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Author Topic:   Trailering Troubles
jimh posted 10-25-2001 02:15 PM ET (US)   Profile for jimh   Send Email to jimh  
Over the span of our brief boating season, we had the pleasure of trailering our boat on four long trips. The longest was about 1,500 miles (round trip) and the shortest was still over 500 miles. These figures are the miles on the trailer, towing the boat on the highway.

We also had the pleasure of the company of others on most of these trips, and they trailered as far or often farther than we did to get to our launch points. In total, our various groups probably trailered a combined 20,000 miles this summer. Here is a summary of some of this things that happened to the group along the way, which I think will provide a good survey of what can happen to you when you are trailering:

--had a trailer winch handle lost (or stolen?);

--had a trailer flat tire, in one case two flat tires on the same trip;

--had a radiator hose burst (upper hose);

--found a trailer wheel bearing with too much play;

--had a roller axle shaft loose an end cap;

--found the tow-eye on the boat bow was loosening;

--found the spare tire mount on the trailer was loose;

--found the winch post on the trailer was loose;

--burned out bulbs in the trailer lights;

--needed to add grease to the trailer wheel bearings;

--found the trailer wiring had some intermittent connections.

Fortunately, in most of the circumstances the equipment affected could be repaired on the spot or replaced with spares, either carried by the owner or borrowed from someone else in the group.

You might want to review the list of minor problems and think about how well you could have coped with them if they had happened to your while trailering 500 miles from home.

Also, additions to the list of problems encountered while on the road with the trailer would be interesting to hear.


bigz posted 10-25-2001 02:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
Some one just recently posted that due to the over whelming response to trailer related topics that it might be an idea to start another forum topic area for this subject. It does effect the vast majority of the members and as stated maybe should be highlighted as a separate forum --- just a thought -- Z
lpaton posted 10-26-2001 01:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for lpaton  Send Email to lpaton     
Had a flat at 60mph towing '96 Outrage III. Estimate total wt of boat accessories and trailer to be 4500#. Trailer is a tandem and handling was not a problem. I have seen single axle trailers pulling similar sized boats. I wonder how they would have done?
Eric Hinz posted 10-28-2001 06:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for Eric Hinz  Send Email to Eric Hinz     
>>Some one just recently posted that due to the over whelming response to trailer related topics that it might be an idea to start another forum topic area for this subject. It does effect the vast majority of the members and as stated maybe should be highlighted as a separate forum --- just a thought -- Z <<

I'll second that--a separate area for cradles/lifting/trailering, etc., might be valuable. 'Performance/Mods' for in-water stuff, and a separate area for out of water stuff. Just a thought... (How about "Beached Whales" for a title?)

Eric Hinz posted 10-28-2001 06:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for Eric Hinz  Send Email to Eric Hinz     
On the thread subject, I'll add a story passed on by a neighbor. Seems his friend bought a new trailer boat and was towing it home from the dealer on the freeway. The winch failed and his never-launched boat did a half-gainer at about 60 mph. The transom tie-downs held preventing a massive accident. As it was, the mess, and cost, was substantial.

I'd never done any trailering at freeway speeds before buying my 13' 'Whaler, but I now use a length of anchor chain to back-up the winch when on the road.

Maybe this is common practice to you experienced trailer-towers, but it was a new idea for me. Hope it helps someone.

Ed Stone posted 10-28-2001 07:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for Ed Stone  Send Email to Ed Stone     
I have one year on my trailer.Probaly less
than 300 miles.
The only casualty has been two side lights
I also added a saftey chain to the winch
Ed Stone
skookum point posted 10-28-2001 09:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for skookum point  Send Email to skookum point     
My 15' Whaler gets towed back and forth between Puget Sound and Salt Lake City. It's 900 miles each way and we usually do it in 15 or 16 hours of continuous freeway driving with stops only for gas. Never had a problem except for stiff crosswinds near the Columbia River Gorge. In the rearview mirror I saw the boat/trailer up on one wheel during an especially fierce gust.

At gas stops I put my hand on the bearing buddies and all tires to check for oveheating. The bearings have never gotten hot but I have noticed that the tires on the trailer are alot warmer than the tires on the tow vehicle. These are 12" trailer wheels and I am thinking of going to a 13" or 14" wheel/tire to avoid potential problems. Any advice?

jimh posted 10-29-2001 12:13 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
For trailer tires the trend seems to be toward radials. I found I could get Goodyear Marathon ST Radials from my local tire dealer, installed and balanced on my wheels, for about $2 more than I could buy (just the tire) from a catalogue, not including the shipping. (Cost me $85 a tire, including sales tax, mounting, and all the rest of the little fees the tire folks tack on.)

I have seven of them! Four plus a spare on the tandem axle trailer; two on the single axle trailer (with a non-radial for a spare).

I have 13-inch tires on the single axle trailer; 14-inch tires on the tandem.

Saw a big, triple axle trailer with 16.5-inch Goodyear Trailer tires; that rig was for hauling a 40-foot offshore boat. Pretty impressive--probably cost as much as most people's boat!

jimh posted 10-29-2001 12:24 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I have a length of chain and a opening link that I use to secure the boweye on the boat to the trailer frame. That is the backup in case the winch strap breaks. I cut the chain so that it is just long enough to reach the bow eye. It the winch strap broke the boat could only shift back a few inches.

Also, I have a bow tie-down that runs from the bow eye down, loops around the trailer central frame member, and returns to the boweye. This is so there is no tendency for the bow to bounce in the bow stop.

I have the winch positioned so that the pull of the winch strap is slightly upward. This helps lift the bow as the boat is winched onto the trailer. Once the boat in loaded on the trailer, I add the tiedown strap and firmly pull the bow down into the bow stop.

Arch Autenreith posted 10-29-2001 01:11 AM ET (US)     Profile for Arch Autenreith  Send Email to Arch Autenreith     
I can't take credit for this. I saw this on the forum and recognized I had it wrong! The roller or "V" on the winch post should be above the bow tow/winching eye. This will help to prevent the bow from riding up and over in the event of an accident.

I also often thought of tying the bow down while on the trailer to prevent bouncing. My conclusion is that for the Montauk, with it's bow/lifting eye design, it would benefit by not being tied and is better suited to being able to bounce up and down a little.

Q: Do all or most Whalers have the 'Montauk' design bow/lifting eye or do some have a "U" shaped eye bolted direcly to the hull (from the inside)?

kingfish posted 10-29-2001 06:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     
Here's a couple of "don't do it this way" first hand trailer stories -

1. Left Battle Creek starting the 520 mile trip to Little Current, Ont. towing my Montauk, which we use like a utility trailer; food, luggage, kids toys, dads toys, etc. - surely overloaded. Fifteen miles from home having just turned North on I-69, there's a loud "bump" and I look back to see one side of the trailer down like a tire blew. I stop and go back to find that the axle spindle weld had broken at the frame - I'd bought the Montauk and trailer used about a year before and never done anything other than make sure the bearings were well greased. Turned out upon inspection that the previous owner or someone had done some really poor welding and it just let go! I was able to reach some of my guys on a nearby jobsite by cell phone and they came over with one of our portable welders, we jacked the trailer up, got a long pry bar on the axle shaft and was able to align it while we welded it back up properly. Got back off heading North in less than two hours with not much more damage than a bent fender on one side of the trailer.

2. Heading back to Battle Creek from Ft. Myers, FL towing the same Montauk, loaded the same way nearly a year later. Driving up into the mountains North of Chattanooga, been raining cats and dogs all morning and it's not letting up. I'm anxious to get home, and am pulling around 70 or 75 mph and start to notice that when I go around bends there's a sort of harmonic vibration coming from the trailer. Too hard-headed to stop and try to see what's up, I'm going up another long incline, in the passing lane, divided highway, in the rain, Monteagle and the summit is up ahead about a half-mile, and BANG, just like last summer and the broken axle weld! I have to pull over on the median because of traffic and walk back in the rain to find that the entire tire and rim are MIA - gone - and the hub is dragging in the gravel and now the fnder on *that* side is bent, similar to the other side. The lug nuts had all come out - don't ask me - but they were gone, must have been coming out when I felt the harmonic vibrations, and now the whole damn tire and rim are gone, too. I walk back along the trench the hub dug in the gravel shoulder, then along the scratches in the asphalt and find a glob of grease where the rim must have parted company. From there I am able to see a narrow path of bent grass going diagonally across the median (I'm a half-mile back from the car and trailer now), where the rim and tire, like the little gingerbread man, had run away. I followed the path, guessed where it had rolled across THE ONCOMING LANE, picked up the path again and found the rim and tire down in a meadow on the opposite side, the tire apparently slashed by the fender when everything let go. I took them back with me, we borrowed some lug nuts from the other tire to install the spare and were able to limp up the entrance ramp to Monteagle where a service station cleaned and re-packed the bearings and installed the right number of lug nuts, torqued to spec. Lost a couple of hours here, too, but found some fabulous barbecue right down the road while the service station was fixing us up.



jimh posted 10-29-2001 08:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Good story, John. The short version--check the lug nuts periodically, eh?
kingfish posted 10-29-2001 09:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     
Yeah, and when you feel or hear something out of the ordinary back there, stop and inspect - I still can't figure out how in the world they became loose to begin with, though.
Chris J posted 11-01-2001 12:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chris J  Send Email to Chris J     
Interesting that most of the accidents in this thread relate to things loosening up. I'd have expected more burned-bearing stories.

Maybe everyone should go out and buy a big tube of Lok-Tite.

flwhaler posted 11-04-2001 11:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for flwhaler  Send Email to flwhaler     
Was turning down my street coming from a long weekend at our beach house aprox: 25 miles interstate and bridges when CLunk something went. Me and my brother jumped out.The next thing I heard was OUCH!!My brother had just ran his hand over the fender and burnt acouple of layers of skin off, for the leaf sring had let go and ran on the fender. I am very lucky it didn't happend on a bridge or highway.
JBCornwell posted 11-04-2001 11:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for JBCornwell  Send Email to JBCornwell     
I drove from N. Central Texas to Ft Lauderdale to pick up the "bentboat" OR18 I had bought on ebay. I had arranged to buy a Shoreline trailer in Pompano Beach, just next door to Ft. L.

I picked up the trailer and took it to the boat yard, where the resident wrenches declared it sound and ready for the 1500 miles back to Texas. Hah!

150 miles: broken spring plate and one tire shedding tread. 7 hours and $350 later (new springs, mounts, wheels and tires) I resumed the trip.

600 miles later: rust, scaling off of hub, allows wheel to loosen, destroying one new wheel. Put one of original wheels back on (jerry rig)). Limp to hotel.

4:00 AM: smoke alarm in my room. Evacuate to parking lot while local heroes extinguish laundry fire. 7:00 AM, allowed back in room for shower. Five hours later, resume trip with new hubs, bearings, bearing buddies and 1 new wheel. $250 poorer.

Arrive home with a mostly new trailer. I only paid $250 for it, so I am still ahead of the game at $850, except that it needs 16 new rollers @ about $10. ea.

Then I really will have a new trailer. I suppose great adventures are worth something, but what?

Red sky at night. . .
JB :)

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