View Full Version : Boat Buddy = Junk

09-26-2008, 06:51 AM
Ok, I've had it with the boat buddy/ winch setup on my 2006 PS 197 trailer.

I trailer my boat and use five different boat launches throughout the season. I've never been able to submerge the trailer just the right way so when I drive the boat onto the trailer, the pin fires. I have to get out of the boat and crank the boat up with the winch and manually fire the pin.

After two years time, my plastic boat buddy is mangled and as of last night, my winch is broken.

Does anybody know of a company that makes the old fashioned nose stop/ turnbuckle setup to retrofit an MC trailer?


09-26-2008, 06:59 AM
My 02 fires perfect every time. How deep and how hard are you driving in?

09-26-2008, 07:02 AM
I've tried every depth imaginable from just barely submerging the trailer fenders to completely submerging them.

09-26-2008, 07:04 AM
That sounds crazy...I put the top of the fenders at the water line and have never had a problem. Is the ramp real steep>

09-26-2008, 08:07 AM
I have a 06 trailer and have never had any problems! Sounds like the ramp is too steep!!!!

09-26-2008, 08:22 AM
I've had the 03 for 3 years and now have an 07 and have never had any issues

09-26-2008, 08:22 AM
1998 BB :confused: still doing it's job


Not junk

09-26-2008, 08:30 AM
I did the retrfit and installed the Boat Buddy on our '89 trailer and have never had problems, from the shallowest ramp, Shanghai Resort Norris Lake, TN to the steepest, MYMC's ramp on Lake Wiley, NC, including 39 lakes inbetween in 20 years. It's all about knowing how deep to back the trailer, slowly idling/floating up and into the trailer bunks and then applying just enough throttle to power up and trip the pin. It's not about muscling it up like a bull in a china shop and crapping on everything you don't break! BTW, the wife does the boat driving!

09-26-2008, 09:04 AM
I have had a lot of problems with both my '05 197 and my '08 x14. On a very shallow ramp or a very steep ramp, I get it on and locked in one shot. On everything else, I need to put the trailer in just the right depth to start the boat on. If it's too deep, the boat floats and doesn't ride the bunks. Then I need to put the trailer a smidge deeper to drive further up the trailer because there is too much friction on the bunks. (this might be avoided when I try the liquid roller, but I haven't done that yet) Then I need to pull it out past the initial depth to get the correct angle for the bow eye to hit the boat buddy. If I don't pull it out far enough, the bow rides under the boat buddy. And some times, as a last step, I have my driver slowly back into the water and I "hit it" at just the right time to lock it in. All in all, the trailer only moves forward and back maybe 2 feet during these steps, but it's the only way I can get it to work. Actually, there is one other way - put the trailer in way deep and it'll lock right in but be floating. Then you try to hold the boat centered using the guide poles.

I trailer every time to the lake, so I've probably done this 75 times now in 2 seasons at a dozen or so ramps.

09-26-2008, 09:19 AM
Your pin may have a slight bend in it from the pressure put on it while trailering. That could stop it from working properly.

09-26-2008, 09:30 AM
Thanks for all the replies, guys.

I ski 3 -4 times a week with two different groups of guys that have been around ski boats for 20 plus years and we all have problems with the boat buddy. We tried every imaginable trailer depth and boat speed and still can not get it right and I'm tired of struggling with it.

Replacing the buddy and the winch with the old school simple nose stop/ turnbuckle setup is the way I want to go.

Does anybody know of any companies that sell the components needed to make the change?

09-26-2008, 09:56 AM
why do you need to replace the winch. if you don't like the boat buddy, just remove it and insert a roller.

09-26-2008, 10:31 AM
why do you need to replace the winch. if you don't like the boat buddy, just remove it and insert a roller.

I was wondering that myself. A roller or one of those rubber "V" things.

No problems with my '92. Perhaps you bent the pin.

09-26-2008, 10:34 AM
Never had a problem with mine

09-26-2008, 10:39 AM
Mine always worked perfectly as well. At this point I won't own another trailer without one.

09-26-2008, 10:41 AM
replaced mine one time on my 94 but I can not remember why ( that kind of thing happens when you get old ) .

09-26-2008, 10:44 AM
Mine works great. I also added the Harold's carpet upgrade to make it even better!

09-26-2008, 02:12 PM
Never had a problem. Always works well.

09-26-2008, 02:23 PM
must be a defect boat buddy. If they get a slight bend or are dry with no lube the y wont fire. drive your boar till it hits the V at the front of the trailer. Then make sure your rudder is straight. Now gradually apply throttle until you here it click....That v will no keep it completly straight unless your rudder is straight..my 2 cents......

09-26-2008, 02:28 PM
Perhaps you should try a new pin / boat buddy instead of bailing on the entire idea. I've had an 06' and an 07' 197, both with MC trailers / boat buddies. Both have worked very well for me - although they are not completely fool proof. My 07' was failing to fire at one point, but it just needed some lubrication. It's worked great ever since, and I trailer exclusively.

I never let the boat ride on the pin after the initial pull out of the water. Once I'm up on the flat, I connect the winch, and pull the boat fwd just enough so I can release the BB pin. Then I re-engage as a safety only, in case the winch lets go. But there is zero pressure on the pin during trailering. I also take care not to hit the BB too hard. I use liquid rollers silicon spray on my bunks so the boat slides easier - this requires less throttle to get her moving again if she stops short of BB engagement. The one or two times I've gotten her hung up before BB engagement, I've elected to winch her the last 3 inches until the pin fires , in lieu of slamming her home.

The times I've had issues early on were on different grade ramps with trying to find the right depth. If it is a steeper than normal ramp, I've found a shallower trailer is better - otherwise rubrail might hit BB rather than bow keel. In that case, the silicon is very important, because I do have to power up the bunks. In those situations, If you are too deep, the spare tire comes into play as well (thump, black streak, in that order)

Being too deep when putting boat in can lead to other issues - as soon as bow keel comes off the BB, the bow drops instantly. The bow ring then drops just below the level of the trailer's bow keel pads. WHAM. THere goes a chunk of the composite pad. Our club boat has 2 nice chunks missing from the rubrail in bow from someone having the trailer too deep. Powered up the bunks and SLAM - rubrail vs bottom edge of BB.

So...it ain't foolproof, but if you are having issues - look at the mechanism itself if you have tried different loading methods unsuccessfully. My friends with CC's, Bu's, and wally boats all envy my BB and how easy it makes loading the boat.

09-26-2008, 02:54 PM
To answer your question, you should be able to find what you need at west marine.

10-15-2008, 09:37 PM
Have an 05 197 and a few situations make it hard to get boat on trailer, I think the post riser to the BB is not set to the correct height on the 05's and some 06's. This is supposedly when trailers were made elsewhere and then at the factory. Really steep ramp when water is low bow goes under BB and really shallow ramp when water is high bow goes over BB. Pin might be bent and needs to be straightened out but sometimes the angle is the culprit, so go really slow and talk to the driver of the tow vehicle it will get done have patience. My Yukon Denali has computer shocks so it raises the tail of the Suv when any weight is put on it and sometimes that is the problem. So maybe the tow vehicle needs to be looked at as well.

10-15-2008, 09:45 PM
Just saw the pics of the 2 with BB's and one striking site is the V pads seem to be thicker so maybe you need to use a pc of treated 2x4 instead of the thinner wood that came on the trailer. This will put the bow a little higher and the U bolt at a better angle. My V pad is thin so after seeing the pics I am going to change it and maybe this will solve the problem. Who knows?

10-15-2008, 09:52 PM
I would have to agree with John E.
It seems "conditions have to be right for it to work. I have had the same issues with a 99 Maristar and my current 215.

10-15-2008, 10:57 PM
when i had MC's , i thought the boat buddy sucked too. now i think it has something to do with the trailers. one of our boats , not mc , came with a trailer equiped with a boat buddy. it works great. never have had any problems loading or unloading. it also doesnt damage the boat in anyway.

maybe it has something to do with the way the trailers are set up. however my 04 was not on an MC trailer , and my 01 was. both a PIA. or maybe it has something to do with the bow eye placement on the 190/197 that makes it hard for the trailers to accomodate the boat buddy.

10-19-2008, 07:56 AM
OK after looking over how the boat sits on the front V pads and how much of the front bow eye is hanging down the boat needs to be moved up higher. To do this the front V needs to be shimmed and also the front bunk pads on the front area. I jacked up the boat and undid the front V added a plate shim and also shimmed up the front bunk for about an 18" length. Took the boat to the ramp and now the bow eye hits the pin and the boat does not rest on the BB but on the V. Try this fix. The set up of the boat on the trailer is the problem not the BB.

Old footr
10-19-2008, 10:29 AM
I've been looking to replace mine it's become damaged and marks up the hull. Where can I find them? I've tried e bay with no luck, I should also mention I live in Canada and it's a little tougher to find quality boat shops and supplies.

Thanks for any help

10-19-2008, 10:59 AM
Agree with what's been said....on a ramp where your boat can ride the bunks until it contacts the boat buddy, it'll work fine. On really steep ramps, it will not work well.

I launch on a steep ramp from time to time and do not use the boat buddy as I can barely get the bow eye to clear the v-block (sometime I'll take pics....great ski lake, crummy landing).

Anyway, I always make sure that I tighten the winch strap so that it holds the boats load and the boat's load does not rest on the boat-buddy pin.

I suspect the pin on your boat buddy is bent.

10-19-2008, 11:05 AM
I've been looking to replace mine it's become damaged and marks up the hull. Where can I find them? I've tried e bay with no luck, I should also mention I live in Canada and it's a little tougher to find quality boat shops and supplies.

Thanks for any help

Complete units and parts here, http://kodiaktrailer.com/catalog/index.php?cPath=1&osCsid=5eef2b6660e36e08707cb7d7cde13b9f