Road Warrior trailer has a case of "throat cancer"

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Chinook
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Road Warrior trailer has a case of "throat cancer"

Post by Chinook » Fri Sep 22, 2017 12:22 am

For years I've read accounts of original steel Mac trailers suffering fractures at the base of the tongue, near where the angled sections of the trailer are welded to it. I've known that this is a result of water entering the open end and rusting the channel stock from the inside. I've kept a close eye on my trailer tongue, watching for signs of failure. My trailer is 15 years old, and has carried our boat on 4 cross country trips, plus many more shorter journeys, probably over 40,000 miles in all. It's been dipped in both fresh and salt water while launching our boat, countless times. I've always been very careful about rinsing it off thoroughly with fresh water right after salt water launches. Early on I added a tandem axle. I've replaced the bunks twice, and have repainted the trailer twice. Most recent paint job was 2 years ago, done professionally following a thorough sand blasting. I occasionally tap that part of the tongue with a hammer, listening for the sound of solid metal. It's always seemed sound, and I attributed its good condition and long life to careful maintenance and the fact that, when not being used, the trailer is stored here at home on the dry east side of the Cascade Mountains of Eastern Washington.
Yesterday while getting ready to put the boat's winter cover together I glanced at the tongue and noticed a little raised blister under my still shiny new paint job, at the base of the tongue. I also spotted a little bit of rust stain on the blister. I got my hammer out and gave it a tap and, to my surprise, I was able to knock a 1 inch diameter hole in the side of the tongue. I poked around inside the hole with an awl and found it filled with ugly flakes of loose, heavily corroded iron. An ugly sight, to be sure. Fortunately, I didn't make this discovery the hard way, while towing the boat down the highway out in the middle of nowhere. It still looks sound enough for a 6 mile tow down to a nearby welding and machine shop, where I plan to get it properly repaired. I'm not yet ready to retire my trusty Road Warrior trailer, and once the tongue is properly repaired, I look forward to putting many more miles on it.

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ris
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Re: Road Warrior trailer has a case of "throat cancer"

Post by ris » Fri Sep 22, 2017 4:21 am

Thanks for the reminder. I will check mine when it gets daylight. I checked it regular for a while but haven't checked in a while.

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npsrangerchuck
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Re: Road Warrior trailer has a case of "throat cancer"

Post by npsrangerchuck » Fri Sep 22, 2017 7:40 am

Thanks for the wakeup call! I will be hauling our boat down to the Evinrude shop and then to the house for some electronics installs before retiring her for the season and will be sure and thump around my trailer before doing so.

Oh and hey- enjoy all the Oktoberfest activities your beautiful little hamlet has to offer this time of year!!!

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Chinook
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Re: Road Warrior trailer has a case of "throat cancer"

Post by Chinook » Fri Sep 22, 2017 10:18 am

Oktoberfest may be fine for visitors, but it's a pain in the ear for those of us who live here. The music is played way too loud. I enjoy a beer with the best of them, but towns should beware of selling their souls to alcohol.

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mallardjusted
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Re: Road Warrior trailer has a case of "throat cancer"

Post by mallardjusted » Thu Sep 28, 2017 4:41 pm

I didn't worry (at least at the time) so much about the rust. My concern was the gross weight capabilities of the old trailers. I increased it by 2400 lbs with a new trailer several years back. Aluminum, led lights, very nice. Now I'm not anywhere near overloaded like I used to be.

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drams_1999
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Re: Road Warrior trailer has a case of "throat cancer"

Post by drams_1999 » Fri Sep 29, 2017 3:41 pm

I had to replace my tongue after it was only about 5 years old. She takes dunkings every 3 or 4 weeks year-round. I rinsed as best I could but she did rust from the inside- out. She folded up on me while I was home cranking down on the winch after routine service of the winch.

I ordered a deeper steel tube than the original one. (2" deeper, kept the same width so it would fit on the aluminum frame). I also got it with thicker side walls. It took me a week to drill all the holes. I took it to a welders shop and had the ladder and brace welded onto the new one after I cut it from the old one.

Before assembly, I painted the whole thing inside and out with cold galvanizing paint. It was a messy job painting the inside. I had to hang the whole thing vertical and use a sponge tied off with line to pull it back and forth inside the tube. I would pour the paint in on the top, pull the sponge back and forth until it all ran out the bottom, and repeat the process several times. After it was dry, I flipped it over 180 degrees, then did it all again. It was a real PITA but it worked. The outside was painted the old fashioned way.

4 years later and it still looks like the day I installed it.

I highly recommend the time be taken to do this when putting a new throat on these trailers, if being used in salt water regularly.

Good luck!

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Don T
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Re: Road Warrior trailer has a case of "throat cancer"

Post by Don T » Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:47 pm

Hello,
Maybe I've got the oldest throat?

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Catigale
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Re: Road Warrior trailer has a case of "throat cancer"

Post by Catigale » Sun Oct 15, 2017 3:10 am

Mine lasted 12 years with 6 dunkings per year into salt water. The tongue died at the ladder brace.

I replaced it with a thicker, longer tongue for about $800 with new brakes

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