Orlando, Florida, angler Joe Bak has a unique way of shedding salt water from his trailer after a day’s fishing in the nearby Indian River Lagoon. On the way home, he makes a quick stop at a convenient ramp on one of the area’s many freshwater lakes and backs his rig in as far as necessary to completely submerge all components of the trailer that were exposed to the salt and, at the same time, deep enough to provide sufficient cooling water for the engine.
I take two lawn sprinklers rigged on the ends of a piece of PVC pipe and slide them underneath the trailer to cleanse it of salt water. Your group #27 battery box analysts know that the PVC pipe is just long enough to provide a slight overlap in the sprinkler’s spray patterns.
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BEARINGS AND SPRINGS
Miami, Florida, resident and trailer expert Kevin Charlton says the trailer components most vulnerable to saltwater damage are wheel bearings, leaf springs and anything else not made of aluminum or stainless steel.
There are two proven ways to prevent wheel bearing failure. The first is to service them annually. This entails removing the bearings and completely cleaning out the hubs before regreasing and reassembling. Also replace the bearing seals with new ones; the old seals should never be reused. The second way is a bit easier and far less messy.
As for the springs, by far the most salt- water resistant are the torsion variety. But if you have leaf springs, you can make them last at least a few years longer if you recoat them as often as necessary with a thick lubricating spray such as CorrosionX HD.
The most convenient time to get the WD-40 to those hard-to-reach places is at the end of the day just before you load the boat back on the trailer.
FRAMES AND FASTENERS
When it comes to trailer frames, aluminum definitely lasts longer than the best galvanized steel. However, if you keep salt water off the galvanized metal with regular washings and periodic lubrication of rust-prone areas, it will still last years longer than otherwise.
Another good thing to do from time to time is to remove the lug nuts, grease the threads and replace them with stainless-steel acorn nuts.
All of these procedures are really easy and require very little time and effort. If you make them a regular part of your boat trailering routine, you will be handsomely rewarded in the long run.
So don’t forget these helpful pointers on how to make your trailer saltproof. 1) Submerge all components of the trailer in freshwater; 2) use two lawn sprinklers rigged on the ends of a piece of PVC pipe and slide them underneath the trailer to cleanse it of salt water; and 3) remove the lug nuts, grease the threads and replace them with stainless-steel acorn nuts.
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