View Full Version : Help putting trailer back in service

09-10-2013, 10:55 PM
I've been very fortunate to keep my boat ('93 PS190) on a lift all summer and only had to trailer it twice / year <50 feet from the ramp to the garage, where it sleeps all winter, then back in the spring. During the summer the trailer (original single axle) is stored outside in a shady spot in the woods. The trailer gets cleaned well, including pressure washing the bunks, annually before putting the boat on it for winder storage.

My situation has recently changed and I will now be trailering the boat. While the trailer is in good shape, it hasn't been on the road for over 10 years. What things should I inspect and/or do to ensure trouble free trips (60 miles one way)?


09-10-2013, 11:01 PM
First thing you need is new tires.
Next is to inspect bearings. They may be OK, but remove them, degrease and look for rust.
Light sockets may be corroded. Remove lenses and inspect.

09-11-2013, 09:02 PM
Thanks for the reply Peter. Even though the tires look new I was concerned about the age. There are no cracks or other signs of dry rot but I don't want to take any chances. I'll PM you wrt tires.

Should I also check brakes? How about the bunks? The carpet is in good shape, but I don't know about the structural integrity of the wood. Same question for the trailer frame. It's never seen any salt and other than a few paint chips that have surface rust looks pretty good. I've read that they rust from the inside out though.

I'll definitely check the bearings and lights. I'd be surprised if the lights all worked since they haven't been used in so long. The good news is I do have a little time.

Thanks again.

09-11-2013, 10:37 PM
Definitely have a look at the brakes. I have no experience with trailer brakes so someone else will need to chime in on what needs to be done.

I would grab a hammer and give any of the rusted spots a whack to check for any serious rust hiding under the surface. You will hear a soft thud instead of a solid metal sound if there is any bad spots. You can do the same thing for the bunks. Having the boat off the trailer is best to do this work effectively.

PM sent back with more tire info.

09-12-2013, 08:26 AM
On the brakes I'd start with the condition of the brake fluid. If the fluid is bad (most times water has gotten into the master cylinder) then you should expect that everything in line going back to the brake shoe servos is going to be suspect. If this is the case you can either rebuild the servos or replace them then flush the brake system with new brake fluid. For the price of new I always replace the servos.

If there is no brake fluid in the master cylinder the seals on the servos have probably rotted away and the fluid has been pushed out into the drums at some point. I see this on a lot of older boat/trailers that I've looked at for friends and use it to negotiate a better price.

Past that the shoes themselves should still look like new. You need to assess condition (look for rust and condition of drums which in your case would be rust would probably be the problem) and determine what corrective actions you'll need to do. If you have light rust you can typically get away with a scuff pad or sand paper, if you have excessive rust on the drums try getting them turned. The backing plates themselves should be able to be clean up. If the springs are rusty they'll need to either be cleaned up or replaced. Again these parts are typically cheap and I usually just replace them.

Depending on how OCD you are, how long you intend to keep the boat, how much trailering you plan to do and of course how much you want to spend you may want to consider replacing the entire backing plate assemblies or (my preference if cost is not a factor) upgrading to disc brakes.