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Author Topic:   OptiMax Trailering Support
sailinlove posted 09-20-2010 06:39 AM ET (US)   Profile for sailinlove   Send Email to sailinlove  
[Recommend] a support device for trailering with [a Mercury OptiMax outboard motor] tilted up, when using a support from the trailer isn't an option. I can fabricate something, but wondered if there was anything on the market, since it isn't recommend to use the power tilt, or the tilt support lever.

On my trailer the stern [of the boat] protrudes beyond the end of the trailer, so there isn't an easy method to support [a Mercury OptiMax outboard motor] when trailering. Prefer to have it raised to increase ground clearance for the lower unit. With my old Merc 800 I simply used a block of wood between the engine & the transom bracket.

Suggestions appreciated.

jimh posted 09-20-2010 07:52 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Lack of proper support from their tilt mechanism when tilted up is a problem with all Mercury outboard motors. Mercury acknowledges this problem in their advice to customers:

What precautions should I take when trailering my outboard powered boat with the engine attached?

Trailer your boat with the outboard tilted down (vertical operating position). Shift the outboard to forward gear. This prevents the propeller from spinning freely. If additional ground clearance is required, the outboard should be tilted up using an accessory outboard support device. Refer to your local dealer for recommendations. Additional clearance may be required for railroad crossings, driveways and trailer bouncing.

IMPORTANT: Do not rely on the power trim/tilt system or tilt support lever to maintain proper ground clearance for trailering. The outboard tilt support lever is not intended to support the outboard for trailering.

One product that seems like a reasonable accessory device is a rubber gizmo that fits onto the actuator of the tilt ram. You compress the motor against this rubber gizmo. Here is a link to the manufacturer's website. The website is atrocious. Thankfully, I think the product is better designed than the website that promotes it:

burning_hXc_soul posted 09-20-2010 09:26 AM ET (US)     Profile for burning_hXc_soul  Send Email to burning_hXc_soul     
I'm a tad confused... On my 1986 Mercury 75 horsepower motor I just use a piece of wood cut to size so that when laid on top of the tilt rams so when the motor is against the piece of wood the motor is positioned about halfway from being either trimmed all the way down or up. I can't add the support bracket to it because my 1963 16'7 sticks out past the end of the trailer. Is this a bad thing? It's held so far.

I always thought the ideal situation was to support the motor so that when you hit a bump while trailering the motor doesn't put force on the transom and put undue stress on it. Hence using a bracket attached from the trailer to the motor.

Wouldn't the m-y wedge still let the motor exert that force against the transom or would the rubber minimize it?

Nauti Tauk posted 09-20-2010 03:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for Nauti Tauk  Send Email to Nauti Tauk     
I personally use the "gizmo" ,as Jim refers to it, not unit or device but gizmo. Anyhow,it works very well on our 2003 90hp 4s Mercury outboard when trailering the 170 Montauk Boston Whaler boat. The forces placed on the transom while underway on the water would be far greater than any forces placed on the boat while trailering. Maybe Jim has a "gizmo" that would calculate the actual forces exerted on the transom for different horsepower outboard engines on different models of Boston Whaler boats that would illustrate this point.
L H G posted 09-20-2010 05:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for L H G    
Lack of proper support from their tilt mechanism when tilted up is a problem, not only with Mercury outboard motors, but from what I have seen also a problem with Evinrude and Yamaha also.

The power trim on any ony of these engines is not intended to support the engine once it is past the maximum "trim out" running postiion. Never tow an outboard full tilted up resting on those little support legs.

I tow my Mercs at the maximum trim out position where the Mercury engine bracket has an excellent solid "through pin" detail for the engine to rest on. These pins are an extra cost option readily available. So in this position, the engine is still on the full power trim support rods (just as it would be in running) and also has the positive support of the bracket tilt pin.

Some people also use a simple block of 2 x 4 wedged between the bracket and the engine for this same positive support.
that seems to work on the Yamaha and Evinrude engines.

jimh posted 09-20-2010 05:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
[ASIDE: We seem to have veered off course here, and now instead of discussing the solution to the problem with a Mercury OptiMax being supported while tilted up on the trailer, we have two other brands of motors introduced into the discussion. I don't think any Evinrude or Yamaha owners are seeking advice about their motors and how to tilt them when on the trailer.--jimh]

There is no problem with support for the Evinrude motors I have owned. Both of them had built-in support brackets for supporting the motor in a partially tilted position when on the trailer. No extra gizmo to buy--it is built into the mounting bracket. I don't think Larry is familiar with Evinrude motors, so he probably was not aware that Evinrude has (for many years) provided for support for their motors when on the trailer in the design of their engine mount and trim system.

In any case, the built-in support feature on Evinrude will not help this Mercury owner. Let's get back on topic.

As Mercury suggests, you need to get an accessory if you cannot operate the trailer with the motor in the vertical operating position. Now, as L H G mentions, I suppose you could construe that a "vertical operating position" was one at the very top of the trim range, and, if that is true, then you can tow down the road with the engines just trimmed up a bit. However, if the trailer has low ground clearance, that may not lift the engine high enough.

If you tow with the engines not tilted up to fully clear, you have to be careful about turning into driveways with a dip in them. It is not hard to bottom out the skeg on the motor on the pavement if negotiating a turn into a driveway with a dip at the curb.

ukuslayer posted 09-20-2010 06:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for ukuslayer  Send Email to ukuslayer     

I also use the my-wedge. I use it on a 225hp optimax. it works perfect, it gives great support and also a nice cushion effect which you can control by how much you trim the engine down when it is installed. Hope this helps.



themclos posted 09-20-2010 07:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for themclos  Send Email to themclos     
I use the the my-wedge as well for my 225 HP Optimax.

Works great.


jimh posted 09-20-2010 08:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Thanks for the three first-hand reports that concur with my recommendation of the M-Y-WEDGE gizmo. I believe that the M-Y-WEDGE fits into the general recommendation of the engine manufacturer, Mercury Marine, and qualifies as an "accessory" needed to support the motor while tilted up and on a trailer.

Are any other accessories recommended for use with a Mercury OptiMax motor to provide the necessary support that the manufacturer recommends be provided when the motor is tilted up on a trailer?

L H G posted 09-20-2010 08:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for L H G    
JIm - The OMC built power trim equipped Evinrude I sold did not have any mid range tilt support built into it. It would have had to be trailed with this M-Y-WEDGE gizmo, or in running position.
jimh posted 09-20-2010 08:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
OK--Larry--You seem hell-bent on proving that there is a problem with Evinrude, but none existst. Why do you keep introducing Evinrude into a discussion of Mercury motors? You found a 35-year-old OMC motor without a built-in trailer tilt accessory, but that does not mean current Evinrude motors have a problem. We are talking about current Mercury motors, and I gave a direct quote from Mercury acknowledging their problem. A 35-year-old Evinrude without a trailer-support bracket does not mean that you needed a support 35-years ago. I would consult the 35-year-old owner's manual of the 35-year-old motor to see if the manufacturer suggested buying an accessory 35-years ago.

If you see any direct quotes from Evinrude telling their owners that they must buy an accessory to support their motors please let us know. This is not a problem for Evinrude. I gave a direct quote from Mercury that tells owner's to buy an accessory. I recommended one. Three other owners of OptiMax motors concur. Your recommendation is to not use one, and also to try to shift the focus to Evinrude. What gives?

lurkynot posted 09-23-2010 09:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for lurkynot  Send Email to lurkynot     
Check out "motor block" in my album. It is how I support my 135 Optimax. The factory support leaves the lower unit too high [and gives] a foreshortened view for a vehicle traveling to close behind. Also it is high enough for most approach ramp to not grind the skeg.

martyn1075 posted 09-27-2010 03:17 AM ET (US)     Profile for martyn1075  Send Email to martyn1075     
Does anyone know the reason one should not use the support lever for the Optimax engines? I have two of them and although I don't trailer my boat to often I have never heard of this. I use the wedge for my kicker which is a Mercury Big Foot. Its not the weight that is a concern but it bounces a great deal which is not good. It also works extremely well on long rough trips in the water.
As for the Evinrude thing I don't think LHG was necessarily referring to the new ones just a past encounter with an older one. Certainly not bashing or tarnishing the product I don't think, but its true, although not entirely on topic many other companies not mentioned here have similar issues with the tilt and trim and could use the wedge or anything else like it. Its a good idea and wont hurt any engine Evinrude or not. However, I must say its true, Mercury does seem to lead the way it seems with the most problems in this area.
jimh posted 09-27-2010 08:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
For goodness sakes, man, Evinrude motors HAVE A BUILT-IN TRAILER SUPPORT BRACKET. Evinrude tells their owners to use the BUILT-IN TRAILER SUPPORT BRACKET for the motor when on a trailer. They do not tell owners to buy accessories to hold the motor when on a trailer.

Bringing up some obscure 35-year-old motor cannot alter Mercury's recommendation to its outboard motor owners that they need to buy an accessory to support their motors when on a trailer.

It is not ME who says this--it is Mercury. I don't make this stuff up. I don't introduce 35-year-old motors from another manufacturer into this discussion to try to prove that Mercury does not need a trailer bracket. MERCURY says that MERCURY MOTORS need a trailer bracket. It is that simple.

If you want to run around without one, go ahead.

The real story is that all modern outboard motors use the same basic power trim and tilt units, manufactured by a third party. Mercury motors do not have any built-in bracket to support the motor when tilted up on the trailer. Evinrude does. That's why Mercury tells its customers to buy an accessory. The situation is very simple. Buy the accessory. The M-Y Wedge sounds like a good choice. It can't be more than $50 to $75. Save your trim system on that Mercury. Follow the manufacturer's advice.

martyn1075 posted 09-27-2010 08:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for martyn1075  Send Email to martyn1075     
I don't think my question was answered with that response but thanks anyways... I don't understand why you are so defensive with the EVINRUDE thing everyone seems to be on the same page with the Wedge as a good solution for the original post. if you have an E-TEC then you win! and don't need it. Now, I simply would like to know why Opimax engines are not protected with just the tilt support lever provided. It was mentioned in the original post that the lever is not recommended from the publisher and I want to know why.
jimh posted 09-27-2010 09:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
You'll have to call Mercury Customer Relations to get that answer.

I don't understand why any time a Mercury engine is under discussion we have to get a homily on Evinrude products from 35-years ago or now thrown in.

Get the M-Y Wedge to hold up your OptiMax, and call Mercury to find out why they did not provide a support in their bracket design. May be due to patent infringement problems.

martyn1075 posted 09-27-2010 11:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for martyn1075  Send Email to martyn1075     
I'm not sure either because the new Evinrude is a good motor which I like but thanks I agree I will just get a few more if I need them.
L H G posted 09-28-2010 02:09 AM ET (US)     Profile for L H G    
I never had a 35 year old Evinrude. The one I had, I don't think anyone on this website knows about. But it had no mid-tilt mechanical support built into the Power Trim system for trailering, just like Mercury doesn't. To trail it mid-tilt, it would have also needed the rubber block or some other support. The 150 and 200 Yamahas I am familiar with also needed blocking for mid-tilt trailering support. If Evinrude now has this mid-tilt support system, I think it's wonderful, such an innovation that I would think they would have huge marketshare over the poorer trim systems of the competition. Either that, or nobody who buys Mercury and Yamaha engines really cares.

I did have a pair of old 1975 Johnsons on a 19 Outrage I bought, but without power trim. If ground clearance was needed, they had to be trailed in full tilt position, which had a little "slot lock" on it, but the engines still bobbed around like crazy on the road. Not very solidly supported at all. I used a block of 2 x 4 instead.

jimh posted 09-30-2010 08:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Larry--You are not well acquainted with Evinrude motors, and that is understandable because of your life-long habit of buying Mercury. Evinrude motors have had a trailer tilt support bracket in them since at least 1992, which is 18 years ago. My 1992 Evinrude has a tilt bracket for support when on the trailer, and it looked just like the one on my 2010 Evinrude.

Not that any of this makes one iota of difference to anyone with a Mercury motor. Mercury motors need an accessory to hold the motor up while trailering. It is that simple. Mercury clearly advises their owners about this.

You introduced the topic of Evinrude motors into this discussion of Mercury motors. You often do this. It seems like a new law--Goltz's Law: no discussion of any shortcoming of a Mercury motor can go on for more that three posts before L H G brings up the subject of Evinrude, Bombardier, or E-TEC.

I don't see any winning position here for you. Evinrude motors now and for at least the past 18 years have not needed nor have they recommended buying an accessory to support the motor when tilted. Mercury recommends now that their motors need an accessory to hold them up when tilted for trailering.

How are you going to spin this into an advantage to Mercury? I cannot see any escape here. I think you are in checkmate.

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