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Julioshideway posted 10-07-2002 01:41 PM ET (US)   Profile for Julioshideway   Send Email to Julioshideway  
I have a 21' Mercruiser tri-hull boat that I believe is a 1973 model w/ a Holsclaw trailer. My dad passed away and the boat was in storage for about 10 years. The boat itself is fine but I'm concerned about the springs and shocks on the trailer as well as the hydraulic brake. I'm not sure if it is working properly and if the shocks & springs are road worthy. Is there some instruction to check the trailer break system? Can I also replace the rollers which are somewhat dry rotted with planks or do I have to stick with the rollers?

Buckda posted 10-08-2002 05:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Take the rig to a Holsclaw dealer and have them check the brakes. Your suspension should be fine (I assume it's a leaf-spring set up) if the rig was stored inside all this time.

Retrofitting the trailer with bunks might be more time-consuming and a hassle than it's worth...but it depends on the value of your time and how inclined you are to projects. Replacing the rollers would certainly be faster and could be done in an afternoon while you left the boat in the water.

It's my understanding that the issue with rollers only applies to Whalers and their foam-sandwich hull construction and is not as big of an issue with a traditionally made hull. If it's lasted this long, I'd stick with what works and re-do the rollers.

(By the way - this is a Boston Whaler if you're gonna ask a question about boating in general...tell a fish-tale and "say" the boat's a Whaler, you might get a few more responses.)

Once you get your dad's rig working again properly....look into picking up a nice used Whaler.


jxs226 posted 10-09-2002 09:09 AM ET (US)     Profile for jxs226  Send Email to jxs226     
Holsclaw has been out of business for years now. As you will learn, Holsclaw set their trailers up in a unique fashion. The axle is not hung off of leaf springs, but rather off a cross member to which it is attached with coil springs, shock absorbers, and possibly a strange lever arm in the middle of the axle. Because of this attachement there is a sway bar on each side of the trailer, attaching the axle assembly to a point further up the trailer tongue. Because of all this, you won't be able to buy and install stock parts when it comes to your axle assembly. You have to restore and piece it back together as best you can. If your axle is shot, the trailer is a loss. If the axle is decent and can be cleaned up, you might only need to replace the shocks, coil springs, bearings, etc.

Restoring this trailer will probably drive you flippin' crazy. I just fully restored a 1979 Holsclaw which holds my '64 Sakonnet and I was driven up a wall by the process. I had new coil springs fabricated at $40 per spring (two springs per side, four total), installed new Monroe RV Gas Magnum shock absorbers, measured the spindle diameter with a caliper to dtermine proper bearing size, installed new galvanized 5 lug hubs, new bearings and races, and big 27" diameter tires. Also replaced the winch assembly, hitch coupler, moved keel rollers around, and added four 8' bunks for lateral stability. I did all this with inforamtion I have read here over the past two years. Do the digging, pretend you have a Whaler, and you'll get the job done correctly.

Buckda posted 10-09-2002 07:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
the previous post is a perfect example of the wealth of knowledge that I've come to expect from this site.

Every time I visit, my head hurts from cramming more information in.

Thanks for the first-hand information!

jimh posted 10-09-2002 08:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
TRAILER BOAT magazine compared two approaches to trailer upgrades. One path was to undertake a massive upgrade of an older trailer, while the other track was to just buy a new trailer.

The costs came out at about $4,500 for the upgrade versus about $6,000 for a new trailer. (This was a very top-flight 7,000# capacity trailer.)

lhg posted 10-09-2002 08:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
I am convinced it is a waste of money to upgrade a trailer, at least if you know how to buy a new one right. I have done this myself, and so has a freind and both had the same experience.

Case in point.

My 1986 Outrage 18 came with a painted EZ Loader trailer, that after three years was a rusted piece of junk, requiring continual paint touch ups to keep it looking decent. After the tongue separated (from rust through) from the frame at 60 MPH, I knew it had to go. So I had a new HD tongue installed, and bought a new all galvanized welded channel frame "Florida Style" keel roller trailer for it, 2800 lb capacity, for $1150.

I advertized the old EZ Loader for $750, and had ten people after it. Sold it the first day. My friend had exactly the same experience. Best net $400 I ever spent.
Old trailers are remarkably easy to sell, and for a decent price besides.

A new one, configured exactly as you want it, is your best bet if you do a lot of trailering. The piece of mind is well worth it.

jxs226 posted 10-10-2002 09:31 AM ET (US)     Profile for jxs226  Send Email to jxs226     
While I agree that buying a new trailer that is properly set up is occassionally the best way to proceed, there will be instances where restoring an old trailer properly can acheive the same level and quality of performance at a reduced cost. You'll also learn a *ton* about your trailer and trailers in general from the process. For me, there has been trememdous value in that aspect alone. Others might not feel the same way.

I live outside Philly and the new trailers around here are terrible. Buying a new one from any dealership would only get me a run-of-the-mill trailer, not at all set up for a Whaler. Sure, I could get the dealership to set it up for me at a higher cost, or I could do it myself, again at an additional cost.

It seems to me that if the primary structural components of an old trailer are sound (ie axle assembly, spindles, cross members, etc) the trailer can be brought back to top-notch condition with a modest amount of time and cash - less cash than would be required for a new generic trailer even before beginning to customize its fit for a Whaler.

Now if there are any structural/soundness issues with the either the axle, spindles, cross members, etc., it would certainly be wise to start fresh. I'm not saying restoration is always the way to go. In certain instances, however, it may be a smart, cost-effective way to go though.

Whaler Proud posted 10-11-2002 09:16 AM ET (US)     Profile for Whaler Proud  Send Email to Whaler Proud     
This may be a little outside this topic, but it does have something to do with restoring trailers.

I grew up working in my father's sandblasting business in southern California. We sandblasted a lot of boat trailers that saw both freshwater and saltwater and came to us in every condition possible.

After sandblasting the trailer down to "white" metal (looks almost like it is galvanized), we would inspect the trailer for metal fatigue, broken welds, etc. After repairing the trailer (if the metal fatigue was not too severe)we would then paint the trailer with 3 coats of Rustoleum.

The trailer under my '68 was sandblasted and painted like this 20 years ago. There is very little rust on it, no signs of metal fatigue (though I know it must be there, considering the age of the trailer)and the welds are all sound.

I am going to re-paint the trailer this winter and I will be using the same process.

MikeA posted 01-26-2005 05:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for MikeA  Send Email to MikeA     
I realize that I am resurrecting an old thread, and I am not a Boston Whaler owner but doing a search for Holsclaw turned up this site and in the few minutes I've been out here I've already learned a lot. I too have an old (1956!!!) Holsclaw trailer that I am restoring. Why? More sentimental value than anything. I grew up fishing with my Dad and Uncle Charlie in an Alumacraft 14' V-hull and the Holsclaw was under it. In the early 80's my dad got a new Lowe 14' Big Jon and put the Holsclaw under it. My Uncle got a new Holsclaw just before the company went under and that new trailer is still under that old Alumacraft. When my Dad died, I got the Lowe and the Holsclaw. The trailer was still in incredible shape except for almost 50 years of pitting from rocks hitting it. Then bolts started snapping though and I decided to re-bolt it. I've got it apart and have been grinding it (I was told that sandblasting wouldn't be as effective as grinding and sanding it) and I've been priming as I go.

The threads on this site have prompted me to wonder about my springs and the rollers. I've gotten replacement shocks but how do I know that the springs are shot? They still seem pretty stiff to me. Concerning the rollers I've read here that BW recommends using carpeted runners instead of rollers. Why? I was going to replace the rollers in my roller beds but if someone can convince me of a better way...

I've ended up spending a lot more time refurbishing this old trailer (Maybe I could get my own TV show!), to the point now where I'm looking at it like it is an old '57 Chevy or something. All the comments from those who owned Holsclaws testifying to their quality has reassured me that I am doing the right thing. Thanks, guys!!!


MikeA posted 01-26-2005 05:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for MikeA  Send Email to MikeA     
Uhhhh, why do all the posts say they were posted in 2002?
Landlocked posted 01-27-2005 09:58 AM ET (US)     Profile for Landlocked  Send Email to Landlocked     
I have something I can add re: the rustoleum recomendation above. Back in 1991 while living in Atlanta, I hauled my dad's old 14' aluminum boat down from Tennessee to fix it up for him. The boat was probably 30 years old at the time and looked really rough. I decided to paint it.

I visited a local hardware shop that specialized in car paint. They recomended that I sand it as clean as possible, etch the hull with muratic acid, and first use rustoleum as a primer or base coat. I did this and then sprayed several coats of an oil based paint over top.
Its now been 14 years and there is not a chip or peal anywhere on the boat.

You wouldn't need to do the etching since your trailer isn't aluminum but I highly recomend the rustoleum.


jimh posted 01-27-2005 05:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
[Closed very old thread]

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