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Trailer maintenance  Bottom

  • This is the time of year we should going over our boats with a fine tooth comb looking for things that could possibly fail and ruin our day. But for some, the condition of the trailer is often overlooked and certainly carries the potential to ruin things as well. Springs, axles and U-bolts are obvious, wheel bearings aren't and the amount and type of usage should dictate how often you need to re-pack them. Their condition when you do re-pack them should give you an idea of how often this is needed. Don't rely on "Buddy Bearings" or their knockoffs. They may increase the interval but aren't a substitute for proper maintenance. One thing that does help however, is if your launching situation is where you don't have to submerge the hubs when launching. If you're uncertain about any of this, just get out and touch the hubs after going 50 mph. If they're hot, you'll know what to do. Another thing that might get overlooked is lug bolts. Don't get stuck because you're unable to change the wheel. Loosen the lug nuts every season and grease the bolts. Here's one thing that I overlooked, and that is where the yoke is bolted to the trailer tongue. On mine, the yoke is welded to a plate which is bolted to the trailer tongue. I saw a little rusty water gathering around that area. One might assume there should be a drain hole under there. I took the yoke off and turned it upside down and at least a pint of rusty water poured out of it. After it dried, I banged on it with a hammer and large chunks of rust fell out. There was a drain hole all right, but it was completely plugged.

    --
    Bill Townsend
    G-Cat 5.0
    Sarasota
    --
  • Well said. It doesn't matter how great your boat is if it's sitting on the side of the road.
  • spammer1Not necessarily related to maintenance, but one lesson I learned the hard way - don’t assume that the lug wrench in your car will fit your trailer wheel lugs. It’s well worth a couple of bucks it costs at Home Depot to buy a dedicated breaker bar and socket to fit your trailer lugs and just keep it in your trailer box. It’s also a good idea to throw a couple of short pieces of 2x4 and 4x4 in your box in case you need some spacers when working with your car jack.

    sm



    Along with that, if taking long trips...get an extra hub or two complete with bearings already greased and ready to go.

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01HP649RQ/ref=syn_sd_onsite_desktop_0?ie=UTF8&psc=1&pd_rd_plhdr=t&aref=71IOOvoMSO

    Yes, you just cleaned a repacked them... but as robust as they are, they do take a beating.. at 55 MPH...

    And, maybe one of these too..

    https://www.harborfreight.com/12v-magnetic-led-towing-light-kit-64282.html

    As for your lug nuts, apply generous amounts of Teflon plumbers paste or Loctite Marine Anti-Siez to the threads.... You don't want to be wrestling with those lugs in 100-degree weather or stripping them - trust me on this icon_razz



    Edited by JohnES on Jan 08, 2024 - 06:34 PM.

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    John Schwartz
    Ventura, CA
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  • One other thing, check the tension spring for your connector.... these have been known to fail too



    Edited by JohnES on Jan 08, 2024 - 06:37 PM.

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    John Schwartz
    Ventura, CA
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  • Many years ago I spun the bearings on my catamaran trailer requiring a new axle, bearings and hub. That really sucked as I lost the weekend on the boat and had a big repair bill away from home. I routinely maintain the bearings now, but wish I didn't end up needing new bearing seals every time I disassemble the hubs. And it's always the inner bearing you can't see without pulling the hub.

    --
    Tom
    NACRA 5.7 (1984 Sail 181)
    Pennsylvania
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  • QuoteMany years ago I spun the bearings on my catamaran trailer requiring a new axle, bearings and hub.

    I have owned a total of 8 beachcats in my life, 4 of which the trailer's condition was questionable. Of those 4, I negotiated to have the boats brought to me before money exchanged hands. Those little wheels just turn too fast to trust the seller when they tell tell you they'll be okay.

    Quote And it's always the inner bearing you can't see without pulling the hub.
    A grease gun and buddy bearings won't get sufficient grease to the inner bearings.

    --
    Bill Townsend
    G-Cat 5.0
    Sarasota
    --
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    Edited by hernandezulrich on Feb 23, 2024 - 08:41 AM.

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