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Author Topic:   Minor Karavan trailer problem on 170
Portola posted 08-13-2010 12:18 AM ET (US)   Profile for Portola   Send Email to Portola  
I'm a new 170 Montauk owner. I have no experience with trailers or powerboats, only sail. But I'm learning. After a few trial cruises, I trailered to a mountain destination. It was mostly fine but...

We stopped to check the rig occasionally. At about 100 miles, we found three of the four marker lights on the fenders had popped out of their rubber grommets and were dangling from the wires. We put them back in the grommets (which were fine) and proceeded. Ten miles later we noticed in the rearview mirror that lights had popped out again. We found all four had popped out, but one had also disconnected from the wires and was missing. I put some duct tape on the remaining lights--not covering them. but a little piece tying the plastic light to the plastic fender. Looking in the mirror these seemed to hold, but when we got to our destination we found that all three lights had actually popped out again, even though the duct tape was still holding them to the fenders.

This seems very weird. I made sure we had replaced the light units correctly by comparing with the remaining lights installed in the trailer frame. Not rocket science. Anyway, the bottom line is that marker lights in the plastic fenders popped out and the identical lights in the frame stay solid. It must be vibration of the fenders or something. I can't be the first person who had this problem. Maybe I need to cement the lamps into the grommets?

fno posted 08-13-2010 01:01 AM ET (US)     Profile for fno  Send Email to fno     
ktm3ten posted 08-13-2010 06:53 AM ET (US)     Profile for ktm3ten  Send Email to ktm3ten     
I've had this same problem on the Karavan trailer to my '08 Montauk 170. I think what's causing it in my case is that the screws that hold the plastic fenders on keep backing out and then the fender moves more and more. I've tried red loctite, i've tried everything. My next plan is to through-bolt the fenders, see if that will keep them on. But, I agree, pretty disappointing!
Jefecinco posted 08-13-2010 10:06 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     
I have had one light pop out one time. I found that it was pretty dirty when i was going to pop it back in so I cleaned it. I then found it difficult to get it perfectly seated in the socket. I sprayed the light and socket with silicone (not WD-40) and it then popped into the socket and was fully seated. No problem since.

If I had several lights popping out I would remove, clean, and spray all the lights of that type.

If the lights were originally installed without being fully seated in the sockets the sockets may have deformed to the point where they need replacement.

Karavan has a good reputation for dealing fairly with customers or your dealer can handle the issue. My preference is to handle minor issues myself to avoid having to tow to a dealer and leave my boat and trailer with them for several days while they take care of the issue which often requires a return trip to the dealer because they didn't get it right the first time. It seems that they like to put the new guy on the minor jobs. YMMV.


Barnett Childress posted 08-21-2010 08:32 AM ET (US)     Profile for Barnett Childress  Send Email to Barnett Childress     
I've been reading a lot of posts on the web about people having quality issues with the Karavan trailers. I'm in the process of purchasing a new 170 Montauk. I've been thinking about asking the dealer to swap trailers and let me keep my 2001 EZ loader trailer thats currently under my 2001 Classic Montauk (with keel rollers). It's in mint condition.

I don't need the swing tongue & would prefer not to have it. Do folks here generally feel the EZ loader is better overall quality?

Our boat lives on its trailer and we tow every time we use it. Mostly local within 50 miles, but I want the trailer to be high enough quality to tow longer distances (on highway) if we take the boat on vacations.

If I were to go with a new trailer what brands (with keel rollers) would you recommend?

I'd like to keep the keel rollers because I usually launch & retrieve alone. I don't power load/drive on the trailer. I winch the boat onto the trailer. The keel rollers make it a snap.

Portola posted 08-21-2010 01:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for Portola  Send Email to Portola     
In spite of this weird problem with the marker lights, I am not dissatisfied with the Karavan trailer. I don't have very wide trailer experience, but it seems like a quality piece of work and fits the 170 Montauk very nicely. I have the radial tires and disc brake upgrades.

I've found the boat easy to retrieve on the Karavan, either by power loading or by winching. I haven't even been tempted to spray some silicone on the bunks. The only negative is the location of the bow eye relative to the bow chock on the trailer. They are so close together that the chock bends the safety catch on the strap hook. (I haven't tried to adjust it.)

Barnett Childress posted 08-21-2010 04:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for Barnett Childress  Send Email to Barnett Childress     
Thanks Portola,
That's good to know about the easy launch/retrieve & that overall your satisfied with the trailer. I'd be ordering the same upgrades, brakes & radial tires.

Did your fix work for the trailer lights?

Portola posted 08-22-2010 12:55 AM ET (US)     Profile for Portola  Send Email to Portola     
I won't be doing another long haul until sometime in September, so I haven't done anything yet. The problem is almost certainly fender vibration, so I'm going to try to correct it first. I'll post after that trip.
mmakar posted 08-22-2010 08:13 AM ET (US)     Profile for mmakar  Send Email to mmakar     
I purchased a new 17' Montauk, 90hp 2-stroke and karavan package in 2004. The trailer has traveled thousands of miles in the last six years and I use the boat exclusively in salt water. It's easy to load and has held up well. I never replaced the bearings or springs and was at the point where it was time to replace and repair or trade for a new Karavan. I could have repaired but opted to buy a new Karavan. EZ loader may be a good trailer but I have found nothing wrong with my Karavan.
Barnett Childress posted 08-22-2010 10:40 AM ET (US)     Profile for Barnett Childress  Send Email to Barnett Childress     
Thanks that helps a lot. Seems from everyones inputs my worries are unfounded. Much appreciated!
K Albus posted 08-22-2010 10:59 AM ET (US)     Profile for K Albus  Send Email to K Albus     
Have you thought about having your trailer wheels/tires balanced? That might reduce the fender vibration.
sapple posted 08-24-2010 01:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for sapple  Send Email to sapple     
I have the same rig. My lights have not popped out yet but my plastic fenders keep getting loose. I tighten them about twice per season but they keep working loose. I have installed through bolts on one side and that has held. Its just a matter of time before I have to do the same on the other side.
capg2000 posted 09-10-2010 10:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for capg2000  Send Email to capg2000     
Hi All,
Just bought a 2007 Montauk on a Karavan. I picked up this beauty (22 hrs. use) in Maryland & I live in S. Florida. After the first 250 or so miles, I found, By Accident, that the fender screws were loosining up. I tightened all screws, only to find that after my next bearing check , I lost 2 screws! I went into a Lowes, in N Carolina & got some longer self tapping screws with lock washers. This held fine the rest of the trip.
Now... You cannot use LockTite on any metal to plastic connection. It will not lock the screw to plastic.
I plan on using a S.S. flat head anchor,(pan head) with a larger fender washer & then a lock nut to close it up.
8 sets on each fender, one time fix & then that is done. I did not have any issues with the lights tho...
Marsh posted 09-12-2010 09:42 AM ET (US)     Profile for Marsh  Send Email to Marsh     
I bought my rig in...I think it was 2003. Montauk 170 on a Karavan trailer. I've towed it considerable distances, over many roads of varying quality, and have never had a single issue. That is, except for a very strange wear pattern on the original tires. I upgraded the tires to Marathons, and have no other issues at all...except for the odd trailer light lens breakage from "mishaps" in the ramp parking lots.

I am very happy with the Keravan.


Portola posted 10-19-2010 12:13 AM ET (US)     Profile for Portola  Send Email to Portola     
I've tightened the fenders and made the fall journey home. Things improved a lot with the tightened fenders. Where the lights were popping in out withing a few miles, I found the lights mostly stayed in. After 150 miles, only one came out.

My fenders are attached to the frame with U-bolts. I might have over-tightened a bit, but the extra grip seemed to help a lot.

During the testing, however, I discovered a strange thing about the suspension on my trailer. There really wasn't much at all! The addition of brakes interfered with the movement of the suspension. I'll start another thread about this problem.

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