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Trailer Issue 09' Boatmate Rlxi


CTbouychaser

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Hey everyone! Just picked up my new ride. 09' Response LXI. Beautiful boat and I'm psyched. Moved up from a pre-07 Rlxi. Anyways, the new boat sits on a single axle boatmate just like my last one - just a lot nicer looking and newer! Love the LED Malibu logos.

I picked the boat up yesterday in NC and dragged it to CT. With about 1/2 tank of fuel and tower folded back, I hooked it up with same hitch height I used on my 04' Boatmate SA trailer. Probably a little lower than the ideal level, but the other BM towed great like this. I've had a stubborn 07' 197 trailer that was height sensitive - but only really influenced the surge brakes hunting, not tracking.

Cruising at 65mph on I77, I notice that the trailer has some fishtail to it. Not as stable as I'm use to. Small steering corrections in the truck would start the oscillation and it would start tugging on the truck laterally. If I rolled off it would only dampen once I got through 60mph. At higher speeds it would just stay there.

Gas in the northeast right now has hit $4.30 already. So I was tempted to fill her up in NC at $3.70. So I put 16 gallons in. Checked my tire pressures and I was at 75psi on both after 30 miles.

The boat was up against the winch roller and the transom was pretty much flush with the rear edge of outer bunks.

65mph cruising up I40. First tractor trailer rolls past me at about 85mph. His bow wake gets the already 'on edge' trailer oscillating. Bad. Like real bad. Like if I let it go it would just ping pong from lane stripe to lane stripe and make our heads bob left and right until I rolled off. I've never felt that uncomfortable in a vehicle before.

That 130lbs of gas behind the rear axle really aggravated it.

So now I load every bag I have in the Suburban into the boat's storage fwd of the axle. That helped, marginally. Got me back almost to where I was before the gas, but still a smidge worse.

Eventually I added another 50lbs to walk through of bow and put tower back up. That made it better. It would dampen out below 65mph if displaced - but if I was rolling at 70 and got her osciillating it wouldnt dampen. I'm sure if I was over 70 it would get worse and eventually get out of control.

Trailer winch post is not adjustable. Boat was up against the roller. No reason in the world that I shouldnt be able to tow this thing with a full tank of gas and gear without worrying about it tearing the hitch off the truck. This boat has seen a lot of road time on this trailer with the previous owner. No complaints.

Are the new Boatmates sensitive to hitch height as far as tracking goes?? Brakes are perfect.

So any ideas? Thanks!

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Most trailer are sensitive to tongue height

You just need to lower you ball

60 percent of the weight should be on the front axle so that the trailer pivots of the front set

Waggy tail not enough tongue weight

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I think the '09 LXI weighs about 4-500 lbs more than your '04 LXI. Couple that with Chevys light stabilizer bar system and it might cause this problem.

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Most trailer are sensitive to tongue height

You just need to lower you ball

60 percent of the weight should be on the front axle so that the trailer pivots of the front set

Waggy tail not enough tongue weight

Single axle. Wish it were a tandem for this trip. In all reality, the lake is 2 miles away, and it makes one round trip per year to the lift. So in the grand scheme, this isn't a big deal. But in case I ever do take it somewhere.....I'd sure like to know how to make it ride correctly. I'm grabbing a photo of how it was sitting as far as height. Seemed pretty low to me. Have to look at pics to compare it to the 04'.

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I think the '09 LXI weighs about 4-500 lbs more than your '04 LXI. Couple that with Chevys light stabilizer bar system and it might cause this problem.

Thanks. I can't be the only guy towing one of these with a stock 1500 SUV GM platform though. With a full tank of fuel and no spare tire, this thing may have torn the hitch off the truck at 70mph when upset by an input or truck wake.

Edited by CTbouychaser
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any chance you have a stuck caliper?

Doubtful. Did 700 miles yesterday with this setup and I could touch the wheels comfortably everytime I stopped. Unless you think it could stick without generating heat. I've never had one stick that I know of anyways.

The MC trailers were really pricey, but were always junk IMHO. All of them had different braking personalities. My 09 X2 had just a smidge of instability at high speed but only when upset. It would dampen on it's own under constant speed.

The boatmate on the 04 was the best handling trailer I've ever had. Smooth brakes, great tracking.

Brakes on this one are just as smooth as the 04'. It just doesn't want to follow the truck.

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The only tracking issue I ever had was with a rented U-haul trailer. The tire pressure was low and not even once the tires were inflated properly it tracked fine. When I first picked it up and hit 50mph I was certain I was going to crash!

Sounds like you have already checked the tire pressure. Not sure what tires you have but 75psi seems kind of high. I had a single axle trailer for my old Nautique and those tires needed 50psi. My last centurion was a tandem trailer and those tires only needed like 35psi.

I would double check the tire pressure to make sure it is in line with the specs on the tire.

Kris

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I know it is a pain in the rear, but..............

You need to figure a way to move the axle back.

Probably about a foot.

That is what I did to mine.

Mine is a bolt up Shoreland'r.

I tow from Bend down to the Delta often.

I often drive at night both directions.

Lots of curvies and low traffic and I absolutely fly.

I went to a larger wheel, tire, and higher load range tire.

Moving my axle back makes it so I can be going 70 and purposely swerve and the boat just follows mister duramax.

Nothing else works better.

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The only tracking issue I ever had was with a rented U-haul trailer. The tire pressure was low and not even once the tires were inflated properly it tracked fine. When I first picked it up and hit 50mph I was certain I was going to crash!

Sounds like you have already checked the tire pressure. Not sure what tires you have but 75psi seems kind of high. I had a single axle trailer for my old Nautique and those tires needed 50psi. My last centurion was a tandem trailer and those tires only needed like 35psi.

I would double check the tire pressure to make sure it is in line with the specs on the tire.

Kris

That pressure wasn't cold though. That was after 30-40 miles on the interstate and it was 80 degrees outside that day. They started around 65psi cold, which is what is stamped on the trailer by boatmate for those tires at the D load rating. I am curious if going down to 50 or so would make a big difference. Max rating on tire is 80psi cold for its max load rating E, which would be with 5660lbs of boat/trailer riding on them. I'm guessing this rig was at 3200 plus trailer. Probably 4300-4500lbs. I think thats at the very top of class C, low end of D. Your thoughts got me looking into Carlisles trailer info on the web. According to them, if I was running class C, 50psi is good for top of that chart which looks to be about 2200 per tire.

How bout tongue height? Anyone think that bringing it up 6" would improve tracking? I wish I had a big scale to see what tongue weight is as it sits on this trailer right now. I would have thought the tower would shift this boat's CG fwd a bit vs a typical LXI.

I think I'll try 50-55psi next time. Not sure other than tongue height what else I can do.......other than ballast up the nose to trailer it! That would be funny.....as everyone else empties their ballast to trailer home - I'd be filling a fat sac to get mine home.....

Edited by CTbouychaser
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Very pretty boat, but it does look like the axle is located too far forward. From the photo it appears that the axle is forward of the centerline of the engine. Is the winch post welded or bolted to the trailer. If it is bolted on I would try moving it forward a couple of inches.

Edited by BillFooter
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Very pretty boat, but it does look like the axle is located too far forward. From the photo it appears that the axle is forward of the centerline of the engine. Is the winch post welded or bolted to the trailer. If it is bolted on I would try moving it forward a couple of inches.

Axle is under the fwd portion of engine. Winch post is welded. Boatmate is an OEM trailer supplier for Malibu. This is the Malibu trailer that came with the boat from Malibu. It wasn't a custom 'one off' This should be the same trailer hundreds of other 09' LXI owners are towing their LXI's with regularly. I wish the post was bolted. I was going to move it fwd during the trip and pull the boat fwd, but I was bummed when I saw it was welded. I even considered removing the wedge and the FG platform and putting them in the truck.

Someone suggested it was the Thule. Can't wrap my mind around this being an aero issue, but I'm considering it. We are going to hook it to a different truck and give it a whirl.

I've also gotten a bunch of feedback on tire pressures. That even 60 is too much. Some folks even suggesting 40.

I'll try anything, but sure is silly that the trailer and tire mfgr mandate 65 cold and I'd have to arbitrarily just go with 30% less to make it work.

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How heavy is the tongue? I agree with that the axle placement looking to far forward. Mine is right at the middle of the engine. Is it possible your trailer was built for an LX and not an LXI?

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Do you have a higher resolution photo (larger) than the one posted you could email me? For that matter, email me the VIN number for the trailer too.

Regarding tire pressure, low pressure will make it sway worse.

Peter

Edited by SmoothWaterMan
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CT,

I just recently purchased a 09 LXI and single axle 09 Boatmate trailer. I pulled it home from St.Louis last fall with my Tahoe and had now issues at all. I can take some hard measurements from the center of the axle to the back of the trailer....Let me know.

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It would probably be easier to have a welding shop move the bow stop forward than to move the axle. It all depends on the tongue weight you don't want too much on there. I would call Boatmate and see what they have to say. I am sure they could help you out in short order.

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CT,

I just recently purchased a 09 LXI and single axle 09 Boatmate trailer. I pulled it home from St.Louis last fall with my Tahoe and had now issues at all. I can take some hard measurements from the center of the axle to the back of the trailer....Let me know.

That would be outstanding. I've been looking at photos of other late model LXI's on boatmates, and mine doesn't look much different.

Could you also tell me where your transom is in relation to the back edge of the outer bunks? Wondering if my boat is in the right spot on the trailer.

Also - what tire pressures are you running cold and what height are you running the ball? Is the trailer frame level? Slightly down? Similar to mine?

Thanks!

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Do you have a higher resolution photo (larger) than the one posted you could email me? For that matter, email me the VIN number for the trailer too.

Regarding tire pressure, low pressure will make it sway worse.

Peter

Sent! Thanks Pete.

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rig%20at%20hotel.JPG

You have a decent amount of downward slope towards the truck. I'd try a different receiver in the hitch to lift her an inch or two, and also try slightly reducing pressure (seems like a lot of PSI to me) by 5 PSI or so, and see what that does for you.

Beautiful boat!

-- Mike

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The picture shows the issue.

The axle is too far forward.

The slope is fine. The wind coming over your 'Burb will push down on the nose a little the way it is.

The tire pressure is not the issue. Inflate to the max pressure shown on the tire sidewall to resolve tire flexing problems which create heat which create premature tire failure.

Move the winch stand forward. Move the axle back. You need more weight on the tongue.

A normal setup might have the axle 6 inches back. If you want to fly down the road safely move it back a foot. That boat will follow you through the sharp curves.

I frequently tow Dennis ProStar 197 (single axle trailer 16 inch tires), and I have had it going 80 passing slow pokes Saturday morning on the way up to Cultus Lake. The axle is within 6 inches of the rear of the motor housing. No worries.

Looks like this: http://www.boattrader.com/listing/2003-MasterCraft-ProStar-197-98520194

This is from actual experience.

Edited by DONTW8
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The picture shows the issue.The axle is too far forward.The slope is fine. The wind coming over your 'Burb will push down on the nose a little the way it is.The tire pressure is not the issue. Inflate to the max pressure shown on the tire sidewall to resolve tire flexing problems which create heat which create premature tire failure.Move the winch stand forward. Move the axle back. You need more weight on the tongue.A normal setup might have the axle 6 inches back. If you want to fly down the road safely move it back a foot. That boat will follow you through the sharp curves.This is from actual experience.

Well, the short answer is no, the axle is _not_ too far forward.

The long answer is the picture does not show "the" issue, and the rest of your statement is based upon some other trailer, apparently. The one statement that is correct is tire pressure, but unless you have experience with the _trailer _in_the_photo, I might ask you to phrase your statements differently.

I don't mean to jump you, but like many threads this one has lots of conjecture from many people with little based on knowledge of the trailer.

Peter

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I have Been There and Done That Peter.

I am just trying to help.

Let me rephrase the solution.

"I suggest that you move the axle back"

I apologize if I have offended you , sir.

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I've towed the 06,07,08,10 Tournament Team 197's on MC single axle trailers. Towed the 06 and 07 long distances. No problem. I owned an 09 MC X2 (v-drive with engine way in the back) I towed every one of these boats with the same 04' Suburban 1500.

I had an 04' Rlxi on a boatmate as well. Best trailer I've ever owned - at a fraction of the cost of the MC junk. Sorry MC, but your trailers are overpriced garbage....

The MC's all had boat buddies, which were novelties at first, but at times proved to be far more of a pain in the backside than they were a help. The one good thing about the boat buddy was the boat's location on the trailer was always identical fore/aft.

I've not once in my towing experience had to stop the rig for fear I'd tear the hitch off the truck like I did on Monday with this setup.

Rarely when I pulled the 04' Rlxi out of the water would it be pulled into the roller as tight as this 09' is in the photos. It also towed fine on the highway. Heck, it was probably 3-4" further back than this one.

Re-welding the axle or winch post would certainly change the trailer's handling, and probably for the better, but honestly - it's not happening. This is the trailer Malibu provided with the boat, and as such - it should handle safely at highway speeds with everything setup to spec. That would be like buying a sports car and having to replace the front suspension to make it drive correctly.

Peter has helped me determine that this is the correct trailer for the boat. Per his suggestion I am going to winch the boat further forward. Even though it is presently contacting the yellow roller at the bow, I can get the bow eye about 2" further forward and pull it directly into the roller.

I'm running 65psi cold right now, but will bring that up to 80psi cold per the mfgr recommendations for speeds above 55mph. I will also raise the hitch height slightly.

Plan is to do one at a time, in the above order, to see what influence each has incrementally.

Then I will report back.

Thanks everyone for the input, and thanks Peter for working with me today verifying everything and helping formulate a good plan.

I will report back after I make the changes and try it again.

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Four things I can think of that is better about the single axle trailer on an MC PS 197.

1. The axle is in the correct place. More concentration of weight on the tongue.

2. The nylon straps for the PS 197 boat cover work quickly to secure the boat cover to the Mastercraft trailer. We spend way less time attaching the cover on the PS 197 than we do for my Spyder, Rick's Sunsetter, or Terry's Response LX.

3. The tires on the Mastercraft are 245/75 r 16 and have a load rating of 3042 pounds each. The Sunsetter has dual 14's and the RLX is a 15 inch size. Way less rating.

4. None of us has the fancy smancy oil hubs. Blue marine grease , baby.

5. I do 90% of the towing for my buddies and have towed all of these boats plus a 26 foot Mariah cruiser for my crew. I speak from experience. If you are going to throw the experience card at somebody, throw it somewhere else.

6. It is physics question. More tongue weight is the solution.

7. Mastercraft PS 197 is a dagnab fine boat. So is a Malibu.

8. Good luck with your trailer issue that you did not have with your Mastercrafts.

Edited by DONTW8
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