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Marine Tech Tips

Marine Tech Tips - Proper Maintenance of an Outboard Power Tilt and Trim

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Your outboard’s Power Trim and Tilt unit changes the outboard’s thrust angle during operation for maximum performance of both your outboard and your boat. It’s electro-hydraulic, meaning an electric pump moves hydraulic fluid upon command from the operator, tilting the thrust angle out or in. It’s positioned inside the engine bracket, meaning almost constant contact with water, and, depending on where you boat, that can mean saltwater. Still, under normal conditions, this system needs only minimal care in order to function properly.


Make sure to include the PT&T unit in your routine post-trip flushing and wash down procedure. For best effect, first run over it gently with a sponge or a soft cloth soaped up with mild detergent like Yamaclean®. Then, spray the whole unit down with fresh, clean water.


Periodically grease the top of the trim rams on your PT&T unit to help keep them safe from corrosion and to eliminate those annoying, but harmless, squeaking and popping noises. Be sure to use a high-quality marine-formula grease, like Yamalube® Marine Grease, so it won’t wash off so fast.


Keep the trim rams fully retracted when not in use to prevent corrosion build-up. Engage the tilt lock mechanism built into the outboard’s bracket, or install a Yamaha engine support to hold the engine in the tilt-up position. Then, withdraw the tilt rams into the unit by pressing the PT&T down button until they are fully retracted. This keeps all but the very tip of the ram immersed in a bath of PT&T fluid and safe from corrosion. Liberally apply Marine Grease to the ram tips to help keep them corrosion free, too.

Tip: The built-in tilt lock mechanism is for maintaining tilt for storage or periods of non-use only, such as when mooring. Do not trailer using only this mechanism to support the tilted outboard.


The fluid in your PT&T system is under extreme pressure that can cause molecular shear, which tears apart the fluid’s molecules, resulting in a drastic loss of lubricity. Don’t use substitute oils like motor oil or power steering fluid. Yamaha Performance Power Trim & Tilt Fluid is specially formulated to tolerate a specific amount of water ingestion and still maintain proper operation, all while withstanding extreme pressures. It also contains special anti-foaming agents the others don’t, to maintain critical lubricity.

Valves and Seals.

If you see fluid on the outside of the PT&T unit, or if your outboard won’t stay tilted up (or stay tilted out when running), it may mean that the seals or internal valves are in need of inspection. Have the unit inspected by an authorized Yamaha Marine dealer and, if necessary, disassembled and repaired.

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