Gone Outdoors

How to Build an Outboard Motor Stand

by Will Charpentier

Whether you use it for storage, or a way to swap out one outboard for another, an outboard motor stand consists of two assemblies. One is a framework topped with a board – an engine support rail -- approximately the thickness of your boat’s transom, to hold the motor. The other is the base that supports the framework and has wheels attached to its bottom, so you can move the stand to mount the outboard to your boat or dismount it for maintenance.

1. Lay the two 36-inch 2x4s on edge on a table or workbench, parallel to each other and approximately 24 inches apart. Measure 18 inches from the end of each 2x4 and draw a line on the side of the board with a pencil. Lay the two 24-inch 2x4s flat on top of the longer two-by-fours. Attach two 24-inch 2x4s to the cut ends ends of the 36-inch 2x4s to form a 36- by 24-inch frame, using a screwdriver and a single 3-inch screw for each of the corners.

2. Adjust the sides and ends of the base, using a carpenter’s square, so the base is square and drive an additional 3-inch screw in each corner. Lay five of the remaining 24-inch 2x4s flat on top of the frame and attach their ends to the side rails with 3-inch wood screws. Turn the base over. Attach six 200-pound casters to the bottom of each 36-inch board -- one at each end and one in the center with 1-inch lag screws and an adjustable wrench.

3. Measure the width of the 2x8s and divide the measurement in half to locate the center of the board. Mark the center with the pencil. Have your assistant hold a 60-inch 2x8 perpendicular to the side of the base, so the pencil marks line up with those you made on the 36-inch 2x4s of the base. Attach the 2x8 to the base using four 3-inch screws. Repeat, so there is a 2x8 standing on each side of the base.

4. Place the 21 1/2-inch section of 4x6 between the upper ends of the 2x8s. Drive four 3-inch wood screws through each of the 2x8s to secure the 4x6 engine support rail into place. Attach the remaining 24-inch 2x4s so they are about equally spaced between the two uprights, using two screws on each end of each 2x4.

5. Mark a point on the sides of the base, 39 1/2 inches from the center of the upright. Align the end of one of the 72 3/4-inch 2x4 supports with that mark and the other end with the side of the upright. Attach the support to the base and the upright using at least two 3-inch wood screws on each end. Attach the second 72 3/4-inch support in the same way, so that both supports slant the same direction.

Items you will need
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • 2 boards, 2x4 (nominal) x 36 inches
  • 10 boards, 2x4 (nominal) x 24 inches
  • 3 boards, 2x4 (nominal) x 24-inches
  • 2 boards, 2x4 (nominal) x 72 3/4-inches
  • 1 board, 4x6 (nominal) by 21 1/2-inches
  • 2 boards, 2x8 (nominal) x 60-inches
  • Box of wood screws, 3-inch
  • 4 wood screws, 1-inch
  • 24 screws, 1/4-inch x 1-inch
  • 6 200-pound casters
  • Screwdriver
  • Carpenter's square
  • Adjustable wrench
  • An assistant
  • 5/16-inch box end wrench
  • Propeller nut wrench

Tips

  • Mount the outboard on the side of the stand opposite the support beams.
  • When you first mount your outboard to the stand, use the mounting holes in the motor's mount as a template for mounting holes, if your outboard has them.
  • If you plan to perform maintenance on your outboard while it's on the stand, bolt the outboard in place. Then, you can connect water to the outboard or move the outboard to a motor test tub and run the outboard, if needed, while it's mounted on the stand.

Warnings

  • Even if your outboard is on the stand, disconnect the negative cable of the boat’s battery before performing any maintenance work, using a 5/16-inch box end wrench. Lift the cable from the battery, move it outside of the battery box and close the lid of the battery box. After the work is complete, reconnect the negative battery cable.
  • Whenever you work on your outboard -- on the stand or on your boat -- remove the propeller nut with a propeller wrench. Slide the thrust hub, propeller and washers from the propeller shaft. Failure to remove a propeller before working on an engine that’s out of the water is an invitation to a propeller-strike injury, which can maim or kill.
  • Never operate your outboard out of the water unless you provide a source of cooling water. Use the motor's flushing port or connect a flushing attachment to a garden hose and placing the attachment over the cooling water inlets. You may also immerse the motor in a motor test tub filled with water so that the cooling water inlets are submerged.

About the Author

Will Charpentier is a writer who specializes in boating and maritime subjects. A retired ship captain, Charpentier holds a doctorate in applied ocean science and engineering. He is also a certified marine technician and the author of a popular text on writing local history.

Photo Credits

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