Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Hang em High Part II--Getting the Motors Out of the Water.

Dragging the motors is slow. Worse, keeping them wet is a great way to speed corrosion, the most common cause of death in outboards. The original motors tipped up nicely and lower nicely with latches and lines. Well, until the latch mechanism corroded up tight. But they still went up and down with lines easily enough, lifting clear of the water and held fully down by a sea belt strap.

My new motors latch up and down nicely. Yes, I have to lift the seats, but I've made no effort to convert them to the original line system. The new motors have a manual choke that I need to set, I like to see the water stream, it makes me double check the lock, and it encourages me to check the oil more often. The only problem is that if I pull them full up and they latch, there is no room to insert your hand to release the latch? Even worse, sometimes they are so tight that there is no slack to release the catch and they cannot be lowered without considerable effort, time, shoving and bruising. I spent a season trying to pull them "Just" short of latching, but then they often touched the water even at anchor. Not good. PDQ seems to have good dimensional quality control; the fit problem was identical on both sides.

Some friend suggested wedging the transom to change the latch angle. workable, but that wouldn't get the lower unit fully out of the water. I like it pulled up tight to the hull.

A little trimming was the answer. First some rough cuts with a hole saw and saber saw, then some finishing with an angle grinder. Finally, several coats of epoxy to seal the wood. Yes, wood. The PDQ has an odd mix of solid glass (winch mounts and below the water line), foam (decks and cabin top), balsa (interior bulkheads), and ply (interior equipment mounts, engine mounts) as core, each employed where it was best for the job.

Nice and high now.


  1. When it comes time to swap our engines perhaps we'll need to fly you down to assist with this job!


  2. Just was this post, I installed new engines and last week, I did the same thing you did, the cutting was easy with a Milwaukee 3/4" Multi-Tool Blade. Also, I found a trick to having them not latch when they are raised, so I do not have to reach below and release the latch each time I lower the engines. When I raise the engine (when sails are up or when I am back at the dock for the night), I lower the lever to release the lock, then I only raise the engine a few inches. Then I lift the lever and it will not latch when the engine is raised. This way, it will lower immediately without touching the lever next time it needs to go in the water.