This trailer originally came with my Sunfish, but I quickly repurposed it to carry Moga on our vacation. It wasn’t ideal, the bunks were 2x4s with some moving blankets screwed down. I used this setup for two years before deciding to make some improvements in 2021. The roller up forward had started crushing the edges of the keel, and the bow stop put black marks on the paint.
I built a platform to support the keel and keep the trailer from scraping the paint off when I launch. I also lowered the side bunks and moved them ahead a bit. After the platform was built, I took the wheels off to repack the bearings and change the dust covers for some Bearing Buddies.
I’m glad I did because I was greeted to a handful of rollers spilling out of the hub when I took the wheel off. This trailer is pretty old and I don’t think the bearings have ever been replaced. Anyway, I bought some new A-4 bearings, packed them, and got the wheels installed again.
Next I stapled some bunk carpet to the new platform with stainless staples. There’s a wooden block that supports the keel’s rocker up forward under the carpet. I added a jack too, so I don’t have to move the trailer with a dolly or the winch handle. The red bow stop is new as well, the previous one was a black rubber roller that left black marks on the bow. Hopefully this one doesn’t make my boat look like I ran over a scuba diver.
Of course the wiring had quit working so I decided to permanently fix it. I bought 25′ of 7 strand 14ga trailer wire so I could run individual ground wires to the lights. I’m not going to use the trailer as a ground again, too much corrosion. The purple wire is the second brown wire to the brake lights, and the blue wire is the second ground. The red wire isn’t needed at all. I wired everything up with solder heat shrink fittings, which seem to work really well. These things have a little blob of low temperature solder in the middle that melts with a heat gun. After testing to make sure it was wired correctly, I wrapped everything in a few layers of electrical tape. Probably not as good as amalgamating tape, but I didn’t have any.
The boat is supported much better and hopefully there’s no way to scrape paint off now. The trailer jack has taken the room for the spare tire, but I plan to make a bracket for that later.
For a while now I’ve thought the suspension on my boat trailer was a little too stiff. It makes thumping noises at the slightest bump and recently while I was towing the bare hull I’m pretty sure the trailer bounced completely off the road! So, in 2022 I ordered a pair of 500 pound leaf springs and changed them out. Of course my impact driver’s battery had to die right at the end so I scrounged up a worn out hacksaw to cut the U bolt in half. This improvement has really helped and I hardly hear any thumping now.
Last year somewhere on the trip down to Cape Lookout one of the fenders fell off. The other one has stress fractures radiating out from the mounting holes, so it needs to be replaced. Eighty plus bucks for fenders is just ridiculous so I made a pair from some scrap 1/8″ aluminum sheet with my CNC plasma cutter, press brake, and TIG welder.
I bolted them on with some fender washers and now they’re rigid enough the whole trailer moves if I hit them. I’ll get a buddy to powder coat them the next time I have a batch of metalwork ready.
The solid back really helps stiffen everything up compared to the flimsy sheet metal ones I replaced. So $35 in material, $160 in labor, $100 in powder coating… I guess I saved a grand total of -$215 doing it myself!
I’ve never been entirely confident in the trailer’s hubs so in 2023 I decided to take a look at them in preparation for a 750 mile trip and I’m glad I did. The tapered bearing surfaces were full of pits and dings and both rear grease seals were shredded. I bought some new hubs (4 on 4 that fit L44649 bearings plus a pair of 1.983″ x 1.249″ grease seals) and changed them out. It’s a messy job but I’m pleased to say that after 3 hours at 60+ mph the hubs were barely warm to the touch.
I thought my great idea of running individual ground wires to the tail lights would solve my wiring problems forever, but that was not the case. Lately I’ve noticed the right rear light was intermittent or really dim, so after a brief search I found the ground wire had basically turned to powder. Everything was wrapped tightly in electrical tape and I used solder shrink fittings so I have no idea where the corrosion came from. The insulation was crumbly for nearly a foot but curiously the two wires beside it in the same run were unaffected. I soldered on a new section of wire and that solved the problem.