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How To Make Your Boat Faster
Wilson Custom Marine could take a 55 mph runabout and have it running close to 60 mph after blueprinting the bottom.
Cost: $6,799.99 (Black Whipple charger for a MerCruiser 350 Mag MPI; $7,299.99 for polished.)
Speed Gain: 10+ mph
Cost Per MPH Gained: $679.99
Bottom Line: A big investment that will yield big gains
For the most substantial power gains, bolt a supercharger to your boat’s engine. You will void the warranty and reliability could be compromised, but you’ll be going a lot faster. Whipple Industries says a MerCruiser 350 Mag MPI can achieve up to a 50 percent horsepower gain, taking power output from 300 hp to more than 400. On a MerCruiser 496 Mag HO, a Whipple supercharger increased horsepower output from 425 hp to a maximum of 657.1, according to a dynamometer readout on whipplesuperchargers.com.
Driven off the engine’s crankshaft with a pulley, a Whipplecharger compresses the fuel and air mixture before it enters the cylinders. When more air and fuel pack into the cylinders before the pistons compress the mixture, the resulting explosion is more violent, creating more power.
The Whipple kit comes with a recalibrated ECM to control idle, fuel, spark and knock and all the components required to complete the installation. The supercharger will not increase height requirements in the engine compartment and needs only two inches extra of forward space. It does not come with the kit, but Whipple recommends you also upgrade your engine with a medium-duty oil cooler.
Adding that much power to an engine/drive combination will require at least a propeller change and possibly a new gear ratio in your drive, so installing a supercharger represents a serious upgrade.
Another popular aftermarket supercharger is the Procharger, which is a little different from the Whipple in technology but promises similar power increases. The Procharger kit for a 350 Mag MPI reportedly boosts power output to more than 500 ponies.