Motor and Motor Bracket, Part 9, Installation of Motor Mount Pad and Motor

The motor mount pad and motor fully installed
Having installed the transom plate and backing plates, and having installed the motor bracket to these plates, it was now time for me to install the custom motor mount pad and the motor itself. The steps I took to accomplish this on Oystercatcher, my Ericson 25, are the subject of this posting.
Unlike the many other postings in this multi-part article, this one does not have has many step-by-step pictures. We will look instead at some pictures of the completed project, at least this first part of it. Below, we see the Yamaha 9.9 High Thrust motor mounted on the custom motor mount pad (painted white).
A beefy buddy of mine who lives nearby assisted me with the steps it took to get to this point. First, we bolted the custom motor mount pad into place. Then we picked up the motor and set it in place. We noticed right away that the clamps for the motor appeared as if they would obstruct the bolts that we planned to install - the bolts that would secure the motor to the pad. Therefore, we picked the motor back up off of the pad and set it back down onto the wooden motor rack (that I had wheeled-up next to the boat with a hand truck). Then, we grabbed a 1/2 inch piece of scrap Starboard. This HDPE black plastic board was just what we needed to raise the motor up high enough to give us some room for the bolts. If you look closely, you can see the piece of Starboard on top of the motor mount pad.
The bolt holes for the mounting of the motor to the pad did not pre-exist. We drilled them only after we had gotten the Starboard and the motor in place. At issue were the pre-existing holes in the Yamaha rack itself. These holes had to serve as a guide for the drilling of the holes through the pad. In other words, the motor had to be in place on the pad for us to carry out this drilling. If we had pre-drilled the holes in the pad, we would have had a very difficult time lining them up with the pre-existing holes in the Yamaha rack.
I was concerned that our free-handed drilling would result in holes that were not perfectly perpendicular to the pad. My buddy, however, who's quite the craftsman and quite the mariner, assured me that marking the pad and then taking the pad to his drill press was unnecessary. He was right.
He also assured me that the starboard would not present any problems with regard to the security of the motor on the motor mount pad.
He also helped me, at this time, install the rudder. I discuss the repair and reinstallation of this rudder in a series of separate postings.
With the motor finally in place, I was pleased to see that I would definitely be able to drop the prop of the motor deep into the water, if I so wished. In the picture below, as in the previous six, you see the motor bracket in its fully-deployed state. Pay no attention to the tilt of the motor. Once I had this motor connected to the battery bank, I would tilt it into a more vertical position so that the prop would be horizontal with regard to its direction of thrust.
With the first major task out of the way, I could now focus on the joining of the positive and negative wires of the motor to the battery bank. I began by drilling a hole into the side of the cockpit locker on the port side. As you see in the picture below, I used a Lennox brand hole saw to do this. This task would have been impossible if I had not earlier installed the nearby circular hatch. This area of the port side cockpit locker is very difficult to access. I found it impossible to join the three bilge pump hoses to the through-hulls in the transom without installing this circular hatch.
In this hole I installed a nylon through-hull, one that the previous owner used to have in the starboard cockpit locker. He used this through-hull for routing the fuel line from his motor to the fuel tank that he (foolishly) stored in the cockpit locker. Yes, it was a cheap, nylon through-hull, but it didn't matter, since it wouldn't be situated below the waterline. Nevertheless, I used butyl tape to seal this fitting in the hole. This would prevent water from leaking around the edges of the fitting. I sawed off most of the through-hull to make it easier to route the wires at a right angle after they entered the cockpit locker.
After I routed the wires into the through-hull, I shoved butyl tape into the spaces around the wires. I didn't want a single drop of water to enter this cockpit locker, especially since much of my main AC and DC circuit was in this locker.
The terminals that came with these wires, in my opinion, were not up to snuff. They were poorly crimped, and they were not sealed with heat-shrink tubing. Therefore, I cut off these terminals and installed my own.
I address my work on this starting circuit much more thoroughly in my series of articles on the electrical system that I installed in my complete rewiring of the boat.
I made sure to keep plenty of slack in these wires from the motor. I also made sure to put in a drip loop so that the water would have less of a propensity to creep toward the through-hull.
Here's one shot of the cockpit locker with part of the starting circuit. In the foreground the positive (red) wire from the motor terminates at an ANL fuse block. On the other side of the fuse block a cable leads aft and ultimately downward to that portion of the main circuit on the bulkhead in the lazarette.
With the starting wires now joined to the battery bank I could now use the power tilt/trim, and I could crank the motor whenever I needed to run fresh gas through it.
For a long time - before I ever installed the motor on the bracket - I used to have to perform this monthly cranking ritual by temporarily joining the motor's wires to one of the starting batteries in one of my vehicles. It was sort of a pain. I'd use a hand truck to roll the motor (on a wooden motor rack) up close the the vehicle. Then I'd use jumper cables to make the connection. Water would puddle up in the yard and make a lot of mud.
In this new set-up, the water puddled up behind the boat and made a lot of mud, but I didn't have to worry about this for very long. This was the one and only time I had to crank the motor up like this. Shortly afterward I launched the boat, a joyous moment after a lengthy refitting.

One last thing I did before this launch was to fabricate a modified tiller for the motor. I made it out of 1/2 inch Starboard. The real Yamaha tiller worked well in some positions in the transom cutout, but not in others. I wanted to have a short tiller that would give me full range of movement when necessary.
There were two holes in a metal bar on the forward side of the motor. I believe that these served as anchor points for the steering system for Yamaha owners who opted for steering cables in lieu of a tiller. At any rate, I used these holes to anchor my modified tiller.
You can see clearly in the picture below that the modified tiller is one that provides full range of movement. The Yamaha tiller, on the other hand, due to its port side orientation does not allow for port side movement within the cutout in the Ericson 25 transom.
With the Yamaha tiller in the vertical position, the modified tiller provides full range of movement. I can say now that after the launch, and after my repeated use of the motor for leaving the dock, returning to the dock, and simply motoring in general, I almost always keep the Yamaha tiller in the vertical position. That way, it's always out of the way and does not present any restrictions in terms of the range of movement of the motor. It took a while, but I have become quite accustomed to operating the throttle (black handle at the end of the tiller) and the gear shifter (gray lever in the middle of the tiller) with the tiller in the vertical position. I should add that I have never had any problems in terms of the prop of the motor interfering with the boat's rudder. The Garelick heavy duty bracket was just what I needed for this boat. Additionally, I should say that I almost always operate the motor with the bracket in the lowest position. I can operate the motor with the bracket in the mid-level position, but I prefer to have it deeper to prevent hobby-horsing in the tides, winds, and currents where I live. The mid-level position would probably work well on the relatively calm waters of a modestly sized lake.

All in all, I'm glad that I spent the time and the money to make all these modifications to this boat. She's now much more dependable than she was when I bought her. I never have to worry about muscling upstream through an outgoing five knot tide in Charleston Harbor. This motor in this set-up has what it takes to get me where I want to go.
This ends this article on the many steps I took in the repowering of Oystercatcher, my Ericson 25.

Motor and Motor Bracket, Part 8, Installation of Components

The transom plate and motor bracket installed
Having painted the transom plate and the backing plates, it was now time to install the components on either side of the transom. This was a somewhat messy and time-consuming process, despite its seeming simplicity. How I carried this out on Oystercatcher, my Ericson 25, is the subject of this posting.
I began by dry-fitting the three components to ensure that all the holes would freely accept the screws. Better to know this now rather than later, when all these components would be oozing with adhesive.
I mentioned this in a previous posting, but it's worth pointing out again. The transom is curved. This required me to bend the aluminum transom plate into position whenever I screwed it to the transom.

Satisfied with the dry-fit, I turned my attention to the cleaning of the transom and the cut-out. There were many years worth of dirt and grime in these areas.
I used xylene for this job. This solvent is the best at removing wax and adhesive residue from contaminated surfaces. I had no idea what the previous owners had applied to the gelcoat of this boat. Whatever it was, I wanted it gone.
The rag says it all.

The xylene did not remove the entire dirt stain from the exterior of the transom. 220 grit sandpaper helped.
Xylene was good for the finishing touches.
See the circular cutout? I mentioned in a previous posting that I had earlier created this cutout for a circular hatch. Behind it I planned to hang docklines. Without this circular cutout I would not have been able to access this space behind the transom.
I scrubbed the transom area in this circular cutout space especially well. There was still an oily residue here that had resulted from the previous owner storing gasoline in the adjacent cockpit locker.
Down in the lazarette I cleaned the backing plate that I had earlier installed against the transom. I discuss my installation of this backing plate in a separate posting on my work in the lazarette:
Now that everything was nice and clean, I took out my drill and installed a countersink bit. I used this to bevel the screw holes slightly. This would allow the adhesive to form small gaskets of sorts around each hole.

When I had finished beveling all of these holes, I cleaned each one of them with xylene.
Now it was time to clean the plates themselves.

I used sandpaper to give this unpainted surface some additional "tooth" for the adhesive I would soon apply.

I did the same thing with the painted surfaces. The only difference was that I used a sandpaper with a milder grit. The two-part paint is quite slick once it cures.

With everything ready to go, I broke out the caulk gun and the adhesive. This was Sikaflex 291 LOT, a polyurethane adhesive/sealant. I had used this same type of adhesive for the installation of the bronze through-hulls, and I had used it for the installation of several other pieces of hardware, such as the bow eye and the stern rail. This is a strong, marine adhesive but it's not nearly as strong as 3M 5200, which is only good for permanent installations. The letters "LOT" in the product designation stand for "Long Open Time." This means that this type of Sikaflex doesn't set-up as quickly as the normal type. I've never used that normal type, but I can tell you that I don't think I would ever want to use it. This LOT type does indeed give you a window of time before the adhesive starts to set-up. But this window is quite small. This stuff becomes sticky very quickly, and granted you can still move things around during this sticky phase, but it makes your work with these things difficult. The Sikaflex gets all over your hands and tools and everything else that is near.
It helped that I had a buddy visiting from out of town.
One of us applied the Sikaflex while the other picked things up and moved them around.

We started by setting this wooden backing plate into place.

Then we applied Sikaflex to the aluminum transom plate.

We made certain that the edges of the transom plate received plenty of Sikaflex. We didn't want any water to find its way between the bare aluminum and the transom.
We then applied additional Sikaflex to the joint between the wooden backing plate and the transom cutout.

Finally, we applied Sikaflex to the surface of the painted wood itself.

With the transom plate all ready to go, one of us picked it up and pressed it against the transom while the other slid a few of the screws into place.
We didn't want to install all of the screws and the nuts until we had installed the final backing plate.
Below, we see the aluminum backing plate that would face the cockpit. This was the third of the three components that we needed to put into place.

As soon as we put this third component into place, we began to install the screws in earnest.
One of us stood outside the boat, while the other sat in the cockpit. As we slowly turned the screws and the nuts, the transom plate slowly conformed to the curvature of the transom itself. At the same time, the Sikaflex slowly oozed out from the joints.
On the cockpit side, the aluminum backing plate sandwiched the wooden backing plate snugly.
Now it was time to install the motor bracket. For this we also used Sikaflex. We were not as interested in its adhesive qualities as we were in its sealing qualities. You'll recall that some of the bolt holes for this bracket were in the lazarette. No one wants seawater in that part of the boat.
To join the bracket to the transom we used carriage bolts. Yes, the bracket does appear to be out of plumb, but this is just an optical illusion on account of the curvature of the hull. Believe me, I checked for plumb many a time.
You'll recall that I could not use two of the holes in the bracket on account of their interference with the cockpit sole. In other words, some of the bolts were above the cockpit sole, while others were beneath it in the lazarette.
It took a lot of jiggling to seat the carriage bolts properly in their square cutouts in the black aluminum bracket.

It took even more work to clean up all the excess Sikaflex. The stuff was everywhere.
We probably used an entire roll of paper towels and a quarter can of mineral spirits wiping off the excess and wiping away the residue. It's easy to think you've gotten all this stuff off when you really haven't. If you're not careful, you can leave a thin translucent residue that's very difficult to remove if you let it sit too long.
Many months later I came back and cut off the ends of the screws with an angle grinder. I did not like the way they projected into the cockpit. You might ask why I didn't just buy shorter screws. The answer is that I needed these longer ones to pull all three of the components together.
In the lazarette I left the long screws alone, although I would have preferred to have removed them, if I had been able to get my angle grinder in there. I wasn't going to use my Dremel to cut these off. I had burned up the motor on an earlier Dremel cutting off a stainless steel 1/4 inch crew elsewhere in the lazarette.
Believe it or not the installation of these components took the better part of a chilly spring day.
After we were finished with everything, we still had to check on our work, tightening a screw here and there and wiping up a little more excess here and there as the plates and the Sikaflex beneath them hissed and popped and slowly settled into place.
Meanwhile, my buddy and I basted some ribs and nursed a few cold ones by the smoker. All in all, it was a pretty good day.
This ends this posting on how I installed the motor bracket and its various components on Oystercatcher, my Ericson 25.