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Trailer Build/Nightmare

ToMorrow44

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so lets go back to June 2017, I tow my boat from South Florida to Lake Hartwell on the GA/SC border (beautiful lake btw!). We rent a house on the lake and have the boat in the slip. While the empty trailer is sitting in the driveway, I start to notice how rotted it is. Now, I 100% expected this. The trailer was 16 years old and I used it in saltwater about 10 times the last few years, I knew it was on its way out. But I didn’t realize how bad it was. Following this trip, I threw the boat in storage outside Atlanta for another trip to Lake Lanier a few weeks later. Here’s a couple pictures of the trailer:

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ToMorrow44

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So now I’m 700 miles from home with a trailer that looks like it’s about to implode. After much research, I find a company in Jacksonville that builds and repairs steel trailers (rare for around here). So I talk to the owner, seems like a super bright guy, tells me they only use torsion axles, only c-channel steel, led lights, etc. Perfect, this guy knows what he’s talking about and builds some solid stuff. He gives me a great quote and I set up for a bit hauler to take my boat to him on his trailer, which the boat didn’t fit on well :rolleyes: but oh well, it made it to Jacksonville safely with no issues.

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ToMorrow44

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We get to the trailer place, which is somewhere between a hole in the wall and a junk yard. But the owner was extremely accommodating and nice, still talking a good game. We agree that he’ll build the new trailer based on the old one since that trailer was really nice, towed well, and always loaded straight. He tells me 3-4 weeks.

Fast forward to December (now 4 months later) here’s one of the pictures I get:
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I can tell straight away the axles aren’t evenly spaced and the fenders are way too long on the ends. The fenders are teardrops, but they didn’t work with his axle placement so he turned the teardrops in towards the boat. I tell him this fucked, cut the axles off and reposition them to match the fenders with the teardrops facing out. He agrees and I finally pick up the trailer a little before Christmas. When I get there, we hook up the trailer and immediately the lights don’t work. He says it’s the truck, probably a fuse (I knew it wasn’t). 2 hours later we find a blown fuse in the truck, but we also find that nearly every marker light on the trailer is shorted out from the wires pinching where they screwed up drilling the holes (this is what caused the blown fuse). New lights and wiring harness later, I hit the road just happy to have my boat back, knowing this trailer is fucked. Here’s the quality and craftsmanship I got:

Great paint quality
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Fenders on crooked
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Axles still not centered (nor evenly spaced, 34” between two, 36” between the other, not even close)
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Quality lighting:
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Superb metal work on the fenders from when they tried to mount them backwards
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rivrrts429

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You just got an expensive lesson on the difference between price and cost
 

ToMorrow44

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To top this all off, he fucked up the boat too. It got left outside uncovered for these 5 months, even though he claims it was covered and under an awning.
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On top of that, the entire deck from bow to stern, rub rail up, was covered in orange spots. None of which came off which my extremely aggressive compound and buffer. I get a professional Detailer to look at it and he tells me “looks like rust. Someone must have been grinding near it, the metal dust settled on the boat and rusted.”:mad: I was fuming at this point, knowing that it had been sitting in a trailer yard for 5 months uncovered.
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So now I start the pain staking process of wet sanding the entire deck to get this shit off. Several days worth wet sanding, compounding, polishing, and waxing.

That’s not all, when he hoisted it on and off the trailer test fitting it, he didn’t put any towels or anything protective between the straps and the boat, so here’s what happened to my rub rail:
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ToMorrow44

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Let me throw in a quick addition that none of the 6 brakes worked as he had the calipers clocked wrong so it would be physically impossible to bleed the brakes. He assured me “the brakes work amazing” really? How did you test them, you never drove the trailer...

I reclock them, bleed all 6 and now they actually do work amazing.

Edit: forgot to mention all the wiring was crimp connected together. No shrink tubing and looked like a bowl of spaghetti. I spent a couple days under it redoing all the wiring, soldering it all myself, adhesive lined shrink tubing, and cleaning up the spaghetti mess.
 
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JBS

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Shit!!! All I can say is sorry this happened to you. Really sucks
 

ToMorrow44

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Let’s fast forward to today, now 10 months after starting this endeavor. The trailer is done, the boat is looking new, the new rub rail is on (except the stainless insert, still gotta do that, don’t judge), a fabricator friend here put the axles in the right spot (they were also crooked), and I trashed the old fenders they fucked up since the weren’t worth trying to fix them and I put polished stainless fenders on. It is built like a brick shithouse, fits the boat nicely, and tows very well. It cost twice as much as I wanted, but it’s at least done.

2 takeaways:
1. You get what you pay for. I wish I built the custom welded aluminum trailer, hands down
2. Don’t take for granted what you have on the west coast. I would have loved to drop this off at Adrenaline, Bear, Extreme, Pacific and it would have come out perfect without me even saying anything. I do miss the west coast for sure.

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rivrrts429

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Damn... in the end it looks bad ass and fits the boat well. Sucks you had to take the shitty path to see it through but it looks awesome now.
 

ToMorrow44

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You just got an expensive lesson on the difference between price and cost
You got that right! Dude talked a good game, seemed like a great guy. And when I called him out on all this stuff, he did refund me 30% of the cost of the trailer, so stand up nice guy, just shitty work.
 

ToMorrow44

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Damn... in the end it looks bad ass and fits the boat well. Sucks you had to take the shitty path to see it through but it looks awesome now.
Thank you. Luckily I was able to do 90% of it myself. Somebody else would have have been completely hosed if they didnt know how to do any of this stuff.
 

Deja_Vu

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I have cousins in JAX, they do things a little different down there. o_O He's got a cool Airboat though. LOL

Glad you got it corrected and can enjoy the boat again.
 

J.P.

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What a nightmare, to bad you had to redo everything. Its amazing when having work done or contracted how for off the customer expectation can be from the people doing the work. Frustration!
 

Tahoe540

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Holy cow what a cluster, I feel you man. Glad you got it figured out now. Looks really good.
 
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