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View Full Version : MasterCraft trailers...good or bad?


bigmac
10-19-2005, 12:57 PM
I've been interested to note what I consider to be a rather unusual number of problems reported here with MasterCraft boat trailers.


brakes locking up
won't back up
lug nuts shearing off
empty-trailer brake lockup
bearing failures (some catastrophic)
spare tire mount weld failures


Maybe these are mostly inadequate maintenance issues, but given what appears to me to be good manufacturing by MasterCraft, I wonder about the design and engineering.

Maybe I'm being too harsh and expecting too much, but the problems I've seen reported on this single discussion board suggests relatively frequent issues that I've just never seen in many years of trailering experience, including the 9 different trailers that I currently own, of all sizes and braking systems up to 7500 lb GVW.

Just an observation. These relatively frequent "trailer-disaster" posts certainly do have me on a rather hopped-up trailer maintenance program...

AirJunky
10-19-2005, 01:01 PM
It's not just MC. I know guys with Calabria, 'bu & Centaurian trailers who had major issues this summer. The first two are 2 yrs old boat trailers & both had axles replaced under warranty.
The Centaurian was on a 6 or 7 yrs old SportBoat Trailer & had to have both springs replaced.

bigmac
10-19-2005, 01:04 PM
It's not just MC. I know guys with Calabria, 'bu & Centaurian trailers who had major issues this summer. The first two are 2 yrs old boat trailers & both had axles replaced under warranty.
The Centaurian was on a 6 or 7 yrs old SportBoat Trailer & had to have both springs replaced.

No, I can't imagine it's just MasterCraft, since basically all of the running gear on their trailers (axles, hubs, brakes, etc,) is standard third-party stuff. Even so...

RickDV
10-19-2005, 01:15 PM
I've had more problems with my Shore Land'r trailer than my MC trailer (both of which I consider great trailers.)

Truth is, trailers take a lot more abuse than we think. You can't begin to compare the engineering that goes into a truck vs. a trailer...and yet we expect both of them to travel down the same highway at 70mph. Oh yeah, and then you dunk it in the water regularly. The trailer just isn't going to hold up as well. You can't take trailer maintenance for granted. My 2 cents anyway.

Footin
10-19-2005, 01:38 PM
Rick, You brought up a very good point about dunking them in the water.

When I get to the ramp I wait at least ten minutes for the hubs to cool off before submerging the trailer. This time is used to get everything ready in the boat so once i'm in the water it's ski time with no other messing around.

Ric
10-19-2005, 01:39 PM
I agree, MC trailers needs to be something that's given more attention at MC.
They are beautiful trailers (the best looking in the ski boat market for sure!)
I know alot of the systems on the trailer are coming from outside vendors, but it's MC responsibility to keep the good name alive with incoming QC or design partners as alot of these issues aren't due to lack of user maintenance.
I love the idea of:
the boat buddy
and the trailer drag wheels ,
the disc brakes,
the backup override,
the torsion axles,
oil bath hubs,
gelcoat fender systems and
beautiful wheels

but the idea isn't enough. MC is the best and to put MC name on a trailer, it needs to be "held to a higher standard".

on a more design related note:
My dealer is convinced that my wierd launch ramp is the source of my onload/offload problems with my new boat... I can't argue it because I spend most of my time at the same lake.

gene dobies
10-19-2005, 02:04 PM
Locking up in reverse or locking up empty in reverse and more of a situation of the owner not understand how the anti surge breaks work and that there is a mechanism to disable them,, or not knowing there is a fifth wire for deactivating the solenoid for reverse, the wire being connected to the backup lights. I'm not really sure if these problems are not attritutable to the MC trailer itself, just operators sometimes not knowing.

tex
10-19-2005, 02:06 PM
rust
bad bunks

tex
10-19-2005, 02:09 PM
rust
bad bunks
poor design(any time a prop can hit the trailer)no i was not in too deep
lights popping out or burning out early

They look good and i love the prop guard but that is it! Very poor overall design on the single axel.

X2M
10-19-2005, 02:14 PM
It's not just MC. I know guys with Calabria, 'bu & Centaurian trailers who had major issues this summer. The first two are 2 yrs old boat trailers & both had axles replaced under warranty.
The Centaurian was on a 6 or 7 yrs old SportBoat Trailer & had to have both springs replaced.

I agree with you that this stuff happens to other trailers too. We have had 3 MC's. All of them without MC trailers. Had lots of problems with the first 2...broken leaf springs, brakes locking up, trailer bouncing when empty, etc. So far we are problem free with the brand new one. Proper maintenance is the key I think.
:)

east tx skier
10-19-2005, 02:17 PM
This is more specific to 93 if I have my facts straight. But I'd like to meet the guy whose idea it was to wrap the brake lines on my trailer in a rubber sheath. Not such a worry since I put SS brake lines in last year.

What? This is going to go in the water? Huh, that water will get trapped and rust out the brake lines.

/should've had a v-8.

Other than that, seems I'm luck to not have had more problems than I did.

For you guys with older trailers, keep a close eye on the angle irons that support your bunks. I'll be you wouldn't believe how rusty they are. I added to the "L" support to make a "T" so when one side goes, the other side will pick up the slack until I can re-T.

AirJunky
10-19-2005, 02:17 PM
Locking up in reverse or locking up empty in reverse and more of a situation of the owner not understand how the anti surge breaks work and that there is a mechanism to disable them,, or not knowing there is a fifth wire for deactivating the solenoid for reverse, the wire being connected to the backup lights. I'm not really sure if these problems are not attritutable to the MC trailer itself, just operators sometimes not knowing.
Or the dealer not spending some time with their customers teaching them how to take care of their boat?

captkidd
10-19-2005, 03:00 PM
I agree that without a doubt the MC trailers are the best looking trailers on the market, and they also appear to be the best made trailers. The boxed tubing is far better than the others' I-beam or C-channel tubing. Mine has held up great; the only problem I've had is a broken leaf spring (the weird thing is that it was on the driver's side, not the passenger side as you would expect from the tendency to drop a wheel off the road). The spring obviously is from a vendor, and probably the same one that everyone else uses. I imagine that if most boats and tow vehicles received as little maintenance as most trailers, that there would be a lot more breakdowns.

Those old SN trailers were so ugly that they typically removed them from the trailer at the boat shows, and the new ones aren't much better.

BriEOD
10-19-2005, 03:02 PM
Once I got rid of the infamous "BAR" I have had ZERO problems with my 18 year old MC trailer. Gotta love it. :guitar:

_DiZZ_
10-19-2005, 03:03 PM
Rick, You brought up a very good point about dunking them in the water.

When I get to the ramp I wait at least ten minutes for the hubs to cool off before submerging the trailer. This time is used to get everything ready in the boat so once i'm in the water it's ski time with no other messing around.


This is a very good point... specially for those of us that have drum breaks. :)

_DiZZ_
10-19-2005, 03:10 PM
This is more specific to 93 if I have my facts straight. But I'd like to meet the guy whose idea it was to wrap the brake lines on my trailer in a rubber sheath. Not such a worry since I put SS brake lines in last year.

What? This is going to go in the water? Huh, that water will get trapped and rust out the brake lines.

/should've had a v-8.

Other than that, seems I'm luck to not have had more problems than I did.

For you guys with older trailers, keep a close eye on the angle irons that support your bunks. I'll be you wouldn't believe how rusty they are. I added to the "L" support to make a "T" so when one side goes, the other side will pick up the slack until I can re-T.

The wrap held water and caused the steel line to rust faster. They were trying to protect the line from vibration because it sits inside the frame. I to had to replace my 94 two years ago.

Jorski
10-19-2005, 03:18 PM
I think it is a combination of a low use/low maintenance item and the fact that a trailer is not glorious - it is like a toilet:

When it works nobody notices, but when it breaks....oh boy!

east tx skier
10-19-2005, 04:06 PM
The wrap held water and caused the steel line to rust faster. They were trying to protect the line from vibration because it sits inside the frame. I to had to replace my 94 two years ago.

Was 94 the last year they wrapped it?

BuoyChaser
10-19-2005, 04:33 PM
i've been very happy with my old '85 trailer...little bit of surface rust, replaced the carpeting on the bunks last year...but it never really got a lot of miles in the last 5yrs i've owned it...the previous owner upgraded the bar to the Boat Buddy, which made loading a SNAP!!!

now as for my new '05 trailer...love everything so far, but just curious how to prevent marks from the Boat Buddy on the Bow when loading/unloading...the plastic rubbing on the gel coat certainly isn't good over time...still think SN with the v-nose rubber is such a slick setup and goes markless!!!

Ric
10-19-2005, 04:50 PM
anyone else seeing "scuffs" on their 05's from the bunks.
I'll have to work on a pic but it seems my bunks are scuffing the hull ever so slightly as the boat goes on and off
wondering if my sandy ramp area is getting my bunks sandy and scuffing my gelcoat?
if I am able to over look any slight scuffing on the hull, will it hurt the ski characteristics??

i've been very happy with my old '85 trailer...little bit of surface rust, replaced the carpeting on the bunks last year...but it never really got a lot of miles in the last 5yrs i've owned it...the previous owner upgraded the bar to the Boat Buddy, which made loading a SNAP!!!

now as for my new '05 trailer...love everything so far, but just curious how to prevent marks from the Boat Buddy on the Bow when loading/unloading...the plastic rubbing on the gel coat certainly isn't good over time...still think SN with the v-nose rubber is such a slick setup and goes markless!!!

east tx skier
10-19-2005, 04:56 PM
now as for my new '05 trailer...love everything so far, but just curious how to prevent marks from the Boat Buddy on the Bow when loading/unloading...the plastic rubbing on the gel coat certainly isn't good over time...still think SN with the v-nose rubber is such a slick setup and goes markless!!!

Short of ditching it for a non-marring bow roller, I've seen people have luck with carpet on the boat buddy. Acetone will take the scuffs off. Just rinse quickly and wax afterwards.

SKI*MC
10-19-2005, 04:57 PM
one of the guys i ski with, just had the trailer replaced by MC, a coulpe things went bad on, like the welds on the spare tire (which is in a bad place to begin with, every time te boat comes on or off, the boat goes ontop of that tire, or hits it)

_DiZZ_
10-19-2005, 05:00 PM
Was 94 the last year they wrapped it?
Yes... i believe so

Ric
10-19-2005, 05:04 PM
one of the guys i ski with, just had the trailer replaced by MC, a coulpe things went bad on, like the welds on the spare tire (which is in a bad place to begin with, every time te boat comes on or off, the boat goes ontop of that tire, or hits it)
what model?
I've posted pics before but if the spare bracket is welded to the bottom of the rectangular tubing, it will fracture as it leaves the top weld in a stress point that will give way.
If the bracket is welded at the top of the rectangular tubing, you will be fine.
My 197 does not hit the spare tire but I agree it's tooooo close for comfort. (I had the dealer put a spacer behind the spare tire rim before we ever offloaded the trailer for the test drive as I too, thought the tire was way to close to the hull)

Workin' 4 Toys
10-19-2005, 11:18 PM
I've been interested to note what I consider to be a rather unusual number of problems reported here with MasterCraft boat trailers.

brakes locking up
won't back up
lug nuts shearing off
empty-trailer brake lockup
bearing failures (some catastrophic)
spare tire mount weld failures

Maybe these are mostly inadequate maintenance issues, but given what appears to me to be good manufacturing by MasterCraft, I wonder about the design and engineering.

Maybe I'm being too harsh and expecting too much, but the problems I've seen reported on this single discussion board suggests relatively frequent issues that I've just never seen in many years of trailering experience, including the 9 different trailers that I currently own, of all sizes and braking systems up to 7500 lb GVW.

Just an observation. These relatively frequent "trailer-disaster" posts certainly do have me on a rather hopped-up trailer maintenance program...
I have never had one single issue ever with any of my (we'll say dozens for this conversations sake) trailers. From 4' to 32'. MAYBE one tire blow out I can think of. But never brakes issues. Until this one.
I have seen hubs break off, but the perfect scenerio for that as follows. Having 12000 pounds in a dual axle trailer rated for 10K, taking a sharp left hand turn and bouncing the rear trailer tire through a half missing sewer cover, now thats stress. And broke off only 3 of the 6 lugs and bent the rim, but was able to wobble to a safe stop.
Mac, I have been asking myself this same thing. but was in fear of posting such a thread. So I am glad you brought it up.

Ski-A-Rees
10-20-2005, 10:21 AM
Personally, I was floored when I was at the new salt water series photo shot and I saw that they were putting so called salt water series boats on galvanized trailers. If Mastercraft would could out with an aluminum trailer, life would be awsome. Instead I will be battling with rust for the rest of my life.

Ric
10-20-2005, 02:12 PM
Personally, I was floored when I was at the new salt water series photo shot and I saw that they were putting so called salt water series boats on galvanized trailers. If Mastercraft would could out with an aluminum trailer, life would be awsome. Instead I will be battling with rust for the rest of my life.
there is a local guy here that custom builds the alum trailers but the price was roughly the same as an MC trailer and I just couldn't give up the beauty of the MC trailer for the practical good looks of aluminum. Bottom line, it can be done and you can order an MC without a trailer. It's an option.

SteveO
10-20-2005, 02:31 PM
...love everything so far, but just curious how to prevent marks from the Boat Buddy on the Bow when loading/unloading...the plastic rubbing on the gel coat certainly isn't good over time...still think SN with the v-nose rubber is such a slick setup and goes markless!!!


I keep a spray bottle of soapy water that I spray on the bow above the eye once I am on the bunks and then just ease onto the boat buddy. It has kept me mark free.

lakes Rick
10-20-2005, 11:05 PM
My 91 TriStar had a very POOR MC single axle trailer.. It was made out of channel, not tubing, poor welds, and basically looked like a 3 year old built it.. Dealer said it had been an MC complaint ( expensive boats on poor trailers) for many years. Being my first MC I had no past experiences with MC trailers

My 94 Maristar 225 has what has got to be one of the nicest trailers I have seen.. Tube construction, VERY nice welds, bends, tandem axle with 4 wheel drum brakes.. It is color matched to the boat.. Even my anal porsche buddy has made comments about how nice it is.. MC did it right by me on this one......

MN-MC
10-31-2005, 02:05 PM
Anybody know how to disconnect the surge brakes on the MC trailers (2000 X-Star) when backing up? I had some problems with it locking up the other day. I got into a tight situation and had very little room to manuver when the brakes locked up. Had to disconnect the trailer and move it by hand.

Any suggestions?

Thanks

Ric
10-31-2005, 02:39 PM
Anybody know how to disconnect the surge brakes on the MC trailers (2000 X-Star) when backing up? I had some problems with it locking up the other day. I got into a tight situation and had very little room to manuver when the brakes locked up. Had to disconnect the trailer and move it by hand.

Any suggestions?

Thanks
Welcome!
your 2000 trailer should have the backup override switch. I'm assuming you haven't got the 5 prong trailer light connector?
If you do that, and the wiring isn't shorting somewhere, you won't have to fight it in reverse.
Search this site for a wiring diagram as someone here posted details on "flipping" the plug if your truck is 4 prong and another on actually wiring your truck to match up to the 5 prong connector.

SKI*MC
10-31-2005, 02:51 PM
what model?
I've posted pics before but if the spare bracket is welded to the bottom of the rectangular tubing, it will fracture as it leaves the top weld in a stress point that will give way.
If the bracket is welded at the top of the rectangular tubing, you will be fine.
My 197 does not hit the spare tire but I agree it's tooooo close for comfort. (I had the dealer put a spacer behind the spare tire rim before we ever offloaded the trailer for the test drive as I too, thought the tire was way to close to the hull)



He has an 05 TT 197. I didn't see the break on the weld. But I was there when someone brought him a new trailer that MC was replacing for him.

kwood
11-17-2005, 03:05 PM
I have the same problem with my 05 197, and sport boat trailer. It is very difficult to onload and offload the boat. I was thinking about calling sport boat trailers in California and asking about a roller in the front like the older trailers.

Maristar210
12-23-2009, 02:34 PM
That sea-ray doosh is Right. These are Junk :D

cbryan70
12-23-2009, 02:38 PM
I that there was a thread like this on here "love my boat, hate my trailer"

Sodar
12-23-2009, 02:42 PM
Started by someone named Ric....

http://www.mastercraft.com/teamtalk/showthread.php?t=10598

bigmac
12-23-2009, 04:49 PM
What I've decided, based on what I've learned about these trailers over the last 4 1/2 years, is that they are both good and bad.

I do think there are too many bearing failures. This is mainly from the (IMHO) inadequacy and (IMHO) poor design and implementation of oil bath hubs. I think it's a bad concept, and I think that things like plastic covers only amplify the potential for disaster from that bad concept. Bad concept and bad design are a bad combination.

I also think there have been too many reports of tire failures. Bad choice (again) of OEM IMHO.

Otherwise, in the last 4 1/2 years, MC appears to have improved their design. Braking seems to have fewer lockups. The couplers work better and are more reliable. I don't see reports of spare tire supports falling off. Lug nut shearing, I've decided, is due to faulty maintenance. The design of the bow support V makes much more sense. If my 2004 trailer had that slotted V-block, I could actually load my boat easily. As it is, it's only an annoyance once a year.

So I'll reiterate what I said in the now-infamous bargain-basement-SeaRay thread ... the quality of construction is a good as anyone's. Quality steel, quality welding, but design and engineering have been, and to some extent still are, not all that great. I do acknowledge that things are better now (in most respects) than they were back when I posted this thread.

sand2snow22
12-23-2009, 05:05 PM
MC trailers are better than my experience with DHM, VM, Sport boat trailers and boatmate. VM tandem has a weak frame + drum brakes only on the front axle?

Boatmate and extreme look to be trying to step up their game.

Jerseydave
12-23-2009, 06:38 PM
It seems that the components not manufactured by MC are the cause of most problems.
(calipers, oil bath bearings, tires)

Perhaps if other vendors were used the trailers would have been almost perfect.

bigmac
12-23-2009, 06:57 PM
Unfortunately, those other components are a huge, perhaps majority, component of the functionality of any given boat trailer. I do agree that MC appears to have made some better OEM choices in the last few years.

Maristar210
12-23-2009, 08:09 PM
Howard,

I was looking for a Lakes Rick post when I stumbled upon that thread.

Time flies:o

TX.X-30 fan
12-23-2009, 09:28 PM
It seems that the components not manufactured by MC are the cause of most problems.
(calipers, oil bath bearings, tires)

Perhaps if other vendors were used the trailers would have been almost perfect.




Please............................................ ...........................:D:D



Nothing is ever the fault of "the" factory.

FoggyNogginz
09-19-2010, 08:46 PM
In reviewing this old thread I can state that while my 96 trailer had NONE of these problems, my 2003 trailer has seen brake lock ups, empty lock ups, sheared lugs (2 of them), and bearing failures. What interests me most is what the group recommends as preventative measures for these items? Do we just replace all of the lugs, and add oil to the bearing bath?

Thanks in advance.

bigmac
09-20-2010, 04:13 PM
Replace the tires, brakes, oil bath hubs...shim the bunks, redesign the bow post, and MasterCraft would have a trailer that wasn't pretty much utter crap.

Maristar210
09-20-2010, 09:02 PM
Bigmac,

Glad to see you have returned, even if briefly. You are missed.:)

Steve

kjohnson
09-28-2010, 08:05 AM
I have a 91 PS 190 trailer and I think it is the biggest piece of sh-t I have ever owned. It is difficult to drive on and get it centered and I hate those big a-- fiberglass fenders that crack every time I step on them. I would be much better off with a plain galvanized trailer that would never need to be re-painted or have the fenders re-gelcoated. It's a real piece of crap.

Thrall
09-28-2010, 01:09 PM
Replace the tires, brakes, oil bath hubs...shim the bunks, redesign the bow post, and MasterCraft would have a trailer that wasn't pretty much utter crap.

You're close.
On my 06 trailer at least, brakes are fine once I anti-seized everything, oil baths needed new caps, leaking/cracked on a trailer with only a couple thousand miles on it. Had to mod the bow bunk a little to keep it from eating carpet. Tires were junk (now so's one fender:mad:). 2x4 bunks do look a little sketchy under a 4000# boat, but seem to be holding fine.

Maristar210
09-28-2010, 09:19 PM
,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

jay
06-10-2011, 02:07 PM
I must be lucky, &/or something has gone wrong with the RDT&E process at MC (though this is an old thread - sorry).

Let's start with the good:

I have had no major issues with my '94 MC tandem traier. It was driven from Spokane, WA to Northern VA without issue and gets frequently beat on pretty good with no major issues.

The Bearing Buddies are great (oil bath idea sounds better, but it is a '94). The surge brakes (drum) work perfectly. All lug nuts are intact, and the spare tire is on without concern that it is going to come off.

The not-so-perfect:

I would prefer it to be galvanized since it is starting to rust a little, but the paint does match the gel coat well.

The boat buddy is OK-ish. It works most of the time I don't set it to the locked open position. Generally speaking, I can power load and go. Given the other comments on here, I shouldn't complain too much?

The brunt of the boat's weight is on the keel roller. The previous owner should have replaced it years ago. The old black rubber roller was essentially non-existant in the middle and did wear off a bit of gel coat down to the fiber, but it is structurally intact. I replaced it with one of those orange supposedly "super" polyurethane rollers from West marine...so far so good.

What needs some TLC or basic maintenance soon:
Bunk carpets are starting to dry-rot (1994 for crying out loud) & come unglued from the fenders.

Tread tapes on fenders are starting to come off; again old...