Kicker motors are small outboard motors used as auxiliary propulsion in case of emergencies, such as a mechanical failure in the main engine, or a battery failure making it impossible to start the main engine. The kicker motor mounts on a bracket on the transom, usually to the left side of the main outboard motor or transom mounted sailboat rudder, which allows the kicker motor to be locked in a stowed position out of the water, and then lowered into the water for use.
Turn the main outboard motor or rudder as you would for a full left turn.
Mount the kicker motor to the bracket. Extend the bracket into its deployed position. Measure from the top of the bracket to the anti-ventilation plate on the foot of the kicker motor, using a tape measure.
Remove the kicker motor from the bracket.
Place the bracket on the transom to the left of the main outboard or rudder. Move the bracket as close to the center of the transom as possible while still maintaining clearance to allow the main outboard or rudder to reach its full range of motion without contacting the kicker motor.
Move the bracket up or down while measuring down from the top of the bracket until the bracket is in a position that will allow the anti-ventilation plate to be flush with the bottom surface of the hull at the transom.
Mark the bracket mounting holes, using a permanent marker. Remove the bracket from the transom and set it aside.
Drill a clearance hole through the transom at the mounting hole marks, using a drill motor and bit. Ensure that the clearance around the bracket mounting bolts is sufficient to accept the bolt without excessive slack.
Apply marine-grade polyurethane adhesive to the mounting bolts and to the area around the mounting bolt bosses on the bracket.
Hold the bracket in position on the transom. Insert the mounting bolts into the bracket and through the transom.
Wipe the threads of the mounting bolts clean with a shop rag. Install the mounting bolt nuts and tighten them securely, using a wrench.
Allow the marine polyurethane adhesive to cure. Trim excess adhesive from around the bracket mounting bosses, using a razor blade.
- Make certain there are no fuel lines, control cables or electrical wires inside the transom in the area of the mounting-bolt holes before drilling. Reroute any such lines if possible, or reposition the bracket to clear these obstructions.
- Install a second nut and tighten it against the first nut. This will act as a jam nut and prevent the bracket mounting bolts from vibrating loose over time.
- Use a plywood or aluminum plate as reinforcement to the inside of the transom opposite bracket if the transom is thin, weak or otherwise easily deformed.
- Capt. TJ Hinton; commercial fisherman; Gulfport, Mississippi