Don’t Let Your Last Time On The Water Be Your Last
, drinking alcohol has been a part of the boating culture for a long time. Drinking while boating can have the same consequences as drinking and driving a car. Alcohol is the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents*. Be smart, be safe
Before you buy (and this is important), make sure the jack will fit under the axle when the tire is flat. If it does not, don’t despair. The solution is to carry two or three four-by-four wooden blocks (each about 12 inches long). Now you can carefully roll the flat tire over the blocks (laid down like planks) for extra axle height.
3 Carry a sheet of / inch
4 plywood (about 12 inches square) to serve as the base for the jack, just in case you break down where the shoulder is comprised of sand or mud.
WRENCH ON IT
You need an effective means of loosening lug nuts on the trailer wheels. Don’t count on using the lug wrench in your tow vehicle, as it’s unlikely the socket will fit the nuts on your trailer wheels.
A four-way lug wrench serves as the tool of choice for
changing tires. With a piece of tape, mark the socket that fits the lug nuts on the trailer so you’re not constantly guessing which one fits. If space in your roadside repair kit is at a premium, think about the Torin Jack 14-inch Folding Lug Wrench ($28.75, walmart.com).
Some Boating staffers now pack a cordless impact wrench such as the Rockwell 20V Brushless Impact Wrench ($205.47, homedepot .com) coupled with a socket that fits the ½-inch drive and the wheel lug nuts. Just make sure the battery is fully charged. Trailer-wheel hubs and the bearings and races inside can become trouble spots, particularly when overheated by dragging brake pads or corroded by water leaking inside.
That’s why it’s a good idea to carry a complete set of spare wheel bearings and seals for your trailer, along with the bearing grease and the tools needed to rebuild the hubs.
Some trailer boaters go a step further and carry a spare wheel hub with the bearings inside, spindle seal installed and pre-packed with grease, with an extra bearing protector loosely fit on the hub to contain the grease. If you want the ultimate in spare hubs, check out Tie Down Engineering’s spare-tire carriers with removable hubs ($113.99, iboats.com).
Of course, if the spindle gets fried (which often occurs if the hub overheats) or bent, new bearings and hubs are no good until you replace the spindle, a project that hardly qualifies as a roadside repair.
Yet there is a roadside solution in the form of the E-Axle spindle repair device from Air-Tight ($59.99, easternmarine.com). Once you remove the hub and/or brake from the axle, the E-Axle slips over the existing spindle and bolts to the axle’s brake flange. Adjustment bolts keep it centered, so you can make it to a repair shop. —
Four-by-four wooden blocks can elevate an axle if a jack won’t fit under it when fixing a flat. A cordless impact wrench makes tire changes easier.
SPINDLE FIX Air-Tight’s E-Axle bolts over a damaged spindle, allowing you to install a spare wheel hub and get to a repair shop.