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How to set up the trailer?

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  • How to set up the trailer?

    In another thread, someone said "...if they bother to set up their trailer properly..." . OK, I'll ask, how should that be done? I just got a used 1999 15' Palm Beach (50 hp Evinrude) on a 1999 Continental trailer that has two bunks and 3 rollers up the center. The black forward and middle rollers are marking the hull and the aft roller is inches below the bunks-unused. The previous owner said he just powered on, despite ramp signs prohibiting the practice.

    I don't have another person with me to get the tow vehicle so I have to tie up, get the truck and back into the water. Using the hand crank, I am having fits getting the boat back onto the trailer: it drifts off to one side or the other by the time I get the trailer into the water, although I try to straighten it, it always is way off one side or the other.

    Question is, are the rollers needed, and if so how should they be adjusted? Any suggestions on how center the boat on retrieve so I can quickly exit the ramp.
    Thanks.


  • #2
    Re: How to set up the trailer?

    Wow! Sounds scary.

    Are the keel rollers adjustable? On a keel roller/bunk trailer it is the keel rollers that should take the weight of the boat. The bunks merely keep it level.

    Step 1. Adjust the aft roller to support the transom. If needed, move the boat on the trailer (and the winch stand, if needed) so that the transom rests on the aft roller.

    Step 2. Adjust the other rollers to support the keel.

    Step 3. Adjust the bunks so that they keep the boat level without taking a lot of weight.

    Step 4. Weigh the hitch. If it is not 7-10% of the total weight move the axle carrier to achieve that balance.

    Power loading is easy but dangerous, even with a properly set up trailer. Many places it is forbidden altogether. I recommend cranking her on the trailer. The centered pull of the winch should keep the boat centered as well and smoothly rolling the keel up the rollers.
    sigpic

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    • #3
      Re: How to set up the trailer?

      What you will need is a pair of these...I have had them on every trailer I have owned over the past 22 yrs. Also, as JB mentioned, I, too am not a fan of power loading. I have spent many an hour on and around ramps and have seen the results of some accidents. Not too pretty....anyway, here's a link..

      http://www.iboats.com/Boat_Trailer_G...view_id.238441
      Captain OUPV

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      • #4
        Re: How to set up the trailer?

        I agree, guide on posts will really help.
        Dale
        Cavu V
        2004 Regal 2860
        Dou Props

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        • #5
          Re: How to set up the trailer?

          Guide-ons for sure.. it's like two people helping me..
          The Lead Dog has the best view.

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          • #6
            Re: How to set up the trailer?

            Thanks guys for the quick responses. JB, you're right, it has been scary. I will be following each of your your points. Once the rollers and bunks are adjusted the next thing on my shopping list is a pair of guide posts.

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            • #7
              Re: How to set up the trailer?

              It would appear you are also backing the trailer too far in the water. Once a boat is nosed onto the trailer it should stay centered unless you are dealing with very strong current or wind. Guide ons certainly help but experimenting with trailer depth and proper adjustment makes loading simple.

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              • #8
                Re: How to set up the trailer?

                I think I may have been backing too far, but recently only backed until the trailer was 3/4 submerged, and the rear tires were just an inch or so into the water. But you're right. I need to get the guides installed and practice.

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                • #9
                  Re: How to set up the trailer?

                  On my trailer with rollers and bunks The rollers support the forward portion
                  and the bunks the rest probably about 60 to 80 percent.With a smaller boat the percentage of weight is higher at the stern what with the motor etc back there.Bunks should stick out a little past the transom enough so if it shifts back a little the bunks are still under the transom. About 10% of the weight on the tongue.In your case about 50 to 100lbs.If you support all the weight on the keel rollers you may distort the bottom over time.
                  As you load the boat it is held lightly in contact with the bunks by the guide ons the bow against the tower roller and should settle on the bunks as you carefully pull it out.After a few miles check that all is well,check the hubs for heat.I don't trailer often but have done boats from 12ft to 25ft @ 4,000lbs.

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                  • #10
                    Re: How to set up the trailer?

                    Originally posted by JB View Post
                    Wow! Sounds scary.

                    On a keel roller/bunk trailer it is the keel rollers that should take the weight of the boat. The bunks merely keep it level.
                    Guys!!!

                    Im not a master setting up trailers but I dont believe that the rollers should take the boat weight, doing this you will get a bended shaft. I believe that rollers are there to help load the boat on trailer.

                    what you think about this???

                    Boricua 100%
                    Deck Restoration
                    Swing Away Tongue
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                    13 X 21 Stiletto SS Prop
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                    • #11
                      Re: How to set up the trailer?

                      I will have to agree with JB on the setup. 1st the keel, as stated in other posts, is or should be the strongest part of the boat and the rollers should not distort it unless there are other structural problems.

                      I have been reponding to a number of posts about tilt trailers as that is what I have and use. Most seem to have the same problem. Why is my boat so hard to load and unload. The reason is that the trailer is not set up properly.

                      A keel roller trailer is used and set up differently than a straight bunk trailer. Also launching and retrieving is or should be different. With a bunk trailer one has to have it submerged enough to float it most of the way onto the trailer. With a Keel roller trailer one should only have to submerge enough to get the 1st roller just under the water then once the winch is connected and tight the boat should winch up straight and easily. Again, if it doesn't then something is wrong with the setup.
                      1984 Lund S14 DLX, 35hp Evinrude on a Spartan Roller Tilt trailer.
                      1988 Alumacraft Classic 16 under reconstruction.

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                      • #12
                        Re: How to set up the trailer?

                        No way do you support the boat on the rollers!

                        1 that back roller is only there to help you get the boat up on the trailer if it's in a real bad spot or laying in your yard, there is no reason for it to touch that's why it doesn't.

                        2 You will distort your running surface supporting on the roller do not do it. Those other rollers guide the boat, it should just touch them with enough pressure to do their job and that's it. Do they work great? no, better option two forward bunks to guide your boat (which will fix your loading problem)

                        The rear bunks hold the boat up

                        Sorry but anybody stating otherwise is wrong!
                        1982 Baja 16ss

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                        • #13
                          Re: How to set up the trailer?

                          what a great post. i have the same exact issues as the OP. i was about to post asking the very same things!

                          i need to work on some adjustments and fab a set of guides as well. was out on the water yesterday and had a hell of a time centering the boat on the trailer. mine is setup the same as the OP three rollers and two bunks. ended up pulling her out of the water and centering by lifting the boat onto the rollers.

                          the trailer is really intended for a jon but i was hauling a 15 foot runabout. need to set it up for both.

                          thanks for the advice fellas!

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                          • #14
                            Re: How to set up the trailer?

                            Originally posted by NSBCraig View Post
                            No way do you support the boat on the rollers!

                            The rear bunks hold the boat up

                            Sorry but anybody stating otherwise is wrong!
                            Bold statement. But I still disagree. If your statement is correct then how do you explain all those trailers that have no bunks and then why is it that when you look at tilt trailers the bunk length is only 1/4 or less than the length of the boat?
                            1984 Lund S14 DLX, 35hp Evinrude on a Spartan Roller Tilt trailer.
                            1988 Alumacraft Classic 16 under reconstruction.

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                            • #15
                              Sign up today
                              Re: How to set up the trailer?

                              Think about it if you remove the rollers the boat will sit perfectly on the bunks, just like the fork lift at the marina and the rack and a boat lift.

                              Why would it be different for a trailer?

                              Three roller shafts and the rubber rollers (actually two cause again that back one isn't there for that and isn't even on a lot of trailers) cannot support the weight of a boat.

                              Roller trailers use many rollers to hold the weight, by your theory they could use a whole lot less, kind of just enough, but they don't why?

                              Because a roller isn't made to handle that much and the amount of contact pressure on the hull in so few spots will damage it.
                              1982 Baja 16ss

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