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Thread: Single axle boat trailer on the side of highway - what to do??

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    Member russiarulez's Avatar
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    Question Single axle boat trailer on the side of highway - what to do??

    This has always been one of my fears towing the boat around on a single axle trailer - what do you do if one of your bearings decides to go half way to Seward?
    You don't have a luxury of a tandem axle setup to bail you out, and if the spindle is messed up (which it usually is at that point), you can't just put on a fresh hub with bearings on it.

    Well, this happened to me this week. I borrowed my buddy's boat to go try for silvers in Seward. I picked the boat up in Peters Creek on Tuesday night and was planning on towing it to my house in Anchorage so we can leave early Wednesday.

    What follows is a long read/rant so you will need popcorn before starting, figured might be fun for someone to read as an educational experience:

    As I was passing JBER flag pole, someone in a passing car was waving at me pointing back. I look at the trailer and the left wheel is smoking. I pulled over and discovered that bearings were gone, grease all over the wheel and the castle nut almost off the spindle (sheared off the cotter pin apparently).
    This was about 8 pm maybe a mile north of Muldoon. Started calling for a tow as I didn't want to do any more damage to it. Managed to get one tow company to agree to come out (told the dispatcher lady what I had and made sure they would be able to handle it, she even put me on hold and checked with someone about boat/trailer). Long story short the tow truck showed up after 12 am. He is surprised that I have a trailer/boat to tow, apparently nobody told him about it.

    The tow truck driver told me that he'll put dollies under trailer wheels and tow it for me. Took us a while to get the trailer hooked up to his flatbed truck, he couldn't get the hitch into the receiver, had to pound it in. Starts to put the dollies on the trailer. Realizes that the dolly bars are a few inches too short. Tells me he'll put the trailer with the boat on the flatbed. Calls his boss for some reason, boss says no go, too heavy (which is weird since the whole thing cannot be more than 3500 lbs - trailer rating) and too tall/long. Something about going through the scales (even though they were closed) and him getting a $5000 fine.

    Anyway, after a long apologetic speech about the whole thing and telling me that he actually feels worse than I do about the whole thing he unhooks the trailer, tells me to find someone with a lowboy trailer and takes off.

    Time is about 2:30am and I'm pissed. I start calling around again, manage to find a tow company that has lowboys and charge $180 per hour with a two hour minimum. I tell them sure what the hell I've got no choice. But then the dispatcher tells me they are all busy and will only be available after 8am.

    At this point I'm pissed and just want to get somewhere. Decide that ***** it, I'll slowly tow it back as it is, the spindle is messed up anyway. Called my gf to bring me some tools and tightened up the castle nut as far as it would go. Turn around on the highway, and after about a 100 feet I see the castle nut come off the spindle and roll into the highway... Pulled over and spent the night in the truck on the side of the highway (didn't want to leave the boat/trailer all night unattended).

    Go to 6 Robblees in the morning, get a new hub/bearings/seal an put it on the spindle (luckily it wasn't too bad of a mess) and very slowly limp it back to Peters Creek.

    The way I look at it, I saved almost $400 in towing fees that day

  2. #2
    Member Frostbitten's Avatar
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    I can tell you for a fact, you didn't miss anything as far as silvers in Seward this weekend.

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    I had a tire blow out on a single axle trailer with a pair of 6 wheelers on it. I unhooked the trailer and headed to my shop to grab another trailer. (single place trailer) Left my buddy with the wheelers. On my way back I spot the bonehead (buddy) hauling butt down the highway on MY wheeler. Oh yeah, it was still locked in 6 wheel drive. I pull over and ask him wth he is doing. Told me he thought he would save me a little time. Thanks dude. Hauled the wheelers home one at a time, then went back and winched the disabled trailer onto the recovery trailer, and back to the shop. Not fun.
    Hunt Ethically. Respect the Environment.

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by russiarulez View Post

    .....Time is about 2:30am and I'm pissed.....

    ....At this point I'm pissed and just want to get somewhere.....
    Wait a minute now, you said you were pissed twice. Which time were ya more pissed just so we know.....lol.

    Quote Originally Posted by russiarulez View Post
    The way I look at it, I saved almost $400 in towing fees that day.....
    That's a good way to be able to look at it, and glad you were able to save at least a few bucks even if it was a real long day for nothing. Those kinds of days suck bigtime! A couple weeks ago I had a blowout on my single axle boat trailer. Luckily we were only a couple blocks from the house....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Member russiarulez's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    Wait a minute now, you said you were pissed twice. Which time were ya more pissed just so we know.....lol.
    Haha, yeah the second time I was f**n pissed But I guess it is better to be pissed off, than to be pissed on


    As a way to get back home I was even thinking of doing something like this:




    Probably wouldn't work too well with a 3500# trailer, but hey, worth a try in a pinch...

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by russiarulez View Post
    Haha, yeah the second time I was f**n pissed But I guess it is better to be pissed off, than to be pissed on


    As a way to get back home I was even thinking of doing something like this:




    Probably wouldn't work too well with a 3500# trailer, but hey, worth a try in a pinch...
    Where there's a will there's a way! But don't know how much the troopers would like it...???....lol
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by russiarulez View Post
    Haha, yeah the second time I was f**n pissed But I guess it is better to be pissed off, than to be pissed on


    As a way to get back home I was even thinking of doing something like this:




    Probably wouldn't work too well with a 3500# trailer, but hey, worth a try in a pinch...
    Anyone besides me remember when the log truck failed to make the curve at the Ninilchik bridge. His front end was held together (until it wasn't) with chain and binder.
    Hunt Ethically. Respect the Environment.

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    That does ring a bell.....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Member Dupont Spinner's Avatar
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    I carry a complete hub.....not a drum or disc setup....take the cotter pin and what ever is left of the castle nut off and yank it all off. Hopefully the races will come off the axle. If not a hacksaw, chisel and a hammer will be needed.

    Just remember if you are running hydraulic brakes you need to ensure the wheel cylinder will not come apart and leak. I have pinched the rubber line with vise grips. Got me home. Did it on my tow vehicle once with a locked up rear disc brake. Shoved a pry bar in the caliper to get it off the disc. Pinched the line and made it home.

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    Member Rob B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dupont Spinner View Post
    I carry a complete hub.....not a drum or disc setup....take the cotter pin and what ever is left of the castle nut off and yank it all off. Hopefully the races will come off the axle. If not a hacksaw, chisel and a hammer will be needed.

    Just remember if you are running hydraulic brakes you need to ensure the wheel cylinder will not come apart and leak. I have pinched the rubber line with vise grips. Got me home. Did it on my tow vehicle once with a locked up rear disc brake. Shoved a pry bar in the caliper to get it off the disc. Pinched the line and made it home.
    John. You and I think way too much alike. If something has to be some we will find a way.


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    New tires every 3 years, bearings and new lube annually!

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    Put the tallest tires on that will fit. Think of how fast those bearings are turning with low profile tires. You're doing 60 and those tiny trailer tires are going 150. (not literally or the trailer would be passing you, but you get my drift. Right?)
    Hunt Ethically. Respect the Environment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SmokeRoss View Post
    Put the tallest tires on that will fit. Think of how fast those bearings are turning with low profile tires. You're doing 60 and those tiny trailer tires are going 150. (not literally or the trailer would be passing you, but you get my drift. Right?)
    ^^^^ This, really helps. Long since got rid of the trailer and the boat but when I was going out 3-4 nights a week ("back in the day"), I built a trailer that used the same wheels / tires as my then truck. Lots less where and interchangeability to boot.
    Back in AK

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    Member FishGod's Avatar
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    I carry extra hubs, bearings, and races.
    Your bait stinks and your boat is ugly

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    http://www.expediter.com/pdf%20folder/E%20folder/E9.pdf

    Never used one. Look interesting though.

    I just keep mine well taken care of, haven't had a problem in 20 years or more.

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    Member russiarulez's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kubs View Post
    http://www.expediter.com/pdf%20folder/E%20folder/E9.pdf

    Never used one. Look interesting though.
    Cool idea, and it's only $60, not too bad.

    http://www.easternmarine.com/airtight-spindle-eax35

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    Member Dupont Spinner's Avatar
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    $60 You will have that in the hub, bearings, and seal.....cheap insurance versus a tow or night on the road.

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