Trailer rebuild questions

Help Support

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Active member
Dec 22, 2019
Reaction score
Ok guys, before I start, thanks in advance for any help!!

First time boat owner so please bare with me. Between life and this restoration, I’m limited on time to fully research the following questions, so I figured it would be faster to just ask the pros. It all started when I took the boat off the trailer to seal a leak....shoulda just went fishing #-o The headache began with the thought of replacing the bunks, sweet easy enough I thought. Then I had the bright idea to repaint the fenders, also simple. Unfortunately, the deeper I dug, the worse it got. Fast forward 2 weeks and now the trailer is completely disassembled ](*,) Did I mention that I should have went fishing? I wish I had recorded the progress from the beginning, but here’s the best pics I got and here’s where we’re at. I spent the last 2 weeks grinding the trailer down (harbor freight polycarbide blades are amazing). All bunk brackets have been primed and painted using rattle can Rust-Oleum stop rust in gloss black. Both fenders have been primed and are waiting to be rolled with the same gloss back. The new bunks are ready for vinyl downspout. They have been sealed with 4 coats of spar urethane. I know I’m putting in the time, but it feels like I’m swimming against the current lol

So here are my questions boys:

1) How do those springs look? I removed the center bolt and separated to individual springs. I then wire wheeled all the rust off each one. (I have more detailed photos if needed) Plan was to paint them individually and reinstall. There’s no visible cracks or breaks. Am I in urgent need to replace them or proceed as planned?

2) After searching the forum, I’ve seen pictures with the leaf springs attached above the axel and some attached below the axel. Does this matter?

3) When the trailer is disconnected, it’s extremely stern heavy. I can easily lift the trailer tongue with 2 fingers. I’ve read the tongue weight should be around 10-15% total weight. I was going to move the axel back a few inches seeing how the trailer has multiple positioning holes. Will this cause any problems I’m overlooking?

4) I’m thinking the trailer is a bit small for the boat. When I unload/load I don’t have much room to stand on the tongue. I was thinking of hanging the bunks off the back of the trailer 3-4”, essentially moving the boat back and gaining 3-4” at the tongue. I would have long enough bunks that the transom is fully supported. Thoughts?

5) If extending the bunks past the back of the trailer is not a good idea, I was thinking of positioning the winch stand more vertical. (More photos if necessary) Is there a preferred angle it is suppose to be set at?

6) My trailer has sliding leaf spring hangars (see photo) however the driver side slider has completely rusted through. I came up with 2 solutions. One is salvaging the old hangars off the slider by grinding them off and cleaning them up. Then fabricating a new slider with steel angle and welding on the salvaged hangars. The second option would be to completely ditch the sliding hangars and go with bolt on slipper hangars. Any insight as to which and why? Possibly other options?

7) Thoughts on keel rollers? Originally the trailer had 3 (see photo with rust) but I’ve read you only need it at the bow. I would need to purchase 2 new ones or am I good with just one at the bow?

Apologies for the long post. I know it’s a lot of questions, and I’m sure I will have more, but anything helps at this point. Thanks again for those willing to take the time to help. I’ll be sure to update the progress here. Thanks gents, Cheers!


  • 67D00119-1A65-4C05-BDAD-603CC97D37C5.png
    1.2 MB · Views: 548
  • E39F9CFD-2E85-4B39-B568-290DDF62BCB2.png
    892.8 KB · Views: 547
  • 8B7BCFF7-1CF2-4AF1-8264-5A03E2A81AB1.png
    938.8 KB · Views: 547
  • 91DC73F0-F602-4592-AAB2-838CF82E3EF8.jpeg
    294.5 KB · Views: 547
  • 93F6863D-651C-42A2-B650-96476E6CCE84.png
    1.3 MB · Views: 547
  • 5BFCA8FD-B238-4F4F-9D8A-BBCE5A53404E.png
    1.2 MB · Views: 547
  • 767B5F38-C141-4904-8B2F-7E4813B54C9C.png
    1.5 MB · Views: 547
  • 62893534-9F08-4DCA-8318-E6DB78BDA99D.png
    918.3 KB · Views: 547
  • F62E755B-C5C8-4F31-88C0-0516B9D3A88B.png
    1.4 MB · Views: 547
  • 7BF1D113-3E35-4C29-B3C0-077AA1AAEB58.png
    945.7 KB · Views: 547
1). Use the springs as they are. If you have issues later on you change them out then.
2). If the springs above the axle you will have to back in the water farther to launch and retrieve your boat but you might be able to run a larger size tire which is good if you are traveling farther or faster.
3). No. Being able to move the axle to match your load is a good thing.
4). If you extend the bunks to the rear you will be moving weight to the rear. See answer 3.
5). Maybe you should lengthen the the tongue?
6). Build 2 new sliders with all new hardware. See answer 3.
7). I have a flat bottom jon so I don't have any rollers so I will let someone else answer.
All good news, thanks for taking the time to help @lckstckn2smknbrls. Like many before me, I’m trying to do it right, but cheap as well. Looks like I’ll reuse the leaf springs but I’ll replace the bushings at the very least (mine are broken and dry rotted). Next question, how important is the rebound clips on the springs? I only ask because mine are missing. If necessary, I may replace the whole spring to get the bushings as well.

I’m glad I posted here because that’s a great point regarding the springs on top of the axel and having to back in further. As it was, my feet were in jeopardy of getting wet every time I launched. No big deal in summer but winter temps wouldn’t be pleasant. Looking at the pics, would one say I need bigger tires? It’s currently sitting on 13” rims. Is there a general distance I can start positioning the axel without having to move multiple times to get proper tongue weight?

Thanks again again for the help, I definitely appreciate it!!
Do you know the year/make of the trailer? That looks older with the C channel frame vs the newer stuff with the fully boxed frame. A lot of the replacement suspension parts look like they are for boxed frames so you might have a tough time getting stuff for your frame or need to make it yourself. 13" tires are a decent size for a smaller setup like that, taller tires will reduce the turning rpm's for long trips. I think you need a longer tonque for that setup. If you decide to get newer springs, you might want to look into a drop axle as well to lower the boat which would make it easier to load/unload and staying dry. Here's a picture of the drop axle on one of my previous boats, you can see how it lowers the axle/springs/frame so the boat sits lower. But in the end, if you start to find that your are replacing a lot of parts, you might be better off getting a new trailer spec'd out for the boat and sell this one.


  • trailer4.jpg
    69.5 KB · Views: 479
The boat is pretty light. If it were me, I would fix any issues with rust, etc. Reassemble and make sure 10% to 15% of weight is on the tongue. If the existing wheels/tires are good, use them. Make sure your bunks fully support the transom. I would want to make sure everything is safe. Then I would go fishing!

Regarding the keel rollers, my opinion is that they are great for keeping the boat from bumping the cross braces when you load it but, other than the one under the bow, should not be touching when the boat is loaded.

Like JL8JEff says, if you start making major changes, and especially if you have concerns, you might be better off replacing the whole thing.
The springs are 1-3/4" wide so the hardware for box or C channel frame shouldn't matter. 13" tires are plenty good enough.
The tongue looks to bolt on? Is it a tilting trailer?
Changing it out for a longer tongue is easy. With a longer trailer you can back in farther and not get the tow vehicle's tires wet.
Longer trailers are easier to back up.
Another box to check is to look over the welds for cracks before you paint. Specifically look at the ends of the beads. I had cracking on one of my trailers, was glad I found it before it came apart.

Also repack those bearings! My neighbor, just today, had a wheel seize up on the road because he didn't re-grease them after storing for years.
All good ideas guys, thank you! Yes it’s the older c channel style, which made it a pain to clean. No, it doesn’t tilt and I don’t know the year or brand of the trailer. The welds appeared to be intact when I was cleaning it up. Everything is getting replaced or cleaned/painted, including the bearings. Ill probably have questions on that later lol. I think was able to source some 3x3 steel pretty cheap, I’ll know tomorrow. Plan is to build a new slider and extend the tongue, great idea btw. Luckily, it just bolts on. Is there a general length I shouldn’t exceed. I know longer is better but is there too long? I was thinking maybe 12-18”, which I think is ok but I’m just curious. As always, thanks for help
One of my boat trailers I increased the tongue 24". Both of my utility trailers I increased the tongue 36".
Ok thanks guys, that’s very reassuring. I think I’ll extend the tongue 2’ and not have the boat hang off the back at all. Buying a new trailer would be easy, but I’ve invested so much time, I’d hate for it to be in vein. The way I see it, parts are cheap and my time is free. This way I’ll also be 100% confident that it is safe to travel with. I’m trying to build on a budget, but I’m realizing, that too may be in vein lol.

Any input on missing rebound clips for the leaf springs? Should I be concerned? Thanks again boys, cheers!
I don't know if it will be an issue. Is there a spring shop near you? See if they can put them on.
lckstckn2smknbrls said:
The springs are 1-3/4" wide so the hardware for box or C channel frame shouldn't matter.

Box frame trailers look like they bolt the springs on with u-bolts, I'm not sure you can use a u-bolt on a C channel frame or it might crush the open side. It looks like he should be able to make an L bracket to duplicate the original to mount the springs. With the longer tongue, it might be worth it to go 2-3' longer and then if you think it's too long, you could always cut it down. I've shortened several in the past. My current trailer I shortened it and I have to remove the coupler to fit the trailer/boat in the garage at an angle but it's worth it IMO. I think you can get the spring rebound clips from JEGS or Summit Racing, I might have a new pair sitting around from a previous vehicle I never got around to installing them on.
Thanks for the help guys, not much to report. I took a step away from the trailer this weekend and went camping. Good for the spirit, but not forward progression. Unfortunately there’s not a spring shop near me and I’m having a difficult time locating them online. @JL8Jeff, do you happen to have a link? When I search rebound clip, over 4700 results appear, many without photos of the item to see if that’s exactly what I need. I’ll keep looking since I only have the trailer primed and still have at least a week before reassembly. Thanks for the help everyone, it’s much appreciated.
This seems to be the most common result for 1-3/4" springs.,2082.html
Weekend update:

Got the chassis primed earlier in the week and hit it with a top coat last night. While painting, I found myself reiterating safety over budget. Of course this means more $$$ lol. With safety in mind, I ordered new leaf springs from etrailer which should be at the doorstep by Friday. I didn’t want the thought of missing rebound clips and heavily pitted leafs lingering in the back of my mind while traveling with family and friends. In order to utilize the free shipping over $99, I purchased a rubber bow stop and the bracket as well. I was missing the bow stop before, allowing the bow of the boat to rest within the strap area of the winch (see photo). For $119 total, I got (2) 30” 1800 lbs springs, a v bow stop and the bracket shipped. If ordered separately, I would have had to pay separate shipping for the spring bushings, rebound retaining clips, bow stop and would have had to make a bracket for the bow stop. I’m sure I could have found it cheaper but this is taking longer than I imagined and, at the time, I wasn’t very motivated to scour the inter webs to save a couple bucks. I was more than pleased with the customer service I received with etrailer so it was worth it to me.

Luckily, I scored some 3” x 3” square tubing for free. I extended the trailer tongue from 5’ to 7’ and welded on the coupler. I had a new leaf slider made for $50. I got those primed last night and will topcoat today. Costs are adding up for sure. Not sure if I should have just looked into a new trailer, but this is where we’re at, and I have to remind myself, safety over budget. Hopefully you guys are getting some enjoyment out of this.

Here’s where I need your opinions. After removing the hubs to prepare axel for paint, I’m concerned with the condition they’re in. Would you replace the bearings or replace the whole hub assembly. Anything else I should be considering at this stage? Im learning as i go, mostly from your assistance, so thanks for the help gents.


  • B5A4AB4D-5F95-4F01-8DDE-78BB2324D8BA.png
    2.1 MB · Views: 167
  • 11582640-FE56-4E69-97F7-C1A45C2FBDA7.jpeg
    2 MB · Views: 167
  • CB9319DF-1E02-4913-97BE-A827B6B562CE.jpeg
    2.1 MB · Views: 167
  • 47B43211-6EBC-492D-A527-11971C4BFF4E.jpeg
    1.5 MB · Views: 167
  • 2C97833C-0232-49B2-A7CC-1996BD8067A7.jpeg
    1.7 MB · Views: 167
  • 1E392F22-F0B1-4975-AE92-FD5E7168644D.jpeg
    2.3 MB · Views: 167
  • A79F1E19-8E94-4EA7-8F9F-EA2FEDAEFD21.jpeg
    2.6 MB · Views: 167
  • 0B1676E5-67ED-4E3C-A326-68F0D226411B.jpeg
    2.4 MB · Views: 167
Replace the hubs.
Then clean, paint and replace the bearings in the old hubs, save for spares
The only thing I would worry about on those hubs is the lug studs. They look pretty rusty.

If you're willing to clean them up, you can use them, but new hubs are pretty inexpensive, about the same price as new bearings and hardware for those.

Latest posts