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Old 01-02-2011, 10:37 AM   #1
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Trailering Question

Because many of us on Airforums also tow other recreational vehicles - i.e., in this case boats, I've got a quick question that I'm trying to answer for my son-in-law. He is, at this moment enroute from Florida back to New England, towing a 24' Pursuit, powered by a large single offshore outboard motor. The question is, should the motor be in the up or down position? He currently has it raised. My knowlege is limited to smaller fishing-type boats and I normally tow with the motor up to protect the lower unit from curbs, etc. I'll monitor the forums for the rest of the day and see what the gurus herein have to say.

Many thanks,
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Old 01-02-2011, 10:52 AM   #2
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I spent 31 years in the U.S. Customs Service. In the 80's and 90's, I was in our Marine (boats) Division. We always towed our large (40') chase boats with the outboards in the up position to avoid damage. The out-drives of I/O's were also raised as much as possible for towing for the same reason.

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Old 01-02-2011, 10:53 AM   #3
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I know for I/Os you want to tow with the drive(s) up. I would assume the same for outboards for the added clearance.
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Old 01-02-2011, 11:12 AM   #4
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I'm going to go in the opposite direction and say that the load force on the transom will be better in the down position. When the OB is up/out- it pulls the transom out- and the ratcheting from movement, drag etc. is greater. But this is if you have clearance off the ground. And how far you're going- I was thinking highway travel...
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Old 01-02-2011, 11:18 AM   #5
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I've had a couple outboards and one IO. In all cases I raised them to tow. In fact it would have been nearly impossible to tow otherwise due to very low clearance.
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Old 01-02-2011, 11:30 AM   #6
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I believe most would say, if you're going to tow with a large OB in the up position, you should get a transom saver. These are a "pole" with a saddle for the lower end of the OB to sit in. The other end attaches to the trailer. This way thew weight of the raised motor is shared between the transom with a vertical load and the trailer with the cantilevered load.
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Old 01-02-2011, 11:46 AM   #7
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21 years working with Maverick, Pathfinder, Hewes and Cobia Boats and towing/owning boats, we always towed with the lower unit up. The weight of the power head tilted forward more than offsets the weight of the lower unit up.
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Old 01-02-2011, 11:47 AM   #8
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I'm going to go in the opposite direction and say that the load force on the transom will be better in the down position. When the OB is up/out- it pulls the transom out- and the ratcheting from movement, drag etc. is greater. But this is if you have clearance off the ground. And how far you're going- I was thinking highway travel...
Rae
Loading on the transom is the real question. Both the son-in-law and I guessed that, in the absence of any finite data, the load in the up position would appear to be less. It would be interesting to find out if outboard or boat manufacturers have a recommendation - and even more interesting if they disagreed! I had a strut for my 30 hp Johnson that went from the lower unit to the rear-most cross-beam on the trailer when the motor was raised. This was an apparent attempt to reduce the "shaking" of the motor and the possible "flexing" of the transom with the motor in the raised position.
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Old 01-02-2011, 12:36 PM   #9
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Most outboards I have seen at freshwater lakes have some kind of support device for the lower drive unit that is used when towing. Suggest you check with local marine dealer or service center to see what came on your outboard when new.

Also, there are numerous boating forums that could undoubtly answer your question with regard to your specific boat. The first link below is BOAT-US, which has a catalog/Web site that sells marine parts. However, they also have a strong boating membership and US Congress lobby that represent small boat owner interests. I'm not sure if they are non-profit, but they are kind of like AARP for boat owners. They also have a good boating magazine that tracks boating laws, etc.

Check out forums on these sites:

BoatUS Club House Messageboards

iboats Boating Forums
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Old 01-02-2011, 12:58 PM   #10
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Having nothing to do with the weight on the transom or road clearance, I have heard that water from rain, etc. can collect in the lower unit of thru the hub exhaust systems on outboards when in the up position. I was told that if this water freezes (such as from traveling from the warm south to the cold north) it can crack the lower unit. I have a jet unit on my outboard and so have no personal experience with this. Any truth to this?
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Old 01-02-2011, 01:21 PM   #11
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Having nothing to do with the weight on the transom or road clearance, I have heard that water from rain, etc. can collect in the lower unit of thru the hub exhaust systems on outboards when in the up position. I was told that if this water freezes (such as from traveling from the warm south to the cold north) it can crack the lower unit. I have a jet unit on my outboard and so have no personal experience with this. Any truth to this?
Sam
Good question!!! That's the exact situation my son-in-law is in today. It's raining and he's headed for Maine! He plans to stop for the night somewhere around Connecticut so I'll recommend, as a precaution, that he lowers the motor tonight and let it drain before raising it to finish the trip Monday. I guess that, as an alternative, you could probably stretch a rubber glove over the exhaust.
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Old 01-02-2011, 02:05 PM   #12
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. . I guess that, as an alternative, you could probably stretch a rubber glove over the exhaust.
Or pour in a little gin.
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Old 01-02-2011, 02:11 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by samb View Post
Having nothing to do with the weight on the transom or road clearance, I have heard that water from rain, etc. can collect in the lower unit of thru the hub exhaust systems on outboards when in the up position. I was told that if this water freezes (such as from traveling from the warm south to the cold north) it can crack the lower unit. I have a jet unit on my outboard and so have no personal experience with this. Any truth to this?
Sam
If this is a concern, put duct tape over the pump inlet and exhaust outlet.

To me, the issue is the bouncing and dynamic motion of the motor way up high over the transom. If you're not going to use the motor support posted above, the lower the better (watching your ground clearance, of course).
IMO all that weight with the lifted motor raises the center of gravity of the motor and puts more and more stress on the upper transom, the higher the center of gravity gets.
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Old 01-02-2011, 03:37 PM   #14
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DnzFog, is correct, tow with motors up using a tramsom saver. The latch holding the motors up is lightweight and could break if the boat and trailer "hobby horse." The transom saver is designed to take the load. It says as much in the outboard motor owners' manual.
I have boats going down the road with motors down. This would be o.k., if the trailer is designed so that you have so much clearance that there is no possibility to scrape the motor even over a large whoop de doo.
If freezing temps are expected, best to drain the lower end lube. If the seals are bad and there is water in the lube, a hard freeze could break the case.
The exhaust ports are designed not to hold water even when the motor is tilted up.
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