What makes a trailer NQ tough?
Boaties all know that while you might have the same boat for much of your fishing life, the trailer it sits on can be a disposable item, especially if you cut costs and settle on cheap fixes. With that in mind, we sat down with Justin Felix of Saltwater Trailers to see what boat owners should look for when buying a trailer that will last. Justin has been building his specialist trailers in Australia with a reputation for longevity for over ten years and, just as importantly, he has a lifetime of experience in the boating industry.
So Justin, what features should boaties look for when buying a trailer designed to last?
The biggest thing is corrosion resistance. With the Saltwater Trailers, we’ve uses alloy chassis, stainless steel brakes, torsion axles, which are an enclosed system with no exposed springs, and we use a simple cradle system to support your boat. That’s a big tip – be very wary of overly complicated multi-roller systems with lots of corrodible moving parts that can fail. Another tip is to look for I-beam trailers, not box designs where the saltwater can sit and gather inside the chassis and rust from within.
Great tips, so why is aluminium the way to go when it comes to chassis construction?
Aluminium is a naturally non-corrosive material, unlike steel. With steel you have to coat it with a galvanising and those coating only have so long a lifespan before they break down and the rust starts. To give you an idea of the longevity of aluminium, we have a four year warranty on our trailers, but in ten years we’ve never had one back with structural issues.
The other big advantage of aluminium is the weight. It’s a lot lighter than steel and can be the difference when staying under vehicle towing limits.
On the downside, in the early day aluminium had a bit of a reputation for being too ridged and cracking at the welds. It’s a lot better these days, but so as not to take the risk, we use all stainless steel bolts to construct our chassis.
Is it worthwhile having your trailer customized to suit your boat?
Absolutely! That’s the only way to go in my opinion. By doing so we are able to ensure that the boat loads well, launches well and sits on the boat without causing stress or damage to the hull. It also ensures the boat and trailer tow well. A custom-fitted trailer has better weight distribution and a lower centre of gravity and will be much better on the road.
Lastly, once boaties have a quality trailer, is there are maintenance tips you can pass on?
Obviously the first thing is to always hose down with fresh water after use, but one a lot of people forget is tire pressure. Check your pressure regularly and never over inflate tires. It causes excess bounce and can damage your boat. Bearings are the big ones. Keep them maintained, but be wary of over filling bearing buddies with grease as it can blow out the rear seals. Of course, if you go for a design like the Saltwater Trailers with a grease nipple on the front, you don’t have that issue.
Lastly, in the north, carrying a spare stub axel, hub and wheel is a great idea. Some trailers, like the Saltwaters, have a kit mount especially for this.
For more info on what makes a great trailer and to talk to Justin and his team about possibly setting yourself up with a Saltwater Trailer, head over to their website www.saltwatertrailers.com.au or call them on (03) 5986 7514.