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1. Do I need a drive shower?
According to the certified MerCruiser Master Technician that Simrek contacted, "every boat should have a drive shower." There are two obvious signs that your drive may be running TOO HOT:
A. If there is a continuous need to remove a white chalky deposit from the top half of the stern drive. The white chalky deposit means that the outside casing of your drive is running hot enough to boil off the water that is splashed onto it. This boiling process turns the water into steam and leaves the mineral deposits behind to bake onto your drive. The hotter the drive, the more deposits are collected, and they harder they are to remove.
B. Other signs that your drive may be running too hot include paint discoloration, or a cloud of steam that appears every time your boat comes off plane. Unless you have opened through hull exhaust, what you are seeing is not exhaust; it's the steam that is generated when a hot drive is plunged into cool water. This process of heating and rapid cooling is known as thermal shock and can be detrimental to metal components, especially aluminum, if the range is extreme enough. Keep in mind that however hot the casing is, the components inside are running much hotter. Published test results show that some stern drives components operate in excess of 350 degrees. If you are experiencing any or all of the above conditions, your drive is probably operating over 250 degrees. For the same reasons that automotive engineers established approximately 200 degrees as an optimum operating temperature for their engines, most marine experts agree that this also holds true for stern drives.
Drives listed in order by operating temperatures:
Drive showers distribute a continuous supply of cool water to the top portion of the stern drive. Tests have shown that cooling like this can double the bearing life and service life of the drive oil by lowering an operating temperature of 220 to 350+ degrees Fahrenheit a minimum of 30%. It prevents oil foaming, the primary cause of oil break-down which can lead to drive failure. It also dramatically reduces the thermal shock that occurs when the hot drive is plunged into cool water every time the boat comes off plane. These conditions exist on nearly every boat, but is especially prevalent in a high performance application where demands on the drive are pushed to the limit. Under normal operating temperatures, most manufactures recommend that the oil in their drives be changed every 50 hours. For some, 50 hours can be a few week's worth of use.
This is a condition that exists when metal, or other materials, are heated up and then cooled quickly. The materials expand from the heating process and contract rapidly when cooled. The drive casing is made of cast aluminum which can develop small stress cracks when subjected to thermal shock on a frequent basis. Also, the many bearings and gears inside the drive develop excess wear from the constant dimensional changes that occur during thermal induced expansion and contraction.
The Simrek Multiport Drive Shower® System utilizes two of the most efficient pick-up ports possible for more than twice the water volume than any other drive cooling system available. It is also the most efficient because it targets the top and two sides of the drive. All the other cooling systems available target only one surface of the drive with one dump port. Drive shower systems that only spray water on top of the drive are less efficient because they target the bearing cap on the top of the drive which is over an inch thick. The sides of the drive are less than 1/8th of an inch thick and offer much less resistance to temperature change.
There are two designs of shower systems targeting the top bearing cap. One is a solid tube design, the other is a flexible tube design with and without a bearing cap plate. At first glance, both would appear to cool the sides of the drive simply because the water will run down from the top. Consider these two conditions:
The solid tube system sprays water at the top surface of the drive from a 1/2 inch diameter tube which is located at a 90 degree angle to the top of the drive, and about 1/2 inch away. Try this experiment at home: turn a drinking glass up side down, and hold it under your faucet approximately 1/2 inch away. Now turn the faucet on full force. You will probably find that every thing in the room is now soaking wet, (including yourself --- sorry about that!), except the sides of the glass are still dry. This is due to the force and velocity that the water is under as it exits the faucet. The same principles hold true in the case of a drive shower.
The flexible tube system with an optional bearing cap plate directs the water at the top bearing cap at almost a 180 degree angle. This causes the water to skip over the top of the drive and exit out the back of the plate on to your transom. This is a great way to wash your transom, but not a very efficient cooling system for your drive. Try this experiment at home: turn a kettle up side down in your drive way. (This time I promise you that you won't get wet.) Hold a garden hose, at an angle a little more than horizontal to the ground and about an inch away from the kettle. Open the spray nozzle to full force. You will probably find every thing behind the kettle is soaking wet, but the sides of the kettle are still dry.
With the force of the water that is traveling through a 1/2 inch diameter tube at speeds equal to the that of the boat, it is easy to see that this water will only go where it is aimed, and gravity will have little influence on its path. Through the use of multiple dump ports aimed at the top and both sides of the drive, the Simrek System delivers the cooling water under less pressure, which allows it to spend more time in direct contact with the side surfaces of the drive.
See what High Torque Marine has to say about which drive shower is the best.
See the results of a side by side comparison between a Multiport System and an Imco Power Shower here.
6. What kind of temperature reduction will I get with a Simrek Multiport Drive Shower®? The following test results are based on our old style 90 Degree Pick-up Port system. Our new Max System produces an additional 10% of cooling protection
Documentation for all test results are located under the Testimonials section of this site
The most recent testing was done by Jim Wilkes for Hot Boat Magazine, and published in the April 2000 issue. Dockside magazine also tested the Summit Design and found a 50 degree drop in drive operating temperature and published their findings in the August 1999 issue. They also did a side by side comparison between the Summit Design and the Halo Design and found the Halo to cool the drive by an additional 8 to 10 degrees. Testing was also performed by the United States Customs Service. They found a 50 degree Fahrenheit drop in temperature.
Gene Weeks of Team Lazar did a side by side comparison between an Imco Power Shower and a Summit Multiport Drive Shower®, and found the Multiport system to cool the drive by an additional 15-20 degrees over the Power Shower.
We at Simrek feel that MerCruiser makes the finest stern drives on the market, but consider this; once their drives leave the factory, they loose the control of how their drives are installed on all the various engines, hull designs of all the different boat manufacturers, along with all the different propeller styles and sizes. Plus their drives are subject to the boat owners driving habits (RPM, trim levels, time on plane, etc.) and after market performance up grades. In order to incorporate a cooling system into the stern drive they would have to make major changes to the castings that make up the upper portion of the drive. While some changes have been made to the internal components, the castings for both the Alpha and Bravo uppers have not changed since they were first introduced. Adding a cooling system would require a major redesign of multiple castings at a substantial cost.
MerCruiser is also in the repair parts business. There is a term used by manufacturers called "planned obsolescence." If a product lasts too long, there will be fewer repeat sales or repair part sales. That is why no one sells a light bulb that doesn't burn out eventually. Unfortunately for Simrek, the Multiport Drive Shower® has no planned obsolescence. We do not sell repair parts because there is no need for repair parts.
In the article "Way to cool" that appeared in Poker Runs of America Magazine, Editor Peter Tasler asked Mercury Racing why they didn't install drive showers as OEM equipment? There response was, "Mercury Racing designs its drives to handle a certain horsepower range and the temperatures associated within that range, in typical boating environments." Click here to see true life stories about overheated drives on a stock Merc. set-up
The pick-up hole makes up the majority of the small 1/2 inch diameter tube that is exposed under the cavitation plate. Because the water is only being re-directed, instead of being forced to build back pressure (as it does in the case of a speedometer pick-up) no speed reduction will be noticed. The Multiport Drive Shower® is used on a large number of race boats. Race teams measure their boats speed in tenths of a mile per hour. If the drive shower caused any loss in speed, they would know about it and remove it without hesitation. See what Ernie Dupuis Owner/Driver "The Boxer" and Mike Carter, Director of Outlaw Class-APBA had to say about any speed loss.
The stock bolts on the drive can be removed with a standard 3/8 - 12 point socket. The torque specification for these bolts is 30 foot pounds.
If you are installing a Halo on a drive with Latham or Imco steering; To remove the top left stud from the drive, use a separate nut (3/8 x 16) as a jam nut. Tighten the two nuts together so that you can place a socket over the jam nut and onto the original nut. Loosen both nuts at the same time. The stud is not Loctited in, and should come out easily.
this drive shower void my warranty?
13. Coolers that target the top cap but also force the water down the sides
14. Will this driveshower cause cavitation?
About Us: Simrek® Corporation specializes in
external stern drive cooling systems for your high performance or pleasure
boating needs. Composed of high-grade stainless steel, the Simrek® Multiport
Drive Shower® can add years of life to your Alpha and Bravo drives