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Author Topic:   Tow with Engine down or up?
paul_boatforum posted 08-02-2000 09:26 PM ET (US)   Profile for paul_boatforum   Send Email to paul_boatforum  
I need a reminder. Is it best to tow a boat (13' / 30hp in this case) with the engine tilted up or with the engine down?


whalernut posted 08-02-2000 09:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for whalernut  Send Email to whalernut     
Paul, I tow a `16 Currituck with a 1975 85h.p. Johnson with the engine down and it has at least 10 inches to the ground, it tows great and safe. It has the older higher Fulton trailer. If you have the newer lower style trailer it may be to low to do the trailering with the motor down. I am not sure of the minimum highth needed? Anyone know? Regards-Jack Graner.
Barry posted 08-02-2000 10:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for Barry  Send Email to Barry     
I believe that the manual for my '94 Merc 90 hp with power trim recommends that the boat be trailered with the engine down if there is "adequate" clearance.

It also says "DO NOT use tilt lever (which locks the motor in a fully-tilted position) when trailering boat/motor UNLESS lower unit is supported with a block of wood."

Anyway, I tow with the engine partially tilted and supported by a transom saver.

Barry posted 08-02-2000 10:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for Barry  Send Email to Barry     
The manual also recommends that "If motor will not be operated for a period of time, if it is to be removed from boat, or if it is to be tilted up" that you disconnect the fuel line and run it dry.
paul_boatforum posted 08-02-2000 10:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for paul_boatforum  Send Email to paul_boatforum     
It did seem to me that it would be better down - seems like a lot of stress on the engine/transom with an engine bouncing on a long trip. The boat I am looking at came with one of those EZ Load trailers. Doesn't look like the best trailer in the world, but there did seem to be enough ground clearance from what I could see.

If all goes well I will be bringing my new (used 85') and first whaler home tomorrow morning and I wanted to be sure.

Now that am finally getting a used whaler I can't help but check this forum a few times a day!! It is very helpful and I look forward to adding and helping where I can.


Hoop posted 08-03-2000 12:23 AM ET (US)     Profile for Hoop  Send Email to Hoop     
I have the same question ... motor up or supported by a "transom saver"? I've got the new style, low, float on trailer with only about 2 inches of clearance when the motor is fully down on the Montauk. The 70hp four stroke Evinrude manual, like the Mercury manual referenced above, says clearly not to tow the boat in with the motor in the fully up position. But a mechanic at the dealer said that they do it all the time. I'm wondering if the warning is to "protect the transom" or if it is to protect the motor. If it's the former, related to the transom, maybe the Whaler transom is stronger than many others? Hoop, San Jose, CA
triblet posted 08-03-2000 11:23 AM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
Appolgies if this shows up twice.

My Evinrude 90 has TWO latches.

One is fully up (darn near horizontal), is
intended to get the motor well clear of
the water in a slip, and should not be used
for trailering.

The other is a flip-out latch that holds the
motor in about the 45 degree position for

And remember, this is a Whaler, not a

Chuck Tribolet

JB posted 08-03-2000 03:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for JB  Send Email to JB     
It seems like a question of you want to carry the full load of the outboard on the transom (fully down), the full load plus extra load and torque (tilted), or do you want to distribute some of that load to the trailer via a "transom saver"?
paul_boatforum posted 08-03-2000 05:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for paul_boatforum  Send Email to paul_boatforum     
I think as others mentioned, it may be a question of clearance. I noticed as I towed the boat home I would be too close to the road to tow with the engine down.

I agree that it is a question of phyics. That's why I hate to see that engine tilting up and then having that much more torque to pull on the transom as I go over every pothole.

I may look into the transom savers. Maybe that provides a happy medium? Less stress, a little support, and some clearance? I would be curious then to see how many others are using these.


DouglasOne posted 08-03-2000 06:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for DouglasOne  Send Email to DouglasOne     
The prefered method of trailering is with the engine trimed under. This is to protect the transom assembly of the outboard. It is true that many outboards are trailered trimmed up, but it does put more stress on the transom components. My trailer does not allow for a motor fully trimmed under, so I trim the motor out and use a transom saver. My having a load path to the trailer, this situation is actually better than even trimmed under, as the transom saver and trailer share some of the load the transom components would have need to carry, which in turn relieves some stress and strain from the transom. It's a win-win!
dgp posted 08-03-2000 06:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for dgp  Send Email to dgp     
My Mercury owner's manual recommends the use of "transom savers". Don
sport15er posted 08-03-2000 07:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for sport15er  Send Email to sport15er     
I trailer my SS15 w/ 60 HP Evinrude in the tilted position, since I only have a few inches of clearance when down. This particular motor came with a 'Trail Lock' that secures the motor in the full tilt postion, relieving all stress on the hydraulic system
However, if you've got the clearance, the better choice is in the down........
triblet posted 08-03-2000 10:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
It's unclear to me that there's more torque
with the engine in the 45 degree position
than all the way down. Yes, the prop is
hanging out farther, but the powerhead
is more or less centered over the transom
and pushing straight down.

Chuck Tribolet

hauptjm posted 08-04-2000 02:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for hauptjm    
I'm curious what the guys with bigger engines are doing??? I have an additional burden what with having a bracket. I use the kick stand, which tilts the OMC 150hp at 45`. Believe me, I'm still amazed at the bracket configurations. I'm not a physics genius, but sticking 400+lbs. 2 feet off the transom seems incredible. Obviously, someone a heck of a lot smarter than me has figured it out, because mine has been back there for almost 5 years, and many, many miles of trailering, without a problem. Of course, a "transom stick" isn't an option.
dgp posted 08-04-2000 06:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for dgp  Send Email to dgp     
The engine mfrs don't recommend the use of the engine's built-in tilt lock. This is for use with the boat at rest and takes the load off the hydraulic tilt/trim system. It's not for use when trailering on the highway. Don
Mako posted 08-04-2000 09:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for Mako  Send Email to Mako     
I've got a 30hp Merc and just stick a one foot length of broomstick lengthwise under the motor. The part that rests against the tilt pin (if I had manual tilt) sandwiches the broomstick between the motor and the bracket. This gives enough clearance to trailer with peace of mind. You can also engage the shallow water drive bracket if you've got one. I've heard a block of wood works well on larger motors.
MikeG posted 08-07-2000 06:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for MikeG  Send Email to MikeG     
I tow my Montauk with the engine up since it will hit the ground if lowered. Anyway about 200 miles into the latest trip the back of the boat cover came loose and flipped the manual release lever causing the engine to lower and turning the bottom 2.5" of the skeg into bright yellow sparks on Rt. 95. I need an idea for preventing this... transom saver? It's a 1988 88spl w/ manual tilt. Also how do I go about repairing the skeg? I figured maybe a welding shop could graft on a new one. Has anyone done this before? Thanks, Mike.
paul_boatforum posted 08-07-2000 07:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for paul_boatforum  Send Email to paul_boatforum     
Mike, that is a nightmare come true! I hated looking back in my mirror as I came around the DC beltway!

To those that mentioned putting a board (etc) so that the motor rests down, but provided enough clearance, what are you using to keep the board in place? I still wonder about the engine bouncing up and letting the board slide out. I am curious what solutions you have found. Paul

jimh posted 08-07-2000 08:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
If you do use a board or a dowel to hold the engine up while towing on a Classic Whaler, the wood should be Phillipine Mahagony and it should have several (5-6 min.) coats of varnish! :-)


Barry posted 08-07-2000 09:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for Barry  Send Email to Barry     
In terms of repair, I've seen the following advertised on Overtons. You might consider it as an option to having someone welding a new one on. I assume it requires you drilling a hole or two to bolt it on.

"SKEGGARD -- Repairs Broken Skegs; Protects New Skegs -- Save time and money repairing damaged lower units by installing the new SKEGGARD. Designed to fit most major brands of outboards and sterndrives, SKEGGARD is made from durable stainless steel and can be installed in minutes without welding. A stainless steel anchoring bolt is included. Don't wait until the damage has occurred. Protect your investment from costly damage by installing SKEGGARD on your engine's lower unit today.

Quantity: Part #: Description: Color Size: Our Price
31608 SKEGGARD For Mariner/Mercury V-6 models '79 and later(except Magnum and XR models) 75-115hp '93 and later $94.99"

Good luck,

sport15er posted 08-07-2000 10:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for sport15er  Send Email to sport15er     
Here's a few lines from my '87 Evinrude manual:
"We recommend your motor be trailered in its normal running position. If trailer does not provide adequate road clearance, a Trail Lock is provided to secure motor in full tilt position for trailering. Do not trailer motor in a tilted position unless Trail Lock is engaged. Failure to engage Trail Lock while trailering may damage the hydraulic system."
I'll go by the book on this one, and as far as stress on the transom, I believe there's more stress in the 'normal position' pulling away from the transom, than pushing down. So give your outboards a break and get 'em up!!!!

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