Yamaha Outboard Trim & Tilt Problems! How To Fix Them!

The trim and tilt system on an outboard is an extremely important part of the engine’s system! And a problem with this system is a real issue!

Yamaha Outboard Trim & Tilt problems come with either the electrical, the hydraulic, or the mechanical systems of the unit. The mechanical and hydraulic problems usually come from a leak in the system. And electrical problems come from corrosion or failed relays.

Here is the breakdown of the most common problems, how you can troubleshoot them, and how you can fix them!

The Most Common Yamaha Trim & Tilt Problems

Trim and tilt problems on any outboard are not an uncommon thing. And that goes for Yamaha’s as well.

The trim and tilt design for many outboard manufacturers is pretty similar. Where we have two trim rams, and a tilt ram.

(Here is another article that goes more in-depth about the different functions of a trim and tilt system. And what the difference between the two are.)

But when it comes to the most common ones. There are roughly 4 really common failures that we see with these trim systems.

Number one. Is simply a leaky seal on either the tilt or the trim rams. This can be caused by either pitting in the rams, which destroys the seals.

And that means you will need to replace the actually rams in order to truly fix the problem. Along with the seals.

Or that the seals just simply fail from being dry rotted and cracking. Or getting debris on them that tears them up.

Number two. Is going to be a leaky pipe. Which is a common component on certain systems. There is a pipe on the bottom of the trim unit.

And this pipe will commonly crack, get broke, or simply rust through and leak. Causing a problem with the trim system.

Number three. This is where the actual electric trim motor on the unit fails and doesn’t work. Which will require you to replace the motor.

And number four. Where we have some kind of an electrical issue going to the trim system. Whether that be a relay, a corroded wire, a connection, or even a broken wire.

You will need to do some investigating to resolve this issue.

Here is a video describing more about your trim system as well!

Why Is My Tilt & Trim Not Working? Troubleshooting!

Troubleshooting a trim system can vary, depending on which one of these problems you are dealing with.

The process will be pretty sequential, based on how bad the issue is. Most of the time, people will let the trim systems go with an issue for so long.

That the unit will run out of fluid and simply not trim up. At this point, the engine will be stuck in the down position.

So what we will need to do first, is to raise the engine. You will need to release the pressure in the unit. By cracking the manual release screw that can be found on every trim system.

Once that is cracked, we will need to pick up the engine, with some friends or by using a lift of some sort.

This will allow us to fill the system up with fluid. And then try to trim the engine again. (After the manual release valve is reseated of course.)

Which is going to tell us a couple of things. It will show us if we have a leak, letting us know how to fix it if it is a leak. Or the motor won’t run.

Leaving us to troubleshoot the electrical side of things. Where we will need to follow the blue and green wires up into the engine. And check for battery voltage between those two wires.

When we hit the trim button. If we don’t have power, then we know it’s an electrical issue. If we have power, you can try and run another pump, like a bilge pump.

From those wires. If the pump runs, you know you have amperage and voltage. And that you need to replace the trim motor on the trim system!

Here are a couple of videos working on some trim systems from our YouTube channel:

Yamaha Tilt & Trim Electrical Issues.

The electrical issues on a trim system are going to be a little more involved when it comes to figuring them out. I mean, how do you test a Yamaha tilt trim relay?

Because without understanding how a relay and the system works. It will be difficult to fix, but we will help you, and it isn’t that difficult!

You can also learn step-by-step boat 12V electrical troubleshooting. From the relays to the wires, the switches, and everything in between.

In our online Born Again Boating Academy that you can sign up for here!

But basically, just like we said earlier. You will want to follow the blue and green wires up into the engine.

Where, on most Yamaha outboard trim and tilt systems. They go straight to a relay. Where you can disconnect them and then use a voltmeter to see if there is 12vdc present there.

Whenever you hit the up or down trim button. If there is not voltage there. Then you will need to use your meter to then follow the wiring from the relay.

Up into the system to figure out where you are losing the voltage. Or not getting the power from.

Common issues are going to be a blown fuse. A bad ground. Or even a broken wire that is not giving the relay power. But the most common one is going to be a bad relay itself.

Yamaha Outboard Tilt & Trim Hydraulic Problems

Now when it comes to the hydraulic issues that you can find. It can get a little tricky. Usually, the main hydraulic problems that you deal with are the leaks.

And you just simply fix wherever the leak is. Then you can drain the system and fill it back up while you are in there fixing the leak.

But if the problem has been left for too long. This is when we start to have to deal with the damage. Usually caused by water being left in the unit for too long.

That ends up rusting internal components of the trim system. Check valves, springs, passages, and other internal components of the system.

Once these items rust, there really isn’t much of a service procedure. And this can get expensive if you are paying someone to do work like this.

So, if you are comfortable, have the tools, and want to disassemble the unit. Then you can inspect each component, clean them, and replace them as necessary.

Otherwise, you will find that the trim and tilt unit can do some funny stuff. Like, make noises when being used that isn’t normal.

They can leak down, or pull up whenever the engine is put into reverse. (Here is an article that also covers this topic in detail though!)

The noise is from the rust and the now variation in size of the check balls, springs tension, and just the simple damage done from rust.

Because hydraulic systems require very specific pressures and passages to flow fluid through and around.

How Do You Fill A Yamaha Trim Tilt.

After you have diagnosed the system. Found the problem and resolved it. You will need to refill the trim unit.

Which is a pretty simple task to perform. We simply need to make sure that you drained any water that was in the fluid when you fixed it.

Then filled it up as much as possible when putting it back together. Once the unit is back together though. You will want to press the trim-up button.

While filling the unit with fluid until the fluid starts to come out where you are putting it in. Now, what you will want to do.

Go ahead and put the cap back on the fill port. And run the trim unit up and down. Go ahead and top it off once the unit trims as far up as it will.

Run it up and down a couple more times and then top it off one last and final time.

A side note that you might run into, is a unit that won’t trim. They can get air locked. So what you can do is go ahead and undo the manual relief screw.

To let the engine slowly come down, forcing fluid through all the passages. Then tighten the screw and try to run it up and down again.

This will usually fix any air locking that you might incur during this process.

Check Us Out!

We hope that this has been insightful and allowed you to understand a little bit more about Yamaha Outboard Trim & Tilt Problems!

And how you can troubleshoot and resolve some of these issues!

If you have more questions or want to learn more about your boat and its different systems. You should consider joining our Boating Academy where we have created HUNDREDS of video courses teaching you basically everything about your boat!

There are also even more helpful videos on our Youtube channel where we create even more boating videos!

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Here are some other super helpful articles that you might find interesting!

Aaron Hilligoss

Aaron has been working in the Marine Industry for over a decade and holds certifications for Yamaha and Mercury Marine. It is not uncommon for him to own and be working on at least three different boats at any given point in time!

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