5 Most Common Problems With Minn Kota Ulterra

The concept of a self-deploying trolling motor is new to the anglers. But the Minn Kota Ulterra has caught the attention of the buyers for its no-fuss one-button operation. 

But no tool or motor is free of problems. Before considering this trolling motor, you need to know the possible issues you may face.

In this article, I will be walking you through the most common problems you might experience with Ulterra. And guess what? You will get the Minn Kota Ulterra troubleshooting as well.

The auto-stow and deploy mechanism problem Motor error issueFreezing issueSmaller shaft lengthSitting positionFaulty plugs and batteriesStiff parts
i-Pilot issuesInternal mechanism problemAdjacent of the metallic objects
Weather problemLack of heat band
Propeller issueLoose Wing nuts Lack of battery voltage
Motor issuesLose of Battery connectionsCorroded terminalsTrimming issues

1. The Auto-Stow And Deploy Mechanism Problem 

The first common problem that most consumers have experienced while using the Ulterra trolling motor is the auto-stow and deploy mechanism.

The iPilot will show a ‘motor error’ notification for the disruptive activities. 

Possible reasons and fixes

First of all, you have to use the motor appropriately.

The foot pedal and the remote have to be hit twice in very close progression. And check the mode of the foot pedal if it is in the Ulterra mode. 

If the motor freezes up or you are getting a lot of beeps, it would be best to reset the motor. 

To reset the motor –

  • Press the power button until the green LED will turn off. 
  • Then, push the button once again, and the ‘system ready’ LED light will turn on. 
  • After three seconds, press the button three times within a 5 seconds interval.
  • After that, the green and red lights will blink.

And that’s how the motor gets reset automatically. 

The shaft length is kind of taller than other competitors. So, go for a bigger shaft length for the Ulterra to avoid cavitation issues.

Sometimes the sitting position can create deploying problems. A customer was having a deploy issue until he got a nice position to ride the boat. To get rid of the problem, he sat facing the driver’s seat, with the left hand on the shaft so he could push the deploy button and pull on the shaft simultaneously.  

You can come out of the problem by doing a trick. Pull the base side covers off and lubricate the release mechanisms to get rid of the stiff deploy mechanism. 

Ulterra is kind of picky in terms of plugs and batteries. If the plug is not high quality, you may face deploying problems. That’s why you should change it to have sufficient voltage. You can go for Battery Tender Plug. 

Lastly, if the stow gets out of work, you can replace it under warranty. 

2. iPilot problems

The iPilot technology has amazed the anglers. However, it has some limitations. 

It cannot change its running depth except insisting you jump off the stand and manually adjust it. 

People get annoyed with this feature as they have to shift their weight around the boat. 

The iPilot motor comes with a motherboard that operates its functions, Bluetooth, and GPS connectivity. Sometimes, these parts get damaged.

Some of the customers complain that the motor is making erratic steering corrections while in AutoPilot or Spot-Lock.  To overcome this issue, you need to keep all the metallic objects like anchors, metal frameworks away from the i-Pilot to avoid the impact on the built-in compass. 

3. Weather limitations 

Since there are many people who love fishing in the chilly weather, it is essential to know whether this motor can bear the freeze water temperature. 

However, this Ulterra motor is not famous for this type of temperature. 

Possible fix

You may try to spray silicone on the shaft. But actually, you can not do much in this situation. 

That being said, Minn Kota can install a heater band to know when the shaft is covered in ice. Or you can go for Minn Kota Riptide for saltwater in winters.

4. Propeller issue

Some customers are having propeller problems. The propeller is not getting turned at any speed. 

There are some possible fixes for this issue.

Take the voltmeter and check your batteries. The voltage in a freshly charged battery should be between 12.4 and 13.8 volts. 

If the voltage is less than this range, you need to either charge it for several days or replace it. 

A loose wing nut may create the problem by not conducting the electricity. 

Tip: if you are having the problem of running out of battery power, try to use the motor at a lower speed. 

So, to change the propeller, you will need some tools like flathead screwdriver, pair of pliers, torque wrench to fit the prop nuts. Now –

  • Bend tabs down flat
  • Wedge the prop
  • Break the nut loose with torque wrench
  • Pull the old prop off
  • Grease the shaft to prevent nuts
  • Install the thrust washer by simply sliding it down the shaft
  • Put the hub kit on the new prop
  • Install the outer washer, tab washer and the nut respectively
  • Wedge the prop again
  • Snug down the nut with torque wrench[always wedge the prop instead of putting it in gear]
  • Now bend those tabs up

Now, let’s move on to the next problem.

5. Motor issues

According to the user experience, the motor sometimes fails to run or lacks power. 

Some also mentioned that initially, the Ulterra motor starts like usual and runs okay for a couple of minutes before they experienced sudden shut-off. 

Sometimes motor fails to trim. Sometimes, the motor contacts an object while trimming or stowing. It may cause the flashing of red light by limiting the current flow. 

However, I will try to list down the possible quick fixes to solve the problems.

Possible fix

First of all, check the battery connections for the proper polarity. Make sure the terminals are corrosion-free and clean. You can use sandpaper to remove the dirt from the terminals. 

Check the water level of the battery and add more if needed. 

While facing any obstruction, you can reverse the direction of trimming or reverse the current cycle by pressing the stow or deploy button. 

Tip: While fishing in a weedy area, if you are feeling extra vibrations from the motor, try to give a quick burst of power in reverse. If this doesn’t work, tilt the motor up and clean up the propeller manually. 

What The Majority of Users Feel About the Minn Kota Ulterra?

The customers obviously appreciate Ulterra’s remote, its iPilot technology, automatic features, reduce amount of juggles with fishing, and many more. 

On the other side of the story, people have encountered some issues like deploy or stow problems.

And, a common review I get from perhaps 5 out of 10 customers, and that is its hefty price tag. 

But if the budget is not a concern for you, it is needless to say that you can trust this Ulterra trolling motor for reliable, tough, and enduring the regular dole out of the serious anglers on this equipment. And the other common issues are already mentioned earlier with the possible solutions. 

Most of the customers have positive reviews for this flawless operation. They love the new spot lock. 


The GPS control system, Spot-Lock, sonar imaging, great thrust power – all of these have made the Minn Kota Ulterra a famous self–deploying trolling motor. 

But there is a litany of things that can go wrong. And it is not always the manufacturer’s fault. So many reasons influence the lousy experience. 

However, proper installation and maintenance go a long way for your Ulterra. 

Let me know in the comment section about your thoughts on Ulterra. Do you want to go for the minn kota ulterra vs. ultrex?

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