Campbell Boat Owners Website

 

Trailer Bunk Repair

Article by Campbell Boat Owner Ron Fasola, owner of "Strange Brew"

 

WOOD

·       Fir and pine are OK; spruce is the best. 

·       No need for pressure treated wood; it's treated for bug protection, not water.    

·       Don't use TREX – it has little strength. 

·       I ordered special 22 ft. long "glue lam" 2x4's for Dave Hutson's pontoon trailer from Probuild, in LHC.  They were only $25 each, much stronger than normal wood, and were dimensionally straight.  They looked like they were made from 1 ½" thick plywood.  The wood was hard and tough for the staples to penetrate, but I think they will be better for bunks than any other wood.

 

 

HARDWARE

·       Myco advises using ¼"galvanized stove bolts, galvanized washers, and two stainless nuts per bolt.  Avoid nylocks; they can spin stove bolt heads when the wood ages. 

·       Stainless lag screws are also OK and easier to use. 

·       Do not use glue or stainless nails to secure the felt.

 

 

BUNK  COVERING

·       Avoid using carpet; it holds abrasive sand.  Use marine felt or carpet designed for bunks. 

·       West Marine carries gray material I used on my Campbell trailer. 

·       On Dave Hutson's pontoon trailer, we used black felt material from Enduro Trailer in LHC that was thicker than West Marine's felt.  Gary, at Enduro, has the material in bulk length and has width sizes for either 2x4's or 2x6's that just about completely wrap the wood.

 

 

TIPS

·       Wet the bunks before the boat hits the bunks.

·       The Monel staples used in an Arrow T50 hand stapler do not drive into the glue lam boards easily.  I used my hand stapler to "start" the staples, then used a hammer to fully drive them in.  I used about 1,200 staples on Dave's pontoon trailer.  Later on, for another project, I bought an air powered stapler that is infinitely easier and faster to use. 

·       If using stove bolts, countersink the holes in the wood so that the heads can be hammered into the wood flush, and THEN cover over the heads with carpet.

 

 

TRAILER  REBUILDING  NOTES

 

 

LOAD  CARRYING CAPACITY

The trailer that came with my 1977 24 ft. Campbell was made by Ellis Trailers.  It had an Atwood surge brake coupler that used a 2" diameter hitch ball.  The first time we towed the boat to go on a houseboat trip, we loaded the boat with many large, heavy items.  We overloaded the trailer to the extent that the axles drooped in their middles, which severely affected the camber angle of the tires.  The tires were angled out at their bottoms where they contacted the road, and were running on their insides only.  They began throwing rubber.  We survived the trip by transferring some load, and consulted Ellis Trailers upon getting back home.

 

Ellis told me that my stock trailer was not designed for serious towing and/or carrying extra weight.  Bob Whelan confirmed this at the time.  The spec sheet for a 24 Campbell listed its dry and empty weight as 5,700 lbs. (with an outdrive).  Our boat had 100 gallon tankage, plus a Turbo 400 trans, and we always carried a substantial amount of equipment on board.  So we had Ellis install larger axles, 6 lug mag wheels, 8 ply tires, and a Dico/Titan surge brake coupler that used a 2 5/16 diameter hitch ball so that the trailer would be rated to carry 10,000 lbs.

 

Most 24 ft. Campbell trailers use 2" hitch balls, and work just fine even when used to tow to California and on longer trips now and then.  However, for frequent towing on long trips, and/or using the boat to carry heavy loads, it makes sense to consider modifying and strengthening the trailer.

 

It should be mentioned that when loading the boat heavily for a tow, it's critical that the load is distributed in the boat so that the tongue weight is not reduced.  It is usually recommended that the tongue weight be 10% of the total towed weight, but I've found that the boat tows better, (does not sway), with even higher than 10% tongue weight.

 

NICETIES

When it came time to have our trailer repainted, I had Enduro Trailer in Lake Havasu do the job.  I arranged to have the trailer sand blasted before Enduro got the trailer.

 

Enduro replaced the "trailer clips" that originally held the trailer wiring to the frame with washers welded to the frame.  The wires were routed through these washers, and make for a much more secure design.

 

The original winch used a stranded metal cable, which nested poorly on the reel and was basically unsafe to even touch.  It was replaced with a 2" strap.  The winch stanchion had to be modified to allow the strap to pass through it.

 

A steel roller was added to the rear cross member to aid in getting over spots when the angle of the trailer made it touch the street.  A roller is a huge help when backing up a driveway.

 

Some trailers used for frequent towing have a mount for an extra leaf spring inside one of the trailer rails, and some even mount an extra prop shaft there also.  The owners must be Boy Scouts!