Still have your factory trailer? Take a good look at it!

A forum for discussing issues relating to trailers and towing MacGregor sailboats.

Moderators: Catigale, Paul S, Heath_Mod, beene, Hamin' X, kmclemore, tangentair

Paul S
Site Admin
Posts: 1674
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2004 1:50 pm
Sailboat: Other
Location: Boston, MA
Contact:

Still have your factory trailer? Take a good look at it!

Post by Paul S » Wed Aug 27, 2014 1:32 pm

Our 2004 M's trailer (2005 model year trailer) LOOKED OK. Was going to take the boat to get the carbs serviced.. I put my hand on the tongue. My hand went RIGHT through the side of it!

Since we are going to sell the M, I didn't want to drop 4-5k on a trailer. I took a good look at the trailer itself. It looks good, other than the tongue that aspires to be as solid as swiss cheese!

I found a professional welder to come over and weld a new piece of 3x3 1/4" thick steel to the trailer, replaced the outer tongue member and new receiver. Spent $300 on the welding service (6 hours) and $50 for the steel, $35 for the hitch member, and 175 on a new surge brake unit.

We need to realize that even the aluminum Mac trailers have a STEEL tongue. This could still happen on an aluminum mac trailer!

The problem is there is no where for the water to exit the tongue once it gets in. The hole in the end for the brake line is in the middle..so water always sits and rusts away... day after day.. year after year..

The only thing holding the tongue together, literally, was the paint!

So if you have an original trailer.. take a good hard look at the tongue!


Here is a 'Before' picture- Looks 'acceptable' - no holes... its only as thick as the paint.. No kidding..

Image

here is the tongue after it is cut out.. the paint is gone..so is all the steel!! YES the bottom picture IS the same tongue as the picture above!!

Image

New outer member and tongue - note how much thicker the new 1/4" steel is (factory was 1/8) Note that I did coat the inside with some rustproofing paint and a chassis paint over THAT

Image

Paul S
Site Admin
Posts: 1674
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2004 1:50 pm
Sailboat: Other
Location: Boston, MA
Contact:

Re: Still have your factory trailer? Take a good look at it!

Post by Paul S » Wed Aug 27, 2014 1:33 pm

Continued...

Here it is assembled

Image

Assembled and painted. No pics with the new surge brake assy, but you get the idea.

Image

Hope this helps!

User avatar
RussMT
Admiral
Posts: 5527
Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2007 2:01 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 26M
Location: Bozeman, Montana "Luna Azul" 2008 M 70hp Suzi

Re: Still have your factory trailer? Take a good look at it!

Post by RussMT » Wed Aug 27, 2014 3:07 pm

With Stephen's rusted trailer fail and now this, it's a GOOD reminder to inspect.
Them's some scary looking pics. And once again, fortunately this was discovered off the highway.

It's amazing to see all that rust on the ground and no metal left! Good point that the aluminum trailer still has a steel tongue.

So I wonder if better drainage would have helped. Like say, a hole drilled at the bottom.

Aluminum trailer with same tongue.
Image

Paul S
Site Admin
Posts: 1674
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2004 1:50 pm
Sailboat: Other
Location: Boston, MA
Contact:

Re: Still have your factory trailer? Take a good look at it!

Post by Paul S » Wed Aug 27, 2014 4:05 pm

RussMT wrote:With Stephen's rusted trailer fail and now this, it's a GOOD reminder to inspect.
Them's some scary looking pics. And once again, fortunately this was discovered off the highway.

It's amazing to see all that rust on the ground and no metal left! Good point that the aluminum trailer still has a steel tongue.

So I wonder if better drainage would have helped. Like say, a hole drilled at the bottom.

Aluminum trailer with same tongue.

I would yes.. I enlarged the hole where the brake line exits.. but drilling a hole in the back, bottom of the tongue would be hepful... Of course with the trailers aging...its probably too late to save the tongue.

Also helpful to drill holes at the bottom of the goal posts as well.

But yea.. the main problem is the water being held in the square tube.

On the later aluminum trailer.. is the back of the tongue open or welded closed?

drams_1999
Chief Steward
Posts: 94
Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2009 9:04 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 26M
Location: S/V Aquarius Miami, FL

Re: Still have your factory trailer? Take a good look at it!

Post by drams_1999 » Wed Aug 27, 2014 4:22 pm

I have an aluminum trailer on my '08. The back of the tongue was open. I flushed it with each use with lots of fresh water.

I had to replace my tongue this year, it was rusted to a pulp in spite of rinsing. I replaced it with a stronger 3x4 x 3/16 tube that fits in the same space between the aluminum I-beams.

I treated the tube with ZRC inside and out, this should perform much better than the factory paint. I had a local welder attach my ladder and other accessories.

I also had to remove and treat my forward steel "v" bunk, since it was heavily rusting too. Cleaned, sanded, and applied ZRC to it.

I also took down the entire axle, chipped away all the loose rust, sanded it, and gave it a generous coat of ZRC before reinstalling.

I didn't add up everything exactly, but it was all about $500 including materials and the labor for the welder. I did the rest of the labor myself. The way I see it, I should get at least 6 more years now, since the original lasted 6 years. By then the boat will be paid off and maybe I can reevaluate or replace the trailer.

User avatar
RussMT
Admiral
Posts: 5527
Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2007 2:01 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 26M
Location: Bozeman, Montana "Luna Azul" 2008 M 70hp Suzi

Re: Still have your factory trailer? Take a good look at it!

Post by RussMT » Wed Aug 27, 2014 4:36 pm

drams_1999 wrote:I have an aluminum trailer on my '08. The back of the tongue was open. I flushed it with each use with lots of fresh water.

I had to replace my tongue this year, it was rusted to a pulp in spite of rinsing.
Wow! I have an '08 and is also open at the end where the brake line and wires exit. I added a 2nd axle last season and didn't see any rust in there. Salt water use make a big difference. Amazing that you still had catastrophic rust even with rinsing. Wow!

So another rusted out tongue. Seems wise to inspect this. The aluminum tongue makes it easy to inspect. Just look back with a flashlight. How do you inspect the X trailer? I would guess some banging with a hammer would be a start.

User avatar
mastreb
Admiral
Posts: 3944
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2011 12:00 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 26M
Location: Cardiff by the Sea, CA ETEC-60 "Luna Sea"
Contact:

Re: Still have your factory trailer? Take a good look at it!

Post by mastreb » Wed Aug 27, 2014 4:58 pm

You can get inspection cameras at Home Depot for about $100 nowadays. Useful for all kinds of things.

I used a $20 can of frame rust converter from JC Whitney on the interior of the drawbar when it was about a year old, and it's been solid since then. The areas I didn't use the rust converter on, such as the original jack, are rusted through.

User avatar
NiceAft
Admiral
Posts: 4041
Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2005 10:28 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 26M
Location: Upper Dublin,PA, USA: 2005M 50hp.Honda4strk.,1979 Phantom Sport Sailboat, 9'Achilles 6HP Merc 4strk

Re: Still have your factory trailer? Take a good look at it!

Post by NiceAft » Wed Aug 27, 2014 6:02 pm

I just read your post Paul, and you put the fear of Neptune into me.

I grabbed a 16oz hammer and started rapping all over the tongue of the trailer. All seems fine, but I will continue to check periodically. Not that it would prevent the damage you discovered, but I also periodically go around scraping off rust, and spaying Rust-Oleum.

By the way, what are you interested in getting after the :macm:

Ray

Paul S
Site Admin
Posts: 1674
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2004 1:50 pm
Sailboat: Other
Location: Boston, MA
Contact:

Re: Still have your factory trailer? Take a good look at it!

Post by Paul S » Wed Aug 27, 2014 6:12 pm

NiceAft wrote:I just read your post Paul, and you put the fear of Neptune into me.

I grabbed a 16oz hammer and started rapping all over the tongue of the trailer. All seems fine, but I will continue to check periodically. Not that it would prevent the damage you discovered, but I also periodically go around scraping off rust, and spaying Rust-Oleum.

By the way, what are you interested in getting after the :macm:

Ray
As you should!

Keep inspecting it! The rust was worst near the rear..probably where water was likely pooling. check the underside of the tongue as well.

Back in 2009, we purchased a 38' boat - 1968 Ohlson 38 . You can check out our website - http://mildredrose.com/ As much as we liked the Mac, the larger boat is kinda nice..

Paul S
Site Admin
Posts: 1674
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2004 1:50 pm
Sailboat: Other
Location: Boston, MA
Contact:

Re: Still have your factory trailer? Take a good look at it!

Post by Paul S » Wed Aug 27, 2014 6:14 pm

I knew it was bad.. but was blown away once the tongue got cut out and the surface paint came off.. was incredible

User avatar
Mac26Mpaul
Admiral
Posts: 1067
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2010 4:36 am
Sailboat: MacGregor 26M
Location: Gold Coast, Australia 26M "Little Annie" Etec 50

Re: Still have your factory trailer? Take a good look at it!

Post by Mac26Mpaul » Wed Aug 27, 2014 6:43 pm

My tongue was bent when I got the boat and stayed that way for the first few years. I assumed it had been heavily overloaded. Only when I finally took it around to the metal shop to have it replaced did I find out that it was more due to rust around where the bolts go through to bolt it to the trailer.

The new tongue was not galvanised. I tied a rag on the end of a broom stick to use as a paint brush and painted the inside with rust proof primer and topcoat. I keep a spray bottle of oil on hand and spray it in there every 3 or 4 months and this tongue has now lasted a long time without rusting. Mind you, my hitch is bolted on top of the tounge so water drains out easily and I spray water though it on washdown.

Paul S
Site Admin
Posts: 1674
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2004 1:50 pm
Sailboat: Other
Location: Boston, MA
Contact:

Re: Still have your factory trailer? Take a good look at it!

Post by Paul S » Wed Aug 27, 2014 7:10 pm

Mac26Mpaul wrote:My tongue was bent when I got the boat and stayed that way for the first few years. I assumed it had been heavily overloaded. Only when I finally took it around to the metal shop to have it replaced did I find out that it was more due to rust around where the bolts go through to bolt it to the trailer.

The new tongue was not galvanised. I tied a rag on the end of a broom stick to use as a paint brush and painted the inside with rust proof primer and topcoat. I keep a spray bottle of oil on hand and spray it in there every 3 or 4 months and this tongue has now lasted a long time without rusting. Mind you, my hitch is bolted on top of the tounge so water drains out easily and I spray water though it on washdown.

If the aluminum trailers are open on the back..i guess it would be easier to mop down the inside of the tongue.. The earlier steel ones , you would have to remove the brake actuator to mop the inside.. as the rear is welded close to the frame..

User avatar
Don T
Admiral
Posts: 1081
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2004 10:13 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 26X
Location: 95 2600 "SS OTTER" - Portland OR - Tohatsu 50 - Hull#64 (May 95)

Re: Still have your factory trailer? Take a good look at it!

Post by Don T » Wed Aug 27, 2014 8:33 pm

Hello
I just did a refurb of my 95 trailer and the tongue seemed ok to me. I guess we'll see I'm towing it this weekend. Seeing those pictures makes me worry about it.

User avatar
Crikey
Admiral
Posts: 1841
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2011 2:43 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 26M
Location: Washago, Muskoka, Ontario, Canada, Earth, Singularity.Suzuki DF60A. Boat name: Crikey!

Re: Still have your factory trailer? Take a good look at it!

Post by Crikey » Wed Aug 27, 2014 10:00 pm

This is not good... I've noticed the paint beginning to bubble at the steel/aluminum junction of my 2010 trailer. Must take a closer look when I next visit the Marina parking lot. I was previously wondering about just shooting it with some WD40 before this came up.
Electolysis between Aluminum (aluminium) and steel?
:|

Paul S
Site Admin
Posts: 1674
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2004 1:50 pm
Sailboat: Other
Location: Boston, MA
Contact:

Re: Still have your factory trailer? Take a good look at it!

Post by Paul S » Wed Aug 27, 2014 11:47 pm

If you can unbolt the tongue from the frame.. I would.. grind down any and all loose bubbles and rust..

I would recommend using POR-15 on the exposed metal and remaining (solid) rust. Put a coat or 2 between the tongue and frame to keep it well insulated to prevent electrolysis.

Post Reply