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Kicker Motor Transom Brackets

Small outboards and kicker motors on larger boats are mounted on an outboard mounting bracket in order to allow the outboard to be raised and lowered as necessary.

Garelick small outboard motor bracket

Ever since fisherman first plied the waters of the Sea of Galilee fishermen have hung auxiliary outboard motors on the transom in order to save fuel, to reduce noise and to save considerable wear and tear on their boat's main engine. Traditionally, these "kicker" motors were two-strokes. Then a few years back the venerable two-stroke was rendered obsolete and four-strokes began proliferating. That created an onerous problem.

Four-strokes are heavier than a comparable two-strokes. And naturally it follows the auxiliary motor mounts had to shoulder a heavier weight. In some cases four-strokes are too heavy for the old hardware. But there's a solution that is as simple as the sea is salt.  Contemporary Garelick outboard motor mounts are specifically designed to handle the extra weight of 4-stroke outboard motors from 7.5- to 30-horsepower. Two types are available: Manual and hydraulic and they accommodate an outboard motor weighing up to 175-pounds.

The hydraulically-actuated outboard brackets allow motors to be tilted up or down by pushing a dashboard-mounted switch. Gone are the perilous days of hanging over the transom to raise and lower the motor risking falling in the water.  Hydraulic operation takes a mere 20 seconds. Garelick 's new mounts are Rock of Gibraltar solid, constructed of 1/2"-thick extruded aluminum and are triple-coated (anodized, electro-deposition painted arid powder coated) to protect against corrosion. A 2,000-pound tensile strength motor safety cable is included with the mounts in case the outboard decides to jump ship.

I recently installed the Garelick bracket on a friend's boat. Installation was relatively easy, although it took a few hours because I took pains to drill the four 1/2"-diameter holes in precise locations on the transom. I also fabricated 1/4"-thick aluminum backing plates. Some installers use marine plywood. I chose aluminum because it lasts longer than even edge-sealed 1/2" ply. Using a template, I drilled the pattern in the metal, then sprayed on two coats of zinc chromate primer for corrosion protection. I sealed the holes through the transom, taking care to squeeze sealant onto the threads of the bolts. I bolted the outboard to the bracket to make sure vibration wouldn't slowly twirl the clamp screws loose and drop the motor in the drink. To prevent theft, the bolt was fitted with a McGard (716-662-8980; www.mcgard.com) locking nut that requires a special key to unwind. Be sure to register the code number with McGard in case you lose the key. I also installed the stainless steel wire safety cable as a safeguard.

After connecting the blue, black and red wires as instructed, I hit the rocker switch at the helm. Tilting the motor all the way up or down took about 20 seconds. Using the motor's integral tilt mechanism, I was able to completely raise the lower the unit out of the water. While driving the boat at displacement speeds, the motor was as steady as a rock. This hydraulic bracket is expensive, with a suggested retail price of about $1,600. Manual brackets cost less, with prices ranging from $260 to $350, and they're easier to install because they require no electrical connections. Both types are available for outboards weighing up to 248 pounds.

Author Timothy Banse has published articles in Popular Mechanics, All Chevy, Pickup Van & 4-Wheel Drive, Mecanica Popular, Motor Boating, Yachting, Mar y Vela and many other magazines and newspapers from around the world. He writes about cars, trucks and tow vehicles and marine-engine technology.