Trailer upgrades……

sonny.barile

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[dir=rtl][/dir]I just replaced my bunks because they were rotting. Only 6 years old and used in the salt. They were carpeted PT bunks and I had the LoadRite bunk covers on them. I think that contributed to the rot as they never really dry out being carpeted and with those covers on them. The PT made the lag screws corrode like mad and it spread to the swivels on the brackets. The original u-bolts and fasteners did not appear to be galvanized or stainless so it’s no wonder they went so quick. My boat (16 ft. welded) is kinda heavy (or at least it is to me) with a floor, side console, 30 hp remote, starting battery, 6 gallon tank, deep cycle battery, trolling motor, fishing gear, ….etc etc…..it’s over 750 lbs. It’s not good to be hauling that with rotten 2x4’s and crumbling fasteners.

I bought a set of new galvanized brackets, swivels, and u-bolts (upsized from 3/8 to 1/2 inch). Decided to give composite bunks a shot and bought two 60 inch Ultimate Bunk Boards. (HDPE)
D6656465-CE7C-4988-BF8C-2F038240FFFB.jpeg
The more I look at this pic the more I think I should have used 2 x 6’s.


My keel spool roller was pretty chewed up and cracked pretty bad. The shaft was a 1/2 inch bolt with a lock nut. I think having sharp threads in the bore is counter productive so I replaced that with a 1/2 inch shaft and caps. I also moved it forward a bit as I thought it was too far back.
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The angle of a ramp I use often is pretty bad, and when I get the boat up on the bunks, the bow drags on the trailer center beam before it reaches the keel spool. I decided to add a wider roller where that center beam starts. This way the bow will be more elevated. My boats too heavy to muscle it in……or at least without scratching it up good. Ihad to use a two piece bracket (split) because the center beam sticks out an inch.
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Last but not least I added some bumpers on both sides of the forward cross member as a just in case…….
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LDUBS

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For whatever it is worth, I have a similar bottom config and the bunks are 2x4 laid flat like yours. I could use 2x6 but haven't seen the need. I sure like the idea of the composite bunks. Mine are typical 2x lumber covered in carpet. But I am only in fresh water.


The upgrades look great. My bunks are going on 4 years. I'll probably be doing the replacement in the next year or two.

PS: Food for thought. If it were me, I would not have weight of the boat on that wide roller when the boat is fully loaded on the trailer. My reasoning is it creates a potential hard point and could divot the keel. Having three points of contact (two bunks and front roller) makes it hard to create any wobble. Anyway, like I said, just food for thought.
 

sonny.barile

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LDUBS said:
For whatever it is worth, I have a similar bottom config and the bunks are 2x4 laid flat like yours. I could use 2x6 but haven't seen the need. I sure like the idea of the composite bunks. Mine are typical 2x lumber covered in carpet. But I am only in fresh water.


The upgrades look great. My bunks are going on 4 years. I'll probably be doing the replacement in the next year or two.

PS: Food for thought. If it were me, I would not have weight of the boat on that wide roller when the boat is fully loaded on the trailer. My reasoning is it creates a potential hard point and could divot the keel. Having three points of contact (two bunks and front roller) makes it hard to create any wobble. Anyway, like I said, just food for thought.

That makes sense. When I installed it I just put it against the keel…..It can turn by hand. However when reloading the boat it may not be exactly in that spot and will load….so I will lower it. My intentions for the roller was just to help guide the hull through an area that scrapes up the bow…….What do you think?….about an inch of clearance?
 

LDUBS

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sonny.barile said:
LDUBS said:
For whatever it is worth, I have a similar bottom config and the bunks are 2x4 laid flat like yours. I could use 2x6 but haven't seen the need. I sure like the idea of the composite bunks. Mine are typical 2x lumber covered in carpet. But I am only in fresh water.


The upgrades look great. My bunks are going on 4 years. I'll probably be doing the replacement in the next year or two.

PS: Food for thought. If it were me, I would not have weight of the boat on that wide roller when the boat is fully loaded on the trailer. My reasoning is it creates a potential hard point and could divot the keel. Having three points of contact (two bunks and front roller) makes it hard to create any wobble. Anyway, like I said, just food for thought.

That makes sense. When I installed it I just put it against the keel…..It can turn by hand. However when reloading the boat it may not be exactly in that spot and will load….so I will lower it. My intentions for the roller was just to help guide the hull through an area that scrapes up the bow…….What do you think?….about an inch of clearance?

Boat and trailer should be one unit (no movement between the two). So if you can turn it by hand you should technically be good. But how often that happens is anyone's guess. If mine I would lower it an inch to half inch.
 

sonny.barile

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Just took care of it…..There is a gap now. This trailer towed the boat without that added roller for years now so I don’t need the structure. It’s just an aid for loading on and off so I don’t rub up the bow on a poorly laid out ramp. There is now about 3/4 of an inch gap……

Thank you sir.



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sonny.barile

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Today I finally had some free time to run my boat on the local river and test out my trailer mods. It made launching and loading very easy. It fixed the issues I was having……I can power up the v roller and then hook it up to the winch and crank it in without the keel rubbing on the center bar. It goes straight into the keel spool too. When it goes over that keel spool it lifts up and is no longer engaging the v roller. Perfect 3 point contact……I don’t need to muscle it up anymore. Every once in a while something works like it’s supposed to……. :LOL2:
 

airshot

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Cant have ro many rollers, I have one at every crossmember on the trailer!! Just added one at the very back to keep the keel from riding on a rubber pad on the back crossmember. All my rollers xarry the weight of the boat except the most rear center roller, that one is just there to ease the keel up onto the other rollers without dragging it on the frame. I even have roller bunks in the rear, with my bad shoulders, I need all the help I can get getting it up on the trailer!!!
 

eeshaw

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The synthetic bunks are supposed to be really nice from everything I've read on them. The price point is what put me off about them. I bought the HDPE pads from Bass Pro and placed them on 2x4s laid flat on my trailer instead of carpet. So far so good. My boat is a flat bottom so it works well. I do wish it had a roller setup of some sort for loading but I don't want it to "tin can" from setting on rollers.
 

sonny.barile

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@sonny.barile

How do ya like the boards? I purchased the same ones as you and am in the process of installing them now.
They are not nearly as slippery as bunk slicks…….So far the have held up on a few road trips. I check the fasteners a lot because I’m paranoid but so far so good. The big ticket for me was adding the v-keel roller. Made life easy……
 

sonny.barile

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The synthetic bunks are supposed to be really nice from everything I've read on them. The price point is what put me off about them. I bought the HDPE pads from Bass Pro and placed them on 2x4s laid flat on my trailer instead of carpet. So far so good. My boat is a flat bottom so it works well. I do wish it had a roller setup of some sort for loading but I don't want it to "tin can" from setting on rollers.
I had slicks on my last boat trailer…..they are much more slippery than the synthetic bunks. If its the slickness you are after it’s the right choice. However the 2x4’s under them can still rot. I was not after slippery…..I wanted rot proof…….
There are rollers now that look like bunks……You may want to look at them if you like the idea of rollers but they are expensive. If your boats not super heavy there is no reason to not use the slicks……
 

FuzzyGrub

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I thought our new Bear trailer had polymer bunks, but they are just plastic covered 2 x 4s. We'll see how they hold up to cracking. It is not that hard pushing off the boat, but still might add some slick pads.

I have the roller bunks on the trailer for the DMI 1648. It hasn't caused any divets over the 10+ years we have had it.
 

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richg99

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Re your plastic. Believe it or not, I've been covering my bunks with plastic Gutter Downspouts (cut down the middle) from Lowes for years. The current 17 ft tinny has been using the same downspouts for nine or more years. True, I don't launch and recover as often as I used to, but...give the plastic ones that you have a chance. R p.s, The downspouts come in two sizes. I used the 3x4 (large) size over 2.4's.
 

airshot

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The synthetic bunks are supposed to be really nice from everything I've read on them. The price point is what put me off about them. I bought the HDPE pads from Bass Pro and placed them on 2x4s laid flat on my trailer instead of carpet. So far so good. My boat is a flat bottom so it works well. I do wish it had a roller setup of some sort for loading but I don't want it to "tin can" from setting on rollers.
The only time you get a tin can effect is if you dont have enough rollers or other support. Weight needs to be distributed among all supports and the more supports the better ! My 22' Islander sits on an all roller trailer since 1983, no dents or oil can dents.....
 

sonny.barile

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There are roller bunks which combine the best of both worlds. They come in 4 and 5 foot lengths. I almost went this route but couldn’t find them in stock anywhere at that time.

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JL8Jeff

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I thought our new Bear trailer had polymer bunks, but they are just plastic covered 2 x 4s. We'll see how they hold up to cracking. It is not that hard pushing off the boat, but still might add some slick pads.

I have the roller bunks on the trailer for the DMI 1648. It hasn't caused any divets over the 10+ years we have had it.

I've tried the plastic bunk wrap on one trailer and it worked well, but it was kind of thin and soft and the aluminum boat started cutting into it right away.

bunk_wrap2.jpg

On the next trailer I went with the pvc downspout cut in half and it's a lot thicker and stronger and actually seems to slide better as well.

trailer4.jpg
 

sonny.barile

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I dont like bunk covers as thats what caused my bunks to rot. My theory is that it holds water longer and the wood doesnt dry fast enough. If I ever had to go with wood again I would use non PT wood and seal them with something and then put on the bunk covers. However, withe cost of that it’s just as economical to go with the plastic or composite bunks.
 

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You can buy a plastic material called UHMW plastic sheet in various thickness. Get some about a 1/4" thick and attach a piece to the top of your bunk with flat head screws, c'sink the heads of course!! You wont wear it out and it is slippery! Same stuff used as glides for snomobile suspensions. Easy to cut with a table saw, but makes a big mess with the snowflake like chips. Had this stuff on the runners of a sled for over 10 years, barely any wear shown...
 

JL8Jeff

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I dont like bunk covers as thats what caused my bunks to rot. My theory is that it holds water longer and the wood doesnt dry fast enough. If I ever had to go with wood again I would use non PT wood and seal them with something and then put on the bunk covers. However, withe cost of that it’s just as economical to go with the plastic or composite bunks.
Yeah, wood bunks are definitely a throw away maintenance item but at least they're pretty cheap. I don't tow very often, my boat goes in for the season and stays in the water for 6-7 months so the trailer doesn't get dunked in the water a lot. So wood rotting out isn't a concern. I wondered about the composite bunks but I don't really need them. I think my biggest concern would be the lag bolts backing out of them since it isn't like wood to grip into. Did you lag bolt them from underneath or drill holes all the way through from the top and countersink the bolts? That would keep them from backing out.
 

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