Another trailer fit question...

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Another trailer fit question...

Postby RobH912 » Sun Jun 02, 2019 10:02 am

Hi recently purchased a 1993 Sunfish Laser built DS I which looks to be in very good shape, but the trailer and how the boat is sitting in the trailer I'm discovering is not very good. Never owned a boat trailer / dry sailed a boat from a trailer before.

Learning about trailers, but my primary question today is should I be up working in the DS sitting on a trailer when the boat doesn't quite fit properly on the trailer? I am 180 lbs

Couple of observations on the I've made

- The trailer looks to be old and some of the bunks are not aligned properly (not fully supporting the boat) but thought I could work on those

- The winch rope is very frayed / will need to be replaced... maybe the winch also.

- Boat centerline does not rest on the center of the rollers, boat sits askew on the trailer... and sometimes center line is sitting on the high side of the roller.

When the previous owners delivered the boat / trailer they did not have any boat tie down straps and I thought that the boat had just bounced around on the trailer ending up askew. I purchased some tie down straps, went to the nearest boat landing, and brought boat back up on the trailer, but after some launch / re-launches and not able to get the boat to sit "right" on rollers & bunks I have determined that one problem is that the winch post is bent, and maybe the bow stop bracket bent also... so that as the boat gets winched on to the trailer it is pulled off the proper center line of the trailer. Winch post is bolted on, I have been looking to find a replacement.

So while I try to determine if this trailer is worth the time / $ to be somewhat re-built, I am still wondering about am I damaging the boat?

Thanks!
Rob

Cape Cod
Eastham, MA
RobH912
 
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Re: Another trailer fit question...

Postby GreenLake » Sun Jun 02, 2019 4:32 pm

If the frame, axle, springs and wheels are a in good condition (that is, require nothing more than a bit of paint and a new set of bearings) my assumption would be that the trailer is salvageable / can be improved and that doing so is worthwhile. (The bent winch post should be replaced, but as you note, it's a separate piece).

When I got my trailer (a '64 model year), it developed a frozen wheel bearing after a week, at which point I took the boat off of it and rebuilt it. New set of bearings, addition of bearing buddies, scraping rust and repainting. I replaced the wooden boards of the bunks by wider and longer ones (could have made them even wider and longer, actually).

About 10 years later, I needed to repeat the paint job (the trailer sees saltwater occasionally), and redo the bunks again.

Here's a picture of the trailer ready to retrieve the boat.

Trailer.jpg
Trailer ready to receive boat
Trailer.jpg (76.03 KiB) Viewed 328 times


You can see my trailer has the traditional center rollers with bunks. (Some people go so far as to use only bunks). I park it with the rearmost roller right at or below the water surface. I replaced the original roller with one that's a bit wider and has a shallow V shape with a central notch. I trap the bow in that notch. Then, when I pull the boat up the notch acts like a pivot, helping to align the boat.

The rearmost roller is dropped an inch or two, so after a while, the boat begins to rest mainly on the bunks (with no weight on that roller), with only the bow continuing along the rollers. One of the middle ones is positioned below the centerboard and prevents that from dropping during transport and launch. With this setup, I've not had any trouble getting the boat on the trailer straight. If for any reason it's off by a bit, I usually just lift the back and shove it over. (Even partially supporting the rear by lifting will reduce friction and allow it to slide. I don't think you actually have to lift a full half of the boat's weight.)

In your case, just shove the boat over a bit until it's fully centered. (Until you replace the winch post, you may need to do that, even if you reposition bunks, rollers as suggested).

Your bunks should be adjustable, as should be the rollers. It's not hard to make them conform better to the boat, but the bunks should probably also be rebuilt: new wider boards screwed on and new carpet padding. The latter need occasional attention so they roll freely.

For the winch, remove the wire, take any rust of, spray with Rustoleum and grease the moving part. Then get Amsteel 3/16" and use that to replace the winch cable. You'll need some extra length (about 12") for splicing onto the shackle, but the good news is that splicing Amsteel is super easy. No need to replace the winch itself unless it is so rusted that a critical part is below strength. (In case you are wondering, Amsteel has the same strength as wire of the same diameter; 3/16" gives you additional reserve against chafing or aging. It should be strong enough to lift boat trailer and car, just about, but is it so much nicer to handle than wire).

(Just looked at your post again and you write "winch rope" - if yours already uses rope, forget the comments about wire, just replace by Amsteel).

You should be able to push the boat to where it's aligned to the supports (and you should be able to unbolt and raise/angle even the existing bunks to where the meet the hull, and preferably take more of the weight in back than the rear roller(s)). If you need to lift the boat a few inches while working on the trailer, a 2x4 or 2x6 will make a handy lever; you can use a suitable frame part to use as fulcrum and lever up the hull where you need to, then insert some blocks to suspend it at the new height so you can do things like raise bunks.

The DS is heavy, but it can still be manhandled. A helper is nice but much can be done even by one person.

Once your DS is aligned on the trailer, I see no reason why you can't work from the inside.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: Another trailer fit question...

Postby jalmeida51 » Sun Jun 02, 2019 8:01 pm

You might want to consider putting a set of guide on posts on your trailer. The posts will keep your boat centered on the trailer and are really helpful when the wind is up. You can also mount your lights on the posts to keep them out of water. Areal problem if you are launching in salt water.
A good place to buy trailer parts is trailerpartsdepot.com I believe they are located in western Mass.
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Re: Another trailer fit question...

Postby GreenLake » Sun Jun 02, 2019 8:36 pm

I left my lights on the trailer, but I switched to LED lights. So far, that's reduced a lot of problems. My main launch site is pretty protected, but the few times that I have encountered winds, I've rigged a long line to the windward side of the stern and had a helper use that to keep the boat aligned. Because I don't float the boat onto the trailer, but pull it over the last roller, I don't have issues with the bow being blown off. But for some conditions guide posts or brackets may be the best solution.

Some take the form of little bunklets that rest against the side below the rubrail. I have those for a different boat. They have the advantage that they don't get into the way of putting a tarp over the boat.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: Another trailer fit question...

Postby RobH912 » Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:25 am

GreenLake - thanks for the detailed information and picture (everyone likes pictures) on boat trailers, adjusting the ramps, LED lights and getting the boat centered on the trailer at the launch ramp.

I spent some additional time with the trailer yesterday removing the winch from the winch post. It is very clear to me that my big issue at the moment is that the winch post is bent a couple of inches to starboard, so as the boat is winched up into the "make shift" bow stop the boat is pulled off center. Because of the wide V shape of the bow stop, manhandling the boat into a straight position is not possible without putting a lot of stress on the bow.

Hard to see in the pictures attached but the winch post is clearly the first item to tackle. Jalmeida51 thank you for the suggestion... "A good place to buy trailer parts is trailerpartsdepot.com I believe they are located in western Mass."

Off to a Harbor Freight store to buy some BIG wrenches to get the bolts and nuts off the winch stand. Everything is torqued very tight. I was thinking that before ordering a new winch stand, I may take a large hammer first and see if I can straighten out the post and the side brackets which are both clearly bent also.

A couple of pictures to try to show issue.

Thanks!

Rob

Cape Cod
Eastham, MA
Attachments
IMG_0733.jpeg
center line of bow pulled to starboard, resting on side of first roller.
IMG_0733.jpeg (110.16 KiB) Viewed 303 times
IMG_0732.jpeg
Bow stop... trying to show that when boat is snubbed up to stop it is pulling boat off center of trailer
IMG_0732.jpeg (222.44 KiB) Viewed 303 times
IMG_0729.jpeg
Side view of winch post / held on by bolts underneath post going across trailer. Post and the two side strips are all bent to starboard
IMG_0729.jpeg (207.36 KiB) Viewed 303 times
RobH912
 
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2018 9:33 pm

Re: Another trailer fit question...

Postby RobH912 » Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:29 am

one other pictures (we're limited to 3 pictures per post?)...
Attachments
IMG_0735.jpeg
picture of stern of the boat centerline on back roller... you can't see the center line as the stern is pulled off to port so that bow will fit into bow stop V
IMG_0735.jpeg (99.07 KiB) Viewed 303 times
Thanks!

Rob

DS1 #14061
Cape Cod
Eastham, MA
RobH912
 
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2018 9:33 pm

Re: Aligning your boat on the trailer

Postby GreenLake » Mon Jun 03, 2019 2:25 pm

It's my belief, looking at your pictures, that I would be able to push the bow to center on my DS unaided. However, there's an easy way to get leverage here (literally). Stick a 2x4 under the front of the boat from the port side and push down on it. It will fulcrum around the nearest frame piece and will lift the bow (and helpfully provide a slope for it to slide to where you want it. At the bow, such point loads (applied briefly to the "keel") are no issue. You are not going to damage your boat.

(If needed, put a short bit of 2x4 on top of the frame to give you more precise control of the fulcrum. At some point, the slope is going to go the other way, so account for that).

Once the bow is straight, you can manhandle the back over by a few inches with main force. I prefer lifting the transom, but you can also wedge your back against a stern quarter trying to push up and over at the same time.

Aft of the Centerboard the V is not as strong, but if you carefully avoid putting a concentrated load in the middle of one of the flat hull sections, you can still support the hull temporarily on a narrowish support (e.g. to raise it off the trailer). Just make sure you support the V where the hull sides meet. (I would not work inside the boat if the rear rested on a single board, but it's fine to support the empty boat that way while you work on or under the hull, for example.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: Bent post

Postby GreenLake » Mon Jun 03, 2019 2:44 pm

You probably won't get anywhere with a hammer. Best bet might be to leave it on the trailer and stick a 4x4 or whatever size fits into the channel. Use that as lever to bend. However, I see that replacement winch posts start at $40 or so, which makes me think that just getting a new one is the best solution here.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: Only three photos . . .

Postby GreenLake » Mon Jun 03, 2019 2:46 pm

Attachment limit. Well, we have to have some limits :)
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: Bent post

Postby RobH912 » Mon Jun 03, 2019 6:40 pm

GreenLake wrote:You probably won't get anywhere with a hammer. Best bet might be to leave it on the trailer and stick a 4x4 or whatever size fits into the channel. Use that as lever to bend. However, I see that replacement winch posts start at $40 or so, which makes me think that just getting a new one is the best solution here.


I think that I made a lot of progress today on straightening out the winch post and the two supporting brackets that were also bent.

Used a 18" breaker bar with correct size socket plus a long handled box wrench and took the winch off, the supporting brackets off, the bow stop bracket, and then took the winch post off the trailer tongue.

Used a heavy hammer and an old piece of 4x4 wooden post and straightened out the two supporting brackets and the post (both were very bent). It was not difficult at all to hammer it out. Got the post and the brackets back on the trailer, but decided I'd finish in the morning on reattaching the bow stop bracket. Have not tried to straighten the boat out on the trailer yet, but I can eyeball the new post to the current position of the bow of boat and and it looks like it will be MUCH better when the bow is in the bow stop.

Since I'm taking things apart I'll also check on the bow stop to see what is actually under all that tape before mounting it on the post.

Thanks for the thoughts on using a 2x4 to help leverage moving the bow over to the front roller.

I'll post some pictures tomorrow if this is the solution... if not I've also been looking at new winch posts.
Thanks!

Rob

DS1 #14061
Cape Cod
Eastham, MA
RobH912
 
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2018 9:33 pm

Re: Another trailer fit question...

Postby GreenLake » Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:30 pm

Sounds like you are getting there. I'm not surprised about the heavy hammer. :D
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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bent winch post

Postby RobH912 » Tue Jun 04, 2019 6:31 pm

Made some good progress today on the bent winch post.

Re assembled and installed the straighten post, attached the bow stop bracket, and it all looked much straighter to the trailer and to the boat. :D

The winch rope was frayed at the shackle, and when I spooled the rope out ran into an epoxy like glue clump holding the end of the rope into the winch... so at that point I decided just to install a new winch with a new strap. Seemed like a better idea and it was easy to install on the post.

Rather than try to use 2x4 to lift the boat and try to center it on the rollers, I just strapped the boat down to the trailer, went to the town landing, and let the water do the work. Got the boat to the center of the trailer, winch worked fine, but could see that some of the bunks are not touching the boat.

I'll work on those tomorrow and I am sure that there are already some good forum posts on adjusting trailer bunks.

Pictures tomorrow.
Thanks!

Rob

DS1 #14061
Cape Cod
Eastham, MA
RobH912
 
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2018 9:33 pm

Re: Another trailer fit question...

Postby GreenLake » Wed Jun 05, 2019 3:03 am

Good progress!

You must be living very close to a ramp, because I can manually move a DS on the trailer in less time it takes me to the first traffic light. :D

But that way you get good practice launching and retrieving.

Main thing with bunks, you'll want to replace whatever supports they have today with wider / longer planks (eventually). That's what all those older posts will tell you. Getting them to touch evenly is the first step. Looking forward to more pictures.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: Another trailer fit question...

Postby RobH912 » Mon Jun 10, 2019 8:00 am

GreenLake - yes my town landing is close, less than 10 minutes, no traffic lights and since it’s still early / off season no lines at the launch ramp.

When I got home I could see that the boat was in straight/ lined up with the rollers, but could see that the boat wasn’t touching some of the bunks... at all !! Found this so hard to believe that I even got a wooden paint stir stick and slid it between bunk and boat. Wow

Spent several hours on Wednesday on my back adjusting the bunks.

A couple of pictures of bunks not touching hull, before I started working on it.
Attachments
IMG_0755.JPG
IMG_0755.JPG (90.51 KiB) Viewed 141 times
IMG_0754.JPG
IMG_0754.JPG (83.73 KiB) Viewed 141 times
IMG_0753.JPG
IMG_0753.JPG (78.93 KiB) Viewed 141 times
Thanks!

Rob

DS1 #14061
Cape Cod
Eastham, MA
RobH912
 
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2018 9:33 pm

Re: Another trailer fit question...

Postby RobH912 » Mon Jun 10, 2019 8:11 am

Here are some pictures after adjusting the bunks and showing that the boat now is straight to the rollers.

Now that I've gone around the boat once adjusting all 4 bunks I see that first one I did now needs to be readjusted to touch the hull. Need to get a torque wrench this morning to confirm that everything tight.

Will go down to the landing later, re-launch the boat and double check how it is now seating, and then later today start to do the work on the boat (Yea :D ) now that I can get into it when it is sitting in the trailer.

Also a picture of straightened winch post with new winch.

PS - not sure why the site changes the orientation of pictures.... they don't look that way until uploaded, and too much of a PIA to try to compensate orientation before uploading
Attachments
IMG_0759.JPG
IMG_0759.JPG (168.81 KiB) Viewed 141 times
IMG_0763.JPG
IMG_0763.JPG (103.25 KiB) Viewed 141 times
IMG_0765.JPG
IMG_0765.JPG (127.83 KiB) Viewed 141 times
Thanks!

Rob

DS1 #14061
Cape Cod
Eastham, MA
RobH912
 
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2018 9:33 pm

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