FAQ’s About Utility And Boat Trailers
BUYING A TRAILER
ROLLER OR BUNK?
LOAD RITE vs. 5 STARR
• What kind of grease does Load Rite use in their trailer wheel bearings?
• Do I have to use the exact same wheel bearing grease that Load Rite uses?
• Where can I purchase compatible grease?
• What is the correct greasing procedure recommended by Load Rite and 5 STARR?
• I have a “bearing buddy” equipped hub. What is the correct way to add grease?
• I have a Sure-Lube hub. What is the correct way to add grease?
• I have a Super-Lube hub. What is the correct way to add grease?
• When is the best time to check and add grease?
• Do I need to add grease again at the end of the day when retrieving my boat?
• What is the regularly scheduled maintenance interval for wheel bearings on a boat trailer?
• What do I look for upon annual hub disassembly?
• Are these repairs covered under the Load Rite Two Year Coupler to Taillight warranty?
• What size bearings are on my trailer?
• Do I need brakes on my trailer?
• Can I get brakes on any trailer?
• What are surge brakes?
• Will my trailer be equipped with drum or disc brakes?
• How do I bleed my brakes?
• How do I adjust my drum brakes?
• How do I adjust my disc brakes?
• Where can I purchase parts for my Load Rite or 5 STARR trailer?
• Why is it important that I supply both my model and VIN number when requesting parts?
• Can I obtain a trailer schematic or parts listing for my Load Rite or 5 STARR trailer?
VIN and CERTIFICATE OF ORIGIN INFORMATION
BUYING A TRAILER
Can I buy my trailer from the factory?
Load Rite and 5 STARR trailers are distributed and delivered through our dealer network where possible. Call us or email us at e-mail for fitting and pricing information and where you can find out Load Rite boat trailers for sale.
How long will it take to receive my trailer once it is ordered?
There are many variables in answering this question. The type of trailer, time of year, and destination location all influence delivery times. In general, Load Rite and 5 STARR boat trailers are built on an as-ordered basis and require five days from receipt of the order to shipment from the factory. Transit times can add five to seven additional days. In-season demand can affect these estimates.
Is there any optional equipment available for my Load Rite or 5 STARR trailer?
Yes, and probably many options. First, always consider a spare tire and spare tire carrier. That is a universal option every trailer owner should consider.
Other options depend on the boat trailer model but may include any number of the following: tongue jack (standard on models with brakes), brakes, brakes on the second or third axles, aluminum wheels or fenders, plastic bunk covers, keel rollers, side guides, stainless steel hardware (aluminum trailers only), and a longer tongue. See the model listings pages for available options.
ROLLER OR BUNK
Why would I choose roller over bunk, or vice versa?
Both systems offer excellent support for most any boat hull. Some boat manufacturers advise for or against the use of one or the other, so check with your boat manufacturer to be sure.
Roller trailers excel in conditions such as a shallow ramp, in areas of great tidal variance, and varying conditions such as wind and current. Boaters who launch and load frequently appreciate the ease and convenience a Load Rite or 5 STARR roller model offers.
Bunk trailers are preferred by boaters who launch and load less often, or who frequent well-built ramps with little tidal influence. Bunk trailers are also preferred by boaters who utilize their trailer as long-term storage.
How do I determine the correct capacity trailer for my boat?
Begin with the exact running length of your boat. This should be the bow-eye to transom measurement. Do not include the length of the bow pulpit and/or motor transom. Determine the beam of your boat. These dimensions will determine the length and width capacity of your trailer.
Next you will need the dry hull weight*, weight of any outboard motor(s), fuel capacity, and water capacity. Multiply fuel by 7 pounds per gallon and water by 8 pounds per gallon. Add all of these items together and multiply the total by 1.1 for a 10% gear (batteries, electronics, coolers, tackle, etc.) allowance. This number will determine the weight capacity of the trailer you need. Always go to the next heavier available model.
* Load Rite is not responsible for errors in estimated hull weights as published by boat manufacturers.
LOAD RITE ELITE OR 5 STARR?
Are Load Rite and 5 STARR trailers made in the same plant with many of the same parts? If so, what are the differences in the two?
Load Rite and 5 STARR trailers are made in the same plant, often side by side on the assembly line. There are several major differences that set them apart.
Load Rite has a greater selection of models and types. Load Rite and 5 STARR roller models differ in roller color and articulation on some models. Load Rite models utilize a yellow TPR roller while 5 STARR models have a gray TPR roller. Load Rite roller assemblies are made of aluminum and offer more articulation on most models than do the steel bars on 5 STARR models.
Many Load Rite models are standard with low-profile LED taillights. 5 STARR trailers have different taillights and graphics packages than do Load Rite models. Other detail items may vary by model type.
What is hot dipped galvanization?
Hot dipped galvanized parts are received at Load Rite as raw steel. The steel is then bent, drilled, cut, or otherwise machined as needed. It is then sent to a galvanizing facility and totally immersed in a molten zinc solution. This coats the part completely, inside and out. Hot dipping imparts a thick, durable coating that is self-healing and far superior to painted surfaces. This makes for an excellent but slightly higher weight galvanized boat trailer.
What is the difference between hot dipped galvanized steel and aluminum finishes?
Both finishes offer superior corrosion protection in both salt and fresh water. Aluminum boat trailers offer a lighter trailer weight for a given load capacity and are thought to have a more custom appearance by some owners.
Should I rinse my trailer after use?
A fresh water rinse can prolong trailer life, but DO NOT PUT YOUR TRAILER AWAY WET. Always air dry your boat trailer by towing behind your tow vehicle for a few miles, even if it is wet from a fresh water rinse. This will minimize the amount of time water stands on vulnerable components like hardware and brakes.
What kind of grease does Load Rite use in their trailer wheel bearings?
Load Rite and 5 STARR use a NLGI #2 EP lithium complex based high temperature wheel bearing grease as factory-fill on all wheel bearings.
Do I have to use the exact same wheel bearing grease that Load Rite uses?
No. The brand name is unimportant. What is very important is the type and quality of the grease you choose. Load Rite uses NLGI #2 EP lithium complex based high temperature wheel bearing grease. It is compatible with most any lithium-complex based grease readily available on the market today.
Most any marine, hardware, automotive, and even most convenience stores, offer a compatible NLGI #2 EP lithium complex based high temperature wheel bearing grease in tube form.
The answer depends on whether your trailer is equipped with bearing buddies, Sure-Lube, or Super Lube hub systems.
I have a “bearing buddy” equipped hub. What is the correct way to add grease?
Bearing buddy-type grease caps are usually clear plastic so the grease level is visible. They are designed to be used in a “captive lubricant” hub assembly. Bearing buddies provide a grease fitting for the purpose of topping off the lubricant. Add grease whenever the sight disc drops below the marked minimum fill line. However, the only way to eliminate contaminated grease is to remove the hub and perform a complete cleaning, inspection, and repacking of the bearings. Always replace the inner seals and outer retainer when performing this procedure.
I have a Sure-Lube hub. What is the correct way to add grease?
The Sure-Lube system is non-pressurized. Lubricant can be added at any time without fear of over pressurizing the hub. Remove the rubber plug on the outside of the bearing cap to expose the grease fitting and / or allow excess grease to escape. On small trailers (under 2200 lb capacity) the grease fitting is on the rear of th ehub flange. Add grease using a standard pistol grip style grease gun. Contaminated grease will be expelled through the opening created by removing the rubber plug. Fill until fresh grease is readily visible. Wipe away waste from the outside of the bearing cap and gun nozzle. Reinstall the rubber plug.
I have a Super-Lube hub. What is the correct way to add grease?
The Super-Lube system is non-pressurized. Lubricant can be added at any time without fear of over pressurizing the hub. The system is identified by a one piece cap with an exposed grease fitting. The cap may be all metal, or plastic with a metal grease fitting. Add grease using a standard pistol grip style grease gun. Contaminated grease will be expelled out the rear of the spindle. It will lay atop the axle tube on some models, or may be forced into the interior cavity of the axle tube on others. Top off with five or six strokes of the grease gun lever.
When is the best time to check and add grease?
Generally, the hub is most prone to water infiltration when at operating temperature (warm to the touch) and immersed in ambient water while launching your boat. This will most likely occur during launch after an over-the-road tow. The ambient water will quickly cool the grease reservoir causing the hot grease to contract. Water infiltration by siphon will ensue. This is the best time to add grease to displace water on all BUT bearing buddy equipped models.
If towing long distance, monitor hub condition at each rest or gasoline stop. Add grease as necessary.
Do I need to add grease again at the end of the day when retrieving my boat?
Generally, no. Most times the trailer has sat at the ramp and cooled to match ambient temperatures. Very little, if any, water will intrude into the bearing cavity under these conditions. However, if you must store your trailer several miles from the ramp while you are on the water, it may be advantageous for you to add grease again after retrieval.
What is the regularly scheduled maintenance interval for wheel bearings on a boat trailer?
Boat trailer wheel bearings should be regularly maintained as per the above recommendations based on the particular system in question. Also, at the end of each season, each hub on a trailer should be disassembled and examined for wear and contamination, regardless of trailer age.
What do I look for upon annual hub disassembly?
After completely cleaning each hub and all bearing components, thoroughly examine each bearing cone and cup (race) for rust, bluing, or pitting. Any of these signs are indications for immediate replacement. Also clean and examine each spindle for bluing, pitting, or heat induced cracking. ALWAYS replace the inner seal and outer locking clip at each hub removal.
Are these repairs covered under the Load Rite Two Year Coupler to Taillight warranty?
Generally, no. These are considered wear, or normal maintenance, items. A boat trailer is one of the most highly stressed pieces of equipment you will ever employ. When was the last time you regularly parked your tow vehicle in a puddle?
What size bearings are on my trailer?
Load Rite trailers should have one of three bearing sizes:
1.06” x 1.06” All WV, Bandit, Outlaw, snowmobile trailers (without brakes).
1.06” x 1.38” All 5 bolt hubs on trailers with brakes or capacity over 2,700 pounds.
1.25” x 1.75” 6 bolt hubs.
See our online Parts Catalog for bearing numbers and interchanges.
Do I need brakes on my trailer?
Load Rite and 5 STARR recommend brakes on all axles where available. However, laws vary by state. Consult with your local DMV if you are unsure of the requirements of the state where your trailer will be registered.
Can I get brakes on any trailer?
Load Rite and 5 STARR offer brakes on most models exceeding 2,700 pounds gross vehicle capacity. Brakes may be available for lighter models. Please call with your exact application.
What are surge brakes?
Most hydraulic trailer brakes operate on the surge principle. The coupler assembly is known as the actuator and contains a master brake cylinder similar to that in an automobile. When the brakes are applied in the tow vehicle, the boat trailer “surges” against the tow ball forcing fluid through the trailer hydraulic system actuating the brakes.
Will my trailer be equipped with drum or disc brakes?
Most Load Rite and 5 STARR models currently come standard with disc brakes. The exceptions would be utility trailers, ATV, pontoon trailers, and water vehicle models, which are all equipped with drum brakes where applicable.
How do I bleed my brakes?
Bleeding trailer brakes is the same in principle as bleeding brakes on a tow vehicle. Disconnect the trailer from the tow vehicle and block the trailer. Make sure the master cylinder is full of fluid at all times. Open the bleeder screw on the caliper furthest from the actuator. Apply force to the actuator slide. Hold. Tighten the bleeder screw. Release the actuator slide. Repeat as necessary until all air is purged from the system. Proceed to the next furthest bleeder screw and repeat until the entire trailer has been bled. Make sure to check the master cylinder fluid level often during the operation. IT IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED THIS PROCEDURE BE INCORPORATED INTO AN ANNUAL SERVICE ROUTINE.
In addition, if a new actuator is installed, it should be bench bled, or pre-bled, before attaching the hydraulic line at the rear.
The correct procedure for 10″ and 12″ brake systems is as follows:
With the subject wheel elevated, access the adjuster by removing the rubber plug at the 6 o’clock position on the rear of the backing plate.
With the wheel rotating in the forward direction of trailer travel, tighten the adjuster until the wheel stops and can’t be rotated by hand. Then release the adjuster tension until wheel spins one full revolution after a rotational spin force is applied by hand. Repeat the procedure for each wheel on the trailer equipped with brakes.
It is very important to adjust the brakes “regularly”. Given varying amounts and types of use it is almost impossible to define “regularly” by a mileage or elapsed time designation. Common sense and precaution are good rules of thumb in this instance.
Is it OK to use a weight distributing hitch with my Load Rite or 5 STARR boat trailer?
Load Rite does not advocate the use of load distributing hitches on boat trailers. Part of the problem is the concern with brake interference. If improperly adjusted, brake performance could be degraded.
The basic premise with a weight-distributing hitch is to transfer load between the frame of the tow vehicle and the towed unit. In effect, it can serve to lock the two frames together. The wishbone design of a boat trailer, in conjunction with the use of a load distributing hitch, places a disproportionate amount of stress on the tongue member of the boat trailer frame. The tongue, already the most highly stressed boat trailer frame member, may then be required to perform above its design parameters.
*These are the main reasons Load Rite advises against the use of load distributing hitches with boat trailers.
How often should I check the lug nuts for tightness?
Wheel lug nuts should be checked before EACH trailer use! Using a torque wrench, make sure lugs are tightened to 85 – 95 pound feet of torque. On longer trips, check at each fuel stop.
- Lights, wiring, coupler action, safety cables, winch cable, and lug nut torque should be checked before each use.
- Recommended lubricant, NLGI #2 EP lithium complex based high temperature wheel bearing grease, should be applied via the grease fitting on the hub bearing cover after each submersion in water of a warm hub, or monthly, whichever comes first. The rapid cooling effect of the water could promote water permeation past the wheel seals. Application of grease at this point is intended to displace any water drawn in upon cooling.
- All fasteners should be checked for proper tension. All roller assemblies and winches should be checked for free movement and lubricated as necessary.
- Drum brakes should be adjusted. With the wheel rotating in the forward direction of trailer travel, tighten the adjuster until the wheel stops and can’t be rotated by hand. Then release the adjuster tension until friction shoe contact with the brake drum is barely audible. Repeat the procedure for each wheel on the boat trailer equipped with drum brakes. It is very important to adjust drum brakes “regularly“. Given varying amounts and types of use it is almost impossible to define “regularly” by a mileage or elapsed time designation. Common sense and precaution are good rules of thumb in this instance.
- Disc brakes require no adjustment.
Recommended annual maintenance is to include all of the above in addition to the following:
- Annual maintenance should involve the disassembly, cleaning, inspection, and repacking of all wheel bearings with the recommended lubricant, NLGI #2 EP lithium complex based high temperature wheel bearing grease. It is recommended the inner seal and retaining hardware be replaced any time the hub assembly is removed from the trailer.
- All moving parts within the brake drum and sliding points on the brake caliper should be inspected for wear and free movement, and lubricated as needed. Brake shoes or pads should be inspected to assure they are clean, dry, free of any contaminants, and not worn below their serviceable limit. Serviceable limit is commonly considered 3/32” from top of rivet to pad surface.
- Brake fluid should be thoroughly bled annually and replaced with fresh DOT 3 from a previously unopened container.
- All fasteners should be checked for proper tension. All roller assemblies and winches should be checked for free movement and lubricated as necessary. Bunk boards should be checked for internal integrity.
Frames and axles should be visually inspected for rust, damage, and fractures. Load Rite recommends replacement of any structural member having been stressed beyond its range of intended service.
Where can I purchase parts for my Load Rite or 5 STARR trailer?
Parts are available from your dealer. To assure order accuracy, please have your Model and VIN number available for your trailer. Call us for the location of the nearest dealer.
Why is it important that I supply both my model and VIN number when requesting parts?
While model numbers may be identical, individual trailer components may vary by model year. Tracing the VIN will yield an exact date the trailer was built. With this knowledge it is more likely to accurately supply replacement parts.
Can I obtain a trailer schematic or parts listing for my Load Rite or 5 STARR trailer?
Neither is available at present. Contact your dealer or our Customer Service department at (647) 792-2580 for parts application assistance.
VIN AND CERTIFICATE OF ORIGIN INFORMATION
Is it possible to obtain a duplicate VIN sticker for my trailer?
Duplicate VIN stickers are available to an individual or dealer who can produce a Certificate of Title or other proof of legal ownership. There is a nominal fee for this service. Call our office at (647) 792-2580 for more details, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is a Certificate of Origin?
A Certificate of Origin (C.O.), or in Canada a New Vehicle Information Statement (NVIS), is similar to a Certificate of Title issued by your local DMV. The vehicle manufacturer, in this case Load Rite, issues a C.O. to the original purchasing dealer. The dealer endorses it to the new vehicle owner who then submits it to their local DMV upon vehicle registration. Sometimes the dealer will handle this transaction at the time of the sale. The local DMV then issues a Certificate of Title or some other ownership document to the new vehicle purchaser.
How can I obtain a duplicate Certificate of Origin?
A duplicate Certificate of Origin (C.O.) can only be issued by the vehicle manufacturer to the original purchasing dealer. This is rare and usually occurs only if the C.O. is in some way accidentally defaced during the transaction process. There is a nominal fee for this service.