Mercury Quickstor Review
Desparation is a great catalyst for innovation and in my case, a great motivator to search for a solution.
It was fall 2010 and with a set of new motors which included a 225 Optimax and a 9.9 Mercury Pro Kicker on the back of my new 2010 Willie Raptor, life was just plain good. I was Fall Chinook fishing, having a great time with customers on what turned out to be a great run. The fishing for Fall Chinook lasts until about Thanksgiving and then I mothball my boat and hibernate like a bear in an attempt to catch up on the lost sleep from the previous six months.
About February, after a season in the drift boat steelhead fishing, I’ll begin to think about Spring Chinook fishing and “thinking” about anything usually requires a little bit of fishing. I had run the fuel out of the motors in an attempt to keep my motors from gumming up do to bad fuel (ethanol) and also had treated the fuel with Sta-bil. I figured to be in pretty good shape as I dumped the boat into the Willamette River for the first time in 2011, but in firing up the kicker, all my figuring didn’t work out so well.
Although ethanol causes a variety of ailments for motors of all types, it’s problems are most quickly noticed in the kickers (small 6-15 hp trolling motors) that we run. I believe the size of the holes in the jets and their ability to finely aspirate the fuel in order to meet efficiency requirements is what’s giving us the problems. I don’t have the same issues that I’m describing with my 225 Optimax, those appear to be long term issues, but everyone I know that runs a kicker has experienced what I’m describing.
So back to the “didn’t work out so well”…..The kicker motor sputtered and gasped for fuel. It would run and then it would die. I’d throttle it up to see if I could dislodge whatever was causing the carburetor to act up, but ultimately the boat was headed for the shop. After a thorough carb cleaning and $150, I was back on the water and back to my old routine. Gas up (a.k.a., poison my motors), add Sta-bil, run the boat for a couple months and eventually watch the responsiveness of my kicker deteriorate resulting in another carburetor job about two thirds the way through the season.
This was life, or so I thought as I’d basically resigned myself to the fact that I needed to add another $300-$500 a year in operating costs to my maintenance budget. But even worse, as a fisherman, I simply can’t stand when my gear isn’t working right. Call it OCD, but function is pretty important to most fishermen I know. So much so, that we spend insane amounts money just to make sure we’re NOT dealing with breakdowns, lack of performance, missed opportunities and the like.
Since the advent of ethanol, boat owners have been having issues and I think it’s taken the fishing/boating community some years to actually figure out what’s going on. In these parts Sta-bil was commonly recommended, but mechanics were still seeing boats come back with the same issue. I’m not sure of the technical reasons for this, but many mechanics that I talked to thought Sta-bil and it’s former alcohol ingredient had something to do with it, but that was then and from what I understand they got away from the formula. Was I still consuming the old product that distributors and retailers were trying to get through? Not sure, I only know the problems continued and this caused the continued search for a real solution.
Before I go any further, full disclosure is required. I’ve have been a Mercury Pro Staff member now for 3 years and am grateful for the motors they produce as they work day in and day out for me in my profession. Fuel additives were not the reason that I wanted to work with Mercury, it was their motors. Had Sta-bil performed as I thought it was suppose to, I’d still be running the product today. But I, like any pro, am going to use what works and if it were Sta-bil that kept my motors out of the shop and on the water, then Sta-bil it would be. Although Mercury would prefer that we run their products, they’re not going to hold their pro’s feet to the fire on the use of specific items that might make their life easier on the water.
After yet another carb job on my kicker in the fall of 2011 one of the service guys at Stevens Marine recommended that I check out some of Mercury’s fuel additives instead of the Sta-bil that I was using. He went into a long technical explanation as to the whys and hows of fuel systems, but the end result of his very long explanation was that they’d been having good luck with the Mercury Fuel Additives and that I needed to give them a try.
I went on to research the three fuel additives that Mercury offers. Quickare is designed to be the “every fill up” additive. Quickleen is there to keep everything clean and Quickstor designed for when you think you might store your boat for prolonged periods. I began talking to a few sources familiar with the product and went through my options. The Quickare is what is suggested to use with every fill up, but I asked, “why wouldn’t I want to use the product that stabilizes the fuel for up to a year?”. I couldn’t find anyone to come up with a reason why I shouldn’t, so I decided to go with the Quickstor.
My fall fishing locations don’t afford me the option of ethanol free fuel, so I was using the Quickstor on every fill up. At the end of the season, I did my usual mothballing and off to hibernating went my work horse. I can remember periodically thinking about the day of reckoning that was to come in the spring. When the Spring Chinook finally started showing up in the Willamette, it was time to do my annual spring cleaning and get the boat ready for battle. This usually takes me a day or two and it’s capped off by a trip to one of the nearby boat ramps. This particular trip felt more like heading to the dentist to get wisdom teeth pulled as I was conditioned to expect kicker motor issues.
To my surprise, after months out of use the 9.9 trolling motor fired right up. After warming it up a bit, the motor set right into a nice idle. I ran it out from the dock and ran it through it’s paces. Throttle up and immediately back to a near idle, throttle up and back down.
A motor with ethanol issues can’t stand this. They’ll cut out every time, but this kicker was running sharp and so it did through the rest of the year, thank God. It seemed like it had been a long time since I had confidence in the reliability of my kicker, but not because the kicker was anywhere at fault.
Recently I went through my annual spring routine and the results are what caused me to write this article. For a second winter in a row and now going on a year and a half, my 9.9 Pro Kicker is still ticking right along.
Ethanol is a killer and I hope that as more people realize it’s detriment, more people of all walks of life will demand more access to ethanol free fuel. But until that time when my ethanol free utopia is realized, I’m religious about two things: Buying ethanol free fuel if I can and if I can’t, supplement the ethanol fuel with Mercury Quickstor. I would say that the combination of these things have afforded me some pretty good motor health and ultimately kept me on the water and out of the shop. Give Quickstor a try and I think you’ll agree.
Lance Fisher is a northwest fishing guide and host of The NW Outdoor Show.