What is your experience with tilt trailers

Suggestions and tips to keep your boat safe when not in the water.

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What is your experience with tilt trailers

Postby John Hart » Thu Jun 24, 2010 11:12 am

I have been totally submerging my trailer (Tee Nee) and floating my boat off to have minimal hull abrasion which has been working great. But I am starting to think that it would be nice to keep the hubs out of the water.

I have a 14' aluminum boat on a trailer, that I don't think has been repacked in years, but we always have kept the hubs out of the water.

There does appear to be a tilt aspect to my Tee Nee trailer. There is a big pin, and then a safety chain. So I have three questions.

1) Is that chain one that is supposed to be unhooked when launching, to allow a large tilt... or is it to stay attached and only allow several inches of tilt. It looks attached without any sort of clip, but maybe someone replaced it at one point and didn't want to use the tilt capability.

2) Would a significant tilt allow me to keep the water line just below the hubs and by lifting the bow a little, launch w/o too much abrasion on the boat bottom

3) What is your perspective or experience with tilt trailers

I know several of us have posted on this before, but any comments will be appreciated.
John Hart
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Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2006 7:26 pm

Postby thegammas » Fri Jun 25, 2010 5:21 am

I have a tilt trailer (Holsclaw)....I haven't found the tilt feature to be that useful. However, that's likely because I converted it from roller bunks to carpeted flat bunks. With full tilt and rollers, I bet I could keep the hubs out on most ramps.

With the roller bunks and keel rollers I assume when you unlock the break point, and push up on the bow, she would roll in. On recovery, hook her on the bow and roll it up. As the boat comes up on the trailer, I suppose the weight eventually causes the trailer to come down, and you roll it the rest of the way on.

Without the rollers, and the carpet on the bunks, you can tilt that trailer all the way and she'll just sit there. Same on recovery, you're not dragging that boat across the bunks. The exception is when the boat is just close to floating off and your pushing it and she doesn't want to go. Open the tilt, push up on the bow, and the bunks submerge a little more and off she goes. Doesn't help on recovery though.

The chain is probably a (good) safety feature, original or after market, to limit travel when not on the ramp. My trailer has a tilt limiter built in. Once I forgot to re-bolt the break point. As I was driving along the trailer was hinging up and down. If I still had the bunk rollers, the only thing keeping that boat on the trailer would have been the winch line and the safety chain on the bow eye. If the motor had not been tilted all the way up, I know it would have bashed on the road.
Peter Stransky
1962 Cortland Custom Sea Lancer
Wilmington, Delaware
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Location: Wilmington, Delaware. peterstransky@verizon.net - put wooden boat in the subject

Postby Phill Blank » Fri Jun 25, 2010 8:54 am

I have a couple trailers with the hinge and they have a chain that limits the amount of travel when released. I hae yet to use this feature when lanching or reloading the boat on the trailer. I have found in most cases that I have to back in so the wheels and hubs are in the water and depending on the slope of the ramp sometime the wheels need to be under totaly.
I have bearing buddies on all my trailers even the now boat trailer, just in case. Infact one of my trailers has grease fittings on the hud and the grease feeds in thru channles in the hub behind the inside most bearing and feeds out thru the center of the dust cap. The dust cap has a rubber plug that is pulled out and the old grease feeds out thru that opening when you pump in new.
Bearing buddies keep the hub filled with grease and the spring keeps pressure inside the hub so water will not get into the bearings. I grease the bearing buddies each time I take the trailer out to be sure there is pressure on the grease within the hub. Generally does not take musch grease to bring the spring plate all the way out the stops on the bearing buddies.

Good Luck,

Phill Blank
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Location: Hurley, Wisconsin

Postby LancerBoy » Sat Jun 26, 2010 5:26 am

I have tilt on several of my trailers. I have never used it. We had it on the 18 ft. T & T boat Balko trailer growing up. I can remember it being used a handful of times.

I have no problem dunking my wheels. I do it two times a week all summer long. Never have had a problem. I do not have bearing buddies. I just check and add grease at least once a summer and repack bearings every two years or so.

I replaced entire hubs on two trailers last year. Just simpler than trying to get bearings out and replacked and both trailers probably had their original hubs from the 1950s or 1960s. Northern Tool was the source.

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Location: Minneapolis

Postby John Hart » Sun Jun 27, 2010 3:06 pm

Thanks fellas.... I think I may try the tilt feature again on my trailer the next time I launch, but give up on the idea of keeping the hubs dry... It is so smooth to submerge the trailer and float the boat off, with zero rubbing of the hull on the bunks... I have six carpeted bunks.

And I also usually go two seasons before I repack the bearings. It is encouraging to know, Andreas, that you go two years with so much dunking of your hubs... I only seem to get my boat in two or three times a season...

I also agree with the Northern hubs as a choice. I just did mine a month ago, and they were $25 each..... The bearing sets alone would have been half that, and it is so painless to put on new, unrusted, prepacked hubs, and be done with it... no cleaning and inspecting. I may or may not repack the old hubs over the winter, and save them for the next time. It is hardly worth the effort for $50. Plus replacing, lets me know they are new and un-pitted, and pressed in correctly.

Also, I noticed maybe a teaspoon of water dribble out of one of the old ones, although it may not have affected anything.

I think my axles (spindles) might be bent a little and letting water seep in through the inner seals.

Does anyone else notice that their trailer wheels are cambered out (negative).. I am not sure if this is by design for tracking, but I think I need to replace the spindles. My boat trails perfectly... no weaving or wandering. However, the tires wear much heavier on the inside.

John Hart
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Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2006 7:26 pm

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