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Author Topic:   Transom Savers
SamJooky posted 08-27-2003 05:53 PM ET (US)   Profile for SamJooky   Send Email to SamJooky  
I just purchased a 1987 Montauk with a 90 hp Mercury. Love the boat. My question is how necessary is it to tow the boat with a transom saver installed? My "big" tow every year is a 800 mile round trip to the Oregon coast. I don't mind using one, but with the trailer that I have, I have to do some modifications.

Thanks, Sam

kingfish posted 08-27-2003 06:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     
Wish I could write like Hooter here...for some reason the question and the answer I'm going to try and formulate seem to be crying out for Hooter's brand of treatment...

You probably really don't need one - your motor probably has a trailering brace of some sort already on it, and there are a number contributors here who pretty vociferously believe a transom saver is not only not necessary but a foolish waste of money and possibly a smidgeon harmful to boot, but I've never quite been able to swallow that last point.

I on the other hand *like* the idea of transom savers, use one on my trailer for the Evinrude 225 that powers my Outrage 22, and had one on the trailer for my old Montauk and Merc 100. Now my trailering is 120 mile round trip at the *shortest*, and is not unusually anywhere from 1000 to 3000 (or more) miles round trip; with those distances, occasional rough roads and my predilection to travel at speeds above the speed limit and occasionally beyond good sense, I feel a whole lot better knowing I've got everything tied up back there so there can't be any bouncing around or undue strains imposed on various parts and systems. And I like gadgets. And I occasionally act in ways that could be described by some as anally retentive.

So that's my story and I'm sticking to it - as for you, I'd recommend a transom saver. Modifying your trailer to accomodate one will keep you off the streets and out of the bars, and is a little like Zen.


JBCornwell posted 08-27-2003 06:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for JBCornwell  Send Email to JBCornwell     
Hi, Sam.

Any way you can find to transfer road shock to the trailer frame instead of the transom is a good idea.

Red sky at night.. .

jimp posted 08-27-2003 07:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimp  Send Email to jimp     
SamJooky -

In '89 I trailered my Montauk 4,500 miles from Eastern Long Island to Kodiak, Alaska. I used a transom saver, figured it was cheap insurance. Somewhere between Kluane Lake and Beaver Creek, Yukon Territory, my Dad took a "drop" a little too fast and had the Suburban and Montauk airborne... We made it in one piece. In '92 I trailered 1,200 miles from Kodiak to Juneau, and used the transom saver again. Maybe it did nothing for me except provide some piece of mind.

I agree with JB, anytime you can get somethingelse besides your boat to take the shock, you should do it. Are the roads perfectly smooth for your 800 mile trip?

As for additional shocks to the boat/trailer, in '89 I cracked the steel supporting brackets to the trailer spashboards behind the wheels (you stand on them to get in the boat). One of those things that might have had loose bolts, but with the constant shocks of trailering, cracked after 2,000 miles. Since I couldn't fix them on the road, I removed them. They're currently in a dumpster in Edmonton (well, they've probably dumped it since then)

I don't use a transom saver locally, only for the long hauls.


Bigshot posted 08-27-2003 08:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
If transom is solid, no bouncing is gonna hurt it. If you think a bounce here and there is more force than a motor under full throttle or hitting a one. The transom saver should be renamed an engine bracket saver being it takes the shock off the bracket, not the transom. Nobody ever used one back in the days because they were never around until recently and personally I think they are BS....just my $.02

I tilt my engine dowm until the trim kicks in and she is solid. If you don't have power trim then they do have a purpose.

Dick posted 08-27-2003 09:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dick  Send Email to Dick     
I gotta go with Bigshot on this one.
I have trailerd boats many miles before transom savers were invented and with transoms no where near as strong as a Whalers. I never had a problem. I don't use one now and probably never will.

I also agree with jimp. If you are going to drive the AlCan you want all the protection you can get.


SSILVER posted 08-27-2003 09:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for SSILVER  Send Email to SSILVER     
I concur. The stress on the transom of a boat on plane loaded w/ people gas and gear must be much more then a bump in the road. I have not seem many people use them where I boat, mostly on Bassboats bet Basspro sells a bunch of them :-)
dscew posted 08-27-2003 10:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for dscew    
I have to stick with the proven methond of many outboard mechanics that tow their boats: a soft pine 2 X 6 or 2 X 8 inserted between the engine and mounting plate, trim down until the board is just squeezed a bit, and the transom and engine are essentially one unit. Very solid way to immobilize the motor and eliminating bounce.
BQUICK posted 08-28-2003 09:47 AM ET (US)     Profile for BQUICK  Send Email to BQUICK     
With my tall 1979 6 cyl Merc I use one since I believe that the taller motor jerks around more with greater leverage.

What are the adverse effects of one?


Tom2697 posted 08-28-2003 10:09 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom2697  Send Email to Tom2697     
While I agree that the transom saver will transfer the shock from the motor off of the transom and to the trailer, the reverse must also be true (or do these things have shock absorbers built into them?).

As for travelling over bumpy or bad roads, I think the worst "road" I have ever travelled on was the Intracoastal Waterway...Running at speed in a 2' chop will place a much higher load on the transom.

But, if you can protect your boat from any extra abuse, it might be worth it since the boat will only last longer. I do not use one though.

4whaler posted 08-28-2003 10:22 AM ET (US)     Profile for 4whaler  Send Email to 4whaler     
I just put a transom saver on my shorelander trailer that doesn't have rollers so I had to buy the one with the pin U bracket. The problem was the mounting, I had to kludge up an rear off set that would allow mounting on to the trailer frame. I'm still not comfortable with the idea of transfering any trailer road shock from the frame to the lower unit. My mount will flex a little down but could shear off the mounting nut. If so I know the loads are pretty high. However I did run across this web site that has my intrest, its kinda like the 2x5 idea but in rubber/plastic. I may try one of the single cyclinder models as I only have a Yami F60 on a 15 ft. Alert/GLS II.

What you guys think?

SamJooky posted 08-28-2003 01:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for SamJooky  Send Email to SamJooky     
Just wanted to thank all of you for your input. I feel that I can go either way and not worry. I do think that I will probably install one to use on my longer tows. If nothing else, it will be a "placebo" for the space between my ears. I'm glad that I stumbled onto this site while looking for a way to remove rust stains from my whaler. The montauk is my second whaler (the other is a 1976 13' classic) and I know why you are all Whaler "fanatics". I am too. Happy Whalering and now I'm going to go get some fresh dungeness crab.


tarracott posted 08-28-2003 02:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for tarracott  Send Email to tarracott     
I you choose not to use a transom saver, what is the best postion of the engine when you trailer. I always trim/tilt the engine all the way up, then swing the metal bracket down, the tilt and trim the pistons all the way down - this leave the engine in the up postion, but not resting on the trim/tilt cylinders. Is this correct? (The engine is a 1996 Evin. 88hp)
Bigshot posted 08-28-2003 02:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
No, that is probably the worst position. Those supports are too fragile to use.

Tilt the engine down until it just starts going into trim mode....stop. This is the best spot assuming you still have enough ground glearance to trailer with.

NEVER SCARED posted 08-28-2003 04:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for NEVER SCARED    
A transom saver is just another get-rich idea by some pot-bellied weekend warrior trying to retire early. When trailering, you WANT some flex and give. You will do more damage to your hull by trying to create a one piece package. We feel good about using straps on our bow and transom, but think about the continuous pull on the eyes and cleats. Sure they kept the boat on the trailer, but you just yanked the hell out of the hardware. A tilted up engine puts direct downward pressure on a transom. This is okay. Its outboards on 12" setbacks that give me the chills!

Never scared

JohnJ80 posted 08-28-2003 04:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for JohnJ80  Send Email to JohnJ80     
Most motors have a trailering bracket that you flip down to get the load off the trim and tilt cylinders. I don't think you want to have the unpowered hydraulics trying to support a bouncing motor. If the valves leak, the motor will eventually droop down to a down position. This could be nasty.

You do want to take the load off the cylinders. This is consistent with my experience with small hydraulics. Besides that, it says so in my owners manual for my outboard.


Tom2697 posted 08-28-2003 04:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom2697  Send Email to Tom2697     
Bigshot, I was told by my dealer to set the motor on the "trailer locks" when towing. I agree that these look extremely fragile but he recommended I use them. My only logic behind that is to act as an aid to the trim/tilt cylinders in case of a failure. Hydraulics are extremely strong but they sometimes bleed pressure.

Drydock posted 08-28-2003 04:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for Drydock  Send Email to Drydock     
The operating manual for my 135 Optimax says to "trailer the boat with the outboard tilted down (vertical operating position)"
Then continues... "If additional ground clearance is required, the outboard should be tilted up using an accessory outboard support device.

There is also a statement that says "Do not rely on the power trim/tilt system or tilt support lever to maintain proper ground clearance.

Taken together it kind of makes me think the weakness of the transom is not a concern nor the mounting bracket. If you have adequate ground clearance when the motor is down then you are fine. But if you need to raise the motor for clearance purposes then the "transom savers" main function is to keep the motor from lowering and hitting the road.
In other words it is really an Outboard Saver!

Peter posted 08-28-2003 08:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
The owner's manual for my Yamaha 70 says the same thing. "Do not use the tilt support lever/knob when trailering the boat. The outboard motor could shake loose from the tilt support and fall. If the motor can not be trailered in the down position, use an additional support device to secure it in the up position."

In another section it says "The motor should be trailered and stored in the normal running position. If there is insufficient road clearance in this position, then trailer the motor in the tilt position using a motor support device such as a transom saver bar."

ShrimpBurrito posted 08-28-2003 08:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for ShrimpBurrito  Send Email to ShrimpBurrito     
Here are additional threads on the topic for further reading:

ShrimpBurrito posted 08-28-2003 08:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for ShrimpBurrito  Send Email to ShrimpBurrito     
Here's that second thread:

Chesapeake posted 08-29-2003 12:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chesapeake  Send Email to Chesapeake     
Peace of mind - my reason for a saver.

Now, recommendation for a Transom Saver. Cabela's has a really neat one that has a bend in it so that it can bend right under the boat. It inserts and locks into a bracket that is bolted to the rear cross member of the trailer.

Piece of cake to put on and take off - 10 seconds tops. Very heavy duty.

Bigshot posted 08-29-2003 12:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
They should make them that go into the drain plug hole or something, not the trailer in my opinion.
Beaner posted 08-29-2003 12:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for Beaner  Send Email to Beaner     

I use a product called "lock n' stow". It provides a support for the motor to itself - similar to the little metal flip up to store in the upright position. This device hooks into the holes on the bracket and rests on the two large nuts on the motor. I got it from Cabelas. A guy from Mercury told me I should use something to take the pressure off of the hydrolics. I guess it is more of an outboard saver than a transom saver. Its really simple to use and seems to provide good support for the hydrolics.
Tom2697 posted 08-29-2003 12:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom2697  Send Email to Tom2697     
When one manufacturer recommends a specific product to be used in their owner's manual, I generally take this as a marketing gimmic (eg - "Use Mercury Quicksilver oil only").

As for not using the hydraulics during trailering, the hydraulics tell one heck of a lot more load (both shock and dynamic) during cruise.

I still like the 2x4 between the mounting bracket and the engine....

Swellmonster posted 09-04-2003 06:51 AM ET (US)     Profile for Swellmonster  Send Email to Swellmonster     
Gotta help my Kingfish friend........

Wish ah' could scribble likes Hoota'' some reason de quesshun and da damn answa' I'm goin' t'try and fo'mulate seem t'be cryin' out fo' Hooter's brand uh treatment. Man!.. You's probably real duzn't need one - yo' moto' probably gots a trailerin' brace uh some so't already on it, and dere is a numba' contributo's here who fine vociferously recon' some transom sava' ain't only not necessary but some honkyfoolish wuzte uh bre'd and possibly some smidgeon harmful t'boot, but I've neva' quite been able t'swallow dat last point. Man! I on de oda' hand *likes* de idea uh transom savers, use one on mah' traila' fo' de Evinrude 225 dat powers mah' Outrage 22, and had one on de traila' fo' mah' old Montauk and Merc 100. Now mah' trailerin' be 120 mile round trip at da damn *sho'test*, and be not unusually anywhere fum 1000 t'3000 (o' mo'e) miles round trip; wid dose distances, occasional rough roads and mah' predilecshun t'travel at speeds above da damn speed limit and occasionally beyond baaaad sense, ah' feel some whole lot betta' knowin' I've gots everydin' tied down back dere so's dere kin't be any bouncin' around o' undue strains imposed on various parts and systems. And ah' likes doodads. And ah' occasionally act in ways dat could be described by some as anally retentive. So's dat's mah' sto'y and I'm stickin' t'it - as fo' ya', I'd recommend some transom saver. Ah be baaad... Modifyin' yo' traila' to accomodate one gots'ta keep ya' off de streets and out uh de bars, and be a little likes Zen. 'S coo', bro. kin'fish

Peace out bro! :)------

Peter posted 09-04-2003 10:05 AM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
When underway on the water, shock is taken up by both trim pistons and the tilt pison. However, when on a trailer, I need to tilt my motor up high enough for clearance purposes such that its only supported by the tilt piston not the trim pistons. While I have no doubt that all of the hydraulic pistons can take some beating, I don't believe that it is all that great for the tilt piston alone to be subjected to the sometimes sharp transients of severe road shock (i.e., potholes, etc.).

A 2x4 or a transom saver should help reduce the beating.
However I believe that the the transom saver, at least the one I have, has one advantage over the 2x4 in that it also helps keep the motor from bouncing around on the steering pivot in the case where the steering is mechanical and not hydraulic. My outboard seems to be far more quiet when trailering with the transom saver device than without.

I agree that it should probably be considered more of a "motor saver" than a transom saver.

kingfish posted 09-04-2003 10:38 AM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     
Thanks for the translation, Pat-

I took another close look at my set up over the weekend and I have to concur that the name, "transom saver" probably doesn't say it all.

While I am convinced that the use of one of these devices *does* take strain off the transom, I concede that in a lot of conditions (not necessarily *all*), the transom doesn't need much help. The biggest advantage I can see is the strain relieved from the hydraulics, particularly in a set up like mine in which I can't trailer with the lower unit in a vertical position. The transom saver allows my lower unit to be lowered to a position much closer to vertical than the trailering bracket on the motor does, and since I tie the lower unit to the cradle of the transom saver, the motor is not allowed to bounce or to even try to bounce either up or down. And in this position, my motor is much closer to being "balanced" on the transom than it is on the motor's integral trailering bracket, that puts more of the motor's weight in front of the transom.

As for statements that it would be better to brace the lower unit against the boat than to the trailer, I will say that at least in my case, the boat is attached to the trailer fore and aft in such manner and with strong enough straps and chains, that the boat and the trailer are one unit so far as the transom saver is concerned.

I am more convinced than ever that at least for long trips, a transom saver is money well spent, even if it saves things besides the transom.


DJS posted 09-04-2003 01:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for DJS  Send Email to DJS     
If you have a mercury outboard, 75 horsepower or larger, there is a product made by Swivl-EZE called "Swivl-EZE Lock'N Stow" that I think does a very good job of supporting the engine. Swivil-EZE makes a lot of the conventional transom savers that are discussed above.

There is a picture of the "Lock'N Stow" in the Spring 2003 Master Catalog - Platinum Edition- of Bass Pro Shops, page 425, Item G.

This is the same product that Beaner describes in his post above.

I bought mine retail from the Bass Pro Shop located in Grapevine, Texas.

Hope this helps with locating one.


Florida15 posted 09-04-2003 03:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for Florida15  Send Email to Florida15     
I was told by my boat's previous owner to tow with the motor all the way up and the locking brackets locked.This sounds reasonable to me. With the motor all the way up, the head of the motor is more on top of the transom so it shouldn't have as much bounce and pull as it would if it were leveraged behind the transom. I would think that using the tilt pistons to keep the motor up would be a lot of wear and tear on them.
If those brackets aren't for trailering, what the heck are they for ?
Peter posted 09-05-2003 07:04 AM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
One thing that the tilt lock brackets allow you to do is retract the trim piston rods completely when the motor is tilted in the water on a mooring or in a slip. My Yamaha owner's manual advises to do this to protect the rods from marine growth and corrosion.

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