A New Trailer During Now. You Know, These Uncertain Times.

Lots of rusty areas.

With supply chain issues and loooong wait times to order stuff. Cars at 10K over asking, 1 year waits for furniture, and don’t even try and get a Generator.. 1 year wait. So imagine my pain when I dug into WECATCHEM’s trailer for her winter runs to repair, restore and get ready for Dora. Lots of issues that are not safe. Lots of grinding, cleaning, painting and the best.. Talking myself in that it will be okay. It wont. My Trailer was not vaccinated against rust.

Not fresh water

A fresh water trailer. A very nice Phoenix Trailer BTW.. The trailer BTW was used twice a year. In and out. Thats it. New breaks, tires, lines, but that rust gets into the frame, the out was okay. Inside though a mess. We could hammer out small holes of rust, and filled a 5 gallon bucket of rust scale from 4 holes about 1 inch.. So. NOW WHAT? It could be months to get a trailer… F!-iretrUCK…

You may recall some stories on Vintagizing a trailer.

Jimmys barn


Made some cool Chris Craft fendors

So, a trailer is a frame? Right. I need an Aluminum trailer, and I have some parts from the old trailer, like the winch stand. And the other key, measurements. So I can frankenstein a new trailer or used one. So I went to the local Boat sales folks, Jetts marine, by the way, it was a Century Dealer back in the day. And Bubba, Yes his name is Bubba, hooked me up with a trailer that fit the length, and was there for a boat that was on order. He could sell me the trailer and reorder that before the boat came in. HELL YA. Its close enough.

Reader for new fenders… STOP!

New trailer roughed in.. It will move forward about 1 1/2 feet

The winch stand will be up near the jack. Perfect fit and supports below.

So as it turns out, Bubba’s got a bazillion parts that help adjust things and that is what we are doing. The Winch stand is a perfect part. And WECATCHEM floated right on her and today we shift the Winch stand forward and more fitting. A huge thanks to Jimmy, Wayne and Bubba for making it happen.

******************* I know everyone is a trailer expert, so feel free to tell me all your horror stories, and all the things I am doing wrong. THERE, BEAT YOU TO IT!!!!! I will share the the fit details tomorrow. So, now you know what tomorrows story will be. Or not? I might just decide to do a story on Zip! Or not!

Oh look, Horace commented.. YAWN! Whatya gonna do about it!

32 replies
  1. Syd
    Syd says:

    You got lucky on that one. I have been looking for a replacement trailer for Black Witch for awhile so for now it’s at a tech school where they are repairing the rust area’s. One of the old galvanized Moody trailers would be great to find

  2. Bilge Rat
    Bilge Rat says:

    Love my aluminum trailer but I only boat in fresh water. Dual axel, brakes and removable side guides make loading and unloading a 26 foot Lyman a breeze.

    One weird fact: the squirrels love to chew on the aluminum mag wheels when I leave the trailer outdoors.

  3. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    I don’t see any mistakes yet. A couple trailer thoughts…

    1) If you have a spare wheel/tire assembly mounted to the trailer, you will never need it. If you don’t have one, you will need it. They are like umbrellas.

    2) Run dedicated ground wires for the lights. The standard method of grounding through the trailer frame is guaranteed to fail right before a cop comes up behind you. 50 feet of copper wire and 10 minutes to run it costs less time and money than dealing with light issues later.

  4. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:

    We have an alluminum Load Rite under Gottago.

    We have made 3 or 4 trips from Maine to Dora without a hitch. Tows like a DREAM!!!

    The only think I suggest is to rinse it down after dunking it into the salt / brackish water.

    PS: Pic taken in front of the old CC Sea Skiff factory in Salisbury, MD.

  5. Murdock
    Murdock says:

    Absolutely agree with M-Fine on his two points. I’d add on the first one to always make sure the spare tire has been and stays, properly inflated. Just because…..
    Only other point is to make sure your keel does not get destroyed as most modern trailers forward of the outer bunks offer no centerline support. Reason? I thought I saw in one picture aft of the new winch stand placement, Wecatchem’s keel riding right above a centerline boxed rail?
    We’ve seen center rollers under the keels at that point to offer some added support only to have the keels get chewed and destroyed from the on and off routine.
    Better to add another cross brace and extend added bunks on either side of the keel to keep the boat well above that hard surface centerline box frame.

  6. Mike K
    Mike K says:

    what are the bunks made of?
    when i bought a alluminum trailer for my streblow it had huge
    cypress bunks (i was told because cypress dosnt float)
    steve at streblow handed me a spline tool and a bench plane and told me to make it fit now. he had me plane it to match the hull. then put the carpeting back on

  7. Kelly Wittenauer
    Kelly Wittenauer says:

    Agree with m-fine’s points, except that tow enough miles on the rough roads of the midwest/great lakes area & you will eventually experience a trailer flat. If you tow multi axle trailers, I highly recommend carrying one of these “trailer-aid” devices. We’ve used ours twice now & loaned it once to our son, who then bought his own.

    • Bilge Rat
      Bilge Rat says:

      I have carried a trailer aid lift for years (never used it) but started seeing articles stating they may not lift high enough particularly if your tandem axel trailer uses equalizers between the axels. Sure enough, when I tried it it did not lift the axel quite enough for the tire to clear the ground. They make a taller one with a pad under the wheel, but I mounted a 2″ X 6″ on the bottom and now it lifts plenty high enough. Glad I found this out before a flat on the side of the road!

  8. Darthtrader
    Darthtrader says:

    I will add to M-Fine’s comment. Make your bracket to mount a spare hub with bearings and seals, and mount the wheel to that. Next to flat tires, wheel bearings cause problems, but only on Sunday after 6 PM when the auto parts stores are closed

    • Dennis Mykols
      Dennis Mykols says:

      God, don’t get me started on this topic of wheel bearings! The worst nightmare I ever had trailering, was coming home from the Port Huron boat Show with the Century and fried a bearing on the passenger front axel.
      I agree, if you have room to mount a whole hub assembly and tire, it will save you from a lot of heartburn on the side of the road.
      I fried mine so bad, I had to get a whole new axle assembly.
      I carried a spare hub in the back of the truck after that.

  9. Mark
    Mark says:

    I ordered my trailer with a swing tongue. Great option and necessary to fit in my boat house.

    Only problem is the mice love it in there. Just did another wiring repair to replace 3 feet of chewed wire (3rd time).

    Just ordered stainless steel wool to stuff in the openings.

  10. Briant
    Briant says:

    When our trailer was done, we went with the Ferrari of trailers…Ryan Trailers.

    Initially we thought about fiddle-effing around with a used one or an aluminum one, but given that the aluminum ones flex too much, they are not suited for a wood boat…..at least that was what 100 people told me.

    Doesn’t matter. Our new one is a dream.

  11. gary R. visser
    gary R. visser says:

    As a 100% saltwater (salt, not brackish) guy with six trailers, my hard-lessons learned:
    1. Elevated lights on trailer guides with continuous wire runs with separate ground. Period, no discussion, no connectors, no failures. LED lights essential on the elevated guides as normal bulbs shake and rattle themselves to death.
    2. License plate: same, elevated on guides. throw away the silly little illumination, better to have the plate.
    3. For a single axle trailer it’s possible to use a roll-up axle jack but you can’t count on flat tires on hard dry pavement and they like to tip over when you start wrenching. Buy and haul a hydro jack, carry some plywood to support under it.
    4. Nothing better than a battery impact wrench…charged. A serious T bar tire wrench is ok too.
    5. Right now, before you drink more coffee, go jack it up and pull the lug nuts off, smear the threads with waterproof grease and torque them correctly. “Exercise” the lug nuts.
    6. Carry a trailer crash kit. It’s got your lug wrench, a water hose, spare hub, inflation pump, tire pressure gauge, rags, grease gun…the stuff you need. Trip, just grab the kit.
    7. This is dicey…brakes. We take ’em off if possible. I don’t suggest it for you, what I do suggest is you flush them with fresh water and inspect all runs of metal and rubber for rodent gnawing and rock snags. Disk brakes are a butt pain, electric brakes are absurd, torch ’em off before you touch water. Remember: the extra white wire is for the backup light to tell the brake hydraulic actuator on your hitch that the backup lights are on and don’t apply the brakes. Carry a lock-out pin for the hitch regardless.

    Go ahead, ask me how I know all this.

  12. Tim Robinson
    Tim Robinson says:

    If the trailer Is equipped with Buddy Bearings, carry a spear or two. I have lost a few on long distance pulls.

  13. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    For aluminum trailers, if you want float on/drive on guides, weld 2×2″ square tube steel to plate steel and bolt to trailer frame and make the poles slide on with pinch bolts to locate on the bracket. You can get away with one guide if you just mount it to the leeward side bracket and the wind or current will hold it against the guide. Make the slide on bracket so you can slide it back on in the “lay down” position while traveling. If you want to see the Mac Daddy trailer, go see Ebby DuPont’s trailer for his 20′-22′ CC triple – he has thought of absolutely everything. Somewhere I have pictures but probably 3 phones ago.

  14. Dennis Mykols
    Dennis Mykols says:

    Be careful of adding too much bunking. With the light alum frame, four tires with air, and a lot of wood, your trailer will tend to “float” while submerged at the ramp. Tell “ME” how I know this!!! I added an extended box frame around the back to protect the stern from getting rear-ended on the Hacker trailer.

  15. Randy
    Randy says:

    Yeah, a friend and I started by cutting out a few rusted steel box sections on a small hydroplane trailer I had, expecting to just weld in new pieces. Wellllllll, when those ‘bad’ pieces were cut out you could look down the remaining tube and see more rust inside.

    We decided it would be best to not jeopardize the hydro by following this path, so I bought enough tube to copy the old frame and took the whole ‘mess’ to an acquaintance who was an expert welder.

    It was a wise idea. We cleaned up the axle, tongue jack and rear bumper and when completed took everything to the powdercoater.

    Here is the before:

  16. Randy
    Randy says:

    And the finished product — content in the knowledge that the little hydro will arrive safely at her destination!

  17. clay c thompson
    clay c thompson says:

    boy, hanging off the rear like that looks dangerous. i know even a small hit on that transom would be disastrous, but a nice bumper could help with a 5 mph hit. and those aluminium trailers will flex too much, like your old one better. you did ask, you know.

  18. Royce Humphreys
    Royce Humphreys says:

    I second what Mr. Visser stated! I was towing a Grady White to Florida last Christmas on a brand new Aluminum I-Beam tandem trailer. I had the spare, fully charged impact wrench, race jack and lighting. Valdosta, Georgia at 5:30 in the morning on I-75I blew a tire after leaving my motel. Called for road side assistance as a precaution as the December 24 traffic was insane. Within 5 minutes a roadside assistance vehicle showed and ran his emergency lights for safety and we changed the tire and rim with my spare. He remarked that my equipment was better than his! Tried to tip him for his assistance but he would not accept as state of Georgia did not allow. I called his office to report on how professional and great he was. Paid it forward!


    In 1985 I had custom steel trailer built for my launch. 5 or 6 trips from Canda to the St. Johns river and many boat shows in the U> S too. This spring took trailer in new springs!! The frame was so badly rusted I had to leave the trailer for scrap… I had forgotten that I had had it for 36 years! Nothing lasts forever!

  20. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    I have heard of filling the rectangular tubes with oil to prevent rust and wondered if anyone did. Seems like a lot of trouble but go price the cost of steel and see if this might be appropriate You could even use old crankcase oil.

    • Roamer Tom
      Roamer Tom says:

      Compare the cost of steel to the Coast Guard fine when your trailer leaves a “sheen on the water”.

  21. Jim G
    Jim G says:

    One thing I’ve learned from dealing with boat trailers for 25 years. Is the axle manufacturer uses regular wheel bearing grease. Which in a year or so. Becomes emulsified with water and turns to syrup.

    The best thing to do is go ahead and have the bearings cleaned and lube with Marine wheel bearing grease. This will save you big headaches down the road.

  22. Jim Staib
    Jim Staib says:

    Must have been the thing to do. I bought a “new to me” trailer for my U-22. Had an aluminum trailer once. It floated. Launching on a river was a challenge. Had solid steel bars welded to the axles. By the time I had it modified to the way I liked it parts were wearing out.

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