Pros & Cons of the MerCruiser’s popular Bravo I, II & III Series sterndrives and the Alpha One outdrive for power boat drive systems
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**RECOMMENDED PRODUCTS FOR BRAVO & ALPHA OUTDRIVES
**VIDEO ON IMPORTANCE OF USING ZINC ANODES FOR OUTDRIVES
Alpha One Outdrive Most Popular Sterndrive for Power Boats
Cited by Mercury Marine as “the most popular sterndrive in the world”, the Alpha One outdrive system is used for single or twin engine applications.
The Alpha One has earned a reputation as a value-priced outdrive propulsion system that delivers reliable speed. These factors combined make it a popular choice for budget conscious boaters that desire performance.
Some of the outstanding features that make MerCruiser’s Alpha One a popular choice include:
- Hydrodynamic lower unit that produces minimal drag while cutting through the water
- Tri-Paint System (Irridite, EDP & Powder Paint) that creates a tough, durable corrosion resistant barrier
- Through-Prop exhaust that maximizes power and reduces noise levels for quiet operation
- Power Trim XD® system that automatically returns the drive to the water to maintain full control of boat in rough water
- Drive lube monitor alarm for low drive lube warnings
- Easy inspection engine mounting to fill lube without pulling a boat from the water
- Flexibility to use 3, 4 or 5 blade propellers in aluminum or stainless steel
- The MerCruiser Alpha One has a 300 HP (221 kW) maximum power capacity with a 15” diameter propeller.
MerCruiser Bravo 1, Bravo 2 and Bravo 3 Outdrives
The MerCrusier Bravo Series sterndrives – Bravo 1, Bravo 2 and Bravo 3 – are upgrades from the Alpha One and feature the latest innovations in boat outdrive performance.
Bravo 1: With a focus on high speed performance, the Bravo 1 sterndrive is used for single, twin or triple engine applications and can produce speed up over 100 mph for gas engines up to 600 HP. In addition to triple-digit speeds, the exclusive performance torpedo design and dual water pickups allow the Bravo 1 to handle high and low speeds well.
Bravo 2: The Bravo 2 sterndrive is designed for twin engine applications and can power a boat up to 55 mph for gas engines up to 450 HP. With a wide gear case, the Bravo 2 is able to accommodate a propeller up to 20” in diameter that propels a boat on plane faster and improves fuel economy.
Bravo 3: MerCruiser’s Bravo 3 outdrive feature counter-rotating dual propellers that improve propulsion efficiency, speed, acceleration and handling on a boat. The two props are mounted in front of one another and turn in opposite directions eliminating wasted energy from the propeller wash. The Bravo 3 is available in a single or twin engine application and is capable of speeds up to 65 mph for gas engines up to 525 HP.
Advantages and Disadvantages of the Bravo and Alpha One Outdrives
The MerCruiser Bravo 3 stands out as one of the most innovative sterndrive designs for Mercury Marine, but that recognition does not come without controversy. Bravo 3 outdrive corrosion problems have been an issue for many boaters, despite use of multiple zinc anodes and other preventative measures. The Bravo 3 also faces strong competition with the Volvo DPR DuoProp sterndrives.
The Alpha One sterndrive, although still popular, may be seen as more standard with newer boat propulsion system innovations. The biggest advantage of running a boat with a popular sterndrive is the availability of parts and trained technicians. MerCruiser parts are widely available online and in boat repair shops.
Here are some more resources/products that you may find helpful:
Better Boat De-Salt Concentrate Salt RemoverQuick View
Better Boat Marine Degreaser Black Streak RemoverQuick View
Boeshield T-9 Rust & Corrosion ProtectantQuick View
Gimbal Bearing Puller ToolQuick View
Martyr Aluminum Anode Kit for Mercury Bravo IIIQuick View
MEGAWARE KEELGUARD SkegGuard for Mercury Mercruiser Alpha 1Quick View
MEGAWARE KEELGUARD SkegGuard for Mercury Mercruiser Bravo I – IIIQuick View
Mercruiser Bravo III Prop ToolQuick View
MERCURY Genuine Light Gray PrimerQuick View
Mercury Marine Outboard Precision Phantom Black Spray PaintQuick View
Mercury Precision Clear Coat Spray PaintQuick View
Quicksilver Oil Change Kit 4-stroke 150hp Mercury & Mariner OutboardsQuick View
Quicksilver Oil Change Kit 4-Stroke 25hp & 30hp Mercury OutboardsQuick View
Seachoice Anode Freshwater Kit for Mercruiser Bravo IIIQuick View
The Total Boating Manual by Boating Magazine EditorsQuick View
More on Use of Zincs for Boats & Outdrives
Captain Brian replaces zinc anodes on our Sea Ray to protect the boat from corrosion issues and explains how saltwater can react with the metals on your boat and why replacing your zinc anodes every year or two is so important. He also takes a look at a Mercruiser outdrive with Bravo III props and points out issues that can happen with them if there are not enough zinc anodes on to protect it.
Like Outboards Engines? Watch this video!
Sorensen’s Guide to Powerboats, Eric W. Sorensen and Mercury Marine
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