Trolling motor acting up

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Douglasdzaster

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 19, 2020
Messages
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Location
Smithville,Texas
LOCATION
Smithville, Texas
Hi everyone,
I took my boat out for the first time after I’ve been rebuilding it for a year. The trolling motor was stored in my shop. I thought I’d checked everything before leaving the house. I wiped the dust off the trolling motor and used a water base vinyl rubber and plastic treatment on the shaft so it would slide in the bracket and steer smooth. It’s a Min Kota 55# 12 volt that I reversed the head on and built an adapter for the bow and it was working great until it sit all this time. It’s on a 16/52 aluminum flat bottom. When I got to the lake I clamped it on the mount plugged it in and when I hit the button nothing. I could here it click in the head though so it was getting power there. Then I did something stupid. I still had my hand on the button and tapped the prop with the other hand and it took off. Nearly got my fingers.
I got out on the water and when I used it the motor didn’t feel like it was pulling as good as it used to. I thought I did have all my gear in it and the wife was with me this time. Ten mph wind. But I also know the new floor is lighter than the old one. Maybe my battery was trying to give it up. Later on I put it in reverse and it made a growling noise so I stoled that mess and put it back in forward and it ran smooth just didn’t seem as powerful. I stopped using it and pulled it out of the water and laid it down and locked it. I leaned out a little and found what I didn’t check. I saw grass. Dead grass so I know it’s been in there the whole time. I haven’t had a chance to pull the prop and clean it out and see if there’s fishing line or something else in it. I’ll do that this evening after it cools down a little outside. I got cooked on the lake yesterday by the Texas sun.
Once I clean it out is there anything else I can check or lubricate?
Oh,as soon as I got home yesterday I put the multimeter on the trolling battery and it had 12.5 left in it so as all was I put it on the smart charger to top it off. Battery had plenty of juice. Could that stuff sitting around the prop shaft for a year bound it up that bad?
 
Yes, possibly, clean and lubricate the shaft...clean ALL electrical connections, brush them super clean ! Had a similiar issue with my MK55 motor just a few weeks back. Full charge on my batteries but no signal when plugged in!
Turned out a poor corroded battery connection. Super cleaned all the connections and made a big difference in performance. Has been slowing down slowly over time until it stopped, clean terminals makes a big difference !!
 
Yes, possibly, clean and lubricate the shaft...clean ALL electrical connections, brush them super clean ! Had a similiar issue with my MK55 motor just a few weeks back. Full charge on my batteries but no signal when plugged in!
Turned out a poor corroded battery connection. Super cleaned all the connections and made a big difference in performance. Has been slowing down slowly over time until it stopped, clean terminals makes a big difference !!
I just finished with most of the rebuild I’m doing to the boat. The last thing I did was put in all new wiring for everything. New terminal ends and cleaned up the batteries.
I shouldn’t have any corrosion inside the trolling motor since it’s sealed.
You know what I just thought about. I have a button installed on the floor and started to remove it and look at the bottom to see if I could clean those contacts and I didn’t do it. My be getting a weak current through the button.
 
Fishing line behind the prop?

I just had the exact same thing happen to a motor I traded for. Couldn't get the prop off, had to really force it with 2 screwdrivers.

There was a big gob of fishing line behind the prop that had melted together into a hairy wad of plastic.

Had to carefully use a sharp chisel to cut it off the shaft. Sprayed some WD40 to clean it up, then put a donut of marine grease around the bearing and put the prop back on. Works perfectly.
 
Fishing line behind the prop?

I just had the exact same thing happen to a motor I traded for. Couldn't get the prop off, had to really force it with 2 screwdrivers.

There was a big gob of fishing line behind the prop that had melted together into a hairy wad of plastic.

Had to carefully use a sharp chisel to cut it off the shaft. Sprayed some WD40 to clean it up, then put a donut of marine grease around the bearing and put the prop back on. Works perfectly.
I’m about to go out to the shop and see what’s up. I hope I can just clean it up and grease the bearing.
It’s a Min Kota 55# endura max. Minn Kota clams the digital maximizer makes a battery charge 5 last 5 times longer that other models. I know I’ve ran it for hours on a group 24 interstate battery and the battery showed to still have almost a full charge so I’d top it off. Been using the same battery for five years. I looked up the trolling motor last night and they are close to double the price now.
 
Now what. What’s safe to use to clean it up. I have CRC lectra motor cleaner and CRC contact cleaner but I’ll go get whatever.
The clump you see at the top I removed first with a rag and it felt like gravel at first but crumbled easy. Everything that looks like mud I wiped with a rag and took a small magnet and it pulled the stuff off the rag. As it is drying it’s like handling graphite.
Doesn’t seem to be any damage on the surfaces after I wipe the I guess shavings off it. I dug through my drawer of manuals I always keep and found the minn Kota manual with parts list and schematics. I checked off all the seals and the bearing to get. I have known idea how to change the bearing. I hope someone here does.
Before taking it apart I tried turning the prop and it squeaked. After pulling the prop I couldn’t turn the shaft by hand.
Here’s pictures of my mess. Y’all let me know what you think please.
Any knowledge is greatly appreciated. I’m hoping I can use the electric motor cleaner?
24AC32ED-18DC-47A5-9620-C5314564178D.jpegBD424F6E-55AE-4285-B1AB-647C3E380980.jpeg31F07FDE-3162-4E01-8D8B-15D091734ADD.jpegF09AA980-26FA-46E5-B2AA-639F1BCB157F.jpegF0B91931-08CB-4D3F-8A64-93D36D92D8C0.jpegD8720FD6-2136-4D26-A6D0-A0AC76FF89E2.jpeg8A9ABBB3-427C-405B-BA70-D5C5E3094EB7.jpeg
EDIT: I found the corrosion. It’s in the housing where the shaft attaches. I’m going to have to sand it. Thank goodness the motor itself turns inside the magnets.
 
Last edited:
I recently did one like that. I sprayed it out with WD40 as the cleaning solvent, nothing too harsh. You don't want to melt or soften any potting mix.

Clean it as well as you can, and then use 400-800 grit emery cloth to polish the surfaces, particularly where the brushes make contact with the armature and the sides.

The bearing should come right off. If I recall, it's not pressed on or anything, just a friction fit, but I can't remember. If you call Johnson Outdoors, they can tell you for sure, if it doesn't come off fairly easily.

I'm working on a motor right now. Here is the page I'm currently ordering from. Go up a level and find your motor, and you can see the full schematics and parts:

https://motors.johnsonoutdoors.com/...2010_Riptide_40_SCT,_12_Volt,_30_Inch_Shaft/y

I hope this helps
 
Thanks Thill. I a
I recently did one like that. I sprayed it out with WD40 as the cleaning solvent, nothing too harsh. You don't want to melt or soften any potting mix.

Clean it as well as you can, and then use 400-800 grit emery cloth to polish the surfaces, particularly where the brushes make contact with the armature and the sides.

The bearing should come right off. If I recall, it's not pressed on or anything, just a friction fit, but I can't remember. If you call Johnson Outdoors, they can tell you for sure, if it doesn't come off fairly easily.

I'm working on a motor right now. Here is the page I'm currently ordering from. Go up a level and find your motor, and you can see the full schematics and parts:

https://motors.johnsonoutdoors.com/...2010_Riptide_40_SCT,_12_Volt,_30_Inch_Shaft/y

I hope this helps
Thanks Thill. I appreciate the information!
What do you mean by potting mix?
There’s a parts break down in my manual. I haven’t placed the order yet until I get it cleaned up. I was surprised how inexpensive parts are ordering straight from Johnson/Minn Kota. The bearing is just a few bucks and on Amazon it’s $13. I’m ordering a new housing (I call it the cone) where the brushes mount. The old one has a lot of corrosion and looks bad where the threads are for the screws which I had to remove very carefully.
That bumped the expense up to $40. I can live with that instead of $320 for a new motor which the Admiral has already shot down. 😂
I was thinking of using an electronic parts cleaner that won’t harm plastic.
Do you think that’ll work? If not I’m out of WD40 but will go get it. Did you use regular WD40? I didn’t know if it being oil based would harm anything in the windings.
I’m with you on sanding. I have all the way down to 1200 grit that I bought to do my wife’s headlights with then we traded the car.
Thanks again for the help. Gives me more confidence when I can hear from someone that’s willing to share their knowledge.
 
Now what. What’s safe to use to clean it up. I have CRC lectra motor cleaner and CRC contact cleaner but I’ll go get whatever.
The clump you see at the top I removed first with a rag and it felt like gravel at first but crumbled easy. Everything that looks like mud I wiped with a rag and took a small magnet and it pulled the stuff off the rag. As it is drying it’s like handling graphite.
Doesn’t seem to be any damage on the surfaces after I wipe the I guess shavings off it. I dug through my drawer of manuals I always keep and found the minn Kota manual with parts list and schematics. I checked off all the seals and the bearing to get. I have known idea how to change the bearing. I hope someone here does.
Before taking it apart I tried turning the prop and it squeaked. After pulling the prop I couldn’t turn the shaft by hand.
Here’s pictures of my mess. Y’all let me know what you think please.
Any knowledge is greatly appreciated. I’m hoping I can use the electric motor cleaner?
View attachment 116615View attachment 116616View attachment 116617View attachment 116618View attachment 116619View attachment 116620View attachment 116621
EDIT: I found the corrosion. It’s in the housing where the shaft attaches. I’m going to have to sand it. Thank goodness the motor itself turns inside the magnets.
Hey Doug. Be sure to clean up the commutator with a strip of fine sandpaper to make it look new and shiny. Always sand it in the same direction the brushes run. New brushes would be in order as well at this point. You could take the armature to a power tool repair company and they can clean up the armature as well and probably on the cheap.
 
Hey Doug. Be sure to clean up the commutator with a strip of fine sandpaper to make it look new and shiny. Always sand it in the same direction the brushes run. New brushes would be in order as well at this point. You could take the armature to a power tool repair company and they can clean up the armature as well and probably on the cheap.
I did an inventory on sandpaper today and I have f several different fine grit all the way to 3000 grit to polish. There’s not a power tool repair company close to here so it’s all me. I called Minn Kota and and got a little advise.
Since I was planning on just replacing the brush holding end because of corrosion. I decided to go ahead and unscrew the shaft from the old one. Because Minn Kota told me it had an o ring. There is no o ring in there is no break down. Then I saw on line that it’s sealed with red Loctite. Said it has to be heated to come off. I put a pipe wrench on the shaft and another on the housing and sure enough it wasn’t budging without breaking something. So I grabbed my HarborFreight heat gun and heated it for a couple minutes. Tried to turn it and I had melted the end of the shaft.
Oh great add $30 more to the parts list.
I just spent enough on the boat rebuild and my wife saw how much so she’s not happy. Especially spending all my time on it.
I went from $40 to $73 in parts. May as well get the longer shaft. 😂
Makes me want to take another look at cleaning up the corrosion in that housing and maybe painting it since I’ll be taking it down to bare metal.
Now I have another Minn Kota that’s old,old. The serial number didn’t even come up on the website. I hooked it to a battery today and it runs good.
Problem is it’s only 36# thrust. The 55# pulled my 16/52 flat bottom well when the wind kicked up. They recommend 2# of thrust for every 100# of weight. I added everything I could think of weight wise and only come up with around 1000 lbs. I’m just don’t want to get in trouble if the wind kicks up and the trolling motor not keeping me from getting turn sideways in the waves.
We’re supposed to sit down and talk about things tonight. Good time to bring up fixing the good one as well as I need a new spare tire for the trailer and she wants me to wear a life jacket 100% since I’m solo a lot . That means getting an inflatable. When she went with me the other day she lasted about 10 minutes and took her jacket off when the big motor wasn’t running. Here in Texas it’s still triple digits.
Anyway everything I need is for safety reasons so I think she’ll have no problems.
She’s the best and treats me well. I just went overboard on the rebuild.
If I see I can clean that housing up with the Dremel should I worry about painting it since it’s going to be sealed?
Sorry for the novel to read. I’m just venting. Every time I turn around lately something is broke or about to break. I just sent a sample of oil from my truck to a lab so they can tell me what’s going on with it.
I’m determined that nothing is going to keep me from the water though.
 
Potting mix is that hot-glue looking stuff that holds wires in place.

Getting shafts off is a pain. You must heat the housing only, NOT the shaft, and you have to keep the heat going, or it will lock up again. I've gotten pretty good at doing it, but there is a learning curve.

Be careful with using a Dremel tool on the inside of the housing. I wouldn't dig around too much with it. Hand sand any corrosion off, spray clean with WD40 and wipe thoroughly with a clean cloth. Then apply a film of Vaseline to seal any previously corroded areas and put it back together properly, with new seals and O-rings, so no more water gets in there.

Use some Rustoleum industrial black on the outside of the housing, and be careful with it, as it takes a long time to really dry and harden inside, but it becomes a nice, tough finish.

55# is a great motor.
 
Potting mix is that hot-glue looking stuff that holds wires in place.

Getting shafts off is a pain. You must heat the housing only, NOT the shaft, and you have to keep the heat going, or it will lock up again. I've gotten pretty good at doing it, but there is a learning curve.

Be careful with using a Dremel tool on the inside of the housing. I wouldn't dig around too much with it. Hand sand any corrosion off, spray clean with WD40 and wipe thoroughly with a clean cloth. Then apply a film of Vaseline to seal any previously corroded areas and put it back together properly, with new seals and O-rings, so no more water gets in there.

Use some Rustoleum industrial black on the outside of the housing, and be careful with it, as it takes a long time to really dry and harden inside, but it becomes a nice, tough finish.

55# is a great motor.
Oh I love that motor. Plenty of power for my flat bottom. When I heated it I went around the treaded area of the housing not thinking it’s blowing on the shaft too. Last night I put a soft brush on the Dremel and it was knocking off the surface of the corrosion some. Enough for me to see some really deep pitting. I cleaned up the edge where the seal goes with some fin sandpaper because it felt a little rough in a spot. Sure enough it’s been corroded and doesn’t look to me like it’s going to seal properly so I left the housing on my parts list.
Ended up compromising with the admiral last night. I’m getting a new spare tire I needed desperately. Even though the ones on the trailer are new still need a good spare. And going to Academy today for an inflatable life jacket. I have to wire the 36# trolling motor to fit the boat and use it for awhile then I can get my parts ordered. Just have to put up with a smaller trolling motor for a while. The other day when we took the boat out for the first time after rebuilding and setting it up the way I wanted it.
Everything worked , no leaks and very important I put out a drift sock and after figuring out where it needed to be placed it kept the boat on track and barely touched the trolling motor. We did two drifts a little over an hour each. First try I ended up across the lake in the weeds in about 20 minutes. Then I figured out how to pay better attention to the wind and the way the waves where going. Used that and lactation of channels and drop offs. Unfortunately all the lake is good for to me is testing the boat and making adjustments while on the water. No catfish. Nothing but a bunch of bass most of are 2-5 lbs. I just don’t care to bass fish as much as I used to. Catfish , hybrid stripers , and crappie are what I’m after. And my favorite lake with all three is a little over an hour away. That’s why I like to use the test lake first.
I’ll try the 36# in some wind with and without a drift sock (which I’m also getting another so I have two) and if it won’t handle the job and is useless we will have another meeting. I’m not having a trolling motor that lets the wind push my boat sideways and so forth.
Man I sure appreciate all the advice. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.
Next time I try to remove a shaft I’ll back off and heat the metal away from the threads and let it travel. Ang won’t be waiting a couple of minutes before checking the heat. I’m going to use my ir gun.
 
For what it's worth, after doing a bunch of them over the years, I find that it's easy to go overboard once you learn how easy they are to work on.

Now, I typically open them, spray everything with WD40 and a soft cloth and then assess. Usually, I touch things up with a little 400-600 grit, then wipe down with WD40 again, and then reassemble, using some E6000 black or Loctite marine IF absolutely needed due to pitting. That fixes 90% of them back to perfect running condition, even if the housing had standing water in it.

Sometimes new brushes are in order, but not that often, actually. Once I had to buy an armature.

While in there, I ALWAYS look for corrosion in the head. Often, there is corrosion that a wire brush and maybe new connector terminals can easily fix. Sometimes they need a new speed switch if hand-controlled.

You will get quicker and quicker at fixing them. Soon, it will be like cleaning out a fishing reel. Spray, wipe, grease and put back into service. No biggie.

Standard WD40 is what I use, or more often the SuperTech version from Walmart, as it's cheap and good for cleaning stuff gently. I use a ton of that stuff and buy boxes of it at a time.
 
For what it's worth, after doing a bunch of them over the years, I find that it's easy to go overboard once you learn how easy they are to work on.

Now, I typically open them, spray everything with WD40 and a soft cloth and then assess. Usually, I touch things up with a little 400-600 grit, then wipe down with WD40 again, and then reassemble, using some E6000 black or Loctite marine IF absolutely needed due to pitting. That fixes 90% of them back to perfect running condition, even if the housing had standing water in it.

Sometimes new brushes are in order, but not that often, actually. Once I had to buy an armature.

While in there, I ALWAYS look for corrosion in the head. Often, there is corrosion that a wire brush and maybe new connector terminals can easily fix. Sometimes they need a new speed switch if hand-controlled.

You will get quicker and quicker at fixing them. Soon, it will be like cleaning out a fishing reel. Spray, wipe, grease and put back into service. No biggie.

Standard WD40 is what I use, or more often the SuperTech version from Walmart, as it's cheap and good for cleaning stuff gently. I use a ton of that stuff and buy boxes of it at a time.
Mine is still parts in a box. Haven’t been able to order the new parts. I’d like to put a longer shaft on it but the wires aren’t long enough. I’m good at splicing with heat shrink adhesive connectors though. I still haven’t got the shaft I melted out of the case.
Been using a back up motor but nowhere near the power and I miss being able to set the speed where ever I want it instead of picking a number.
I d love to be able to say ah heck mount a spot lock on the boat.
But then I’d have to move into the boat and internet is weak out there and I wouldn’t be able to talk to y’all.
 
Did you ever get to it, Doug? All better now, or is the backup motor doing too good of a job?
Well it’s like this. The back up sucks. I figure a 15mph gust and I’m a sail boat.
I kept having so many other things creep up on me. I needed the space one day so the trolling motor is in a box still in pieces.

However. It was time for my wife to start making her Christmas cookies this weekend.
I walked through the door yesterday with the biggest and badest Kitchenaid mixer I could find. Bought all the attachments they had in stock too.
She made literally 20 dozen different types of cookies today.
I am now shopping for a new trolling motor.
I was all about replacing the Endura Max I have but then I noticed so many other options.
Spot Lock is way out of the budget. But I’m looking at actual bow mounts instead of reversing the head on a transom mount.
Not crazy about a foot control but Minn Kota has an accessory. It’s the copilot system. Adds wireless control. I could operate the trolling motor from anywhere in the boat.
I’m thinking this could make drift fishing or dragging baits with the trolling motor a lot easier me to run all my catfish rods.
I’d like one with gps I could program a route for it to travel.
 
Well it’s like this. The back up sucks. I figure a 15mph gust and I’m a sail boat.
I kept having so many other things creep up on me. I needed the space one day so the trolling motor is in a box still in pieces.

However. It was time for my wife to start making her Christmas cookies this weekend.
I walked through the door yesterday with the biggest and badest Kitchenaid mixer I could find. Bought all the attachments they had in stock too.
She made literally 20 dozen different types of cookies today.
I am now shopping for a new trolling motor.
I was all about replacing the Endura Max I have but then I noticed so many other options.
Spot Lock is way out of the budget. But I’m looking at actual bow mounts instead of reversing the head on a transom mount.
Not crazy about a foot control but Minn Kota has an accessory. It’s the copilot system. Adds wireless control. I could operate the trolling motor from anywhere in the boat.
I’m thinking this could make drift fishing or dragging baits with the trolling motor a lot easier me to run all my catfish rods.
I’d like one with gps I could program a route for it to travel.
I love being able to control the trolling motor from anywhere on the boat. I wear the fob on a lanyard around my neck.
 
I love being able to control the trolling motor from anywhere on the boat. I wear the fob on a lanyard around my neck.
And the copilot system is affordable. I just need and am about to see which models it works with. I’d like to stay 12 volt and I want variable speed. It saves battery life and I can keep those baits moving at .5mph where they need to be.
 
I found a site that has two Minn Kota Terrova. A 55# 12 volt and a 80# 24 volt. Both have the Universal sonar instead of the new system that’s Hummingbird only. Also lift assist and the complete ipilot gps system. Remote control with led screens as well as Bluetooth for my phone. The 80# is only $200 more but then I havethe expense and finding battery space. If the upfront cost of LiPo4 lithium wasn’t so much I could put something together.. Save space and less weight.
I’m already figuring out a rod holder rack for across the stern or T bars on each corner. I’ll be able to drag baits instead of drifting sideways.
 
A pair of good LiFeP04 100AH are only about $208 each, not much more than a lead battery.

The single is here: amazon.com/Timeusb-LiFePO4-Lifetime-Off-grid-Applications/dp/B0BBZL5BPR/
And the 2-pack is here: amazon.com/Pack-Timeusb-Lifetime-Off-grid-Application/dp/B0BLNR675J/

I now have three of them, two for the trolling motor and one for my Livescope system, and they are awesome. I couldn't justify the prices from a year or two ago, but TimeUSB is taking a big share of the market because of quality and price.
 
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