Key West Fishing Reviews

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Mercury 150 4 stroke outboard motor
A Review By Capt. Steven Lamp

November10, 2012

Mercury 4 stroke 150As everyone knows, I love innovation, especially in the marine industry of outboard motors, more especially when it comes to the amazing things my friends at Mercury Marine have accomplished time and again throughout the years. Setting the bar over and over. The new Mercury 150 4 stroke outboard is no short step in the way of innovation for the outboard motor market and once again, the bar has been set.

Mercury 150 4 Stroke Outboard

The Mercury 150 4 stroke has not been in my market for years. Lately though I have been thinking back to the old days where we had 150 hp motors pushing 24 ft boats that were much heavier than they are now, so my interest in the new Mercury 150 4 stroke was peaked.

Working in this arena as long as I have I get to hear all the hopes and dreams of both professional and recreational boaters for a 4 stroke that is lighter, more spirited, more durable and more self serviceable. I really believe Mercury met all of these concerns head on with this motor

Since most of the reviews my readers will see on this product will be about the surface of this motor, I went to the root of this amazing outborad motors inception to learn more about this interesting platform from the beginning. Speaking with Steve Miller category manager at Mercury Marine also a veteran with the company who has worked on many product improvements, inceptions and designs in the past. I asked him a few questions and he told me what they "Mercury Marine" were targeting when they came out with this sexy little piece..

Steve, Thanks for taking my call.

(Steve Miller)
No sweat my brother... What can Mercury Do for you today?

(Capt. Steven)
Mercury 4 stroke 150As you know I have run the new Mercury 150 4 stroke outboard you guys (Mercury Marine) will be unveiling at the Miami International Boat Show. I was very impressed. Little motor on big boat and the little motor did not even care. I wanted to ask you some questions on root beginnings for this motor.

What was your main objective when you and the engineers at Mercury Marine went to task of making this motor?

(Steve Miller)
Well we wanted this motor to be the most versatile . . . Mercury's heritage performance and efficiency on anything from re-powering older boats not designed for the weight of heavier 4-Strokes to bass boats, flats boats, dual engine offshore, heavy international commercial work boats, and of course the ever-growing pontoon segment.

(Capt. Steven)
Wow, Re-power is a huge segment of the marine industry these days already and getting larger. Our economy sucks here in the US and people are looking to make the most out of the boats they have. A simple re-power with modern technology is a very inexpensive way to get more out of their investment, not only in the value of the boat but also in dollar per hour of operation and enjoyment. THATS HUGE! ..

Mercury 4 stroke 150From what I see this motor is an easy shot to re-power our boats. It uses old school throttle cables just like most motors that are already on our boats. The bolt holes line right up to the old ones and the key switch assembly is easy and affordable. Add that to our current analog set up and we are golden. OR>. spend a little extra and we can get the newest in Mercury gauges and benefit from them.

Thats very cool. See, most folks don't realize that Mercury is trying to keep it simple but at the same time moving ahead with ground breaking technology that anyone can apply to their boat, affordably. Good Stuff.

(Steve Miller)
By completely rethinking the motor we also achieved the smallest package size. Every single design element was weighed against the effect it would have on package size and weight. Ounces mattered

(Capt. Steven)
I was amazed.. When I was walking up to the boat here in Marathon Florida in the water at a marina, out side the obvious decal saying 150 on the back, I really thought it was the wrong one. Tucked into the transom of the 21 center console we tested it on it looked too small to be a 150. Nicely laid out and sexy too I might add. The closer I got to the boat I saw a very nice looking motor, well designed and slim. I immediately thought how easy it would be to put two of these super fuel efficient guys side by side to make a nice twin package.

Mercury 4 strokeI was also really impressed with the weight of the Mercury 150 4 stroke. At 455 lbs it is dramatically different than the past with the beastly 4 strokes and if I recall the old 150 2 stroke was 430lbs. so we are getting back to the old school and losing the stigma of 4 stroke being heavier. Thats very cool.

This motor will benefit many areas of boating here where I live. The flats boats, bay boats and twin offshore rigs will gain a whole new level of performance and efficiency. Very cool.

(Steve Miller)
This motor is also the easiest to maintain (for the do-it-yourselfers) engine layout and design provides ease of routine maintenance with the following points.

  1. Maintenance Reference Decal
  2. A maintenance free valve train.
  3. Easy Oil Changes
  4. No tools needed for fuel filter
  5. Color coded maintenance locations
  6. Flush system in the front of the motor
  7. Easy on and off cowling.

(Capt. Steven)
I had heard rumor about the easy DIY (Do It Yourself) maintenance on this motor. After seeing it in person and the obvious improvements of simplicity I thought to myself, how much easier could it be?

Mercury 150 4 strokeWhen I removed the cowling I was very impressed how the whole motor seemed to be dressed down for the sliding on of the cowling. Noting to snag or knock lose. Very cool feature and obvious that Mercury really put some thought into that. With the Engine oil drain tube right on the side of the mid section a person does not need to be a back yard mechanic to enjoy taking care of his motor.

In my world where each one of my Mercury Outboard Engines gets an oil change and filter once a month the improvements I see in this Mercury Outboard would cut considerable time out of the process. When I am talking to someone about maintaining their motors I stress how important it is to change the oil regularly. I feel as though in my fleet this has kept us from having engine failure with the gazillion hours we put on our motors.

The Maintenance Reference Decal is another huge innovation. You can use your smart phone to scan the decals QR code on an app that automatically downloads to your smart phone and this tells you all about your maintenance intervals. Very cool feature for a guy like me that tosses manuals in the round file.

Now.. all of that is really cool.. but... the service center is still the place you need to take your motor to check up on major things like water impellers on a seasonal basis or more depending on hours. There is no replacement for the service center for regular upkeep.

It is obvious to me that Mercury is not only making owning a boat easier but also more affordable with this kind of innovation.

Mercury 4 strokeI ended my call with Steve with him telling me to have a wonderful Mercury day.

All the things he and I talked about with this Mercury 140 4 stroke are great.. But, it still does not put the prop to the water. How does it run?

This Mercury 4 stroke 150 was mounted to a 21 ft Wellcraft Fisher center console. A family fun fishing boat and in my opinion (before I ran the boat) from the dock I thought it was grossly underpowered for my standards. The boats weight was 3600 lbs and about half full of its 100 gallon fuel capacity. In addition to that we also had myself and two other 250 lb guys in the boat for our sea trial. No easy task for your typical 4 stroke 150.

My notes on the sea trial.
Idle was smooth and quiet. no vibration to speak of and well behaved. shifting was straight up and easy with an old school throttle cable feel. Steering was done with conventional aftermarket hydraulic steering, the kind you would find in any boat. Easy docking and maneuvering with unwavering gear shifts, nice and solid feeling with confident propulsion around the dock.

I have to admit once again that this little motor did not look to be up to the task of handling this boat. As I pushed her down the ICW and up on a plane I was joyfully mistaken. I just mashed the throttle to get her up on top. the motor as you will see in the YouTube video that i produced responded with no lag just go. It was impressive. I could have easily pulled a skier behind this boat.

Down the road she handled great. Same feel as other outboards in Mercury line up as far as the way she tracked and trimmed. Noise in the cockpit was far less than an Opti Max but not as quiet as a Verado. We were easily able to hold a conversation among ourselves to note opinions we were gathering about he motors performance and appearance. This package was not as fast as I am used to going but fun to drive even still. I enjoyed it.

I did ask the Mercury Representative Matt Jackson that invited me to the testing why they chose this platform for the demonstration. I mean, why not have the motor on some little go fast bay boat and really tape some ears back.

Matt's response was this...

Mercury 4 strokeWe wanted to show that this motor had the guts to handle a boat designed to have more horse power. A David and Goliath approach of demonstration. We also wanted to challenge the Yamaha 200 numbers on the same boat to show how strong this motor is and we unofficially beat it, both in speed and fuel economy.

Matt went on further to mention that there would be an official release in the boat house bulletin for "real numbers" comparison.

Well done.. Point made. I might mention that this is not unusual for Mercury to out perform motors of larger horse power.

As I drove the boat around Marathon waters we encountered some chop and other boat wakes. Generally a single engine on a larger boat will experience some lag as it negotiates the power to head over a wave or power into a turn. Not this motor it ran like a champ and performed well, my colleague and myself started rethinking our stand on big horse power this motor was great.

So, all in all. it was a great test. I have many positive things to say about the 150 4 stroke Mercury and so far nothing negative.. I liked the motor so much I am getting one for my Sea Hunt BX 22 BR bay boat that will be added to the fleet here at Dream Catcher Charters in March.

Also See My Sea Hunt with 150 4 stroke Mercury Outboard Review.