Minn Kota Terrova 80 is probably one of the most popular trolling motors on the planet. It’s an impressive piece of equipment and equipped with i-Pilot, it becomes a formidable fishing machine.
However, even such a best-selling trolling motor has its shares of problems, mostly related to power and steering loss, faulty i-Pilot remote, and the foot pedal.
In this article, we discuss the most common problems associated with the Terrova 80.
If you would like to learn more about this trolling motor, please have a look at our Terrova in-depth review.
Let’s get started!
Some users report that their motors don’t start or lose power unexpectedly. One of the most common reasons is not enough voltage reaching the motor. This could be due to bad batteries or incorrect wiring.
Some users report their motors work intermittently – sometimes they will power, sometimes they won’t.
In most cases, such problems are caused by bad connections, and this should be inspected first.
Another problem that repeats with the Terrova and other electric-steer models, is the motor shutting down when you go full speed.
This is usually caused by low system voltage, and these specific models tend to be very voltage-sensitive. You can check the voltage using a voltmeter at the plug under load (prop spinning). For a 24-volt Minn Kota Terrova 80, the voltmeter should show at least 25 volts.
Low-voltage issues can be solved by using correct size wiring and relatively new batteries large enough not to suffer from significant voltage drop under load.
Alternatively, you could use lithium batteries, which don’t suffer from voltage drop the same way AGM batteries do.
In rare cases, it’s impossible to power your Terrova even if the batteries and the connections are fine.
This usually means a bad control board and will be fixed by Minn Kota’s Authorized Service Center.
Sometimes your Terrova’s prop will stop spinning after making thumping noises in the lower unit.
This is a symptom of a bad brush in the DC motor, which can be replaced in a trolling motor repair shop.
With an i-Pilot trolling motor, you can steer, control speed, lock onto fishing spots, and more just by pressing a button on the remote from anywhere on your boat or even from a distance.
Unfortunately, there are some problems associated with i-Pilot:
No GPS Signal
No GPS signal, no bars shown. The motor can still be steered and the speed controlled, but autopilot and spot lock refused to work.
Some i-Pilot problems are caused by poor connections and incorrect wiring.
Another easy fix to try is replacing the remote battery.
There could also be an inadequate satellite signal, so it’s worth checking if your i-Pilot works a few hours later.
For some users, i-Pilot issues were only resolved by replacing the head unit that contains a GPS receiver.
Sometimes i-Pilot can power the motor correctly, but won’t steer it.
The solution is unfortunately to replace the control board.
Faulty i-Pilot Link
Occasionally the remote control shows the message “Motor Not Found”, which again can mean that the control head on the Terrova will need to be replaced.
Remote Powers Off Randomly
Some owners complained that the i-Pilot remote would randomly just turn off. That happened even with new batteries.
The solution would be to try to rotate the batteries inside the remote, which is not a permanent fix.
- i-Pilot Troubleshooting Guide (PDF, 95KB)
AutoPilot Not Working
Some Minn Kota models have the following problem while using the AutoPilot: the motor stays on when you try to switch it off.
A new i-Pilot remote usually resolves the problem, which Minn Kota will replace under warranty.
Sometimes a malfunctioning Spot-Lock requires a head control unit replacement and/or new sensors. If you’re out of warranty, they will cost you a few hundred dollars.
Before you contact the service provider, make sure you follow these Minn Kota’s instructions to:
- Make sure you have a good GPS signal, showing at least 1 bar
- Check if the heading sensor is correctly installed and calibrated
- Verify the correct voltage at the motor (have the batteries load-tested if you can)
- Check if there is anything wrapped around the propeller
- Keep all ferrous metallic objects away from the head control unit (anchor, chain, etc.)
- Make sure you picked the right boat scale on your i-Pilot so that your motor deliver the right amount of thrust
Many complaints relate to the fact that Terrova’s spot lock is either inaccurate or unpredictable.
Sometimes the motor would randomly go to full speed for no apparent reason. Even in calm conditions, the Terrova would go too hard in one direction, just to go back at full speed in the opposite direction a few seconds later.
One very annoying issue is when your Terrova makes complete 360-degree turns wrapping up the cables.
This shouldn’t happen and is a sure way to damage wiring going to the transducer.
Unfortunately, there is no easy fix here, this problem usually means the control board needs replacement.
Some units of Terrova came with a noisy steering motor. Every time you wanted to steer left or right, the noise would be not only annoying but also spooking the fish.
Foot Pedal Issues
If your foot pedal doesn’t work correctly, it could be that it got slightly out of shape, and the buttons are pressed when they shouldn’t be.
The symptoms include that as soon as you connect the foot pedal, the motor will start running and it’s impossible to stop it.
The fix is to fix any sticking or shorted button on the pedal, or getting a new one.
Some fishermen complain that the LED lights on the foot pedal are extremely bright, which makes them unsuitable for night fishing. It would be excellent to see automatic LED brightness adjustment, or at least to do it manually.
Some users complain that the steering housing has a plastic bushing which can easily break whenever you hit something.
Unfortunately, Minn Kota Terrova doesn’t have a break-away mount that would protect the shaft in case of impact.
Minn Kota’s Fortrex and Maxxum both have such mounts, and it would be great if a similar solution found its way to Terrova.
Terrova’s Down Imaging can stop working as well, with users losing their 2D sonar and depth readings as well.
The problem is usually caused by a bad connection to the transducer, for example damaged cables.
In some cases, the whole lower unit needs to be replaced.
The Terrova uses a spring-loaded lift assist mechanism, which can cause it to bounce in and out of water.
Minn Kota has overall an excellent warranty and after-sales service, and that extends to the Terrova.
Trolling motors can be expensive, so carefully consider your boat’s requirements and your personal needs before you commit to buying one.