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Old 06-15-2005, 08:15 PM
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Default TCM Merlin 509 Issues

Has anybody pulled down one of Teague's 509 Merlin motors?
I am in the process of rebuilding one right now and wanted to share some interesting info with this board.
Firstly, to start at the beginning, I purchased my motor over a year ago and made the decision to buy one of these motors after seeing the detailed and colourful article that Family and Performance Boating magazine ran on it. I was impressed that Teague/World Products could offer a complete engine package with all of the high quality brand-name components in it, particularly the reciprocating assembly was made up of an (un-named) gun-drilled crank which was pictured in the article that looked alot like a Scat 4340 forging to me. (Scat is what World advertises as being in their other crate motors, so I assumed thats what it was.) The rods were shown as Manley H-Beams and the pistons were shown as JE forgings and pictured with a skirt ring around the entire perimeter of the piston (including under the wrist-pin ends).
I was therefore quite surprised to find a Eagle 4340 forged crank and Eagle H-beam con-rods (albeit w/ the L-19 bolts) and SRP (which I beleive is actually a JE brand?) pistons, none of which bore any resemblance to the pictures in the F&PB mag. article. Also, I found a lot of gouge marks in the bearings, obviously from dirty oil, which makes me wonder whether the block was even cleaned properly before assembly, since I know that I was both careful and religious with oil and filter changes and only used good oil (Mobil 15W-50).
In fairness though, the motor otherwise was fine and I only pulled it down because I had a broken Inconel exhaust valve.
(How this happened is another story: I was launching boat hard unto plane, stock B-1 propshaft broke, was missing half an exhaust flapper and, as far as I can figure, water rushed into exhaust when the boat dropped back down and sprayed into # 6 chamber, causing the spark plug center electrode to shatter and the exhaust slammed shut on peice of it on the way out!!! I know- quite a theory!)).
Anyways, I have done a bit of research and I am satisfied that the parts in the motor are still of good quality (although I've seen some issues on this board with Eagle cranks) so I'm putting it all back together now and checking clearances.
I'm also upgrading the cam with a custom grind and installing AFR heads w/ an intercooled Procharger M-3 at 7-9 lbs of boost, so I'll probably find out how tough it really is!

However, the purpose of this thread is to inform any of you who might be interested in buying a complete motor that you should always be forewarned that what the builder says is in a crate motor might not be in it, especially when he sources it from someone else.
Even the "reputable" shops sometimes drop the ball and its always therefore good to get a build sheet with a breakdown of everything in the motor (even down to bearings).
(Sorry about the length of this, but for the sake of accuracy I couldn't shorten it.)
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Old 06-15-2005, 09:08 PM
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Default Re: TCM Merlin 509 Issues

Thanks For The Info Art
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Old 06-15-2005, 10:57 PM
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Default Re: TCM Merlin 509 Issues

Srp is J/E pistons cheapo version,the tolerances vary more than a regular J/E but they are 200-300$ cheaper.Eagle or Scat,really no difference,still a chinese forging. As far as the rods i was shown a chinese eagle and a cheap Manley and the grain of the metal/color of metal looked identical so i wouldn't be surprized if manleys low end stuff is chinese too.Which afr heads are you using,i used the 315's for my m-3 procharged 540,made just under 950 hp using cmi headers on the dyno,you should be making 850hp w/m-3 w/those heads,will be a good test for the rods and crank! Smitty
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Old 06-16-2005, 01:28 AM
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Default Re: TCM Merlin 509 Issues

I had virtually the same thing with 2 crank kits I bought from Summit Racing. I bought the World crank kits and they were advertised as having a Scat crank, Manley rods, and JE pistons. I received an Eagle crank, Eagle H beam rods, and Mahle pistons. I called about this and Summit wouldn't take it back because it is considered a special order. I definitely wasn't thrilled with the Eagle components, but put it together anyways. I wasn't able to use the bearings World sent with the "Kit", clearances were WAY off. I haven't had any problems yet. I bought my cylinder heads assembled from TCM and they looked good, haven't had any problems with them also. One more note, these kits were sent to me directly from World Products although they were ordered from Summit.
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Old 06-16-2005, 05:18 AM
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Default Re: TCM Merlin 509 Issues

These kits will have various different parts from time to time. Eagle, Scat, both same quality, both good for for anything under 1000 hp.
I have used Eagle in numerous engines without any trouble. The cranks always are on the large size on the mains. I have to use 77H bearings, .001 extra clearance. Rods seem to be ok with stock size.
If I was using SRP pistons with a blower I would oversize the bore .0015 extra. (ie 4.5015") That can acomplished with honing. Those pistons usually only have .0045 clearance to start with. Also make sure the wrist pins are clearanced a little extra as well.
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Old 06-16-2005, 12:23 PM
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Default Re: TCM Merlin 509 Issues

Thanks for the replies guys.

I just ordered the 345cc "as cast" AFR's from Ohio Performance w/ the Hardcoat and Inconel Ex. valves. I really wanted the 335CNC but the guy I spoke to there was very forthright and recommended I didn't spend the extra money for the CNC porting. He says they can get 1000+ HP from these heads on a 540. I told him my cam specs (244deg. Int. & 254deg. Ex. @ 0.050", .646" Int. & .650 Exh. and 144 deg LS) and he said I should be able to make 800 - 850 HP.
BTW: If you've ever took a good look at the ports in the Merlin VR heads (or flowed them for that matter) you'd see why they sell so cheap.

The thing that really has me stumped is that motor came with some Clevite 77 H and some Hx's and they were all mixed up! Like one Con-rod would have a HX on the top and a H on the bottom and some had both either HX or H. To be honest, I'm wondering if this is some kind of Science or just carelessness!! AND, the Con-rods are number stamped and I found the # 8 and # 6 mixed up!!

BTW:The HX series bearings which are .001" thinner so the crank being off on clearance (on the bigger side) is probably why they had to use these bearings?? Or maybe they just threw in what they had?

I have reordered a set of HX Mains and Con-rod bearings and will check the clearances.

Summit carries the Eagle cranks too, in both cast and 4340 Forged versions and they advertise the 4340 crank as being good for 1500HP. They sing high praise for the Eagle Con-Rods as well ("two piece forged, vacuum de-gassed, shot peened etc.") and the L-19 bolts seem to be very strong from what I read on ARP's site.
One thing I noticed in the specs for the crank (on Summit's site) was that stock length rods were specified on the 4.00" stroke and 6.385" on the 4.25" stroke. In other words, the part # Crank I have is listed for stock length rods but I have .200" longer, although both cranks are internally balanced w/ the 2300g Bob weight. So I'm wondering if this makes a difference?

At the end of the day, I'm a little bit pissed at Bill Mitchell's people because I have always read good things about them and it is more than a bit disappointing to not get what you think you've paid for from guys you consider to be reputable engines builders. Ditto for TCM, because they shouldn't be selling somebody else's motors if they're crappy.
You can believe that if I find any further problems, Teague is going to hear from me because I bought not only the motor but about another $14,000.00 worth of parts from them to rig my boat and the last time I sent in a fax order for a few hundred dollars worth of parts they never even processed the order. Customer service is non-existent there unless you're spending big bucks apparently...
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Old 06-17-2005, 08:31 AM
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Default Re: TCM Merlin 509 Issues

Originally Posted by HARDCORE A/O
Thanks for the replies guys.

I just ordered the 345cc "as cast" AFR's from Ohio Performance w/ the Hardcoat and Inconel Ex. valves. I really wanted the 335CNC but the guy I spoke to there was very forthright and recommended I didn't spend the extra money for the CNC porting. He says they can get 1000+ HP from these heads on a 540. I told him my cam specs (244deg. Int. & 254deg. Ex. @ 0.050", .646" Int. & .650 Exh. and 144 deg LS) and he said I should be able to make 800 - 850 HP.
BTW: If you've ever took a good look at the ports in the Merlin VR heads (or flowed them for that matter) you'd see why they sell so cheap.

The thing that really has me stumped is that motor came with some Clevite 77 H and some Hx's and they were all mixed up! Like one Con-rod would have a HX on the top and a H on the bottom and some had both either HX or H. To be honest, I'm wondering if this is some kind of Science or just carelessness!! AND, the Con-rods are number stamped and I found the # 8 and # 6 mixed up!!

BTW:The HX series bearings which are .001" thinner so the crank being off on clearance (on the bigger side) is probably why they had to use these bearings?? Or maybe they just threw in what they had?

I have reordered a set of HX Mains and Con-rod bearings and will check the clearances.

Summit carries the Eagle cranks too, in both cast and 4340 Forged versions and they advertise the 4340 crank as being good for 1500HP. They sing high praise for the Eagle Con-Rods as well ("two piece forged, vacuum de-gassed, shot peened etc.") and the L-19 bolts seem to be very strong from what I read on ARP's site.
One thing I noticed in the specs for the crank (on Summit's site) was that stock length rods were specified on the 4.00" stroke and 6.385" on the 4.25" stroke. In other words, the part # Crank I have is listed for stock length rods but I have .200" longer, although both cranks are internally balanced w/ the 2300g Bob weight. So I'm wondering if this makes a difference?

At the end of the day, I'm a little bit pissed at Bill Mitchell's people because I have always read good things about them and it is more than a bit disappointing to not get what you think you've paid for from guys you consider to be reputable engines builders. Ditto for TCM, because they shouldn't be selling somebody else's motors if they're crappy.
You can believe that if I find any further problems, Teague is going to hear from me because I bought not only the motor but about another $14,000.00 worth of parts from them to rig my boat and the last time I sent in a fax order for a few hundred dollars worth of parts they never even processed the order. Customer service is non-existent there unless you're spending big bucks apparently...
When i upgraded my 540 blower motor this winter i also bought AFR heads but i chose the 315's cnc over the 345's,the315's actually out-flow the 345's until you go to 700plus lift.
315's-.300 lift-249/184-345's-.300-212/169
315's-.400lift--312/236-345's-.400-279/219
315's-.500lift--353/271-345's-.500-333/249
315's-.600lift--380/296-345's-.600-372/272
When i called AFR they told me the 345's or 357's are what i needed but looking at their own flow figures i couldn't see how on a motor that has less than 700 lift and doesn't turn over 6000rpm's. If your heads haven't been shipped yet you might want to look at the flow #'s,especially since you only have 509 ci.My motor idles at 800rpm's,tq is 850 ft lbs plus from 3600 past 5700 and made just short of 950hp and over 950ft lbs tq at peak,Smitty

Last edited by articfriends; 06-17-2005 at 08:35 AM.
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Old 06-17-2005, 08:55 AM
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Default Re: TCM Merlin 509 Issues

Most cylinder head sales guys don't understand boats. All they here is 540CID and it clicks in their brain 6500 rpm bracket car, 4000 converter 3000#'s. They never here boat idle to 5600 is where I need power. Smaller port volume with more velocity is the better choice in these boats.

Just a note on L-19 material. Yes it is strong but does not mix well with H2O. Any engine that sees alot of condensation does not need L-19 bolts in it. The alky guys found out the hard way. You have to use gloves even when handling this material so that persperation does not get on them. I would upgrade to the ARP 2000 material.
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Old 06-17-2005, 08:55 AM
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Default Re: TCM Merlin 509 Issues

Guys this has been a problem in this business for a long time people misrepresenting the quality of parts they use . When these large companies are looked at as great legends I can tell you that no engine built in production type systems will be a good quality piece. Every engine we build we photograph the parts serial number them and email to the customer for that same reason I've seen that happen to customers too many times . There is no way I'll use any of that imported crap in anything we build and those are the people we compete with day in and day out .
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Old 06-17-2005, 12:40 PM
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Default Re: TCM Merlin 509 Issues

Originally Posted by HARDCORE A/O
Has anybody pulled down one of Teague's 509 Merlin motors?
I am in the process of rebuilding one right now and wanted to share some interesting info with this board.
Firstly, to start at the beginning, I purchased my motor over a year ago and made the decision to buy one of these motors after seeing the detailed and colourful article that Family and Performance Boating magazine ran on it. I was impressed that Teague/World Products could offer a complete engine package with all of the high quality brand-name components in it, particularly the reciprocating assembly was made up of an (un-named) gun-drilled crank which was pictured in the article that looked alot like a Scat 4340 forging to me. (Scat is what World advertises as being in their other crate motors, so I assumed thats what it was.) The rods were shown as Manley H-Beams and the pistons were shown as JE forgings and pictured with a skirt ring around the entire perimeter of the piston (including under the wrist-pin ends).
I was therefore quite surprised to find a Eagle 4340 forged crank and Eagle H-beam con-rods (albeit w/ the L-19 bolts) and SRP (which I beleive is actually a JE brand?) pistons, none of which bore any resemblance to the pictures in the F&PB mag. article. Also, I found a lot of gouge marks in the bearings, obviously from dirty oil, which makes me wonder whether the block was even cleaned properly before assembly, since I know that I was both careful and religious with oil and filter changes and only used good oil (Mobil 15W-50).
In fairness though, the motor otherwise was fine and I only pulled it down because I had a broken Inconel exhaust valve.
(How this happened is another story: I was launching boat hard unto plane, stock B-1 propshaft broke, was missing half an exhaust flapper and, as far as I can figure, water rushed into exhaust when the boat dropped back down and sprayed into # 6 chamber, causing the spark plug center electrode to shatter and the exhaust slammed shut on peice of it on the way out!!! I know- quite a theory!)).
Anyways, I have done a bit of research and I am satisfied that the parts in the motor are still of good quality (although I've seen some issues on this board with Eagle cranks) so I'm putting it all back together now and checking clearances.
I'm also upgrading the cam with a custom grind and installing AFR heads w/ an intercooled Procharger M-3 at 7-9 lbs of boost, so I'll probably find out how tough it really is!

However, the purpose of this thread is to inform any of you who might be interested in buying a complete motor that you should always be forewarned that what the builder says is in a crate motor might not be in it, especially when he sources it from someone else.
Even the "reputable" shops sometimes drop the ball and its always therefore good to get a build sheet with a breakdown of everything in the motor (even down to bearings).
(Sorry about the length of this, but for the sake of accuracy I couldn't shorten it.)
You don't say!......... I'm soooooooo surprised......
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