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Trim tabs vs trim gauge?

Old 06-15-2019, 07:44 AM
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Default Trim tabs vs trim gauge?

Just upgraded from a boat that had a engine trim gauge to a bigger boat that has trim tabs but no trim gauge. My question is, with trim tabs do I just leave the engine all the way down? Is adjusting the angle of the outboard important when using trim tabs? Itís kind of weird not having the gauge. Was thinking of having a gauge installed. Thoughts?

By the way, the new boat is a SeaFox 216DC with a Honda 200 outboard.
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Old 06-15-2019, 08:20 AM
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My question is, with trim tabs do I just leave the engine all the way down?
Absolutely not. You almost always want to trim the engine up after planed off to achieve best efficiency/economy/speed.

Is adjusting the angle of the outboard important when using trim tabs?
Yes, see above.

An engine trim gauge can be useful when figuring out the optimal 'dialed in' trim level for different conditions, but not a deal breaker.
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Old 06-15-2019, 08:25 AM
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Bennett has a guide to trim tab use with videos.

https://bennetttrimtabs.com/guide-to-trim-tabs/
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Old 06-15-2019, 09:01 AM
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You will be adjusting both the motor trim and trim tabs quite often. You will learn the characteristics of the boat with both adjustments. Just get out and practice. I recently installed tabs on my boat and now I wished I would have done it long ago. One of the best improvements to my boat besides Spot lock GPS trolling motor. You won't have to bury the motor anymore. You can run an even trim on motor where fuel economy is best and use the tabs to control the bow.
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Old 06-15-2019, 09:46 AM
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You just use the tabs to optimize the ride, use engine trim just like you did before you had tabs.
For practicing , start with the tabs fully retracted motor tucked in slightly and power up. Trim motor out to sweet spot and at optimal rpms verses speed.
Trim the motor up just enough that it wants to start porpoising, give the tabs some bow down in short presses of both the top bottoms at the same time.
bow will lower and porpoising will stop.
You can plant the bow in choppy waters to stop bow bounce and a smoother ride. You can correct a list or lean by deploying one tab or the other.
Lots of practice before you get comfortable with them. The tab switches work backwards from what you’d think. Up button on starboard deploys down tab on port. Down button on both retracts both etc.
You will love them once you get the hang of controls.
In following seas or rollers, keep them tucked up and retracted so not to stuff bow into wave faces.
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Old 06-15-2019, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Dacman View Post
You just use the tabs to optimize the ride, use engine trim just like you did before you had tabs.
For practicing , start with the tabs fully retracted motor tucked in slightly and power up. Trim motor out to sweet spot and at optimal rpms verses speed.
Trim the motor up just enough that it wants to start porpoising, give the tabs some bow down in short presses of both the top bottoms at the same time.
bow will lower and porpoising will stop.
You can plant the bow in choppy waters to stop bow bounce and a smoother ride. You can correct a list or lean by deploying one tab or the other.
Lots of practice before you get comfortable with them. The tab switches work backwards from what youíd think. Up button on starboard deploys down tab on port. Down button on both retracts both etc.
You will love them once you get the hang of controls.
In following seas or rollers, keep them tucked up and retracted so not to stuff bow into wave faces.
If the trim point of porpoising is well past the trim point of best efficiency, what is the point of trimming to the porpoising point? Why not just stay as the best efficiency trim point? There may be (probably will be) a loss of boat speed with the same or higher fuel burn.

If the water is glass and the boat is riding level, whats the point of deploying any trim tab angle at all? Just gonna add drag with no benefit IMO.
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Old 06-15-2019, 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by alloyboy View Post
If the trim point of porpoising is well past the trim point of best efficiency, what is the point of trimming to the porpoising point? Why not just stay as the best efficiency trim point? There may be (probably will be) a loss of boat speed with the same or higher fuel burn.

If the water is glass and the boat is riding level, whats the point of deploying any trim tab angle at all? Just gonna add drag with no benefit IMO.
My second line said for practicing. Getting familiar with the tabs system. Edit spelling bad.
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Old 06-15-2019, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Dacman View Post
...... The tab switches work backwards from what youíd think. Up button on starboard deploys down tab on port. Down button on both retracts both etc.
.....
Hmmm...? On my and most boats the top "Bow Down" tab buttons deploy the tabs downward and the Bow Up button retracts, but you are right in most installations the port switch operates diagonally to the stbd tab, stbd sw>port tab. ,

Likely just semantics if as I expect you just meant the upper button deploys tabs down.
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Old 06-15-2019, 10:04 PM
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What is the difference between trimming the motor up and then putting the tabs down, rather than just leaving the tabs up and the motor down? One way you reduce the motor drag, but increase the drag from the tabs and the other has more motor drag and less tab drag.

On my boat, putting the tabs way down produces a lot of drag.
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Old 06-16-2019, 05:21 AM
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Thank for the info. So how important is having a trim gauge for the engine? Right now he only time I raise the engine is in shallow water. In normal operating speeds I have been keeping the engine all the way down and adjusting the bow rise by the tabs. I haven’t been adjusting the engine trim at speed because I don’t have a gauge to know where the engine is, so I just keep it down.
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Old 06-16-2019, 05:23 AM
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Originally Posted by ssobol2533@aol.com View Post
What is the difference between trimming the motor up and then putting the tabs down, rather than just leaving the tabs up and the motor down? One way you reduce the motor drag, but increase the drag from the tabs and the other has more motor drag and less tab drag.

On my boat, putting the tabs way down produces a lot of drag.
Yep, significant reduction of speed when I put the tabs down.
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Old 06-16-2019, 05:36 AM
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I run a 20ft. bay boat so I use motor trim more often than tabs. If I am in rough water or granddaughters on the boat I'm happy I have the tabs as I can dial in the ride. Would not have any boat without tabs.
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Old 06-16-2019, 06:13 AM
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Tabs are used for 2 main purposes. To adjust the side to side running attitude, as well as to adjust the fore/aft running angle. The motor trim is primarily to adjust the position of the prop to the column of water exiting the rear of he boat, and to a lesser degree the fore/aft attitude of the boat.

Having both tabs and engine trim allows you to adjust the two independently. While operating efficiency is one consideration, itís not the only one. Comfort and safety also come into play. On a day with slick water, the optimal ride/efficiency combination may be no tab, and the motor trimmed up to maximum rpm for the throttle input, with possibly a touch of tab added on one side for side to side balance. On a day with some chop, a bit of tab to pull down the bow can make a big difference. In that case you still likely want to trim the engine up to its point of maximum efficiency. The biggest thing to remember with tabs until you have the feel for them is to bump them a little bit at a time. Rarely is there a situation where you want to press and just hold the buttons. Especially the case with electric tabs.
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Old 06-16-2019, 06:51 AM
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Every boat is a little different. On mine trimming the motors up a bit is more efficient at some speeds even if I need a touch of tab to settle the bow.
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Old 06-16-2019, 06:59 AM
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Originally Posted by TTaxi View Post
Hmmm...? On my and most boats the top "Bow Down" tab buttons deploy the tabs downward and the Bow Up button retracts, but you are right in most installations the port switch operates diagonally to the stbd tab, stbd sw>port tab. ,

Likely just semantics if as I expect you just meant the upper button deploys tabs down.
We just got a new boat, my first boat with tabs. I thought they had wired it backwards as the port switch runs the starboard tab. It has taken me a while, but Iím finally starting to figure out how they work.
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Old 06-16-2019, 07:16 AM
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What I do is tuck the motor all the way in to plane off. After planing, trim up motor until itís easy to steer. Adjust tabs as necessary. I imagine riding around with the motor tucked in all the time is tiring as the motor is usually harder to steer in this position. If your little trim tab on the outboard is adjust properly, you should be able to trim it up while putting slight pressure on the steering wheel, when it gets to the sweet spot, the wheel will move easier and thatís where I leave it. Again, if the tab is adjusted properly this is the optimum engine position.
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Old 06-16-2019, 07:22 AM
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Ok, I might need some refresher training. My previous boat was a 20’ deck boat with no trim tabs and a Yamaha 115. I used to have to trim the engine up quite a bit just to get the bow out of the water and on plane. It was a bit underpowered and took a while to get up to speed.

The new boat (in my signature) is a 21’ V-hull with a 200hp Honda. This bad-boy practically leaps out of the hole. It’s a rocket ship compared to the old boat. On plane within a matter of a couple of seconds. With the engine down, the bow rides very high so I have been using the tabs to bring the bow down. If I use the engine trim and bring the engine up, wouldn’t that make the bow rise even more and force me to use even more tabs?
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Old 06-16-2019, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by jrchandler View Post
What I do is tuck the motor all the way in to plane off. After planing, trim up motor until itís easy to steer. Adjust tabs as necessary. I imagine riding around with the motor tucked in all the time is tiring as the motor is usually harder to steer in this position. If your little trim tab on the outboard is adjust properly, you should be able to trim it up while putting slight pressure on the steering wheel, when it gets to the sweet spot, the wheel will move easier and thatís where I leave it. Again, if the tab is adjusted properly this is the optimum engine position.
Iíll give that a try today. Thanks.
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Old 06-16-2019, 09:43 AM
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I haven't seen any real numbers on this but I'm thinking trim tabs creates drag than the motor. They are not completley down but more at a slight angle with no hard angles dragging. I know lower units and smooth too but the efficiency of the thrust is more important to offset the trim tabs.

Just gotta play with them. Sometime I run my motor lower in choppy waters, it give me a feel of having a better bite in the water. Tabs to help keep the bow down if needed.

Tabs are great for uneven loads like passenger standing next to you to talk.
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Old 06-16-2019, 10:34 AM
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I use the engine trim to adjust the bow up and down and just one tab or the other to adjust the boat laterally - I canít see the point of adjusting the engine to get the bow up and bringing it down with tabs - thatís just having the engine and the tabs fighting each other and getting the boat to run inefficiently.
I donít have indicators for my tabs or the engine trim - the attitude of the boat tells me all I need to know.
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