AVOID CHEAP BOAT TRAILERS!!
Right off the bat, take a look at the accompanying photos. This trailer collapsed on the ramp. Thank goodness it did not come apart on the Interstate at 70 MPH.
The people who marketed this piece of trash should be in jail for gross negligence and reckless endangerment. They put the whole driving public at risk. It is just the same as putting defective tires on an automobile and letting the unsuspecting public drive on them.
This trailer was under an 18-foot PROCRAFT bass boat on 29 October 01. I do not know if it came with the boat, nor who built it. So, I am not saying the PROCRAFT Company is at fault. I had a trailer that came with a 1992 NITRO, though, that did basically the same thing. It was constructed of the same materials as the trailer under the PROCRAFT. One after the other, the three cross members of the NITRO trailer rusted out at the welds to the main frame and had to be replaced. Then, the main trailer frame fell apart on the same ramp as that PROCRAFT's trailer did. The NITRO trailer was 2 years old. The one under the PROCRAFT looked less than that.
Go back to the photo and let's look at what went wrong and why.
You can see that the trailer under the PROCRAFT broke in half on both sides of the trailer main frame arms right behind the welds of the front cross support. The only reason the frame arms did not break right at the welds was the added bulk of the front support cross piece at the weld points.
After we photographed the mess, we got down and inspected the break points and the main frame members. What we found was exactly the same reason that NITRO trailer had disintegrated on us. They had rusted out from the INSIDE.
The main frame pieces of the trailer under the PROCRAFT were made of tubular metal. That is to say, the material was 4-sided (i.e., hollow in the center) enclosed metal. With that type design, there is no way to visually detect rust and corrosion inside the main frame arms.
Tubular metal frames are often used because they are cheaper than solid steel beam materials. If you tap a tubular frame with a rock or metal object, you will hear it ring with a very 'tinny' sound. That is because the metal it is made from is very thin. But, their rigidity and strength is good, SO LONG AS THE INTEGRITY OF THE ENTIRE TUBE IN MAINTAINED. But, let one weak place develop and the tube is subject to total collapse.
When tubular metal frames are welded on the outside (for cross members, front supports, and spring shackles), guess what happens INSIDE the metal tube? It 'spalds' on the inside. That means the inside surface gets hot from the welding process and some of the protective finish simply is burned and flakes away, leaving bare metal. Bare metal sure DOES rust easily, especially in a dark, enclosed metal tube where it never really dries well. (You have probably seen welds that, when left untreated, rust overnight.) The outside finish does the same thing, but it accessible and can be re-treated and re-painted. But, not that inside surface. The trailer does not even have to be dunked in the water to get wet inside the tubular framing. Temperature changes and humidity can make it sweat inside.
Now you see why this trailer in the photo, as well as my NITRO rig, rusted on the inside and simply feel apart one day. To save a few bucks on materials, a manufacture chose dollars over his consumer's safety.
Armed with this understanding, here is a primary recommendation:
· DO NOT, under any circumstances, accept a boat trailer that is not made of solid steel channel beam. You can see all the surfaces of the channel beam material, as well as all the weld points. You can treat any sign of rust immediately and never have a structural problem due to rust and corrosion. If a boat dealer tries to get you to take a trailer made of tubular metal, no longer trust him and shop elsewhere. If the trailer is made or procured by the boat manufacturer specifically for his boat line and it is tubular metal, select another boat brand. If you can't trust the boat manufacturer's judgment and concern for the quality of his trailers, you sure don't want to take a chance with the boat.
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