Mercury 400 Verado Outboard

mercury verado 400, yellowfin 36 Mercury 400 Verado on my 36 Ft Yellowfin Center Console.

Without sounding cliche’ “more is better”.. in this case WAY better. When it comes to boating I know of few that will say that is not true. Many times we are told it will be better to find out that its just “meh”… Not the case here. The new Mercury 400 “m” is definitely a better when it comes to more power for the back of your boat without changing an engine design.

My History With 400s

Back in 2015 Mercury Racing put an extra 50 Hp in the Mercury Verado inline 2.6 liter outboard making a 400 “r”. The warranty was short and the octane needs were high, but as a performance enthusiast I was super excited to get my first one. I just wanted to feel the torque and let her rip. I bolted this motor to a 24 Yellowfin CE bay boat. I wrote all about it here – Mercury Racing 400 R. No doubt this monster was a game changer and made all of us the fastest kid on the block using whatever we bolted it to. It was the strongest outboard motor for the weight class it was fighting in.

It Just Makes Sense – More Power

As with anything time has progressed and so has the world of developing outboards. Mercury Marine has not let up in providing the boating public with the demand for reliable high horse power in its line up.

This year (2019) keeping the 350 in the line up Mercury Marine unveiled a 400 horse power engine of their own. Made for the recreational performance and bigger boat market the 400 has taken it’s place as the heavy lifter in the Mercury Outboard line up. Built on the same reliable Verado 2.6 liter platform that we have all come to know and love the new 400 Verado lives on 89 Octane and can have a full factory warranty just like any other Mercury Outboard motor.

Just Like Any Other Verado

Well, yes and then No.. The 400 has the same operational feel as all the other Verados in the Mercury Marine line up. It comes with Digital Throttle and Shift it is Joy stick capable has the same incredible fuel economy still super quiet and looks just like a Mercury inline 6 Verado. The difference is in the decal. 400 Horse power.. May not seem like a big jump from the 350 but I will tell you that it sure feels like it.

I was running a triple set of Mercury Verado 350s on my 36ft Yellowfin. My boat ran great with them. I was getting an astounding 1.4 -1.5 mpg at 40 mph and top speeds upward to 68 mph with the Enertia Props on my 36 with a typical load. A great application for this boat but with all things, it got better.

My Story About The Mercury 400 Verado

I made the switch to a triple set of Mercury Verado 400s back in May. It was time for me to re-power as I put many hours on a boat in a year. I waited till I put over 100 hours on the 400s before I wrote my thoughts here on the 400 Verados and compared the differences between the 400s and the 350s on the same boat. Thats where the wheels meet the pavement in boat comparisons. Same boat, two different sets of power.

My dealer Murray Marine here in Key West made the swap for me on my 36 Yellowfin. They put the new Mercury 400s on the same bolt holes and put my old props on for me to make sure there were no differences in set up to skew the comparison. I came to pick the boat up on a summer day in the morning and right off I noticed no difference as I idled down the long channel that runs into Murray Marine. As I idled out getting settled I played with the trim, rotated the steering admired the new shiny black motors on my boat and really didn’t notice any other changes. Planning my route as I was going to get her on step I started pushing the throttles forward and the boat reacted like she always does a sleepy 36ft center console coming up on plane. I was taking it easy on the new motors first time out. Bow up, motors at 50% she is starting to plane and then I slid the throttles forward where I always did to power her up on top and THERE>… I noticed the first difference. The torque was stronger the boat reacted faster to sprint on top of the water. This is where my first grin came from.. Leveling out and coming up to cruise the same Mercury Verado confidence I have come to love was evident on the transom. I started noticing the numbers. At cruise I picked up a big tick in fuel economy but I knew, boat was relatively empty and the numbers would be unrealistic.. but noted.. I was at 1.85 at 42 mph.. lightly loaded. For the next hour I drove around settling the motors in at speeds of 40 – 55 mpg with sweeping turns and a few hole shots. Toward the end of this run I could not help myself, I stuck the throttles and let her eat. Watching where I was going and trimming to match my throttle position I could feel the boat just come alive! She felt lighter and more on the pad than in the water. Thats when I looked down and noticed I was running 72 mph and had more in her.

Since then I have about 150 hours on these motors and have noted some things folks have wanted me to reflect on in my general everyday runs to see if the 400 Verado is worth the swap from a 350.. So here they are. Same props, same loads, same boat, same set up.

Top Speed went from 68 – 73 I am in the rev limiters on the Enertia props I am running. This will improve dramatically with taller props. I will append when that happens.
Fuel Economy at cruise went from 1.5 – 1.6 at the same speed. My 50 mph fuel economy went from 1.18 – 1.30. I think this will get better when I step up my props in pitch.

So, if you are looking to re-power and into speed and want better fuel economy – because you can run more pitch, without breaking the bank and going to the (50+ K) 450r from Mercury Racing then the 400 is the motor for you. I have heard in most applications that the 400 has been 3-5 mph faster than the 350 on same same setups.. YRMV…

My personal take on the 400s. I really love this package. The 350s were great but I really like knowing my 36 Yellowfin will sprint over 70 now and its just at the flick of my wrist. I enjoy the better fuel economy but honestly my 350s were great too. I am looking forward to playing with props here to see what I can milk out of this set up.

Last note.. This summer I had a chance to play with a boat identical as mine in Nashville TN on the Cumberland. This Yellowfin 36 center console had triple Mercury Racing 450r’s on it. A whole different animal and a whole different price range. I will write about that soon.

About Capt. Steven Lamp
Dr Catcher Is - Capt. Steven Lamp - Owner of Dream Catcher Charters is a veteran Key West fishing guide for flats fishing, deep sea fishing, wrecks and reef fishing, and fly fishing. An expert waterman and licensed captain since 1986. A Veteran of the United States Coast Guard Heavy Weather Search and Rescue, I.G.F.A. Certified Captain and Standing regional board member of The Florida Fishing Guides Association