DIY: Trolling Motor Tips
Unfortunately; I have become very experienced with repairing trolling motors over the past decade. I thought I would share some of my tips and insight in hopes that it helps others. In my opinion MotorGuide is a much better built trolling motor than Minn Kota.
Also; I welcome any tips from others on this board to share!
- Always use heavy gauge wire when running from battery to motor. I like to buy high quality jumper cables and cut the clamps off. Sears has some excellent 'door-buster' sets for cheap if you keep your eye out.
- Install a 60amp fuse in line.
- Buy a battery large enough to only be drained down to 45-55% of capacity after normal use.
- Charge heavy 10-15 amp immediately after each use.
- Buy a decent digital battery charger with deep cycle mode (10-15amp). ~$60 *Note; if you use an extension cord; make sure it is a short cord and heavy gauge as to not restrict voltage or to cause a fire hazard.
- Worn brushes are usually the culprit of faulty motors. $15 for a set online + new O-ring gaskets is an easy fix.
- The motor housing has an up & a down side; even though it will fit easily either way. If you get this wrong; it will go in reverse in fwd mode-vice versa.
- You can make a propeller clutch by removing the shear pin and installing a flat washer, spring, and another washer on the shaft. Then; tighten the nut. It is better to buy a longer spring and cut it to fit to get the right tension.
- Broken motor magnets can be fixed with quickset epoxy and 1" C-clamps.
- Buy some rubber grommets or stoppers to put under your screw mounts so that it limits the vibration and quietens the motor.
- A motor skeg is great to use for rivers and easy to install.
- Always put a safety chain from your boat to the motor mount.
- You can repair a stripped out propeller hub with a bottle cap in a emergency situation.
Here are some of my pictures to help elaborate on a few of my experiences.:biggrin:
Thanks for the tips! I’m curious….why do you suggest using a heavy charge at 10-15 amps? I use a slow charge for my deep-cycle battery when I get back and use the same 2 amp charge prior to going back out again.
Jed, I think it is key to get a deep cycle battery back up to charge quickly to avoid sulfation and this time frame suits most user's desires of charging in 6-12 hours. The key idea behind the heavy amps is to facilitate a quick and consistent charge for the thicker DC Plates in the bulk and absorption stages.:smile: Many people will wait several days or do not like having a battery charging for several days.
Originally Posted by TN Jed
I use following digital charger for my deep cycle batteries and it automatically adjusts the voltage & amps to meet the four stages of charging (bulk, absorption, equalizing, float-maintain). It works very well and I can get my battery back up to storage overnight. I usually get about 2 years out of my batteries with around 100-120 charges.
Charging with 2 amps works well if you have the time to let it facilitate.
Shawn that's pretty good info you posted. I'm on the look out for a good trolling motor, 56 pound thrust or greater, keep your eye out for me would ya.
Rod, that would be a great setup for the Clinch! You will probably have to start looking at 24v and 36v trolling motors once you get above 50lb thrusts. That means 2-3 batteries. However; done correctly-you will have a great setup. You will probably have to pay about $300-500 for one of these big boy trolling motors. That has been the only thing holding me back.:cool: Most people look at used 3-5hp motors once they get to this dilemma. However; I think an electric trolling motor works best for me.
Originally Posted by Rodonthefly
Shawn; I've owned a few minn kota electrics and well it seems nothing holds up very well in a river... when the motor stops and the boat keeps going it's a bad situation.... stuff gets destroyed.
The picture of the inside motor housing is interesting; is that a cracked magnate under the jacket of the motor and can you really glue them back together? Sorta looks like the inside of a Mercury outboard starter...
On my Trackers I threw out the trolling motors and installed an electric anchor system and figured this was a better use of the deep cycle system wiring and the best means to pull anchor safely while storing the line outta the way. A friend of mine got pulled out of his boat on the Deleware several years ago while pulling anchor line against the current; lucky he didn't get killed.
An electric anchor mounts easily on the bow and uses the same 12 volts so you might check into it.
I am surprised that an electric motor would get you around okay on the Clinch and wonder if you launch and land at the same place or drift to a lower ramp and use the motor to push through the slow spots?
Awesome topic, advice and info!
Originally Posted by Corbo
I use a trolling motor 90% of the time on the Clinch. To clarify; it works well in navigating the shoals and the water during non generation. The motor I have is a 45# trolling motor. I can go upstream on one-generator; but, it is at a snails pace and not something I do...
My future boat designs will be built around an electric propulsion system. The motor will have the ability to steer 360 Degrees and move upstream efficiently on most tail-waters. Also; it will have to ability to follow way-points, gps for position maintenance, automatic retrieve for wading, etc. They will have oar locks as well for those who enjoy rowing.
I will not build the motor as it would not be cost effective and it would be out of my expertise. However; I am building a few motors for kayaks and smaller boats. I have a nice 1/2 hp electric motor to test right now.:smile:
*Oh, yes the housing is a standard motor housing with two-alternate magnets. My brother accidentally broke one of these magnets by trying to fix the bent trolling motor shaft with a few hits to the motor housing. The magnets are super strong and very difficult to position back in the housing. So; you will need a few 1" c-clamps and some quick set epoxy. It works very well. You can leave the magnet out and it will still work with diminished capacity. Remember to sand the inside in for any glue obtrusion and to make sure the magnets are seated correctly. The most important thing is to install the housing the way it was originally. If you install it upside down; the motor will work in reverse.
Shawn; here's a video you might enjoy... if you want to build one for yourself watch all the vids from 1 through 10 to see how it was built. A red neck jet boat.
Basically this is trash pump drive.
On a more serious notion I believe you actually need this
Shawn; it just so happens that I will GIVE YOU a gas powered weed eater (industrial strength with broken blade holder on end of shaft, but it works all good otherwise) if you will make one of these!
This would work awesome in the river; easy to tilt when approach rocks and I'll bet it would push a 14 foot jon boat with ease.
Heck; I would have thrown in the jon boat but it got ripped off from my son's yard several weeks ago... it was Sears "ted Williams" vintage early 70's. Think a couple meth heads stole it for the metal.