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aluminum VS steel boat trailer ? pros-cons


aluminum VS steel boat trailer ? pros-cons

Old 06-03-2012, 08:33 PM
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Default aluminum VS steel boat trailer ? pros-cons

hi guys i am looking for a new trailer for my 42 lightning what are the pros and cons of steel vs aluminum other then weight ? i noticed the price is different also i like the steel trailer cause there strong and don't bend as much my aluminum one does
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Old 06-03-2012, 09:39 PM
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Aluminum is lighter, towing.

When you sell it opens you to more buyers as the salt guys can't have steel

Steel may be stronger, but a good quality aluminum won't flex that much. Myco or Manning

I think steel is a little cheaper

A triple axle aluminum may want to float when loading the boat.

I'm sure others will add more.
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Old 06-03-2012, 10:12 PM
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Saltwater aluminum is a must, If you are in fresh water go steel. JMO
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Old 06-03-2012, 10:32 PM
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Aluminum is best if you launch in saltwater. I have a three axle Sportmaster for my 29' Baja. Flex is not an issue and it has never even tried to float.

With a steel trailer rust will be an issue sooner or later, salt or fresh water, it's just that salt water rust will be sooner.
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Old 06-04-2012, 11:20 AM
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I've had several aluminum trailers float and it's somewhere between inconvenient and damn un-nerving. It's usually been for something in the 28'-35' range and I've had a double axle for a 26' boat float almost to the surface after dropping the boat in. (That would be on the "no problem" side.)

On the "piss you right off" side would be the triple axle for a 32' Fountain in a single ramp / no dock private ramp - where I was pulling the boat out solo. I backed the trailer in and went to get the boat. By the time I got back, the current had moved the trailer right up against the wall. You should have seen the gymnastics required for me to straighten it out and get that bad boy on all by myself. And yes, it did require getting wet.
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Old 06-04-2012, 05:19 PM
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Damn, I never even thought about the trailer floating with the extra two tires. I almost went triple axle on my trailer rebuild, now glad I didn't.

Learn a little more every day.
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Old 06-04-2012, 06:41 PM
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Mine has never floated - I think they tend to float more down south where the water is saltier.

Personally I'd go Aluminum. That way when you go to sell your potential buyer can be a salt water boater or freshwater.
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Old 06-04-2012, 08:13 PM
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My three axle used to float. I strapped two lead bars to the I beam. Then I went to a smaller tire with the same weight rating...no more float....C channel trailers flex way less than I beam trailers. Myco in Florida or Pacific in California build C channels. I think they are better pullers. Dont buy a steel trailer!
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Old 06-04-2012, 08:17 PM
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Originally Posted by seafordguy View Post
mine has never floated - i think they tend to float more down south where the water is saltier.

Personally i'd go aluminum. That way when you go to sell your potential buyer can be a salt water boater or freshwater.
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Old 06-04-2012, 08:45 PM
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Aluminum in the long run is a better trailer for most boating....especially for salt water. They are lighter which really helps when the tow weight starts creeping to the limits of your vehicle's towing capacity.

My second choice would be a HOT DIPPED GALVANIZED steel trailer. They are very strong but very heavy. I have had them last ten years here in SE Florida with reasonable care. They are a bit less expensive.

My last choice is a painted steel trailer...they eventually go away...even in fresh water. In salt water...regardless...with one exception..their life expectancy can be measured in months...not years. In a salt environment they aren't good for much other than a storage or yard trailer. The one exception in my life was a steel trailer my Dad still has under a 14' aluminum skiff in Alabama. The trailer started rusting not long after he bought it in 1960. In the summer of '64, we took it apart and had it professionally sand blasted. I primed it with Mil Spec Zinc Chromate primer and put 2: coats of Chrysler Metallic Blue Enamel on it. The boat is still sitting on that trailer on the family farm in Alabama and it doesn't have a spec of rust on it anywhere!! It has never been in salt water as far as I know and I don't think the public can buy that Mil Spec Zinc Chromate primer...seems that it causes Rats to have lung cancer or some such thing.

Which ever you choose...know this: Steel leaf springs are sacrificial. Torsion suspension is about as good as you will do. In salt water...if it's not stainless or Aluminum...it will rust. That goes double for brakes, fasteners and hardware. Drum Brakes are sacrificial like the leaf springs. Get disc brakes...unless you have some fetish that makes you want to constantly be fiddle phucking around with the brakes on your trailer instead of using your boat.

If you can get the same rating in 2; axles vs. 3...get the 2: axle model. It cost less initially and is much easier to maneuver in tight spaces than a triple axle.
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