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Old 29 October 2015, 16:01   #1
Country: Ireland
Length: 6m +
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 14
Transom Savers/Outboard Support When Trailering

What is the best way to support an outboard when transporting it on the road? I was using the trim lock on the engine but it broke last time I transported it on some bumpy back roads, seems it's not designed for this purpose. I know some people wedge a piece of wood between the engine and the mount but I would like to use something actually designed to do the job.
I was thinking of buying something like this as I plan to do a lot of trips next year:

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Can anyone recommend a device for the job?

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Old 29 October 2015, 17:55   #2
Country: USA
Town: Oakland CA
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This has been (and likely will continue to be) a matter of much debate; your solution may well depend on what problem(s) you're trying to solve.

In general (specifics may get you more problems than these), trailering with a motor on the transom may:

1) Allow the motor to pendulum (through the amount of play in bearings and steering) both front to back, and/or side to side.

2) place repetitive stress on the transom to hull connection from #1. May especially be true with SIBs, especially with largish motors.

3) place stress on the tilt/trim rams from constant or transient loads.

Solutions range from tying the motor so it can't move side to side (solves half of #1); to the block of wood method you mentioned (which will stop the motor penduluming front to back to a degree - the other half of #1); to a couple of appropriately sized plastic pipes over the trim rams (solves #3); to triangulating the motor to the transom or trailer frame.

Personally, I use a motor support that braces the LU to the bottom of my motor pod (I don't have a direct shot to the trailer frame.) I don't need the bracing that it gives the transom (I have a hull and bracket of 1/4" welded aluminum), but it does a good job of locking the motor up pretty tight.


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Old 29 October 2015, 18:25   #3
Country: USA
Town: CA
Make: Zodiac RIB-P
Length: 7m +
Engine: Suzuki 250
Join Date: Aug 2010
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I have one of those. I think it mostly helps protect the trim and tilt components. I also cut some 1/2 pic pipe in half-ish and that clips on the hydraulic steering rams to keep the engine from going side to side. All options are good. If I could reach the trailer frame I'd do the pole from the LU. All cheap options to avoid expensive repair. Might not be doing super good but probably not doing harm.

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Old 30 October 2015, 04:55   #4
Country: UK - England
Town: Norfolk & East Coast
Make: Excedo
Length: 4m +
Engine: 70
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 68
So, it would appear I am doing the wrong thing in towing with the engine fully up on the hydraulics?
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Old 30 October 2015, 05:34   #5
Country: UK - England
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Boat name: Spy-sea-one
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Originally Posted by Uncle Nobby View Post
So, it would appear I am doing the wrong thing in towing with the engine fully up on the hydraulics?
nop that's what i did on a Suzuki 90 never had a problem
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Old 30 October 2015, 07:44   #6
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Country: UK - England
Town: Whitehaven
Boat name: Pegasus
Make: Zodiac Pro 530
Length: 5m +
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The hydraulic lift will be strong enough, but may drift over time (my old engine did) so could eventually allow the skeg to hit the floor, if really left for a long time.

I use a specifically designed brace that goes between the two halves of the tilt hinge (e.g. the transom bracket and motor bracket) and gets clamped in place to stop any up/down movement and takes the varying load out of the hydraulics but mainly prevents drift. It was specifically designed by me, from a bit of 5" square fence post and works very well. I also put a bungee cord on one end and a hook on the other so I can loosely attach it then clamp it up. Makes fitting easier. I have no concern about the motor "turning" whilst being trailered as the hydraulic steering is more than man enough to cope with that. I can see the issue with a tiller engine but if you have a steering system designed to cope with the forces the engine produces in use, you have no problem what so ever.

I had a look at trailer to motor supports and came to the conclusion that these would be worse for the transom, not better. You will always get movement between the boat and trailer so if you stick a solid link between the trailer and engine lower end, you are transferring a lot more force through the engine than you would without it. A raised engine will be fairly well balanced and not load up the transom any more than when using the engine (in fact, I'd guess at a lot less than when in use). Stick the support in and any movement of the boat equals large loads on the engine!

Phil M
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Old 30 October 2015, 11:27   #7
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Country: UK - England
Town: teesside
Make: osprey eagle and sr4
Length: 3m +
Engine: yamaha 130 mercury40
Join Date: Apr 2014
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my old mercury 75 had a locking mechanism you would raise the motor all the way up and then turn a knob on the outboard bracket where it sits over the transom which brought a metal part up into the hinge area then you lowered the motor onto the metal part that was it never tied the leg or anything it was locked couldn't go up because of the hydraulics couldn't go down because of this metal part it was sat on did lots of long journeys with no problems
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Old 30 October 2015, 12:58   #8
Country: UK - England
Town: Leicester
Length: 5m +
Engine: 135hp Mercury
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 558
^^ That's the tilt lock you're describing.
Not really intended to hold it up when towing but many do.
This might be of interest:
"Are sterndrive and outboard support devices really needed while towing? And if so, what are the best devices to use? For the answers, we asked Mercury Marine’s chief engineer for outboard midsections, Bob Stuber, who offers these insights.
1. Transom Trauma
Boat transoms can be subjected to punishment on the road. “Unsupported outboards in particular bounce a lot — the shock impact and flexing can damage a transom over time,” Stuber says.
2. Transfer the Load
Eliminate the jarring and flexing with a device such as a Swivl-Eze 4000 Transom Saver ( that transfers the load to the boat trailer’s rear cross member, the engineer advises.
3. Snug It Down
With the outboard or drive centered, use the power tilt to snug it down reasonably tight (“don’t overdo it,” Stuber says) in the cradle of the Transom Saver to minimize bouncing or flopping side to side.
4. Avoid the Flip-Lock Bracket
If not using a Transom Saver, just tilt up the drive or outboard to clear the pavement. Don’t use the flip-lock bracket, because it is not designed for the kind of shock impact experienced while towing, Stuber says. Flip-lock brackets are designed to relieve pressure from the tilt pump while the boat is stored in the water with the engine raised."
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Old 30 October 2015, 16:01   #9
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Pikey Dave has designed and made a really Geat piece of kit for just that purpose!
If you ask him nicely he may send you some pics
Don't ask him to make one for you though!!!
....Me and Mick have already booked a chunk of of his free time!...and pushed his good nature to the limit already!

A clever Man learns by his mistakes..
A Wise Man learns by other people's!
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