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Thread: King Trailer Structural Failure

  1. #1
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    Default King Trailer Structural Failure

    OK, I'm looking for feedback on the failure of my King brand saltwater trailer. I have a Kingfisher 2825 Pilothouse boat that I bought together with the trailer as a package. I've taken good care of the boat and trailer (I think), but this summer the box beam that makes up the tongue of the trailer snapped while I was towing it. There is no corrosion on the trailer where the failure occurred. Fortunately disaster was averted because it happened at the very end of a trip while I was on my residential street.

    I contacted King and they had their engineers evaluate the failure based on my photos, and the engineer said in his report "My preliminary Conclusion, based on viewing only the photographs, is that other factors are involved in contributing to this failure other than a simple load on tube"

    Then King said that the failure was my fault, due to not chaining the bow eye of the boat vertically downward to the tongue of the trailer. I've never heard of or seen such a thing. Everyone I've talked to including the dealer says that this type of failure should not have happened, and that if the tongue had been overloaded that the beam would have bent and not ripped.

    I'm open to learning new things, and I have made plenty of mistakes in my life. If this IS my fault, then I'm totally willing to learn from my mistakes. However, I don't think that it is, but I'm interested in hearing opinions on it.

    Thoughts?







  2. #2
    Member spoiled one's Avatar
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    What size trailer is it? I suspect that you are getting much support from kingfisher/king trailer dealer in town. Glad there were no injuries.
    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

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    Wall thickness is clearly the " cause " of the failure.

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    Member patrickL's Avatar
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    Of course that's the response you are getting. The tubes are made to support a certain amount of weight. So the engineer is going on what the design specs support. You need to get someone to look at the trailer in person so they can judge whether it was setup wrong or the materials were bad, etc. If the dealer is being supportive have them give it a look. If you still feel you aren't getting an honest assessment, get someone independent of King.


    If I understand what you are saying, they are suggesting that the bow of the boat was bouncing causing undo stress on the tongue. Sounds like a bunch of BS. That boat would have to be jumping around alot. If you were paying any attention at all you couldn't miss that. Not to mention, your boat would probably show some damage. I don't by it. It has always amazed me the crap people try to convince you of just to save them the trouble of admitting it was there problem. Just a little common sense can figure out they are full of it.


    Glad to hear you didn't lose the whole thing or worse, someone get hurt. That's pretty nasty, never seen anything like it.

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    Member patrickL's Avatar
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    My first impression was exactly along the lines of Tyrant's.

  6. #6

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    Hard to tell looking at pictures. Certainly looks like there's some corrosion in the area, but you say there isn't, so it must be wear from rubbing the u-bolt.

    The fact it happened right at the u-bolt is interesting. Wonder if it wasn't either overtightened, creasing the tube and creating a weak spot. Or, if it was too loose and fretting corrosion occurred causing the weak spot.

    In any case, it's obvious King is covering their ass.

    Hope everything works out for you.

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    Member theultrarider's Avatar
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    Over tightening of the u-bolt would be my first thought as well. Bolt was over torqued crushing the tube causing a weak spot. I am glad to hear that you did get very lucky in that it did not cause a serious accident or injuries. Now just hope you can get the dealer to go to bat for you and make this right.

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    Thanks for the responses. I'll try to answer the questions as they come up. The dealer is actually saying that they think King should at least replace the broken parts (which I have already replaced). Everyone, including King, agrees that they have never seen anything like it. It is an 8600 lb. GW trailer, three axles. PatrickL is exactly right, they are claiming it is bouncing of the boat that caused this, and I would have noticed that. The general manager of King, Manfred Bleisteiner, said that I would be able to see that much bouncing while I was towing. However, he also said this is the kind of failure that should be expected with one of their trailers if one does not chain the bow eye to the tongue as he does with his personal trailers.

    What looks like corrosion is some wear from the U-bolt and some amount of dissimilar metal corrosion between the u-bolt and the galvanizing, but does not penetrate to the steel beam.

  9. #9

    Default ouch

    I also own a 2825 Kingfisher and have wondered about just this event. When I look at the trailer and think about pulling over something that puts most of the weight on the back trailer axel and the tongue I see a potential for failure. I fish winter kings and obviously the frost heaves put extra stress and strain on the trailer as well. I've considered reinforcing this area and your event will probably make me do it. Honestly I would expect it to bend before it broke and maybe it did. Sure glad it happened close to home and nobody got hurt.

    I trailer every time I use the boat, do you trailer alot??

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    I have the larger version, 12500 lbs, of the same trailer with triple axles hauling a 2859 Bayliner. 1st of the dealer did an awful, horrible (can't say what I want here) job on setting up the trailer for the boat. I spent a couple hours at the weigh station to move things around to make the trailer right. I also had the bounce they are referring too. Slight but enough for me to notice. I run a ratchet strap from the bow eye around the frame back to the bow eye. Pulls the front down tight and makes things real solid. Actually stiffens the trailer tongue noticeably.

    If you want to see if the boat bounces on the trailer. Look at the bow roller and see how much transfer of boat material is present. Could be a clue to movement.

  11. #11

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    Kingfisher2825

    My first thought is that, I too, would recommend strapping the bow eye of the boat downward to the tongue of the trailer. But, King does not help the owner in doing this since they don't supply an eye-bolt at the proper place on their trailers. Another recommendation I would have is to fabricate a vee-block in back of the winch stand to absorb the impact of the boat when loading and help with the support of the bow when it is bouncing on the uneven roads. This vee-block would stop the boat when powering on the trailer from the water and save the stress on the tongue caused when hitting the winch stand.

    I have seen other failures on King trailers which would cause me concern, like the support brackets for the trailer bunks which have bent or folded. King has stated in the past that this failure is caused by over-loading the trailer, but I'm not sure that is true.

    If I were in charge of King trailers, I would just sent the replacement parts to my Distributor and minimise the bad publicity.
    Last edited by TooLoose; 09-13-2009 at 22:04. Reason: grammatical error

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    I work as a structural engineer, and I have seen this kind of failure before.

    Now from looking at the photos, it appears that the front u-bolt was over torqued causing a small crease in the tubing. Following typical loading / stresses from driving down the road, this could cause microcracks in the tube; which would eventually lead to the failure you experienced. If I were to build that trailer, I would use a much thicker tube than what appear to be there.

    To me, it sounds like king is covering their behind and don't want to fess up to their mistakes.

    Again, this is based on personal experience and looking at photographs only. Glad that no one is hurt & no major damage occurred to your rig / boat combination.

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    Member Gundog's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting this I am in the market for a new boat and trailer listen up King since you don't stand behind this stuff I won't be buying a King trailer. The stupid thing on you part is the part would not have cost that much to replace and would have kept your customer happy.

    Mike

  14. #14

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    My guess is that King is at fault for poor design and they know it. If they admitted fault in this case, then if/when the same thing happens to someone else and someone gets hurt, then based on their admission in this case they would probably be held liable in future cases.
    Or could be that when the trailer was assembled locally, they torqued down the nuts on the bracket too much (are there specs for torque for a trailer??).
    Or it could be that what they told you is correct.
    I have always either put a strap over the bow and tied down the bow to the trailer or I have taken a strap and secured the bow eye to the trailer (strap going straight down). I'm amazed at how many boats I see going down the road with the bow bouncing up and down.

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    Whatablast - I do trailer a lot. Because I use my trailer a lot I expect things like brakes and bearings to fail, but I never expected the structural members to fail. The first thing King said this time was that the trailer was overloaded because quote "everyone knows those boats are overloaded" even though they had never seen my boat they just assumed it was. I have had the bunk supports fold over and break as TooLoose has mentioned, and the explanation I got from King was that the roads in Alaska are bad so it's not their fault. Interestingly enough, that happened the first season and hasn't happened again since I replaced them, so I'm wondering if they started using a different material?

    I am DEFINITELY going to start using a ratchet strap from the bow eye to the tongue, I figure it couldn't hurt, but I agree that I see almost no one doing this. You would think that if it were so critical to prevent structural failure, that more trailers would fail since it is not common practice.

    Overall Im not impressed with King and when I spoke to the general manager on the phone he went out of his way to be extremely rude. So far the dealer has been saying the right things, but well see if they come through or not.

  16. #16

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    I too, have a 2825. While I don't trailer it often, I have brought it to Anchorage for the winter, and back to Homer mid-march. Using the "reasonable man theory", I would think if the boat was meant to be strapped down vertically, they would supply an eye bolt, as some have said. The next time I trailer, I'll be doing that, even though I've never seen my boat bounce upward when going over frost heaves. I know King makes at least three 3 axel trailers, 15000, 12000, and 10500. I'm wondering which one you have, and I'm now wondering which one I have. Keep us posted on this please.

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    Homertime - I have an 8600# trailer. I have now learned that many of the parts are the same as the 10500#. Most of the first 2825's were sold with the 8600, but now mostly they come with the 10500. Mine is a 2004. If you look at the ID plate on the trailer, it should have the VIN and what model trailer it is which will tell you your GW.
    Last edited by Kingfisher2825; 09-14-2009 at 12:12. Reason: typo

  18. #18

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    We always run a strap from the bow eye down to the frame of the trailer to prevent the bow bouncing around, but never thought it would do something like that. If King is telling you it's your fault for not strapping it down, then they should install a hook on the frame of the trailer to attach a strap. Nothing on those trailers says anything about doing such a thing, so I can't see how they wouldn't pay for the repair/new trailer.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingfisher2825 View Post
    [COLOR=black][FONT=Verdana]The first thing King said this time was that the trailer was overloaded because quote "everyone knows those boats are overloaded" even though they had never seen my boat they just assumed it was. I have had the bunk supports fold over and break as TooLoose has mentioned, and the explanation I got from King was that the roads in Alaska are bad so it's not their fault.
    Now that I've read your posts again, I'm even more unhappy with their lack of customer service.
    1) If the owner's manual didn't say anything about tying down the bow, then that should not be something they can use against you because you didn't do it.
    2) They shouldn't use the excuse of the boat being overloaded just because they assume that it was.
    3) Bad roads in Alaska and so it's not their fault? Is there somthing in their owner's manual or warranty that says their boats will fall apart only in Alaska because, as everyone surely knows, the roads in Alaska are somehow different or worse than there roads everywhere else in the United States?

    Personally, I've had good customer service from EZ Loader. I'd think twice in the future before buying a trailer from King.

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    Griff- thanks for your comment, I totally agree. I pointed this out to King (the GM named above) when he told me this type of failure would be the result of failing to do tie down in this way. When I pointed out that something so critical should be sent with each new trailer, and that no one I have talked to knew about this, his response was "people do stupid things all the time and just because it doesn't cause a problem it doesn't mean they are right". Not a very cooperative response. His contention is that tying the bow down as he suggested is mentioned in the literature from the National Marine Manufacturer Association (not anything provided by King) that is supposed to come with the trailer, and so failure to do it means that it must be my fault, not faulty material as I suspect.

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