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Author Topic:   OMC Power Trim-Tilt Fluid Recommendations
Kookadala posted 06-15-2010 12:57 PM ET (US)   Profile for Kookadala   Send Email to Kookadala  
[On a 1981 Evinrude 200-HP engine] I checked the tilt-trim fluid reservoir. [The fluid level] is low, although the tilt mechanism still works fine. I would like to top off [the fluid level in the reservoir]. The manual calls for OMC Power Tilt & Trim Fluid. I have read many posts that say to use either motor oil or ATF in the tilt mechanism, but the fluid in mine is clear. None of the local boat shops have OMC brand fluid, but they have other brands. Is it all the same stuff that is sold? Does anyone have a similar motor that has added fluid?


Tohsgib posted 06-15-2010 03:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tohsgib  Send Email to Tohsgib     
Clear is probably hydraulic fluid, you want ATF.
jimh posted 06-15-2010 07:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
If you don't mind, could you please give the URI for all the "many" posts contained on CONTINUOUSWAVE where it is recommended to use motor oil in the power trim system. I cannot recall ever hearing of this, I don't think it is a good idea, and I want to indicate in every one one of those "many" posts that this advice is not very good.
Kookadala posted 06-16-2010 12:18 AM ET (US)     Profile for Kookadala  Send Email to Kookadala     
The many posts are not on this forum but other places around the web I have seen, such as

All of these posts talk about using motor oil or ATF.

I am not sure I want to mix ATF into the reservoir if it already has clear hydraulic fluid in there, as the viscosity is not going to be the same. Will check the price tomorrow at the boat shop and if reasonable will buy the trim fluid (although not OMC brand)

Tom W Clark posted 06-16-2010 12:34 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark

A 1981 Evinrude 200 HP outboard is not a MerCruiser Alpha 1 sterndrive.

jimh posted 06-16-2010 08:06 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Thank you for pointing to those other websites where you may have received what I would consider to be questionable information about what sort of fluid to use in your OMC engine trim and tilt system. CONTINUOUSWAVE does not have control over the content of other websites, and if other websites give you bad advice, it is not possible for CONTINUOUSWAVE to take responsibility for that. As a general rule, CONTINUOUSWAVE avoids reviewing of the content of other websites, as we are not in the business of acting as reviewers or critics. CONTINUOUSWAVE tries to collect and organize useful information which has been reviewed for accuracy by the many very well informed participants.

I do not recall any case in which on CONTINUOUSWAVE there was a recommendation to use engine lubricating oil as a hydraulic fluid in an OMC trim and tilt system. Considering the very small volume of fluid used in a trim and tilt system of an outboard motor, and the non-consuming nature of the system, that is, you should never need to add fluid if the system is operating properly, it seems only reasonable to use the fluid recommended by the manufacturer. Generally manufacturers will recommend their own branded products, but also a generic equivalent. I do not see much potential for cost savings. You might save a dollar or two on fluid on a one-time basis. Repair of a trim-tilt assembly could cost many hundred dollars. I don't see any value in trying to second guess the manufacturer. I suggest you consult the owner's manual for your engine and use the recommended fluid.

I don't have the service manual for your specific motor, but in the service manual for a 1990 Evinrude 200-HP motor, the specified fluid for the power tilt and trim is OMC Power Trim/Tilt & Power Steering Fluid or GM Dexron II Automatic Transmission Fluid.

jimh posted 06-16-2010 08:23 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
[Moved to REPAIRS/MODS where the topic of engine repair and maintenance is discussed.]
Tohsgib posted 06-16-2010 12:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tohsgib  Send Email to Tohsgib     
Older mercury outboards with the remote pump used engine oil like 10-30. Again OMC like Jim stated use ATF.
Kookadala posted 06-16-2010 12:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for Kookadala  Send Email to Kookadala     
I understand that other websites may contain erroneous information, that's why I like Continuous Wave and frequent this board.

The manual for my 81 Evinrude calls solely for OMC Power Tilt & Trim Fluid, and does not suggest an alternate. Due to the age of the motor, I assume that some of the fluid has very slowly leaked out, as the fluid in the reservoir is a few inches below the fill hole, when its supposed to be at the level of the fill hole.

I will order the correct fluid off the internet, where 11 oz costs about 6 bucks. Certainly more expensive than ATF but not bad considering the the cost of overhauling the tilt system. Thanks again Jim and everyone else for the help.

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