but the big problem we all have in Italy is the cost of these engines. I paid "only" 14.700 € (installation included) thanks to "Mercruiser Repower Program", more or less 21.500 USD ..... the full price for this unit in Italy is quite double, it's a SHAME !!

J. HIGHSMITH 9/29/2009 9:19:11 PM
2004 Regal 2665, 200 salt H/trlr on 350 MAG/MPI/B3 bought new from local dealer, which cost 8% more than best distant deal but the PRIORITY service has more than made it worth it. Not losing the best 6 wks of boating season from preventable breakdown is worth $10k to us. ALL sterndrives, every season replace ALL anodes, oil, drive oil, grease splines, water pump every other, belt + any Merc exhaust risers/manifold every 3-4, bellows every 4-5, and lose wt and exercise more. Smartcraft monitor add on is great for digital accuracy. April 06 starter went bad, replaced next day (REASON FOR THAT!) and went boating the next day. Boat #9. DON'T BE CHEAP BOATING, EVERY LITTLE THING IS SAFETY RELATED!

A. reehal 9/28/2009 7:46:06 PM
135HP Alpha One on a Bayliner 175 - has worked flawlessly for 5 years despite several boating mis-haps: the only improvement suggestion I have is to replace the carburettor with electronic fuel injection.

D. Beer 9/24/2009 3:12:42 PM
My issue is with the inbuilt problem of corroding exhaust components that lead to engine destruction through leakage into the engine from failed manifold and risers. Surely this can be designed out like it has in most deisels. Other than that in three years from new, my 3.0L TKS has needed a new thermostat and the connection to the oil pressure switch that controls the TKS has to be hard wired as the terminals kept coording.

C. Malott 9/24/2009 2:36:11 PM
7.4L MPI & Bravo 1 in a 2000 Mariah Z250 Shabah. Engine Coupler went bad this year, which was the largest repair to date. Other repairs since I've owned it have been replacing the gear lube reservoir last year due to a stuck level sensor switch, (which caused issues with the warning system alarm), had to replace a dead fuel pump, and the typical 2 year impeller changes. Overall I'm happy with the engine and outdrive combo.

D. SHACK 9/24/2009 2:35:56 PM
I agree w/ H Doyle's comment about the water pressure sensor. Three hours of 2 beeps a minute cruising home to find out the sensor was the problem. I have spent too much time and money over bad sensors. I have added switches to the alarms to keep my wife from sinking the vessell.

K. Irlbacher 9/24/2009 2:09:44 PM
I have an 07 Rinker 246 cc with 350 mag B3. Runs well, handles excellent. Trim guage sensors are on the blink though. Wonder if their covered by warranty? Otherwise good package.

J. Musial 9/24/2009 12:40:31 PM
5.0 MPI Alfa One on a 2002 Caravelle 21 foot Interceptor Fish and Ski. 380 hours of trouble free running mostly cruising at 3500 rpms but also much idleing trough the channels of the Chain O'Lakes in Northern Illinois. J Musial

M. Reburn 9/24/2009 10:57:25 AM
5.0L MPI Alpha One on 1999 Regal 2100. Great motor, never an issue despite infrequent use. Quiet, fuel efficient. Had gear oil leak on Alpha one lower unit. Just bought Rinker 280 with 496 BIII. So far so good.

H. Doyle 9/24/2009 10:41:37 AM
I have been running a Merc Mag350 (300HP) fuel injected stern drive package on my 1993 26ft Rinker cruiser. It was a replacement package (with Bravo II) installed in 2006 and I cannot give enough praise to this engine and outdrive. (The original was a 260 Merc that ran strong for thousands of hours.) The new package gave the Rinker a second life and it feels like a new boat and now tops out at 35.3 Knots (GPS) with a new prop, full fuel, full water, 3 on board (and the cabin below filled with "stuff"! It is fun to watch the faces on the owners of much newer (or more prestigious) boats try to catch up after I pass them. With the SmartGauge system, monitoring fuel efficiency has been dramatically improved as well. Except for torque issues when docking, the Bravo II has performed flawlessly and is much less susceptible to corrosion than the Bravo III unit. Access to everything makes service and winterization a breeze. The only real complaint is that the sensor for the water pressure has been replaced twice each season. The orifice is too small, they cannot be cleaned out and they are much too sensitive for normal water conditions on the south shore of Long Island and NYC. I have had several false warnings and at one point the engine went into "limp home" mode just as I was entering under a treacherous bridge, with a strong tidal surge. Losing power at that moment could have caused a dangerous condition, but we were lucky that no other boats were passing through at the same time. MercCruiser needs to seriously address that issue.

K. Eason 9/24/2009 10:01:14 AM
Have had several Mercs over the years. Currenty have a Bayliner deckboat with a 4.2, V6, 190 mated to an Alpha drive, engine runs great no problems easy to work on and winterize. Alpha drive is a little weak, have had problems with gears and high use of fluid.

D. Jaremko 9/24/2009 9:46:20 AM
I have owned two boats with Mercs. No problems. The current engine 5.0 MPI is a workhorse. Always on when I want it and no problems in between. I am a fan.

M. Sperber 9/24/2009 8:25:16 AM
MAG 350 with 170 hours. Starting to have trouble with idle, going up and down in rpms and stalling, even when warmed up. Otherwise fine

A. Surjan 9/24/2009 7:58:49 AM
A.Surjan 5.7w/B3. 1600 hours, no problems and still perfect factory spec compression. Change your oil-both engine and drive before manual calls for it. Also, check it before you turn the key. Engine coupler was aluminum from factory. Once changed over to steel, no problem there. Wish I had the new X drive. Shifting seems a lot smoother.

H. Ziegler 9/24/2009 2:50:15 AM
MAG 350 BIII (250 hrs), manifold sealing needed replacement last year - turned out to have been wrongly installed, this year shifting was affected; also a built in problem...

L. Dennis 9/24/2009 2:33:16 AM
Dennis Low, has twin 5.0 mpi,encountered gear oil leaking after 6 months, apparently the angle bracket cracked, otherwise have no other problems

M. Koehle 9/24/2009 1:54:44 AM
M. Koehle Have a 2004 Searay with a 5.0 MPI Merc. No big problems, have a drip out of the drain system. Service says not worth changing it...

G. Procyshen 9/23/2009 11:59:44 PM
have a 2008 350mag with bravo 3 drive duoprop - works great but only 53 hrs and have added a few times gear lube and now have manifold leak ! hmmmmmm ???

C. Haebich 9/23/2009 11:10:25 PM
Had a Searay with 5.7 Alpha which was nice. Now a Cobalt with a 5.7 BIII which is much better. The oil and water drain system are great on both making winterizing easy. The BIII shifts much better than the Alpha. No complaints

C. Haebich 9/23/2009 11:10:09 PM
Had a Searay with 5.7 Alpha which was nice. Now a Cobalt with a 5.7 BIII which is much better. The oil and water drain system are great on both making winterizing easy. The BIII shifts much better than the Alpha. No complaints

B. Benton 9/23/2009 10:49:57 PM
I have a 2008 Formula 34PC with twin 496 Seacore motors. I have AXIUS also. I am thrilled to death with the motors. Never had a problem and this is my second season with now 120 hours. I never had to add a drop of oil. I was also just featured in the September issue of Motorboating Magazine (Buddy Benton).My issues are as follows. I think it's my last boat with outdrives because the props are to far under the swim platform making the boat dig before it planes, I need to use my trim tabs more than I should. It may sound weird but I also feel that there is too much mechanical stuff going on sitting in the water at all times, Too many parts to worry about and winterization costs more.My sweet spot for this 17,000 lb boat is 35 GPH at 25knots, not good. I would definetly move to diesel with IPS or ZEUS next boat. I also need to add gear lube more than I should.

C. Livaudais 9/23/2009 10:13:31 PM
Had a 350MPI/B3 for 2 years. Flawless, and loved the easy drainage system for winter running. With my current Volvo, no such drainage system exists. Once it's winterized, you're pretty much stuck waiting until Spring -- a pain since we get a number of warm winter days.

C. Sykes 9/23/2009 8:45:05 PM
I have a 2005 Regal 26665 with a 350 Mag MPI. I had a total engine failure exiting a lock due to fuel starvation. Turned out the fuel pump relay overheated in the connector and melted the plastic in the plug. Although these connectors are line changeable Mercury's fix acording to my dealer was to replace the wiring harness for $850. I managed to get the parts I needed from a california auto supply shop.

E. Adler 9/23/2009 8:12:14 PM
I hsve a pair of 2005 496 Mags. in a Formula 31pc. I run in salt water.So far I had a fuel pump failure in each engine, an alternator failure, an oil leak in an oil pressure sensor (oil all over the bilge), a heat exchanger leak, and a sensor failure in an outdrive.This is all in 200 hours of operation. Can't wait to see what happens next!

H. Hansen 9/23/2009 7:53:08 PM
Have a 2004 bravo III in brackish water of hudson rive NY, no corrosion no problems can't complain at all

M. Manitt 9/23/2009 7:45:01 PM
Owned 3 SeaRay's over the years, all with Mercs. Fresh water only, never had a problem with drives or engines. Own now a 260SD with 350 Mag and Bravo3, have 620 hrs. Replaced zincs once and oil change every 80-100 hrs. Runs as smooth as silk today.

P. Hertz 9/23/2009 6:59:21 PM
I own a 2005 FORMULA 37 PC WITH 496 with bravo 3s. At the end of the third season the outdrives were overheating. Both swashplates had corrosion that restricts the saltwater intakes. This requires that both engines have to be removed. 10,000 dollars later I still have no waranty that this will not happen again. Four other formulas had the exact same problem in the same amount of time. Mercruiser would do nothing. I also had paid for extended warranties on both engines. I will never own a Mercrusier product again. P. Hertz

J. griffith 9/23/2009 6:51:55 PM
Have a 1971 24' searay with twin 3.0L mercruiser.both distributor caps are made out of aluminum and failed in the first year.

N. Nicholson 9/23/2009 5:52:02 PM
N Nicholson Regal 2200 (2008)with Mercruiser 5.7 350 Mag and Bravo 3, Awsome performance and no problems to date (touch wood). Have heard a few reports about Volvo engines having to be replaced due to back wash, so opted for Mercruisera and have to say I am happy so far.

K. Milner 9/23/2009 5:42:16 PM
I have had numerous Bravo 1 outdrives and never had a problem. I've also owned numerous Alpha 1 outdrives and never had a problem. I have had the displeasure of seeing a Bravo 3 turn to Swiss cheese. I would never own a noisy pathetic B3 ever again. Give me a Volvo DP any day. And NEVER EVER OWN A MERC 6.2. The things eat serpentine beelts about every ten hours and have left friends stranded., The accessory brackets are out of alignment and MERC refuses to make it right. GARBAGE GARBAGE GARBAGE

N. Anderson 9/23/2009 5:37:40 PM
N. Anderson I have a new 5.0 with an oil leak from day one. Dealer has looked at it & thought it was from trim pump- I will say some place in the oil pan seals because it only leaks while the boat is moving & only a few oz in a 3-4 hr run. Back to dealer to check again.

J. Hill 9/23/2009 5:36:00 PM
1996 2352 Trophy repowered with a 350MAG MPI in 2007. Faulty trim gauges have always made the smartcraft useless, and get a 'LOST ENGINE COMMS' message from time time reseting the smartcraft logs. Local dealers can find no fault and there are no fault codes. The IAC failed and because it had some salt and oxidation on the surface was not covered by warranty. Apparently u r not meant to use the aroun salt water. Although i have had all mercs in the past the feedback i get is that volvo is now leaving them in the dust. J Hill

M. Wrocklage 9/23/2009 4:47:47 PM
Mark Wrocklage. 2007 Monterey 248LSC with 496 Mag/Bravo I. Purchased new in January of 2007. In July of 2009 with 118 hours the PCM went out. Called Mercruiser for any help since the boat was only 6 months out of warranty. They were not helpful at all. In fact the customer service rep. stated, "My associates and I don't feel we are in any position to offer you any good will." Furious! This was a $1,500 parts only repair on a 2 year old boat. I was told that these computers were bullet proof unless under water or hit by lightning, which neither of happened. I plan to have a root cause analysis done by the manufacturer of the computer so I can deal with Mercruiser a little more.

S. Benedict 9/23/2009 4:43:38 PM
342 Rinker with MC 350 Mags Brovo 3 drives. Although not many hours, only 125 hours over 4 seasons, there has been problems. First a power steering cable failed, making the return to port very difficult. Fortunately still under warranty. Later had fuel pump relay failures (2). First was painful, because the failure was on the power steering engine. Expensive repair on first failure, mostly labor finding the problem. The second failure was not as painful, because I now was aware of the symptoms, and had spare parts as well. Previous boat had VP Duo Props, with same GM 350 engine. Experience was much different, with 6 seasons of flawless performance.

B. Cameron 9/23/2009 4:40:54 PM
3rd year with a pair of 5.7 MPIs. Other than an impeller that went day #1 on start up and a wiring harness short, both start fast, run smooth from idle up to 3,450 RPM cruise speed and have performed to perfection. Added a fuel flow meter and that helps to get the motors in sync and after a few tests through the cruising RPM, found the ideal speed based on consumption.

S. Benedict 9/23/2009 4:31:12 PM
342 R

J. fitts 9/23/2009 4:13:03 PM
J. Fitts 5.0 Mercs in 290 Sea Ray 2001: Problem with water in port eng. not caused by any defect or recall type problem. Ins. co. replaced both eng. due to new eng. has more power than origional 2001 305's and would not match good rng.. Bravo 11 origional drives - no problems - bullet proof.

A. Bruce 9/23/2009 4:12:11 PM
2008 Searay 240 Sundancer w/260 mercury, on second outdrive, a week after outdrive replaced faulty relay prevented starting, regular low water pressure messages, previous boat had 250 hp volvo no problems in 6 years! Am I unlucky, emailed president of SeaRay about the problems, but no reply, but I still get SeaRay phoneing about customer service surveys.

L. Cappleman 9/23/2009 4:06:33 PM
2002 Regal 2950 LSC, single engine 496 Mag Bravo 3. Boat was idle for more than a year before I bought it and engine management computer had to be replaced, once I found a dealer that knew Mercury and not Volvo, we have had little trouble and engine and outdrive perform well Regal omitted smartcraft, that was a mistake, when engine management system shuts down, no way to tell where problem is, we have had low water pressure in heat exchanger twice and did not know the reason for shut down.

D. Corley 9/23/2009 4:04:45 PM
1989 SeaRay, Mercriser 5.7/Alpha One. 300 hours, mostly in salt. Never a problem, never let me down. Serviced annually. As far as service and repairs, if it's black it doesn't come back. Don't mess with perfection.

J. james 9/23/2009 3:33:05 PM
7.4l Bravo 1 on a 1997 Mariah Shabah Z222 with about 300 hours. Plenty of power. Easy to work on and find information on-line. Would like to see Mercruiser just put a copy of their manuals on-line for ease of use. No problem buying another Mercruiser.

T. Wilcox 9/23/2009 3:26:30 PM
T. Wilcox 2007 Chaparral 236SSX w/496mag Bravo3 drive. 125 hours and no problems. Obviously the whole shot and top end are awesome. It takes a 28 pitch propset to not redline the motor which took some time getting used too around the dock or in tight spaces.

J. Mcminn 9/23/2009 3:09:47 PM
2004 Cobalt 200 w/ MC 5.0L and Alpha drive. 175 hours with zero problems. Some noise engaging drive, but appears to be normal. Pleased with performance, efficiency & cost of ownership.

E. Vogt 9/23/2009 2:59:59 PM
E. Vogt 2006 Bayliner 265 w/350 MPI and Bravo III drive. This is our fourth season and have had no problems with the engine and stern drive. We like li ots of toys so fuled up and full of water we are pushing maybe 7,000 lbs. The boat runs great with my wife and I, if you add four more people, getting up on plane is a challenge. We changed props to 21 pitch when new and are running at 4,000 feet above sea level, so I am pleased with the power package performance. We cruse around 30 and top end is typically 40.

C. Jones 9/23/2009 2:48:48 PM
1999 SeaRay 230 Overnighter w Merc 5.7/ Alpha 1 drive. No service problems to date with this drive. powers and planes the boat beautifully. however, prop walk at low speeds is very annoying and whenever Im turning at speeds over 25 i wish i had a bravo 3.

R. Barron 9/23/2009 2:47:57 PM
T.Barron Purchased new in 2004, Chaparral 180SSi bowrider with MerCruiser 3.0 4 cylinder and Alpha I outdrive. 396 care-free reliable hours on the powertrain. I will choose MerCruiser power on my next boat.

M. Lems 9/23/2009 2:47:43 PM
2003 Glastron GS 209 w/Mercruiser 4.3 L Alpha, 190 hours. motor runs smoothly but the drive looses paint at the tail! We boat only in fresh water so a lack of durebility. we have to re-paint it every season.

E. Smith 9/23/2009 2:47:13 PM
2003 Ebbtide Deckboat 25 ft with Mercruiser 5.0 MPI with Alpha outdrive, 180 hours. Runs very well, no problems in 6 seasons other then an low level alarm that sounds once or twice a season for no apparent reason. Marina can find no fault codes and everything looks fine (pressure, temp. The 5.0 may be a little undersized for this boat when carrying alot of passengers (8-9)

S. Howe 9/23/2009 2:46:05 PM
S. Howe 1989 SeaRay Sundancer 268 with raw water cooled 454 Mercruiser and Bravo 1. 698 Hours on original engine and outdrive. I have owned for last 5 years with no problems. Replaced water pump, hoses, belts, manifolds, risers wires and distributor cap (plus yearly filters, thermostat and zincs), universal joint, gimball bearing and trim senders as preventative maintentance. Good oil pressure and temperature. Shifter is stiff - probably ready for new cables. Was a fresh water boat for 15 years and operated last 5 years in slighthly brackinsh water. Some pitting on the outdrive casing but nothing major. Eventually the salt will get to the engine but for now it runs reliably and smoothly. No breakdowns. I see much newer boats up on the hard with drives pulled out of the transom.

C. Vaillancourt 9/23/2009 2:36:51 PM
2007 Larson Sport 180 w/MerCruiser 4.3L and Alpha drive, 91 hours. Flawless operation until this year when we started experiencing stronger than usual vibration in turns or with high trim. Never hit bottom. Dealer suspects U-joints and engine alignment. We'll see. Also had a 4 inch by 2 inch area on the drive on which the paint just peeled off. Boat is kept outside the water on a boat lift on a freshwater lake so this is not attributable to corrosion. Will be repainted by the dealer. Unclear yet as to whether this is covered by the warranty. Other than that, we're generally satisfied overall.

F. Johnson 9/23/2009 2:34:05 PM
1980 #1 Drive formerly a Merc 260 now putting out 350HP. Boat is 21 foot day cruiser, drive has never been rebuilt (503 hours) but serviced regularly. Still operates and shifts perfectly. Maintenance as with anything is key.

W. Dolley 9/23/2009 2:28:07 PM
2007 Chaparral signature 310 powered with 5.0 mercruisers and Bravo III outdrives. No issues with the engines or outdrives to date. The engines provide plenty of power and the bravo III's make manuvering around tight slips a little easier.

R. Toepper 9/23/2009 2:22:58 PM
twin 8.1 liters with bravo threes in a 34 foot cruiser. 210 hours. No problems to date with the drives. Boat manufacturer mis geared the boat and it would not plane properly. after regearing and different props she planes quickly and gets to top speed of 45 mph. smooth shifting too.

C. Frock 9/23/2009 2:18:48 PM
Twin 2005 Mercruiser 496 MAGs with Bravo IIIs in a Formula 330 Sun Sport operated in Chesapeake Bay waters - with 300 hours on the starboard engine, only issue was a bad seawater pressure sensor--replaced under Formula's Formula Guard 5-year warranty at an authorized Merc service center (not a dealership) with no problem. At 200 hours, the port engine swallowed the head of a broken spark plug which destroyed enough of the cylinder and head to justify a complete engine replacement. Again, this was done under warranty ($15K job cost me only $425 in deductible and uncovered storage fees at the yard), and the shop commented on the warranty company's excellent customer service. One incorrect spark plug in the new engine was soon discovered and replaced, and she's been running great the past 100 hours. Otherwise, I've only had to address normal wear items (e.g. seawater pump impeller, fuel filter/water separater elements, etc.). I've had no trouble with the drives. They shift well, haven't used a drop of lube, look great. Granted, I keep the boat on a lift, but overall, I'd have a hard time complaining given how well these engines/drives perform--they push a 12,000+ lb. boat (loaded minus passengers) along at 32 kts. best cruise and 55 kts. WOT. Needless to say, I love my boat and am very satisfied with the Merc sterndrives.

A. Mcgillis 9/23/2009 2:11:43 PM
I have a 7 year old 4.3L Alpha. The engine runs-on (diesels) incessantly - sometimes 20 seconds after killing the ignition switch. We have tried lots from expensive gas, to idling before shut-down, to colder spark plugs and she still diesels. Starting to get a little sluggish too right off the line. Starts very easily though and good service at all the various marinas on the lake providing easy access to parts and labour. Mercury has not made me a lifer on their product, but I am not going to run to the competition yet either. On my next boat I'd say Merc and Volvo will go into the fight for my money pretty much even.

R. Mitchell 9/23/2009 2:11:04 PM
2004 Sea Ray 200 Select w/ 5.0 MPI, SmartCraft and Bravo III. Only problem has been blown exhaust manifold gaskets (twice). First time was on me, the next one was picked up by Mercury. Hasn't happened since (I have the manifolds re-tourqued at the start of each season). Dealer has updated engine software and it runs better than when it was new. No leaks of any kind. I do the maintainence and take care of the unit.

J. Sommerstorfer 9/23/2009 2:05:23 PM
I Have Twin 470 Mercruisers in my 31ft boat and they are great. Both engines have 500 hrs and all is well. And for the rest of you please do not confuse a product with getting screwed over buy your local dealers.

P. Broadwater 9/23/2009 2:02:31 PM
1994 350 Alpha 1 Gen 2. The dissimilar metal corrosion is a joke. Routine maintenance has been fine. After all this time and countless adjustments still shifts like crap.

R. Proffitt 9/23/2009 1:58:58 PM
2002 Mercruiser 305 (Carb) with Alpha drive- excellent fuel economy and have only replaced shift cable to sterndrive so far.

J. michalski 9/23/2009 1:58:18 PM
I have a 5.7 Mercruiser and a Bravo III outdrive. After 250 hours the engine coupler gave out. Replaced with a stainless steel version. Should have come from the factory with the heavier duty coupler.

M. Novelli 9/23/2009 1:56:26 PM
2004 5.7L with Alpha drive. Only one problem in 5 years. Blew an exhaust gasket in the 3rd year. Nothing else. Starts, runs, idles great. Smooth, quiet. Great mileage.

R. Proffitt 9/23/2009 1:49:53 PM
2002 Mercruiser 305 (Carb) with Alpha drive- excellent fuel economy and have only replaced shift cable to sterndrive so far.

P. Beane 9/23/2009 1:43:05 PM
2005 Crownline 225 BR with 8.1l and Bravo III. Love the fuel efficiency and performance. No problems except needed to tighen every hose clamp on engine.

J. Johnson 9/23/2009 1:38:11 PM
3 year old 4.3 with Alpha stern drive, about 160 hours in fresh water on a 21' Suntracker deckboat. uses a little more lube than I would like, but no problems so far.

G. Meyer 9/23/2009 1:32:27 PM
350 Bravo 3 400 hours not one problem to report G Meyer

D. Long 9/23/2009 1:31:14 PM
I have had both a Aplpha with the 5.7 at 260 HP, and now a Bravo III with the 502MAG, and have loved them both. Other boaters with the Volvo comment on how much better my gas mileage is, and how much more control I have around the dock with thge Bravo III. Also - Parts for Merc are much cheaper than Volvo in our area. In my opinion - Merc will always be one first choice. David

S. Sullivan 9/23/2009 1:25:31 PM
During April 2009 I purchased a Mercruiers Certified Pre-owned bravo III out drive for my 1999 Formula 31PC, with only 26 hours the gears broke appart due to impropper shimming during assembly. Mercruiser sent out a replacement but it would not even turn over due to improper shimming. Then they said they would send out an other replacement, but after not getting it a week I called back and they forgot to send it. On the third attempt they sent an unused old version of the Bravo III (After loosing all of August, and two weeks of vacation with not boat). Mid September they finally sent a new version (like the one I purchased in April). Hopefully this will work, but I will never buy Certified Pre-owned Again. Scott

R. Cramer 9/23/2009 1:25:03 PM

B. Baldwin 9/23/2009 1:21:40 PM
I have a Cobalt 226 with the MerCruiser 496 EFI Bravo III. Great set up. Out of the hole in no time. This set up is fuel efficient too...I figure about 7 gals/hour at cruising. My old 20 ft Seaswirl had a 350 MerCruiser Bravo I and got the same gls/hour. B. Baldwin

M. Shaffer 9/23/2009 1:05:22 PM
2005 Chaparral Sig 270 with twin 4.3 MPI's w/ Alpha drives and Mercathode no SmartCraft. Less than 100hrs on each. Port motor shift linkage has broken or stretched. Only goes in reverse. Chaparral only turned in one of my engine serial numbers to MerCruiser. Looks like I'm in for B.O.A.T. Any advice to handle this matter Cheers!