During the design and development of the new Merc 150 4-Stroke the marketing staff conducted numerous customer studies. Now, the thing to remember is there are two "customer" levels for a manufacturer. Their immediate customer for a manufacturer is their retail dealer. Your local dealer is their real customer. The rest of us who actually run the engines on the back of our boats are the "consumer". We are the dealer's customer. Merc went out and got input from their dealers who have to sell and service the engine and from consumers who run it and do some periodic maintenance on the engine. The Mercury marketing folks then went back to their design engineers with the suggestions from those dealers and consumers. And many of those ideas obviously have been incorporated in to the finished engine product. Heres a few:
This engine is a four cycle engine just like in our car, stern drive powered boat, many lawn mowers and other of our vehicles. It needs an oil sump (reservoir) and that oil needs to be filtered and periodically changed. You should check your oil level once in a while as well. Doing all of that on the 150 is a lot easier and neater too.
After you remove the relatively light engine cowl you'll see a giant yellow dip stick handle on the starboard side of the engine. It's right next to the oil filter. You'll want to have a rag or paper towel handy when you check the oil to catch any drips and wipe the stick to get an accurate reading. In the above photo you can see where the oil filter is located. It's not buried but it is mounted horizontally rather than vertically. It's really hard to photograph a black engine and I hope you can see that below the oil filter is a molded plastic "bowl" with a drain spout that has a bright yellow plug. When you remove the oil filter any oil still in the filter will spill in to that little bowl. If you have already gone to a hardware store or auto supply store and picked up a foot or so of plastic tubing to fit on that drain spout you'll be ready to let that waste oil drain in to a bucket for proper disposal. Neat, no mess and fast.
Draining the used oil is easy too. On the starboard side of the mid-section of the engine is the oil drain spout. Mercury doesn't provide the hose to drain this oil either but it's easy to find and worth while keeping for the next time you need to drain the oil. Again, neat and easy to do.
You'll want to remember to refill the oil after you drain the old oil and change the filter. No, I'm not trying to be funny; I'm serious and know of people who have cooked their engines because they forgot to put oil in it. The Merc engineers made filling the oil easy too. The filler port is on the front of the engine. Look for the color coded yellow plug. Yes, if it's in yellow plastic, it's designed to be easily accessed and used by us consumers. Sorry dealers; boat owners don't have to bring this engine to you or their local fast-lube shop for an oil change.
And if you want to know when to do the consumer type periodic maintenance; Merc has a nice big sticker on the port side of the engine to let you know when with a great feature many owner will love.
What's becoming more popular and very handy is that "QR" code graphic (center right). Scan that with your smart phone and it will direct you to a web site with "how-to" videos and tons of information on your new engine. I suspect you'll see more of these on more Merc engines in the near future.
We'll dig deeper in to this engine next month.
(Bill Gius is a three-plus decade marine industry veteran with extensive, hands-on accessory, boat and engine experience. Bill has been working with iboats.com for six years to help manufacturers and dealers use iboats online marketing, advertising and lead generation services. Bill can be reached at 800-869-1686 x199 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)