How to Change the Power Tilt Motor on an Outboard Motor

by Will Charpentier

At the center of the hydraulic tilt and trim system on your boat's motor is a hydraulic motor that move the hydraulic fluid from the hydraulic reservoir to the cylinders that raise the motor. If your hydraulic motor fails to perform as expected, it may be time to remove the motor for testing and, if necessary, to replace the motor. Since you have to drain the system to remove the motor and refill it after the motor is removed, do not forget to "burp" the system to purge the air from it.

Removing the Old Power Tilt Motor

  1. Open the drain on the hydraulic reservoir and drain the fluid into a clean oil-receiving pan. Reserve the fluid for later use, storing it in an unused container.

  2. Disconnect the motor wiring harness butt connectors from the tilt/trim system's wiring harness.

  3. Remove the four screws that hold the motor in place and remove the motor from the valve pump assembly with a screwdriver.

Installing the New Power Tilt Motor

  1. Thread the four bolts through the motor base and into the valve pump assembly.

  2. Reconnect the butt connectors to the tilt/trim system wiring harness.

  3. Refill the hydraulic reservoir to the bottom of the filler tube, leaving the cover off the reservoir. Activate the tilt/ trim system. Raise and lower the motor through five cycles to purge the air from the system. Return the cover to the hydraulic reservoir.

Items you will need

  • Oil receiving container
  • Unused container
  • Screwdriver


  • "Johnson Repair Manual -- 2.5 to 250 HP Models, 2002-2007"; Seloc Marine; 2007

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.