WELCOME TO RIVER DAVES PLACE

Trim Tab Fluid?

DarkHorseRacing

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 14, 2014
Messages
122
Reaction score
95
Hi all,

Did a bit of searching on here as well as elsewhere. There seems to be a mixed response when it comes to the question of the fluid to use for Trim tabs.

Specifically I am trying to find out what fluid I need to use. I pulled the trim tab tank fill cover off and peered inside. The fluid is a clear golden color so its definitely not ATF. I stuck my finger in it and smelled it but I couldnt really identify it that way either.

So the question becomes is it motor oil (ie I've been told a straight 30w by some) or is it Power Steering fluid (I've been told to use clear power steering fluid by others).

I really just want to add fluid to what's already there and not screw this up by mixing fluid types.

I believe I have Dana Marine tabs, with APIMarine trim pumps. Does anyone know what the default fluid is for Dana tabs?

I'd love to tell you exactly what model tabs I have but I can't find that info (I'm second owner) and these tabs on this boat don't look similar to the tabs on websites for Marine Industries West (maker of Dana), Eddie Marine, or Livorsi to name a few.

Thanks,
DHR
 

DarkHorseRacing

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 14, 2014
Messages
122
Reaction score
95
If anyone wants to play "Guess My Tabs", here's a zoomed in shot of the only picture I have for the tabs.
ZoomPicTabs.jpg


You might ask why I don't just go to the boat and look at them directly, but the boat's in the lake and not coming out for a while. I suppose a scuba mask and breathing tube is my next option.
 

Singleton

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2008
Messages
11,470
Reaction score
9,962
mine have Merc trim fluid in them.
you can always call a shop and ask what they recommend
 

DarkHorseRacing

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 14, 2014
Messages
122
Reaction score
95
I did. I called Barrett Marine in LHC (who has seen the boat and serviced it (but never the trim tabs)), and they told me clear power steering fluid after checking with a mechanic in the shop. I called Marine Industries West (because I thought I had Dana tabs) and that guy told me to use straight 30w oil because that's best for the pump and seals. I've seen Offshore Only posts stating 30w oil for Dana tabs is pretty standard but some have done ATF or power steering fluid.

Which is fine, I can do any of those (besides ATF which I believe I can rule out), but my original point was I did not want to mix fluids and I have no idea whats in there now or what the first owner would put in (or had someone put in).

Pretty much everyone has said something different. I suppose I can just do what seems to be the most recommended option (I'm thinking 30w oil is winning) but I don't want to screw up the tabs by doing the wrong thing.

Thanks for your reply!
 

McKay

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2015
Messages
616
Reaction score
325
Those tabs look like Dana’s to me. So run the 30w. I think your over thinking it a bit. Haha
 

DarkHorseRacing

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 14, 2014
Messages
122
Reaction score
95
Just an update. The trim pumps are API Marine. So I called them directly (Florida) and they told me its really down to the boat manufacturer who installs the tabs and pumps as they ship the trim pumps dry. They recommended ATF/Dexron II/III for the no-foaming, but they said the pumps will pump anything hydraulic fluid. Based on the picture above they think I'm running power steering fluid. They just said don't mix fluids. They recommended calling the boat manufacturer so I guess I'm calling Eliminator.

I really wish I could suck some fluid out with a turkey baster and be able to test to see what it was. Hopefully Eliminator doesn't tell me three different things.
 

DarkHorseRacing

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 14, 2014
Messages
122
Reaction score
95
Ok, Eliminator said that they normally (9 out of 10) run power steering fluid in trim tabs. So I guess I'll go with that. I guess I could have called Eliminator first but I just wasn't sure that it hadn't been changed later by the previous owner or a service shop it had been to since it came out of Eliminator.
 

DarkHorseRacing

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 14, 2014
Messages
122
Reaction score
95
Just to close this thread. Quicksilver Power & Trim Fluid was the match to the fluid in the tabs. The auto parts store actually had it when they asked me what vehicle the power steering fluid was for. Despite the fact that it says its designed for systems using ATF fluid it is not the color of ATF fluid (its the clear golden I was looking for). I guess it makes sense that's something most of the boating industry probably buys by the drum.
 
Top