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

Boating - - BOAT DOCTOR BOAT DOC SPECIAL - Jim Hen­dricks

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.

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