Trailer upgrades……

airshot

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Thru bolts only, lag bolts will fail before long. Covering on all sides will speed up the rot process. I only wrap the top and half the side when I use carpet it allows the wood to dry faster. If you used the UHMW strips of plastic, you would bolt thru the bunk then screw down a strip of plastic on the top of your bunk, three sides would allowvthe bunk to dry out, they would last for many years !!
 

sonny.barile

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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.
If you go back to the beginning of this thread you can see from the pics they are 2x4’s made of plastic. They attach to the brackets just like a traditional 2x4.….lag screws on the bottom. I was worried they might back out and have been checking the lag screws and they have not loosened.
 

sonny.barile

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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...
That stuff is referred to as “marine lumber” at West Marine. Taco and Star Board are the brands…….expensive. I have read about it being used as bunk slicks. Good choice for slicks but not if you are looking to be rot proof as you still need to keep the wood bunks.
I have used the taco board as backer/support boards for installing Tempress seats/spinners on my aluminum bunks. So far so good. I put LocTite on the self tapping screws that went into the aluminum and used t nuts for the spinners. The board I bought was enough to do 2 seats and it was $90 last years pricing. You would need twice as much to reasonably create enough contact pads on two 5ft. bunks. 0A363E47-32E5-4FC5-9D8C-0270271AC706.jpeg
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thill

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We do a lot of trailers in the shop. If you can use a 2x6 instead of a 2x4, do it. It distributes the load better. We use the slides if the customer requests it, but have very good success with marine carpet over marine PT (if available) or regular PT lumber, using stainless bolts and dipped-galvanized hardware.

Marine PT is not ACQ or copper treatment, it's the good old pressure treatment of old with arsenic salts. Much more durable, and not any more expensive, but hard to find sometimes. You have to ask for it. Regular PT typically lasts about 10 years, marine about 15, but with all of them you have to check bolt torque occasionally.

The composite bunk material is very good, and the prices were coming down pre-covid. Some require more supports than PT lumber, but they tend to last many, many years. Sometimes they break and we have to replace them.

Using raw, untreated lumber, even with some kind of sealant, is not a great idea unless you have a novelty boat that lives in a garage and only gets wet a few times a year. I've seen some beautiful bunks on racing and show boats.

The carpet you use makes a huge difference. Some carpet holds water and some doesn't. The 16 oz marine pyle from Sparta Carpets sheds water very well. Important to installing the carpet on your bunks is FULL coverage of outdoor carpet adhesive. This prevents tears and roll-ups, and probably helps prevents some moisture from penetrating the top of the bunks which is trapped against the hull.

1-1/2" x 3/8" S.S. lag bolts work fine if pre-drilled and torqued properly, but S.S. recessed T nuts are very good security. You want to layout and install the T-nuts before installing the carpet to the bunks.

Good advice given above about not letting your keel roller touch constantly. We end up welding quite a few cracked keels from that exact issue. Also, boats get holes in them from the brackets if the roller fails. Had one of those earlier today. Punched a hole on either side of the keel. Didn't think to take a picture, but the customer had someone weld a patch. It didn't leak, but boy was it ugly. We didn't do that work.
 

Popeye

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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.
My trailer is a 2007. 5 years after I bought it, I had to replace the boards. I opted to use glide slicks instead of carpet. 2 years ago I had to replace the boards again. Mostly because wood rotted where the lag bolts were. I'm okay with that life span
 
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Not too long ago I purchased and refitted/upgraded a 2004 Yacht Club trailer (and boat). The bunks were old warped 2x4’s with no covering so I replaced them. For the new bunks I used 2”x6”x8’ vertical grain, western red cedar, all heartwood, which is naturally rot resistant. Many boat owners like pressure treated lumber but it tends to shrink and it’s not aluminum friendly. On top of the 2x6 cedar I 5200’d and thru-bolted 1”x6”x8’ pvc boards (since screws tend to back out over time). From a previous project I already had the adhesive, galvanized carriage bolts/lock nuts, anti-turn pronged washers, etc. It didn’t really take a lot of extra time to bond the boards together. I countersunk the carriage bolts about 3/8 of an inch into the pvc boards and secured them with the galvanized anti-turn pronged washers (see pic). I filled the countersunk holes with white epoxy. Worked great. My boat is a Lowe 1860 Roughneck VPT with a 65/90 Yamaha 4-stroke jet. Bunks are just slick enough to make loading and unloading the heavy 1860 easy. Besides the bunks I did a lot of additional upgrades to the trailer that I can share when appropriate.

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airshot

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That stuff is referred to as “marine lumber” at West Marine. Taco and Star Board are the brands…….expensive. I have read about it being used as bunk slicks. Good choice for slicks but not if you are looking to be rot proof as you still need to keep the wood bunks.
I have used the taco board as backer/support boards for installing Tempress seats/spinners on my aluminum bunks. So far so good. I put LocTite on the self tapping screws that went into the aluminum and used t nuts for the spinners. The board I bought was enough to do 2 seats and it was $90 last years pricing. You would need twice as much to reasonably create enough contact pads on two 5ft. bunks. View attachment 112768
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True UHMW is not that expensive, but they now mix it in with other materials then give it fancy names and jack up the price!! For a slick surface just buy UHMW from a plastic supplier, heck even ebay and Amazon have it much cheaper than the fancy names hybrids....
 
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