How to Identify an 80s 75 HP Mercury Outboard Engine

Written by will charpentier
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Throughout its history, the only way to identify the model year of a Mercury outboard motor was through the motor's serial number. The year wasn't encoded in the serial number or model number, but each year, the serial numbers for an engine model fell within a range. Mercury Marine built a 75-horsepower outboard for only four years in the 1980s --- 1984, 1985, 1986 and 1988. If you know the model and the serial number --- information available on the engine itself --- you can quickly identify the motor.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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  1. 1

    Search the port side of the swivel bracket for a tag that includes the serial number, a number indicating the horsepower and a group of letters. This information will be listed from the top of the tag to the bottom. The letters indicate the model of the motor: "EL" in 1984 and 1985; "ELPT" for 1985; "ELPTO" for 1984 and 1986; "ELO" for 1986; "ELH" for 1988.

  2. 2

    Compare the serial number to the model number. For example, the 1984 "EL" model had serial numbers ranging from 6432901 to 6613220. The 1984 "ELPTO" serial numbers ranged from 6432901 to 6613220. In 1985, the "EL" and "ELPT shared a serial-number series, running from 6613221 to A197881, reflecting a change in the way serial numbers were ascribed to the motors. In 1986, the "ELPTO" model included serial numbers from A197882 to B249479, the "ELO" model included serial numbers that began with A197882 and ended with B249479. The 1988 "ELH" model serial numbers began with B249480 and ended with B25000.

  3. 3

    Compare the tag on the swivel bracket with the small placard on the top of the powerhead. If the serial and model numbers don't match, the swivel bracket might have been replaced. Use the numbers on the top of the powerhead.

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