Trailer Works

By Pat Piper
Published: Summer 2013

Here's how to keep your rig in top shape.

Trailer Guide
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Suspension

Identified as GAWR (Gross Axle Weight Rating) and found on the trailer's VIN plate, usually located near the trailer tongue, this tells you the maximum weight all the axles on the trailer can safely carry. For example, if a single-axle trailer has a 3,500-pound GAWR, this means the trailer can carry no more than 3,500 pounds, including the weight of the boat and trailer, engine, and fuel. If a double-axle trailer has a pair of 3,500-pound axles, its GAWR is 7,000 pounds. Axles are available in many weight capacities. Your trailer has either leaf springs or torsion axles (see sidebar).

Bunks Or Rollers

Your trailer holds the boat with a series of rollers or with a number of long boards (bunks). Cypress is preferable to the usual pine because it is a sturdier wood. Bunks are found on almost all classic boat trailers so the weight of the hull is more evenly supported on the trailer. Be sure to inspect the carpeting covering the bunk for any signs of excessive wear and replace it, or your hull can become marked. Similarly, inspect roller assemblies to ensure they turn smoothly. Roller trailers are preferred for areas with a high tidal range but you’ll see both at any boat ramp.

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