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Author Topic:   18 Dauntless -- Trim tabs?
DeepSouthWhaler posted 03-14-2005 11:43 AM ET (US)   Profile for DeepSouthWhaler  
I recently purchased a 1999 18' Dauntless with a 150 Opti.
I am looking for feedback on trim tabs for this boat. I assume that it would help the ride in 2'-3' chop. I have taken the boat out several times and it does not pound too much in chop (when I slow down) but it does jolt side to side when turning in chop or crossing a wake. It seems to do this more than my Montauk. It may be because once the RPMs are reduced below 3000 the boat starts to drop off of a plane and the bow is high. I am hoping that trim tabs would allow the boat to go slower and keep the bow down when it gets choppy.
Lars Simonsen posted 03-14-2005 09:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for Lars Simonsen  Send Email to Lars Simonsen     
Installing trim tabs was the best money I ever spent on my 18' Dauntless. I highly recommend them. Trim tabs dramatically reduce the "pounding" in chop, and allow you to stay on plane at lower speeds. I got the Bennett M-80 Sport Tabs. They fit perfectly on the transom, and don't interfere with the swim ladder. I don't know how well the M-120s would fit, but if I had it all to do over again, I would seriously consider the M-120s. I don't know that they would be significantly better, but I'm assuming the wider tabs would provide more lift with less drag. The M-80s provide plenty of lift (you can actually raise the stern up high enough to get the prop to break loose).

I got my trim tabs off the internet from Gina's Vineyard Marina (if I recall the name correctly). They were the cheapest place I found, and delivered the tabs almost immediately.

Trim tabs will completely change how the boat handles (for the better).


DeepSouthWhaler posted 03-15-2005 10:04 AM ET (US)     Profile for DeepSouthWhaler    
Thanks Lars,

Where did you mount the tabs on the transom? Is there room beneath the scuppers? I also have the trailer tie downs on each side of the motor on the stern eyes. I guess that I will have to get the trailer strap that goes over the top of the stern.


Lars Simonsen posted 03-15-2005 07:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for Lars Simonsen  Send Email to Lars Simonsen     

Check your e-mail. I sent you some photos. The tabs fit under the scuppers.


acseatsri posted 03-15-2005 08:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for acseatsri  Send Email to acseatsri     
The M-120's were the best investment I ever made for my classic 18OR. There are some on this site who will tell you they're unnecessary on an 18' boat, but most of them don't have them. I went with the M120's for the reason mentioned above, more lift with less drag. Here's a pic that Sal took.

I got mine on Ebay for $355 or so plus shipping. I've bought quite a bit of fishing stuff from him and have been happy with the service and prices.

JohnJ80 posted 03-15-2005 09:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for JohnJ80  Send Email to JohnJ80     
Buy the largest tab you can install. You get more effect with less tab in the water.

Tabs work great adjusting the attitude of your bow to meet the sea conditions. If you are going head into waves, push the bow down so that the fine entry of the bow parts the waves instead of taking them on the flat part of the hull. In addition, you can hold a plane much longer (slower) than without.

I added these to my 15 dauntless and I would also agree it is some of the best money I spent on my boat. We boat in an area with large wakes from heavy boat traffic, and the tabs have increased the useful range of the boat so much in those conditions.


lakeman posted 03-16-2005 07:37 AM ET (US)     Profile for lakeman  Send Email to lakeman     
I got interested and gave this M80 or M120 question to Tom of Bennett Marine here is the answer I recieved.

As long as you are prudent in using them (short bursts) there in reason at all not to go with big Tabs. A set of M120s on your Dauntless will let you hold the bow down at much lower speeds. This will really smooth out the dride in a chop. Plus the bigger Tabs will need to be deflected less for the same lift, therefore they create less drag.

Long story short, go for it!

Bennett Marine

SteveGMP posted 03-16-2005 07:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for SteveGMP  Send Email to SteveGMP     
I have a 2002 Dauntless. We do a lot of swimming, children included, of the back of the boat. Do you think the trim tabs will create a hazard for swimmers jumping in and getting out of the water. Also, is this install strictly a dealer job?
acseatsri posted 03-16-2005 09:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for acseatsri  Send Email to acseatsri     
See the thread below.

Lars Simonsen posted 03-17-2005 06:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for Lars Simonsen  Send Email to Lars Simonsen     
We do a lot of swimming from my boat, too, and no, the trim tabs don't create a hazard (not an unacceptable hazard, anyway). They don't interfere with the swim ladder (although you probably could get your toes painfully tangled in the starboard tab as you climb the swim ladder if your feet are long enough). The transom is slanted a bit, so the tabs don't stick far out beyond the top of the transom anyway. I don't think the tabs present any more of a risk to swimmers than the outboard and propellor do.

The install is not that difficult. The hardest part (emotionally, anyway) is drilling two 3/4 inch holes in your transom (assuming you're installing Bennetts). My neighbor and I installed mine in two nights, in a total of about 3 hours.

lurkynot posted 03-18-2005 11:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for lurkynot  Send Email to lurkynot     
I would put them on a canoe! I had them installed by my dealer last season. After 2 seasons on my 18 Dauntless without them, they have been worth every nickel. I have heard others say they don't make a difference on boats in this size. The Dauntless' are notorious for "bow-high" riding, also porpoising. They eliminate both of these conditions with the greatest of ease. I do alot of salmon fishing in the great lakes and the tabs allow me to cruise at a much slower speed when the going gets rough. Also my local pond is Lake St. Clair and anyone remotely familiar with a weekend outing here knows the water relly acts funny when the day gets going - almost like water slamming into the sides of a bathtub. Under these condition the ride is much improved - so much even my wife believes they were worth it.
lakeman posted 03-19-2005 06:21 AM ET (US)     Profile for lakeman  Send Email to lakeman     
What brand and size did you put on your Dauntless, I have measured the Bennett M120 and they will fit but will make using the boarding ladder a little more difficult.
lurkynot posted 03-19-2005 07:04 AM ET (US)     Profile for lurkynot  Send Email to lurkynot     
lakeman, the dealer assurred me they were the same tabs that would have been shipped from whaler had they been put on at the factory in Edgewater. In fact they told me they came from Whaler who has them manufactured per there specs from Bennet. The boat has just arrived in my driveway this am. I wil go out and measure them. I am curious myself as to which model they are. On another sidebar. I just had the bowrail modified so that my electric troll motor would artictulate thru a pass-thru gate in the oem bowrail. Very anxious to mount this thing and do some real fishing. Anyway I will post the measurements of the tabs on the web this afternoon.
lurkynot posted 03-19-2005 04:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for lurkynot  Send Email to lurkynot     
Lakeman, they are Bennets and measure 9 x 9 (inches)
DeepSouthWhaler posted 03-20-2005 10:51 AM ET (US)     Profile for DeepSouthWhaler    
Any opinions on Lenco trim tabs? These tabs seem like a good option for a small boat.
kamie posted 03-20-2005 01:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for kamie  Send Email to kamie     
The Bennetts are 10 X 9 but since Lenco doesn't make a 10 X 9 I was wondering if there was enough space for 12 X 9 or if going with Lenco's one should consider the 9 X 12?

Not sure one is better than the other. Bennett's are hydrolic which means you need to put they hydrolic pump in the console. Lenco's are electric so no pump. BW has used both and both have their pros and cons.

kamie posted 03-20-2005 02:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for kamie  Send Email to kamie     
Actually Bennet and Lenco represent their sizes oppositely.
The M120 Bennet's the hinge length is 10 which the tab length is 12. The equivalent Lenco would be the 12 X 9 where 9 is the hinge length or 12 X 12.


It's hard to tell from Sal's photo's but the Bennet tabs are right up against the bump out on the 18 Outrage which I believe answers my earler question. If your going with Lenco, then the 12 X 9 or the 12 X 9E (edge mount) would be the choice?

acseatsri posted 03-21-2005 02:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for acseatsri  Send Email to acseatsri     
The tabs do indeed go right up against the bumpout in the transom. The Bennetts have a lower profile than even the Lenco edge mounts (which I think you'll need if you go with Lenco). The very top of the actuators on the Bennett M120 tabs are 11.5" up from the tab mounting. The other think I liked about the M120's was the fact that they are designed so that there is less slippage because of the "lipped" design rather than just a flat plate. This is what ultimately swung me into the Bennett camp along with prior experience with their products.

You could probably go with Lenco 12 x 12's if you choose. If you bumped them against the thicker part of the transom, you would come within an inch of the side of the boat. I currently have about 3" in from the side. Another think to keep in mind is that you'll be losing around 30% of their effectiveness because of the chine in that area. This is one instance where bigger is always better! :)

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