best trailer, bunks, how to, lube, lubricant, move, perfect trailer, quarter rule, Sea-Doo, sea-doo maintenance, show me, tire pressure, towing, trailer care, trailer wheels, winter project, winterization, xps
This BLOG includes tips and insights on seasonal maintenance, systems care, and the products to help maximize your Sea-Doo Life. The fact is, your watercraft spends most of its life NOT in the water but for most on the bunks and now is the perfect time to conduct a trailer check-up. Here are typical items to consider in establishing a trailer check-up program.
Keep it Clean
Corrosion can cause health problems for any maritime vehicle and the first defense against corrosion (rust) is to eliminate corrosive elements by keeping not only your Sea-Doo watercraft cleaned and dry but your trailer too. For those riding in salt, brackish or polluted water, this treatment is particularly important regardless if your trailer is painted or galvanized. When possible wash off the trailer at the boat ramp, or at the nearest carwash.
During the winter months, keep the trailer as dry as possible by storing it in a dry, well-ventilated area. For those storing their Sea-Doo watercraft and trailer outside and covering it, ensure that air can circulate under it and that it will not sag and allow water to pool.
During the down time inspect the trailer frame and wheels for scratches, rust or weak spots. Pay particular attention to joints and fasteners. If any corrosion is spotted remove it immediately, and apply a preventive coating such as a cold galvanizing compound. Weak spots should be repaired and rusted bolts or rotten bunks should be replaced. Exposed or cracked welds should also receive preventive treatment since they also can form galvanic cells that can cause expedited corrosion.
Rolling to the river
The majority of trailer problems involves the wheels and includes: flats, blowouts and burned-out bearings. Ensure the tires you use match the load requirement and are rated for your highest anticipated tow speed. Tires can loose pressure during times of non-use and the colder winter months. Check the tire pressure (cold) regularly to ensure they are at the proper PSI to ensure dry cracking or deformity doesn’t occur over winter. Also never use different size tires on the same trailer to ensure the trailer will track evenly.
To measure the health of your tire’s tread, conduct a visual inspection and implement the quarter test. If any cuts, slits, or damage of any kind visible replace the tire. The quarter test helps determine if the tread of the tire is acceptable. Place a quarter coin in the tread channel and if the top of the head on the coin is visible it’s time to replace the tire as less than 4/32” of the tread is remaining. Also inspect the wheels (particularly around the bolt holes) for cracks or deformation, and replace the wheel if you find problems. Check the lug nuts for tightness, and be sure they are not corroded and fused to the lug studs.
As you prepare the long-term storage of your Sea-Doo watercraft, repack the trailer hubs to prevent moisture in the bearings that could lead to corrosion. When you repack the bearings, use marine-grade grease, a new grease seal and a new cotter pin.
Be sure to pack grease into the bearing prior to installing it, and tighten the bearing to the designated torque. Most bearings require the nut to be hand tight (spin the wheel while tightening) then backing off the nut to insert the cotter pin. After the hub has been repacked the wheel should spin freely but without play.
Let the lights show the way
Being seen through the trailer lights are vital to safety and are also required by law. Proper functioning trailer lights start at the vehicle connector, which should match or adapt to the car’s system and should include a ground hookup. A ground connection through the trailer ball is not sufficient as a resulting poor ground may lead to dim or flickering lights and corrosion. The electrical wires should be free of abrasions and securely attached to the trailer. If wires are loose wires they can flap and wear and eventually fail so secure them with tie wraps or trailer specific wire routing.
To help ensure your lights are bright and responsive use silicone or rubber sealant to seal the lamps where the wires enter. Apply electrical grease to help protect the sockets and prevent connection corrosion.
And everything else
Be sure to inspect the overall stature of your trailer with your watercraft on the bunks looking for sags or the combination sitting unevenly. Give the springs a look for corrosion and breakage and the axle for straightness.
Check the wood bunks and carpet for rips or abrasions, as this is literally the cushion that is protecting your watercraft hull surface. If you must replace the trailer bunks, use pressure-treated wood.
Take the time to check the winch and lubricate the gears and cable or check the strap. Now is a good time to ensure your license and tag is up-to-date. Your trailer is where your watercraft spends most of its time and is what takes it to the water where the fun begins.
Take the time to check your trailer during the long winter months as Dr. Doo’s How-To tips help you live the best Sea-Doo life possible.