V/M Custom Boat Trailers

Boat Trailer Guidelines

Axles


You should inspect your Bearing Protectors for grease before each trip. If the blue ring is flush with the chrome piece, then grease is needed. We recommend Sta-Lube Boat Trailer Grease. Re-packing of bearing grease is recommended every 2000-3000 miles. Some axle manufacturers advise that with the use of Bearing Protectors one never needs to re-pack, however, our philosophy is better to be safe than sorry. We have seen on several occasions where the boat owners neglected to check the grease in the hubs or failed to notice leakage of seals form the rear of the hubs. Re-packing ensures your trailer is at its best. If you are good with your hands, the job can be done in a few hours. We stock the parts you may need. Do not overload your boat and trailer with gear, as it will bend your axles and may cause tire wear that will inevitably lead to tire failure.


Brakes


On your trailer, disc brakes are self-adjusting; drum brakes should be adjusted after the first 300 miles and every 1500 miles thereafter.

Actuators

Always check your brake fluid level before towing; refer to our actuator owner’s manual for fluid levels and more detailed instructions. For customers with trailers using UFP actuators, every time you hitch your vehicle to the trailer, make sure the pushrod release bracket on the bottom of the hitch is pressed. This ensures the actuator piston is not continuously putting pressure on the lines, forcing the brake pads/shoes to apply. The resulting action of constant pressure will cause the brakes to lock up. Refer to the actuator manual page 9-10 for further information. Disc brake actuators use a solenoid that allows you to back up your trailer without surging the brakes. You received a brake lockout key if your trailer has a UFP actuator, keep this handy when towing, if you have an electrical problem or solenoid failure you will need it. If necessary you can use a small piece of 2x4 wood wedged between the latch on your hitch and the female end of the tongue to prevent the brakes from surging. Drum brake systems do not use the backup solenoid, and if necessary the same lockout device can be used. Caution: Never tow trailer with brake lockout device in place, you will have no brakes. Read the manual supplied to you for maintenance on the actuator.


Jacks


When cranking a jack, always hold the caster to prevent it from swiveling. DO NOT OVERCRANK THE JACK! When extending the jack, if the turing of the handle becomes difficult, STOP! Overextending the jack not only makes the trailer unstable but will also break the gears. The jack manufacturer does not warranty such breakage. Jacks must be cleaned and greased on a regular basis. Follow the steps for maintenance that is supplied to you in the warranty packet. On rotating jacks always make sure the release pin is secured in the hole.


Tires


Always check tire pressure before a trip; keep inflated to recommended pressure on tire. Towing with pressure of more or less than recommended pressure could cause significant damage to tire. Our tire manufacturer states that if your tire is 10% below the proper inflation it loses 20% of its weight capacity. In extreme conditions such as towing on hot desert roads it may lose as much as 50% of its load carrying capacity and could result in tire failure. Avoid hitting curbs, as this will weaken the integrity of your tire in that area. Avoid towing on dirt or gravel roads, doing so will weaken the tires. These tires are designed for paved roads; if you plan to store a trailer for a long period or park it outside, then you must cover your tires from the harmful sun rays. It is also ideal to have a spare tire even if you have a tandem trailer. In most cases, we can retrofit a tire rack underneath your trailer so as not to detract from the beauty of your boat. Give us a call if you are interested. After the first 200 miles, lug nuts on the wheel will loosen. Re-torque the lug nuts to 90 lbs. For aluminum wheels the lug nuts must re-torque after 75 miles. Remember that lug nuts are your responsibility.


Chrome


Chrome is not resistant to rust. Waxing will allow the chrome to hold its’ shine and protect it from moisture. Spray or wipe a liberal amount of oil on the chrome, especially if you plan to store the trailer outside and if you live near the salt air. Make sure the stamped letters get plenty of oil, it offers a great barrier to moisture. Do not use glass cleaner on chrome as the wheels will rust, clean the chrome with a good chrome cleaner. If your trailer has chrome wheels you need to keep a coat of was on them as well.


Towing


The trailer must be level for towing, adjust the ball height accordingly. Allow slack to the breakaway cable for the actuator, if it is too tight the brakes could be activated when turning. Once pulled, this locks the brakes allowing the trailer to stop on its own. Inspect the breakaway cable for frays. Follow the instructions in the manual to hook the trailer to a vehicle. Before towing, you must push the pushrod release bracket underneath the actuator. This will disengage the brakes I in case it has been accidentally actuated. IF YOUR TRAILER IS EQUIPPED WITH REMOVABLE GUIDEPOSTS THAT EXTEND BEYOND 102” WIDE YOU MUST REMOVE THEM BEFORE TOWING. OBEY ALL SPEED LAWS WHEN TOWING.


Trailer Weight Capacity


Do not overload your boat and trailer. Your trailer has a GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) that tells you how much weight you can tow, including the boat. This number can be found on the VM sticker at the front of your trailer. Your trailer is designed to carry the weight of your boat only; overloading your boat with personal gear will cause axle and tire wear. If your boat is equipped with a water ballast system you must drain all water from the system before towing


Launching


Immerse trailer to the point that the boat can float. It is critical for the boat to float off the trailer on step-bottom so as not to damage bunks and their supports.


Loading


When loading a boat, to ensure the boat does not land on the fenders, the fenders should be partially exposed from the surface of the water. Immerse all bunks. A wet surface allows the boat to slide on smoothly without the “rug burn” effect. Check the locking nuts of all bunks after your first trip and re-tighten where needed. Driving your boat on is acceptable, but not recommended. If boat and bunks are not lined up correctly, severe damage can be caused to the boat.

For the drive technique to work, the bottom of the boat must be in contact with all bunks for guidance. We recommend driving the boat ¾ on, and winching the boat the remaining way to the bow stop. Granted it is not as dramatic as driving fully on, but it is the safest way to protect your expensive investment. If you have a step bottom boat it is critical for the boat to float on and off the trailer so as to not damage the bunks of your boat. Always hook the winch strap to the boat prior to pulling the trailer out of the water. Always use tie down straps in the rear to keep the boat from sliding. When pulling the trailer out of the water, make sure the boat is sitting on the bunks. Pull up slowly while using spotter to guide the boat between the fenders. 
NEVER STAND, SIT, OR RIDE ON THE TRAILER OR BOAT WHEN LAUNCHING, LOADING, OR TOWING. SERIOUS INJURY OR DEATH COULD OCCUR.


Customer Responsibilities While Towing


1) Check if Tire Pressure is correct.

2) Torque Lug Nuts

3) Grease Bearings

4) Check Brake Fluid Levels

5) Check if Lights are functioning correctly. 

6) Attach Coupler to Ball with Safety Pin in Place

7) Release Brakes

8) Tie Boat Down To Trailer

9) All Nuts and Bolts Tight