To enjoy boating activities, getting your boat prepared is important and one essential component you shouldn’t miss out on is a trolling motor. In case your boat is aluminum, considering its limited load-bearing capacity, having such a motor installed can end up being complicated.
This article will show you how to mount a trolling motor on an aluminum boat, from all the items involved to the detailed steps necessary to equip your boat with the most suitable piece. Hopefully, our instructions make your fishing trip more enjoyable and refreshing on a small or big boat.
Table of Contents
Types of Mounting
The mounting technique to apply, depending on your boat’s shape, size, and construction, falls into two types: bow mount (trolling motor installed on the front) and transom mount (installed on the rear).
1. Bow mount
Bow-mounted motors are preferable among professionals with large boats as the installation process tends to be more complex and aluminum boats can bear a low capacity. Given this fact, many people seek experts’ help to have the trolling motor installed to secure its accurate functions.
But as long as you have appropriate instructions with the right tools, this job can become achievable. We cover all knowledge needed for you to have the most well-equipped bow mount trolling motor aluminum boat.
2. Transom Mount
Compared to bow mount, the transom mount technique is widely common thanks to its easy removal and replacement. For small boats, this mounting type is ideal and safe to tackle low-bearing capacity.
Two types of mounting perform differently as transom-mounted motors can’t compare to bow-mounted ones in terms of precise control. But the ease of transom installation is a great advantage, making its performance acceptably efficient.
What You Will Need
No need to hand the task over to professionals, as long as you have all these required tools and materials:
- Trolling motor
- Electric drill
- Safety gears
Considering the added weight to your boat, the bow-mounted technique requires a 24 or 36-volt battery to power the trolling motor, also rubber washers, and a marker (pencil) to ensure precise installation.
Apart from the list of important tools above, other optional materials include plywood, bolts, and jigsaw. Consider bringing those in case further installations are needed due to the boat’s untypical shape to guarantee the best of each motor.
Steps to Mount a Trolling Motor on an Aluminum Boat
As there are two types of mounting a trolling motor on an aluminum boat, we also partialize the steps, each part will be responsible for a type of mounting. Generally, bow-mounted motors are considerably cumbersome so the steps focus on details and precision; whereas, the transom mount comes in handy with short and explicit steps.
1. Bow mounting
As stated, the bow-mounted technique is likely to fit in medium and large boats. Although the installation process might be a struggle, this kind of mounting allows you to gain precise control and fully enjoy the fun of steering.
Thus, you should acknowledge the following steps to have the motor beautifully engaged in every boat ride.
- Step 1: Disassemble the motor
As the attachment of the top and bottom parts will still be intact, the first thing to do is to detach them.
- Step 2: Pick a spot
Obviously, the motor will be in the front zone of the boat but the space should be ideally substantial to pull the boat. The area has to be spacious enough to leave the hull uncompromised while moving the boat.
- Step 3: Get ready for drilling
After visualizing where the motor should be, place the motor in the designated position. Then, specify and mark the spots to be ready for drilling. Combine with the model template of the mount to make sure the level of precision.
- Step 4: Drill to the bow
Clear the surface to avoid obstruction before drilling on the marks. Based on the motor’s specific requirements, you will decide how deep each drilling hole should be. The ideal depth in most cases is 6.5mm or ¼-inch. You can consult and call the shot if it suits your motor.
- Step 5: Create a tight fit with bolts
Stabilizing the motor is of great importance to facilitate its range of motion. In order to do so, you need to create a tight fit with bolts and rubber washers.
On top of every hole, thread the bolts. Under the base and also in each bolt, place rubber washers to ensure the stability of the motor.
- Step 6: Position the motor
Align the motor to the pre-installed holes and place it on that spot. It should be on the same level as the deck surface.
Under each bolt, tighten steel washers to make it secure.
- Step 7: Connect the motor
When the base attachment is strenuously done, you can start connecting the motor and power it.
If you need a close-up on what to do, here’s a helpful video that shows you how to bow mount a trolling motor correctly:
2. Transom mounting
While installing a bow mount trolling motor on an aluminum boat requires meticulousness and a combination of different materials for higher security, transom mounting is much simpler. To reduce the weight of small aluminum boats, this kind of installation is ideal.
The transom provides enough space to freely mount the motor in your desired spot by using a clamp to attach it to the stern. The process is straightforward, including shorter steps, which outweighs the demerit of its low-ranged performance.
- Step 1: Choose the right spot
The installation spot should be flat and smooth. If you’re in favor of symmetry, the middle arrangement will satiate your sense of art. But a spot on either side of the transom is totally fine, not at all affecting the motor’s function.
In case the rear surface is still rough, you need to even it out by using wooden wedges as a mounting base. Stabilize it on the transom with screws. Some boats are so well-equipped that they already contain a piece of plywood on the transom. Thus the motor installation will take one step ahead.
If there is an outboard engine on your boat, you can balance the boat by adjusting the position of the trolling motor against the engine. Sided placement is widely recommended for medium to larger boats.
- Step 2: Place the rolling motor
Use a screwdriver to loosen the bracket clamps. Be careful in the process as the materials might be irretrievable for later re-assembly. Shift the motor to the designated area. Make sure it fits in the transom and be isolated from any other component in the stern.
The mounter should be detachable so that you can secure the trolling motor in a concealed space instead of leaving it out in the open.
- Step 3: Tight up the clamps
Here comes the reassembly in which you have to put all the parts back into their positions. If you can’t memorize the order, you’d better capture video footage before the detaching process as a guide to assemble more easily later on. Try your best to avoid inconsistencies as they might compromise the motor’s operation.
Stabilize the base and tighten the clamps clockwise until everything is snug to enable the motor to run without intense vibration or loosening.
- Step 4: Insert the tiller into the shaft
Some trolling motors come with a mount attached to them, freeing you from the process of screwing. Anyway, after installing the trolling motor onto the mount, the shaft should be movable. Its mechanism offers a wide range of motion to swing the rod in and out of the boat.
Next is to insert the tiller, in other words, the hand controller, into the shaft. Don’t stop until there’s a click and then pull it out to ensure that it has a proper fit.
- Step 5: Connect and test the operation
To finalize the steps, all you have to do is connect the cable to the terminals of a battery. Carefully switch off the battery during installation and operate the motor.
Take a ride near the bank to test its operation. Go in all directions from left to the right, speed up, and engage brakes to see how the boat responds to these courses of action. By performing the prompts, you can specify and tackle issues to avoid serious troubles in your future rides. If you luckily spot no hitches, your boat is ready for an adventure on the water.
To visualize the transom mounting process, this video is a great summary of all the essentials and steps you get prepared for:
Hope you find this reading worth your time and also gain the essence of how to mount a trolling motor on an aluminum boat. We believe that you now have the confidence to handle both types of installation. Take our guidelines as the basis to equip your boat with the most suitable type.
We would love to receive any of your contributions in the comments down below and feel free to share this piece of benefits with your peers so that they can enjoy motor mounting as much as you do.
Working to create content for Marine Talk has always been a fascinating experience. I get to travel, absorb knowledge about boating, and tackle all the issues when we sail into freedom!