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Author Topic:   Trim Tabs or No Trim Tabs
Florida Flyer posted 09-17-2003 10:51 PM ET (US)   Profile for Florida Flyer   Send Email to Florida Flyer  
I am the proud owner of a new 2003 220 Dauntless. I have 18 hrs on it and my wife and I love it. I have a 225 Merc 4-stoke and a T-top on it. This is the first boat I have had and I am for from an expert. I live in eastern Florida so I plan on using my Dauntless on the river and in the ocean.

Now for my question. My boat does not have trim tabs. Do I need them? I don't think I have enough experience to tell. I canít tell if I pop up on plane fast enough or can stay on plane at slow speeds. I am inclined to get them installed during my 20 hr scheduled maintenance. I guess I would like to know if this is a reasonable thing to do or am I wasting my money. The reason I am thinking of the trim tabs is because every picture I have seen of a 220 Dauntless it has trim tabs on it.

I would appreciate any and all feed back.


Florida Flyer

mustang7nh posted 09-18-2003 07:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for mustang7nh  Send Email to mustang7nh     
The trim tabs will probably help best with any list (sideways lean) that you get when cruising on a windy day. The t-tops tend to catch the wind and you drive tilted to one side. Also, may help keep that bow down and punching through the waves in a head sea. So, yes, a set of trim tabs will probably add additional enjoyment to your Whaler.
JohnJ80 posted 09-18-2003 07:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for JohnJ80  Send Email to JohnJ80     
Trim tabs work great to smooth out a ride in choppy water.

You can trim the bow down so that the fine entry on the bow cuts the waves instead of hitting smack on the flatter aft portion of the hull.

You can many times reduce your planing speed by forcing the bow down so the boat runs flatter at lower speed.

You can correct for side to side list.

You can eliminate porpoising.

You can independently adjust motor trim and hull attitude.

You can improve your hole shot by forcing the bow down and come out of the hole very fast.

The tabs will make your boat seem to ride like a much larger boat.

I think tabs are a benefit on almost any boat but over 18' they are really pretty much a great idea.

The two major brands are Lenco (electric) and Bennett (Hydraulic). I personally prefer the Lenco's because they are easier to install, there is less hardware and no oil. Bennett is renowned for their customer service (but I have to tell you Lenco is terrific too).

Make sure you get the largest tab you can accomodate. A larger tab requires much less deflection to get the same result (less drag).


jimh posted 09-18-2003 07:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I would suggest you continue to operate the boat for a while without the trim tabs. You will become more familiar with how it handles and how to set the engine trim at various speed and sea combinations.

As you use the boat, ask yourself in different situations how you would use the trim tabs if they were installed. If you are like most, you will continue to learn more about your boat and how to operate it every time you go out. I tell people that I learn something new about boats every time I go out in one.

After a reasonable amount of additional time underway in a variety of conditions, if you still feel that trim tabs are needed, then have some installed. At that point you will probably be in a better position as a skipper to understand when and how to use them.

Moe posted 09-18-2003 07:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for Moe  Send Email to Moe     
As I read down this thread, I was formulating what I was going to tell you. When I got to the bottom, I see that jimh has already eloquently said what I was going to. Get a full season under your belt and then decide if you need trim tabs. The simpler you keep it that first year, the easier it'll be.
BW23 posted 09-18-2003 09:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for BW23  Send Email to BW23     
If you decide to purchase any, make sure they are Bennett's !!!
JohnJ80 posted 09-18-2003 11:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for JohnJ80  Send Email to JohnJ80     
I concur. Trim tabs are nice, but it is really useful to know what problem you are trying to solve. It takes more than a few hours on a new boat to get the feel and really understand what is going on.

I think the advice to wait a bit, learn the boat and then decice is great advice.


Swellmonster posted 09-20-2003 12:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for Swellmonster  Send Email to Swellmonster     
ILUVTRIMTABS! I would put them on a canoe;)
But I concur with the above, get used to it for a while then Just do it!
JohnJ80 posted 10-05-2003 10:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for JohnJ80  Send Email to JohnJ80     
I had to come back to this thread.

I put Lenco's on my Dauntless 15 late this summer. The problem I have is that the waters I boat on are pretty rough from boat traffic and I have had a hard time getting the boat attitude adjusted properly to the waves. I can do it by trimming the motor all the way in but then she steers hard and the motor sounds like it is laboring a bit. My wife has a hard time with a hard ride and a softer ride is better for both our aging backs. Hence the trim tab experiment.

So, I installed the tabs after talking with both the Lenco and Bennet guys. I went with the Lenco's just because my console is full enough with two batteries and other stuff, and Lenco's have the simpler installation.

Well, today, I got the chance to finally really evaluate them. Flat calm with moderate boat traffic leaving totally flat water interspersed with wakes. Qualitatively they really improved the ride but I didn't have just the right conditions to test them out. Today I did.

When up they don't take away anything from the top end.

When I trim the motor up to the point where the steering is very neutral (about 25% or so up), The bow may or may not be in the right attitude to take the waves/wakes. With the tabs, I can adjust this until I can comfortably take almost anything without varying the speed much at all.

From full up to full down, the boat never handles unpredictably. Even if I make a fast change in the tabs. It isn't that dramatic.

I had a tendency to porpoise at about 35-30mph. With tabs, this can be completely eliminated. I can also trim the motor way up for low drag and traverse this speed range with no porpoising. When I go out of this range at the top end, I can put the tabs all the way up for lowest drag configuration. If I go to high, a quick zap on the tabs stops any bouncing at all.

The tabs have allowed me to keep a planing attitude at much slower speeds - I can adjust it so that I basically don't get the high nose up plowing attitude. I can pretty much keep the boat on a plane at down to about 14-15mph. Without the tabs, down to 19-18mph. THis is great for handling big chop and keeping the boat riding at fuel saving plane instead of plowing along.

Overall, the ride improved dramatically, the boat has now a ride that more closely resembles a larger boat - maybe 18 -20' instead of a 15'. Not in all respects, but in the softness with which I can take larger chop. It helps hugely to get the nose of the boat down so the fine entry takes the waves. However, I can do this without having to put the lower unit in such a position that the motor is really trying to push the stern up (inefficient), I can keep the prop aimed in the direction of travel (least torque in stering). The engine seems to run with less load ~ 100rpm higher - it just plan sounds better.

Also nice that now the boat attitude and the motor attitude are somewhat decoupled - i.e. the trim tabs have a larger effect on the hull attitude than does the motor trim. This means that I can adjust the hull attitude to the seaway and then adjust the motor trim for easiest sterring or least drag or whatever.

So, I don't know if I totally agree with putting them on a canoe, ;-) but they are a pretty nifty accessory, They have really extended my control over the boat, my planing range, passenger comfort in a range of wave/wake conditions.

Thinking about this in retrospect, I wouldn't have truly been able to understand the difference if I hadn't had the boat for a while first. Understanding how she handles is pretty important for understanding how to make the tabs manage the boat.

So, count me a trim tab fan.


wetdogsoup posted 01-08-2004 11:59 AM ET (US)     Profile for wetdogsoup  Send Email to wetdogsoup     
do you still use your Turbo lift with the trim tabs?
JohnJ80 posted 01-08-2004 09:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for JohnJ80  Send Email to JohnJ80     
Yeah, I still do - mostly because after all the fooling around with boat trim this year, I was just too lazy to take it off. I think that I probably don't need it anymore because the tabs can be used to make it hop on a plane pretty fast too. So, that will be an experiment for the spring.

Another reason to keep it is that the Turbo Lift really quiets down the exhaust noise of the motor. It sort of 'caps' the exhaust and keeps it in more solid water (my qualitative explanation).

The last thing is that I don't think a Turbo Lift has any significant drag if you properly adjust the engine height after installation. The TL runs at the surface of the water, the interface between the air and the water. So, once on a plane, there should be not much drag. That would prevent having to trim the tabs down to get going faster each time I came off a plane.

What I know is that the way my boat is set up now, I can comfortably run it in water that it really might be too small for otherwise due to wake conditions.


Thurmanator posted 01-08-2004 11:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for Thurmanator  Send Email to Thurmanator     
While you guys are talking trim tabs could you tell me the best way to adjust the list, by adjusting before on plane or after.
lakeman posted 01-10-2004 07:20 AM ET (US)     Profile for lakeman  Send Email to lakeman     
Now that we are on the subject. I have a 2000 18 Dauntless and would like to know if the place ment of the tabs, either lenco or bennet will interfere with the boat ladder.
Would appreciate a pic or two if anyone has them on their boat.
jimh posted 01-10-2004 08:44 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Please start a new thread if you have new and different questions on the topic of Trim Tabs. This old thread will cause confusion in the dates shown.

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