Giving Trolling Motors A Lift

By Capt. Steve Chaconas

Unless you have a Minn Kota trolling motor, you do not have lift assist. So what? Well, as trolling motors are being beefed up, and more transducers and noisemakers are being added to the trolling motor, they are getting heavier and heavier! Pulling one up and down, sometimes 50 times a day, is a workout,! The trolling motor landing on the bracket either deployed or back on deck can create a loud enough noise that could disturb fish. Until now, MotorGuide trolling motor users could never have a lift assist to enable easier deployment into the water, to slow the entry into the water and to allow for easy lifting back onto the deck again without slamming into the mount. In reality, anglers aren't getting younger and trolling motors are getting heavier.

The only choice for MotorGuide owners to have an easy deploy and stow trolling motor was to replace it with a Minn Kota to enjoy the built-in lift assist option. A small Virginia firm specializing in propeller and trolling motor repair began tinkering with the idea of adding some shocks to aid in the lifting and lowering as well as raising and returning it to the deck. Their concept is so well thought out, it has become a do it yourself project with instructions, hardware, videos on line and even templates to put the shocks in the right spot! The new Do It Yourself Equalizer shock kit will fit most MotorGuide Trolling motors with Gator mounts.

In the early attempts to construct the Equalizer, Propeller Dynamics owner Robbie Patterson searched for a strong and durable shock that would withstand the lowering and raising and the ride on the bow of a bass boat. His search resulted in a solid lift assist shock and accompanying hardware to ensure a secure and stable installation to provide longevity of use. The shocks for the Equalizer are heavier duty than ones used for boat locker lids, allowing the power for ease of deploying and stowing a trolling motor.


Installation begins by drilling four holes in the mount. In some boats, with a raised console in the bow blocking where the holes are to be drilled, you might need to remove the trolling motor bracket to reach the correct spots to drill the holes STRAIGHT. If so, remove the trolling motor from the bracket as well. The kit includes marine grade stainless steel hardware with step-by-step instructions and there is a link to an instructional video.

A template is included for error free placement for drilling the holes, making this project easy for just about any shade tree mechanic! A photo of the mount is included to enable the installer to locate very specific locations on the MotorGuide mounts. Locations of the BOW ARM, SPRING PIN PIVOT NUT and LOWER MOUNT are clearly recognizable. This will insure the template is lined up properly where the holes are to be drilled.

Place template on the mount with the large hole over the PIVOT NUT and the small hole over the SPRING PIN. The top of the template must be level with the bow arm. Mark and drill with the mount in the stowed position with a 5/16" drill bit. It's best to just make a center point drill mark first before drilling the holes. Flipping the mount over, taping the template in place the same way, drill two indentations and put the template away. Using a center punch tapping into the marks made with the drill bit makes it easier to take the extra step of using a 1/16" pilot hole drill bit to make sure the holes are centered and straight. Then finish the 4 holes with the 5/16" drill bit.

Next are the ball stud installations. The short ones go on the mount arm and the long ones on the base. Get the short ones started and tighten down on each side. Next put the long ones in tightening only to get threads started. The nuts are nylon locking. Tighten only to the point where the bolt threads are flush with the nut using a box end wrench to hold the nut. Adding a drop of lock tight on the threads when you tighten them down adds security. Snap the shocks on the ball stud. Snug up the bolts with the shocks in place and that's it! Now MotorGuide owners will have a lift system that looks like it belongs on the motor. Available in red, white, blue and black.

Photo of an installed Equalizer

Photo of an Equalizer installed on boat trolling motor

Once installed, the shocks have gas pressure, Robbie warns not to release without a trolling motor as the mount may swing back and cause injury. He also cautions not to put fingers into scissors area either! The Equalizer is easy to install and can reduce the lift weight by 50%. Reduced weight will also allow trolling motor lift ropes to last longer! But most of all, the assistance is pretty important to the "old guys", while being a back and time saver for every angler at some point!