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The best boat (for me) did not have a trailer, and the search was on for a suitable trailer. Shopping for the boat had provided me with valuable information about the trailers, since many of the candidate boats had trailers. The accompanying trailer for a Catalina 22 was a 3500 lb. G.V.W., single axle bunk style, with surge brakes, made by "Trail-Rite".

It was back to the local advertising magazines searching for boat trailers. After a couple of weeks, guess what I found! Luck was on my side, and I had located a 1983 Trail-Rite trailer. It seemed to be the exact model made for the Catalina, but there was no way of telling for sure until the boat was placed on it. Although, I figured that there was a 95% chance of it being right.

The trailer was in rough shape, due to years of neglect (lots of rust). However, the lights were new, the bearings were in good shape, and it also had "Bearing Buddies". Given that the trailer was the right one for the boat, the rest was manageable.

I brought the trailer home just after Labor Day (1997), and spent the next two weeks rebuilding it. Later in September, I was ready to go get the boat.

Trailer & Tow Vehicle with New Surge Brake Coupler

Mid-way through the 1998 season we bought a Ford Explorer to tow the boat (above). It has been excellent as a towing vehicle. I also added about a foot of extra tongue length to improve the launching process. Notice the rust coming through on the trailer frame only after a few salt water launches.
Additional Lights - I added side markers and cross-member lights to make sure the trailer lighting was in compliance with current standards. I also bought new wheels/tires as the old tires were probably the originals and were showing their age.
Rust & Replacement Parts - Rusts continues to come through the painted surfaces. I may have to take a trip to the local sandblasting shop to really get a good painted surface on it. I have recently upgraded the winch to an 1,800 lb rated model. The new surge brake coupler seems to be doing fine after its second season.

 Trailer Refurbishment - 2003

I refurbished the trailer during the summer of 2003 while the boat was in the water. One of the key issues was to remedy the continuing rust and heavy flaking of metal. Eventually this will cause a structural failure of the trailer (a bad thing). I planned on using the Zinc Rich Coating (ZRC) that I used previously on the keel restoration project. I wanted to see how the ZRC worked over rusted metal. So, I tested it by painting a small area of the frame and subjecting it to a couple of salt water launches and normal exposure. The ZRC seemed to hold up pretty well.

I disassembled the trailer and used a pressure washer to remove the flaking paint and metal. I also removed a lot of flaking metal by simply pounding on it with a hammer. Once everything was ready, I applied 2 coats of ZRC to the frame and all the parts. Then I applied a rust sealing primer (made specifically for rusty trailers), and finally 2 coats of white polyurethane paint - a total of 5 coats of paint. I replaced some worn parts, like the leaf springs, swivel jack and the brake cylinders, and put it all back together. I made my own wiring harness out of marine grade wire, as the ones you can buy off-the-shelf do not seem to hold up too well. Finally, I built a keel centering guide (below right) out of pressure treated lumber.

New paint job with rust prevention Keel Guide gets the boat centered on the trailer during retrieval

Here is a good resource for trailer parts: Champion Trailers            Follow the

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