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post #1 of Old 06-27-2010 Thread Starter
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DIY sliding outboard mount

Hi all.

I DIY'd and installed a outboard mount on my boat a few weeks ago and used it for the first time this weekend. I posted details on the Columbia Yacht Owners Yahoo group, and thought SialNet members might find it useful and/or interesting. No pictures of the OB powering the boat - I couldn't persuade my wife to ride in the dinghy taking photos.

BTW, all the metal is marine grade SS.

S/V Wind Gypsy
1978 Columbia 8.3


The slide bars are pretty basic.
- 2 1/2" x 2 1/2 1/4" angle
- 30" x 1" x 0.12" wall square tubing
- all drilled holes are 3/8"I drilled the bars and
angles holes for bolting the bars to the angles,
and for bolting the angles through the transom.

The bars are bolted to the angles with the 1" bolts, the nuts are *inside* the tubing. This allows the block to slide up and down the bars unobstructed.

Two stop bolts (2") were placed about 3" from the lower end of each bar, one stop bolt was placed about 3" from the top of one bar.


The OB bracket bolts through the sliding block, so all holes in the block are 5/16" - the size of the OB bracket mounting bolts.

The sliding block is made from:
- 2 pieces of solid teak
- 11" w, 8"h, 1" t
- 9" w, 8"h, 1" t
- 2 pieces of 1/2" HDPE (cutting board plastic)
- 3" w, 8" h, 1/2" t
- 2 pieces of flat steel
- 11" w, 2 1/2" h, 1/4" t

The parts of the block are arranged so that, when bolted together, the ends form a U that 'wraps' around 3 sides of the square tubing. From the bottom (side closest to the transom) up, the order of assembly is:
- flat steel,
- HDPE (acting as frictionless slide pads)
- small teak board
- large teak board

The teak boards were glued together to make a single, solid block. The pieces are held together by the OB bracket mounting bolts.

The 'ease of slide' can be adjusted by tightening/loosing the mounting bolt nuts.

The transom on my boat is angled back about 5deg towards the bow, so slide friction is mostly against the inside of the tubes. This meant I only needed HDPE friction l slide pads against 1 side of the tubing, but if I were to install pads against all 3 sides of the tubing, I would have routered a groove on each surface that touches the tubing. The groove would be centered on the surface, about 1/2" wide, 7" long, 1/8" deep. I would then cut a 1/8" thick piece of HDPE to fit the groove - when installed it should stay in place without glue, screws, etc.

Push the sliding block down to its lowest position. Lower the engine using the OB bracket arm adjustment.

Raise OB bracket arm. Pull sliding block up to highest position. Secure sliding block.

In no particular order:
- HDPE slide pads on all surfaces touching the tubing.
- blocks and lines for raising/lowering engine
- three pairs of angles, one pair in middle, one pair
at top, one pair at end (this wasn't possible on my
boat because of the previously installed thru-hulls)

It certainly does the intended job! Between the slide and the OB bracket, the engine can be raised and lowered about 34" so it can be slide down well below the water line and raised completely out of the water when not in use.

Leaning over the transom to operate the OB isn't ideal, but it's not difficult either.

Pulling the entire assembly up the bars is possible, but it does take *A lot* of effort - it really does need blocks and lines to make raising the engine easier.

I would have liked to install a pair of angles right at the end of the tubing - with the slide block all the way at the end of the tubes the OB weight causes the tubes to flex slightly. My (very very good) mechanic pointed out that the tubing is stronger than the OB mount and a little flexing wasn't an issue ..... but I'd still like to have everything 100% rock-solid.
tmalcolm is offline  
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