A few years ago, during a dreary winter, I wrote a column suggesting tips for maintaining your boat trailer. One of the products I recommended was rust treatment paint named POR 15.
It seems a lot of you were paying attention, but not too many were taking notes or keeping the piece for later reference.
In fact, since I wrote that, reader requests for the name of the paint come in about as often as "what bait should I use?"
POR 15 is certainly an amazing product. About three years ago, I could see that my square tube framed trailer was not going to last much longer. It was the name brand trailer that you see the most locally, but the design is terrible. A trailer with that type of frame makes it impossible to wash the salt out of the inside and even harder to treat the rust that begins there. When I went looking for a replacement I knew I would need one with an open, galvanized, angle iron frame. The one I found was just that, A-frame and a hitch.
I had to change the axle, and build shackles to hold the new springs. I had to make the holders for the wooden bunks to hold up the boat and install lights. In short, I had to make a boat trailer. There was just a little rust on the old frame so I coated those spots with POR 15 as well as all of the parts I added. Now, three years later, there is no rust on my trailer. I used the black POR15, but you can get it in white or silver. It can be applied directly over the rust and nothing will get it off.
The catch is the stuff costs more than 45 bucks a pint. Yep, that's a pint.
Still, the way I feel about it is that if you are doing a job and you know a better way you have no choice.
POR 15 is only available at local auto paint supply stores. I bought mine at Higgs on Nova Road in Holly Hill.
In other rust news, if your best friend has acquired an ugly orange stain on the fiberglass from years of boating in nasty water I have a solution. The green liquid rust primer sold at auto parts stores will remove that stain as well as rust stains on your vessel. Buy a bottle and screw on a sprayer and all you need do is spray it and forget it. In a couple hours, the stain will be gone and all that is left is to hose the boat off.
Don't use the Ospho brand. Get the cheaper types that are on the market. They work better. The one I used is called The Must For Rust, but I think any of them will work. Try it and you will be amazed at the easy results achieved without elbow grease.
The most important thing you can do for your boat trailer is keep up with your wheel bearings. Whenever you see the sad sight of a boat on the shoulder of the road that is up on a jack, nine times out of 10 it is due to faulty wheel bearings. My rule is for local towing, I ignore them, but for any trip more than 30 miles one way I repack the bearings. Sure it is a dirty job but doing it at home beats the heck out of fixing it on the highway. Any grease you use on your trailer or engine must be marine grade grease. Never use auto grease for a marine application.
If you don't use your boat often, the steering will become a problem. Each time you walk past give the wheel a turn to move the engine. If the boat has had no use for six months or more (why would that be?), loosen the big nut on the steering cable at the engine and spray in a little oil using the directional straw that comes with the oil. Another easy fix to avoid costly repairs is to add a good product to your fuel for stabilization. I use Lucas Safeguard to combat water and the separation of ethanol. Having your carbs cleaned is expensive so dump in a little Lucas to keep your outboard humming.
Be sure to check that the pin is in your prop. Without it, the propeller will surely back off.
Well, I hope that helps. Now keep this column so that you can get the POR 15 when you need it. I know some of you will forget but that's OK. E-mail or call me later. I know some of you will.
Dan Smith has fished the waters of Volusia County for more than 40 years. Email questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. His book, "I Swear the Snook Drowned," is available for $10.95 at (386) 441-7793.