Replacing bunk boards with the boat on the trailer

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Replacing bunk boards with the boat on the trailer

Postby Smier » Tue Dec 04, 2012 11:18 am

Ideally I would normally go to a nearby boat launch(at an off peak time) and float the boat off, replace the damaged bunk with one I had ready to simply bolt right on as quickly as possible and pull the boat back onto the trailer ASAP. However, when I picked up the Starwind 22 recently, the trailer bunks were shot... They were so bad that one had literally fallen off of the trailer while it was still under the weight of the boat. I realized that I was in danger of one of the bunk board bolts damaging the hull, so towing it anywhere was out of the question. So I decided it would have to be done with the boat still on the trailer.
To accomplish this, I needed to elevate my floor jack closer to the hull of the boat. So I took 4 cinder blocks, which I made 2 stacks under the trailer (2 blocks high). Then I took 2 pieces of scrap 2x12 wood cut long enough to fit between the trailer frame and the keel bunk board to elevate my floor jack to about 10 inches below the hull near the swing keel trunk. Then I took a scrap piece of 2x6 several feet in length and attached a scrap piece of 4x4 post to the bottom of the 2x6. I used this to protect the hull and to spread the load over a larger area of the hull in hopes of not damaging the fiberglass hull (I originally used just a 4x4 section to lift the boat, but decided I needed a larger lifting footprint as a precaution).
After a trial lift of the boat, I lowered it back down onto the trailer, and gathered everything I needed to make my new bunk boards. I learned years ago it is easier and cheap to buy all new hardware, so I had already purchased all new 3/8" carriage bolts, nuts, washers, and lock washers (cost less than $5). Removal of the old bunk board remnants and their mounting bolts was accomplished by my trusty sawzall and a metal blade.
Since the one bunk board was essentially missing, I needed to figure out where to drill my holes for the carriage bolts, but since the bunk boards need to be curved, and my new pressure treated boards are straight, I simply placed one under the boat centered on top of the bunk board support posts. I then carefully lowered the boat onto the new board, which bent it to match the shape of the hull, and allowed me to mark where to drill my holes on my new board! I then jacked the boat back up a third time, drilled and countersunk my holes for the carriage bolts, inserted the new bolts into the boards and sprayed the boards top face with some 3M spray adhesive:


I then went about cutting my new bunk carpet. Now let me tell you about bunk carpeting... Do not buy it from a marine store in the precut strips that they sell for $20 to $40 each!!! Go to home depot and get a 6' x 8' roll of indoor/outdoor carpet for $17 and you'll have enough to do all your bunks and have some leftover for when you need to replace the carpet again years from now!


Cut your strips wide enough to wrap around so you have plenty of room to staple the new carpeting in place on the bottom of the boards.


I stapled every 2" to 3"s perpendicularly and parallel to the length of the bunk board, and prior to wrapping the carpeting into place around the board, I sprayed some more of the adhesive on the edges and bottom of the boards. Because my boards were 8' long and so was my carpet, I opted to wrap the ends of my boards with small rectangles of extra fabric first. Time will tell if this was a good or a bad idea, but who cares, I only used 1/3 of my $17 roll of carpet! I could have cut a few inches off the ends of my bunk boards, but I honestly didn't feel like it. It was a misty, cold, and miserable day so these are the only pictures I took, but my bunk boards are the best looking part of my trailer now.


Total time start to finish = 2.5 hours
Total cost = $51.08 plus tax
Indoor/Outdoor Carpet Roll $17
Pressure treated 2x6's 2@$4.97
Pressure treated 2x4's. 2@$3.57 (to replace my keel guide boards)
3M spray adhesive. $12
3/8" carriage bolts, etc. <$5

Next on the list is new bearings, bearing buddies, sandblast the rust and paint the trailer, and I think I will truck bed-line the trailer fenders since I use them as steps a lot. Oh, I need to mount my spare and get some wheel locks. I don't need my aluminum wheels and new tires walking off...

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Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2012 6:51 am

Postby Smier » Tue Dec 04, 2012 12:17 pm

I forgot to mention that for the second board, I had the original to measure for the bolt hole locations. So when I tightened the bunk boards to the support post brackets, I only tightened the center post completely tight, I left the front and rear supports slightly loose until I set the weight of the boat back down onto the bunks. The bolts moved another 1/2" to 3/4" in the slots after I put the weight of the boat back onto the bunk boards. I remembered reading that somewhere else, but I can't remember the exact reasoning behind it, but I suspect it may be to keep from splitting your new bunk board from stressing the bolt hole? All I know is they were right, the two ends definitely moved after I put the boat back onto the trailer.

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Postby astrorad » Wed Dec 05, 2012 12:54 pm

Good info smier...thanx...I need to do my bunks also.

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