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How do I remove an I/O engine?

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  • How do I remove an I/O engine?

    Heh... I see the above question a lot here, and I've heard a number of good responses:
    • Use the header on your garage door and a chain hoist
    • Rent an extra large engine hoist
    • Use a nearby tree and a chain hoist
    • Use a regular engine hoist if you've got a small boat
    • Put a regular engine hoist inside a big boat and move the engine out of the way as much as possible
    • Have a friend with a skid loader or backhoe come over and lift it out
    • Have the local boat shop take it out of the boat and put it back in, while you do the rest of the work
    All good ideas, but speaking as someone who's pulled v8 engines out of two boats, they're all too much trouble to do on a regular basis. If I need to get to the underside of the engines or service the transom kit (like replacing the trim hoses) then it's a major problem to arrange to get the engine out, and an expense I don't need.

    Plus I have need to lift things other than engines, like the windshield assembly on my 21 footer, the sterndrive, or even lift the whole boat off the trailer to fix the support structure (adjust tongue weight or whatever).

    So, here's my own solution to the problem.

    I have a TIG welder which I'm getting practice with and getting decent at welding steel (still working on aluminum). So I decided to make a hoist. I went to discount steel and aluminum here in downtown minneapolis and bought some tubing. I wanted a super heavy duty hoist, plus I was going to make it tall, so I wanted at least 4x3 rectangular tubing with a 1/4 inch wall.. basically heavy duty trailer tubing.

    I got 5x3 5/16 tubing since that was what they had in stock. I bought enough to make the vertical post, the horizontal base, and I also got some 3x2 tubing for a "foot" on one side. I picked up some 5/8 plate for making hydraulic mounting points.

    The hydraulic ram I got from harbor freight... it's a standard generic model they and Northern Tool both sell, 8 ton long ram air/hydraulic cylinder with mounting loops:


    I also used a pile of scrap metal I had from various things... my neighbor's garage clean-out, a boat trailer I scrapped, etc.

    The fasteners used are farm type pins.. the main pivot is a 1 inch forged hitch pin, the bolts on the vertical are 3/4" grade 8, U bolts on the hook are trailer axle attachments. The hydraulic pins are 5/8" forged trailer pins. The hook is a cast steel towing hook from a truck bumper.

    I sat down to several nights with the welder. I didn't take pics of the assembly for various reasons, mostly because I didn't want to take the time, and frankly seeing how it went together is boring in this case.

    (apologies for the blurriness) That's my 21 footer on the left.

    The hard parts were figuring out a design to hold the weight I wanted, designing it so I could insert an extension section to make it taller as needed, and finding casters that would work for it. The frame itself can hold up to 8-10 tons easily, but the casters are too small for that. The ones on there can maybe handle 1 ton total max, they're a temporary solution. This thing isn't too useful if I can't move it around.

    I did buy some heavy duty casters from a surplus place, but didn't think through the size... they're about a foot tall, which would make this thing even more unwieldy. I'm going to make some roller type casters out of aluminum or nylon that can take the weight. I also have planned from the start to weld a spare axle I have onto the rear of the hoist so I can use the tires to help move it, and I'll also weld a hitch onto the rear of the horizontal beam so I can tow the thing anywhere I need. I'm not sure if I have to license it as a trailer, though I suppose I'll find out.

    Here's a pic of my first test:

    The "air" part of the hydraulics is nice. I can use a 5 gallon tank of 120PSI air for one lift, saves some arm movement. It works better attached to a compressor.

    At some point I may replace the ram with a 24" hydraulic cylinder, and a 12 volt power unit and battery. That would extend the range of lift and also add some power.

    Right now it can lift either of my friends' RIB boats off their trailers completely (20 footer and a 17) but needs some extra fold-out legs to be completely stable (gonna add those too).

    As you can see it picked up my truck front end ok, and I did some nasty things to test the stability, like pushing the whole truck sideways with my foot in the air. The hoist flexed a little but didn't creak or bend.

    It can lift loads from 9 1/2 feet in the air and put them down to 5 feet, which is perfect for removing my engines. The 4 foot extension should let it pick up engines out of the 30 footer a friend of mine owns while it's on the trailer, once I get those support legs installed.

    Total cost in metal: About $250
    Total time to build: 8 hours
    Hydraulics cost: $90+ tax
    Total weight of the unit: about 400 lbs
    height: 7' 6"
    lift capacity: 2 tons at end of arm, 8 near the ram
    lowest lift: 5 feet
    highest lift: 9' 6"
    welder: TIG, DC, 15 cfm 100% argon, 3/32 and 1/8" thoriated tungsten, 3/32 and 1/8" filler rod, 200 amp setting

    I went through 3 80 cf argon tanks while doing this because my welder has a leak and I forgot to turn off the gas twice, which sucked. $45 a tank fill cost later I'm remembering to turn off the tank valve and learning to conserve gas while welding.

    Rental of the big engine hoist I was using was costing me about $75 a day, so it'll pay for itself in about one year, plus I can pull fenceposts up, fix trailers more easily, and more safely work on large objects around my house (no more dislocated bones while working on trailers).

    Sea Ray SRV-210 - Winter refit
    75-85 foot displacement hull trawler - gleam in my eye

  • #2
    Re: How do I remove an I/O engine?

    you built that????

    BAAA HAAA HAAAA man erik you got mbs bad....lol

    good job.....good post
    The Hull Extension Thread
    great info on all aspects on boat building with detailed information.


    IN MEMORY OF Our friend SpinnerBait_Nut LESTER WRIGHT July 31, 1953 - Nov 26, 2008 RIP

    IN MEMORY OF Our friend Tashasdaddy Robert (bob) Griffis. October 27, 1948
    November 29 2010 RIP


    • #3
      Re: How do I remove an I/O engine?

      I compared yours to my cummins hoist,
      I think the legs(front wheels) are slightly more splayed outwards on the cummins and it also has 6 wheels.
      Looks like you have a lot more vertical reach than mine.

      the 2 angle straps at the base of the vertical , they seem a bit small considerin what you could lift. Mine run from the corner and go up 12 inches.

      Anyway, Great job, I wouldn't trust my welding that far.
      See FAQ Files.

      Get the genuine factory service manual.


      • #4
        Re: How do I remove an I/O engine?

        Yeah, one of the design weaknesses is the lateral stability... it's ok as long as the weight isn't too up high. That's why I need to add some fold-out stabilizing legs, or possibly some outrigger braces with wheels or something.

        The straps on the base of the vertical are actually 1 inch square tubing with a 1/8" wall thickness. You're right in that they're a bit small for heavy lifting, I guess I was thinking they'd get some reinforcement when I mount the axle, since that is going to need connection to both the vertical and the base.

        The nice thing about TIG is that while you can in fact make an ugly weld, it's very hard to make a bad weld. On the major joints I made about four passes at 200 amps, so the metal was orange hot for quite a while after. I'm sure those joints are good

        Sea Ray SRV-210 - Winter refit
        75-85 foot displacement hull trawler - gleam in my eye


        • #5
          Re: How do I remove an I/O engine?

          Also found its wise to use some plywood under those steel wheels on asphalt, mine were sagging into the tar on a hot day with the outboard in the air.

          I've seen tin foil that was tig welded. ( alum foil)
          See FAQ Files.

          Get the genuine factory service manual.


          • #6
            Re: How do I remove an I/O engine?

            Great job!
            I'd like to offer a couple of suggestions if I might. The first being to replace the fish oil in the harbor freight ram. They use some really bad Chinese oil in them. It seems to break down quickly and leak past the seals.

            The second would be to run a metal trellis/tension strap from back at the pivot point out over an upright half way down the arm and then out to the tip of the arm. This would eliminate the weak point being the weld at the bend it the arm.
            1983 Chris Craft 168
            Bow rider to Center console conversion.
            Mental Health is highly overrated


            • #7
              Sign up today
              Re: How do I remove an I/O engine?

              Good suggestions. Should I use ATF fluid or real hydraulic fluid in the ram?

              On the tension strap, I thought about it but the joint is already reinforced with a piece of 3/8" steel plate on each side. It actually warped the arm when I welded it on since I didn't have it clamped right

              The strap is still probably a good idea for larger loads though.

              Sea Ray SRV-210 - Winter refit
              75-85 foot displacement hull trawler - gleam in my eye


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