Steve's Tolman Project 76th page...

July 17th, 2006

Powermover Review

My driveway is too narrow to comfortably back my Tolman and trailer down. At the most I have 3 inches of clearance on either side, and this is if I remove both sides of my driveway gate, and one of the gate's posts. And usually when it comes time to pull the boat out or back it in, my across the street neighbors always have their cars and trucks parked directly across the narrow street from my driveway. It's a major pain getting the boat and trailer into the driveway, and then once it's there only a professional backer upper can park the rig without hitting the house. After a month of sweating, cussing and my wife threatening divorce I started looking for a remedy.

Remedy one was to rip out the gate permanently, and to cut down a very old purple flowering bush, and the plum tree.

Remedy two was to order up one of several trailer moving devices that are on the market.

We went with remedy two since the plum tree and purple flowering thing offers us some privacy from our neighbors and gives the house much needed shade on sunny summer mornings.

Powermover, (Competition:Powerwheel, PowerCaster) offer a variety of trailer moving devices available in both A/C and Battery powered models. They also come in two different horsepower ratings, and come in one, two, three or more drive wheeled configurations. Basically, the larger and heavier the boat, and more incline of driveway, the more power and traction you'll need. More wheels equal more traction.

The devices have low geared ratio electric motors and depend more on torque to get the job done. You will end up walking your boat and trailer at less than normal walking speed. Advantage is huge manuverability and time to react in case you are getting too close to the house or that plum tree.

I decided on the Powermover Dolly primarily because of cost. It was the lower cost dolly on the market. I called up the owner to figure out which model I'd need, and he had a pretty in depth list of questions to ask me.

  1. length of trailer
  2. length and weight of boat
  3. length of tongue
  4. tongue to ground height when on truck hitch.
  5. incline of driveway
  6. surface of road and driveway
  7. etc.

Base on all of my information, he suggested that I get a 1/4 hp 3 wheel model. I gave him my credit card info, and a couple days later my Powermover was on the way. It was shipped UPS and as usual I had shipping issues with them. I tried tracking the packages, but one package was untraceable once it reached the Oakland UPS office. After much pain and misery they found the package in a warehouse. It had been incorrectly labled by the Powermover folks.

Anyway the package was finally delivered, and the box was all smashed up. The Powermover appeared to be intact, though it was scratched up all over the place. Powermover folks need better packaging than just a cardboard box. They also need to be more careful when writing up a label. Because of the pain and cosmetic damage, the Powermover folks credited me a $100. They are certainly decent folks to work with.

I assembled the Powermover and found the factory adjusted chain too tight and out of alignment. Made the adjustments and mounted the reciever on the trailer tongue. The receiver attachment had bolts that were too short and I made a trip to the now bought out (by homedepot) and closed Yardbirds. Correct Galvanized bolts were easy to find there. One note about the receiver... it is mild steel that had a thin coat of flat black paint. Since I launch the boat in salt water, it would be nice if this were a galvanized part.

Tires were very low so I pumped them up, and checked out the tightness of all the nuts and bolts. The wheels were held together with bolts going through all three hubs and the nuts were less than finger tight. Tightened them up and a few other nuts and bolts, and immediatly cut my hand on a rough edged piece of metal on the Powermover. Welds are sloppy, and sharp edges abound. Cable from the switch to the motor goes through a very jagged edge hole on the base of the Powermover. No Grommit. I'd say that for such an expensive device that fit and finish could be and should be better than it is.

Then I ran a long extension cord from the garage out to the trailer tonque and moved the Powermover under the tongue and receiver. Jacked up the trailer tongue and removed the cinder block that it props up on, and lowered the tongue onto the Powermover. Hit the reverse switch and pulled the trailer out to the street. Powermover easily moved my Jumbo and trailer of approximate combined weight of 3500lbs. At one point the driveway is rough and has broken concrete, and the trailer wheels have to move from soft ground up over a brick edge. The Powermover momentarily lost traction here, but I just hopped on board the Powermover and traction was quickly reqained. Speed of moving trailer is about 1 ???mile an hour.

Next I parked the boat and trailer directly in front of the house, and the Powermover made the ninety degree turn with no muss or fuss. Though some impatient people driving down my street did seem a tiny bit annoyed that I had them wait for a minute while I made the turn. Backing the rig back from the street and into the driveway was easy and the Powermover easily made it's way up the street to driveway transition.

I love the Powermover. Now when I'm going fishing or coming back it's a no brainer and no stress job to move the boat and trailer in my driveway. I've not hit house anymore since getting the Powermover and my wife and neighbors no longer have to deal with the pain of moving the boat in and out. I highly recommend such a device. The Powermover has proven to be a remarkable and capable device.

  1. Functionality - ####
  2. Fit and finish - ##
  3. Value - ###

Specs: ???????

Yamaha T-8 High Thrust Kicker Review and Installation

I spend much of my time on the Tolman Jumbo fishing in the Pacific Ocean outside the Golden Gate in San Francisco, California. I love to go trolling for Salmon, bouncing the bottom for Lingcod and rock fish, trolling for Albacore Tuna as well as just roaming around and seeing the sites. The ocean here is very often very rough, and even a calm day can quickly evolve into nasty seas. It's a unforgiving environment.

I had been using the Suzuki DF140 for trolling for Salmon, but the first few times I had the big motor die after a while. I later tracked the problem down to a kink in the fuel line. But having your motor die on you out in the ocean is unsettling to say the least. I also did not like running the big motor for hours on end at idle. It's inefficient and doesn't make sense.

So I decided I needed a trolling motor/kicker to use for Salmon trolling at slow speeds and also as a get home motor. I looked around for used motors for quite a while and was ready to buy a used two stroke high thrust sail boat kicker, but my wife talked me out of it at the last minute. Said I should just buy new.

So I looked at new outboard kickers in the 8-10 hp range and narrowed it down to a Tohatsu/Nissan 9.8 hp motor with 25" shaft or a Yamaha HighThrust 8hp with 25" shaft. The transom to bottom is 25" and is why I require an xtra long shaft motor. Everything I read suggested than any power over 8hp was a waste since the boat wouldn't go any faster. The Tohatsu/Nissan was a standard outboard motor designed for pushing small boats at plane, but the Yamaha was a High Thrust motor with lower gearing and large smaller pitch prop to move larger hulls at displacement speed. After much hand ringing I bought the Yamaha. There was about a $400 premium paid for the Yamaha, but I felt better about it, since it was a proven design for moving big boats at trolling speeds, and it had a good reputation. I do regret not being able to actually test both motors on my boat to see what the difference was. Perhaps one day Nissan or Tohatsu will lend me a kicker to compare.

When I built the Jumbo, I had intended on mounting a kicker directly on the transom next to the main motor. Well because of a too small and too tall splashwell, I ended up installing a 5 1/2 inch adjustable motor mount or jack plate on the transom. Trouble is that now cabling is in the way of a kicker on the starboard side. I also originally thought I'd mount the motor on the port side, but the steering cable from the big motor hits the kicker when turned to the starboard side.

So before actually mounting the kicker I had to either buy or build a kicker bracket to move the motor out from the transom a required five inches or so. I looked at the swivel type brackets and they were all in the $280 range, and fixed brackets for a 104 lb kicker were hard to find. I decided to build my own out of 3/4" laminated and glassed plywood. I fiddled around and drew up a variety of sketches, and finally decided on a simple L shaped bracket that would bolt to the transom.

Found a chunk of 3/4" marine grade plywood in the garage, and started cutting out the pieces that I'd glue together with thickened epoxy. Got all those pieces glued up and sanded all the surfaces to smooth out imperfections. Rounded the corners with my router so the glass could wrap ok. Made a fillet at the inner ninety degree transition. Gave the bracket a once and twice over coating of epoxy and let it partially cure, and then wrapped the whole thing with ten ounce fiberglass.

Mated the mount with the outboard motor and traced the outline and mounting holes. Then using a long 1/2 drill bit started drilling (by hand!!) from the outside and then from the inside and miracously both holes met in the middle.

Clamped the bracket onto the transom where I thought it should go. This moved the mounting point a few inches above the transom and moved motor to the starboard side off center from the space between the big motor and the transom cut out edge.

Because this kicker is 104lbs and I'm weak kneed and my back is trashed, I decided I'd better rig up my davit to at least hold the motor in place. I was worried about the clamps holding the bracket into place and dropping the whole works to the driveway. I had an extra set of davit brackets which I screwed to the deck and to the splashwell. Added a cheap harbor freight trailer winch and in short time had a failsafe system of holding the kicker up.

Also I'd been storing the kicker on one side of the foam packaging it came in, but it was getting a little too painful to pick that kicker up. So I designed and built a quick and dirty kicker mount. I'm short a set of wheels, but for now I at least have a place to vertically set the motor while I'm finishing up the kicker bracket.

I mounted the kicker onto the bracket and suspended the motor with the davit cable, and then tested turning the big motor and little motor and found that I had perfectly positioned the bracket on the transom. I can fully extend the tiller handle and get full rotation out of both motors. Tilting both motors up works fine and dandy also. Kicker has a pin that holds the motor at a preset trim angle. I'm at full forward position. In hindsite I should or could have made the bracket so that it puts the motor at a more vertical angle.

Once I was happy with all the adjustments I drilled half inch holes through the transom, using the bracket holes as a guide. Once the drill tip poked through the transom, I drilled from the other side. Holes are nice and straight and the 1/2" stainless all thread slips easily through the holes of the bracket and transom. Amazing, considering I didn't use a drill press to drill the holes in the bracket.

Up next is to drill bottom holes, and decide whether I will drill through holes for the bottom of the kicker mounting holes, or use long Wood screws. I'm leaning towards through holes, though a part of me hates drilling yet more holes in my transom.

Need to put a final coat of epoxy on the bracket, and try to saturate the holes in the bracket and transom so I don't get any water in there. Then I'll prime the mount and paint it, mount it, and the kicker and go trolling for Salmon.

More to come...