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INeedgas

Trailer Structural Failure

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INeedgas

Well this weekend I finally made it up to the lake to spring clean the 02 Response. As a part of my spring ritual I wax the extire boat including the hull before putting it in the water. While laying under the boat on my back today, I was shocked to find a major structural failure of my trailer. The trailer is a Malibu trailer that was purchased WITH my boat. It is the typical single axel custom trailer that fits the model of boat that you buy from Malibu. The trailer has less than 500 miles on it, is waxed semi-annually and is stored indoors nearly 365 days a year. The issue is with the steel concave middle tube (next to the axel) that goes across the trailer and has the bunk posts welded to it. At the apex (center of the V) of the tube I have a 12 inch long 1/4 in wide crack in the steel tube along the top of the tube running along a corner of the tube lengthwise. The V of the tube is shaped that the if looking from the rear of the trailer it looks like a V. The crack appears to be from stress wanting to bend the apex of the V upward. Not only has the tub cracked, but also the structural indentation in the tube at the apex has buckled out. There are no signs of rust, just a fracture of raw steel. I plan on calling Malibu first thing in the morning.

So here are my immediate questions? Dontknow.gif

It is about 1 mile around the lake to the boat ramp. I would like to get the boat off the trailer so that I can take it in to have someone look at it. Do I risk complete trailer failure to get the boat off at the boat ramp, or do I let the whole thing sit still and try and get a manufacture rep to come look at it before I even attempt move it?

Has anyone else heard, seen, or experieced anything similar?

Has anyone had any luck with trailer warranty, etc, for a 6 year old trailer? (By the way the Response is sitting in storage next to a 1972 I/O Viking Deck Boat which has a rust bucket of a trailer but is still structurally sound).

If Malibu/Trailer Manufacture wont do anything about it, would insurance cover something like this?

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jphillips

Not sure what the failure means, but if you are going to move it. What about moving it like 5am in the morning (when there is no traffic) at a slow crawl with four way flashers on to and from the launch site"?

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Birm

I would probably go ahead and unload the boat and then get the trailer to a shop for repair. Sounds like something a good welder should easily be able to fix. I doubt that it still covered under warranty. Good luck.

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YJim

Maybe you could have someone with a mobile welding rig come out and take care of the problem. Would be way less of a PIA than trying to get Malibu to cover a 6 year old trailer...

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footnlongline

It sounds as if your trailer is a Elite brand, custom made for Malibu. Is the tubing Boxed? Do you have 6 bunks that hold your boat? If your answer is yes, then you should have more spars( cross members) than one. What your describing sounds like freeze damage. Water enters the weep hole on the bottom of the tube when launching and then gets trapped by rust from inside the tube, Michiana winters cause it to freeze and blows out your spar. BL is you should be ok to make it to the lake but I would submit a insurance claim and avoid using that trailer after that because that spar needs to be completely cut out and replaced. BTW if it is Elite brand, I think they are out of business, sorry.

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99response

Yeah, first off Malibu does not make trailers...there are a few brands it could be, I don't think Elete was still in business in 2002.

A look at the tag near the tounge of the trailer will tell you who made it.

-Chris

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jgouveia3

And there is a difference between Elite and Elete. Elite is still in business, ELETE is not. I had an Elete with my '99 and '00 responses. The Elete lasted 2 seasons in my environment (brackish). Real POS trailer...

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edwin

My vote is that you hit something with the cross member of the trailer. I had a fishing boat trailer get hung up on a ramp where the pavement had cracked and partially slid down into the lake. The result was the cross member hitting the edge where it had broken apart. I looked for something like a 2x4 to help smooth the transition and guide the trailer over the lip but it was snowing so no luck. Only way back out was to put the truck (F250 PSD) in 4 wheel and pull it over the lip...ended up pushing that cross member up and back quite a bit, also breaking the welds where it connected to the bunks and outside rail of the trailer. $50 at the welding shop and a can of Rustoleum and she was good to go.

Post some pics...

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INeedgas

Thanks for everyones feedback. So here is the deal. The trailer was made by Sweetwater Metal Products in Sweetwater, TN. I called them this morning and they were very polite. After describing my issue I was transfered to the owner of the company. There is only a 1 year warranty on the trailer, however they have aggreed to fix the issue and repaint if I just bring them the trailer. I guess that is making the best out of a bad situation. They told me that there would be no structural issue with trailering the boat to the lake first.

Here is the source of the issue. There is probably a little hole at either end of the cross spar where it is welded to the frame. Water got in the hole and filled part of the spar tubing. The water was not able to drain from the spar tubing and froze this winter, blowing the spar tube apart. Word of recommendation is that if you live in a northern climate where you are prone to hard freezing, and you dont ever put your trailer in saltwater, you may want to consider drilling a small weep hole in the bottom of lowest point of each spar to ensure that no water is able to sit in the steel tubing.

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electricjohn

Low spots on trailer tubes usually are drilled.

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footnlongline
Low spots on trailer tubes usually are drilled.

As I said in my earlier post, the holes become clogged with rust and traps the water, then it freezes. Making the weep holes larger and cleaning them out with a hanger when winterizing will eliminate this potential problem....I do it as part of my layup schedule.

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SacRiverRat

Stop waxing the bottom of your boat :Doh:

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