Moderated Discussion Areas
ContinuousWave: Whaler Performance
Rebuild trailer or Buy new?
|Author||Topic: Rebuild trailer or Buy new?|
posted 02-05-2003 08:24 PM ET (US)
I have a 15 year old aluminum trailer by Magic tilt supporting my new and expensive hobby (1988' 20' outrage). The trailer is set up as recommended here on this forum with the keel rollers supporting the weight. Problem is, the cross members are galvanized and so is the hardware. The trailer spent most of it's life in a salt water environment and as you might guess, the cross members and the hardware are in very rough shape with major rust and flaking. Here's my question. I can replace axles, hubs, cross members, hardware, etc. for around $500 with my labor of course. It has newer poly rollers, new springs, good tires and new lighting (all inherited when I bought the boat). Also, The aluminum frame is really in pretty good shape. A new aluminum or galv trailer looks like about $2200 or so, more if I add disc brakes. It sounds like a no brainer from a $$$ standpoint to rebuild. Anybody been there done this and have any words of wisdom as to why I'm wrong? And yes it will be a task to find somewhere to put the boat while I'm doing this work.
As always, I appreciate the helpful feedback.
posted 02-06-2003 09:20 AM ET (US)
I would rebuild it. Not a bad job. Strip it down after you mark where it is and then bolt on the new. Should not be more than a weekend of mornings. If you have access to a air compressor, get it. It may be easier to cut off the u bolts than unbolt all that rust. Hacksaws take forever.
posted 02-06-2003 11:07 AM ET (US)
We did the springs, axle and hubs a couple years ago with the 18’ on the trailer. Ah just finished the rest o'the project over last weekend with some help from mah boys and the weatherman (had two FINE days o'breezy sunshine down here). The trick was in the prep'ration and havin’ a spare set o’hands. Ordered and had in hand all the parts AND cut and carpeted new bunkers ahead of time. We parked the boat in the river Sat'day mornin', torch-cut all the roller and bunker brackets, ground and brushed ever’thing scaly back t'shiny metal, sprayed on a couple coats of galv. paint, ate a couple pounds o'Popeye's n’chucked the frizby fer awhile. When the paint was dry, we put her back together wid the new hardware. Used nothin' but galvanized brackets, yella' vinyl keel rollers, and stainless U-bolts and hardware. Had the boat back on the trailer that evenin', right about Miller Time. Sized up the bunkers t’perfection Sunday afternoon and took her out for an inspection tour o'the river before supper. Did all this fer about $600 total, includin' the earlier project. They don’t give those 4” s/s u-bolts away, but we figured it f’the long haul. Could’a saved mebbe $150 had we gone with galv. bolts instead o’stainless. All in, we spent mebbe a third the cost of a new trailer for the 18', and a new one would a’had crappy zinc hardware all over it. You fresh water boys could do without all the s/s, but the salt down here eats up that zinc in a year or two. Either way, Ah say, go for it!
posted 02-06-2003 12:42 PM ET (US)
Thanks again fellas. Thats what I was hoping you would say. Now I just have to find a home for the boat in the water for a day or two. Bigshot, the seller had to cut bolts off when he replaced the springs. he pretty much confirmed what you said about having the right tool for that.
posted 02-06-2003 07:07 PM ET (US)
A right angle grinder works pretty well for cutting off trailer bolts. Many marinas will let you rent a transient slip for a day or two while you do the work. It's $15 a day at mine.
posted 02-06-2003 07:27 PM ET (US)
I just went through the same delema and Decided, in the interest of economy, to rebuild. I'm still not convinced I made the right choice but I already had a lot of money invested in new brakes. The work isn't that hard and it's always nice to say "I did myself". You can always sell your rebuilt trailer later and recoup some of your investment. So... you probably made the right choice. Big Shot and Andy are right about cutting the old bolts off. You could hurt yourself trying to unbolt old rusted nuts. Why didn't I think of that, I'm still sore!
posted 02-10-2003 06:39 PM ET (US)
Call up a local aluminum supplier and see if you can get ahold of some cut to length sections of square aluminum tube like the later float-on style aluminum trailers use. Tell them what you intend to use it for, since there are different grades of aluminum square tube! My dad bought eight 10' pieces of this to build his floating boat lift... Then, contact Champion or LoadMaster and buy two handfuls of the SS U-Bolts to attach the cross members to your I-beams...
Then comes the fun part: a full size erector set in your back yard!
|Tom W Clark||
posted 02-11-2003 01:22 AM ET (US)
Regarding removal of rusty nuts:
Don't even try ot back them off. Just go out and buy a nut splitter. This is a very simple and inexpensive tool for doing this exact task. It looks like this:
I always keep one in the bottom of my wrench set. Far easier and less messy than a SawZall or a mini-grinder.
posted 02-11-2003 08:05 AM ET (US)
Thanks for all the tips.
Tom, the nut splitter looks like a handy tool, unfortunately several of the nuts are inside a 3x3 tube. it should work great on most of the others though.
Where2- Champion trailer parts has the tubing as well. I will check locally and see if I can find a supplier for 3x3 tubing, its pretty expensive to ship 20' or so of aluminum I found.
One last comment, After launching and loading this boat a few times (in cold weather), I have found that I sure miss being able to just drive it up on the bunks at the ramp like I could with my previous boat. The keel support set up makes that hazardous to your hull. You really do need to winch it up most of the way with this set up. I can't help but wonder if I would really be hurting anything to raise the bunks a little and support the weight of the boat from the bunks.
posted 02-11-2003 12:57 PM ET (US)
Not sure what you mean by can't drive it up? Are you afraid of the hull slipping off of the rollers? I recently upgraded my trailer to have 12" wide rollers and we now drive the boat up, works great. Just idle up to the first roller, point it strait and give it 2 seconds of throttle and it rolls right up. Just don't move a lot until you hook the bow line or it will roll right back off again. :)
posted 02-11-2003 01:27 PM ET (US)
I redid all the bolts, springs, and change from rollers to bunks on my trailer. It took parts of 3 days. Never took the boat off the trailer. I just jacked the boat up with the trail underneath. It help having the boat about to align the bunks.
I disagree with the nut splitter thing. The little air grinder ate through those bolts like a knife through butter. I would get pretty frustrated trying to keep that nutspliter in place in all the weird angles I had to work in. The grinder only cost 20-25 dollars a Lowes. No that I have it, I'll never hacks saw anything again.
posted 02-11-2003 03:51 PM ET (US)
The trouble I have had is the boat not being centered in the middle of the rollers. I did pull the guides on each side in a little to force me to the middle a little better. With the bunks only "balancing" the hull it just seems much easier for the boat to drift enough to the left or right to crunch the keel on the roller bracket. I'm sure it's just gonna take some getting used to.
Whaler Dan, How in the heck did you jack the hull up while on the trailer? If I tried that, Murphy's law would take effect I'm sure.
posted 02-11-2003 04:07 PM ET (US)
If you add the little "doughnuts" to the outside of the roller brackets you can prevent this problem. They look like half of a yo-yo and slide on the end of the roller axle outside of the bracket. Champion has them on the same page as the rollers.
posted 02-11-2003 09:46 PM ET (US)
The wider the rollers the better. My originals were 5" and it was horrible. I moved up to 12" and it was worth every penny. Ditto on the doughnuts. Also on the very last roller I used the cone shaped doughnuts that you typically see up on the bow roller. This makes it more difficult for the boat to slide off of the first (back) roller when someone is initially approaching the trailer with the boat.
posted 02-12-2003 08:42 AM ET (US)
I jacked the stern up, blocked it up from the ground, then jacked the bow up and blocked it up. Then I did the rollers to bunk mod first then lowered the boat back down. Then I did the bolt change (one at a time).I did it this way so if the boat did fall, it wouldn't drop all the way to the ground and crush me. If it did fall it would only damage the boat and not kill me. I blocked it really good though and it never moved and when I did the bolts I used two floor jacks to hold the frames up while I changed the bolt.
Then I did the springs. Just jacked the whole trailer/boat, shored it up good, and changed the springs.
posted 02-12-2003 02:31 PM ET (US)
Fixing up an old trailer vs buying a new one is always not what you think. I made the same decision several years ago, when the EZ Loader under my 18 Outrage failed. I had it repaired, so that it would not happen again, but hated the trailer anyway.
I unexpectedly found out there is huge market for used trailers, and a seller can take advantage of the high prices Dealers get for new ones. So I put my painted EZ Loader up for sale and bought EXACTLY what I wanted, all galvanized, brand new, at a competitive price in FL. My old trailer sold in a day, and I had people yelling at me for not giving them a chance to buy it. After it was sold, the phone was still ringing a week later. Net cost was $400, far cheaper than fixing up the old dog. A friend, on my advice, recently did the same thing, for about the same difference, with same boat!
posted 02-12-2003 02:36 PM ET (US)
P.S. A good, keel roller, all welded galvanized, tandem axle trailer for a 20 Outrage, 4300# capacity, can be bought for about $1450, without brakes. Add $400 for one axle SS brakes.
posted 02-12-2003 04:19 PM ET (US)
I had a very similar experience with the last boat I had. The boat had come with an EZ loader with the rocking rollers (not keel rollers). I hated it. I sold it for about $500 and bought a fastload bunk trailer for about $1100. A well spent $600 I might say.
This is a different scenario but I would still consider selling and buying new. Where can you find a galvanized dual axle trailer for $1450. I have not come close to that, granted I have been pricing aluminum. By the way, did you sell the trailer through the boat trailer?
posted 02-12-2003 05:43 PM ET (US)
I was referring to Continental brand, out of Miami & Clearwater FL. This is the going price for the size mentioned, but they are only sold in FL, with no out of state dealers. They have great service on parts also, if you need anything at a later date.
And all of the components used by them are also available from Champion Trailer. Several people here have gone to FL to get one, however, and been very pleased with the product. I have one (1989 model) under my 25 Outrage (see Cetacea or trailer reference) with over 100,000 miles on it, and no rust. I have found Florida to have the best prices on trailers in the country. Many brands are made down there, both pre-welded galvanized, and aluminum.
I would sell your current trailer in GA, where you can get a big price for it, and run down to northern FL and pick up a Continental. You'll be way ahead, and not have to spend hours & dollars fixing up the old one.
I first brought my new trailer home and got the boat on it. Then I ran an ad in the newspaper and sold the old one in a day! There are very few used boat trailers for sale, but a lot of people are looking for them. Check your local paper.
posted 02-12-2003 10:28 PM ET (US)
I too was in your shoes early last year. As, LHG suggests there is a high demand for used trailers no matter what the size, LHG's single or in my case a 10,500 Aluminum Tri axle. My trailer sold in a few days for the asking price. 6 mos. later I am stll getting calls due to an internet ad that is still running. When all was done, buying a new trailer cost me less than it would have to rebuild my old one not to mention I was able to keep the skin on my knuckles which always seems to disapear when ever I take a tool to my trailer.
(LHG-if you are reading this please send me and E-mail)
posted 02-13-2003 09:32 AM ET (US)
lhg: I have a 1985 Continental single axle 1700 lb. galv. trailer that came under my 15 CC. Has Stoltz rollers and side support bunks, but was set up for a 20' boat. It was used in FL in winter and WI in summer. When I began adjusting the rollers/bunks, I discovered all the u-bolts were corroded beyond hope. I replaced all of them with galvanized (fresh water only), and adjusted the rollers with the boat on the trailer.
I just padded a 2x6x36", and used an old scissors jack and raised the stern about 8 inches, replaced and adjusted everything I could, raised the front the same way (lowering the back first), finished the replacements, etc. The whole job took 3 hours, and about $25 in hardware. Toughest part was loosening the axle and moving it back to the proper balance point. Also did that with the boat on the trailer. Now, a 15' is certainly not a 19 or 20', but it can certainly be accomplished with a lot of patience and caution, and a lot less cash than a new trailer..
posted 02-13-2003 05:40 PM ET (US)
skred, I think lhg was gung ho on the new trailer for a situation where somebody wanted to change trailer types, like from a wobble roller to a bunk. You are correct that repairing a trailer is substantially cheaper but I am looking at about $600 in parts and who knows how much lost skin, blood, and time. If I could by a new one at a net cost of $800 (new trailer cost minus proceeds from sale of mine), I would. I have checked with Continental and the prices lhg mentioned are about what I'm hearing.
posted 02-14-2003 03:47 PM ET (US)
Amazin' what y'can learn here. If mah old trailer weren't so satisfactory, which it was, Ah'd no idea the resale route was as good as it appears t'be. That sounds like a better way t'go if you don't care fer the old trailer. Remember, though, that you will likely buy a pile of poor-zinc-trash fasteners with yer new trailer. They'll make it a couple years in salt before lookin' rusty and last a long while (15 years or so)before bein' un-safe.
And think of it, a nut splitter that you can buy! That's cool. Thought mah father-in-law was married to the one an' only:-!
posted 02-14-2003 11:12 PM ET (US)
The Marine Cradle Shop in Toronto charges about USD$2,100 for a B4000 (4,000 Lbs.) 205x15" W/Brakes & Jack (2 Bunks) Tandem axel.
The surge breaks are great and these guys build a great product if you are in the north east. Their site says they charge about $100 to deliver it to Montreal or Sarnia.
posted 02-20-2003 10:19 PM ET (US)
New trailers are not work-free... I have spent a good deal of time fitting the boat to the trailer. Its almost right now, but plenty of work. and $4,000 for 22'.
If you redo your trailer - Use galvanized or stainless bolts, not that zinc junk. Replace everything that is rusting, once it starts it goes quickly.
Cranking that winch is good for you... And you can launch at any ramp.
posted 04-22-2003 09:25 PM ET (US)
After way too much analysis, I have ordered a new Trailer from Continental. LHG, I did find one in JAX for $1450. I came to the conclusion that the piece of mind of a new trailer is worth the cost differential vs rebuilding(after selling mine). Not to mention the skin I saved on my knuckles. Anyway, thanks too all for the advice. Sure is nice to bounce these things off a lot of folks who have been in the same situation. oh yeah, a local boat dealer was more than happy to buy my trailer at a fair price. Says they will use it as a "yard trailer".
Should have the new one in about 2 weeks.
posted 04-23-2003 08:52 PM ET (US)
RCS - That's great news, and a good price for a 4300# capacity tandem. Glad I could help you out. I assume you have seen the photo of mine on Cetacea page 4, which shows the *highly recommended* twin Stoltz 12" rollers on ss 5/8" shafts. As for the decorative red stiping on mine, I bought it at Pep Boys.
What doesn't clearly show in the photo is that I doubled up the number of 1/2" SS bolts holding the roller brackets on, to four. Continental only uses 2 each, through holes drilled in the cross members. I used 2 additional bolts across the top, beginning by raising the aft set of brackets up just high enough so that the additional bolts will slide through the brackets and over the top of the cross member. This makes it impossible for the rollers to spread apart under load, and absolutely impossible for the brackets to drop out of adjustment.
Begin by setting the stern rollers and the most forward of the bow rollers where the hull is still straight at the keel. Then stretch a line and adjust the intermediate sets up to the line. Only the bow rollers where the hull is curving up involve a little guesswork. Once the keel rollers are set, winch the boat back on the trailer, and bump the side bunks up snug against the hull for lateral support. Do this by only slightly loosening the bolts, then tap the bunk supports up firmly with a hammer and tighten. Once one is set properly, put the transom strap on tight on that side, then do the other side. This will give just the right amount of bunk support, and get rid of the slack, but without carrying hull weight. The keel at the transom should not overhang the last roller more than 1", which is determined by winch stand adjustment before doing the side bunks. Continentals come with the bow stop pad, but I think the 3" bow roller is more secure, and the boat's bow eye will snug right up under it. Side bunks only need to be about 4' long at most, and should be right under the little hull notch.
When you install vertical guide-ons, I have discovered a neat little trick to keep them vertical and in place. (not shown in the picture). Buy a similar diameter PVC length of tubing, and install it horizontally fully between the side frames, over the horizontal ends of the galvanized "L" shaped supports. This really adds strength and locks them in place, and keeps them bowing out, a common problem.
If and when you need new tires, consider Goodyear Marathon radials. Happy and safe trailering to you!
Incidentally, I have found Continental, Miami factory, to be great for out of state parts.
If you did not order the trailer with brakes, as the price indicates, I would recommend you still have them build the trailer with brake flange axles. This way the SS discs can be added at a later date if desired. Cost will be minimal.
posted 04-23-2003 09:57 PM ET (US)
Good point about the brake flanges on the axles. I had requested the upgrade to the 12" poly rollers ($120 upgrade). They informed me that they could only upgrade to a 10". Only the first roller is a 12". Did not make sense to me. I guess it's because, as you noted, the roller bracket bolts are mounted thru holes in the cross members instead of with U-bolts. Anyway, I told them the 10" should work. I was told the standard roller is an 8" (except the 12" first roller). Come to think of it, I may call back and push a little harder for the 12". How hard can it be to change the bolt spacing?
Thanks for all the set up tips too.
posted 04-24-2003 12:20 AM ET (US)
Another worthwile upgrade is the winch stand/bow stop unit that they use on the aluminum float on trailers. It's a triangulated, much more substantial piece, and I doubt if it will be more than $25 extra. I ordered this on mine.
Also BE SURE the trailer comes with at least a 3" x 4"(deep) tongue section. Finally, in case you're not aware of it, the trailer can be furnished with the all SS bolts and U-bolts upgrade.
10" rollers are a new one on me, but it could be that is what they're drilling for these days. The wider, the better, and less chance of damaging the hull on retreival or float on. For any Outrage, I think 8" rollers are useless.
If they don't furnish double rollers on all cross members, they are easy to purchase on your own. The brackets are standard items.
posted 04-24-2003 09:37 AM ET (US)
For those of you that are thinking of rebuilding their trailers, be careful while cutting off old u-bolts. I was working on my trailer two weeks ago, stripping it down to the bare frame. I was used a air cut off tool to cut the u-bolts on the springs, makes it real easy and fast. What I knew, but forgot about, was that these u-bolts are under a lot of tension. Air tools and tourchs cut so fast that the bolts can, and do, shoot off the trailer. The first one I cut flew up and bounced off my full face safety sheild, I just glad I was smart enough to have it on. It will get you attention when a 1/2 pound bolt comes flying at your head.
I found that some of the energy is dispersed if you make two cuts in the bolt, first one 3/4 of the way through and the next cut a few inches away go all the way through. Anyway, still keep your kids, wives, dogs and cars away when you are working on these things.
posted 05-03-2003 10:32 PM ET (US)
I just completed a total rebuild of a Magic Tilt Al. trailer for my 25 ft. Outrage Cuddy. The trailer was ten years old and all of the gal. cross members had rusted off. The trailer as built was only rated for 5,200 lb. GVW--the Whaler weighs at least 6,000 wet. I talked to Magic Tilt and found that the 6x4" al. frame could handle up to a 8,500 lb. Gvw if the axles, springs, wheels,tires, brake actuator were the appropriate size. I stripped the trailer to the bare 6x4" frame and fenders and installed new al. cross members, spring hangers,5 leaf springs, 2 5,200 lb. spindle lube axles, tandem Kodiac 12" Disc brakes with stainless calipers,stainless brake lines, 8,000 lb. Atwood Disc brake surge actuator, six lug gal. wheels, Marathon Radial 15" tires, led lights, new bunk carpet(Cypress bunk), 3 pivoting double keel roolers(Poly), and 9 ft. Heavy gal. side guide bunks. All bolts are stainless or galvanized. Total cost- about $3,500 in parts. Would I do it again? Maybe! If I knew up front that I would spend this much I may have bought a new trailer. I have the satisfaction of knowing every nut bolt and misc. part in my trailer. I took the boat for a drive and the trailer performed great. The Kodiac brakes worked flawlessly even when I tried a few panic stops in the rain (the boat stayed behind me--a success). Now to figure out how far I can tow it with a Tundra!
posted 05-04-2003 10:31 AM ET (US)
I'm still not totally sure I made the best choice on buying new. Time will tell. I will pick it up next weekend. I now wish I had ordered it with brakes after reading your post. My hindsight has always been real sharp. Also, I've already been informed they (mistakenly) shipped mine to the retailer without the brake flanges on the axles. I decided not to be a hard ass and I am gonna take the trailer without the flanges. My boat motor and trailer will likely weigh about 3000lbs max maybe another 500 lbs with a full tank of gas. I tow with white knuckles and am towing with a Suburban so I don't think I will be pushing it too much. (See list of Famous last words).
Hope you have good luck with your trailer, sounds like an industrial strength upgrade.
posted 05-04-2003 11:28 AM ET (US)
I'm smack dab in the middle of the rehab of my trailer. The boat had come with a Calkins all roller trailer. Here is the list I have so far with costs.
Installed new studs - $10.00
I haven't gotten the cross members back from the fabricators so I don't know the cost for that yet.
The trailer has new axels, springs, brakes on all 4 wheels.
The disadvantages to rebuilding are time and work involved as well as a lot of running around.
The advantages are cost savings over the cost of new, all stainless hardware, and for me the fact that the new cross members will lower the boat by nearly 8" which will allow me to get the boat in my garage.
posted 05-04-2003 11:38 AM ET (US)
I guess I can't add or spell.
Total = $881
posted 05-16-2003 06:16 PM ET (US)
Put the boat on the new trailer today. Went much better than I had expected. Only took about 3 cycles of launch and load to get it right. The boat did in fact show up with 12" poly rollers. They are not doubled like some of you have but the very front one (the fifth one) does not even come close to touching the hull so I am going to move it to the rear and have that first one doubled at least. That's where it's probably the most needed anyway. I sold my old trailer almost immediately.
By the way, LHG, I dropped the rollers to the lowest elevation possible. that seemed like the simplest way. I also don't think the bunk brackets would have been long enough (or they would have to be set very near the keel) had I raised the keel rollers at all. I was wondering why anyone would raise them above the lowest setting. Anyway, thanks for the tips.
posted 05-18-2003 06:27 PM ET (US)
In January I scrapped the EZ Loader that was origanal, and had a custome made by RoadRunner trailers in Lewisville Texas. price was aroubd $1350.00. I found that the EZ Loader was severely underated for my Dauntless with a 70HP4 Stroke, 18 gal permanent tank, and the live well in the front. The trailer was only rated at 1200 pounds. RoadRunner manufactured a custome in a bout a week, and it has a 3500 LB rating, and rides really nice.
Purchase our Licensed Version- which adds many more features!
© Infopop Corporation (formerly Madrona Park, Inc.), 1998 - 2000.