What Would Cause the Trim & Trailer Buttons to Stop Working on My Bayliner Boat?


When the trim and trailer switches on a Bayliner refuse to work, or work in one direction only, the usual place to look is the relays located on top of the trim motor. A simple test will tell you if one of the two trim switches is bad, or if both trim switches are bad. If you replace both relays and the system still refuses to work, you need to go a bit further in your investigation.

Lack of Power to the Unit

  • Turn your boat's key switch to the "On" position. Turn the dial on the center of a digital multimeter to the "DC voltage" setting to ensure you're getting power to the trim pump. Set the black probe on a grounded part of the boat -- the top of the trim pump, piping or some substantial metal part -- and use the red probe to work your way from the connection to the trim pump motor to the relay and from the relays to the point where the relays are connected to your boat's wiring.

Relays Wired Incorrectly

  • The most likely source of trouble is reversed relays. Locate the two relays located atop the trim pump motor and remove the red wire from each of the two relays by pulling on the blade connectors that hold the wires to the relays. Switch the red wires, so that the up relay has the wire from the down relay and vice versa. If the motor will go up but not down, replace the "Down" relay. If the relay will go down but not up, replace the "Up" relay. If the motor won't move replace both relays.

Hydraulic Fluid Level

  • You should check the hydraulic fluid level before each trip. No excuses. All you have to do is open the hydraulic reservoir and look: if the fluid isn't up to the neck of the reservoir, run the engine up and down five or six times to "burp" the air out of the system, then add fluid until it reaches the bottom of the opening. Burp it five or six times more and put the cap on it.

Burned Out Trim Motor

  • You can find out if the trim motor is burned out by testing the circuit for continuity. Turn the dial on the multimeter to "Ohms," usually the last position to the right on the multimeter dial, indicated by the Greek letter omega. Place the red probe on the blade connector for the wire from either of the relays and the black probe on the trim motor's black ground cable. If you get a very high or infinite reading, replace the trim motor.

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  • "The 12-Volt Bible for Boats"; M. Brotherton; 2002
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