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  1. #1
    Lieutenant Commander arks's Avatar
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    Default Is a Transom Saver REALLY needed?

    It's been a long time since I've trailered a small outboard boat, so I'd like to know how necessary it is to use one of those "transom savers" (a brace that connects the lower unit to the trailer). My boat is a 14' Lowe with a 25HP Evinrude. The motor locks in the upper position just fine and the boat has a solid transom. I typically travel about 30 miles (each direction) on smooth interstates.
    I trailered a 23' stern drive boat for 20+ years and never had a single problem that would've been prevented by a transom saver. What do you guys think?

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Is a Transom Saver REALLY needed?

    IMO nope, getting out of the hole fast is a lot more stressful on the transom then trailering

    Marc..

  3. #3
    Moderator JB's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is a Transom Saver REALLY needed?

    Neither are seatbelts or air bags.

    Try bumping it over a bad pothole at 50-70mph.

    Dumb not to use one.

  4. #4
    Vice Admiral jay_merrill's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is a Transom Saver REALLY needed?

    You are going to hear opinions on both sides of the issue. Some wouldn't trailer around the block without one and some, like me, feel they do more harm than good.

    I don't like them because loads tend to move around on any trailer. Ask a truck driver who hauls flatbed loads about the need to constantly check and adjust load straps. About the only way to prevent this is to strap the load, be it a boat or otherwise, down so tight that there is no movement what-so-ever, between the trailer and that load. While this sounds like a simple thing, it isn't. In order to get every bit of movement arrested, the load has to be strapped down to a point where stress damage can occur.

    If you don't get rid of this movement, what you end up with is the transom saver transmitting every movement of the trailer to the boat. You can pretty much figure out through what that movement will be transmitted.

    On the other hand, if you don't cinch the boat down, and don't use a transom saver, you will end up with a motor that is going to move somewhat. My motor (1972 Johnson 65hp) doesn't have T&T, so I just lower it onto the swing bar in the backside of the transom bracket. I then bungee it very tightly (so there is essentially no play in the bungees) to the lower portion of the transom bracket, resulting in a motor that moves with the boat, not the trailer. I feel that this creates a situation where the motor moves with the transom, not against it.

    The other point is that, as the previous person stated, you are going to put more stress on a transom operating the boat than driving down the road, as long as your motor is imobilized. Your motor isn't big enough to cause great stress under accelleration, but pounding the boat over waves day in and day out certainly will.

    I don't think this argument will ever be settled, but that's my 53 cents .... inflation, you know!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Is a Transom Saver REALLY needed?

    I am not an expert....so my opinion isn't worth much, however having used them, I think they work and they are not much in terms of dollars.

    My last boat was a Sea Ray with an outboard and had one with it when I purchased it, my current boat is a smaller Sunbird and I plan on getting one. What I liked about it was that it supported the motor when traveling and it kept the motor upright so I did not worry about hitting things coming out of parking lots or pulling up my driveway. I basically lowered the motor onto the bracket, strapped it down and off I went. As the motor rests on it, I am not sure about the stress, but I would think that its allot less than bouncing around on my transom. Like I said, I am no expert, but for outboards, they make sence to me.

    There is my 2 cents....I think they are about 40-50 bucks.

    MS

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Is a Transom Saver REALLY needed?

    They're worth the money spent. Travel with the outboard down and secured if you have at least a foot of clearance under the skeg. If not, $33 for a transom saver is a no-brainer.

  7. #7
    Chief Petty Officer fishmen111's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is a Transom Saver REALLY needed?

    You have a small outboard on an aluminum boat so it is not as great an issue. However, I feel that they are cheap insurance and should be used. The see-saw effect going down the road plays havoc with the transom. Fully tilted, you have a heavy 4' piece of metal balanced on a 2-3" pivot point. Because of the weight placement, you really can't compare O/B to I/O. You almost look like you could run with the motor down. My $.02

  8. #8
    Lieutenant Commander arks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is a Transom Saver REALLY needed?

    Quote Originally Posted by fishmen111 View Post
    You almost look like you could run with the motor down. My $.02
    No, I can't- the skeg is only about 16" from the road and I consider that too close to travel without worrying about it. I just recently put the boat on this trailer and I'm still making adjustments. I'm going to try it without a transom saver but will definitely anchor the motor in the up position. If I detect much movement going down the road then I'll go ahead and make the investment in the transom saver. Thanks for the input.
    "Winter Dream"
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  9. #9
    Supreme Mariner Silvertip's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is a Transom Saver REALLY needed?

    In your particular situation, I see the motor resting on the "tilt-lock". That device is not intended for trailering as it has no "Up-limit" meaning the motor can flop upward and then slam down on a pot hole strike or rough road travel. Breakage is the net result. Trailers properly secured do not move around and are not subjected to stress as a result. And if you look at the motor when tilted down, the pushing forces acting on the transom in the water are very low on the transom. Thrust during plane-out is a steady push on a transom whereas all road travel constitutes shock loading. There is a big difference. That long moment arm sticking out the back does add shock forces to the transom. Whether or not is enough to do damage is exactly why transom savers are available. If you are a gambler, then don't use one. But if you cannot travel with the motor vertical for clearance reasons, a transom saver is a very inexpensive insurance policy. Just make sure the boat is secured properly using transom tie-downs or you might as well leave the transom saver in the garage.

  10. #10
    Supreme Mariner kenmyfam's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is a Transom Saver REALLY needed?

    I'm all for the transom saver peresonally
    Marada 2100 Executive Series, 5 Litre V8 with Mercruiser Alpha 1 outdrive. 2007 K-Z Spree 260 RBH, all = a whole lot of family fun !!!!

  11. #11
    Vice Admiral jay_merrill's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is a Transom Saver REALLY needed?

    I agree that you need to get that motor off of the tilt lock. It isn't meant to secure the motor in the tilted position for trailering. If you hit a big bump with the motor the way you have it, especially since it isn't tied down in terms of tilt movement, you will most likely bend or break something.

    I just looked on the parts explosion for a 25hp ERude and I can't find the parts involved ... they are not on the diagram for some reason ... so I don't know the correct names for them. Suffice it to say, however, that there is a "slider bar" (may be called "stop link") that latches onto a "stop bolt" by hooking the slider bar on it, and that that stop bolt is screwed into the swivel bracket. If you use the tilt lock while trailering, you will most likely bend or break the slider bar, break the stop bolt, or crack/break the swivel bracket. In fact, you might do all three.

    Here's a photo of a swivel bracket off of a 1974 Chrysler 10hp motor. As you can see, a good sized chunk of the bracket is missing - this is an example of what I am talking about.





    On my motor, there is a moveable bar (see below) that the motor can be rested on while trailering. During normal operation, it swivels downward to a stowed position, and the motor rests on the thrust pin in the transom bracket. As seen in the photo, I use a bungee, fastened to the thrust pin on the port side, then run it over the back of the exhaust housing, wrap it around the thrust pin on the other side, and then fasten it to the moveable bar. The bungee is just the right length to do this in a way that takes essentially all of the "give" out of it. The end result is that the motor rests on something strong and firm, so there is little or no movement of the engine that is not in sync with the boat.





    BTW, if you look at the upper, center portion of this photo, you will see the tilt lock and will see that it is not being used.

  12. #12
    Vice Admiral samo_ott's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is a Transom Saver REALLY needed?

    I agree with SilverTip, get it off the tilt lock whatever you do as it is not meant to hold it up. And to me 16" of clearance is fine. I have trailered with a lot less!
    Steve.

  13. #13
    Supreme Mariner Silvertip's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is a Transom Saver REALLY needed?

    For what it's worth, the owners manual for my new Suzuki recommends use of a transom saver. I won't need one since the engine is on a pontoon and it can be trailered in the full down position.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Is a Transom Saver REALLY needed?

    It's not needed if you aren't going to keep it for a long time, or it is a inboard. But outboards, yes they are needed if you want the back of the boat to last 30+ years. Look at the boat ramp and see how many people with outboards put a transom saver on. I bet it will be about 95-100%. When you are going around the block and not hitting any bumps you are ok. But if you get on the highway or hit a bump in the road the boat is going to stay still, it's straped down good to the trailer so it takes the bump not the boat. But the motor will move up and down a little, and other time that will add up. Just think if you drive 30 mintues to and from, that's a hour it could be moving just a little. And if you take it out once a week all year, that 52 hours of moment. Add that to years and over time it will add up to a weaker transom, which isn't cheap to fix. If you get a simple transom saver, then strap it to the trailer, then when you hit a bump the boat and motor wont move but the trailer will take the impact, which it is made to do. The tires and springs can take the impact, don't let your motor put a unwanted stress on you boat.

  15. #15
    Commander zach103's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is a Transom Saver REALLY needed?

    Do i need a transom saver if i have this??
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  16. #16
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    Default Re: Is a Transom Saver REALLY needed?

    I don't use the tilt brackets on my motors when I am trailering the boat - these brackets are not designed for trailering. Instead of the tilt brackets I have custom cut pieces of lumber that I use to keep the motors in the up position. I don't use transom savers, but I do tie the motors down.

    I noticed that some of you think that if possible the motor should be in the down position when trailering the boat. I find this interesting and I don't understand the rationale for it. My thinking is with the motor in the down position the bulk of the weight of the motor is in fact not over the transom, but on one side of the transom and therefore not only applying downward but also outward forces to the transom. For example on a teeter-totter unless the weight is equal on both side, one side goes up and the other down. I think the same principle applies here, and therefore, it is better to trailer with the motor in the up-position. I don't know, but I think, the bulk of the weight of the motor has to be in the powerhead and with the motor in the raised position a lot of the weight is sitting directly over the transom, hence removing a lot of the twisting (outward) force from the transom.

    I am not engineer, but it makes sense to me.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Is a Transom Saver REALLY needed?

    Remember that twisting force (torque) is the product (cross product to be exact) of force and distance. The gearcase may be lighter than the powerhead, but when the motor is up it is a lot farther away from the transom than the powerhead ever is.

  18. #18
    Senior Chief Petty Officer Navy Jr.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Is a Transom Saver REALLY needed?

    I'm a newbie, so maybe my words won't mean much here, but I invested in a transom saver for our 400 lb Merc 115hp 4-stroker on the back of a 17.5 ft alumunium fish/ski boat. I use it all the time, even on the short 15 minute ride via 30mpg roads to our favorite lake.

    As I ponder this question, I'm thinking that the tilt lock that came with the motor really isn't for transporting; its use might be mainly as a backup to the hydraulics when one wants to have the motor tilted all the way up so the weight of the head is more balanced over the transom, not pullling against the back of the transom, such as when the rig is sitting idle for a long period of time.

    There isn't enough room in our garage to do that, so our motor is tilted all the way down during those down times. Now I'm wondering if I'm hurting the transom over time by doing that, and if I should tilt it up the 20 degrees I think I have room to and put the transom saver on.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Is a Transom Saver REALLY needed?

    In all honesty, I think in SOME instances with SOME trailor/boat/motor combinations...trailoring is actually very stressful on the transom. I had a 60HP johnson that would bang up and down going down the road without even hitting any bumps or rough parts on the road.

    Take railroad tracks, speed bumps, drain pipe mounts that should be more flush mounted in the road than some actually are, pot holes, all of these instances could occur on just a 5 minute trip to the ramp. It may not crack the transom this time....but it might the next.

    Securing your motor, and really anything that has a lot of play while trailoring is always a good idea. Some transom savers are better than others however.

    Cory
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  20. #20
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    Default Re: Is a Transom Saver REALLY needed?

    I have a 16 ft Key West with a 70 hp 2 stroke Yamaha. When I trailer I have kept it in the up position on the tilt bracket. I don't keep it tilted down because there's not a lot of clearance. I never gave it much thought but the bracket doesn't look real strong and I suppose the motor could bounce on it. Do you think I should use a transom saver? Does it hold the motor down against tilt bracket to stop the motor from bouncing?

    Thanks!

    Key West 1520CC
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  21. #21
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    Default Re: Is a Transom Saver REALLY needed?

    arks
    did you put the center console in yourself? thats a good looking boat.
    i've used transom savers on my 40hp johnson and 30hp honda because both of them are heavy motors for the 16ft boats they are on. but if i had the ground clearance and a smaller motor (100lbs or less)i wouldn't have used them. at 120lbs with your 25hp i think you are in a grey area. but if you aren't comfortable with the ground clearance in the down position a transom saver vs using the tilt lock is the way to go just for the clearance and keeping the weight off the tilt lock mechanism. i think preventing the motor from bouncing is the big key. you can set 120 lbs on your foot and it hurts. drop 120lbs on your foot and you have a broken foot. a bouncing 120lb motor is basically the same on the transom. it can hold the weight but it can't take beating it with it.
    that's my 2 cents worth.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Is a Transom Saver REALLY needed?

    I wouldn't tow with the motor up resting on the lock, but would consider making a wood block or something that would allow me to lower the motor further while still retaining enough ground clearance. Then simply strap the motor in place with a ratchet strap. It will prevent bounce damage and take a lot of stress off both the motor bracket and transom.

    Something I have always wished they made was a spring cushioned transom saver. Something that would hold the motor but not fix it solid to the trailer.
    Things flex when in tow, including things like the trailer rollers, the hull to some degree, and the trailer frame itself, this all needs to be taken into account when securing a motor with a bar to the frame.

    Something I have done on my larger boats is to use the transom saver but secure it at the motor with a thick piece of rubber in between the bracket and the lower unit. I also don't tow with the motor fully tilted or locked in the up position.

    On really long trips, if damage is a real concern on smaller motors, I normally just remove the motor. That's not a real option for remote controlled motors though.

  23. #23
    Senior Chief Petty Officer Navy Jr.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Is a Transom Saver REALLY needed?

    Quote Originally Posted by reelfishin View Post
    ... Something I have done on my larger boats is to use the transom saver but secure it at the motor with a thick piece of rubber in between the bracket and the lower unit...
    The transom saver we bought at our dealer came with just such a large rubber cushion, and I wonder if most of them now come that way.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Is a Transom Saver REALLY needed?

    The last transom saver I had here had only a rubber dipped motor end and a strap. It was holding a 50hp up and had just about sheared the lower bolt that held it to the frame.

    I've also been seeing a lot of transom savers that are permanently mounted to the frame, I have no idea what you do with it when you launch the boat, I guess it just drags the ramp? The one I do use has a removable pin. I just toss it in the truck while readying for launch at the ramp.

    I was looking today at my set up, there's really not a lot of weight on the Transom saver but I can only imagine the up force created and the return hit on a severe bump.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Is a Transom Saver REALLY needed?

    I dont think so not on my boats, my mercury 80hp engine seemed fine and so does my 75 force by mercury. My thought is the transom saver could do more damage than good, hit a hard pot hole the flex in trailer sends all that shock to the lower part motor pushing up. I just pwr tilt my motor up crank the steering shaft into itself steering all the way to left. It came with red saftey thingy but i never us it. Seems fine its light maybe the newer savers are better.

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