QUICK GUIDE TO ALUMINIUM BOAT TRAILERS
Aluminium boat trailers came onto the market in the late 1970s. Aluminium boat trailers are available in all sizes. While many boat owners are still a little doubtful about buying and owning aluminium boat trailers, there are a number of reasons to invest in the higher cost of an aluminium boat trailer.
ADVANTAGES OF ALUMINIUM OVER STEEL
Aluminium boat trailers offer a huge weight saving. An aluminium boat trailer will weigh around 25% less than a steel boat trailer of the same size. This means you can tow a bigger boat with a vehicle of the same size. A lighter frame also means lower cost of maintenance and a frame that lasts longer.
Boat trailer frame strength is a result of design and not build. Whether a trailer is made of steel or aluminium is not so much of an issue as is the design. Quality alloys provide both strength and rigidity.
STEEL STRENGTH VS ALUMINIUM STRENGTH
Aluminium has a structure that is more efficient than steel by 30%. This means it can carry the same load as steel while weighing less. That being said, aluminium beams need to be sized up by more than 50% to carry the same load as steel. This is why aluminium boat trailers have larger profiles than those of steel. They are still much lighter.
BOLTED OR WELDED TOGETHER
Both welded and bolted aluminium frames have their pros and cons.
Welding is more commonly used in boat building. Welding helps stresses to be spread more evenly over a wider area, whereas bolting is a much easier way to join. The major issue to consider with bolted aluminium trailers is the concern of loosening bolts, particularly when a trailer is being used regularly over longer distances – ongoing maintenance is required.
CARE OF AN ALUMINIUM FRAME
Electrolytic corrosion occurs when two different metals come into contact with each other when in an electrolyte, for example with seawater. This can only be minimised. Care of an aluminium frame is simple – wash it down after each use with cold fresh water and store it in a dry place. Sacrificial anodes will help if the trailer is stored outside.
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