3.0L Mercruiser Marine engine swap - different flavor!!
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Thread: 3.0L Mercruiser Marine engine swap - different flavor!!

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    Opeler
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    3.0L Mercruiser Marine engine swap - different flavor!!

    Now here's a question of engine compatibility that I don't believe has been discussed. Correct me if I'm wrong, though.

    GM makes (or, has produced at one time) a marine application 4-cylinder in a 3.0L output, rated at 140 horsepower. Their 3.0L Mercruiser.

    My father is retired, with waaaaaaay too much time on his hands, and wondered about the possibilities and problems that could be encountered with such a swap. I'm thinking transmission bellhousing, etc. Yet, they are both GM products, so it might not be as difficult as it sounds. Give me a reason here to point out the obvious to him, and sink this notion quicker than a leaky cement barge, please.
    Brian Irwin

    - 2004 Suburban LT (tow vehicle 4 ski boat)
    - 1995 Ford Ranger Splash 4.0L 4x4 (tow vehicle 4 Yellowjacket)
    - 1985 Mustang GT 5.0 "the last carbed 'Tang" (tows nothin'!)
    - 1967 Bridgestone 175...hmmmm
    - 1964 Bridgestone BS7 50 cc...different
    - 1959 Yellowjacket Catalina
    - 1954 Shell Lake Sportsman
    - 1953 Austin A40 Somerset drop head (tows Shell Lake)

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    Opeler
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    Are you sure you aren't talking about MY father? Please don't let him see this post because he'd probably try the same thing!!! LOL

    The most obvious problem that I can see is cooling the dang thing. The block is thinner because of weight issues, and consequently will run hotter than normal car engine. It doesn't matter too much in a boat because the engine has a steady supply cool fresh water (No thermostat either if I remember correctly). So, if you can't find a monster radiator that will supply you with a temperature similar to what you would receive from the lake you're running on.....you're probably out of luck.

    Just my 2 cents!

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    Member azopelnut's Avatar
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    check the forum archives under engine swaps. This one was discussed last year.
    Paul "azopelnut" Heebink
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    1973 Ascona 4-door 2.2 5-speed A/C
    1974 Manta, 1.9 Auto A/C
    1975 Sportwagon 1.9 FI 4-speed A/C
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    Thanks, archive search gods!

    SNMJustice, scary thought that our respective fathers are probably browsing the same outboard/marine websites, eh.

    Paul, I appreciate your tip. The search and responses you received last year offer up some food for thought in modifying that specific engine in it's - ahem - 'prop-er' application!

    Thank you, gentlemen! Case closed.
    Brian Irwin

    - 2004 Suburban LT (tow vehicle 4 ski boat)
    - 1995 Ford Ranger Splash 4.0L 4x4 (tow vehicle 4 Yellowjacket)
    - 1985 Mustang GT 5.0 "the last carbed 'Tang" (tows nothin'!)
    - 1967 Bridgestone 175...hmmmm
    - 1964 Bridgestone BS7 50 cc...different
    - 1959 Yellowjacket Catalina
    - 1954 Shell Lake Sportsman
    - 1953 Austin A40 Somerset drop head (tows Shell Lake)

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    Opeler
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    Check your facts, I think you will find the GM marine block to have thicker cylinder walls and better castings to stand higher RPM's and higher horsepower output for a longer period of time. There are many parts available for these engines but why not stay with a bolt in engine, what is wrong with an Opel engine? Good Luck with what ever you do.

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    partimer if you re-read the first post i think you will see that manyopels is after reasons not to put the engine in
    Copyright © 2003-2012 barry williams
    All Rights Reserved

    B.O.O.B. founding member


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    Life Long Opeler Thom71GT's Avatar
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    You may find it interesting that the engine that is put in a Corvette is a Mercruiser.
    Thom - Ich liebe mein GT

    I've had my 71 GT since I was 3 when my father brought it home, and I'll have it till the day I die!!!!

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    Member Site Supporter N61WP's Avatar
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    Here's another one....the first generation (80's)Taurus SHO engine was designed by Yamaha and built by Mercury marine. Mercury was the only one in the US that had the technology needed to build it all aluminum at the time.

    Jc
    "If you have complete control of the car, you're not going fast enough". PARNELLI JONES 1966

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    former opel racer jeff denton's Avatar
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    The 3.0 GM engine used in boats has been around a long time, it is a very rugged, dependable little engine. The thin casting story is, I'm sure, bull. I have no idea what car ever used this engine, but man, zillions of boats do! Now that I work at a marine dealership now I see them every day, whether it be called Mercruiser, OMC or Volvo. My junk pile includes a few of these engines, a really cool looking finned aluminum Mercruiser valve cover (circa 1970's) is in the pile, too. There are so many around that when you buy a rebuilt one they don't even want a core.
    I don't know why somebody would want to put one in a GT, there are so many other four bangers out there that are lighter and stronger...
    Mercruiser and GM together designed the Corvette 32 valve V8, it never made it to marine use, though. Didn't make it very far in the Corvette world, it just never was what they hoped it would be...
    Mercruiser and Lesney Foundry work together big time. Their outboards are cast using the Lost Core method, in other words the parts are made out of styrofoam, put in a sand mold, and aluminum poured in replaces the foam. Interesting process. In Merc tech school (Hayward CA, lovely town, 1991)we saw cool movies about this.

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    L4 Chevy some stats

    Open the case again if you can guys! The 181 Ci Chevy Block as used in the Mercury Marine application is practically identical to the 153 Ci (2530cc) engine used in the 60's Chevy 2 and a multitude of applications elsewhere. In South Africa we used the 153 in all the Opel Rekord based products in the late 60's and thru the 70's.
    The engine was manufactured at the GM engine plant in Port Elizabeth in SA and the block casting made in two types: Starter High on left and starter Low on Right.
    The 181 block Differed in only the Bore size from 3.875" to 4.0". Although never manufactured in SA the 4" block was used extensively in local test and development work building a succession of 151, 163 and 181 test engines.
    The 4'' block was however used by Pontiac who built a production version of the 151 (4''x3") with the block configuration in a Starter High on left.
    These engines produced good torque and moderate horsepower in production form and could produce very good power when modified.
    At the time, the test engines indicated that vibration would be the killer for the 181 in a passenger car application and therefore not used in production in SA

    The full range of engine sizes available using this basic block config are:

    3.625 x 3.00 120 ci SA FIRENZA 1973 1977
    3.625 x 3.25 130 ci SA REKORD 1968-1975
    3.875 x 3.00 141 ci SA ASCONA 1975-1980
    3.875 x 3.25 153 ci SA REKORD 1970 - 1977
    4.00 x 3.00 151 ci PONTIAC USA 1970's
    4.00 x 3.25 163 ci NO PRODUCTION
    4.00 x 3.60 181 ci MERCURY MARINE

    The best combination from practical experience is the 163.
    Various cylinder head combinations are available = Large 8 port, Small 8 port, Six Port.
    Bore spacing is identical to the Small block Chevy V8 and Pistons are interchangeable in similar bore sizes.

    Most important for installation of this package into any Opel is the fact that transmission housings are available mating the engine to both the small bearing and large bearing opel transmissions of the 70's and 80's. With minor mods the Transhousing can accept the 5 speed ZF Boxes of the time>

    A modified Rekord fitted with a 156 ci (Bored 153) ran the S1/4 in 13.9 sec in local competion during the early 70s and only the very best Essex Ford V6 Capris of the time could compete with this car.
    Carburetion was a single 2BBl 50mm IDA Weber down draught running an extensively modified small chamber six port head.

    The Engine Less flywheel is also 15 lbs Lighter than a 2.2 CIH!

    Paul C

    PS don't be so hard on your Dad, being a Father myself I think the Idea is cool!










    Quote Originally Posted by manyopels
    Now here's a question of engine compatibility that I don't believe has been discussed. Correct me if I'm wrong, though.

    GM makes (or, has produced at one time) a marine application 4-cylinder in a 3.0L output, rated at 140 horsepower. Their 3.0L Mercruiser.

    My father is retired, with waaaaaaay too much time on his hands, and wondered about the possibilities and problems that could be encountered with such a swap. I'm thinking transmission bellhousing, etc. Yet, they are both GM products, so it might not be as difficult as it sounds. Give me a reason here to point out the obvious to him, and sink this notion quicker than a leaky cement barge, please.
    Team Unter Puff likes this.

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    Opeler
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul C View Post
    Open the case again if you can guys! !
    Yes PLEASE lol, I have one of the 181's sitting in my garage calling my name, I think it wants to be put to good use on dry land or so the little voices it puts into my head tell me :very happy

    I am interested in an intake and exhaust for the little fellow' Also to use it as a power plant in a road vehicle would the cam need to be changed out? I have seen the pdf files put out by GM and the three engines identified by these papers are the Marine, Industrial, and the Vortec 3000 used in the later 80's.

    I have done a little searching and see that some guys/gals are using 153 intakes on them? Is this correct?

    Could an intake be built successfully? Somewhere I read of a gentleman fabricating his own. But There was no indication of his success.

    Any suggestions would be happily accepted!!


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    Living in the past opelnut10's Avatar
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    Mercuriser Engines

    Quote Originally Posted by muddi1 View Post
    Yes PLEASE lol, I have one of the 181's sitting in my garage calling my name, I think it wants to be put to good use on dry land or so the little voices it puts into my head tell me :very happy

    I am interested in an intake and exhaust for the little fellow' Also to use it as a power plant in a road vehicle would the cam need to be changed out? I have seen the pdf files put out by GM and the three engines identified by these papers are the Marine, Industrial, and the Vortec 3000 used in the later 80's.

    I have done a little searching and see that some guys/gals are using 153 intakes on them? Is this correct?

    Could an intake be built successfully? Somewhere I read of a gentleman fabricating his own. But There was no indication of his success.

    Any suggestions would be happily accepted!!

    This engine was used with a lot of success in NASCAR back when they had the Daytona Dash series (now the have moved up to V6 engines and call it something else) This engine was known as the "Iron Duke" and were in mid-size GM cars for a number of years. There was a lot of speed equipment available, but were not cheap to build in a modified form. They had a crossflow head on the engines with the Intake on one side and exhaust on the other and a regular Chevrolet V8 bellhousing bolted to the block. Something keeps jumping in my head (maybe my brain is has a case of the nerves) about crankshaft problems at high RPM's and there was a fully counterweighted crank on the market to solve the problem. I know that the 6 cyl. version of that engine has a static vibration in the crank at high RPM's and would shake the flywheel bolts loose at the crank flang.

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    The engine I have has the intake and exhaust on the same side (drivers). There is a Huge cast iron piece that has the water plumbed into in. I am assuming from everything I have found so far that this is not the iron duke but rather a mercury or buick 181???:banghead:

    I havnt gotten to the number plate above the starter as of yet but the 04-86 HENCE EN MEXICO is there just abouve the tali end of the starter. I will be taking off the Velvet drive trans and getting it onto a stand in the next few days. When I get it to that point I will be taking lots of pictures.!!

    I found a few more things, I have read a few times that this is a "vortec 3000"? also this pdf. file:

    http://www.perfprotech.com/store/App...specs/30mp.pdf

    This came from a pretty interesting site.

    If all else fails I will be fabricating an intake and exhaust header to work with my application. I have found several sites that explain from basic to advanced fabrication of both these pieces and I have relatively good fabrication skills. I think this will take some doing but I am up for it!!!
    Last edited by muddi1; 12-15-2010 at 09:34 PM.

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    Opeler
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    oohhh mang!!!! check this out guys and gals, this has me excited to get mine going!!!!

    Chevy II 181 Cid Engine Simtest | Auto Mechanics | Howcast.com

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    Cool

    This engine looks similar to one I had in a Cutlass back in the 90's. It was called a "4-Tech" and it had roller rockers. A good running engine, it developed a knock, caused by the third cylinder wearing into an egg shape. We bored it out 60 over and rebuilt it. The engine ran strong, but was never a real performer. It was the first engine I ever rebuilt (with a LOT of help!)

    Allen

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    Opeler fasterhorse's Avatar
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    I have a 73 Opel GT with a 181 Mercruiser. Intake manifold and header kit came from Offenhauser, Keith black pistons machined to fit the head, mechanical cam driven fuel pump, .540 lift Comp Cam, we drilled the flat spots on top of the intake ports and put injector nozzles in each port, Hilborn injector throttle body, 1.94 valves, ported head, Mallory Unilite distributor, big block Chevey roller rockers (1.7), runs on E85 ethanol.
    I just got it running today, and it sounds bad to the bone! Can't wait to run it down the 1/4 mile!
    Needless to say, there are plenty of parts available for the 181 merc.

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    Opelnut opelnut_1's Avatar
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    Merc in Opel GT

    Quote Originally Posted by fasterhorse View Post
    I have a 73 Opel GT with a 181 Mercruiser. Intake manifold and header kit came from Offenhauser, Keith black pistons machined to fit the head, mechanical cam driven fuel pump, .540 lift Comp Cam, we drilled the flat spots on top of the intake ports and put injector nozzles in each port, Hilborn injector throttle body, 1.94 valves, ported head, Mallory Unilite distributor, big block Chevey roller rockers (1.7), runs on E85 ethanol.
    I just got it running today, and it sounds bad to the bone! Can't wait to run it down the 1/4 mile!
    Needless to say, there are plenty of parts available for the 181 merc.
    Please post some photos of this intereasting combination.
    My Collection:
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    Opeler fasterhorse's Avatar
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    I took some pics today, I just have to have my wife show me how to download them and post them. By the way, the Merc 140 puts out a true 140 HP without doing anything to it. The engine builder that did mine has built several of these for use in Sprint Racing. They usually put out about 250-275 HP on the dyno, with the modifications that he did to mine. My GT weighs 2100 lbs with me in it (I pretty much gutted it) so I am looking forward to putting a spanking on a few V8's at the track!

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    Opeler fasterhorse's Avatar
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    ok, I will try to attach some pic:
    As you can see, I had to rebuild the front end of the body out of aluminum. I have had this car since I was 17 ( I am 48 now). The car was stolen from in front of my house and they beat it up a bit, running it through a fence.
    I have a narrowed 8" ford rear end under it with a 4:11 spool.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by fasterhorse; 06-26-2011 at 11:46 PM.

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    Opeler fasterhorse's Avatar
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    A few more pics:
    Attached Images Attached Images

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