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  1. #1
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    Default DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ALPHA 1 AND BRAVO 3

    Fellas, what are the main differences (and pros/cons, if any) between the Mercruiser Alpha 1 and Bravo 3 drives?I did a little digging, but didn't get very much helpful info.Thanks in advance.Ron

  2. #2
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    Default Re: DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ALPHA 1 AND BRAVO 3

    Main difference.........take a look. BravoIII Alpha I

  3. #3
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    Default Re: DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ALPHA 1 AND BRAVO 3

    IMHO, both have been time tested. The problem is, one failed the test. The Alpha design has been around since the beginning of outdrives and is a very reliable drive that is easy to maintain and cheap to fix. The only problem is it's limited to 300 hp.The B3 has been out less than a decade, and might be the most talked about drive ever made. Unfortunately the talk isn't always good. Years ago, when Volvo developed the duoprop, Merc decided they need a copy of the quality Volvo had produced. They came out with the B3, and it had problems. First, they overheat. A drive shower is an almost nessessity just to keep the fluid from boiling. That was small compared to the corrosion problems tho. Ask anyone that has owned one from the late 90's, if they kept thier boat dunked chances are they had the problem. Than, to top it off, Merc decided there wasn't a problem and basically screwed thousands of buyers by not repairing these corrosion problems under warranty. They claim the problem is from lack of maintenance and that the owners didn't have the proper anti-corrosion devices onboard. So, the problem with B3's are they require a ton of maintenance, they cost a fortune to repair, and lord don't wreck a prop, as Merc holds the right to be the only maunfacturer of props so expect to sell your young for a new set. There you have it.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ALPHA 1 AND BRAVO 3

    Generally, Alphas are used with small-block V-8s and smaller. Bravos are use with big-block V-8s. Yes, you can connect a 454 to an Alpha and you can use a V-6 with a Bravo, but those are somewhat unusual.Bravo I is the smallest Bravo but still bigger than an Alpha. Bravo II is a big version of the Bravo I. The Bravo 3 as you know has dual props.Generally, all Bravos plus the Blackhawk mount the same. Alphas have the same mount as the older similar drives, so you can mount an Alpha to a pretty old boat.Alphas shift like outboards, with a sliding "clutch dog" in the lower gearcase. Bravos use something called a cone clutch in the upper gearcase.Generally, Alphas are used on trailerable boats under 20'. Bravos are used on bigger boats that aren't as easily trailered.Alpha exhaust exits through the prop, Bravos have exhaust reliefs above the anti-ventilation plate as well.The transom assemblies are different and not interchangable in the same boat without considerable work to the transom.What you choose has more to do with the boat than anything else. What kind of craft are you considering?
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ALPHA 1 AND BRAVO 3

    Thanks guys! You educated me in 5 minutes what would have taken hours of research. I really appreciate the info.Yea, I can't convince my wife away from the 2004 model Trophy 2359 (http://www.trophyfishing.com/index.a...modelid=34862&), she likes the cabin layout, hard top, etc. To entertain her, I told her I would price it out the way that I would want to get it, hence the drive questions.I have always been an outboard owner, never an I/O owner, so I am learning.Does any other manufacturer make a "full cabin" 23- 25 footer that is set up similar to the Trophy? All I have seen either have smaller cabins (Parkers, etc.), or they are "commercial (the Maycrafts, etc.).Thanks, Ron

  6. #6
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    Default Re: DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ALPHA 1 AND BRAVO 3

    Hey, the 2359 is a sweet boat. I take it they are the only drives available? If i had my choice of any Merc drive, it would have to be the workhorse Bravo2, they are undestructable. I personally would never keep a B3 in the water. If your trailering or lifting, fine, but i just don't care for the drive myself. Other than performance it offers nothing. What motor would be with the drives?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ALPHA 1 AND BRAVO 3

    Yea, it's not that I don't like Trophy, but I just wanted some "apples to apples" comparisons. My main concern is the ride, because the driver is so far forward inthe cabin area, and I want to occasionally take it offshore (20 - 40 miles), and I don't like to crawl if it is "snotty"/semi-rough (I'm too impatient). This must be a good seller for them, because they have made the 2359 series for many years (even back when it was a "Bayliner"). If they made it as an outboard, it would be a no brainer for me, but I'm not super worried about an I/O either, the more I learn about them.Here are the 2004 motor/drive options, and I like fuel injection, but the Bravo 3 combo with it now has me concerned.......5.0L (220 HP) Mercruiser Alpha I - Std 5.7L (250 HP) Mercruiser Alpha I - Opt 5.0L MPI (260 HP) Mercruiser Bravo III - Opt And, I will be trailering the boat, and keeping it in a large bay garage, so it will be "babied" while out of the water too.

  8. #8
    Petty Officer 2nd Class
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    Default Re: DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ALPHA 1 AND BRAVO 3

    I have the 5.7 250hp alpha1 on a 20 foot boat. It has been trouble free for 4 years. It is fresh water only, and I trailer.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ALPHA 1 AND BRAVO 3

    I would go with a 5.7 and a BIII. Merc does offer it.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ALPHA 1 AND BRAVO 3

    Huh, no 5.7 available with the B3 offered. Pretty odd, huh? Keeping it out of the water is a big plus with the B3. Still, it's $4500 for a B3 and FI. $3800 for a galvanized trailer sounds steep, i bought one last year for a 23ft. boat and paid $2100. Hopefully at that price it's real quality.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ALPHA 1 AND BRAVO 3

    It seems to me that when I drive a boat with a bravoIII that it doesn't turn as tight as a single prop boat.More wander.My .02

  12. #12
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    Default Re: DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ALPHA 1 AND BRAVO 3

    Thanks again guys. If I do go with the Bravo 3, I definitely want to make sure it is propped right too, huh!Yea, I will probably buy my own trailer with any boat, and set it up with power winch, poly bunks, guide poles, etc, before I get the boat.I don't mind a little "enhancing" to whichever boat I get either, because I'm an electromechanical engineer that likes to tinker, and I have access to a machine shop (my dad is a retire auto mechanic too, so I've been under car hoods since diapers). I also have about $5,000 worth of electronics picked out for it too.One final question - fuel injection would be the way to go for the I/O engine too, if I had a choice and didn't mind paying the extra bucks? My main concern with the motor is good fuel economy, since this boat only has an 87 gallon fuel tank,and I don't want to figure out how to add an extra tank on a brand new boat.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ALPHA 1 AND BRAVO 3

    This has been dicussed many times....here's another, and you can also do a search. http://www.iboats.com/cgi-bin/ubb/ul...;f=24;t=005074

  14. #14
    Seaman
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    Default Re: DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ALPHA 1 AND BRAVO 3

    Fortunately Mercury has just recently Improved sacraficial anodes on the bravo 3 drive by lengethening the anticavation plate and adding a flat anode, they also have a teardrop shaped anode that is bolted directly to the propshaft.As for the engine package I would run the 5.0 mpi (fuel injection)That saves you cash and is maybe a few mph slower at wot. Ask to see performance chart before making any purchase. The b3 dosen't cavatite like the alpha can when making sharp turns on a hevaily loaded boat.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ALPHA 1 AND BRAVO 3

    Actually, in the 2004 Trophy 2359 packages, the 5.0 MPI engine has the most HP, even more than the 5.7 carb versions.I'm really questioning if their brochure is correct, because (based on everyone's comments here), I doubt Trophy would offer the 5.0 MPI/260 HP engine with a Bravo 3 drive. I have not called a Trophy dealer to confirm the on-line literature though.

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