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Author Topic:   Trailer Problems: Bent Axle? Engine Tilt?
Tallydon posted 09-20-2003 11:35 PM ET (US)   Profile for Tallydon   Send Email to Tallydon  
I trailer a Dauntless 16 (2 years old) with a F100 Yamaha motor. I just noticed today that the tires on my boat trailer show extreme wear on the inside of each tire, and the tires appear to be flared out, not plum. I have always maintained the correct tire pressure (50 psi). My dealer believes there is something wrong with my aluminum trailer, a magic tilt, and is going to try to replace it with a new one. What would cause this unusual wear pattern? A bent axle? Too small springs? etc.

And on the way back from the gulf today, I was told that my motor was jumping up and down as I traveled down the highway. Now, I had it tilted up, but not all the way because the engine bonnett (cover) would rub against the folded down bimini top that lays across the stern of the boat. I inspected the mechanism that lifts the motor and there was no sign of fluid leakage and it works fine. How much play should there be when the motor is tilted up? As always, I appreciate your insights and thoughts.

Jerry Townsend posted 09-21-2003 12:39 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jerry Townsend  Send Email to Jerry Townsend     
Tallydon - regarding your tire problem - your wheels are out of alignment. The problem can also be caused by a bent axle. Take your boat and trailer to an alignment outfit and they can possibly help you out. The alignment may or may not be adjustable on your trailer - or you may need a new axle/springs, ----- Jerry/Idaho
lhg posted 09-21-2003 01:58 AM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Sounds like an overloaded trailer, specifically, an under- designed, deflecting, axle. Replace axle with a higher capacity 3700# design. Galvanized axles are only about $110. See Champion Trailer website.

The engine should not be trailed in an "intermediate" tilt position. That is, off the firm support of the operating range trim rods, but not up to the manual full tilt lock. To trail it in one of these intermediate tilt positions, a lower unit support should be used, or it will hop around as you indicate.

arnereil posted 09-21-2003 06:28 AM ET (US)     Profile for arnereil  Send Email to arnereil     
I read the manual on my merc 40 and it said it should be trailered in the down position, not up, resting on the lock. Obviously, that can cause a dragging problem on bumps.

I was all set to buy one of those support poles, when i took a looked at the way the engine looks about 1/2 way up. I cut a piece of 2x3 a bit over a foot long and placed it between the motor lower unit and the mount on the boat and brought the engine down to hold it in place. The tilt motor is very powerful and it pushed the points on the lower unit into the 2x3... i lifted the motor, removed the piece of wood, and drill a couple of 3/4" holes about 1/2 inch deep where the dents were.... Now, the piece of wood can't fall out, and it gives the motor support instead of it hanging on the tilt pistons.....

Tallydon posted 09-21-2003 08:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tallydon  Send Email to Tallydon     
Thanks for the replies and your thoughtful comments. I believe my trailer is just not up to the task to carry the weight of my boat and my axle bent slightly. My dealer also believes my springs were too small and the shock of the road my have bent my axle.

Now I noticed that others transport their motors in the up tilted position and their motors don't seem to be bouncing up and down. I have transported the boat and motor with it almost fully tilted up because of the down bimini top and I wonder if have I damaged the tilt mechanism from the jarring of the road. It seems to work OK. The piston rod doesn't appear to be leaking hydraulic fluid but did damage it? Or is it designed to be quite robust?

jimh posted 09-21-2003 09:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
On most mid to large motors, the trim and tilt system is exactly that, two systems, one for trim and one for tilt.

Typically in the tilt range there are two hydraulic cylinders that control the engine's position. These cylinders have to have enough power, if you think about it, to be able to withstand the full horsepower of the engine pushing against them. That is what happens when the engine is at full power pushing the boat--the thrust is transmitted to the boat by the engine pushing against the hydraulic cylinders of the trim system.

As the engine is tilted further up, it moves beyond the range of the trim cylinders, and another, single, cylinder takes over. This is the tilt cylinder. It usually works faster, and is intended to raise the engine to the fully tilted up position. This cylinder is powerful enough to work against the weight of the engine, but it is not as powerful as the trim cylinders. It only has to have enough force to lift the engine's weight. It is not necessarily designed to stop at intermediate positions and hold the engine while bouncing around on the highway. It might hold it at an intermediate position while tied to a dock or mooring.

When hauling the boat around on the highway with a trailer, it is often possible to raise the engine to the top of the TRIM range and get sufficient ground clearance. The top of the trim range is the point where the engine has been just raised to the limit of the dual cylinder upper position. Depending on how your boat is rigged on the trailer, they may give you enough clearance for the engine's lower unit and skeg above the the highway.

It depends on the design of your trailer. If you have a float-on trailer and a smaller boat (which can fit between the wheels and fenders without exceeding the 102-inch width limits), the boat will be position too low on the trailer to use this partially raised engine technique. If you have a proper keel roller tailer with unbent cross-members, the boat will typically be carried higher on the trailer and you will have more clearance.

I generally trailer the boat with the engines at the top of the trim range, and this gives me enough clearance for highway travel on good roads. I have to keep an eye out for poorly graded curbs, often found on gas stations, etc., when pulling off the highway. If you are not careful you can get into a short down-up situation which will drag the skegs on the pavement.

Last month I pulled off the interstate in eastern Washington for gas. I was going to enter a particular gas station when I saw it had a terrible reverse slope on its curb entrance. It was so bad I could see where other outboards had scrapped across the pavement leaving a trail of marks in the concrete and asphalt. I didn't pull in there. We went down the block to another station.

If you can't use this position to haul your engine, you'll have to go to the full up position where most engines have a mechanical lock to retain them. The advantage of hauling the boat with the engines tilted farther down seems to be the fuel and oil systems don't get messed up with the unusual angles. Fuel and oil won't drain out of the carburetors or other reservoirs. The engine usually starts up as well as it did the last time you were running it. When I have hauled with the engines fully tilted up, it sometimes took some cranking to get them running again.

jimh posted 09-21-2003 09:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
[Changed TOPIC; was " Trailer and maybe a motor problem"--jimh.]
Jerry Townsend posted 09-21-2003 10:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jerry Townsend  Send Email to Jerry Townsend     
In addition to the words of Jimh - realize that trailering with the engine in a partial range trim or tilt position, results in the trim/tilt system being subjected to a dynamic load that can be as much as twice the static load. In all probability, that system was not designed for such loads. Therefore, don't trailer your boat with the engine partially positioned and supported by only the trim/tilt system.

Some engines, such as my '96 Johnson, have a mechanic lock that lets the engine be trailered with the engine tilted up and takes the entire load off the trim/tilt system. I have never had starting problems as Jimh - but then I have never really paid much attention to that aspect. ------- Jerry/Idaho

lakeman posted 09-22-2003 07:02 AM ET (US)     Profile for lakeman  Send Email to lakeman     
I use the board mentioned above to help in motor support, a lot cheaper than the motor supports, and since the wood is soft it will cushion the extreme bounces.

I too have a Tragic (Magic) tilt trailer and my tires were wearing severly on the inside. I took it to a trailer repair shop and they recamber the axle, however the most sever wear was on the opposite side from what they said was the problem. I was going to check toe in and out by the old method, and was looking at the rear of the trailer and noticed the spring was out of allignment with the trailer. To make this shorter, the passenger rear spring hanger bracket on the Aluminum trailer was completly broken off, bad metal. I had looked at the trailer many times and had not seen the problem, it looked absolutly normal except the springs did not aliegn with the frame and that is what made me look closer.

I'm a luck man, I even trailer it to the Keys this way.

Jarhead posted 09-22-2003 09:07 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jarhead  Send Email to Jarhead     
The wood block will work for the engine. I use a piece of 2 by 6 so the engine is a little higher then using a 2 by 4.

Do yourself a favor and get rid of the tragic Tilt. They're well known for being under built and poorly manufactured.

Just my 2 cents. :)

cmarques posted 09-22-2003 08:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for cmarques  Send Email to cmarques     
I've had the same problem with tire wear with my Dauntless 160 on a 2630 lb Magic tilt trailer- I have yet to take it to the dealer but planning to soon. Both are worn bad on the inside edges but the rest of the tread is o.k.. Unloaded, the tires ride on the center treads but when loaded camber in quite a bit. I leaver the motor up slightly when towing with a 2x6 laid flat to prop the tilt up. does anyone know how long the magic tilts are warrantied for 1 or 2 years? I posted this same problem back around 8/6/03 "Uneven trailer tire wear" BTW mine is a 90hp 2 stroke Mercury
Tallydon posted 09-22-2003 10:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tallydon  Send Email to Tallydon     
Well, thanks for all of your new replies. Now, according to the Yamaha F100 manual, they advise to not trailer the motor with the tilt lock mechanism engaged. They believe the tilt lock lever could become disengaged down the road and the engine could fall. I don't see how that could happen unless the tilt mechanism fails. According to my dealer, who I pretty much trust, they also advise against engaging the tilt mechanism too. On the other hand, a co-worker of mine trailers his Yamaha 90 with the tilt lever engaged and is following his manual's instructions. AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Now to Jim's detailed comments: I have one cylinder that I believe functions for both the trim tilt and the power tilt mechanism. There is only one push rod. The design of my tragic tilt trailer, a float on, does not give enough clearance for me to travel with the motor down. And, there is no way to install a transom saver too. You would think that after all these years, engineers who design boat engines would factor that into the design.

My dealer is still checking with Magic tilt about replacing my trailer. After some of the comments I read, I wonder if that will be a good thing.

I too have the 2630 trailer and now I'm afraid to use it much because one tire is well worn on the inside and the other is not far behind.

Now, another question. I noticed on top of the tilt mechanism cylinder there is some bare metal (the paint seems to vanished around the edge of the cylinder) and some slight corrosion or pitting near the push rod on the cylinder. I always wash it with freshwater after use and wonder if it is electroylis causing the pitting? The motor has 77 hours on it.

Tallydon posted 09-24-2003 10:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tallydon  Send Email to Tallydon     
Well, my dealer called me today and said Magic Tilt is going to replace my trailer's axle and add 14" tires. They believe that will solve the problem. I guess I have 13" tires on the trailer right now.
Whalerdan posted 09-26-2003 10:13 AM ET (US)     Profile for Whalerdan  Send Email to Whalerdan     

If that tilt lock thing isn't for trailering, what is it for? Just so it can set in the driveway locked up? I keep my motor down all the way when stored. The whole thing doesn't make sense to me.


Jerry Townsend posted 09-26-2003 12:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jerry Townsend  Send Email to Jerry Townsend     
Dan - The mechanical tilt support/lock is designed and intended to be used when trailering the boat. Now, I haven't read all of the messages in this thread - so I don't know where the conception that it was for trailering started.

Some engines do not have a mechanical support - and in those cases, I have seen some use 2x4s or a commercial support referenced to the trailer frame under the keel.

The principal criterion is to provide clearance and support to the engine when trailering. Most certainly, the trim/tilt system is not designed for the dynamic loads imposed during transportation of the boat. --- Jerry/Idaho

Jerry Townsend posted 09-26-2003 04:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jerry Townsend  Send Email to Jerry Townsend     
Hey everyone - I slipped a cog - make that " ...I don't know where the conception that it was NOT for trailering started. ..." My apologies ------ Jerry/Idaho
cmarques posted 10-03-2003 03:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for cmarques  Send Email to cmarques     
Looks like Magic tilt will be replacing the axle and tires on my trailer also. I called Aloha marine where I got the boat and Dan my salesman had Sammy from Magic tilt call me at home this morning to arrange for an inspection of the trailer. They were even willing to come to my house to inspect but I took it over to Parker Boats in Orlando where the service rep Matt was today. He inspected the trailer and agreed on replacing the axle and 2 tires due to the wear. In about a week we'll arrange for installation when the parts arrive. He stated the old style axles were 3/16" steel and the new style are upgraded to 1/4" sq. stock and much stronger. I am very impressed with Aloha and Magic Tilt so far with handling this for me. I will let you guys know the outcome in a week or so.
On another post I mentioned spending $14 a plug on my tune up- checked West Marine's website and they also list the plugs at $13.90 each so I guess NGK is very proud of those plugs! Since installing, my 90 2st. starts much easier and is idling great with no hiccups or stalling when cold- so far so good!
arnereil posted 10-06-2003 01:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for arnereil  Send Email to arnereil     
The locking device is most likely for holding the motor up and out of the water while anchored. One look at the pin on my 40 clued me in it isn't very sturdy, not enough for 150 pounds bouncing around on it.
Whalerdan posted 10-07-2003 07:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for Whalerdan  Send Email to Whalerdan     

The one on my motor '97 Evinrude 90hp seems pretty strong to me. If it's not for trailering there should be a plate mounted down there saying so.


cmarques posted 10-17-2003 12:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for cmarques  Send Email to cmarques     
Just got my new axle and tires today! Matthew from Magic- Tilt got to the house about 10:30 and by 11:15 was done and ready to go. All work was done under warranty with no problem.

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