by Churchouse Boats
LIVING WITH EXISTING TRADITIONAL TRAILERS
Even with the traditional trailer, there are still subtle ways of limiting trauma:
We can carry out this work for you or either supply you with the parts to do the job yourself if you have the time to commit to it.
On occasions, we have pre-owned trailers, taken in part exchange, that may not be too embarrassing to sell or use. Contact us for an up to date list of offerings.
The following Notes on Trailers & Trailing may be helpful to you:
SETTING UP FOR THE BOAT
To have a properly functioning trailer-sailer, it is essential to make the trailer fit the boatit serves. In the course of our business we see some appalling rigs that are guaranteed to introduce deep stress & trauma to what is supposed to be a pleasurable leisure activity. Properly adjusted, towing at illegal speeds (UK) does not remind you that you have a boat behind you! It will launch & recover easily & the bearings will stay dry as well.
The spread of hull shapes, varying within a Drascombe type, mean that the trailer ex-manufacturer can only be a first approximation of fit. Adjustments should be made in the order set out below. Change the order & you may find yourself going through the sequence several times!
Noseweight. This is measured at the coupling. Without sufficient downforce, the load attempts to lift its nose taking the car with it. The result is a tail wagging a dog whose back legs have little control on where its going. It is not pleasant!! Scaffie, Dabber & Lugger should have about 30kg noseweight. Longboats & Coasters need about 50kg. If the adjustment needed is small, move the stempost forward. Consider the space needed to adjust the jockey wheel without skinning knuckles (blood does so stain ones decks!). If this becomes a risk, then move the main axle aft instead.
Side support rollers. These should be set to allow the boat about 1" of freedom to rock from side to side. The reason for this is to prevent shock loads punching up on to the hull, with the resultant risk of damage.
After roller setting. On the traditional spine beam trailer, the length of trailer aft of the axle is intended to act as a sprung beam, supporting the keel. It makes a considerable contribution to the straight line stability of the load. With the trailer hitched up to a car, place a jack under the tube the after roller is welded to. Free the nut that sets its position & raise the jack until the after roller has been used to raise the keel about 1/4" clear of the next roller. Give the centreline member of the trailer a good thump to ensure the aft roller clamp is free (i.e. You havent simply lifted the trailer with it). Re-tighten at the new setting. Lowering the jack will load the beam in the required manner.
Tyre pressures. Correct pressures are more crucial for the trailer than for your car. Scaffie & Dabber trailers will have 8" diameter rims with cross ply tyres marked 4.80/4.00-8 sidewall 4 plies. These should be inflated to 50 psi cold. Lugger trailers may have 8" or 10" rims, the newer trailers having the larger rims. 8" Rims should have 6 ply tyres, 4 ply are not adequate for the load & may blow out with disastrous consequences. Inflate the 8" tyres to 50 psi, 10" tyres to 40 psi.
All tyres fitted to 8" rims are rated to only 60 mph. Imagine how fast these small rims must rotate to keep pace with your high performance tow car!!
For other sizes & types of tyre, look carefully at the manufacturers data plate affixed somewhere to your trailer. It should tell you the pressures the tyres should be run at.
Make your own checks. Once you have done some twenty miles or so, stop & feel the tyres. Warm is good. Hot is not! If hot, increase the pressures. Up to 60 psi may be used.
LEAD ON ROLLERS
If you haven't already got them on your traditional trailer, do add them. They may only seem to be two small wheels but they do make a difference to keeping the boat aligned on the aft roller. If you have the roller support style shown here, we can supply a kit which contains a new keel roller, the longer axle, the wheels, washers & pins to do the job.
TRAILER PROBLEMS & MAINTENANCE
A properly set up trailer in good condition follows the car comfortably. You will know it is there but it will be stable & quiet. In this state it will communicate any bearing rumble giving you plenty of time to sort them out.
Dont run them to collapse! It will cost you new suspension units as well.
On our new trailers, the bearings are waterproof & sealed for life. However, if you have the older style, keep them well packed with grease - the more grease, the less room for water. On hearing the first rumble, grease the bearings by levering off the hub caps & filling the hub with grease. If the old grease has got wet & turned creamy, you really need to clean it out first. If you have grease nipples that work, use them & be thankful! They are so small & feeble that they do not last very long. when they break, revert to the hub cap method.
Jack up the wheel off the ground & give it a good twist in all directions to check for play.
Road test the rig. If quiet returns, there was little play & the bearings are running cool, you are OK. If not, it is time for new bearings. Apart from noise - probably disguised by your ICE, the surest test for worn bearings is heat. When you stop after a run, touch the hubcaps. If cool, great. If warm, OK. If hot, not!!
The procedure for fitting new bearings is:
Lever off the hub cap & clean out the grease.
Remove the road wheel.
Remove the split pin that is through the castellated nut & then remove the nut & washer behind.
Pull the bearing if you have a puller. If not, tap or beat the bearing off the axle with hammers & cold chisels but avoid damaging the axle. Use fine abrasive paper to clean the axle. Wipe well to remove grains.
Tap the bearing out of the hub from the back. Use the hammer & a block of hardwood. The cold chisel is a last resort!
Install the new bearings as a reverse of this procedure, packing everything with grease.
Tighten the castellated nut to firm but not locked. Back it off a quarter turn & install a new split pin.
Refit the road wheel.
Fill the hubcap with more grease & press in. You should have a worm of grease forcing its way out of the little hole in the centre of the hubcap. (The one you remembered to clean out earlier.)
Spin the wheel to check all is well
There are two types of bearing in use:
# The caged roller
# The taper roller
The caged roller is sensitive to overtightening!
Dont overtighten the brakes. It causes them to snatch badly.
Corrosion is a major head ache. you can expect to have to replace them after 7-10 years. If they dont work anymore, replace the whole backplate assembly.
Dont forget to emery the braking surface of the drum.
The suspension arms should angle down from the rubber to the hub by about 15 deg. Once age has reduced them to level, they are nearing the end of their life. By the time they are 15 deg up, they are cream crackered! Replace them. They are fitted with nyloc nuts which are one-shot. Use new nuts - they dont work twice.
OTHER JOBS FOR THE GREASE MONKEY
Keep the roller axles, the jockey wheel mechanisms, the winch & the coupling mechanisms well oiled/greased.
Check the general well being of all the other nuts & bolts.
Think about painting your wheels every now & then. Small boys do not wash behind their ears. Trailer owners do not paint the backs of their wheels. Both default at their peril!
Wire brush & touch up any rust spots appearing in the galvanising & bolt ends generally. Galvafoid if you can afford it, Hammerite silver if you cant.
PREPARING FOR TOWING: ATTACHING THE LIGHTING BOARD
With a traditional trailer you do not have the advantages of a lighting board on extender brackets. Traditionally, the lighting board is tied to the transom. My lighting board for collecting other people's boats on their traditional trailers has 12’ 0" of 6mm rope fitted to each top end & a pair of cheap car cleaning sponges glued to the back. Put the board against the transom & lean on it to keep it in place. Form a generous bight in one rope & pass it over the top of the transom, back out under it, over the top again & loop it onto the aft fairlead. This leaves you with a free end to pull forward & make off onto the mooring cleat. Repeat for the other side. Keeping them both quite tightly tensioned will cause the board to bend a bit. Hey presto - one secure board.
TOWING AN UNLADEN TRAILER
Towing a traditional style unladen trailer more than a few hundred yards warrants some adjustments inthe cause of both comfort & safety. Even the best suspension units made have limits on the operating range of loads they cope with. (This does not apply to our Swinging Cradle trailers which have stiffer frames & more pliant radial tyres.)
Pay out the winch strap to feed it round keel roller No 1 or No 2 (whichever is most central), leading it back and hooking onto the winch post. Re-tension the winch. This will dampen a whipping tendency on the centreline structure between coupling and trailer axle, normally constrained by having the boat on top.
Use some line to tension the winch handle inwards. These handles are usually only held on by skinny nuts - not designed to withstand the shake, rattle & roll of a long, bouncing journey.
Drop the tyre pressures to about 18 PSI. Unladen, the flexing of the tyre wall is an advantage and the light load will not cause the usual level of heat build-up that is often the cause of blow-out in the loaded state. Dont forget to re-inflate when the boat goes on!! The rule of thumb guide as to whether your tyre pressures are correct is to drive a few miles, stop & put your hand on the tyre. more than just warm needs more air. Trailer tyres run a little warmer than car tyres, but not much.
Try lifting the trailer off the ball hitch to prove it is correctly coupled. When loaded, the essential nose weight has been known to avoid the true penalty of outrageous sin!
Use a short line to tie the jockey wheel to the trailer chassis. The jockey wheel clamps have been known to vibrate loose, dropping the jockey onto the road!
LAUNCH & RECOVERY
With a spine beam trailer, the danger point in launching is in the later stages when the boat tries to escape over the side of the final keel roller. You can limit this by equipping your last keel bobbin with outer wheels to give a bit of bite onto the keel plank edge. We have the parts for you, sold as an aft roller kit - see above.
To recover the boat, ground the bows up the slipway. keeping the weight aft will get you further up the slip on approach. Run the trailer down to the boat & line the two up. Hook up the winch strop, chock the wheels & wind the bows onto the aft roller. Do your final sighting for line & winch her up.
For intelligent conversation & help, ring: 01256 896292
The Sail that becomes a Way of Life!