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Author Topic: Trailer Maintenance Reminder  (Read 181 times)

Bud Kennedy

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Trailer Maintenance Reminder
« on: July 01, 2020, 11:07:31 AM »

The boat trailer must be an important part of your overall boat maintenance program.  The trailer is one of those key items that gets you to and from the water safely and mostly without incident. 

The stress of transporting a fully loaded bass boat can be significant in any condition but especially if a maintenance routine has not been part of your plan.  Trailer maintenance is not just keeping the tires at the proper inflation level nor is it just pumping some grease into the hubs from time to time.  There are a lot of things that need consideration.  Systems ranging from trailer electrical checks, proper connection to the tow vehicle electrical and hitch systems, safety chain integrity and yes even the trailer bunks or rollers need frequent inspections. 

Preparation for long distance towing also suggests that you may need to add some items to your travel kit to assist you should problems develop while on a longer trip.  Do you have the correct jack to allow you to change a tire on the highway?  Do you have a way to monitor the temperature of your hubs when you stop for lunch or to re fuel?  A tire gauge to check tire pressure during these stops.  Hot weather highway travel can add a lot of pressure to the trailer tires and might result in a blowout.  Other trips may be donít travel with a full load of fuel in the boat.  At 6 pounds per gallon that is a lot of extra weight that impacts the performance of the trailer and even the economy of the tow vehicle.  When packing for a trip be sure to consider the weight balance and be aware how it may create some problems for trailer performance.  The other important item is a tool kit that should always be in your tow vehicle when heading to the water.

A couple years ago my old Ranger Trail trailer had become unreliable.  The original trailer was 28 years old and things like the leaf springs had started to crack and rust could be noted on just about every part of the trailer.  After considering a complete trailer refurb and all of the things that needed to be replaced, I made the decision to have a new trailer built.  This decision took me down the road to better understand what it means to construct a trailer that was designed for over the road travel and not just the local jaunt to the ramp.  My new trailer is a road warrior that is designed and built for longer trips.  It is very heavy duty and designed to maintain the correct load distribution from the hitch to the very back of the trailer.  I even chose to upsize the torsion axle system just to be sure that there was no chance of overloading the trailer.  While my original Ranger trailer was good, I learned that in reality it was marginal in capability with regards to the weight it was carrying.  You may be surprised if you would stop by a truck scale and have your fully loaded boat weighed.  Hull weight is one thing but add the motor, fuel and all your stuff it adds up quickly and can influence tire wear and general towing performance.

Bottom line for this post is take some extra time and do your trailer maintenance.  It is time well spent.


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apenland01

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Re: Trailer Maintenance Reminder
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2020, 02:55:32 PM »

I'm probably looking at having to replace my trailer in the next year or so.  I am looking at Coastline in Texas, as they make a good aluminum trailer.  I'm sure there are other makers out there as well.

It would cost nearly as much to refurb my Ranger Trail trailer compared to getting a new one.  Also, now that Ranger is no longer supporting their trailers and you can't get parts, it's getting a lot easier to justify getting a brand new trailer...
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Bud Kennedy

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Re: Trailer Maintenance Reminder
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2020, 03:31:50 PM »

I tried to buy another Ranger Trailer but they would not build one for my old boat.  They stated that they were only building for current designs.  Later they re contacted me but as it turns out, I was able to buy a superior product from a trailer builder in Charleston SC for about the same cost.  The new trailer is aluminum and all the hardware is Stainless Steel.  Perfect for the brackish water I fish in.  I was also able to get a heavy duty trailer with a torsion axle (also heavy duty) and have been very happy with it.  My road warrior trailer cost just at $4K and that is about where Ranger was on a standard trailer.  Plus the local builder built my trailer in 4 days since it was during the winter and they were not super busy yet.
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Wizard

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Re: Trailer Maintenance Reminder
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2020, 09:25:09 PM »

A good read, Sir.  I'd like to add a little on the importance of tongue weight in trailing a boat. As you pointed out, a boat trailer is balanced from tongue to rear with a specific boat in mind. One thing that makes a trailer track abnormally is too much weight on the tongue. I have seen trailers where the angler welded plates on the tongue to hold tool boxes or a holder to carry extra tires. This was on older trailers from the 70's to late 90's. These older trailers were often built with much longer tongues than modern trailers.  I mention this as there are many older trailers still in use.

Wizard
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Oldfart9999

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Re: Trailer Maintenance Reminder
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2020, 07:36:03 AM »

Very good thread Bud, Thanks!!!
Rodney
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Old Fishermen never die, their rods just go limp.
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