Boat Lift Warehouse

Motor Troubleshooting Guide


Warning! All electrical troubleshooting and testing should be performed by a qualified electrician!  Never test the motor, switch or other electrical components with the motor plugged in to a live power source!

  • Is the motor plugged in?

    1. Check that the motor is plugged in.

    2. Check that the power is on and that any breakers are reset.

    3. Check that the GFCI is reset.

    4. Verify power at the outlet with a portable light or voltage tester.

  • Without a load, does the motor turn one direction but not the other?

    1. If the motor turns one direction but not the other with nothing on it, the motor works fine, but there is a problem with the wiring harness.

    2. Check the switch connections for corrosion or poor connection.

    3. Check the wiring connections at the motor for the wires coming from the switch.

  • The motor won't start turning, but if started manually, it will run.

    1. Warning! Never use your hands to manually start a motor because this may cause injury.
    2.  Most likely the capacitor has failed.  Replacing the capacitor should allow the motor to start properly.

  • The motor can't be turned at all by hand when the power is off.

    1. Remove the motor from the lift.

    2. If the motor can not be turned by hand while it is not on the lift, the motor is frozen and must be replaced.

    3. If the motor can be turned by hand while it is not on the lift, check the gearbox for problems.

      1. Check to see if the gearbox is stuck.

      2. Start over troubleshooting the motor while it is not on the lift.

  • The motor can be manually turned by hand, but when powered on, it doesn't turn.

    1. Check that the motor is wired correctly for your switch.

    2. The motor may not be receiving proper power.  Do not assume that a motor has proper power unless it has been checked at the motor.  Sometimes bad connections or corrosion can cause insufficient power.

    3. If the motor is wired properly and the voltage has been verified at the motor connection, the motor may be burned out.

  • The motor starts and runs, but it won't pick up the load.

    1. Check for a low-voltage problem.

      1. If an extension cord is being used, then that is the problem.

      2. Check the voltage at the plug when the motor is not running.

      3. Check the voltage at the motor when it is trying to pick up the load.

      4. If there is more than a 4% difference between the two measurements, there is a low-voltage condition.

        1.  Check that the proper size wiring has been used for the length of run from the main panel (not a sub-panel) at the house all the way to the lift.

        2. Check the switch for corrosion, bad connection or power loss.

          1. Check the voltage at the input side of the switch and the output side of the switch.  If there is a difference, the switch either has a bad connection or is defective.

        3. If the voltage is fine at the output side of the switch, but drops at the motor, check the motor wiring connections.

    2. Check for an overloading condition.

      1. If the voltage doesn't drop more than 4%, but the amperage rises above the full-load amperage rating and stays there, then there is an overloading condition with the lift.

        1. Check the full-loaded weight of the boat on the lift.

        2. Check the lift for problems with something rubbing or causing additional resistance that may cause additional strain on the motor.