Boat Trailer Do’s and Don’ts
by Pat Goss
Trailering is more popular than ever but there are some things that we really need to be concerned with if we’re towing a trailer. Number one is safety. Now certainly there are all the basic things that you’d have to look out for but you have to look out for some other things as well. Keep in mind safety involves not just the trailer but the tow vehicle and the other vehicles on the road around you.
Now what are some of these unusual things? Well number one are some sub-standard leaf springs that are showing up all around the country. These have a tendency to break and they can break when you’re traveling down the road. Now if a leaf spring in a trailer breaks, the normal reaction is that the wheel moves out of position, number one, and that can cause the tire to bind on the fender or the frames of the trailer. Number two, the trailer drops down which also can cause the fender to bind on the tire. Now what can you do to prevent this? Well make sure you only buy high quality leaf springs for replacement and you might also want to consider the trailer safety device.
This is a pretty clever unit, it comes in two pieces. One piece fits up inside the larger one. The larger one has an airbag in it. Now this is attached to the axle of the trailer and the larger piece is attached to the frame of the trailer. Should the spring break the airbag in here supports the weight of the trailer and the two pieces coupled together keeps the axle in position so you don’t have an accident, pretty clever idea.
Also you have to be aware of wheel bearings on trailers. Historically we have to take all of this apart, have to disassemble the bearings, clean them, inspect them, and re-pack them with wheel bearing grease and then hope that you get it right. Well here’s something brand new.
This is from Tie-Down Engineering and what it amounts to is a special hub that has a very aggressive seal on the back that keep moisture and dirt out but the really important part is right here, this plastic cover. Instead of packing the bearings with wheel bearing grease on this one you put it all together and do all the adjustments and everything, put this plastic cap on, take the plug out of the plastic cap, and fill it with gear oil - liquid gear oil. There’s a level line on there so you can very easily check the level of the gear oil inside the cap. You can also check the condition of the gear oil. If water gets in there or dirt it’s going to change the color or the consistency of the lubricant. If it runs low on lubricant you just take the plug out, top it off and you’re good to go. It’s a very, very clever device and it’s inexpensive as well.
If you have a question or comment, write to me.
The address is MotorWeek, Owings Mills, MD, 21117.