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Extending MK Ulterra I-Pilot from 60" to 80+"

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Extending MK Ulterra I-Pilot from 60" to 80+"

Old 03-07-2019, 08:16 AM
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Default Extending MK Ulterra I-Pilot from 60" to 80+"

hi,

I currently have (2016 I guess) Minn Kota Ulterra I-Pilot 80lbs 60" 24V that I used on my smaller center console. Sold the cc, and upgraded to GW Seafarer 228 SV2. Based on what I've researched so far 80V thrust should be enough for the new boat.

60" shaft length will not be enough for the Grady. I know I can sell the 60" and buy a longer one, but I happen to like to perform mods during my spare times.

I was wondering whether anyone ever committed to a similar shaft extension job themselves? what is involved? etc etc
Old 03-07-2019, 10:44 AM
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Did it once on an older model trolling motor. Just changed the shaft, butt sliced the power wires going to the motor (making sure that the splices were made near the top part of the shaft that would not be submerged, and shrink tubed them). Don't know how it would work with the new fangled trolling motors, but the old one worked just fine doing this.
Old 03-07-2019, 11:17 AM
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You need a MK engineer to give you the answer to this one. Ulterra being an auto stow/deploy brings some complexity into the equation. There is software in the unit dictating how far that trim motor will drive the shaft up/down. Without having intimate knowledge of the software it's impossible to know if it would even allow an 80" shaft to extend past 60" for your unit. Out of curiosity, where would you be able to get a shaft 80"+ for that motor? MK only sells it up to 72.
Old 03-07-2019, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Kenny Powers View Post
You need a MK engineer to give you the answer to this one. Ulterra being an auto stow/deploy brings some complexity into the equation. There is software in the unit dictating how far that trim motor will drive the shaft up/down. Without having intimate knowledge of the software it's impossible to know if it would even allow an 80" shaft to extend past 60" for your unit. Out of curiosity, where would you be able to get a shaft 80"+ for that motor? MK only sells it up to 72.
yep MK doesn't have anything over 72", i was planning to fabricate by extending the existing shaft with epoxy/fiber, and extending the teethed belt by ordering another one, but as you pointed out software-wise I don't know how it would react to the extension.
Old 03-07-2019, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by OceanCityHank View Post
yep MK doesn't have anything over 72", i was planning to fabricate by extending the existing shaft with epoxy/fiber, and extending the teethed belt by ordering another one, but as you pointed out software-wise I don't know how it would react to the extension.
Sounds like you're a pretty handy guy. I'd still be very concerned about the structural integrity of the shaft at that length. Hell, I'd be concerned about the structural integrity of the mount at 80" too. There are a few reasons they don't make an 80" shaft. Torque from that length of an arm is a major one. We all know they design with some safety margin though.....

You'd have to find the proper spec for the belt too since MK won't sell you an 80" belt. I'm pretty sure it's just a timing belt, so that might not be too difficult.
Old 03-16-2019, 11:49 PM
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I just installed an ulterra on my 32' boat. It works great, but an additional 10" or 12" would be great, as some length is lost with the deploy/stow feature. The belt would be easy enough to get. McMaster Carr sells it, I just haven't measured to determine the size yet. The unknown part is extending the shaft and the software. The part that makes the shaft difficult is the D shape inside and the groove for the belt. Im not sure exactly how you could splice in a section and have enough strength. If you figure out something, please post it.
Old 08-23-2019, 01:23 AM
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Just revisiting this thread now that Minn Kota has released the 87" Terrova. Looking at the diagrams and such, I suspect the two motors start with the same motor and and tubes, its just the trim vs no trim that separates the two. The belt is easy enough to get. According to the diagram, its a 5mm pitch, htd series timing belt. I can purchased 3 meters for $25 to $40 in the local market.

The kicker would be stow and deploy. After having some power issues earlier this year, I believe this is an easy to deal with problem. However it would be a pain depending on sea conditions. If you lose power while the motor is deployed, it loses its trim position and must be manually reset. So, the procedure would be:
1) Deploy motor
2) If more length is needed, turn power off after motor is deployed
3) Turn power back on. Now you would have the additional length available to trim down manually.

The issue will be when its time to stow the unit. Without resetting the trim, Its not going to lift properly. So now you have a new procedure:

1) Hit power button 3 times rapidly. The unit should trim all the way up, and then back down a couple of inches. Now you can hit the stow button and all should be good.

Without a new main control board, I cant see any other way of doing this. While not ideal, It could be a way to get a little extra length on rougher days. My only concern would be if the rest of the unit can handle the additional strain due to the longer shaft and longer lever effect.

I really love my ulterra and would possibly control giving this a shot if shipping was too bad and the parts were available. Minn Kota doesnt list the new terrova shaft yet. Anyways, here is one way the OP could get to 80+. However 72" could be obtained with simply the 72" motor/tube and control board. $600 ish in parts and factory parts and operation.
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Old 08-23-2019, 05:15 AM
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Originally Posted by getusummm View Post
... However 72" could be obtained with simply the 72" motor/tube and control board. $600 ish in parts and factory parts and operation...
great info thanks!...

for the 72" conversion, do you have the links to the resources, list of the parts required, so that rest of the people in my shoes would benefit as well?


Old 08-23-2019, 05:29 AM
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https://motors.johnsonoutdoors.com/P...eam/Parts.aspx

Just drill down to your exact year and style motor. I believe all you will need is the center housing/tube assy or you can buy the entire motor/tube assembly. You will also need the main control board, the positive and negative wires that go in the tube, and of course the longer belt.
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Old 09-11-2019, 07:55 PM
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Definitely interested in doing this as I am fixing to purchase a thunderjet 25-foot Alexis would love a 80 inch shaft if possible
Old 09-11-2019, 07:56 PM
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Originally Posted by getusummm View Post
I just installed an ulterra on my 32' boat. It works great, but an additional 10" or 12" would be great, as some length is lost with the deploy/stow feature. The belt would be easy enough to get. McMaster Carr sells it, I just haven't measured to determine the size yet. The unknown part is extending the shaft and the software. The part that makes the shaft difficult is the D shape inside and the groove for the belt. Im not sure exactly how you could splice in a section and have enough strength. If you figure out something, please post it.
what kind of boat do you have you have pictures

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