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Boat Trailer Questions

gogittumgogittum Nature CoastPosts: 3,263 Captain
The little 12 ft Mirrocraft I've been working on is simply too small for me so jumped on a chance at a good deal on an older Starcraft 16ft.....the lighter utility version.  Figured it'd be small enuf to get around in the creeks and all, but still light enuf to muscle it off sandbars, etc. when necessary.

I got it for a fair price, but figured it was for the boat only.  Motor looks rough and I didn't even pull the cowling - figured if it ran it'd be a bonus, but more likely a write-off.  Trailer was almost a deal breaker.  Great big ugly thing, covered in rust, tiny wheels.....didn't like the looks of it at all, but I went ahead with the deal.

Boat turned out to be a gem.  Light enuf (around 300#) that I manhandled it off'n the trailer the other day by myself without strain.  It's an even 16 ft long x 63" beam x 20" freeboard from chine to gunnel.  That makes it capable of going into the salt on nice days - inshore only.  Many plans for the boat, but gotta get something going to move it on.  Aaaaghh.....looka that awful trailer.

Mmmm....maybe best not be too hasty here.  I cut some of the crappy rebar reinforcement off it and that made a huge difference in appearance.  It's made of heavy wall 2 3/4" steel tubing with heavy 1/4" steel gussets.  Built for a much heavier boat, it's more than enuf for my little Starcraft.

I put a laminated sanding/grinding disc in the angle grinder and tried a couple of spots.  With rust gone, it's well pitted but still very solid.  Pitting is cosmetic at this level.  Sooo....I put in about 8 solid hours grinding, then painted it and am well pleased.  It won't win a beauty contest one, but will do the job I need quite well.

I also put new 20" tires/wheels with new grease seals, bearings and Bearing Buddies and heavy duty guide-ons.  Mounted the lights and plate at 40" to keep them out of the water.  Never have found lights - LED or otherwise - that hold up to repeated dunking.  Looks to me like a good solid base to work from.

Now for the questions for you guys.

At the rear of the trailer is this pivoting arrangement.  Angle is correct for the V-hull of the boat.  Lays out flat and comes up to almost vertical.  Never seen the like, but I think I can see the benefit.  Trouble is, it's far too high and needs to be dropped several inches.  Not a problem there but it will disable the tilting function.  Thoughts ??

This is the actuating lever at the front in up position.  You can see the hook farther back to lock it in down.  I don't have a problem with this, but don't really see a need for it.  Has anyone seen anything like it ??

This one has me baffled.  It was originally built as a tilt-bed trailer, which I love the idea of, but some previous owner didn't like it - or had trouble with it - to the point he welded the whole mechanism solid.  This shows the actuating lever, held in lock position by a heavy (unpainted) pin.  Three welds hold it locked.

The pivot point, with 2 more welds/

......and the front of the tilt portion with 2 more welds.  To me, the tilt bed is a highly desirable feature and I can't fathom why the guy had it welded so solidly.  I can cut those welds out easily enuf and restore the function, but maybe I'm missing something ??  Don't want to shoot myself in the foot on this.

What do you guys think ??


  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 4,673 Captain
    Buy a used trailer in good condition (and it will still need a bit of money) or better yet a new trailer... That old trailer will cost you to restore and that will still be going on when you finally get a decent trailer... Bad or broken trailers do very had things to the boats sitting on them (another "ask me how I know" deal...).

    I'm a guy that tows his skiff on the road 20,000 miles a year (real deal) - and have for years now... You'll be much happier with a decent trailer under your hull, period... 
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • gogittumgogittum Nature CoastPosts: 3,263 Captain
    Bob, I'm well aware of your qualifications.  I'm quite familiar with towing myself, but don't have your depth of experience.  To me that trailer looks some ugly (much better now) but very heavy duty and rock solid.  I worked it over pretty hard with the laminated disc on the angle grinder and, while I found lots of pitting, there were no thin spots or holes.  I don't think I'd hesitate to put a 17 ft glass boat with a 90 hp on it.

    I'm curious as to what you're seeing that I'm not.....??
  • gogittumgogittum Nature CoastPosts: 3,263 Captain
    P.S.  I;ve already put a new hitch on it, as well as tires, lights, bearings, seals and bunks.  Nothing much left to buy for it.
  • gogittumgogittum Nature CoastPosts: 3,263 Captain
    One well respected person here and one other on another forum expressed concern about the trailer's safety. Neither has replied to my question about what caused their concern. I'm not an expert, but I Am quite knowledgeable and have towed boats 100s of 1,000s of miles over many years and seriously couldn't see a problem. Still.....a concern was raised and I don't want to be the cause of a wreck.

    Today I took the trailer to a welder here in town who also builds boat trailers and asked his opinion. He checked it over, banged on it some and listened to the sound....and pronounced it good - very solid, very heavy duty. He did say it's not the prettiest thing around, but my new paint job does make it look pretty good.....from 10 ft away.

    I feel much more secure about the thing now and will hopefully have many adventures with the boat. I've started on the new bunks and tomorrow should be able to load the boat back on it and finish it up, ready for the water.
  • gogittumgogittum Nature CoastPosts: 3,263 Captain
    P.S.  He did say he'd leave the tilt bed feature welded up.  It's not a necessary thing and freeing it up would introduce a possible weak spot(s).  I'll take his advice.
  • Alex from GAAlex from GA Posts: 1,684 Captain
    You only need a tilt trailer when you're using very shallow ramps with no slope as you know.  Or places with no ramps and you don't want to get the truck stuck.  You said the trailer is made from tubing; are there drain holes or is it open in the back?
  • gogittumgogittum Nature CoastPosts: 3,263 Captain
    Ends of the tubes are welded solid closed at both ends.  Boat is light enuf - 300# (ready for water weight should be in the <500# range) and I've put new grease-able keel rollers on the trailer - that it should roll right off on any ramp.  Getting it started back on may be a bit more interesting, but we'll see what we shall see.  Proof of the pudding will be at the launch ramp  I do like tilt beds, so no telling what the future of this thing may bring.

    Got the new bunks almost finished today and boat will go back on trailer tomorrow.  Then a bit more motor work and it should be good for 1st trial run.  I figured that ugly old Johnson 15 hp to be a write-off but it started right up with ether and compression is Very Good.  Intake was almost plugged solid with Mud Dauber leavings, so cleaned it all out and rebuilt the carb.  Haven't tried yet to start it again.

    Meantime, in my spare time, :wink: the little 12 ft needs some fine tuning on motor, then it'll be up for sale, complete with folding grab bar, tiller extension and stick-um carpet squares.
  • MelbourneMarkMelbourneMark Posts: 3,843 Captain
    Use it till it rusts away.  Your boat is light enough.   Save cash for a deal on a new trailer or a decent used trailer. 

    I recently rebuilt a used trailer; and by the time I bought all the parts I was 2/3 the price of new!   So, keep that in mind. 

    Obviously, this is a small light boat, so you can get by with something a little rusty.  

    Tubular steel will rust from inside out and is a pita...  You say its welded, but water still may get inside. 

    good find on the deal tho!
  • surfmansurfman WC FLPosts: 6,022 Admiral
    I don't think you need a tilt trailer personally and I have seen people weld them solid before. I have had tilt trailers in the past and it really didn't help all that much in my opinion, as Alex said only really a benefit in certain conditions and even then marginal.
    Tight Lines, Steve
    My posts are my opinion only.

    Be thankful we're not getting all the government we're paying for.  Will Rogers
  • gogittumgogittum Nature CoastPosts: 3,263 Captain
    Update......I pulled the boat off the trailer and turned it upside down by myself so's I could work on the bunks.  Very light for a 16 ft.  Then turned it back over, pushed the back of the trailer to the bow and hooked on the winch strap to the bow eye.

    Trailer sitting level and boat sitting level on ground and I cranked it right on with no problems.  The rear keel roller and angle of the bow made the difference.  The tilt will stay welded.
  • Soda PopinskiSoda Popinski GrovelandPosts: 16,407 AG
    sounds like you got it sorted out.  
    You can't pet a dead dog back to life 
  • gogittumgogittum Nature CoastPosts: 3,263 Captain
    sounds like you got it sorted out.  
    It's coming together fast now.  Anticipation is building.  :smiley:
  • Soda PopinskiSoda Popinski GrovelandPosts: 16,407 AG
    Tell me about it.  Supposed to have the boat done today FINALLY!  20hr service check, trolling motor mounted and hooked up, happening this morning *fingers crossed*.    trailer is good, i'm just about ready for my trip to Marathon in june.    
    You can't pet a dead dog back to life 
  • gogittumgogittum Nature CoastPosts: 3,263 Captain
    edited May 2021 #15
    I've got a choice coming up and can't remember if I mentioned it.  Old timer's disease.

    The boat is very light and has a 15 hp on it, so we'll see how that does, but plan A so far is to put an electric start tiller steer 25 hp on and call it good. my stuff in NM, I have a 50 hp Tohatsu and Todd center console and all the rigging out of the Dustbuster.  (this one will be Dustbuster III)  Put a floor in the Starcraft and make a real comfy cruiser out of it.  Hmmm....??

    Waaay about ~1986 I did some hoss-trading with a 14 ft Valco and came up with a 16 ft Ouachita with 18 hp.  It was lighter and lower freeboard than this Starcraft and had round chines.  Scooted right along with that 18 hp and was fun to play in.  Had some good times.

    Then I got fancy and built a small aluminum console, put in carpeted plywood floors, forward steering and controls and folding seats.  Put a 30 hp Mariner on the transom.  Mounted a small foot-pedal Minn-Kota on the bow with battery midships.  Made a really nice little boat out of it and that 30 scooted it right along.

    Also turned that neat little boat into a pig.  In comparison, it wallowed in the water.  Going at speed, a hard turn would suck water up over those rounded chines to the gunnels and create humungous drag.....somewhat scary out on the ocean off San Quintin, Baja one day with a friend's son on board.  It was a better boat and more fun as a skiff.

    I want this one primarily for dinging around in rivers, lakes and creeks with occasional forays out into the salt chuck on nice days....maybe the spoil islands, barge canal and power plant discharge and such.  It has plenty of freeboard for a moderate level of chop and is a V-bottom.  Bonus is that it tows like a feather - rock solid, stable feather.  

    I've already proven that it's light enuf for me to manhandle around by myself if'n I get stuck on a bar or I do believe it's going to see the minimalist 25 hp option with tiller steer.  I'll sell the 50.  

    I'm going to need a battery anyway to run the chart plotter, radio and bilge pumps, so it won't take many more amp-hrs to start a 25.  Small battery will work and there's always the pull start.

    A neighbor did give me a foot pedal Minn-Kota but it's pretty rough and the lesson with the Ouachita might be old, but is still fresh enuf in my memory.  Prob'ly not.
  • Alex from GAAlex from GA Posts: 1,684 Captain
    Your memories reminded me of our times in San Quintin.  We'd trailer our 23' Seabird there and catch calico bass, white seabass, yellowtail, skipjack and other stuff and stay in a resort on the bay.  Don't remember the name.  A Valco was a common west coast boat back in the day.  
  • gogittumgogittum Nature CoastPosts: 3,263 Captain
    edited May 2021 #17
    From the border to Maneadero, south of Ensenada, it's all pretty much Tijuana style.  From there to San Quintin is more laid back and San Quintin is a fairly nice little farming and fishing village, but to me what spoils the whole thing is the endless trash everywhere, all the way down.  The people have no pride of home or community and there's no question you're in a 3rd world country.  I realize it's popular with retirees but you couldn't pay me to live there.

    My friends had a retirement home on the peninsula at Pedregal, so we launched at the ramp there at the north end of the bay and ran south thru the mud flats and out the entrance.  Turned northwest and jigged, then trolled for Yellowtail off San Martin Island with no joy.  What a beautiful place.

    South of San Quintin, the endless, empty, gorgeous beaches are beyond fantastic.  I camped on some of them when heading south for Whale watching at Guerrero N.e.g.r.o.....always mindful of the danger to lone Gringos off in the boonies with nice trucks.  The pistol stayed home - not allowed in Mexico on pain of prison.

    I loved turning inland on Mexico 1 at El Rosario and buying fresh fruit at the farmer's market there - only things I could peel.  Dysentery is a very real and very common affliction down there.  I didn't even shower above my neck with Mexican water- some can get in your mouth and that's all it takes.  Then up into the mountains and the huge cactus gardens for miles.  I'll have to do a series of stories on those trips - I went down there 8 times.

  • Alex from GAAlex from GA Posts: 1,684 Captain
    Sounds like we did about the same things back in the day.  We'd usually go to Bahia de Los Angeles, when the kids were out of school for Easter vacation, if we had a week or more but San Quintin was our alternative if time was short.  There were 3 or so families in campers that we went with from '74-92 or so.  The furthest south we went, in the campers, was Mulege and camped on Bahia Concepcion.
  • gogittumgogittum Nature CoastPosts: 3,263 Captain
    Great memories.  It was a lot different then.  Times have changed.

    Did you ever fish the Gulf side farther north ??  I really liked Puertocitos.
  • Alex from GAAlex from GA Posts: 1,684 Captain
    A buddy and I went to Gonzaga Bay for a week and had a great time.  We took his 15' tin boat and caught many tuna, corvina and other stuff.  I caught my largest ever fish, about 200 lb mako on thay trip.
  • Soda PopinskiSoda Popinski GrovelandPosts: 16,407 AG
    wanna see a nightmare?
    You can't pet a dead dog back to life 
  • Soda PopinskiSoda Popinski GrovelandPosts: 16,407 AG

    This was a fresh hell of grinding and swearing for 3 hours straight. But my bunks are secure 
    You can't pet a dead dog back to life 
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