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Author Topic:   large trailer design
catadromous posted 06-10-2003 06:19 PM ET (US)   Profile for catadromous  

This is not Whaler specific, but might be of interest to folks trailering bigger Whalers. Iím posting to this board because I have a 16 Sakonnet and a 13 standard and learn a lot lurking on this board.

Iím trying to learn more about trailers for larger boats, because one of these days I want to start trailering my 10,000#, 26í Tollycraft. I canít afford the trailer now, much less the tow vehicle, but itís not too early to learn something.

Though I like galvanized trailers, I think I need an aluminum model for this boat to keep the weight down. It will still be quite a rig to tow. I have a good bit of experience towing 6 to 7 thousand pound boats, but have never towed this big.

In looking at aluminum trailers I have noticed there seems to be much less variation in design among different manufacturers than there is with steel trailers. Iíd like to hear opinions about specific design features folks like and donít like. I have read and heard strong support for torsion axels and all stainless fasteners, Stoltze rollers and stainless shafts where applicable, and stainless or bronze disc brakes. I know I want a bunk style trailer, and this is one of the areas where there is some variation among aluminum trailer manufacturers (two bunks vs four, two-by bunks oriented horizontally vs four-by bunks oriented vertically, aluminum bunks a la Float On, bunks plus center rollers. Etc.).

I am leery of designs where the bunks extend well aft of the rearmost cross member of the trailer. The transom seems inadequately supported cantilevered out like that. Most manufacturers mount the bunks on the cross members, but Boatmasters, a highly respected brand, mounts the bunks directly above the main longitudinal frame members. They told me the standard method of mounting bunks on the cross members overstresses the connections between the cross members and the frame. This sounds reasonable to me, and since hearing this Iíve been taking a look at every aluminum trailer I come across. I have found loose or missing fasteners on the inboard side of crossmember connections on five trailers out of twenty or so Iíve looked at! That seems to support Boatmastersí claim. Iíve seen Owens Brothers that were set up this way also.

Since my load will be 12,000# or over, I am worried about surge brakes not being adequate. I can imagine getting pulled backwards down a steep ramp and not being able to stop the rig. Most experienced folks that I know who haul heavy equipment donít think much of surge breaks, but they donít have to deal with salt water. Iím leaning toward electric over hydraulic. Does anyone have experience with these?

Boatmasters says they can build a 12,500# gross trailer as a tandem axel, but have to special order the axels and use a type of truck tire instead of trailer tires. I was thinking that it would be nice to avoid a triple axel if it was possible.

Iíd appreciate any advise you guys have.



PSW posted 06-11-2003 11:25 AM ET (US)     Profile for PSW  Send Email to PSW     
There is a trailer company in Ohio next to Lake Huron that builds big bunk trailers for Pursuit. I was talking to them about the 3000 Express and they said they have built quite a few trailers for that boat. They sounded pretty knowledgeable and only built heavy duty trailers. I can't remember their name, but you may be able to call the Pursuit dealer I referred to and they would know it.


bsmotril posted 06-11-2003 01:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for bsmotril  Send Email to bsmotril     
Read an article somewhere recently about electric brakes on trailers. Said they were totally encapsulated and no more corrosion prone than regular surge brakes. Being that they can be activated manually when backing down a ramp, I would think they'd be a good choice for a heavy boat.

Aluminum trailers flex a lot more than steel. Many I have seen on larger boats use massive timber bunks (4"x12"s) to help stiffen the trailer. The ones our local Sea Ray dealer uses on the 30 plus footers have only two bunks that follow the line where the hull vee turns out to the chines. There is no keel support other than a rear center roller for loading that is not in contact with the boat when fully loaded up.

lhg posted 06-11-2003 04:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
When launching a boat with fear that the boat will pull the car/truck downhill, with vehicle tire traction not holding, keep the trans in drive and let the boat slowly pull the whole rig down the ramp. Keep one foot on the brake as needed, and the other on the gas pedal. If you feel the vehicle tires losing traction, give it a little gas and the vehicle will stop sliding, even as you continue to back in. Don't ask me why, but it works beautifully. I use this when launching my 25 Outrage on a steep ramp, since the boat/trailer is heavier than the car. This method has saved me many a time!

Whether this approach would work with a rig as big as Jack is anticipating towing, I don't know. Perhaps it would if the vehicle has 4-wheel drive.

I would also think a triple axle trailer would be appropriate.

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