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Author Topic:   Diagnosing Power Trim Problem
cdnturbo posted 06-18-2004 12:39 PM ET (US)   Profile for cdnturbo   Send Email to cdnturbo  
My 1994 Mercury 200-HP power trim is sporatically not working. When it doesn't work I can here a solonoid clicking at the rear of the engine but no other noice. Then if I keep trying it eventually it will work.
I just brought the boat out of winter storage. Is this something that may be caused by sitting all winter? Will cure itself? Or is there something I should do?
jimh posted 06-20-2004 11:18 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
[Changed TOPIC; was "1994 merc 200hp powertrim".]

In general devices such as outboard motors are not self-healing, although it is believed that Yamaha is working on this. In addition to auditory analysis, a close visual inspection and some rudimentary electrical checks will help diagnose the system.

The Power Trim system on an outboard motor is a combination of three systems:

• Electric
• Hydraulic
• Mechanic

Electric—The trim switches are low current devices and actually operate a relay or solenoid that in turn supplies high current to an electrical motor on the hydraulic system. (Nota Bene: solenoids usually make an audible click when actuated.) There is potential for problem at many places in the electrical system. Check all fuses, circuit breakers, and overloads. Check all connections. Check all switches. Check the solenoids. Check the motor itself. With fundamental electrical knowledge, a test meter, and logical analysis of the circuit, it should be easy to determine if the electrical sub-system is operating properly.

If all is well in the electrical portion of the trim/tilt system, proceed to the hydraulic sub-system.

Hydraulic—fluid from the electric pump is routed via lines and check valves to the actuator ram. Check the fluid level in the system and look for any leaks. Low fluid or loss of fluid is common, and indicates a leaking system. (Hydraulic fluid does not evaporate!) The reservoir must have fluid and all lines must be free from air. Generally these systems will self-bleed any entrapped air if they are operated over the complete range of motion a few times with the fill cap open. Check your engine owner's manual or repair manual for details. Hydraulic fluid is extraordinarily low viscosity and will leak at the slightest opportunity. The actuator ram seals may be leaking. Check for any fluid in that area. Check all hose connections for tightness. Generally it is not possible to make repair to leaking seals in the internals of the pump, check valves, or ram while the engine is on the transom. After bleeding, if the ram moves but cannot hold a load, there is either a leak or a bad check valve. Sometimes a seal will swell and work better if the system has full fluid level.

If all looks well with the hydraulic portion of the trim/tilt system, proceed to the mechanic sub-system.

Mechanic—movement of they hydraulic actuator ram is coupled mechanically to the engine. Check for freedom of movement in the tilt tube hinge. Corroded tilt tube hinges are a common problem.

jerseyron posted 06-20-2004 03:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for jerseyron  Send Email to jerseyron     
After having spent big bucks on your rig, the minor expense is a motor manual from the manufacturer. The shop manuals show in detail, procedures for tracking down most problems with that particular motor. Well worth the 30 to 50 dollar cost, especially if you are a do it your selfer,(like me). Which wires to check,how many ohms, leaks, misfires,,etc.. Just my .02.. Good luck with the repair.
greyg8r posted 06-20-2004 04:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for greyg8r    
Have you checked the fluid level? That would be the second thing I would do after buying the manual as Ron suggested.


Dick posted 06-20-2004 08:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dick  Send Email to Dick     

You stated that when the trim doesn't work you can hear the solednoids clicking. This indicates that the switch is OK.

Do you hear the trim motor running? If not check the wire connections from the solenoids to the trim motor, they may be loose or corroded.

Is your battery fully charged, this also could cause the problem.

As others have said, also check the fluid level and get a service manual.


dfest7 posted 03-16-2010 09:42 AM ET (US)     Profile for dfest7  Send Email to dfest7     
[My] 1978 Mercury [outboard motor has the same problem as was being dicsussed here six years ago]. The power trim motor is separate from the motor. I hear clicks when I try to go up and down so I know my solenoids are good. But if I leave [the 1978 Mercury motor] sitting for more than 20 seconds without using [the trim], [the engine] won't move, just click.

I can tap on the top of the [unclear] with something hard and it will work. Once I let [the 1978 Mercury outboard] sit for awhile, I have to repeat the process to get [the trim system] to work again. Any ideas? I have replaced the fluid twice, solenoids are good, so any ideas besides those? Thanks


jimh posted 03-17-2010 08:13 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
" I have replaced the fluid twice, solenoids are good, so any ideas besides those?"

Please review the prior discussion. A great number of suggestions for diagnostic procedures were already given which involve other procedures than changing fluid and verifying operation of the relays.

brandy posted 03-17-2010 11:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for brandy  Send Email to brandy     
I had the same problem. power / fluids no problem. For the engine to trim I would hit the trim moter, sometimes ist worked. It became so difficult that the last time the engine was trimmed up, two bolts were sheared off the hydralic steering, now really out of commission. So, inner tube,and sleeve frozen to engine. Steel pin going through sleeve, frozen. 4 hours later ,torch heat and sledge. pin came out, sleeve still frozen. So much pressure , tourque, motor heets up, brushes freeze then no motion. The pin was the problem which in turn destoyed everything else. Bought new engine ,sold old with full disclosure. I WILL take out new pin yearly and greese. Engone was 1990 Mercury 200.
Rinker91 posted 03-22-2010 03:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for Rinker91  Send Email to Rinker91     
I have a 1991 Rinker captiva 206. The power trim is not working. You can hear a clicking sound in down position and nothing in up position. I pulled off the motor and hooked it up to power source and it doesn not move any suggestions? The fluid is full. New to the boat repair.
L H G posted 03-22-2010 03:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for L H G    
In this order, I would check out:

1. defective trim switch on control or engine

2. UP solenoid is bad

3. Trim motor needs replacement, especailly if both solenoids "click" but trim does not work.

I'd bet on #1 or #2.

whytimmywhy posted 09-06-2010 11:45 AM ET (US)     Profile for whytimmywhy  Send Email to whytimmywhy     
I have a 2005 Yamaha 70 hp and the trim went up yesterday without problem and will not go down. The motor sounds like everything is working but the motor will not go back down.
Jet Wrench posted 09-06-2010 06:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jet Wrench  Send Email to Jet Wrench     
Check your connections at your "UP" and "DOWN" relays. I'm not sure if your motor for hydraulic pressure is a 2 or 3 wire system. These relays carry all the current for the motor during it's operation (See link). This is the way I wired my two wire system. It switches A+ (power) and ground at the motor. These relays will get weak and the connections will corrode over time. The motor will not operate with a low current draw due to corrosion. You also need to check your control wires from your panel switch to make sure they are making the trip to the relays. Burnish all grounds.

Jet Wrench

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