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Trim won't work sometimes; bad relay or what?

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  • Trim won't work sometimes; bad relay or what?

    Sort of reminds me when an automotive starter is going bad it will sometimes just click once unless you try it again a time or two. After the boat sits for a long period, sometimes the trim won't work unless you try it a few times and then it finally works. I hear a click in the back which makes me think a relay and not the switch. Or do the motors go bad too? I know nothing of boat trim mechanics at this point since I am only a newbie boat owner.

  • #2
    Get a Test light, all boaters must have one. Look on the tilt motor for where the wire harness from the trim relays go to the motor, un plug the wires, they should be blue and green. Have someone trigger the switch and check if the one of the wires has current depending on which way the switch is moved. If there is current on both wires then the relays are good. Most of the time the relays are the problem. The only other problem could stuck brushes in the motor housing. One way to see if that is the problem tap lightly on the motor, if it starts then the brushes are the cause.
    Kenner, Louisiana 1980 Donzi 18'. 2+3 6.2 MPI Alpha 1


    • #3
      That is a good way to test for voltage getting to the trim pump. However, you can have voltage there and still have a bad relay. How you ask? Because if the relay contacts are going bad, they can still pass voltage but not the proper amount of current needed to run the trim pump. A better way is to either load those wires OR test the voltage at the pump still connected to see if it is passing the proper power to it. If you read the correct voltage while the wires are connected to the pump, you have a bad trim pump. If the voltage is seriously low, you have a suspect relay OR even a trim pump as well.A clicking relay only tells you the field voltage it working. But not the condition of the replay contacts JMHO
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      • #4
        All the above and also check for corrosion on the relay and mating female spades it's plugged into especially if your in salt


        • #5
          It helps if you ID the motor?
          The older Volvos used relays and the newer used solenoids.
          The click could be a solenoid?
          Or the relay?
          WD on the contacts after you've loosened the nuts or blades.

          Buy American made Cars and Trucks!!!Towing insurance for a boat,a GREAT thing.
          ​Tools to make my life easier: Battery tester, die grinder, temp.gun, compression tester, DVA meter.

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          88 Bayliner 21CC 2001 Mercury 225 HP EFI



          • #6
            Happened to me a few times last year. Found it was just a loose connection at the pump. I'd check that first.


            • #7
              My Cobra has the old style relays that are like an old school Ford starter relay. The terminals get a bit of corrosion on them and need to be cleaned every so often. The other area that can cause trouble in in the remote control; the wiring sometimes breaks due to the constant flexing of the wiring as you move the throttle control. Blue = up; Green = down. I would check for power at the relays by working the button on the control first to rule out the broken wire/frayed wire in the remote control issue....
              1988 Four Winns 200 Horizon
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              98 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4.0 Selectrac
              07 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited 5.7 Quadradrive II

              "While air doesn't freeze....rust never sleeps"


              • #8
                Thanks for all the replies...the boat is put up for the winter (side of the house) so I will probably just see if it is an issue in the spring and then replace the relays if they are common enough to get at an auto parts store. It is a 2004 model boat BTW and I did look at it when this happened on the trailer when I was changing lower unit oil for the season and I remember seeing 1 or 2 black square relays that looked a GM fuel pump relay. I can always refer back to this thread when I get to it but I wanted to get it out there while it was on my mind.


                • #9
                  Had a similar issue a few months ago. I pulled all the relays and electrical connections and thoroughly cleaned all the contact areas on the plugs. The problem went away!


                  • #10
                    Yep, those relays are very inexpensive. Around $12. And if you change them, you can inspect and clean all the wires and connections while you're there.


                    • #11
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                      Originally posted by GeorgeDes View Post
                      Had a similar issue a few months ago. I pulled all the relays and electrical connections and thoroughly cleaned all the contact areas on the plugs. The problem went away!
                      I second this. I had the same problem too. Took the unit apart, cleaned everything, and it works great now.
                      2000 Seaswirl 175 BR with 3.0 Volvo Penta
                      1993 Jetcraft with a 350 Kodiak and American Turbine.