About Big Pontoon Trailers page 1 of 2

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I don’t understand why people with 25’-30’ pontoons that weight 5000+ lbs. and cost $50,000+ don’t think they need big strong pontoon trailers. The frequent refrain is “I’m not going to travel so I don’t want to spend much”. Marine dealers will insist you buy an expensive trailer for a ski boat that you’re not going to tow but will put you on an economy trailer for your heavy, expensive big pontoon. If you have a big pontoon and you are towing anywhere, you really need to pay attention to the trailer.
 
Heavy Duty Pontoon Trailer pontoon trailer bracing
 
The most important thing for big pontoons is a strong, well braced frame. Some argue that a 14 gauge 5” frame is stronger than an 11 gauge 4” frame
(in steel the lower the gauge the thicker the steel). The thickness of the outside frame is immaterial if the sides are not connected together and reinforced vertically.
Click Here to learn about trailer construction
 
premier 28' pontoon boat on trailer premier 28 foot pontoon
A Premier 28’ with twin 300 HP going to Florida. A perfect fit. Galvanized frame, disc brakes and radial tires all standard. It will make it there and back safely.
 
10' wide premier pontoon boat on a PT330 trailer
 
This is a 10’ wide Premier with the walk on top, on our PT-330 trailer with aluminum rims.
 
25' Harris Flte Bote
 
A Harris Flote Bote 25’ Grand Mariner that travels often three hundred miles from Indiana to Kentucky Lake.

Besides a strong frame, there are a couple other things the owner of a big boat needs to understand.
 
  pontoon boat winch pontoon trailer bunk cover double wheel jack  
 
1200 lbs. or even 1800 lbs. winches will fail when pulling 5000 lb. boats onto a trailer. Heavy boats, especially with lifting strakes, will shred and deteriorate bunk carpet. Almost any tongue jack, even the cheap single wheel jacks, will lift 600+ lbs. tongue weight, but you’ll have a hard time cranking. Replacing a cheap winch with a good one costs $100. Bunk carpeting with labor is $100+. A strong tongue jack is $75.
 
disk brake 5000lb concealer brake coupler 8500lb conceled brake coupler
10" Disk Brakes Our modern 5000 lb. concealed Brake Coupler Our 8500 lb. Brake Coupler
 
State laws are clear about trailer brakes. In most states a boat, motor and trailer package that weighs over 3500 lbs. must have brakes. Customers who don’t tow much and some boat dealers who are anxious to sell a boat sometimes ignore or economize when it comes to brakes on trailers.

Anyone selling 7” brakes or old fashioned drum brakes should be suspect. They might work adequately on 3500 lbs. packages but for today’s big deluxe pontoons you should have at least 10” disc brakes. Disc brakes work more efficiently than drum and don’t freeze up when not in use. Some sellers offer single axle brakes on big trailers to keep your cost down. But single axle brakes can only stop 3500 lbs. A 5000 lbs. boat on a 1000 lbs. trailer weights 6,000 lbs. Do you want to stop half or all of the load?

What goes on with trailer brakes is almost unbelievable. Unbelievable that some people would take such huge risks to save a few dollars. Some modern trailer manufacturers have recognized the need for tandem axle brakes. But many still use a single axle brake actuator not a tandem brake actuator. The cost difference is about $15 and requires the manufacturer to stock two different actuators. The tandem axle brake actuator has a longer piston to pump brake fluid to the back axles. There is no guarantee you will get the better actuator unless you ask. We started using the bigger actuator when we started selling more and more trailers with tandem axle brakes. We sometimes have a difficult time getting all the tandem actuators we need. The brake supplier doesn’t keep many on hand because few trailer builders used them. The same companies saving $15 on brake actuators are using bias ply tires and incandescent lights. If they economize on tires and lights, you can bet your not getting to good brake actuator.

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