Mercury Marine 8.2 engine, First Boat / Engine Test

Push the throttle down from idle speed in a 7,500 lb. boat in South Florida and feel the surge. She gets going quickly. It’s the camshaft profile, the 502 cubic inch big block size, the Bravo III x, and the Mercury Racing XR prop set, all working together to provide the family boater with the newest engine from Mercury Mercruiser Marine.

Take the tach up to 2,500 – 3,000 rpm and let the boat settle down to a speed at that rpm. Now push that throttle down again and feel the biggest difference between the now out-of-production 496 Mercury big block and the newest Merc big block engine.

The surge that pushes you back in your seat at 3,000 rpm is the biggest seat-of-the-pants experience that most boaters will feel the first time they get to try a 8.2 Mercruiser inboard outboard.

Yes, the 8.2 is quiet, smooth, and even pretty to look at. The Catalytic Converters (one for each cylinder bank in a V-8) in the exhaust make it quieter than a big block without them. Next, its so pretty to look at for a boater than we had to stop to just gaze at it in the engine compartment and how Mercury laid out everything on this boat engine. They make this one from scratch, unlike the now out-of-production GM Mercury Marine 496 engine.

See this Mercury Marine engine for yourself here…

or, here from 3/25 – 3/28 at the Marina Del Ray Cobalt booth…

ask for Patrick, in either case.

More about the boat and engine test on the next page.

Its seabuddy and two of my buddies from Mercury Marine on board to do a test of the Mercury Marine new engine. Some fuel, no water, and minimal gear also was onboard besides the estimated 700 lbs of weight between the three of us. This engine was installed in a Cobalt Boat, the Cobalt 296, a bow rider, that has a boat hull length of 28’ 5” with an LOA of 30’ 2” and that runs around 7,500 lbs in weight dry.

Mercruiser makes this engine all the way, so it looks right in a boat. They had “dressed” the GM supplied 496 engine before. In this one they own the stuff to make the block and make the Mercury Marine engine from that. (Merc bought the 502 block tooling from GM awhile back). This is the same displacement block as the two engines (380 Hp, 430 Hp) from Mercury and the 525 Hp, 600 Hp, and 662 Hp engines that come from Merc Mercury Racing.

Top speed on this day, in a short run, got the GPS to break 50 mph in what seemed a nano second. Cobalt reports 51 (GPS) mph in other tests. They also put twin 8.2s in this boat, and have seen a 12 mph top speed increase then. If you want some engine roar to match the performance – select the switchable exhaust to thur – hull. Then the Mercury Marine Mercruier 8.2 sounds like the power of it feels in-the-seat-of-your-pants.

It is my understanding that Mercury no longer makes its version of the 496 engine. Production has stopped. Any boats with this now discontinued engine, are using up old inventory. But, it may take awhile to clear out that inventory.

Look for other features soon on the 296 Cobalt, Mercury Marine’s SeaCore drive, and the XR props.

4 Responses to “Mercury Marine 8.2 engine, First Boat / Engine Test”

  • Felipe:

    I just bought a Cobalt 242 and the dealer that sold me the boat has told me that the engine I had asked for (496HO) has been discontinued. He is offering me two options, to try and fight with cobalt to get the engine I initally asked for, or get the new Magnum 8.2. I was wondering if you could give me your opinion given that I do not have much feedback with this new engine. Also i now from past experiences that new engines usually cary problems that are corrected later in the following versions.

  • 1) If you want to stay with a Mercury Marine Mercruiser package in a Cobalt Boat, you should get the 8.2 in Cobalt’s opinon for 2010. I have sea tested a Cobalt / Mecruiser 8.2 set-up in a 296 Cobalt for this model year and really liked it.

    2) If you want a 496 in your Cobalt, get a 496 Volvo Duoprop power package. Volvo is staying with the 496 for their big block engines for 2010. They made the decision to go with the 496 engine early on and bought up all that they could from Chevy before Chevy ran out. Clint Moore, the head man of Volvo-Penta in the US, told me he has plenty of 496 engines.

    IMPORTANT On big difference that you need to know between the 502 (8.2) and the 496 is that two Catalyst converters are required on the 502 and no such “Cats” are needed for the 496 sold in the state of CA. This is a legal issue, not anything else.

    3a) The CAT issue is a big one. Many feel that the new CAT technology and the high heat it needs to work is un-proven in a boat and they try to stay away from it. (its not new in the state of CA). Let me say, that, Chris Brown, seabuddy, personally, has a catalytic converter on my current boat and I love it, but I did have an issue with it.

    4) So, I agree that new marine stuff does tend to have problems early on. You and I agree on this.

    5) That is what warranty is for IMO and Cobalt covers either engine brand in their boats way beyond what the engine marinizers do themselves. A full five years, and at a generous labor and parts rate to the dealer such that he is Motivated to take excellent care of you and your boat. Ask your dealer what Mercruiser, Volvo, and Cobalt will pay his dealership for warranty work and the differences will surprize you.

    6) How about the 496, 502, and Mercury casting 502 likes and dislikes. The engine guys I ask that question of say they like the 496 engine better than a 502, but they only have had Chevy cast 502s to base that on. I have not found a tech that I trust that has worked on a 380 Hp or 430 Hp 502 cast by Mercury yet. Too New. Heck, most dealers do not have the part numbers for the Merc cast 502 last time I asked someone who knows. The part books always lag behind on new stuff. Dealers typically have to call in to Mercury for the part numbers and details, rather than look them up from their copy of Mercury Marine parts book like they would for last years engine from Mercury Marine. Again, check this out with your dealer.

    7) Now, if your dealer is an almost all Mercruiser dealership, then go with the Merc. Hands down. The techs and support will be better at that dealership for the Mercury stuff than the Volvo stuff. Or change your Cobalt dealer to a Volvo or Volvo or Merc store.

    8) Another insider point, Cobalt does not always want to say which engine brand goes out in their Boats most of the time. Its bad politics. But, here is what I know. Its either about 50/50 or very close to that or Volvo powered Cobalts are alittle ahead of Mercury powered Cobalts. And these %s do vary somewhat over time.

    9) Seabuddy currently owns a Volvo powered boat (2007 model year) and the one before it (2006 model year) was Mercruiser powered. Over the years, Chris Brown (seabuddy) has owned more Mercruiser powered boats than Volvo powered boats.

    10) Specifically, on a 242 Cobalt, I have a slight preference for a Mercruiser in any other model year than this one, as that is one speedy, speedboat. I like Mercruiser in a high speed boat. Get 30 hours on the hour meter and some cool weather and see for yourself.

    Sorry I was so wordy in my reply your question.

  • seauonthewater:

    Thanks,seabuddy. That’s a lot of good information!

  • You are welcome. I shared some “inside – the – marine industry” information in my reply.

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