Troublesome tilt trim motors

3 components to check if your tilt trim motor quits working

Imagine a beautiful sunny day boating on the water. For many people, that’s a day in paradise. But there will be trouble in paradise on the day that your tilt trim function stops working. You’ll quickly discover that the tilt trim function impacts everything from on-the-water boating performance and fuel efficiency to safeguarding propellers from damage in shallow water.

If your tilt trim function isn’t working, there are several things you’ll need to investigate to determine the problem. It could be with the battery, solenoid/starter relay or tilt trim motor.

Check out these 3 components:

  1. Battery: Does your battery have a sufficient charge, and are all the connections secure? Is there an on/off switch that got bumped? Many times, the problem rests with lack of power from the battery for ranging from a dying battery to a loose connection.
  2. Solenoid/Starter Relay: The next culprit could be the solenoid or starter relay. Try the tilt switch. If you’re hearing nothing but silence, you might suspect the solenoid or starter relay because power is apparently not flowing to them. One other possibility could be the switch itself. .
  3. Tilt Trim Motor: If you are hearing a clicking sound while operating the tilt switch, then power is flowing to the solenoid or starter relay and you should now investigate the possibility of the tilt trim motor itself going bad. .

How to test the tilt trim motor

Tilt trim motors are 12-volt reversing-style systems. You’ll notice that the motor has a green wire and a blue wire. The green wire is meant to lower the boat motor, while the blue wire raises it. To begin the test, disconnect the tilt trim motor from the solenoid/starter relay. Next, use a jumper wire to apply 12 volts to each of the colored wires. You’ll be able to quickly see if your tilt trim motor is raising or lowering the boat motor, or whether it is malfunctioning. If the tilt trim is working fine, then you should turn your attention back to the solenoid/starter relay or switch. As you test all of these components, be mindful of corrosion at contact points and damaged quick-disconnect plugs. Sometimes the problem is a simple as cleaning corrosion or replacing plugs.

Replacing a Tilt Trim Motor

If your tilt trim motor needs replacement, you’ll want to verify that you’re getting a reliable product that will give you years of efficient performance. Because tilt trim motors must operate in high moisture environments, make sure that your new tilt trim motor meets marine grade certifications of SAE J1171 and ISO8847.

Getting Back on the Water

With your tilt trim system working as good as new, it’s time to get back on the water. With everything working perfectly once again, you can focus on fun in the sun without a worry in the world.


Boat Tilt Trim Motor