August 16, 2023
When you purchase a used boat you never truly know what was done to it, if anything, or the quality of that work, and the trailer is easily the Rodney Dangerfield of the package. We often don’t think about the trailer until we have a problem which can be a big mistake. Problems with the trailer can cause big headaches, so it’s important to make sure things are in tip-top shape before heading out.
After a roughly 800-mile road trip home from buying our boat, it became clear very quickly that the hubs would need to be serviced, as oil was visibly leaking out. They featured an oil bath system that Ranger quit using years ago and parts weren’t readily available.
I’ve said it many times before–the key to these rehab projects is to know when to do it yourself and when to call in the professionals. A trip to Vic’s Sports Center in Akron, Ohio was in order for this one. After assessing the trailer, Tommy at Vic’s thought it was a good idea to replace the entire hub assembly to the same system that my other boat has. This would make parts more readily available with much less maintenance.
Here is where the decision to bring it to a pro really helped out. The old hub assembly just did not want to come off and they had to do things that I would have not been comfortable doing. But an even bigger issue is that they found that one of the brake lines had snapped and found a tear in another location, causing all of the fluid to leak out. This catch, and the fact that they had the parts and equipment on hand to properly bleed the brakes, was reassuring.
Now that the trailer is safely working, I’m going to use it for a while, then decide whether to do other projects that are more cosmetic than functional. And I’ll take that time to learn if it has any other major issues.
While brakes and hubs are out of most people’s comfort zones, there are many things on a trailer that can be checked and handled by almost anyone. Anything that has a bolt on it should be checked, if not just replaced, depending on the age of the trailer. Items such as bunk support brackets, winches, jack stands, tie-down buckles, rollers, safety chains, and fenders all need to be looked at.
A simple but big step is simply to get a new spare tire. In so many cases, the spare has rotted from being in the sun for years, and once needed it blows out immediately–I have had several friends that have had this happen to them. Investing in a spare tire cover can help slow this process.
We all want the latest in electronics, trolling motors, and other fancy gadgets, but we need to make sure to leave some budget and time to repair the equipment that carries it all.
See the entire process here: