Mercury Outboard Decal Replacement
If you spent hours repairing and rebuilding your Mercury outboard so it’s “like new” under the cowling, might as well make it look like new on the outside too!
A new set of manufacturer decals gives an older outboard that showroom look, and it’s a pretty inexpensive cosmetic fix. Watch the video above or follow the steps below to learn how to replace the decals on a Mercury outboard motor.
NOTE: We replaced the decals on a 2003 Mercury 40HP 4-stroke outboard, but the steps are the same or similar for most Mercury outboards.
Tools and Parts Needed – Mercury Outboard Decal Replacement
Outboard Decal Removal
Heat Gun. The trick with a heat gun is to heat the cowling to the point that the decal’s adhesive begins to break down, but doesn’t melt the decal itself. It doesn’t take a lot of heat for the adhesive to lose its bond, and once it starts deteriorating, you can peel off the decal.
Decal Eraser Wheel. A decal eraser wheel acts like a pencil eraser. The rubberized wheel safely wears away the decal material without damaging the cowling itself. Once the decal is “erased,” any remaining adhesive can be removed with a rag soaked in contact/brake cleaner.
Polish and Rubbing Compound. The cowling’s paintwork will probably have dulled and pitted over time, but this can be remedied by polishing it. Polish is a very fine abrasive that smooths down the paintwork to a nice flat surface that reflects and shines. Use rubbing compound — which is more abrasive than polish — before polishing if the paintwork is badly oxidized.
Degreaser and Wax Remover. Clean the cowling with a degreaser and wax remover before applying the new decals. This will remove any last traces of oils or dirt that might affect the adhesive of the new decals.
Outboard Decal Replacement
Water and Soap Base. Spray the cowling and the decal with water mixed with one or two drops of dishwashing detergent. This provides a surface that minimizes air bubbles and allows the decal to be accurately positioned. Once the decal is correctly placed, use a decal squeegee to work the water/soap mixture and any air bubbles out from under the decal, while slowly removing the decal’s protective outer film.
Curing Time. Leave the new decals on for several hours or overnight so the adhesive can cure and form a firm bond with the cowling.
Marine Wax. Once the adhesive has fully set, give the cowling a couple of coats of marine wax to provide a protective layer against UV rays, water and other elements.