Shiny, beautiful, stainless steel headers will never go out of style. But we’ve learned that their unreliability, huge cost, and short life span are too much for many boaters to stomach any longer. The Mercury Racing 525EFI, 600SCI and 700SCI have been plagued by more than enough exhaust failures. The header was a subcontracted part not made by Big Blue but it sure left a mess in its wake.

Until now, customers literally felt trapped as they were faced with the only solution being either hodge podge drilling of your factory cylinder heads to retro fit a manifold meant for a different engine or more stainless steel headers of the same quality.

It took Hardin Marine, the most committed aftermarket performance marine brand in the world, to start with a clean sheet of paper and design a solution. The team at Hardin identified all of the flaws inherent with the OEM header, then taking all of the performance CAD and Solidworks flow technology at their finger tips, they spent months in the design stages to build a state-of-the-art, new “DIRECT-BOLT” performance exhaust manifold system and matching Intermediate Stainless Steel Tailpipe.

But claims only go so far without factual back up. So they went to the dyno and sufficed to say there was no surprise how well the SEAWARD stacked up against the headers. With the facts out, the customers came, and the real world applications were next.

David of MDG Performance in Londontown, MD, a long time customer of Hardin Marine, ordered up two sets for Greg and Andi Owens’ of St. Mary’s City, MD gorgeous 2003 Cigarette Top Gun Twin Step named “Godspeed” which they have owned since 2007.

Greg points out replacement sets of headers would have been natural but speaking with MDG really helped him understand the pros and cons of headers on a Mercury Racing 525EFi engine.

“In making my decision to switch from headers to the Hardin manifold/riser configuration I couldn’t be happier. As one of the first to get my hands on the systems it took working with Jeff at Hardin Marine to match my application just right and in the end I’ve got an exhaust system I can count on lasting well beyond the years maybe even two sets of headers would have lasted.”

We look forward to seeing these new manifolds turn many more 525’s into a more durable applications