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Trouble Shooting your Power Trim & Tilt Motor System

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Old 07-03-2012, 11:58 PM   #1

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Arrow Trouble Shooting your Power Trim & Tilt Motor System

When experiencing problems with your power Trim and Tilt System, there are a few easy ways to diagnose just what the problem is. Power Trim motors generally come in two styles. All use a 12 volt D/C reversing Motor. Some Motors have a two wire connection and some Motors have a three wire connection. All power Trim and Tilt Motors come with one blue wire and one green wire. The three wire power Trim and Tilt Motors have an additional Black wire as well. The Black wire works as a Ground on power Trim and Tilt Motors that don’t ground thru the case. When the blue wire is energized it raises the Motor or drive unit up. When the green wire is energized it lowers the drive unit down.

When having a problem first you need to determine whether your problem is with the power Trim and Tilt Motor or the Hydraulic Pump Valve Body assembly. If you attempt to raise the Motor or sterndrive to the up or down position and nothing happens, first check to make sure your Battery is charged and switched on if your boat is equipped with a Battery switch. If you hear a slight clicking noise you have power coming from the switch to the solenoid. The next step is to go directly to the Motor and test it there. First, disconnect the power Trim and Tilt Motor. Using a jumper wire, apply 12 volts directly to the blue wire if your engine or drive unit is in the down position. It should raise up at this time. If it is in the up position, apply power to the green wire reversing the Motor and lowering the unit. If the Motor runs, you may have a problem with a solenoid or lack of voltage coming from the power Trim and Tilt switch to the solenoid.

If your power Trim Tilt Motor won’t run after this procedure it is time to replace it. Some replacement Power Trim & Tilt motors will come with a new wiring harness and relay kit to convert your old three wire power Trim and Tilt Motor to a new more powerful two wire Motor.

Note that the Trim up wiring goes thru the Trim Limit Switch located on the port side of your outdrive and then to the Solenoid. The Trim up and Trailer buttons both use the same solenoid so if the Trailer button works the problem may be in the Trim Switch or the Trim Up button. If its the trim switch on the outdrive that has failed, you will be into pulling the outdrive to replace the switch & wiring and while you are there, you may as well replace the Trim Sensor switch if it isn't working along with any other items that are showing some wear. If it gets to that point, see WetWilly's "Sticky"on replacing the Trim Sensor & Trim Limit Switches.

More testing needed? Refer to the attached drawing:

All circuits inoperative: Connect a voltmeter between point 5 & ground. Depress the In/Down button. Move the red voltmeter lead to point 3 & depress the Out/Up button. If no voltage is shown at one or both test points, check the connections at points 2,3,4 & 5. If connections are good, the solenoid(s) will need replacing.
Disconnect the blue/white lead at the solenoid terminal point 8. Depress the In/Down button. If the pump motor operates there is a short in the wire harness.

Down circuit inoperative, In/Down solenoid doesn't click: Check & clean connections at point 6 & 7. Connect voltmeter between point 6 & ground. Depress the In/Down button. If no voltage is shown, check the In/Down circuit for a looses/corroded connection or damaged wire. If the connections & leads are good, test the trim switch continuity. If okay, replace the In/Down solenoid.

Down circuit inoperative, In/Down solenoid clicks: Check & clean connections at points 4 & 5. Connect voltmeter between point 5 & ground. Depress the Out/Up button. If no voltage is showing, check the In/Down circuit for a bad connection or damaged In/Down circuit lead. Again, if the connections/leads are good, test the trim switch continuity. If good, replace the In/Down solenoid.

Up circuit inoperative, Out/Up solenoid clicks, Trim & Trailer switches inoperative: This means the down circuit is good. Check & clean connections at points 2 & 3. Connect voltmeter between point 3 & ground. Depress the Out/Up button. If no voltage, replace the Out/Up solenoid.

Out/Up trim switch inoperative, Trailer switch okay: Check & clean connections at points 14,15,16 & 17. Disconnect the trim limit switch leads at the trim harness. Connect an ohmmeter between lead 16 & 17. With the drive unit in full In/Down position, the meter should show continuity. If not, check for poor connections or damaged leads. If the connections & leads are good, its time to replace the Outdrive trim limit switch.

Trailer switch inoperative: This means the Out/Up trim switch is good. Check trailer switch with an ohmmeter. It should show continuity when the switch is depressed & no continuity when it is not depressed. If the switch is good, check for bad connections or a damaged circuit lead.

BTW...easy way to remember the up/down wiring colours: blue = sky = up and green = grass = down.


Hope this helps!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Mercruiser Trim system wiring.jpg (39.9 KB, 637 views)

Last edited by mikeyt; 05-06-2013 at 02:39 AM.
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