Mercruiser Vessel View - "Trouble View"

Discussion in 'Mechanic Recommendation Forum' started by Pgh330, Apr 10, 2012.

Do you believe Mercruiser has Reliable Products and Services

  1. Good Engines

    87.5%
  2. Poor Engines

    6.3%
  3. I like Vessel View and Smart Craft Electronics

    43.8%
  4. My Service Tech is Reliable, Honest and knowledgable

    37.5%
  5. I often have problems with my Mercruiser Products

    18.8%
  6. My Mercruiser Tech is NOT Reliable, I have no Confidence in them

    6.3%
  7. I find it easy to obtain Service and my problems are fixed the first time

    56.3%
  8. I have to called repeatedly for service

    6.3%
  9. I have numerous problems with my Mercruiser Hardware, Engines, etc

    6.3%
  10. I hate Mercruise but do not have any other options

    6.3%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Pgh330

    Pgh330 New Member

    9
    May 23, 2010
    Pittsburgh
    330 Sundance 2009, Glomax, Sirrius, Axius, Garmin 5208 ChartPlotter, GPS, XM Radio
    Mercruiser Sea Core 496 Mag w/ Bravo III and Axius
    Mercruiser Vessel View - Smart Craft - Model Yr 2009 :smt021
    - now since the boat has been new I have had consistent problems with Mercruiser, Hardware, Software, and technical assistance.
    - Hardware: Relies on old Technology and Communications protocol's. It only adhere's to the Old NEMA 0183 Protocol though it does have an RJ45 port which is labeled (for future use only). The Vessel View and Smart Craft is highly Pron to problems and Errors. Does not use current NEMA 2000 connections or std's. Nor does it have it's own Marine Network (which would use and RJ45 network) as does Garmin, Raymarine, etc.
    e.g. An individual would assume that pulling the batteries for Winter would not cause any problems in SPRING. Think again - Pulling batteries, even after powering off and turning off Main Power Controls can still cause programming issue's in either the vessel view or engine Controller Computer. Thus having start up issue's in the Spring.
    e.g. Dispite following an additional end of year power-off procedure (both engines started this spring [un-like last year], but now the Vessel View controls are frozen and in-operatable with back-light completely dimmed "0" and unable to change. The Analog Gauges are just a reflection of what is sent to the vessel view. So with the Digital Readout's not working, Nor does the Analog Guages. These should be independant systems to be used as fall-back when the Digital Systems do not work.
    Software: There has been updates every year. Now with the last update, The tech states he is no longer able to use the built-in USB Port, but now has to use the Serial Connection on the wiring harness. As for checking the current software version, which should be 4.0.0.5 (it would be nice to check but the menu controls are not working, nor is the display bright enough to see).
    Technical Service -- Now maybe this all has something to do with the Mercruise Certified Technician that is assigned to the area. True, he has been the only one called and serviced this boat. But it has been 3 years now and I have never had a trouble free season start-up. let alone a trouble free year. Even straight out of the factory, Year 0, this boat had numerious Mercruiser System Issue's - from incorrectly programmed Engine Computer Controllers (Mix-match MAG vs HO controllers) to the so called "White-Glove" treatment that should have been performed Last Year.
    But I am more inclined to believe it has to do more with Mercruiser. Mercruiser used the same GM Motors for years. This was an 8.1 Liter Engine - and its output was a mere 375 HP. An 8.1L engine should output over 500 HP. GM 7.0 Liter Engine outputs 510 HP w/o any Modifications and get 19 MPG City and 31 MPG Highway. Now if you "SuperCharge" them -- e.g. ProCharger SuperCharge -- that 510 HP goes to 700 HP and gets even better fuel economy (Which with today's GAS Fuel Prices, would be a God Send).
    Now lets move onto integration with other systems: use of a Garmin Temp/Depth/Sonar/Chartplotter. System integrates via NEMA 0183
    wiring only. (This is like using the old Novell Computer Broadcast network -- if you are at all familiar with Computers -- talk about antiquated).
    Having owned a 2006 Corvette - GM Computers hold some 200+ Engine Settings and variable that can be easily programmed via a std PC and Engine Interface. Unlike Mercruise who use a "Propriatary" Interface and PC User Software. :smt021

    To Make matters worse - Do Not even attempt to call Mercruiser because they will have no idea who or what problem history you may have. They can only ID the User / Boat by its Engine Serial Number/s. Really now who remembers their Engine Serial Numbers. In todays Customer Service Databases Every other Mfg. or Service Provide can ID a Customers Product by the customer's Information: Phone Number, Address, City, Zip Etc. No not Mercruiser -- one would think that they run on Paper and Pencil.

    You may think by now that I am a little dissapointed in Mercruise and it's product line - well your wrong. I am severely disappointed in the quality and reliability of their Products, Service, and Customer support.

    Here is one for you. How can Identical size, model, propellers that came new would cause over a 300 RPM difference between Port and Starboard. Now this is Good Quality Control. Something as Low Tech as Propellers and they can't even get it correct.

    Here is another one: "Cool-Fuel" Filtering System -- Have you ever tried to change these filters -- and oh yes, not just 1 filter but a Filter-Disk that is 2x the cost of normal filters. It Cost Aproximately $60 and engine to replace. Mercruiser states these do not need to be replaced but every 200 hours or so. But with 10-15% Methonal now in Gasoline (Which as like a detergent and tends to cause condensation and water seperation) These filters should be changed yearly after the 1st 10 hours of the season. The only option would be to install seperate "Water Seperation / Fuel Filter" system on Each Fuel Tank. Which should be done by the Mfg. In this case would be Sea Ray. (This would enable easy Filter Change, as well as a visual view of any water filtered out in the fuel bowl of the filter. Additional would allow the saving of changing the "Cool-Fuel" Filters more frequently than every 200 hours or more which with many boaters can be several seasons.

    Enough of belaboring the point - Mercruise in all its attempts to be technologically advance is nothing more than a dressed up "VCR". Remember those - thank you DVD. :smt024

    Over the years, you pray that next year will be better. Until another propulsion / engine Mfg gives Mercruiser competition in the cruiser / boat division. Like Yamaha does in the Outboard arena (Trouble Free, Lighter weight, Most of Realiable, They just run, run, run). On the other hand, Volvo is worse than Mercruiser.

    The trouble is that Mercruiser believes to much in the saying: "BOAT - Break Out another Thousand" Dollars. They really do thinks this is acceptable practice. God Help the United States.
     
  2. Henry Boyd

    Henry Boyd Active Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Apr 24, 2007
    Above Cape Ann
    02' 280 DA
    496 w BIII
    Wow, tough luck. My experience with the 496 and SmartCraft, Mercruiser techs, and Mercruiser customer service is diametrically opposed to yours. In fact, last week I was on the phone several times with a Merc CS rep who helped me integrate the NMEA 0183 on my Raymarine C80, new VHF with DSC + AIS and Smartcraft System View. But then, I didn't start out with the gigantic chip on my shoulder you seem to possess. Might I suggest you either go buy a diesel boat, or perhaps one without engines, then problem solved.

    Henry
     
  3. mainstream

    mainstream New Member

    543
    Jul 18, 2011
    Lake Winnipesaukee
    2009 Sea Ray 350
    Raymarine c120 classic
    8.1 Horizons
    v drives
    Hello Henry
    I also have a 2009 smart craft vessel view everything links up fine my c120, my vhf, and my radar and waypoints everything works fine and has matter of fact my vessel view screen was discolored and they just took it out put the new one in and relinked all the componets it tood 25 min I have had zero problems with any of the soft ware to speak of so I totally agree with you.He just maybe had a lemon I do know that happens but most every one I talk to have little or no problem and when they do its adderessed in a proficiant and professional matter it is all taken care of my my dealer they have any software patches and anything else they need well

    Have a great boating season to all
     
  4. Pgh330

    Pgh330 New Member

    9
    May 23, 2010
    Pittsburgh
    330 Sundance 2009, Glomax, Sirrius, Axius, Garmin 5208 ChartPlotter, GPS, XM Radio
    Mercruiser Sea Core 496 Mag w/ Bravo III and Axius
    I thank both of you for your reply's. :smt038 No, No chip, Just appreciate quality work. Maybe I do have a Lemon -- would be nice for Mercruiser to admit that and offer to replace the products. Maybe it is just the integration with AXIUS. Again I appreciate Quality Products (which is defineately not the case here ) or Mfg that Make sure the customer has a good experience and trouble free operation.
    I did note that both of you needed to contact Mercruiser for integration help because of NEMA 0183 network and not NEMA 2000 which is plug and play.
    I wish you all many years of trouble free boating. I would like just 1 year of trouble free boating to start with.
     
  5. tbirdvet

    tbirdvet New Member

    Sep 24, 2009
    Michigan
    Previous boat: 2008 330 Sundancer
    Vetus Bow Thruster
    Kohler Gen.
    Twin 496 MAG, 375HP Bravo III,
    I have a similar boat but no axius or vessel view. The only issue I had was corrosion on the lower unit of the outdrive and Mercruiser replaced both units and the mercathodes under warranty. However some of my thoughts:
    I agree that the cool fuel filters should be replaced by remote mounted filters which would have better filtering and easier to change. I also agree that Mercruiser should start to use new industry standard NMEA 2000 systems. The engines are not the same as the car engines because they require different HP/Torque curves for their applications. I can sure understand your frustration with the system as a whole and I hope you get things worked out.
     

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