Advantages of a Dump Trailer Towed by a Pick-up

A dump trailer towed by a pick-up truck is a versatile and powerful tool. Advantages of using a dump trailer include convenient size, reasonable cost to buy or rent, truck efficiency, work productivity increase, low bed height, and low impact on landscapes. Let’s look at ways a dump trailer is useful and cost-effective.

It has many sizes depending on what you need.

Dump trailers come in a multitude of sizes, depending on your application. Small trailers are ideal for tight places, and larger trailers are advantageous for large capacity loads like trash or mulch. Larger trailers are generally rated to carry more weight for hauling soil, sand, or gravel.

Because of its small size and agility, a dump trailer can enable an operator to dump a load little by little. It is a huge advantage when spreading something like gravel. If you’ve ever tried to direct a dump truck driver to spread a thin, even layer, then you know you can end up with mixed results.

Dump trailers are commonly used for construction waste. For example, a dump trailer can be pulled right next to a house that is being re-roofed, and old roof debris can be thrown down into the trailer. Pull the trailer forward, and have the trailer convenient to the work area as the job progresses. By comparison, this is not possible with a standard dumpster that is stationary by its nature.

Dump trailer is light in weight and doesn’t cause big damage.

Especially when compared with a dump truck, a dump trailer is simply lighter. It can be driven onto a sensitive landscape like a lawn or over a walkway to reach hard-to-access areas without causing damage.

Low impact is especially true when compared to a roll-off dumpster for waste removal. The rubber tires of a dump trailer don’t scar an asphalt driveway or tear up a lawn like the loading and unloading of a roll-off dumpster.

It is cheaper than a dump truck.

Especially compared to a dump truck, a dump trailer is a cost-effective piece of equipment to own or rent. If you already own a heavy-duty pick-up truck and are hauling relatively small, light loads, a dump trailer is much cheaper to purchase and maintain than a dump truck.

Dump trailers can range from small to medium sizes, and a rear hitch or gooseneck hauls these on a pick-up truck. On the other hand, large dump trailers are hauled by semi-trucks.

trunk of dump trailer
A gooseneck dump trailer with a double hydraulic lift is rated for higher capacity for heavy loads like gravel or roofing waste.

Dump trailers are truck efficient.

A dump trailer is a separate component from your truck. Whether it’s a pick-up truck or a semi-truck, it allows the truck to be used for multiple applications versus only used for one.

Also, a consideration is that maintenance on a truck and separate dump trailer is simpler than maintaining a dump truck.

Furthermore, as your needs or business changes, it’s easy to adapt to a larger or smaller dump trailer, depending on the tasks. With a dump truck, you are locked into a single size attached to the truck.

It helps unload heavy cargo.

A dump trailer is a labor-saving tool. Unloading a heavy load by hand not only takes time it also diminishes physical endurance. Save your crew’s energy for the next task and squeeze more out of your day.

Save time and energy with the push of a button. There’s a rechargeable battery in the front of the trailer that powers the hydraulic dump.

It has a low bed height.

Low bed height is crucial when loading or unloading heavy items by hand. Compare it to the bed of a dump truck, where the bed is easily 4-5 feet off the ground. Now it takes extra hands to get items up into the truck.

The low bed height also enables you to use your dump trailer like a standard trailer and load in equipment with a ramp easily, like, say, a riding lawn mower or landscaping equipment. Or load up tools, ladders, and materials easier than a pick-up truck and go to your next job site with the cover protecting your expensive items.

Low bed height and easy access make dump trailers useful for many tasks.

Should I Buy or Rent a Dump Trailer?

Do you want to buy the perfect dump trailer for your home, farm, or business? Or is it more efficient to rent the exact trailer you need for each task as it arises? At Trailers and Transport, we’ve got you covered. We are a Texas Pride dealer, and we have dump trailers available in many sizes and carrying capacities.

Trailers and Transport both rents and sells dump trailers and many other trailer styles, including boat trailers, flatbed trailers, enclosed box trailers, and car hauler trailers. Contact Trailers and Transport at service@trailersandtransport.com or visit our website at www.trailersandtransport.com. We can gladly help you track down and choose the perfect trailer for your needs and at the right price for your budget.

Trailer Hitch Styles: Exploring Advantages of Ball Hitch, Gooseneck Hitch, Fifth-Wheel Hitch, and Pintle Hitch

What type of trailer hitch styles to choose is based on its intended application. 

A ball hitch is common for personal and recreational towing. A gooseneck is common for heavy towing like a flatbed or horse trailer. A fifth-wheel is common for large camper trailers and commercial hauling. Finally, a pintle hitch is common for off-road hauling over rough terrain. 

We explore the uses of each hitch style in this article.

Ball Hitch Advantages and Limitations

The ball hitch is the most common and familiar of all hitch types. It is what is used for boat trailers, utility trailers, and medium heavy-duty trailers. Common ball sizes are 1 7/8 inch, 2 inches, and 2 5/16 inch. The 1 7/8 inch ball is used for light-duty towing up to about 3500 lbs. Examples include a utility trailer or a small boat trailer.

A 2-inch ball is the most common size for medium-duty applications. Examples include hauling a speedboat on a trailer or towing a small to a medium-sized camper trailer. A 2 5/16 inch ball is utilized for heavier-duty applications like a small flatbed trailer, a heavy powerboat, or a large-sized camper.

The ball is mounted on the hitch at the rear of the vehicle. It is essential to match the diameter of the threaded shank of the ball to the hole size in the vehicle hitch. If the hole is larger than the shank, the ball nut will inevitably come loose.

The trailer is connected to the vehicle with a coupler. The coupler is the trailer component that the ball fits inside of and is clamped closed with a latch to secure it. Most every coupler will have the correct ball size stamped on it.

The correct ball size must be used with the coupler. For instance, if you have a 2-inch coupler and a 1 7/8 inch ball, it creates a hazardous connection where the trailer can come detached from the tow vehicle.

Advantages of the ball hitch setup are that it is an easy connection to make, and it provides smooth towing with a wide range of motion.

There are, however, limitations to a ball hitch. One limitation is the amount of tongue weight that can be safely carried at the rear or bumper of the vehicle. For this reason, ball hitches are not the best choice for the most-heavy duty towing applications. That being said, you can haul a pretty large flatbed with a ball hitch.

A ball hitch is located at the rear of the tow vehicle, well behind the rear axle. Too much tongue weight at the rear of the vehicle makes the rear springs squat, and adversely affects the tow vehicle steering.

Another limitation of a ball hitch is the range of motion required for off-road applications. Off-road trailering may require angles and twisting that are not best suited for a ball hitch. These applications are best suited by a pintle hitch.

What is a Pintle Hitch? Uses, Advantages, and Disadvantages

A pintle hitch or pintle hook is recognizable as a heavy U-shaped device with a clamp mechanism on the top half of it. It receives a lunette ring, which is a ring of steel located at the tip of the trailer tongue that fits within the U-shaped hook.

The pintle hitch is located at the rear of the tow vehicle and is oftentimes connected by a receiver hitch. Other times, the plate to which the hitch is mounted is bolted or welded directly to heavy steel like at the back of a dump truck or the bumper of a military vehicle.

The primary advantage of a pintle hitch system is a huge range of motion for the trailer being towed. This is essential in rough off-road applications where the tow vehicle and trailer may be at odd angles to one another.

The other advantage is that a pintle hitch is rated to carry more weight than a ball hitch. The similarity they share is that they are both mounted at the rear of the tow vehicle.

Pintle hitches are very easy to connect to the trailer. The applications where the pintle hooks are most commonly used in construction, industrial, agricultural, and military.

The big disadvantage is that there is so much play within the system, the hitch bangs every time there is sharp braking, acceleration, or bumps. It tends to send a shock wave through the tow vehicle when the hitch rattles around. Therefore a pintle hitch system is not the ideal choice for recreational towing where passenger comfort is valued.

One interesting difference to note between a ball hitch and a pintle hitch is the location of the moving part that clamps to secure the vehicle and the trailer. With a ball hitch, the clamp on the trailer receives the fixed ball on the vehicle. With a pintle hitch, the hook and clamp are on the vehicle and receive the fixed ring on the trailer.

Gooseneck Trailer vs. Fifth-Wheel

Gooseneck trailers and fifth-wheel trailers share one thing in common. Their point of connection to the trailer is directly above the rear axle of the tow vehicle. Compared to a rear-mount hitch, this greatly increases the maximum tongue weight, and greatly increases the overall towing capacity.

Both gooseneck and fifth-wheel hitches are designed for heavy hauling. A gooseneck is recognized by its shape which looks like the bend in the neck of a goose.

At the end of the long downward protruding steel structure is a clamping

the mechanism that connects to a three-inch ball that is mounted in the center of the bed of the pickup truck or tow vehicle directly above the rear axle.

This is a common setup for a heavy-duty flatbed trailer designed to carry heavy equipment. It is also a common setup for livestock trailers and horse trailers.

One advantage of a gooseneck trailer hitch system is that the ball can be easily removed from the bed of the pickup truck leaving the truck bed clear to be fully utilized.

To learn how to distinguish a gooseneck from a fifth-wheel, the easiest place to recognize a fifth-wheel hookup is on a semi-truck. Note how the solid fixed piece called the kingpin extends down vertically from the front of the trailer. Then the large plate with the clamping mechanism is attached to the frame of the tow vehicle.

This same type of fifth-wheel hitch system can be mounted in the bed of a pickup truck. Usually, the truck is going to be a one-ton truck or heavier. This hitch system is the most heavy-duty of all.

The fifth-wheel hitch system is commonly talked about in the world of large heavy camping trailers. Since these massive trailers have heavy tongue weight and are huge in size, the fifth-wheel hitch is advantageous.

A fifth-wheel hitch system gives a smooth and secure towing experience, while at the same time minimizing the side-to-side movement of the trailer. This is especially important in heavy crosswinds because it helps to prevent the trailer from tipping.

When it comes to the heaviest loads like massive heavy equipment, or huge heavy cargo trailers, the fifth-wheel hitch is the perfect system.

However, one major drawback for the owner of a pickup truck is that the fifth-wheel apparatus mounted in the bed of the pickup truck takes up a huge amount of space.

Since it is centered, it is really in the way of effectively being able to carry any cargo in your truck without removing the large heavy hitch.

Conclusion:

Which trailer hitch styles you choose depends on the use of the trailer. For recreational and personal use a ball hitch is the standard choice, and it tows smoothly.

A pintle hitch is a great choice for off-road, construction, agricultural, or military use.

A gooseneck or the fifth-wheel hitch is useful for the heaviest loads and requires a special setup in the rear bed of the pickup truck.

Trailers and Transport is a company located in Gainesville, Georgia that specializes in trailer sales, trailer rentals, and overland boat transport.  Call Trailers and Transport at (678) 680-4423 or email us at service@trailersandtransport.com to learn more about trailers.

Through our industry-wide connections, we can locate any style of trailer you desire at a great price. Trailers and Transport stocks the largest inventory of boat trailers for sale in north Georgia. Visit our website at trailersandtransport.com and experience our first-class customer service. We look forward to serving you.

How to Wire Boat Trailer Lights

Learn how to wire boat trailer lights and repair your boat trailer lights in this easy to follow tutorial and troubleshooting guide.

As a boat owner it is essential to keep your trailer in safe operating condition. The trailer lights play a huge role in safety for brake lights, turn signals, and taillights for nighttime operation.

Over time as a result of corrosion or broken wires, a boat trailer’s lighting system will need attention. Luckily, if you understand the color-coding of the wires, it’s easy to troubleshoot for a repair, or do a complete re-wire.

Keep trailer taillights, turn signals, brake lights, and running lights functioning properly for everyone’s safety. This tutorial teaches you how to troubleshoot issues
Keep trailer taillights, turn signals, brake lights, and running lights functioning properly for everyone’s safety. This tutorial teaches you how to troubleshoot issues

Parts of a Boat Trailer Lighting System

Starting at the tongue of the trailer, you have the plug that feeds the wiring harness.

There are flat plugs that come in 4-pin or 5-pin versions. There are also 7-pin round plugs. It is common to use an adapter to go from the 7-pin round to a flat plug.

Next you have the wire boat trailer lights that runs the length of the trailer. You’ll be making splices in the wire, so you’ll want to use heat shrink tubing to make your splices water tight and secure. Ideally, the best wire connections are soldered first, then protected with heat-shrink tubing to make the connection waterproof.

The last parts are the running lights and taillights. The running lights run down the sides of the trailer for nighttime visibility. All of the lights that face the sides are amber, and any lights that face the rear are red.

The light fixtures on a boat trailer need to be sealed or “submersible” lights.

Otherwise they will corrode in very little time. Sealed LED lights are considered the best.

This brand new trailer has a 5-pin flat plug and has the standard colored wires. White for ground. Brown for running and taillights. Green for right turn signal and brake light. Yellow for left turn signal and brake light. And blue for trailer brakes
This brand new trailer has a 5-pin flat plug and has the standard colored wires. White for ground. Brown for running and taillights. Green for right turn signal and brake light. Yellow for left turn signal and brake light. And blue for trailer brakes

Color-Coding Made Easy

All trailers are wired using a universal color-code system. The brown wires are the running lights and taillights. These are the lights along the side and at the rear. They are always on as long as your lights are turned on. There is a brown wire boat trailer lights on both the left and right sides of the trailer.

The Yellow wire controls the left turn signal and brake light. The green wire controls the right side turn signal and brake light.

The white wire is the ground. The ground wire will be secured by drilling into the tongue of the trailer frame and tapping with a screw to hold the ground wire securely to bare metal to create a solid ground.

Lastly the blue wire is used for the trailer brakes if applicable.

The wiring harness first feeds through the tongue of the trailer. Where it splits into left and right sides is a point where the wires may be spliced. Look here for integrity of the electrical connections
The wiring harness first feeds through the tongue of the trailer. Where it splits into left and right sides is a point where the wires may be spliced. Look here for integrity of the electrical connections

Repairing and Troubleshooting Trailer Lights Often times a running light will cease to function or a taillight goes out. Did all of the running lights go out on the same side as the taillight? If so, your issue is toward the front of the trailer.

If all of the running lights and tail light went out on the same side of the trailer, go toward the front where the trailer forks into the left and right sides. Oftentimes there are splices here. Carefully inspect the connection of the common brown wire that ties all of the running lights and taillights.

Similarly, if a turn signal went out on one side, check the connection to the yellow or green wire where the trailer splits into the left and right sides. Also check the power connection at the fixture for integrity. Lastly, clean the plug terminals on both the trailer side and the vehicle side with sandpaper or a wire brush.

If all of the running lights are functioning, but a taillight is out, then the issue is close to the taillight. If a single running light or taillight is not working, look at the individual connection to the brown wire.

Secondly, keep in mind that every light fixture has its own ground to the boat trailer frame. Make sure the ground post or screw is in clean contact to bare metal. Again, a quick use of sandpaper can clean the connection, and solve the issue.

If the light fixture uses a standard incandescent bulb, look closely to make sure the filaments are in tact. In order to work correctly a fixture only requires a functioning bulb, a clean ground, a solid connection to the power, and a clean socket where the bulb screws in.

If all of the lights went out on the trailer, take a close look at the ground wire and make sure it is secure, and it is attached to clean metal for a good electrical connection. Also clean the plug terminals for the ground.

Every running light and the taillights are powered by the brown wire. Each fixture must also have a clean and secure ground
Every running light and the taillights are powered by the brown wire. Each fixture must also have a clean and secure ground

Full Rewiring of Boat Trailer Lights

If the lighting system on your boat trailer is old and there are several non-functioning lights, it’s likely time for a complete rewire.

First, choose which plug best suits your needs, a flat plug, or a round plug. The color-coding is the same for both. Then purchase a kit that includes the wiring harness and sealed taillights. The best long-term choice is going to be sealed LED lights.

Be sure to choose sealed or “submersible” taillights. Protect wires with flexible conduit
Be sure to choose sealed or “submersible” taillights. Protect wires with flexible conduit

First, you will remove the old wires, but you will use them to pull the new wires through the tubes if that’s the style of trailer construction you have. Otherwise, if the structural framing is open, it’s largely a matter of clipping the old zip ties.

This aluminum boat trailer is constructed with I-beams, so the wires are zip tied to the inside where they’re protected
This aluminum boat trailer is constructed with I-beams, so the wires are zip tied to the inside where they’re protected

To feed the new wiring harness through the tongue, first clip off the old plug, and attach the new wiring harness to it with electrical tape. Feed it from near the coupler, through the tongue, and to the point where the trailer splits into left and right sides. If there’s a rubber grommet to protect the wires where it enters the tongue, slide it over the wires prior to feeding through the tube of the tongue.

Leave the wire length to the plug long enough to reach the vehicle plug, plus sufficient slack for turning.

Next, remove the old running lights, and clip the wires. At the point where the trailer splits into left and right sides, feed the yellow and brown down the left side, and the green and brown down the right side.

Use the old wires to pull the new wires through the tube. If the framing is open, position the wiring along the frame using zip ties. Leave slack in the wire to accommodate the side running lights.

Starting toward the front, with each running light, separate the brown power wire from the signal/ brake wire. Splice in the running light fixture to the power. Use solder and heat shrink tubing for the best long-term splice. Make certain the ground contact for each fixture is on clean metal and firmly secured.

There is a splice on the brown wire at each running light. Solder the connection for durability. Then use heat shrink tubing to make the splice waterproof
There is a splice on the brown wire at each running light. Solder the connection for durability. Then use heat shrink tubing to make the splice waterproof

Repeat this process for each running light. Once the running lights are all wired, secure the wiring harness using zip ties if you have an open structure frame on your trailer.

Next determine the left taillight from the right by looking at the wire colors. Make sure the grounding point is clean bare metal. Secure the taillights and splice in the taillight wire, and the turn signal wire.

Lastly, install the ground wire on the tongue by crimping a ring connector on the end of the wire. Drill a hole for a metal screw and sand the metal bare for a good solid connection.

Screw the ground to the metal trailer frame and check it is tight. Give the ground wire a bit of slack so it isn’t under constant tension. Otherwise it will eventually snap.

Note: if you have trailer brakes, connect the blue wire to the brakes.

Now that the wiring is complete, go back through with zip ties and make it as neat and secure as possible.

Finally use flexible plastic conduit from the plug and into the tongue of the trailer to bundle the wires and protect them from chaffing.

When the trailer light wiring installation is complete it should look clean with all wires tucked out of the way
When the trailer light wiring installation is complete it should look clean with all wires tucked out of the way

Conclusion

Wiring a boat trailer is a straight-forward task, but requires crawling around on the ground. If disassembling old corroded parts and assessing electrical connections is not for you, consider using Trailers and Transport’s repair service in our shop, or our mobile boat trailer repair service can come to you.

We handle all aspects of boat trailer maintenance from wiring, to wheel bearings, to brakes and paint.

Call Trailers and Transport today at (678) 680-4423 or email us at service@trailersandtransport.com and let us help you with your trailer needs.

Trailer Sales, Rentals, Repairs, and Transport. We are your trusted source for trailers and we serve all of the Lake Lanier communities.

Troubleshooting Guide For Trailer Lights

ISSUE CHECK

All the lights ceased functioning. Check the main ground connection on the tongue.

Clean the plug connection for the ground.

All the running lights are out and Check the splice where trailer splits to taillight on one side. the left and right.

A single taillight or running light is out. Check the power and ground connections at the fixture.

Check the bulb and clean the socket with sandpaper.

A single turn signal is out. Check the power connection at the fixture.

Clean the connection at the plug.

Check the bulb. Clean the socket.

The taillights and running lights are Check the connection at the plug.

out on both sides, but turn signals work.

Trailers and Transport is the go to source for boat transport, boat trailer sales, boat trailer rentals, and boat trailer repairs and maintenance
Trailers and Transport is the go to source for boat transport, boat trailer sales, boat trailer rentals, and boat trailer repairs and maintenance

Aluminum Boat Trailer vs. Steel Boat Trailer: Which is Better?

Which boat trailer is best, aluminum or steel? For saltwater boaters, aluminum trailers are the definite choice. However, for freshwater boaters, steel boat trailers have advantages. Learn the pros and cons of aluminum boat trailer vs. steel boat trailer in this short tutorial.

Advantages of Aluminum Boat Trailers

There are a few advantages to aluminum boat trailers.

  • The main advantage is that aluminum, by its nature, is corrosion resistant. Therefore, saltwater does not adversely affect it. Some parts of a boat trailer are still made of steel, like the suspension, axel, and bearings, but corrosion as an issue is minimized.
  • The second advantage of an aluminum trailer is that they weigh less than a steel trailer. It may be a factor when it comes to the towing capacity of your vehicle or when considering overall fuel economy or braking power.
  • The third advantage to an aluminum boat trailer is that it holds its resale value better than a steel boat trailer. Furthermore, if you live anywhere near salt water, when it comes time to sell your boat, you will have a broader market because you can include a potential saltwater buyer.

Advantages of Steel Boat Trailers

There are a few advantages to steel boat trailers.

  • First, they cost less than aluminum boat trailers. The cost savings are significant in larger trailers.
  • Secondly, steel trailers tow better. Steel is heavier and more stable to tow. By comparison, an aluminum trailer has flex and tows differently.
  • A third advantage to a steel boat trailer is having a custom-painted steel boat trailer to match your boat.
  • Some steel boat trailers are hot-dipped galvanized. The steel is dipped into molten zinc, providing a protective coating that resists corrosion. 

Disadvantages of Aluminum Boat Trailers

There are a few disadvantages of aluminum boat trailers.

  • The first is that they cost more than steel trailers. The larger the trailer, the bigger the cost difference between aluminum and steel trailers. Aluminum is simply a more costly material than steel.
  • The second disadvantage of an aluminum boat trailer is that the trailer may float in water when there is no boat loaded on it. It tends to be an issue with two and three axel trailers where the tires can create sufficient buoyancy to float a relatively lightweight aluminum trailer. This can create a real nuisance at a take-out ramp. 

To negate the issue of a floating boat trailer, many owners simply add some weights to the rear of the trailer to make it sink. A floating trailer becomes more of an issue in saltwater because everything is more buoyant in salt water.

  • A third disadvantage to an aluminum trailer is that aluminum has flex, and it does not tow as smoothly as a steel boat trailer. Everyone agrees that steel is more stable for towing.

Disadvantages of Steel Boat Trailers

Surely this biggest disadvantage to a steel boat trailer is its susceptibility to rust. As they say, rust never sleeps. A steel trailer will never be the same once it is submerged into saltwater.

If your boat is on a steel boat trailer, and you want to go boating in the ocean, go to a marina where they can crane your boat on and off the trailer. Wash your boat and steel trailer immediately with fresh water after your boat has come out of the ocean.

As for rust on a steel trailer, a hot-dipped galvanized steel boat trailer resists corrosion better than a painted steel boat trailer. Also, for trailer construction, open C-shaped structural steel is preferable to rectangular tubing because the rectangular tubing rusts from the inside and cannot be accessed.

A second disadvantage to a steel trailer is heavier than an aluminum trailer. Weight affects fuel economy when towing and can also make it more difficult to stop.

Conclusion

I hope we answered your aluminum boat trailer vs. steel boat trailer dilemma. If you intend to use your boat in saltwater, an aluminum boat trailer is an obvious choice because a steel trailer will disintegrate from rust in very little time.

If you are a freshwater boater, the choice is yours if you want to spend more money upfront to purchase an aluminum trailer. Or you can save up-front money and have the smooth towing capability of a steel trailer, but you’ll eventually have the nagging problem of rust. 

An aluminum boat trailer holds its resale value better than a steel trailer and opens the possibility of launching your boat in the ocean or someday selling your boat to a saltwater boater.

There are pros and cons to both aluminum and steel boat trailers. This tutorial likely gave you information to help you make a clear and informed choice.

Please contact Trailers and Transport, LLC for all of your trailering needs. We specialize in boat trailers for sale and boat trailers for rent, but we also have a line-up of many other trailer styles.

Trailers and Transport is a top-tier boat transportation company for local, regional, and cross-country boat transport. Call the professionals from Trailers and Transport at (678) 680-4423 or email us at service@trailersandtransport.com  to find the perfect trailer for your needs.

How to Grease Boat Trailer Wheel Bearings Like a Pro

Grease your boat trailer wheel bearings once a year as part of your annual boat trailer maintenance program. Learn how to grease boat trailer wheel bearings in this easy-to-follow step-by-step narrative, along with our at-a-glance quick guide. 

Greasing trailer wheel bearings is not difficult to do. Still, it is an essential trailer maintenance item because if a wheel bearing fails, the wheel can come off unexpectedly, create an accident, or cause damage to your boat.

It’s easy to overlook this maintenance item because wheel bearings are out of sight. However, repeated submersion in water along with a sandy environment leads to boat trailer wheel bearings needing regular attention.

How To Inspect, Disassemble, and Grease Boat Trailer Wheel Bearings

It’s quite a simple process to maintain the wheel bearings. First, slightly loosen the lug nuts while the trailer is on the ground. Then jack up the trailer, so the wheel is off of the ground. 

Ideally, for stability, the trailer hitch is connected to a vehicle, and the opposite wheel is chocked. A jack stand adds further security and safety.

Next, give the wheel a spin. Does it turn freely without a grinding sound? Then grab the wheel and firmly shake it from side to side. Is there any wobble and play in the bearing? Ideally, there is very little play. 

If the wheel wobbles when you shake it, then it’s likely you need to replace the bearings and races. If you are mechanically handy, this is a straightforward job. However, if you’re not mechanically confident, take it to a shop or use Trailers and Transport mobile trailer service.

Next, remove the wheel. Now you can inspect the hub for integrity and look inside of the rim to see if there’s been grease escaping. If grease has been running from the seal, that means water and contaminants can get in and degrade the bearings.

Next, pop off the dust cap with a mallet by knocking it equally from side to side. Once the cap is removed, this exposes the axel nut that holds the hub and the cotter pin that secures the nut in place. Remove the cotter pin. Remove the nut. Remove the large washer. Inspect for any metal shavings, debris, water, or contaminants.

Next, pull the hub toward you and remove the outer bearing. Leave the wheel on the spindle. Wipe the outer bearing with a clean rag and inspect the bearing for any rust, pitting, or deformities on each roller bearing. Ideally, it’s smooth, clean, and does not need to be replaced.

If you see rust, pitting, or deformities, then the bearings and races are due to be replaced.

Next, here’s a little trick. With the wheel still sitting on the spindle, put the axle nut back on. Pull the hub toward you fully, and it will pop out the inner bearing and the seal when it catches the nut. Inspect and clean out the inside of the hub, looking for metal shavings or any sign of degradation. 

Wipe the inner bearing and the seal clean while inspecting both for integrity. The seal is double-lipped to keep the grease in and water out.

At this point, let’s assume the bearings are in good shape, the seal has integrity, and the races that the bearings ride on inside the hub are also free of pits, rust, and deformities. Clean the spindle and inspect that it too is perfectly clean and smooth.

With everything wiped clean, it’s time to press fresh marine-grade grease into the bearings and begin reassembly. Use a gloved hand with a good-sized glob of grease, take the inner bearing and scrape it against the glob and use pressure to press the grease throughout the bearing. 

Keep rotating the bearing while pressing in the grease until it emerges on both sides. Wipe a little excess grease on the race and the seal and place the inner bearing into the race and tap the seal in gently with a hammer or mallet until it is fully seated. 

Now repeat the process to press grease into the outer wheel bearing. Place the hub on the spindle, then place the freshly greased outer bearing into the outer race. Next, replace the large washer and the nut. 

At this point, we want to adjust the tightness of the nut to limit excess pressure on the wheel bearings. Use a wrench or adjustable channel lock pliers to tighten the nut fully. This snugs up the seal and the bearings onto the races. Then back off the nut slightly and then re-tighten the nut by hand. Replace the cotter pin and dust cap. 

Put the tire back on and tighten the lug nuts. Spin the wheel. It should spin freely and quietly. There should be no wobble in the wheel when you shake it. Lower the tire to the ground and fully tighten the lug nuts. 

Congratulations! One wheel bearing is greased; now repeat on the other side of the trailer.

Quick Guide to Greasing Boat Trailer Wheel Bearings 

  • Slightly loosen lug nuts. Jack up the wheel.
  • Shake wheel, inspect for wobble.
  • Spin wheel. Does it spin smoothly?
  • Remove wheel to expose hub.
  • Remove dust cap, cotter pin, axle nut, and washer.
  • Inspect existing grease for water or debris.
  • Pull the hub toward you and remove the outer bearing.
  • Pull hub off and remove the seal and inner bearing.
  • Wipe all bearings and races clean with a clean rag.
  • Inspect bearings and races for rust, pitting, or deformity.
  • Clean all surfaces fully.
  • Press fresh marine grease into the bearings.
  • Insert inside bearing into the race and reinstall grease seal.
  • Put hub back onto spindle and insert outer bearing.
  • Replace the washer and fully tighten the nut to seat the parts.
  • Back off the nut, and then hand tightens.
  • Replace the cotter pin and dust cap.
  • Replace the wheel and tighten lug nuts.
  • Lower wheel to ground and fully tighten lug nuts.

How to Replace Damaged Wheel Bearings

If upon disassembly you discover that the wheel bearings are rusted, pitted, or have some deformities on the roller surfaces, take the sample bearings to the auto parts store or trailer dealership. Purchase new bearings, races, and seals, along with the marine-grade grease.

The only difference in the process described above is that we need to take a punch and pop out the old inner and outer bearing races. Lay the hub down, and with a long punch, reach through the hub to the opposite side and find the back edge of the race with the punch. 

Knock the punch with a hammer alternating opposite sides of the edge of the race to unseat it. Once removed, flip the hub over and repeat the process to remove the opposite race.

Clean the hub fully, so there are no metal shavings, dirt, or contaminants. Now it’s time to press in the new races. For this, we use a special race driver tool to knock with a hammer. The tool is the same size as the race so that the race can be driven into the hub to its fully seated position.

Once the new races are installed, wipe all surfaces clean. Then grease and reassemble all of the parts as outlined above. As you can see, replacing the wheel bearings really only differs from the basic greasing process by needing to purchase the parts and replace the bearing races. 

A Few Other Spots to Grease on Your Boat Trailer

While you have excess grease handy, grease a few more parts of your trailer so everything functions perfectly. 

  • Grease the coupler and the latch.
  • Grease the winch gears, the release, and the bow clip.
  • Grease the trailer jack.

Bearing Buddy

A handy device called a bearing buddy can help keep the wheel bearing grease fresh. The unit attaches to the hub where the dust cap would normally be and has a grease zerk. Using spring action, the bearing buddy presses fresh grease into the wheel bearings over time as required. 

Remember, fresh grease displaces water, and water is the enemy because it creates an environment for rust.

Conclusion

Greasing wheel bearings on a boat trailer is important annual maintenance. Not keeping up on this maintenance item will lead to a roadside trailer break down, or worse, your trailer wheel comes off, causing damage to your boat and creating a hazard to others.

It is not difficult to grease your wheel bearings as a DIY project. However, a trailer shop or a mobile trailer repair service like Trailers and Transport can keep all aspects of your boat trailer operating safely and smoothly. 

Call Trailers and Transport at (678) 680-4423, email at service@trailersandtransport.com.

Boat Trailer Parts Tutorial and Diagrams

Boat trailers are built from components with specific names. Learn here what each part is called so you can communicate effectively to replace, repair, or upgrade your boat trailer parts. 

It’s as important to know the details about your boat trailer as it is to understand the parts of your boat or car. Learn the part names and the maintenance required to keep your trailer operating like new for years to come. 

Trailers and Transport is a business that specializes in boat trailer sales, rentals, repairs, and boat transport. We can assist you to keep your trailer in good working order, which is essential for safety, performance, and peace of mind. 

Trailers and Transport sell boat trailer parts and perform all aspects of trailer maintenance, including greasing wheel bearings and repairing trailer lighting systems. Visit www.trailersandtransport.com to learn more.

Identifying Parts Common to All Boat Trailers

Starting at the front of the trailer, the first part is called the coupler. The coupler is the moving part that clamps down on the ball to secure the trailer to the vehicle. Keeping this part lubricated so the coupler lock fully engages and there’s no surprise release is essential.

A surprise trailer hitch release brings us to our next item, the safety chains. Safety chains play a vital role as a backup attachment to the vehicle if there is somehow a failure in the hitch system. 

If your trailer breaks free from your vehicle, not only will your boat get wrecked, but it is a hazard to others. Furthermore, for liability reasons, a trailer separated from the vehicle becomes a vehicle in itself in terms of liability. 

If someone else gets injured or property gets damaged from a loose trailer, you’ll wish you had that special insurance on your trailer. Take the safety chains seriously. Hooks that clip shut are preferred over open hooks.

Next, working our way back on the tongue of the trailer, we have the jack. Keep the jack lubed for trouble-free operation. After using the jack to lower the trailer onto the vehicle hitch, close and lock the coupler, fasten the safety chains, and then raise your jack all of the ways. 

Without a doubt, the most common way to ruin your jack is to forget to raise it fully and start driving away. Then the jack gets bent, and you can’t raise or lower it. It happens, but don’t let it happen to you.

Another item at the front of the tongue of the trailer is the electrical plug for lighting and trailer brakes (for larger trailers). The plug is on a length of flexible cord so the trailer can turn without pulling on the plug. 

Get the cord length right by wrapping it to support the cord if needed. If the cord or the plug drags on the ground while driving, it will surely need repair.

Working back on the tongue, we now have the winch and the winch stand. Often, trailers are built with bolt-on winch stands, and sometimes the winch stand is welded to the frame. 

The winch is equipped with either a cable or a strap that coils onto a spool. This controls the boat during launch, retrieves the boat when pulling the boat out of the water, and secures the boat’s bow to the trailer during transport. Be sure your winch is rated higher than the weight of your boat.

Keep the winch lubricated for smooth operation. The last thing you want is for the locking mechanism to release unexpectedly, and your boat slides off of the trailer while going down the road at speed. 

It is equally important to lubricate the latch of the hook that’s on the cable or strap. Make sure it’s functioning as it should so it stays attached to the bow hook of the boat and your boat remains securely fastened to the trailer.

The next part of the trailer is the bow stop. It is either a rubber bumper, a carpeted V-shape, or two padded vertical pipes that the bow nests into. Make sure that you have padding here, or the bow trim of your boat will get damaged.

Near this point on the trailer, you may have a spare tire. Just like for your car, a spare tire is a good thing to have because flat tires never seem to happen at a good time.

Bunk Trailers and Roller Trailers

Now we have the parts of the trailer that the boat actually sits on. Oftentimes these are carpeted, or rubber padded bunks that are like rails that the boat bottom sits on. When loading the boat on a bunk trailer, it is important that the boat is centered, so the bunks nest into the sweet spot on the bottom of the boat.

Other trailers have a system of rollers. When using a roller trailer, the boat is winched on and off of the trailer. This is an ideal system for a solo operator because the winch enables a sure and steady loading and unloading while the boat is naturally directed to the sweet spot where it is centered.

By contrast, a bunk trailer is best with a boat driver on board and a vehicle driver. The trailer is backed deep enough into the water, and the driver literally drives the boat onto the trailer. A rehearsed team will just give a go signal, and the boat driver applies some throttle as the vehicle driver pulls forward. The whole process is seamless and painless. 

If a boat on a bunk trailer is not nested fully into the bow stop, the vehicle driver can go forward and then hit the brakes to get the boat to slide forward on the wet bunks and nest the bow into the bow stop. Of course, use moderation with the speed and braking to avoid damaging the boat bow and trim.

Overall, bunk trailers are far more commonly used than roller trailers. They are simpler, have fewer moving parts, and are less maintenance. And of course, they cost less than roller trailers.

Boat Trailer Bunks

Boat trailer bunks are made from marine plywood, hardwood, or a composite material that’s like a hard plastic wood. The bunks are either covered with carpet or rubberized plastic to pad the bottom of the boat. Be certain the bunks have structural integrity so you don’t end up with the bottom of the boat sitting on a steel bracket.

Roller Trailer Parts

Keel Rollers

In terms of keel rollers, there is a wide range of sizes and forms to choose from. Keel rollers run the length of a roller trailer, usually down the center. 

Wobble Rollers

On a multi-roller trailer, wobble rollers are critical. They are the key to loading and unloading your boat, and it is imperative to keep these rollers lubricated and in good condition. 

Older trailers may have rollers that lack integrity because the rollers are cracked, broken, or have flat spots. This not only makes it a challenge to launch or recover your boat, but also can cause damage to the bottom of the boat if the weight is not distributed properly.

Multi Roller Brackets & Hardware

This configuration requires many different brackets and hardware, so multi roller trailers have many moving parts. It’s uncommon for these parts to come in a kit form that includes everything you’ll need.

Boat Trailer Tires and Wheels

The most overlooked maintenance item on any trailer is to grease the wheel bearings every year. It is easy to overlook because it’s out of sight. However, repeated submersion in water, followed by baking sun, leads to corrosion and degradation of the grease. If your wheel bearings wear out or lock up going down the road, the wheel can come off and cause an accident.

Boat trailer tires need to be closely monitored. Because boat trailers often spend time baking in the open sun and being subjected to the elements, tires can degrade even though they have a few miles on them. Closely inspect the sidewalls, especially near the bead for cracking and signs of drying out.

Boat trailer tires have a special ST rating. These tires have a stronger sidewall than passenger cars or light truck tires. Also, the load rating for boat trailers tends to fall into the B or C category. 

Radial tires are the best and run cooler for long hauls. Consult a boat trailer shop like Trailers and Transport to learn about the best tires for your trailer and load.

Larger boat trailers are equipped with trailer brakes. These brakes are electrically activated, and it’s important to have them functioning properly. A heavy boat behind a truck needs extra braking power on the trailer, so the load doesn’t pass up the tow vehicle!

Boat trailers have fenders that cover the wheels to keep mud and water from spraying up on the boat. There is often a step up and a place to stand on top of the fender. This is nice and useful customization, so you can get in and out of the boat easily when it’s on the trailer.

Next are the trailer taillights. These are special submersible lights that are watertight. A standard trailer light would simply fill with water, corrode, and quit functioning in short order. Some trailers are equipped with LED lighting along the length that adds nighttime visibility to larger rigs and also looks great.

At the very rear are vertical bars that are guides to direct the boat to be centered when loading and unloading. These guides are generally padded with rubberized plastic. 

Conclusion

Boat trailers are generally built from individual components that are bolted together. By understanding the individual trailer parts, and the basic maintenance required to keep them functioning properly, it’s possible to keep a boat trailer functional for decades.

For more information regarding boat trailers, visit www.trailersandtransport.com.