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Author Topic:   Trailer Preparations
half shell posted 01-19-2004 05:06 PM ET (US)   Profile for half shell   Send Email to half shell  
I am considering trailering my 17 Outrage to Florida for some rest and relaxation. What preparations or maintenance should I do prior or during the trip? The trailer is a single-axle leaf spring setup, 1998-vintage. All suggestions and experiences appreciated.
Regards, Bob
lhg posted 01-19-2004 05:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Make sure your tires and wheel bearings are good, and hook her up and go. Have a good spare and jack, and a spare set of bearings, too.

Don't even think of driving with a trailer if you encounter snow/ice conditions. Wait for the roads to be cleared.

WSTEFFENS posted 01-19-2004 05:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for WSTEFFENS  Send Email to WSTEFFENS     

All of Larry's points are valid. I don't know what sort of seasonal maintenance you do. I suggest you also check all trailer fasteners (bolts & nuts ) for tightness. Also check the wheel lugs. Dissassembly of the coupler mechanism for inspection and lube would also be prudent.

Shrink wrap would be worth while as it is very durable and eliminates winter road dirt dammage to your mooring/storaage canvas. If removed carefully you can use it for the return trip.



greyg8r posted 01-19-2004 07:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for greyg8r    

Welcome to Florida!

Don't forget to check that the lights are working and make sure you have a lug wrench that fits.

And don't forget to pay a lot of sales tax while here so we can continue to avoid a state income tax...


jimp posted 01-19-2004 07:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimp  Send Email to jimp     
half shell -

These guys are right on target. In addition, take the best tool box you have (including ballpeen hammer). Include a drill & drill bits, hack saw, wheel bearing grease roll of paper towels (to get the grease off your hands), "Simple Green" or the like, a mat to lie on (better to lie on a mat in the mud than in the mud/dirt/gravel, a piece of plywood would work also), assortment of appropriately sized stainless nuts, bolts, and washers, work gloves, coveralls, good flashlight/spotlight, 50' extension cord, and lare tarp to cover you and the work area in the rain. You've likely got most of this around your home already, and most of these items have multiple uses. Your best trip will be if it all stays securely packed in the car.

I used shrink wrap in 1989 when I towed my Montauk from Long Island, New York to Kodiak, Alaska. As well as keeping the boat clean, it kept prying eyes out of the boat. Take a roll of duct tape or packaging tape if you shrink wrap, these work well to patch the shrink wrap if it gets holed or starts to come apart.

It is unlikely that you will run into problems next to a service station or marine supply store. You'll most likely run into trouble half way up a hill, on the outside of a turn, in the dark, and in the rain. You can press "On-Star", or do it yourself. The biggie is to keep yourself safe if you have to work on the trailer.

Before you leave, practice changing the tire. Does everything work as you expect? During my '89 tow, after 2,500 miles, the left rear weld broke on the support for my trailer's rear running board/step, causing the whole bracket to hang down (sheared some bolts too), jeopardizing the taillight. I was in Edmonton at the time (at a motel), so I got the tools out, sawed off the rest of the running board bracket, drilled & remounted the taillights on the rear cross bar, stowed the gear and was back in business.

Inspect your rig at every stop, it takes seconds to visually do the inspection and feel your tires & bearings. After driving for a while, you'll enjoy the bending & stretching a bit. It will also give you a chance to answer questions when other travelers say, "Hey, sharp looking rig you have there, those Whalers are cool!" Have a safe trip & enjoy it.


jimh posted 01-19-2004 08:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
When hauling a boat on a trailer, always take a grease gun with you so you can refill the wheel bearings. By this I assume you have the BEARING BUDDY type wheel inserts to you can add grease as needed.

As a general rule, bearings should not be throwing grease, but if they do it is handy to have some way to add more in a hurry.

(Successfully towed 20-foot Whaler over 9,000 miles last year.)

half shell posted 01-20-2004 03:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for half shell  Send Email to half shell     
Thaks to all I have my work cut out just to get ready.
Jimh 9000 miles wow!Must be a whaler record.
Also how much rust on springs and bolts is too much?
Al_A_Buy posted 01-20-2004 03:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for Al_A_Buy  Send Email to Al_A_Buy     
Half Shell - Join BoatUS and opt for the trailer towing insurance/coverage. The price of the membership is far less than one tow-in either on the water or on land. The piece of mind that this type of coverage brings allows you to enjoy the trip instead of worring constantly.

Plus, what everyone else said about prep and emergency tools / supplies, I always have a hub kit. The kit comes in a nifty carrying case and has a complete hub assembly, including bearings (I pre-grease mine), lug nuts, crown nut, cotter pin and dust cap. Available from West Marine (about $50.)

Not affiliated with BoatUS, just a satisfied customer.


goodad posted 01-20-2004 04:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for goodad  Send Email to goodad     
Ditto on Boat US...Will be making the 1250 mile trip next month from Pa...Cost is $10 over and above water towing package..I will take the provisions, but Boat US can fix it..Bill
Tom2697 posted 01-20-2004 04:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom2697  Send Email to Tom2697     
One other item to bring is a wire crimping kit. These cost anywhere from $12 to $100 and can be invaluable on a trip such as this. Throw in some extra bulbs, fuses, and wire and you can fix most electrical problems roadside. It will also allow you to install that new electronic gadget that you will buy when you get there.
lhg posted 01-20-2004 06:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
One other approach is to bring along a certified factory employee, from the plant where your trailer was made, And inside your boat you should have all of your trailer's components, fasteners, wiring, tires, and misc parts and required tools to completely rebuild same, if necessary!

This way you will be prepared for any road emergency. Just put the guy to work while you hit the local bar for a drink.

WSTEFFENS posted 01-20-2004 07:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for WSTEFFENS  Send Email to WSTEFFENS     

Verry droll, I appreciate your sense of humor!


lhg posted 01-20-2004 08:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Thanks, Walt. My point is that you can "overkill" this situation. Things that are likely to suffer from unforseen road hazards, like tires, bearings and wire connections, should be provided for. But the highway is not the place to do major preventive maintenance/replacement and take care of neglected items. This should be done in the comfort of your home environment and repair facilities.

I think that I have trailed various Whalers about 250,000 miles in my lifetime. Looking at back at problems I have encountered helps me determine what to carry in the car for minor problems. Here is my list of trailering problems.

1. Flat tires, from nail or tire failure itself, and occasional need to buy a replacement tire locally. Solution: equipment to change a tire and install spare. Goodyear Marathons go alon way in preventing trailer tire failures.

2. Loss of bearing grease. Solution: grease gun, and mineral spirits/paper towels to clean up mess. This could be related to item 3 & 5 also.

3. Loss of bearing buddy and or bra. Solution: a few spares of each in car and a hammer.

4. Loss of trailer brake fluid. Solution: can of brake fluid.

5. Destroyed or damaged bearing (very rare if proper preventive maintenance has been done). Solution: Spare bearing, & Spindo Seals so repair place can easily fix. If spindle is trashed, it's a bigger problem. This has only happened to me once in 35 years, at the beginning of my experiences, and before using bearing buddies.

6. wire failures. Solution: a few assorted wire connectors/fittings and tool, and a spare light bulb.

7. Misc trailer & support bolts that may loosen up on the road. Solution: a few wrenches.

Anything more than this, which I have never had happen, is going to slow down or ruin your trip. That is just the case and there is not much you can do about it except better preventive maintenance on a regular basis at home.

One major preventive item I do every 10 years or so is a new trailer axle and springs. These parts can rust and weaken, always failing at the wrong time. The trailer under my 25 Outrage is now 14 years old, but it has new axles and springs and I feel completely safe. This is not a big expense, about $200/axle and worth every penny of it.

WSTEFFENS posted 01-21-2004 10:17 AM ET (US)     Profile for WSTEFFENS  Send Email to WSTEFFENS     

All points are well taken. Depending on when you do your major seasonal maintence inspection, even a major trip should be a walk around at departure and at each comfort stop.

As one of my old gas station boss's said, "If you do your homework, you won't break down!"



Hobie1981 posted 01-21-2004 08:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for Hobie1981  Send Email to Hobie1981     
Half Shell:

Make sure ball is attached securely to your hitch or hitch bar.

Almost lost my Hobie 18 while enroute to FL one trip. Ball nut was grabbing last 3 threads when I discovered the problem.

Have a safe trip..


waterguy posted 01-26-2004 02:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for waterguy  Send Email to waterguy     
Make sure you know the jack works for the trailer. I know many (including myself) that assumed the jack that came with the car or truck would work on the trailer. Not always the case. Actually get the jack out and see that it works. Bring a board so you will have a level surface under the jack in case you are on some gravel or rough road.
lhg posted 01-26-2004 04:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
I have found that the best way to jack up a trailer is to put the jack under the axle, right next to the spring connection. I use a little 3300# sissor jack with the big threaded turning screw.

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