New trailer questions.

badgerbacker

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Jun 30, 2009
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Dave
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I am looking for a new trailer for my 17' Boston Whaler Montauk. I currently have the boat on a customized dual axle 5,000 GVW trailer which is complete overkill, but I liked the idea of twin axles and also brakes. I also thought it would outlast the boat as any corrosion issues would not be a concern due to the heavy build of the trailer. Since I moved it out of storage at the launch ramp, I would like to keep it in my garage but it will not fit. I am looking to have a new single axle trailer built.

My questions are:
1. Is aluminum worth the benefits of low weight and corrosion resistance in a trailer this small? Can aluminum trailers of this size be fit with a fold away tongue?

2. Are brakes really worth it? The two vehicles we have a a 4x4 4Runner and a Ram 1500 so each is plenty capable of towing without them, but the reduced wear and tear and safety seem to be a good idea.

3. Who would you recommend as a builder?

The trailer would be bunk style with keel rollers on all the cross members (preferably on both sides) I am also considering side guide bunks. LED lights and fold away tongue are a must have and if I do brakes I would only do disc with stainless calipers.

Thanks in advance.
 
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Dec 5, 2011
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Santa Monica, Ca.
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Tony O'Connell
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Hardcore
I have a 22 whaler on a tandem 4 wheel disc brake galvanized trailer from Pacific who I would not recommend. I WOULD NOT GO THIS ROUTE for your 17. I would get a HEAVY DUTY single axle galvanized trailer without brakes (unless you do a lot of freeway hauling) with the largest heavy duty tires you can find and a good spare.
This will save you a ton of money and eliminate the ongoing problems with brakes. If you drive carefully you should not have any problems. T
 
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KID CREOLE

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My Mako sits on a 1995 aluminum trailer, I replace the springs and hangers every 3 to 5 years. Not sure why anyone would buy a steel trailer
 
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spear-fish

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Best to talk to an expert. They have the specs on boat weight with fuel and rigging. Most trailer axels I have seen are 3000 lbs rated and your 17' might be close on a single axel when rigged and loaded.
Florida guys love aluminum trailers. I had one years ago that was nice but almost impossible to tow with the boat off the trailer due to bouncing.
I bought a galvanized, Tandem axel Pacific Trailer in 2008 with discs on 1 axel and has served me well. I went with torsion bars suspension which I strongly recommend. Ride smooth, look and work as well today as when new.

Cheers
 
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badgerbacker

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I do plan to go single axle this time, I would really like 16" wheels with good tires but most of the single axle set-ups only have 14" wheels. When I was able to store the boat at home I did tow it about 500 miles a month. Plus a trip or two to the Colorado River (600 miles round trip) each year so it is going to see heavy use. What about torsion springs?
 
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Arima-bob

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I would consider a single axle galvanized trailer. Trailer brakes are nice, but not a necessity for your situation.
 
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jayyyy

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Unless your hull is waterlogged you don't need a double axle trailer. It's a good idea to weigh your boat rigged for use so you know what your dealing with. A single axle trailer with brakes is probably what you need, more than likely no need for a 5000# axle either. An aluminum trailer with 3500# axle and disc brakes is going to give the best stopping and the least maintenance. Nothing wrong with a galvanized trailer with drum brakes either, but if you stop hard without trailer brakes it will jacknife.
 
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Arima-bob

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If he's towing with the pickup, I doubt he would have to worry about a jack knife. That whaler isn't heavy enough. I tow my Arima on a single axle galvie trailer with no trailer brakes and never had a problem. I'm sure it's heavier than a whaler Montauk. And yes, I've put my F-150 on its nose with the boat connected. Make sure the trailer tires are in good shape.
 
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badgerbacker

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Yeah, I know (knew) single axle is all I need. The boat is only 2,000 pounds fully rigged (slightly more I guess since I added a 30 gallon fuel tank since weighing it) I wanted my current trailer to be complete overkill and liked the idea of being able to fit a larger boat in the future. Looking more for opinions RE : aluminum vs. steel prices, can you have with a folding tongue w/aluminum (never seen one) and builder recomendations.
 
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jayyyy

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If he's towing with the pickup, I doubt he would have to worry about a jack knife. That whaler isn't heavy enough. I tow my Arima on a single axle galvie trailer with no trailer brakes and never had a problem. I'm sure it's heavier than a whaler Montauk. And yes, I've put my F-150 on its nose with the boat connected. Make sure the trailer tires are in good shape.

Nah, been there done that with an 18ft aluminum boat. Slam on the vehicle brake's without trailer brake's and the trailer jackknifes, you heard it here first.
 
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Arima-bob

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Nah, been there done that with an 18ft aluminum boat. Slam on the vehicle brake's without trailer brake's and the trailer jackknifes, you heard it here first.

We're you in a turn? That is caused from the weight and force of a trailer pushing the towing vehicle. I drive a vehicle five days a week that is very susceptible to a jack knife situation.

I'm not saying it can't happen, but it's very unlikely. Most of the time in such an event, trailer brakes won't help anyway.
 
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jayyyy

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We're you in a turn? That is caused from the weight and force of a trailer pushing the towing vehicle. I drive a vehicle five days a week that is very susceptible to a jack knife situation.

I'm not saying it can't happen, but it's very unlikely. Most of the time in such an event, trailer brakes won't help anyway.


Going straight on freeway 55mph truck in front of me drops it's load I slam on brakes my trailer jackknifed. Installed brakes on trailer had another emergency stop years later no jacknife. Not sure what you're theorizing about.

And FYI California law,
Section 26303.

Every trailer coach and every camp trailer having a gross weight of 1,500 pounds or more, but exclusive of passengers, shall be equipped with brakes on at least two wheels which are adequate, supplemental to the brakes on the towing vehicle, to enable the combination of vehicles to comply with the stopping distance requirements of Section 26454.
 
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brokeass boater

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I do plan to go single axle this time, I would really like 16" wheels with good tires but most of the single axle set-ups only have 14" wheels. When I was able to store the boat at home I did tow it about 500 miles a month. Plus a trip or two to the Colorado River (600 miles round trip) each year so it is going to see heavy use. What about torsion springs?

Load range D 14" tires will handle your boats weight, plus the weight of the trailer. I like over kill on a trailer too, but 16" wheels is way beyond your needs. 14" D rated tires will get you just over 4000lbs, 15"ers will get you to 5000lbs. This for a single axle trailer. 200lbs or so of your tongue weight is carried on your hitch, leaving around 1800lbs plus the trailer weight to be divided up between the two tires. Spec out a trailer with 15" instead of 16" if you want that big of a overkill,,,gregg
 
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Arima-bob

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Going straight on freeway 55mph truck in front of me drops it's load I slam on brakes my trailer jackknifed. Installed brakes on trailer had another emergency stop years later no jacknife. Not sure what you're theorizing about.

And FYI California law,
Section 26303.

Every trailer coach and every camp trailer having a gross weight of 1,500 pounds or more, but exclusive of passengers, shall be equipped with brakes on at least two wheels which are adequate, supplemental to the brakes on the towing vehicle, to enable the combination of vehicles to comply with the stopping distance requirements of Section 26454.

That's CAMP trailers, not boat trailers. I don't know why you posted that anyway. It also is meant for two axles or more on trailers other than CAMP trailers.

No theorizing, I live in this mess.
 
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tanner.s

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We always towed our old Hydraskiff 19ft that weighed about 2.2k on a single axle, no brakes, with torsion axles. Never had a single problem besides a bearing blowing out. But that was lack of maintenance, not the trailer. That boat trailered great. Torsion axles or good leaf springs are a MUST! These light boats bounce.
 
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jayyyy

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That's CAMP trailers, not boat trailers. I don't know why you posted that anyway. It also is meant for two axles or more on trailers other than CAMP trailers.

No theorizing, I live in this mess.
California Vehicle Code Towing Sections
  • 21655b You must tow in the designated lane, usually the right hand lane, except for passing. When passing you must use the lane directly on the left of the designated lane.
  • 21712 No passengers can ride in a towed trailer, boat, motorcycle etc, except for certain specially equipped fifth wheel trailers and in boats at boat ramps.
  • 23129 No person shall drive a motor vehicle upon which is mounted a camper containing any passengers unless there is at least one unobstructed exit capable of being opened from both the interior and exterior of such camper.
  • 29003 Every hitch, drawbar, coupler or other connection between motor vehicles towing must be securely attached to the vehicle and be strong enough to handle the weight of whatever you are towing.
  • 29004 Every towed vehicle must be equipped with strong safety chains.
  • 22406 No person shall drive a vehicle towing another vehicle over 55 mph.
  • 26508 Every vehicle or combination of vehicles using compressed air at the wheels for applying the service brakes shall be equipped with an emergency stopping system meeting the requirements of this section and capable of stopping the vehicle or combination of vehicles in the event of failure in the service brake air system.
  • 26302 Every trailer over 1500 lbs must be equipped with brakes on at least 2 wheels.
  • 26453 Trailer brakes shall be maintained in good condition and in good working order and adjusted so all brakes work equally on all wheels.
  • 26458 The braking system on every motor vehicle used to tow another vehicle shall be so arranged that one control on the towing vehicle shall, when applied, operate all the service brakes on the power unit and combination of vehicles when either or both of the following conditions exist: (1) The towing vehicle is required to be equipped with power brakes. (2) The towed vehicle is required to be equipped with brakes and is equipped with power brakes.
  • 27600 All trailers must be equipped with fenders, covers or splashguards to minimize splash of water or mud to the rear of vehicle.
  • 24600 During darkness, every trailer shall be equipped with taillights, stoplamps (24603) license plate light (24601) and turn signal lamps (24950).
  • 24604 Whenever the load or trailer projects more than 4 feet behind the tow vehicle or obstructs the taillights, the projection must be equipped with taillamps. (magnetic lights are OK 24605)
  • 21715 No passenger vehicle regardless of weight, or any commercial vehicle less than 4000 lbs shall tow more than one vehicle in combination except for a car on a tow dolly.
  • 21715-a. No motor vehicle under 4000 lbs shall tow any vehicle 6000 lbs or more.
  • 24608 Trailers over 80 inches in width shall have amber reflectors on each side and front, and red reflectors in the rear.
  • 28060 Recreational vehicle and campers with cooking equipment shall be equipped with a fire extinguisher and shall maintain the fire extinguisher in an efficient operating condition.
  • 29003-c. The raised end of any motor vehicle being transported by another motor vehicle using a tow dolly shall be secured to the tow dolly by two separate chains, cables, or equivalent devices adequate to prevent shifting or separation of the towed vehicle and the tow dolly.
  • 35401 No vehicles in combination may measure more than 65 feet in length, (60’ in designated areas) (Motorhomes, in general, may not be longer than 45')
  • 35100 The total outside width of any vehicle or its load shall not exceed 102 inches, except as otherwise provided in this chapter.
  • 35109 Lights, mirrors, or devices which are required to be mounted upon a vehicle under this code may extend beyond the permissible width of the vehicle to a distance not exceeding 10 inches on each side of the vehicle.
  • 35250 No vehicle or load may exceed 14 ft. in height measured from the surface the vehicle stands on.
 
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Arima-bob

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If the question is the legality of trailer brakes, it seems kinda grey. I would argue it. My boats trailer doesn't weigh 1500 pounds.
 
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badgerbacker

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So I spent a couple hours doing some research via Google searches and found a few examples of fold away tongue aluminum trailers. Seems as most have galvanized tongues bolted to the aluminum trailer frame, which alleviates my fear of cracking or failure at the holes in the aluminum. Also found mention of removable tongues. Seems to be big thing in Florida. A removable/extendable tongue with multiple pin hole locations would be nice, I like the idea of being able to extend the tongue for use at shallow or unimproved ramps. I really want a strong versatile trailer that is Baja ready.
 
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badgerbacker

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Dave
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Whaler, Hobie, Kaboat
Any ideas on the price difference between steel and aluminum? I requested quotes via the webpage of a local company... two weeks ago.Called another builder who spent 20 minutes telling me I don't need keel rollers, despite my explaination that I really want them for ease of loading and the fact that BW said that was the way to do it until ownership changed in 1990 and they starting selling the boats on really cheapy all bunk trailers. I will call West Coast and Kokopelli today, thank you Bob and Peter.
 
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grey goose

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Jan 15, 2006
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Darrell
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17' Whaler, 26' Blackman
Any ideas on the price difference between steel and aluminum? I requested quotes via the webpage of a local company... two weeks ago.Called another builder who spent 20 minutes telling me I don't need keel rollers, despite my explaination that I really want them for ease of loading and the fact that BW said that was the way to do it until ownership changed in 1990 and they starting selling the boats on really cheapy all bunk trailers. I will call West Coast and Kokopelli today, thank you Bob and Peter.
I had ABT trailers build my aluminum trailer for my 17 whaler with a single torsion axel and it is flawless tows great, light, no corrosion problem and cost a bit less than quoted from pacific for a galvanized one. I did not put brakes on it cause its a 17 foot boat behind a 1 ton dodge diesel. if I did go with brakes I would use the Kodiak stainless discs.
I do not like torsion axels on anything more than a single axel trailer and if it had to be it would be over kill on a light boat such as yours.
I tow my 26 pilot house boat with a triple axel and without brakes that would be a bit of a risk in my opinion. Add Alex at ABT trailer to your list of options. 818-780-1594 Good luck.
 
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