Thread: WARNING! Check your trailer!
03-24-2008, 10:23 AM #1
WARNING! Check your trailer!
I just got back from a 3,000 mile road trip, and had 2 very serious close calls involving my trailer. I thought I'd share these with you guys here.
I did not approach this trip lightly. I knew it would be an endurance test. I pulled both tires on my trailer, and inspected them. I wasn't totally happy with the rubber, so I ordered two new rims and rubber. Since they didn't arrive until the day before we departed, I put the old tires back on (mistake #1). I also pulled the hubs, cleaned and regreased them, bought a spare hub and 2 wheel bearing sets as spares.
So of course, I blew a tire as I drove through Jacksonville. This wouldn't have been a problem, except where it happened there was no real shoulder, and I wound up driving 2 miles to exit 349 on the rim, with cars buzzing me at 80mph.
While in Florida, I noticed the lines from my winches that hold the skis on were frayed. I swung into West Marine in Fort Lauderdale, intending to switch to nylon webs instead of the polypropylene line. Unfortunately, I couldn't find webs to convert my winches, and would have had to drop $100 each on 2 new winches. So I left my old lines on my winches. (mistake #2).
During my drive home, climbing the hills outside of Allentown PA, I noticed the handlebars of the SL650/750 were wiggling around more than the SLX. I asked my wife to look at the skis. She thought the SL might have slid back a few inches. The pic's below show what I found!
Lessons learned? Well, it was only after all this that I considered the age of my equipment. I bought this trailer used, and didn't know the history of it. I think it is safe to assume that these were the original tires and winch lines, which would make them 10 years old. Just because the tires looked ok on the outside didn't mean they were good internally. These weren't those little skinny tires I see on a lot of jetski trailers, but they're still pretty small in diameter. Before I do another long drive like this, I think I'll switch to some 12" or 13" tires. They sell them in the 4 on 4" pattern my hubs use, and will hold 1.5x the weight. Give me a little more safety margin.
I now also run a ratchet tie through the bullnose of both skis, and around the winch kingposts.
5 more miles down the road, and the outcome would have been a lot different.....
03-24-2008, 10:28 AM #2
Yea I have safety chains for both my ski's added to my winch as well as webbing for the winch.
If my webbing broke my ski would slide about a half a foot before the chain would stop it.
I used to also strap them down in back as well, but I have gotten lazy LOL
03-24-2008, 10:32 AM #3
On all of our trips we use a chain on the bowhook and a big nylon web over the back of the craft. This os for everything from the ski to the big runabout, we only started doing this after a friend of ours turned his Donzi into a sled on the highway.... OUCH.
Glad you caught it before it got real ugly!!
03-24-2008, 10:41 AM #4
Yeah, I used to run a tiedown from the rear of the ski as well, but when I slid the skis back to make room on the front for 2 standups and the deck, the tiedowns weren't long enough anymore. Guess that's mistake #3!
03-24-2008, 10:51 AM #5
- Join Date
- Aug 2006
Good post! all my ski's and boat get the transom tied and a redundant bow line you definitely dodged a bullet! luckily I made all my trailer mistakes to date with work trailers
03-24-2008, 12:00 PM #6
- Join Date
- Jul 2007
- near Toronto, Canada
Hard to tell from the pictures, but it looks like your trailer frame is not level, in the photo on the road shoulder.
Is your ball mount too high for that trailer?
Putting on larger tires will raise the trailer frame some, but it is still good to have the ball mount height match the trailer, so that the trailer tows level.
03-24-2008, 12:25 PM #7
I've always been paranoid about tires, hubs and tie downs on my PWC.
I have my spare with a hub mounted to the trailer and on longer trips another spare tire/rim in the truck or motor home.
My bearings are checked/greased every year and replaced when needed.
I will NOT leave my house with out a rear tie down but I have never replaced my webbing on the winches, I will tonight.
Thanks for the story!!
03-24-2008, 01:02 PM #8
You're right, the longest drop-down for my hitch is still too high for my trailer. That's one of the reasons I'm considering putting on bigger rims/tires. That will necessitate flipping the axle under the springs, also raising the trailer height.
03-24-2008, 02:02 PM #9
03-24-2008, 03:18 PM #10
thanks for sharing this story. Its very important trailering is taken very seriously. I run 13's and I carry another 13" spare and a complete hub, packed.
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