pontoon trailers - alot can go wrong
HOME

BAD THINGS CAN HAPPEN

I don’t intend to scare anyone away from towing. It’s not that difficult, but so many people are so ill prepared. When you take delivery of a new boat the dealer usually goes over everything. When you take delivery of a pontoon trailer the seller may help you check the lights but that’s often about it. More often than not it’s nothing malicious. It’s just the person helping you take delivery of the trailer may be ignorant of how trailers work. The most common cause of trailer accidents is the coupler not being securely attached to the ball. When I sell a trailer I show the customer how to feel under the coupler. I always walk around the trailer and check the lug nuts, etc.
 
lug nuts
Every owners’ manual advises "check the lug nuts". Check them when you buy the trailer, again after the first 50 miles, and once again after 150+ miles. Torque them to specifications. The majority of people who tow probably never check them at all. Here’s what can happen: a couple lug nuts come loose and put pressure on the wheel studs. In this catastrophic situation, the studs broke off. You’d think that the trailer would vibrate and you would feel it in the tow vehicle, but often people who don’t check the lug nuts don’t pay attention to warning signals. The unfortunate owner of this trailer had a huge repair bill that could have been avoided by checking the lug nuts.
 
bolt on prontoon trailer axles
 
The front axle on this trailer is crooked. It may have been installed improperly or the bolts holding the axle carriage to the frame may have come loose after a severe road shock. Hitting a big pothole can move adjustable axles. If you have a trailer with adjustable axles, you should look before every trip that the axles are “square” and you should occasionally check to see if the bolts holding the axle to the frame are tight.
 
Swing Tongues
 
pontoon swing tonguepontoon trailer swing tongueSwing tongues are popular for fishing boat trailers. You save a couple of feet for storage, in a garage.  Swing tongues weaken thetrailer tongue. On a trailer designed to carry under 2000 lbs. it’s probably not that important. On bigger trailers the tongue is an important stress point, weakening it with a swing tongue may not be a good idea.
This is a catastrophic example of a failure of a swing tongue. The boat was Bennington 2250 which weighs probably 5500 lbs. on a 1000 lbs. trailer. That’s 6500 lbs. on a swing tongue. I can find absolutely no weight ratings on any of the swing tongues commonly sold. That is; they are sold without any rating what so even, high or low. How much weight will a swing tongue carry? No one seems to know.
 
HOME
   
PONTOON TRAILERS 101  -  FOR EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT PONTOON BOAT TRAILERS