February 6th 2020 – Looking back on the beginning of the Mercury Verado program I can remember thinking WOW!.. Digital Throttle and Shift, state of the art power steering, loads of power at 275 hp and super quiet. Does it get any better? Sure it did! The Verado matured into 300, 350 and then 400 horse power and became the pilar of the outboard industry as the go to engine for boats of all sizes. It was amazing times for me in my career as I let go of the 2 stroke rumble and bumble bee sound for an easier / quieter future in my boating. A future that I saw to have no end as far as I knew…..
Enter The V-6 and V-8 Mercury Outboards.
It all changed when I was invited to visit the fabled Mercury Lake X test facility in 2017 in late that January to let some of the industry professionals experience new product. Two things I love – Lake X and Mercury outboards. I was invited there to see the new V-6 that Mercury Marine had been working on perform. The experience was amazing.
I had the chance to run a 24 ft bay boat that had a V-6 225 on it. A boat very similar to some of the ones we use for Key West fishing here at Dream Catcher Charters and it had most of the same features of a Verado on a much lighter, larger cubic inch engine package. The performance was incredible, the fuel economy was extraordinary. This is ultimatly where I got the idea to re-power my 24 ft bay boats with 225s
This got me to thinking. I can move to this new engine platform and lose over 150 lbs on the transom, burn less fuel and not sacrifice much performance by going from 300 supercharged horse power to a naturally aspirated 225 with larger cubic inches but way less weight.
So I did it.
I am not one to hang a motor then write. I have to put some time on a package to know that it’s worked out 100% for what I expected out of it before I tell the boating world about what I did.. As everyone knows we have some of the best In Boats and Equipment for Key West fishing and I am always looking to tweak and improve that as much as I can. Now that I have a solid year on this package here is my feedback from going from a 2017 300 Mercury Verado supercharged four stroke L6 2.6 lire to a Mercury four stroke 225 V-6 3.4 Litre.
Why Did I Chose The Mercury 225 Four Stroke
The boat that I ran that day at Lake X was great. A heavier version of bay boat than what I was going to apply the motor to so that gave me even more confidence to drop from a 300 to a 225. Hole shot, mid range and even top end were all respectable numbers on this family style bay boat. I could feel the less weight on the transom as I ran around the lake with this package. The added steering ram to the Verado power steering system in this boat was smooth as silk and the CMS mid section for the V-6 reminded me of the Opti Max days of swing pin steering and was extremely maneuverable. It was like Mercury took the best of the last 25 years of outboard and framed it in one motor. I had to have one and knew that this would be an even better application than the 300 Verado L6
The reason I had the Mercury 300 Verado on these boats to begin with was for the features of the Verado – See My Article. I really only needed 225 to 250 but did not want to go with Optimax on these boats. I love the Opti Max but this just wasn’t the right application for that motor with the option of the L6 Verado 300 being available to me. I had to have DTS and the Verado steering.
Re-Rigging the Boat.
When I ordered my four stroke DTS 225 V-6 showed up I was pretty excited. Allocation for these things has been limited from Mercury as this motor has been a huge hit from the get-go. So I was happy to finally have one.
In preparation of rigging this motor I only had to change One thing in my rigging and add another going from the Mercury Verado L6 300 to the Mercury Four Stroke 225 V-6. For the steering I had to order a new UFLEX steering ram for the motor. Remember the New Mercury four stroke V-6 is just like a Mercury Opti Max in mid section and steering. I had to add a ram like the old days and just attach my Mercury Verado steering hoses to it. Thats It! Works like a champ. In addition to that I needed to extend my 14 Pin Connector. I purchased a 3ft length as the new 14 pin point of connect is located on the back of the Mercury 225 four stroke, whereas the Mercury 300 Verado 14 pin connect is located near the front or mid way. Just a little extra is all I needed for a perfect fit.
I thought another hurdle was going to be propeller.. I was concerned that I would have to order a new prop with less pitch or a different blade design. This bay boat application with the 300 Verado L6 ran on the pins (rev limiter) with a 17″ pitch Mercury Eco Enertia propeller. I loved this prop for this boat. The Eco is a three blade with a ton of blade surface and low slip numbers. This prop offers loads of bow lift for non vented hulls like this one and now that I was dropping about 200 pounds on the transom I was going to need all the lift I could get with the change of CGs. I was pretty concerned that the lack of 75 Horse power would not be enough to turn it. I was wrong.. The 300 L6 was a 1.75:1 Gear ratio that can turn 6300 rpm. The 225 V-6 four stroke is a 1.85:1 that turns recommended 5200- 6000. Come to find out the prop that I was using still turns right in the sweet spot at 5600 rpm on the V-6 on this same boat. It was a surprising win and a testament to how strong the V-6 was with torque and power. I guess that lends a lot of credibility to the phrase “There is no replacement for displacement”.
As with any application if you take away the horse power there has to be a drop in speed both in the cruise and top end. Especially after dropping 25% in horse power. As for hole shot, props these days we can get them to spring a boat into action with the right blade in play with any reasonable horse power.
The difference in the weight between the Mercury 300 Verado and the 225 Four stroke was about 200 lbs and taking weight out of any boat is always a great start to improve hole shot and performance. This added to The difference in gear ratio between the two motors and sweet spot at WOT for the 225 being a little less than the L6 Verado was perfect to keep the same prop.
My top speed with this setup was about 51 – 52 at WOT with a 32 mph cruise for best fuel economy of 3.4 MPG with the Mercury 300 Verado L6. Of course no problem carrying the loads.
When I switched to the V-6 225 Four stroke I dropped to 44 mph at 5600 RPM and still kept a decent hole shot. My cruising speed is now about 28 mph for my best fuel economy of 4.0 MPG. No issue with load carrying and performs very well.
All in all I am super happy changing from the Mercury Verado supercharged 300 to the Mercury Four stroke 225 outboard. The styling is cool and not as HUGE. The weight is way better and the power hits all my fine points for this particular package. The motor is super quiet and the boat runs completely different with this motor all favorable.
If you’re not looking for speed. This is an excellent DTS four stroke motor to replace the Verado with and pretty much bolt and play. I have done a few projects like this and happy to answer any questions to help others with set up.
To Learn More About My Applications With Mercury Marine