Can You Convert A Tiller Motor To Remote? [It Depends. Here’s What You Need To Know!]

If you want to convert a tiller motor to remote control steering, you may be wondering if it's possible.

Yes, it is possible to convert a tiller motor to remote control steering, but there are several factors to consider.

Please note that this discussion specifically applies to small outboard motors, as "tiller motors" can also refer to inboard motors. Additionally, the conversion may not be feasible for smaller motors due to size limitations.

It's essential to understand that the conversion process involves more than simply adding a steering wheel and throttle.

You will need to acquire additional components, including a steering control cable, wheel and helm assembly, ram, throttle quadrant, and cables.

Keep in mind that these components can be quite expensive, with costs reaching $800 or more. Therefore, it's crucial to consider the financial aspect before making a decision.

Converting a tiller outboard to a remote control can be a complex and time-consuming task. It is advisable to have a certain level of mechanical knowledge and experience before attempting the conversion.

However, with the appropriate tools and instructions, you can successfully convert your outboard tiller motor to remote control steering.

To learn more about the process and gain essential insights, continue reading.

Understanding Tiller Motors

Male hand driving a inflatable boat holding the tiller of an outboard motorboat

Converting a tiller motor to a remote is a common modification for boat owners.

The process involves changing the steering mechanism from a tiller handle to a remote steering wheel.

A tiller motor is a type of outboard motor that is controlled by a tiller handle, which is attached directly to the motor.

The handle is used to steer the boat and control the throttle.

Tiller motors are popular for smaller boats, such as dinghies and jon boats, because they are lightweight and easy to maneuver.

This modification can be done on most outboard motors, but it depends on the make and model of the motor.

The conversion process can be done in two ways: purchasing a conversion kit or purchasing individual parts and assembling them yourself.

Before you consider converting a tiller motor to remote steering, it's important to understand how a tiller motor works.

Tiller motors come in various sizes, from small 2.5 hp models to larger 20 hp models. Yamaha and Mercury are two of the most popular brands of tiller motors.

Tiller motors are designed to be operated by hand, so they are typically smaller and less powerful than remote-controlled motors.

They are also less expensive than remote-controlled motors, making them popular for boaters on a budget.

If you have a tiller motor and you want to convert it to remote steering, you will need to purchase a conversion kit.

These kits typically include a steering control cable, wheel and helm assembly, ram, throttle quadrant, and cables.

It's important to note that not all tiller motors can be converted to remote steering.

Motors that are too small may not have the necessary components to support a conversion, while motors that are too large may be too heavy to operate with a tiller handle.

Additionally, some motors may not be compatible with certain conversion kits, so it's important to research before purchasing.

Engine and Starter Considerations

When converting a tiller motor to a remote, you need to consider a few engine and starter considerations. Here's what you need to know!

Engine compatibility

Not all engines are designed for remote control.

You need to check your engine's manual or consult a professional to ensure your engine can be converted.

Engine power

When converting to remote, ensure that your remote control setup can handle your engine's power.

If you're unsure, it's best to consult with a professional to ensure you're making the right choice.

If your engine has an electric starter

Ensure that your remote control setup includes a starter button.

This will allow you to start your engine from the remote control rather than using the pull cord.

If your engine doesn't have an electric starter

You may need to install one as part of the conversion process.

This can be a complex and expensive process, so it's important to consider the costs and benefits before deciding.

Steering and Remote Control Systems

Converting a tiller motor to remote steering necessitates a deep dive into the steering and remote control systems.

Here’s a straightforward breakdown:

Components for Steering and Control:

Steering: Introducing a remote steering system means setting up a steering wheel, helm, and steering cable.

Control: A dedicated control system is crucial to adjust throttle and shift.

Steering System Explained:

The steering wheel is attached to the helm. The helm connects to the steering arm. This arm links to the steering cable reaching the outboard motor.

The process is sequential: turning the steering wheel influences the helm, pivoting the arm, and eventually directing the outboard motor via the cable.

Choosing the Right System:

Systems vary and cater to different boat sizes; some suit smaller boats but aren't apt for larger ones.

Ponder over the system type - hydraulic or mechanical?

Compatibility & Installation:

Your chosen system must gel with your outboard motor. Some might need extra fittings or tweaks to align well.

Correct installation is paramount for safety and efficiency.

Pick the apt steering and control systems for a successful tiller-to-remote transition, ensuring compatibility and precise installation.

  1. Remote Side Mount Control:

    • Positioned on the boat's side.
    • Manages motor's speed and direction.
    • Benefits: Easy installation, ergonomic design adjustable to hand size.

  2. Remote Control Box:

    • Located on the boat's console.
    • Controls speed, direction, and features like tilt and trim.
    • Note: Typically more intricate and pricier than side mounts, but offers increased customization and features.

Determine your boating needs. For straightforward and budget-friendly options, side mount controls excel.

However, for advanced features and adaptability, consider remote control boxes.

The Role of Throttle and Cables

The throttle and cables are essential for converting a tiller motor to a remote.

The throttle controls the engine's speed, while the cables connect the throttle and shift controls to the motor. To convert a tiller motor to a remote, follow these steps:

  1. Choose the correct throttle cables for your motor and remote throttle control.
  2. Install the remote throttle control.
  3. Route the throttle cables properly to avoid interference.
  4. Secure and tension the throttle cables properly.
  5. Install shift cables if necessary.
  6. Test the throttle and shift controls to make sure they are working properly.

Here are some additional tips:

  • Always refer to the manufacturer's instructions and specifications when installing the throttle and cables.
  • Ensure the cables are not too long or too short, as this can cause problems with operation.
  • Secure the cables with cable ties or other appropriate methods to prevent them from chafing or coming loose.
  • Test the throttle and shift controls regularly to ensure they work properly.

Locks, Levers, and Link Rods

When choosing locks, levers, and link rods, selecting high-quality components compatible with your new steering system is important.

This will ensure that your boat is safe, easy to operate, and ready for any adventure on the water.

Locks prevent the motor from accidentally shifting into gear.

When converting to remote control, install a stable, reliable, compatible lock that is easy to engage and disengage.

Levers control the throttle and shift gears.

When converting to remote control, install a compatible lever that is easy to operate and provides smooth and precise control over the motor's speed and direction.

Link rods connect the steering system to the motor's tiller arm.

When converting to remote control, replace the link rod with a longer, compatible rod that is sturdy and reliable and provides smooth and precise control over the motor's steering.

Smooth Sailing Ahead

Converting your tiller motor to a remote control opens new possibilities for more convenient and comfortable boating.

The conversion process can lead to an enhanced on-water experience with the right parts and some mechanical know-how.

While every boat and situation is unique, the information provided here equips you with the knowledge to evaluate if converting to remote is right for your needs.

Fair winds and following seas!

For more boat engine queries, also read:

How To Reset Check Engine Light On Yamaha Waverunner [Step By Step Guide]

How To Vent The Bilge On Your Boat [Step By Step Guide]

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