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Author Topic:   Trailer Guide-ons: Bunk vs. Post
ShrimpBurrito posted 07-10-2003 04:15 AM ET (US)   Profile for ShrimpBurrito   Send Email to ShrimpBurrito  
Using the site search engine, I found quite a bit of discussion over trailer guide-ons, but not alot of first hand reports from folks who have loaded 15's. I have a 15' Super Sport and recently had a pair of bunk guide-ons (ShipShape from WestMarine) that were ~23" high -- they were 2-3 inches lower than the rubrail when the boat sat on the trailer. They never seemed to work. Whenever the boat pressed up against them, they just pushed out to the side and didn't do squat. I didn't realize until after I got rid of them that my problems may have been due to the fact that the channeling on the trailer is only three sided, and thus allowed the mount to twist.

So, now I'm back to the drawing board. I'm going to reinforce the 3-sided channel with another piece of the same, and get new guides. I've seen a pair of post guides by Tie Down Engineering in person ( ) and was impressed with their rigidity and design. ShipShape simply bent the tube steel to make the angle, which I don't think is nearly as strong as the way the Tie Down one's mount. One concern with the bunks is that, due to the 15's relatively deep V at the bow, it appears that you are half way on the trailer before the bunks make enough contact with the gunwales. Using posts might fix that. On the other hand, it doesn't seem that the posts would prevent you from loading crooked (but maybe 2' of bunks on a 15' isn't enough either).

These are two other Tie Down guides I'm tossing around, too:

Which guides would you get? Comments? Advice?

tombro posted 07-10-2003 07:50 AM ET (US)     Profile for tombro  Send Email to tombro     

I'm about to take delivery on a 150 Sport next week, and was planning on buying (tomorrow, actually) the Shipshape bunk guides. I see in the new WM catalog that they are available in 40" and 60" heights...wouldn't that be sufficient for my needs? The Fulton model is 50" high, and looks suitable, too. Am I missing something here?

Backlash posted 07-10-2003 08:56 AM ET (US)     Profile for Backlash  Send Email to Backlash     

The problems with the bunk style guide-on (either carpeted or otherwise) is that they are not high enough and they block the sides of the boat for cleaning or waxing. On a steep ramp the boat can actually float over them. The short post or roller type are just as bad (not high enough) and have the added benefit of possibly rubbing against the hull and wearing the gelcoat. I had this happen on my 21 with the Fulton 12" roller guide-ons.

The long PVC post type is the only way to go. It contacts the boat at the rubrail, not the hull sides. I currently have the 50" Fulton post type on my trailer and it does a good job centering the rear of the boat on the trailer. The one thing I do not like about the Fulton is the weird bend in the PVC at the bottom which sticks out past the fenders and ends up being the widest part of the trailer. Also, the 50" length is is too short for the 21.

Both the Shipshape (which I would recommend over the Fulton) and the Fulton use 1" PVC pipe. BTW 2" PVC pipe will slip right over the 1' pipe to beef it up and add length if necessary.

The Tie Down guide-on (your first link) looks good and it appears the vertical angle can be adjusted somewhat.


acseatsri posted 07-10-2003 06:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for acseatsri  Send Email to acseatsri     
I had the PVC posts-type guide-ons and found them to be only somewhat effective at centering the boat. I recently went to 60" long carpeted bunks- 100% improvement, dead center every time. Overcoming waxing behind then is easy- just do those sections when it's in the water. As far as the bunks being high enough, you can mount then either on top of or under the trailer frame- mine are on top after putting 1 on and realizing it was too low. I got mine from
andygere posted 07-10-2003 10:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
I have carpeted bunk style guide-ons on both my Montauk and my Outrage 22 trailers. I find them great for loading the boat, but they are in the way for washing and waxing. Using SS T-nuts and screws through the back allows me to remove the ones on the Montauk easily, and mod I'll make on the Outrage trailer when I have time. They are really nice when there is a wind, and mine are strong enough to hold the boat in position even with wind and surge working against me. For the Montauk, I think the PVC's would work just as well, but on the bigger boat I really like the bunk style.
JoeH posted 07-10-2003 10:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for JoeH  Send Email to JoeH     
On our 19 Outrage I use 2" PVC with brackets I made at work. They are just like the ones from Cabalas, only more stout, 2" x 3/8" x 18". The PVC slips over the bracket amd is 5' tall. The lenght is overkill but it was a 10' piece and no matter how deep the trailer gets they are always above the gunwales to prevent floating over them as backlash mentions. I made them the first summer I had the boat and it has made recovery MUCH more pleasant for all involved. Joe
tombro posted 07-11-2003 06:21 AM ET (US)     Profile for tombro  Send Email to tombro     
How much more trailer width do the PVC types typically add on? I'm working with a garage kept boat here, and don't have a whole lot of leeway.
JoeH posted 07-11-2003 10:24 AM ET (US)     Profile for JoeH  Send Email to JoeH     
At 5'long mine measure 8'5" outside to outside. They run more or less parallel to the side of the boat, against the rub rail. I park mine in a garage with a 9' door. Joe
ShrimpBurrito posted 07-11-2003 09:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for ShrimpBurrito  Send Email to ShrimpBurrito     
Tombro - I don't think the extra width Backlash is talking about is very much. I think he's talking about the bulge that sticks out at the bottom, as shown here:

Thanks for feedback, everyone. It seems everyone has had both positive and negative experiences with both, and since I've already had bad luck with the bunks (although it may have been a problem with my trailer), I'm going to try the Tie Down Engineering posts this time.

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