Safe Trailering Tips

Trailer Tips!

by “Outboardman” aka Howard Percival Johnson, Jr.

We had some long tows this year and learned a bit about trailering.

First: Always latch the ball! This seems obvious but in the excitement of
getting ready, can be forgotten. Adjust the tongue weight to at least 100 pounds on the ball. This
way if you forget to latch, it may stay on!

Second: Get rid of the hooks and use anchor shackles. Why not have really safe safety chains? I used to have to stop on the road to put the chains back on.

Third: Adjust the latch clamp for a snug fit on the ball (look underneath hitch). This keeps it from rattling.

Fourth: Grease the ball. I could not believe how smooth this makes everything feel. The hitch/ball are moving the whole time the rig is in motion. Include extra rags; it’s messy but worthwhile.

Fifth: Bolt up any hinge, a rattling trailer wears the nerves and we seldom use a trailer hinge today.

Sixth: Consider putting stalk light on the guide posts. They are more visible by everyone. Tom Donley made a set this year. It puts the lights at eye level and makes the rig seem bigger. Aim the lenses correctly so the light intensity is magnified.

Seventh: Unplug the lights before going in the water! Good connections are fried immediately in salt water; hot bulbs sometimes burst.

Eighth: Grease bearings when you arrive. Centrifugal force throws grease out. You don’t want salt water in there do you? On the way home, they mix into a salt paste. No wonder we’re always replacing bearings.

Ninth: Before you leave take a small floor jack and listen to each bearing before greasing. Put the jack in the vehicle, along with the trailer spare and lug wrench.

Tenth: When you wash the boat, completely rinse the inside and outside of the trailer and the rear of the tow. Trailers rust out from the inside.

All this effort adds to your peace of mind while towing and the chances of a trouble free trip. See you out on the lake!

Reprinted from The Stuffing Box, 1997 Spring Issue (Vol. 3 No. 1),
Newsletter of the Chesapeake Bay Chapter,
Antique & Classic Boat Society