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Catalytic Coverters by 2008...Bummer

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Old 01-23-2008, 01:53 AM
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Years ago, I was told that there would never, and I mean never, be four-stroke engines in personal watecraft. The person who told me, granted was a watercraft company executive, a good friend with (obviously) an interest to protect. But he gave me a long and what seemed to be reasonable list of why it would "never" happen.

And now every major PWC has four-strokes And they kick butt. They lack the instant thwack of two-strokes, but midrange and top-end are as good or better.

Point being? As GLH suggested, don't underestimate American ingenuity. And, unlike GLH's reference, it isn't always about gaming the system. Raylar and Ruaraidh make solid and reasonable points.
Anything can be done if you spend enough money, even put a man on the moon. So, yes, Mercury Marine and a couple others will figure out how to put cats in boats, and certify them over thousands of engines. The boats on this board, however, often have engines built by custom manufacturers, who do not have the volume to amortize the high development and certification costs. Look how many car manufacturers disappeared from the 1960's to the 1980's, and i think you will have your answer as to how the performance boat engine market will look like in a few years. Unlike the car market, the marine engine regulations are written unfairly, where large manufacturers like Mercury Marine don't even have to test their polluting high horsepower engines, because the way the regulations are written, they can just average them against their cleaner high volume engines, while the small manufacturers actually DO have to develop and certify ALL their engines as clean. At least in the auto industry, everyone has to meet the same regulations. These marine engine regulations are unfair.

Michael
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Old 01-23-2008, 05:58 AM
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Then you (the boaters) and the small manfacturers need to lobby the CARB/EPA so that emissions credits are a free market not an in-house stitch up. I'm sure that it would be very easy to make a case of anit-competitive practices by the large marinisers and the representatives of the authorities.

All you're talking about is making credits tradeable. However, what price the OEMs would charge for them would be up to the market or have to be legislated for.

It does seem highly anti-competitive and appears to quite deliberately attempt to sew up the performance aftermarket to Mercury's own in house racing department. Surely you have anti-trust laws that could challenge this.

Again though this is the framing of the laws rather than the emissions reductions themselves that are the problem. Once cats are available and developed eg the INDMAR solution, those parts could be bought off the shelf as a pattern part.

Look at cars: a few years ago, you had to buy replacment cats from the OEM at great cost, now you can get them anywhere. And buy racing ones with low cell densities. You can buy pretty much anything you want. This has taken time to emerge and I imagine performance boating will take the same path.

There's a business model for you: marine cat company, selling aftermarket exhaust systems that fit SBCs and BBCs and can be used on most systems with a variety of cell densities to suit different powe applications. The regs are such that as long as the thing runs closed loop lambda =1 most of the time (when not at full load), then it should pass emissions tests. Get them certified on stock engines and away you go. Essentially, take a metallic auto monolith and marinise it, add a header and a water dam and a couple of bosses for HEGO sensors and you're away.

Yes I'm making it sound easy and it isn't totally simple but there's a business model there for someone..... If Mercury Racing tie it all up, who else are you going to get your performance cats from? You'll need the cats so you don't need their emissions credits! Better buy those aftermarket performance marinised cats then, it's your only choice!

Apologies for relentness cheerfulness, the sun's shining. In England. In winter. Unusual I know!
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Old 01-23-2008, 10:32 AM
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Michael1,

While I agree with you on some of the fairness issues in the cat discussion, your analogy about the auto industry doesn't hold. Our choices in automobiles are greater than ever. Now, if you're taking about American-made cars, you're correct, the choices have declined, but you can't attribute all of that to issues of fairness. Without question, U.S. auto-builders faced a lot of challenges their foreign competitors didn't such as high labor costs brought on by union greed and EPA restrictions on auto plants. (Then again, do you really want the air quality of any third-world city?)

But you know, for a time there, the time you're talking about, especially the 1970s, they made a lot of crappy, unreliable and overpriced cars. Had they not, the likes of Toyota and Honda never would have gained traction (pardon the pun) in the market.

Last edited by 100-Plus; 01-23-2008 at 10:40 AM.
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Old 01-23-2008, 12:38 PM
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How do we get where were Go'in!

I'll go back to the meat of the matter, ILL TIMED, OVER ZEALOUS, BEAURACRATIC, UNBALANCED, UNFAIR AND UN-SCIENTIFICLY FOUNDED REGULATION OF INDUSTRIES!!
Unless you have not been reading or watching the news lately you may be missing the point here!
The USA is quickly slipping into a recession! One that could be worse than some in the past.
How did we get here, I'll give you some suggestions.

First, we've been hemoraging to many quality US jobs and pay overseas to foreign markets!
The politicians (not public servants) release distorted job growth and unemployment figures that would have you believe we are creating tons of new jobs. Look closely and you'll see that most of these are service industry jobs that have allowed those $25-$18 an hour skilled jobs to drop to $12-$8 an hour jobs.
Now what happens, unregulated oil company monopolies and oil speculators drive the price of a barrel of oil up to nearly $100 a barrel and gas and diesel at the pump goes to $3.50 to $4.00 a gallon, unregulated middleman food profits go up 25 to 30%, out of control corporate health care corporations make obseen profits and medical costs jump by 50%.
What does the average american do to survive, they hit the credit cards, home equity loans and refinance on home equity and with unregulated preditory interest scams and rates they help pound themselves, the average debt laden american worker who is making on average about 50% less at service jobs into the abismal state of near bankruptcy!
Politicians and govenment agencies create over-regulated, ecomically unattainable emission and pollution standards that just help more american companies hit the Road to China, India, ETC with greatly reduced labor costs and the resulting huge loss in american jobs and US earned dollars.
Our trade deficit grows and confidence in the US economy slips to the point where world investors abandon the US dollar and securities with the US dollar slipping to it lowest value in recent history !

Now, back on the exact topic here! No one with real sense would disagree that we need to preserve the quality of our air and water! Its not that it can't be done, of course it can.
These things take time and a great deal of investment and proven reliable engineering. The cost of this new level of enviromental cleanliness is borne ultimately by the consumer. In the mean time unrealistic time-tables for compliance and regulations that favor the largest competitors and force small and medium size companies from an industry. This condition inturn eliminates more competition and quickly leads to higher prices for products that comply without the normal standard market pressures holding price competition at reasonable levels.

The boating industry is about to enter its most difficult economic time in probably the last 50 years! It is not a good time to set new high unproven standards for the small pollution elimination of recreational craft.
It will force large increases in engine and systems costs that will be passed to the boat consumer who can just barely afford the current products which are pretty clean by past standards.
What will happen, the power broker politicians and beaurecrats will be able to say that they lowered emissions from watercraft. Yes, they will be able to easily achive those goals beacuse there won't be nearly as many boats with engines running on the water! simple FIX right!

I live in San Diego and my home overlooks the bay where every year I see less and less boats plying the local waters. Why, because people make less money at their jobs on average, they can't afford the boat period and with the higher price of goods and services, they can't afford the interest on their debt and they certainly can afford to put fuel into their existing boats at $4.00 per gallon !!

We are going to have to be careful as a nation not to help push our economy over the cliff with over regulation and ever increasing costs that will certainly turn the "Great Goose Who Laid the Golden EGG" into the cooked Turkey on the rest of the worlds Table!

The solution, "Everything in moderation, nothing in Excess!"

My Regards,
Ray @ Raylar

Last edited by Raylar; 01-24-2008 at 12:31 AM.
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Old 01-23-2008, 04:48 PM
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When all of this happens and people with the means to purchase these new boats stop buying them and put the boating industry and small custom engine builders into more of a downturn than right now, those politicians will be able to say, we proved our point, we have lower emissions on the water. The real reason that there will be less emissions is because there will be less boats on the water, which trickles down to everyone involved from parts manufacturers, fuel stations, to restaurants, and hotels on the water. Just like when they put the luxury tax on boats and almost bankrupted the industry. It seems like the boating industry just recovered from that debacle. It's like the lameazz politicians look at something that is successful and people are enjoying themselves and have to mess with it. Look on the bright side, our pre catalytic convertor used boats will definitely hold their value.
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Old 01-24-2008, 02:32 AM
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Michael1,

While I agree with you on some of the fairness issues in the cat discussion, your analogy about the auto industry doesn't hold. Our choices in automobiles are greater than ever.
What do you mean it doesn't hold? I guess you've already forgotten about MG, Triumph, TVR, Peugeot, Renault, Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Jenson, Austin Healey, Hillman, De Tomaso, and even the poor Amphicar. These aren't American cars either. One by one they pulled out of the U.S. market due to regulations that they couldn't afford to meet. My point is the more regulation, the less diversity of manufacturers you have. Small volume manufacturers don't have the volume to amortize expensive development, certification, and warrantee requirements. I don't know about you, but unless a strong case can be made that these marine emission regulations will miraculously turn air quality around overnight, I don't see the point in putting the small volume marine engine manufacturers out of business. The number of 500+ hp marine engines produced is miniscule. You'd be hard pressed to even locate one on the water (might take days or weeks of searching).

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Old 01-24-2008, 04:35 AM
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Well said Ray.
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Old 01-24-2008, 05:23 AM
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One question for all of us as a whole, when are the american people going to take america back and get rid of all this liberal BS? or are we doomed?
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Old 01-24-2008, 03:29 PM
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Michael1,

MG, Triumph, TVR, Peugeot, Renault, Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Jenson, Austin Healey ... that's quite a list of vehicles, one I'd love to have in my garage. The only other thing I'd need? A full-time mechanic. The Brits are still trying to live down the engineering marvels of MG and Triumph, and as for Fiat, there's a reason it became an acronym for "Fix It Again Tony."

All kidding aside, what I should have said, rather than your "analogy" doesn't hold, is that it's incomplete. Tough, perhaps even ridiculous regulations, did help extinguish those brands in the U.S. But there were other factors at work, such as their MISERABLE service records.

And of course I agree with Ray and you that excessive, wrong-headed and just plain dumb legislation hurts business, large and small, and that small business in particular have a hard time with it for all the reasons you cited.

And I agree, you're right, the number of high-performance engines we're are talking about "greening up" is miniscule, and won't make much of a dent in emissions control in this country.

But I do think that the catalyst systems will become workable in marine applications. Will they raise the price of engines? Well, let me answer a question with a question: What technological development in engine building hasn't raised prices? Or, more to the point, when was the last tiime you saw marine engine prices drop?

When you say we do "anything can be done if we spend enough money," you do hit the nail on the head. But since when has technological innovation come on the cheap?

Good discussion.
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Old 01-24-2008, 04:25 PM
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Last, DMOORE, of course you can make your own choices. You can certainly wrench on your own engine, and EFI pretty much precludes that unless you have a host of spendy diagnostic tools. But dude, uh, EFI is so dialed in these days. Ask D'Annaballe at Sterling, Pffaf, Teague, JC ... anyone who builds engines for a living. Those guys cut their teeth on carbs, but they all will tell you, flat out, that EFI is the way to go.
Really. EFI is sooooo dialed in, it NEVER fails. I hate to break it to ya, but I have seen more new efi boats towed in, or simply not able to get underway in the last two years, than new carbed boats. Interesting isn't it.


Darrell.
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