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Help needed with trailer strategy

Apr 9, 2017
15
Catalina 22 Eagle Creek SC, Indianapolis
I have an 87 Catalina 22 swing keel in great shape. It came with an 89 Trail-Rite trailer with drum brakes that are totally inoperative. The axle is a "drop" type, attachment points have old-school lug bolts. Surface rust appears on the leaf springs and brake housings, but overall the frame and bunk supports seem solid.

A local semi-trailer operation quoted over $4300.00 to rebuild the brakes with a new actuator and lines, convert to lug nuts, replace wheels/hubs/bearings, tires and leaf springs. After paying $80 just to have them right the estimate, I learned that I can buy a whole new trailer for less than that. Clearly they did not want the work.

I've requested quotes from two different dealers on a replacement trailer from Road King. I won't embarrass the dealers here but neither of them know much or seem particularly interested in selling anything. I had to call the plant in NC myself to confirm their model number of the trailer currently shipped with new C22s (it's RKGSK 20-22).

Base price looks to be $3550 with brakes, then another $500 or so for "upgrades" like a jack and spare tire carrier.

My plan involves lots of trailer time. Living in Indianapolis, I am one day's striking distance from the Gulf Coast, the East Coast, and most of the Great Lakes. I need to do Interstate trips without registering a constant 9 on the pucker-factor scale.

Here are my questions:
Given that the frame is 30 years old, would you rebuild the existing trailer even if it could be done at half the cost of a new one?

(The brake actuator/hitch is welded onto the tongue extension, so replacing would mean cutting that off and bolting the new one onto the end.) Otherwise I would need to replace master cylinder, assuming it is still available for that actuator. Anyone done this?

Do you agree from the photos that the rust in question is likely surface only, and does not impact its load bearing capacity? Owner #2 used it to launch and haul once per season, but not sure about the original owner. I don't own any 30 year old cars, but I'm not sure that is a fair comparison anyway.

I'm kind of having analysis paralysis on this whole thing and would appreciate some other thoughts.

Thanks,

Paul
 

Attachments

Sep 15, 2016
444
Catalina 22 Minnesota
Honestly your springs and axle don't look bad. You may consider just replacing the hubs, bearings, and drums. You can get a surge brake setup from Tiedown that will work just fine complete with everything you need. Its a weekend project and if your going to trailer a lot you'll want to know how to change / service those things anyway.

For comparison I replaced my single 3500lb axle with a 6500lb axle with all new drums, tires everything except the master cylinder for 1700 out the door from a welder. It was a lot more affordable than a new trailer or even a new used trailer where I was buying someone else's problem. I still have my old axel with the brakes, tires, etc... If you were closer I would let it go cheap if it would fit your trailer.
 
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Likes: Will Gilmore
Jul 7, 2004
6,135
Hunter 30T Cheney, KS
There are good ideas here to minimize your pucker factor for much less than a new trailer. Then you'll be very familiar with it's workings.
 
Oct 19, 2017
5,368
O'Day 19 Littleton, NH
I fake the second axel solution because if you are trailering the distances you plan, a second axel will distribute load and provide a margin of safety from flats and over heating.
Honestly your springs and axle don't look bad.
:plus:

-Will (Dragonfly)
 
Sep 30, 2013
3,023
1988 Catalina 22 central Florida
I had a Road King RKGSK22 built at the Ocala, FL plant. It sounds like a refurb of your existing trailer is probably the way to go, but if for any reason you need info on the Road King, just give me a shout. ;)
 
Apr 9, 2017
15
Catalina 22 Eagle Creek SC, Indianapolis
you'll be very familiar with it's workings.
Agreed, that's always a good reason to do the work yourself. I've done brakes on my car, but for some reason axles on a boat trailer seem like a bigger liability in case of an accident. Maybe I can find a shop or welder like LakeShark.
 
Apr 9, 2017
15
Catalina 22 Eagle Creek SC, Indianapolis
a second axel will distribute load and provide a margin of safety from flats and over heating.
I have read that it greatly improves the ride of the overall rig, but can make it a little harder to back in tight spaces. The other side of the argument seems to be that one sufficiently heavy axle is just as good.
 
Sep 15, 2016
444
Catalina 22 Minnesota
In the single vs tandem axle debate, that seems to be the preferred approach by some.
I choose to stay with a single because of the design of my trailer (all welded) and because 1 ramp I use most frequently requires a 90 deg turn while backing where I must almost jacknife the rig to get it lined up with the ramp due to a wall. You have to look at what works for you in your situation. 2 axles is nice but how do you use your trailer? That should help you determine which way to go. Either way a trailer shop should be able to fix you up for way less than your previous quote or you can just renew the brakes and bearings on your own.
 
Sep 24, 2018
623
O'Day 25 Chicago
The frame and leaf springs look great! Take a look at any 10-15 year old car and you'll see similar or more rust under it. Leaf springs almost always have rust on them. Your brake pistons or master cylinder is probably seized. You'll probably find that replacing the seized part (instead of trying to rebuild) is the better way to go. Be sure to flush/bleed afterwards. Brake fluid absorbs moisture to keep the lines from rusting out. This isn't a difficult job and is very useful should you run into issues in the future.
 
Apr 9, 2017
15
Catalina 22 Eagle Creek SC, Indianapolis
Based on the reading I have done here and elsewhere I am planning to convert to a tandem axle setup. The original trailers shipped with single axles rated at 3500 lbs, and there are multiple sources citing swing keel New Design C22's coming in well over the advertised displacement, even with "non-essential items removed". A supporting observation is that Gene's 2015 Road King came with a 5,000 lb axle (you can see his placard on another post), which suggests someone spotted a liability risk. Given the relatively low cost of the hardware, I'm going to have a welder add/move the needed hangers and buy two matching 3500 lb axles. I'll probably put drum brakes on the front axle and replace the springs, master cylinder, brake lines, wheel/hub assemblies and tires. Should be good to go at that point, with the appropriate spares and tools in the tow vehicle.
I would not be taking this approach if my trailer use was limited to launch and retrieve once per season, but as stated above I plan to do some long highway trips.
I really do appreciate everybody's feedback and experiences shared on this thread and others.
 
Sep 30, 2013
3,023
1988 Catalina 22 central Florida
A supporting observation is that Gene's 2015 Road King came with a 5,000 lb axle (you can see his placard on another post), which suggests someone spotted a liability risk.
Nope ... I had to pay extra for that axle! ;) The axle is a 6000lb, the trailer itself is rated for a 4200lb payload.

The stock Road King RKGSK 22SB trailer only claims a 3100lb payload, and that wasn't gonna cut it. (Dunno why they quoted you on a RKGSK 20-22, that one only claims 2400lbs!) But that's the problem with Road King. Their trailers are semi okay, but no one there seems to know their right hand from their left.
 
Last edited:
Aug 1, 2011
3,558
Catalina 270 Wabamun - on the orange ball
A double axle also allows you to tie up one wheel if you blow a bearing in the middle of no place.
While it’s good to be able to change one, it’s probably not the best idea on a busy highway.
 
Apr 9, 2017
15
Catalina 22 Eagle Creek SC, Indianapolis
Nope ... I had to pay extra for that axle! ;) The axle is a 6000lb, the trailer itself is rated for a 4200lb payload.

The stock Road King RKGSK 22SB trailer only claims a 3100lb payload, and that wasn't gonna cut it. (Dunno why they quoted you on a RKGSK 20-22, that one only claims 2400lbs!) But that's the problem with Road King. Their trailers are semi okay, but no one there seems to know their right hand from their left.
Right, so being a critical thinker you requested the upgrade and justified the cost. I can't see why these boat builders and trailer manufacturers cut it so close to the gross weight limit. If they ever started getting hit with product liability lawsuits like say, the small aircraft manufacturers did in the 70s/80s, they'd be out of business in the blink of an eye. Maybe I'm being overly cautious, but the kind of accident that a trailer failure could cause at Interstate highway speed in peak traffic season is an unnecessary risk if you ask me. You can't mitigate every risk but you can put a big dent in it by not forcing every component to work at its absolute limit the whole time.
 
Sep 24, 2018
623
O'Day 25 Chicago
I've heard it's the dealers that often underspec the trailers because they dont want to stock 10 different types of trailers
 
Jun 2, 2004
2,889
Hunter 23.5 Fort Walton Yacht Club, Florida
Grinding the welds off of the actuator would not be an onerous task (if you have a grinder).

Not saying the brakes on one axle is a bad idea but some states require them to be on both axles. Check your state and make your decision.
 
Sep 24, 2018
623
O'Day 25 Chicago
If budget is an issue you might be able to leave the old brakes on the second axle. I'm not saying it's a great idea but it is an idea nonetheless