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K. Kergan
K. Kergan, Marine Mechanic
Category: Boat
Satisfied Customers: 1026
Experience:  24 yrs exp. Inboard/Outboard mechanic Mercury/ Mercruiser, Volvo Penta and OMC, Johnson/Evin.
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90 hp 4 stroke yamaha outboard. Tilt & trim doesnt operate

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90 hp 4 stroke yamaha outboard. Tilt & trim doesn't operate either remotely or at the engine. Prior to that problem surfacing, the engine turned over and sputtered, but would not start. Any ideas?


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Hi Larry,

Lets start with the trim, because we do not need a running engine for that to work.

Now when you hit trim up or down. Can you hear the trim relays click? (i'm assuming here the trim motor does not actually spin in either direction, but correct that if is wrong).

Also, when was the last time everything worked as it should?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Yes the relay clicks. The trim system was working ok yesterday until I raised the motor to the fully up position to allow access to the sediment bulb. The motor is now in the up position and the trim system is inoperative.


So when you hit trim down from either location, the relays just click, correct? Does the electric portion of the trim motor attempt to spin at all?

You also said something about the engine. Will it not crank over with it full up?

How are you making sure the battery is fully charged, and did not drop voltage on you?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
ok, here's the sequence:

1. Yesterday, motor cranked but would not start in the fully lowered position

2. Raised the motor with tilt to fully raised position. Inspected and replaced fuel filter. motor still would not start. It cranked ok.

3 Attempted to lower motor to down position. Relay clicked but no movement.

4. Today I fully charged both batteries and checked the 4 fuses on the side of the engine. Tilt still will not work. Engine turns over normally, but does not start.

5. My owner's manual says the engine can be lowered manually by turning a vent screw ccw, but I couldn't find that screw.

What do you think?


Ohhhh I think you have more than 1 problem here.

Just so we are on the same page. With the motor on full tilt up. You can hit the key and the engine spins over correct?

You hit trim down, and the relays click, but you get nothing/no sound from the trim motor itself, correct? The motor does not spin, that is important. I need to know if the motor is spinning, or if you hear a hum from it, or if it is attempting to spin at all.


We will get to that manual relief screw in a bit. But tell me more about the actual trim pump electric motor. If it hums, makes noise or does anything.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Please check item 3 in sequence. Relay click, then nothing (noise, movement of trim motor, etc) It's obvious that the secondary of the relay is not completing the tilt motor circuit. It's time for expert guidance, not just more obvious questions.....Please!

Respectfully, Larry



Do you want me to guess at this, or try to guide you? No matter what I do here, you are my eyes and ears, as I am not there to see the engine for myself. So I have to ask you detailed specific question, and I need detailed specific answers back to those questions. If this was in front of my I would have simply jumped 12V right to the trim motor to see if it was dead or not 1/2 an hour ago.


I'm also going on the premise that you have more than 1 thing wrong, and that those more than 1 things wrong are related. Because you do have more than 1 problem. You have a dead trim system and a not starting engine.

This can littlerally something as simple as loose/corroded battery cables. Or something extremely difficult. So I try to narrow things down via questions back to you so we are not wasteing time testing things that do not need to be tested.

Believe me I am not trying to give you a hard time at all, I am trying to help, but I am in the business, and I know your options right now.


So let me ask you this. Have you pulled and sanded down the battery cable ends, and battery posts, and tightened it all back down yet to see if it helps or not?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Totally useless. Here let me try:

Likely problems: (1) Bad relay in tilt system

(2) Possible bad fuel pump

What's so difficult about this?.What a rip-off! Lots of questions and no possible solutions. Please refund my $..

So what your assumption is here is that you had a 2 trim and tilt relays (they work in pairs) and a fuel pump go out on you all at the same time?


Sorry Larry. No magical answers without good old fashion troubleshooting here.

You can self refund. Good luck with the shops that are 100/hr and backed up 3 to 4 weeks this time of year.

Hi, my name is Kerry

If the trim motor tries to run in the up direction and just the relay clicks in the down direction, the down relay is no good.

If the relays click in both directions and the motor makes no attempt, possibly the motor is no good.

This link is a parts breakdown of what I think is your trim unit.

Number 88 in the diagram is is the manual release screw, don't try to take it out, just back it out until the motor lowers. On some motors you get to it through a hole in the transom bracket with a long slot screwdriver.

For the engine not running, you need to do some tests to rule out potential problems and narrow it down.

Check spark and compression to start with and go from there.

If those are both good check fuel pressures.


K. Kergan, Marine Mechanic
Category: Boat
Satisfied Customers: 1026
Experience: 24 yrs exp. Inboard/Outboard mechanic Mercury/ Mercruiser, Volvo Penta and OMC, Johnson/Evin.
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