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petrie141

I just can't win... round 2

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petrie141

So... a while back I had started a thread about my coupler feeling a little shaky. It turns out my trailer breaks weren't working. Haven't been working since we bought the boat about 4 months ago. So i took it to a trailer shop to have them check it out. I got a call today with a list of brake-related things that needed to be repaired but he also threw this piece of information at me. Apparently my crossmembers are rusting from the inside out (1999 tubular frame road runner trailer). They suggest I quit using my trailer asap and replace it with a new one ($4,300 minimum unless I can find a used trailer which would still be in the thousands and hard to find). I asked him to just fix the brakes for now and let me think about replacing it later, he obliged. So... has anyone else had this happen to them? I'm always a little curious as to how honest repair shops are, especially those with showrooms in the building. I'm sure it's just like everywhere else, some places are honest, some places aren't. I'm guessing these guys are just giving me the facts... Just my luck. Who knows right?

onaboat.jpg

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Wakesetter67

Second opinion, and I would assume someone could just replace the cross members and paint to match,

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tccombs

If it has been in saltwater that will eat up a trailor quickly. tubular or boxed with bad drainage and airflow will rust quicker too. if they sell trailers too then they might be trying to sell you something but either way it is worth it to get a 2nd opinion...

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Bill_AirJunky

That blows. Wonder if the boat was used in salt water or something.

Heres a listing for a trailer for sale.

http://www.themalibucrew.com/forums/index.php?/classifieds/item/317-trailer-for-sale-boatmate-model-year-2000-23-ft/

Found a couple on Craigslist too.... using adhuntr.com

http://raleigh.craigslist.org/boa/4072264603.html

http://atlanta.craigslist.org/nat/boa/4063166862.html

Might try checking in with ANY inboard dealers in the area too.

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petrie141

Thanks for putting up with my sob story, y'all. I don't think it was used in salt water ever since the small areas of rust on the trailer are consistent with other trailers at the ramp. I've never noticed anything eye opening about the trailer other than the brakes not working. That makes me wonder who else has the hidden damage of rust on the inside? Who knows... it could be... one of you!!! Dun Dun Dun!!!!

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FastFreddy

Option #1 If they told you it's rusting from inside out how did they know? Ask them to show you what they saw or if they are just guessing its rusting just because it's old.

Option #2 I would ask to replace the rotten crossmembers if the rest of the frame is fine. I'd still like proof of the rusting crossmembers though.

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petrie141

Option #1 If they told you it's rusting from inside out how did they know? Ask them to show you what they saw or if they are just guessing its rusting just because it's old.

Option #2 I would ask to replace the rotten crossmembers if the rest of the frame is fine. I'd still like proof of the rusting crossmembers though.

Good suggestion. I'm also going to ask what are signs to watch out for. That way I have something to keep an eye on.

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brad72

If you do indeed have rust that has eaten through get yourself a small hammer and tap the cross members, each tap should sound the same. Rust will cause the metal to thin therefore sound different/dull as opposed to a sharp ding sound. Another option to get a small fibre optic camera and poke it into the cross member drain holes and having a look inside. They cost as little as $120 these days. Also look for rust around the drain holes and maybe pop out the lights and look for rust behind them also.

Replacing the cross members is an easy job, the hardest part being storing the boat off the trailer whilst the welding and painting is being done.

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malibuparadise

If you can stick your fingers into any drain holes, you can should be able to feel rust flakes, etc. It is very serious if there is any good amount of rust inside as the tubes can simply break apart while driving--not good. Are your longitudinals tubes as well? If so, then they are probably in similar condition. In that case you will probably have NO good metal to weld to and so the trailer is shot except for parts.

Edited by malibuparadise

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REHinH20

Thanks for putting up with my sob story, y'all. I don't think it was used in salt water ever since the small areas of rust on the trailer are consistent with other trailers at the ramp. I've never noticed anything eye opening about the trailer other than the brakes not working. That makes me wonder who else has the hidden damage of rust on the inside? Who knows... it could be... one of you!!! Dun Dun Dun!!!!

Be careful with the no salt assumption - Lake Whitney for instance just a bit north of you has salty enough water MANY people are having to replace their trailers, because of the salty water. It's not necessarily enough to taste, but enough to corrode. Kinda like "soft" water!

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Asmodeus2112

Be careful with the no salt assumption - Lake Whitney for instance just a bit north of you has salty enough water MANY people are having to replace their trailers, because of the salty water. It's not necessarily enough to taste, but enough to corrode. Kinda like "soft" water!

+1 to this, in my years of buying boats around Austin I have seen quite a few boats from the Houston area that are advertised as "never been in salt water", but when talking to people I have found out a few that ran in the mixed brackish water areas around Houston, but didn't consider it salt water. I've been surprised how many people don't know the term "brackish" when I ask as well...

There must be a mechanical standard for inspecting rust. I'd find that out and then find someone qualified to assess my trailer first before scraping it... although I had a single axle trailer this might be enough for me to strongly consider upgrading to a tandem. Sorry you're having back luck on the trailer, not the funnest place to drop some cash.

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Murphy8166

I was on a flight to Vegas about 8 months ago and I sat next to a gentleman that was a hydro / geo physicist...something like that. We got to talking and he said that the Brazos River and the lakes that it feeds has an increased salinity level than most fresh water lakes and rivers in TX. He said that it had to with a couple things - the amount of processing the water goes through at treatment plants in West TX as well as the fact that it passes through some salt mines.

I am trying to recall the conversation...not fresh on mind

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brad72

If you can stick your fingers into any drain holes, you can should be able to feel rust flakes, etc.

I like this idea but in Australia there are lots of spiders that love to hide in the holes in trailers and bite unsuspecting fingers. Red Backs (like a black widow but with a red stripe on it's back) are one that are in plentiful numbers where I live so I won't be poking my fingers into too many holes without a squirt of bug killer first. :)

.

Edited by brad72

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Baddog

I just saw a quick video on The Weather Channel.com about why the ocean is salty. It bascally stated that when rain falls on land it picks up minute amounts of salts as it flows back to the sea and after millions of years the sea has become the salty beast we know today. Therefore not a giant leap to surprisingly realize our fresh water lakes do in fact have a salinity level that we never detect -- but carbon steel will.

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Nitrousbird

On our last boat one of the cross member snapped in two. Luckily it was just driving to/from our local water, so not a big deal on a 3 minute drive on a light weight 17' I/O.

I ended up just taking two steel plates on either side of the cross member, drilling holes through them and the cross member and then held everything together with several Grade 8 bolts. Worked well for 2 years though I didn't take any long trips with the trailer. In the end the only metal that rusted what right at the bottom where the water sits (real fresh water only). Obviously this fix won't work if the whole cross member is rotter out, otherwise this fix should work perfectly, cost very little and not require a welding or removing the boat from the trailer. It won't be noticeable either if you make sure to paint everything properly.

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REHinH20

I like this idea but in Australia there are lots of spiders that love to hide in the holes in trailers and bite unsuspecting fingers. Red Backs (like a black widow but with a red stripe on it's back) are one that are in plentiful numbers where I live so I won't be poking my fingers into too many holes without a squirt of bug killer first. :)

.

A wise man once told me to ALWAYS be careful sticking your fingers in strange places!

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petrie141

*UPDATE*

So the rust is legit, I can see it on some spots of the crossmembers. I scraped a little of it off and didn't see any holes, so I'm guess I'm alright for a little while.

I went and picked up the trailer today at lunch time. Man, it towed great. No noise, no clunking, and it was way easier to stop. But then... I got home. I tried to back it into our driveway and was met with trailer brake noise. The trailer wouldn't back up, the brakes were engaging. So as I walked back to see what was going on I noticed the new master cylinder was leaking on the drive way. That's apparently a separate issue. The stock trailer light harness I have on my truck only has three plugs and a prod. My trailer's light harness has 4 prods and one plug. If you're keeping track, that means one of the prods from the trailer does not have a plug to go into. Apparently, that prod allows the trailer to go in reverse without the brakes engaging. I had NO idea anything was wrong since we've towed the trailer this way for about 4 months now.

This means two things. 1 - I'm clueless when it comes to trailers. 2 - The trailer brakes have NEVER worked since I bought the boat.

So it's back at the shop getting the leak fixed and they said they have harness accessory that allows the trailer to back up without the brakes engaging.

This is the harness on my truck. (09 f150)

10060466584_e7c15c8c97_z.jpg

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Falko

you can most likely get a lock out tab to manually lock the actuator from compressing. Not the most convenient, but will get you by for now.

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FastFreddy

I have the same boat as you. My trailer is a Dorsey trailer with the same style brakes. My Dorsey trailer has a "latch" thing near the hitch that you can slide into position for backing up, this prevents the truck from compressing the master cylinder when backing up.

The brakes won't usually engage when backing up on flat or downgrades but if you are pushing upwards or in loose gravel the pressure on the master cylinder can engage the brakes, that's why they have a manual lockout. Mine is NOT electric.

My point is make sure yours is not like mine. They might be selling you something you don't need.

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petrie141

I have the same boat as you. My trailer is a Dorsey trailer with the same style brakes. My Dorsey trailer has a "latch" thing near the hitch that you can slide into position for backing up, this prevents the truck from compressing the master cylinder when backing up.

The brakes won't usually engage when backing up on flat or downgrades but if you are pushing upwards or in loose gravel the pressure on the master cylinder can engage the brakes, that's why they have a manual lockout. Mine is NOT electric.

My point is make sure yours is not like mine. They might be selling you something you don't need.

Dude! I completely forgot about the latch! I saw it a long time ago and thought, who would want to pull that when they back up, it seems unnecessary? It makes sense now. I should add this to the "best advice from tmc" topic. I guess when I was in my frustration rage earlier, I wasn't even thinking about it.

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FastFreddy

Glad I could help!

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MLBurns

My Boatmate trailer had rust problems (freshwater only). It was powder coated instead of being painted, the rust was between the metal and the coating. I didn't really notice it until the coating started falling off in large pieces. By that time the brake lines were gone and sections of the cross members were trying to buckle.

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brad72

Although our hitches in Australia are different we also have a latch that is manually flipped over for reversing. I find I don't need to use it at the the boat ramp but reversing in to the house yard is a must giving the slight incline. Just need to get into the habit of flicking it back when you unhitch your trailer.

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Faceplant409

Do yourselves a favor and get a 5 pin wiring harness for your tow vehicles.

You can usually find a plug and play version at a local auto parts store.

The 5th pin is reverse. A hot signal when in reverse engages an electric valve that will not allow the brakes to engage.

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footndale

Short term, just reverse your plug and turn the head lights on. This will give power to the brakes and then you can back up. If you don't have the tab, use a few nuts and tape them in. The tab doesn't work very well anyways.

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