Tilt trailer

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Douglasdzaster

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 19, 2020
Messages
780
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Location
Smithville,Texas
LOCATION
Smithville, Texas
I have a 16/52 that I just rebuilt and had posted the trailer problems I had before starting the rebuild a year ago. The boat sits to high because the 2x6 bunkers are on edge. It I use flat bunkers to lower the boat then it won’t fit between the fenders being a extra wide. It can be trying at times to launch and load.
I was thinking of wheel spacers so I could move the fenders out with longer u bolts.
But when I was looking at it this morning I had forgotten that the trailer looks like it tilts after undoing a fastener.
Has anyone else used a tilt trailer before? I never have and don’t know what to expect when I lift up on the front to make it tilt. Don’t want to get myself between a rock and a hard place like the boat not coming off but the stern is taking on water.
I have a ramp to test it out on by the house. We have a little 38acre private lake in our subdivision. Right now there’s a cross bunk under the boat where it tilts so I’ll move it forward some. I think it’s to far back anyway.
Where should a cross bunk on the front of a trailer hit a 16/52 flat bottom? Is it just behind where the bottom starts to curve up on the boat?
Also the cross bunk looks to me like it’s not wide enough to support the boat properly so I’m going to cut a longer 2x4 and wrap it in bunk carpet to replace the existing board.
Long story short I checked my titles and the trailer is about 5 years newer than my 1984 Monark and I think it’s actually a little to small. I don’t have any of the transom hanging off the back of the bunks though and after what I’ve spent on the boat already I just get get another trailer so I have to make the best out of what I got for now.
The Admiral told me so. 😂
 
If my boat was not perfectly centered it would rub on one fender or the other. Because I didn't want to raise the bunks, I used wheel spacers to widen the track (had to 'fabricate" some "custom" brackets to adjust the fenders out). The wheel spacers were not terribly expense. I ordered mine from Summit Racing. Been almost 5 years. So far so good.

I am always envious of those trailers that fit the boat like a glove. I would have liked to trade up to a larger trailer that better fit my boat, but for reasons not unlike yours, that wasn't an option. :D

Tilt trailers are (or at least were) pretty common. In all my years of boating I've never seen anyone actually use the "tilt" feature. I guess I've been spoiled with good paved ramps.
 
Just be mindful of the boats CG. I haven‘t used a tilt trailer in years but, I suggest that you pull the pin before disconnecting the winch rope. This will control any tendency to tip too quickly In case there too much weight at the transom. If set up right it won’t tip until the boat is partially off the trailer.
 
If my boat was not perfectly centered it would rub on one fender or the other. Because I didn't want to raise the bunks, I used wheel spacers to widen the track (had to 'fabricate" some "custom" brackets to adjust the fenders out). The wheel spacers were not terribly expense. I ordered mine from Summit Racing. Been almost 5 years. So far so good.

I am always envious of those trailers that fit the boat like a glove. I would have liked to trade up to a larger trailer that better fit my boat, but for reasons not unlike yours, that wasn't an option. :D

Tilt trailers are (or at least were) pretty common. In all my years of boating I've never seen anyone actually use the "tilt" feature. I guess I've been spoiled with good paved ramps.
Many moons ago I had an old fiberglass tri hull with a 70 hp. Johnson (no tilt or trim). Had to run to the back of the boat and lift the motor. I pulled it with a little GMC Sonoma. It had a tilt trailer that was a blessing.
All the ramps that I took my current flat bottom to where concrete or paved. One ramp on a lake I don’t fish much is just the right angle and depth that I could just give the boat a little shove and it was off the trailer. Loads easy there to. I can coast up on the bunks and give it a little throttle and I’m on. And most of the shallower ramps I can back the truck a little ways in the water and have to push and wiggle to get the boat off.
There’s one lake that is about a 30 minute drive and I really want to fish it. But there is a lot of slippery algae on the ramps and you don’t dare put the truck in the water. I launched this boat there one time with my 2005 2wd F150 I had. I didn’t back the truck into the water because I new better but I had to Wade out and fight to get the boat off. Then the ramp itself was wet from previous traffic and I spun tires almost all the way back up with the empty trailer. When I loaded the boat back on the trailer with the winch the truck ramp was dry and with the weight of the boat I drove off no problem.
I’ve since traded that truck in for a newer F150. So the rear end is still light compared to the others. It’s 2wd but I can put the transmission into manual mode and take off in a higher gear to help with the spinning and it also has a lock I can engage for positive traction.
I got to use it a few times before working on the boat and I never spun a tire. I just didn’t have the guts to take it to Fayette county where the algae ramps are. It’s claimed a few trucks through out the years I was told.
Seriously thinking of getting me some playground sand and adding a couple hundred pounds over my axle. And the sand can be poured under the tires if need be to help.
I just can’t bare the thought of my new truck sinking. It’s a close call between it and the boat as far as my favorite. I mean Fayette county is known through out Texas for its bass and it’s not that big. Tried catfishing there on a Saturday and almost got run over several times by the big bass boats. And they didn’t like me anchored where I was. I figured I’ll go on a Monday or Tuesday since I’m retired and avoid a lot of traffic. Maybe even have room to drift fish some. It’s got some nice channel cat and big Flatheads. The flatheads are biting the bass fishermen lures during the day. It’s even legal to drift jug lines there for catfish but I was told the bass fisherman would cut them if they’re in the way.
It’s either there or an hours drive to Somerville as far as good fishing other than bass. I did all my bass fishing in tournaments 20 years ago.
Now I’m hunting fish to fry and fish big enough to take a picture of and release. I’m after that 50 plus lb. Flathead of blue cat that I have to fight just right to get it in the boat.
 
Just be mindful of the boats CG. I haven‘t used a tilt trailer in years but, I suggest that you pull the pin before disconnecting the winch rope. This will control any tendency to tip too quickly In case there too much weight at the transom. If set up right it won’t tip until the boat is partially off the trailer.
Good advice. I need to find a place that will let me weigh the boat and trailer. Then I can determine if my tongue weight is right.
On dry land I can loosen the winch and try to left up on the front of the boat and I can’t lift it very far. The casting deck the previous owner put on it has a thick big piece of metal that the chair post goes into. Only part of the boat I haven’t gotten to yet to see what’s under the floor.
 
If the pivot point is at or near the axle and it’s towing Ok you should be in good shape.
Thanks I didn’t actually look for the pivot point this morning I was looking at where it separates and thinking I’m going to have to extend the wiring for the lights which will be done on the front because the wires flow through the tongue well.
I’m going out there right now and look at the pivot point.
 
If my boat was not perfectly centered it would rub on one fender or the other. Because I didn't want to raise the bunks, I used wheel spacers to widen the track (had to 'fabricate" some "custom" brackets to adjust the fenders out). The wheel spacers were not terribly expense. I ordered mine from Summit Racing. Been almost 5 years. So far so good.

I am always envious of those trailers that fit the boat like a glove. I would have liked to trade up to a larger trailer that better fit my boat, but for reasons not unlike yours, that wasn't an option. :D

Tilt trailers are (or at least were) pretty common. In all my years of boating I've never seen anyone actually use the "tilt" feature. I guess I've been spoiled with good paved ramps.
How thick are your wheel spacers. I may have to do up to 2” spacers to get the fenders out of the way. My boat is 52” bottom and grows out to 72” wide up top.
 
I had a tilt trailer at one time but never actually used it in the water. From what I gather they are designed for launching where there is no ramp at all, you can essentially back the trailer tires right to the edge of the water and dump the boat off. Loading would consist of tilting the trailer back and lining up the keel with the last roller and winching it on. I eventually just welded the tilt hinge on that trailer solid as I found the lack of rigidity in that area to be causing some sway while towing, and we have good ramps here so I never used it.

You mentioned that you have decent ramps in your area, so I think you're on the right track by getting the boat sitting lower on the trailer, be it by wheel spacers or a widened axle, rather than attempting to use the tilt function which is a "better than nothing" type of solution IMO. If you set the trailer up right loading can be accomplished in a minute or less.

One thing that can also help, a tongue extension, puts the boat further into the water without dunking the tow vehicle. Longer trailers also back easier and tow better.
 
How thick are your wheel spacers. I may have to do up to 2” spacers to get the fenders out of the way. My boat is 52” bottom and grows out to 72” wide up top.

I used 1 1/4" spacers, so added 2.5" between the wheels. My boat still doesn't sit all the way down between the fenders but rubbing the fenders is no longer an issue.
 
I used 1 1/4" spacers, so added 2.5" between the wheels. My boat still doesn't sit all the way down between the fenders but rubbing the fenders is no longer an issue.
Thanks for the information. I’m going to have to do some measuring but the bunks the boat sits on now are 2x8 so I’ll be lowering it 6” which is great if I can make it work. I’m wondering if I use spacers to thick could it harm the axle.
 
I had a tilt trailer at one time but never actually used it in the water. From what I gather they are designed for launching where there is no ramp at all, you can essentially back the trailer tires right to the edge of the water and dump the boat off. Loading would consist of tilting the trailer back and lining up the keel with the last roller and winching it on. I eventually just welded the tilt hinge on that trailer solid as I found the lack of rigidity in that area to be causing some sway while towing, and we have good ramps here so I never used it.

You mentioned that you have decent ramps in your area, so I think you're on the right track by getting the boat sitting lower on the trailer, be it by wheel spacers or a widened axle, rather than attempting to use the tilt function which is a "better than nothing" type of solution IMO. If you set the trailer up right loading can be accomplished in a minute or less.

One thing that can also help, a tongue extension, puts the boat further into the water without dunking the tow vehicle. Longer trailers also back easier and tow better.
I got a hitch extension when I got my truck and it makes a difference.
There wasn’t much support for the front of the boat on the trailer. It had a 3”-4” roller between the center of the Boat and the bow. It was to little a roller roller and was putting the center strike through heck. I put a cross bunk I ordered in front of it and got the weight off the roller.
I think I need to move that bunk up to just before the boat starts to curve up (flat bottom) and it’s only 24” wide and the boat is a 16/52. I’m going to use a longer board when I move it up.
Does where I’m placing the cross bunk sound about right.
All of this will change when I’m able to lower the boat.
 
Thanks for the information. I’m going to have to do some measuring but the bunks the boat sits on now are 2x8 so I’ll be lowering it 6” which is great if I can make it work. I’m wondering if I use spacers to thick could it harm the axle.

I had similar concerns about using wheel spacers and asked a very similar question. What I learned is that some don't like them and some like them. While they add just another thing that could potentially go wrong, they are in pretty widespread use in the four-wheel drive world. That would be a lot harder on them than anything they would ever see on my lightweight boat trailer. So I felt pretty confident using them.
 
Wheel spacers on a 4x4 or even a car are a really bad idea. On a trailer with a light boat, it’s probably not an issue.

It really sounds like you trailer just doesn’t fit you boat very well. Maybe it’s a good time to consider looking for a different trailer before you start dumping cash into this one. Just a thought. I’ve been down the same trail.
 
Wheel spacers on a 4x4 or even a car are a really bad idea. On a trailer with a light boat, it’s probably not an issue.

It really sounds like you trailer just doesn’t fit you boat very well. Maybe it’s a good time to consider looking for a different trailer before you start dumping cash into this one. Just a thought. I’ve been down the same trail.
I just finished rebuilding the boat. This stage anyway. When the admiral saw how much I spent on it. Plus I’ve been busy with it for a year. My boat funds are suspended for a little while. I’m just glad I finished what I did and ready to put it back in the water. I figure after a while I’ll show her I need new bunks and do the lowering then if it’s going to work. Also by placing the new ones flat I may be able to make them longer for more support.
Now it has 13” wheels and 2x8 bunks on edge.
 
Wheel spacers have their uses. Trailer hubs often have a larger center bore than other applications with the same bolt pattern, so watch for that. I wouldn't be concerned with them on a boat trailer.

You may also be able to find some negative offset wheels that would accomplish the same thing in a less complicated way.
 
Wheel spacers have their uses. Trailer hubs often have a larger center bore than other applications with the same bolt pattern, so watch for that. I wouldn't be concerned with them on a boat trailer.

You may also be able to find some negative offset wheels that would accomplish the same thing in a less complicated way.
Thanks for the negative offset idea.
 
Negative offset wheels would be a neat & cleaner way to gain some space. I searched for some & struck out. Hence the wheel spacers. On reflection I probably should have gone to a tire/wheel shop and asked instead of relying on an internet search.
You are correct sir. I have found none on line for a trailer.
 

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