Trailer Mods required overseas

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

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

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Oskar 26M
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Posts: 411
Joined: Mon Mar 24, 2008 12:04 am
Sailboat: MacGregor 26M
Location: Perth Australia, 2007 26M, 60hp E-tec

Post by Oskar 26M » Sat Apr 19, 2008 11:47 pm

I'm in awe of your 15,000 km and amazed that the trailer stood up to it.

With all that experience what do you consider the most critical things to be address to a) meet ozzie standards and b) tow the Mac to remote places?

I've read your post on your trailer upgrade, but would love some more details and a few pics.

Boblee
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Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2006 7:08 am
Location: Berrigan, Riverina Australia boatless at present

Post by Boblee » Sun Apr 20, 2008 8:00 pm

Oskar
As for meeting Aus standards after reading Phillips posts maybe I am not the one to talk to as we still have the standard hitch.
We have updated our trailer springs to 2200kg rating and the tyres are 1100kg each, IMHO the trailer is plenty strong enough but we have put another berth in at the rear to support the boat and reinforced the a frame so it doesn't bend when retrieving but it is plenty strong enough for trailering.
The original trailer flogged out the rear hanger bracket but the Aus trailers I believe have stronger springs than the American aftermarket sourced ones.
There are plenty of the original trailers which have done many more k's than mine but the most important thing is to take it easy even if you upgrade your trailer (see the tie down thread).
There is a boat called Blue Angel over there (WA) that has travelled fairly extensively but he has done a few minor mods to his trailer.
Because we caravan a fair bit of the time our boat is set up for long term living and have just installed a 100l water tank in the bow which will only be used for long term water cruising, hopefully up the Gulf this year and after doing a bit of research can't see why we can't go right round to Darwin, although getting the trailer there might be a problem.
Just a note if doing long distance runs with the empty trailer make sure you drop the tyre pressures down.
The biggest problem with some of our remote roads is the length of the mac and the washways and dips also some of the northern ramps are very steep due to the 8-10 m tides.

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Mistral
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Posts: 266
Joined: Mon Mar 24, 2008 11:03 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 26M
Location: Patterson Lakes, Melbourne, VIC., Australia 2005 26M "Indigo Blue" 50HP E-Tec

Post by Mistral » Tue May 06, 2008 11:55 pm

My conversion in total cost A$1,200.00. I took it to a trailer
dealer and told them to modify it OZ standards, which included
brakes, brake machining, LED lights and hitch. Also had the jockey wheel
replaced. The only people that messed me around were Vicroads department
in that none of them knew their own system.
So I suppose the cost was quite reasonable for the conversion. All I
need to do now have it the trailer galvanized at some stage

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Oskar 26M
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Posts: 411
Joined: Mon Mar 24, 2008 12:04 am
Sailboat: MacGregor 26M
Location: Perth Australia, 2007 26M, 60hp E-tec

Post by Oskar 26M » Wed May 07, 2008 1:34 am

My trailer is still in the shop being modified, but I think the bill is going to be about 5x Mistrals! :cry: Not a whole lot less than a totally new locally manufactured rig.

2/3 of that cost is in sandblasting and galvanizing. Thats also causing the greatest time delay - there seems to be too much work in the booming West Oz economy at the moment. so they can charge what they like and make you wait in the queue.

The other big cost is in changing the brakes to electric/hydraulic ones that can be operated separately from within the car, and consquent change to the coupling to comply with Aussie standards.

The rest is for upgrading the axle, bearings and springs so the overall trailer GVM is rated around 2.5 tonnes. That part was relatively cheap.

Meanwhile Oskar sits on a borrowed tri-axle trailer that i cant tow in his storage yard, so I'm limited to playing with the dinghy :(

Phillip
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Location: Sunshine Coast Australia 2000 26X Tohatsu 50hp

Post by Phillip » Wed May 07, 2008 5:24 am

Here are a couple of little hints.

When you get the US Trailer, its axels have been removed.
Crane the boat off the trailer that is acting as a cradle.
Stand the trailer up, and grind back all the rusty areas, over the complete trailer.
Immediately apply Sepetone rust converter with the primer in it.
When it goes black, brush paint with Black Kill Rust Gloss enamel.
Then do the same with the axels.
Take the wheels and grind off all rust. Prime/undercoat then gloss white enamel.
That is one days work for my guy.

Then assemble everything.
P/Off the US wiring....it is B/S and cheap.
Get a 10m roll of the good 5 core cable and run it down one side.
Don't throw away the US tail-light...they are very good.
Move them in about 100mm (4"), then attach a round or square flasher unit beside them.....can be cheapies....you will probably wipe them out one day.

Get rid of the US flashers on the guards...illegal here.
Install you red/orange markers on top of guards.
If any of the US cable you tore out is any good, use it to go across the trailer (at rear and on axel). Tape it into a harness.
Never throw away the US clamps that hold the cable and hydrolic hose....they are beauties.
Put your new plug on.
Bingo....2hrs work.

Tow it to your trailer shop and get the new hitch.
Hitch is under $200.
Labour varies depending on time and effort to remove US one.
Trailer shop should have black flexible hydrolic line they attach to existing line. They have to drill a hole and do a bit of careful bending but pretty simple.

If you have trouble with the brakes, get the mobile guy out to machine them. Not expensive.

Always check the bearings.

If the brake line is dicked, get the mobile guy out to replace.

Then comes the compliance plate.
You no longer have to apply for a new one. MacGregor VIN #'s are now in the Aussie Data base.
Register the trailer as a Home-made one, date of manufacture the month and yr you modified it.

Watch out with the Mac axel. It is not to the same load capacity as an Aussie one and you may have trouble registering it as a 1905kg. See how you go.

If you have difficulty with getting the wheels off the axels (frozen with rust) let the trailer guy do it with the air gun.
If you sheer a stud then the fun begins.
US stud heads have a flat side....Aussie ones don't. You will have to smooth off one edge to fit. A wicked job. So avoid it at all costs.
Very time consuming from woe-to-go, so get someone to do it with the air-gun.

Last hint.
When the Aussie hitch it on, very carefully run a 1" sq steel pipe up and dow the box tounge...bottom..sides...top.
Don't damage the hydrolic brake line
It gets very rusty in there.
Blow it out with air.
Get 2L of vegetable cooking oil, put it in your spray gun and shoot a lot up this box section....plenty of it...enough is never enough.
Same as fish oil, or lanolin...just as good, without the endless months of stink and mess, and when you get it on your hands or clothing, you don't have all the pussy's in the district after you.

Mistral: I would guess your $1,200 may have been fair at workshop rates.
I can't stress how important it is to comply.
My worker is an ex-mechanic, so I get my costs down a bit.

Anyway that's what I do.

Cheers
Phillip

Boblee
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Location: Berrigan, Riverina Australia boatless at present

Post by Boblee » Wed May 07, 2008 8:14 am

I asked Phil King about the hitch and he said it is now approved but needs to be stamped 50mm, it apparently can be adjusted to suit ? haven't looked yet.
All the ones he has bought in under his name he says are legal but some were bought in similar to mine especially in the West where he only acted as an agent to cut costs for the customers.
Personally would prefer to replace all the US gear as if something goes wrong you need to fix it locally.
The original springs are too stiff and the hangers etc too light, the tyres are only rated 640KG I think and think it needs an extra bunk between the two rear ones to stop the chassis flexing behind the springs.

Phillip
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Posts: 330
Joined: Sat Nov 27, 2004 2:49 am
Location: Sunshine Coast Australia 2000 26X Tohatsu 50hp

Post by Phillip » Wed May 07, 2008 4:33 pm

Is that all he said Boblee?
Any idea how we can find the written approval?...it has to be available.

Is he stamping it 50mm? or is it coming in stamped by the manufacturer?

I wonder if there may be 2 different versions of the hitch manufactured in the US. 1 model for internal use, and another adjustable for export.

The guy that does all my trucking, also hauls new/used US boats from the Warf day and night. One dealership he hauls for, has a yard full of new Sea Rays of all sizes in it, and they all have their US hitches replaced.

If we can get over this hurdle, it will certainly save members a lot of money.

Cheers
Phillip

Boblee
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Location: Berrigan, Riverina Australia boatless at present

Post by Boblee » Wed May 07, 2008 6:27 pm

Phillip
He confirmed what you said about there being a push to have all trailers conform and he had worked it out with them, I will be contacting him again shortly to try and source a portside vee berth hatch cover so will ask him if there is an agreement written or otherwise.
I think he is able to stamp the hitch but he said it is within the tolerances allowed?
Personally as before I believe all the US gear should be removed anyway after trying to source 6 stud discs to fit, if all gear is local manufacture it will save having to try and source it or fit local gear while camped beside the road between Cunnamulla and Darwin etc.
My trailer is now up to 2200 kg in practice but will leave the rating as it is so that I don't fall under the higher regulations above 2 tonne.
It is my intention to only keep the boat for another couple of years but am really enjoying it and keep finding new places to explore, so?
If I keep it longer will galvanise it and would then probably change the axle and brake setup.
Have towed the boat from Albury to Grafton up the coast road without brakes so if they fail am confident of handling it ok until repairs can be made and bearings are readily available.
Will check if my hitch actually is adjustable this morning.

Phillip
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Posts: 330
Joined: Sat Nov 27, 2004 2:49 am
Location: Sunshine Coast Australia 2000 26X Tohatsu 50hp

Post by Phillip » Fri May 09, 2008 12:25 am

I had a 04 delivered today, so yesterday I asked the trucker if he knew the dealership with the new US boats well enough to discuss the US hitch. No problems......dropped in to talk with the Workshop Manager.

They have to change all US hitch's to Aust ones.
They can tow all trailers under 2.5m width (Macs are that) to and from the water for demos etc, using a trade plate, and reporting to the Dept what they did, distance etc.
Private individuals under no circumstances are allowed to tow trailers before they recieve an Aussie Compliance Plate.

All trailers exceeding 2.5 need an escort...these are the 30' plus jobs.
Seldom do they change hitches on the big stuff, but if they do then the hitch is quite different to the one we change too..

The boats are put in wet berths and the trailers serve 2 purposes:
1. the boats require a craddle for shipping, and the US trailers can be cheaper than hand making a craddle.
2. the trailers are used at the marina usually as ramp trailers.

The trailerable boats (our size) are kept in the Dealers yard with the US hitch until they are sold, then the change is made during the prep.
They have a major problem. The US hitch is powder coated-come-plastic coated, and if they mark any part of the trailer getting the hitch of, it is a pain in the A fixing it so it still looks like a brand new product.

I would love to know how the Mac dealer worked it out with 'them', as be assured there are a lot of other dealerships breaking their necks to get the OK too.
So if you can get the required info from him Boblee, it would be very much appreciated.....by me for a start....I will even send him a bottle of Glenfiditch!!

Cheers
Phillip

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Mistral
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Posts: 266
Joined: Mon Mar 24, 2008 11:03 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 26M
Location: Patterson Lakes, Melbourne, VIC., Australia 2005 26M "Indigo Blue" 50HP E-Tec

Post by Mistral » Sat May 10, 2008 4:41 pm

Phillip, you have to realise you live in Australia. Every silly state here has different regulations.
When I got my trailer for the boat I just needed a temporary permit for 30 days, so I could drive it on the highway to home, to the dealer and than to Vicroads, etc. at a cost of $30.00. No questions asked except for the VIN number. I modified my trailer to OZ standards, but I know several others in Victoria that have the US build trailers with Vic compliance plates. It seems to depend which Vicroads inspector you get or whether they have a good or bad day or even know the regulations.

Once this country grows up and gets rid of the states and have uniform laws we might be getting somewhere. :)

Boblee
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Location: Berrigan, Riverina Australia boatless at present

Post by Boblee » Sat May 10, 2008 6:37 pm

Don't know whether we will be "getting somewhere" if all states work from the one rule book as then the beaurocrats will have a field day with all the worst regulations but being able to blame uniformity (gun laws).
At present they can be played against each other especially where one state like Vic or SA has more lenient laws or cheaper registration etc.
As for the hitch mine certainly isn't adjustable but maybe the later ones are?
The hitch tolerances from the owners manual are for a ball 1.970-2.000" and by my calculations our 50mm ball is 1.968 maybe that was acceptable?
Couldn't get through to Phillip as his message bank is full :) but will try him again as I want to keep updated on the trip this year just in case plans change.

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Hamin' X
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Post by Hamin' X » Sat May 10, 2008 6:45 pm

Mistral wrote:Once this country grows up and gets rid of the states and have uniform laws we might be getting somewhere. :)
Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it. -Author Unknown

Rich---Hamin' X---N7ZH

Boblee
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Location: Berrigan, Riverina Australia boatless at present

Post by Boblee » Sat May 10, 2008 7:27 pm

Rich that is one of my favourite sayings along with the grass is not always greener over the fence.

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puggsy
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TRAILER HITCH

Post by puggsy » Mon May 19, 2008 11:05 am

Just for general info...a bit late in the day...but hey!...its licensed...

Image

Note that I did not cut off any of the American steel...just added another piece of very heavy wall box tubing and utilised the two heavy duty pins with circlips that held the original hitch together with the associated holes. It has lengthened the trailer a bit but our authorities passed it...second time around...First time they thought the hydraulic line was not fixed firm enough. Yet they passed the side lights on top of the mudguards being held on by velcro strips..The back lights are on removeable boards and the whole lighting system is removeable prior to launching.
puggsy 06 :macm:

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Lease
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Joined: Thu Nov 17, 2005 6:07 pm
Location: Canberra Oz; 1995 26X "MACMAC" Tohatsu 50

Post by Lease » Tue May 20, 2008 9:13 pm

Hey Puggsy, did you have to move the axle as well??

That extension must have changed the hitch weight by quite a lot!

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