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Whopper Stopper

Boat launching

Question

Whopper Stopper

Launching a boat.

I have a question regarding boat launching. I have a shorelander trailer for my Alumacraft Navigator 175. My neighbor is in the marine and small engine repair business, and from day one he has told me to launch my boat without backing the wheels under water for the simple reason that I will not have to worry about repacking the wheel bearings every year. I have for the last two seasons taken his advice and have never had any problems. I sometimes fish on 3-4 different lakes in a day and I can see his point as far as the bearings go with the water seeping in (I do have bearing buddies) and washing the grease out. On a few occasions I have been scolded and cursed for not having the sense to "FLOAT THE BOAT" In my defense I could care less from the stand point that it takes us no more then 5 minutes to get the boat loaded from the time the trailer hits the landing, far less time then I am noticing others taking. My question is this......For those of you who back under water, how often do you have to repack your bearings? Do you at least have to do it after the season is over? It's not real bad cranking the boat on but if I backed up further it would be very simple. I ran this by the dealer I bought it from and he told me my neighbor was right. Any thoughts? Thanks!

WS

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Ralph Wiggum

You must fish lakes with deep landings because I can't imagine launching a boat without the wheels in the water. I guess I've never had my own boat/trailer, though, so I can't tell you about the bearings.

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Whopper Stopper

Maybe I wasn't clear on that. The wheels are in the water but not over the hubs.

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TSCTSC

hmm..I have a shoreland'r and the manual says to back it into the water till the first step on the wheel hub is just submerged. based on that guideline, the bearing buddies are submerged.

I would imagine it would not be easy to launch a boat if the trailer is not in deep enough. But i would like to learn new ways of launching if they are better.

how do you actually launch the boat if the trailer is still mostly out? Do you push it off or use the momentum during reversing to roll the boat off when you are backing?

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Kab Dreamin

I always submerge the hubs. On some of the ramps I frequent, it is the only way to get the boat (Alumacraft Trophy 190) off of the trailer. In almost 30 years of boat launching, I have never had a breakdown due to bearings but I take the necessary precautions. Each fall before the boat gets stored, I repack the bearings. I also use bearing buddies and shoot some grease in them every couple of weeks to push out any contaminated grease. If I start seeing discolored or milky grease coming out, I will repack the bearings again. I had to do this once or twice with a previous boat trailer.

I guess I would have to say that, based on my experience, your neighbor' opinion and your dealer's might be a little overkill. But on the other hand, if you don't put them in the water, you won't have water related problems.

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Valv

The heck with the neighbor. I rather have bearings repacked every year but drive boat on trailer, than crank the sucker all the way up the trailer

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LocalGuide

Yeah, it doesn't really matter as long as you take good care of them.

We have a Alumacraft 185 T-Pro. Try unloading that w/out getting the wheels all the way in the water, yeah not happening. We have to "float the boat" off the trailer to get it off. Then it requires about 1/2 the tires in the water or more to get the boat back on. Time wise, this takes less than 1 minute if done correctly and no messing around.

If you were curious, have a shorelander roller trailer w/a 12" support bunk on each side for the front of the boat.

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8-Ball

Don't think I have ever not submerged my hubs, can't imagine launching it w/out doing so. I have a '99 boat/motor/trailer and have repacked the bearings 3-4 times. Whether it was necessary or not, it is cheap insurance and an easy preventative step to take. Back 'er in far enough so you can float her off and have an easy launch.. just re-pack the bearings every 1 or 2 years. 8-Ball.

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riverrat56

Well I don't run near as an expensive boat as you guys all do, 14 ft lund with a 15 merc on the back, when we launch with out a dock i hop in the boat and the buddy back in then gets out pushes me off with only the back rollers in the water, loading is the same way, just barly get that back rollers in ( usually up to the hubs ) and the drive up half way and crank the rest, works slick, under a minuet on and off.

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Whopper Stopper

Thanks for all the tips and advice. I know when I was told not to get the hubs wet I was very skeptical as far as how you could get the boat off if it wasn't backed all the way in. I must say that when the water is just about to the hubs and I launch the boat it comes right off the trailer without any need to push it or jerk the truck or anything. I know if I undid the safety strap and the winch strap and started to back down the ramp I would lose the boat on dry cement. As far as the loading it goes, when the trailer is in position the boat floats up to the first couple of rollers and you have to winch about 2/3 the boat length onto the trailer. Anyway it isn't as bad as it sounds but like someone else had said I was wanting input to see if there was a better way. I think as long as the season is so early I may just start backing it down and figure on repacking them in the fall. Do most of you repack them yourself or do you take the trailer some place? Thanks again!

WS

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CanoeCruiser

I usually have the bearings repacked when the boat is getting winterized...it's just part of my personal maint. schedule...

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musky hunter

It doesn't matter if you have bearing buddies, you'll never get water into the hubs. Bearings and seals are one of the most misunderstood topics we deal with. The truth is, good bearing seals make a near completely waterproof seal. Even if you did get some water ito the hubs, repacking yearly will solve most of the problems. But bearing buddies, which pressureize the grease, solve all of the problems with water. If there is a leak with a bearing buddie, it's a grease leak backwards and you are in good shape until the grease reservior runs out. I'd never have a trailer witout them.

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fish-n-geek

Between the trailer setup I use, and the shallow landings I hit, I back in until the fenders are at water level. A couple landings, I have to have the truck tires in the water (!). No problem with water getting in the hubs, and I probably repack every two or three years, just to check on 'em. Only hub I ever had get water in it was on a little 4x8 utility trailer that had a bad inside seal. Found out the hard way when the hub burned up on the highway. Bye-bye axle...

As others have said, with the bearing buddies, I really wouldn't worry about getting water in, as long as they're full of grease.

-rus-

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Valv

Also just wait until september, when lakes are 2 ft lo from drought, that's when you really have to back up into the lake.

I know some lakes around here, you will have whole truck into water and boat is still up on trailer...dry....

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federline

You speak the truth Valv. Just a couple weeks ago, buddies suburban had both truck wheels in the water, tailpipe bubbling away underwater, we still had a he11 of a time putting that 18 footer on his bunks.

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BIG DS

The bearings will need to be repacked from time to time regardless of your loading and unloading practices. The grease will break down and loose its lubricating ability anyway. If you travel a lot with your boat in tow it should be done every other year or so. The key to the whole water in the bearings thing is your bearing buddies. The buddies have a spring in them. By giving the buddies a shot of grease now and then, the springs will keep pressure on the seal on the back side of the hubs and thus keeping the water out. A good rule of thumb is two pumps of grease every 500-800 miles. When the bearings are repacked, make sure the bearing buddies are cleaned completely so they work properly. Roller trailers are great but if you don't have to constantly roll the boat on and off it will relieve a lot of undo stress on the hull. Keep in mind, all the seems on an Alumacraft boat are just taped to keep them from leaking. The more you roll that seem the looser it will get. Backing in so the water is about 1/2 way up the tire or better should do the trick. That is pretty much what most manucatures recommend anyway.

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mudman

I think trailer depth is more of an issue for getting the boat on straight.

not the bearings.

if you back the trailer in to far to get the boat out then you will have problems alinging the boat on the trailer right.

I have a 1650 fishhawk and just barely put the trailer in and then drive up on it half way. hook up and crank the rest. the boat is never lopsided and from backing in to pulling out by myself take all of 2 min tops.

just a thought.

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