What about your boat’s jack plate?

Have you ever thought about the care required to maintain your boat's hydraulic jack plate?

There are several manufacturers of hydraulic jack plates and each brand and model has its own maintenance needs. I will discuss the ones I am most familiar with.

The widely-popular unit from Bob's Machine Shop is equipped with remote electric pump and a hydraulic reservoir. I am told they will also soon have a new model with integral hydraulics but I haven't seen it yet. The well-known models with remote or external hydraulic pump and oil reservoir are equipped with grease fittings for lubricating the Teflon slides with waterproof grease. The hydraulic fluid is 20W20 non-detergent and fluid level should be checked regularly. A white tint in the fluid indicates water contamination and a signal that the system should be flushed and refilled for best pump life. Dielectric compound should be used on all electrical connections. We recommend an application of grease at each slide fitting and light spray of Corrosion X Red on the slides themselves about once a month. Spray the pump housing and electrical solenoid connections regularly as well. Many boat riggers install the pump unit in a transom hatch and on some boats this is a very wet environment. This location should be avoided if at all possible as the hydraulic power unit deserves the driest environment available.

TH Marine builds the Hydro-Jacker, ATLAS and the CMC Hydrolift. These units have self-contained, (integral) electric/hydraulic motor assemblies and can be replaced independently. The TH Hydrojacker uses grease to lubricate the slide mechanism. The CMC Hydrolift and Atlas use no grease but a light application of spray lubricant on a regular basis keeps for the rollers and slides running smoothly. All of these units use standard tilt-and-trim oil in the reservoir. I am not a fan of packing grease on this style of jack plate as sand and salt encourage dirt build-up which causes friction and premature wear of moving parts and reduced life of electric brushes in the motor assembly. Spraying Corrosion X Red regularly is best way to prevent future failures. The only place I recommend using waterproof grease on these models is on the fill and oil level plug that could have issue with the aluminum oxidizing over a long period of time.

No matter which brand or style - wash the jack plate like the rest of the boat and apply Corrosion X Red before storing. Note: Corrosion X Red will wash off during normal use so applying regularly is a good idea.

Have a great boating and fishing season,

Chris Mapp

Coastal Bend Marine
Port O'Connor TX - 361 983 4841

[email protected]