Trim Tabs: Self-Leveling vs Electric

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PhishingNole
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Trim Tabs: Self-Leveling vs Electric

Post by PhishingNole »

TL:DR - for the purpose of improving low speed tracking and reducing wander, is the added cost of electric tabs worth it over Self-Leveling tabs?


I have a 17' bay boat that is giving me fits with low speed wandering. I feel like the town drunk riding up and down the river. I don't mean the slight wander you might expect from any v-hull, this thing wanders from 10:00 - 2:00 back and forth at idle.

The best strategy so far has been to just let the boat do it's thing as it wanders left and right in the general direction I'm heading. It does eventually stay turning which requires heavy steering input to correct. The idea of stepping away from the helm to grab something is not a safe option.

Boat drives great at speed, handles chop well, and is otherwise great to drive. I upgraded the steering from cable to hydraulic and there's no play in the engine. It gets up on plane easily with the 115 Yamaha and I don't have any problems with porpoising.

I'm told trim tabs can help considerably with this problem and I'm trying to decide if self leveling (Bennett) tabs are right for my needs or if I need to spend the extra coin to get electric tabs.

I don't anticipate going far offshore, I've never had a problem with weight distribution without tabs, and I don't have a problem with the ride.

How much benefit would I see from electric tabs over self-leveling, given the problem I'm hoping to solve?

Thanks for your time and advice.

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ropeman
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Re: Trim Tabs: Self-Leveling vs Electric

Post by ropeman »

PhishingNole wrote: June 10th, 2021, 2:01 pmI upgraded the steering from cable to hydraulic and there's no play in the engine. It gets up on plane easily with the 115 Yamaha and I don't have any problems with porpoising.
I have never heard that trim tabs would help with low speed steering, but I guess it helps steady the rear of the boat and keep it on track.

Did you notice the same behavior with the cable steering? Is your engine tilted up when idling? I have noticed that my 17' Mako ProSkiff wanders a lot more when idling in shallow with the engine tilted up.
PhishingNole
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Re: Trim Tabs: Self-Leveling vs Electric

Post by PhishingNole »


ropeman wrote: I have never heard that trim tabs would help with low speed steering, but I guess it helps steady the rear of the boat and keep it on track.

Did you notice the same behavior with the cable steering? Is your engine tilted up when idling? I have noticed that my 17' Mako ProSkiff wanders a lot more when idling in shallow with the engine tilted up.
It wandered before and after the steering conversion.

Tilted all the way down.

Honestly, that's why I'm hesitant to buy a more expensive trim tab setup, because this may not work. At this point though, I'm looking at all options and I've seen a few people with similar hulls say the trim tabs did wonders.


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FishWithChris
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Re: Trim Tabs: Self-Leveling vs Electric

Post by FishWithChris »

....is your center line in the boat straight or warped at all?

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PhishingNole
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Re: Trim Tabs: Self-Leveling vs Electric

Post by PhishingNole »

FishWithChris wrote:....is your center line in the boat straight or warped at all?

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As far as I can tell (visually) it is straight. The boat wanders left and right equally, and tracks straight at speed, so I have no reason to believe it's warped.

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FishWithChris
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Re: Trim Tabs: Self-Leveling vs Electric

Post by FishWithChris »

Deep V ? V hulls will typically wander a bit at lower speeds. Search "low speed wander" on thehulltruth, same story across the board. There are a few things that help, but will never 'solve.'

- trim up more on motor
- switch to 4 blade
- tabs (if have) all the way down, ('ehh)
- hydrofoil, ('ehhh)

It's a trade off

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PhishingNole
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Re: Trim Tabs: Self-Leveling vs Electric

Post by PhishingNole »

Trimming up on the motor seems to make things worse.

Can't imagine how a four-blade would make that much of a difference over a three blade, but I may try it down the road.

The purpose of this thread is about the trim tabs. When you say ehh, is that meaning you don't think it will work?

I've looked at hydro-shield and they claim it helps with low speed wander, but I'm going to try tabs/smart tabs instead.


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Juan
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Re: Trim Tabs: Self-Leveling vs Electric

Post by Juan »

Do you have a trim tab anode on the cavitation plate?
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Red Beard
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Re: Trim Tabs: Self-Leveling vs Electric

Post by Red Beard »

Nole.. a four blade prop provides more thrust and promotes a smoother cruise speed. I believe that’s where FWC was hinting at.

Have you tried to redistribute your weight in the vessel?


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PhishingNole
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Re: Trim Tabs: Self-Leveling vs Electric

Post by PhishingNole »

Juan - I do have an anode and it is centered and in good shape. The boat wanders left and right equally.


Red Beard wrote:Nole.. a four blade prop provides more thrust and promotes a smoother cruise speed. I believe that’s where FWC was hinting at.

Have you tried to redistribute your weight in the vessel?


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I wasn't doubting him, just something I hadn't considered.

I don't have much in the way of weight to distribute, but I have had it wander with my kids (about 80lbs combined) in the front and not in the boat at all.

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Fish Masterson
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Re: Trim Tabs: Self-Leveling vs Electric

Post by Fish Masterson »

Curious, does it act the same during wot? Or only during low speeds?
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PhishingNole
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Re: Trim Tabs: Self-Leveling vs Electric

Post by PhishingNole »

Slightly over idle and it wanders just slightly. Anything more than that and it handles wonderfully. No trouble getting on plane, no porpoising, very dry ride.

I like to put in at Shields and occasionally do a river ride with the family, so low speed is common.

It's a Century 1701. It's a v-hull, so I understand there is a trade-off, but this is extreme.

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Fish Masterson
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Re: Trim Tabs: Self-Leveling vs Electric

Post by Fish Masterson »

I'm not sure trim tabs would have an effect at an idle speed, but I feel like they improve a boat overall, so it won't be money wasted. If i had a guess, it would be passengers moving about shifting the weight from side to side.
Edit. To answer your original question, i think the self leveling tabs start in the down position until pressure from forward speed moves them up, so at low speed, they would be down where you want them. So either option would apply at idle.
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bbb
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Trim Tabs: Self-Leveling vs Electric

Post by bbb »

Get the self leveling Smart Tabs if you don’t need port or starboard adjustment. They will stop the boat from wandering.

Worked for a 23’ ski boat I had. Idling it was like paddling a canoe by myself. Always spinning the steering wheel left then right then left…..

If you run different loads in your boat and it needs to be leveled out, get electric tabs.

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