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Towing 285 SSI

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Friday I take delivery of our new boat and have not towed this large of a boat and trailer. Is there a rule of thumb for proper measurement from road bed to top of coupler (or ball height)? Fortunately I have air bags in the truck if needed. Thanks for all your suggestions.

Rob Gibbs

Seattle, WA

2001 285 SSI

1990 Mirage 23 Trovare

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Not an expert but I believe if you place a level on the tongue after hooking the boat up... it should be perfectly level.

In other words, you will not know until you hook it up. You have to see how much your rear is going to sag. I use a 5 3/4 inch drop on my Suburban and it gets me close to level (I also have airbags in mine so they pump themselves up when I start the ignition, meaning little actual sag and the need for a big drop).

_

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Not an expert but I believe if you place a level on the tongue after hooking the boat up... it should be perfectly level.

+1

If you don't have it level, better to have a bit of upward angle on the trailer tongue than downward angle. I've got a 2" drop hitch flipped upside down which gives me level to just a bit higher than level.

What's your tow vehicle?

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as stated above, place a level on the trailer and measure the distance to the ground. Also take into account the sag you will get when the truck is loaded. I have a 4" drop hitch on my truck but I have a 6" suspension lift.

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Keep the trailer tongue as level as possible to maximize your trailers braking abilities. Thats a pretty large boat for trailering, not that it cant be done, but just curious, what do you plan on towing it with and how far?

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I trailer my Sunesta a lot, too. It is a lot lighter though, at 4400 lbs dry. I think the OP was mainly asking to prepare for the boat delivery, so he cannot check the trailer level yet. I would bring a couple receivers with you, if you have them (or buy and return later if unused). If it's a big truck with a rigid rear suspension and airbags (as you said), and you expect little to no sag (like my auto-leveling suburban), then I'd say you better bring a good drop with you. If you just want to bring it home, a slight off-level probably won't hurt much. My boat was 2 hours from home at delivery, hwy cruising at 60-70 mph, so it mattered much more. I borrowed a bigger drop from my neighbour before buying mine.

Also, check the ball size (ask the dealer). There are common sizes: 2 inch and 2 5/8 (edit: 2 5/16!) I think!

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I have mine about an inch high on the front than the back. I Use a tape measure measuring the hieght of the rails at the back and front

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.

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Tape measure as Matt said is the way to go. A level will be worthless unless the entire rig is sitting on a level surface. Depending on the the axle configuration, you will want the trailer sitting parallel to the ground so load is distributed evenly across all the axles if separate axles without spring pivot equalizers.

Standard ball sizes are 1 7/8'', 2', and 2 5/16''

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My front may be a tad higher too I think. But very close to perfect level. No sag at all. Self-leveling suspension on the LTZ models.

tow.jpg?psid=1

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Tape measure as Matt said is the way to go. A level will be worthless unless the entire rig is sitting on a level surface. Depending on the the axle configuration, you will want the trailer sitting parallel to the ground so load is distributed evenly across all the axles if separate axles without spring pivot equalizers.

Standard ball sizes are 1 7/8'', 2', and 2 5/16''

true. When I first get a new trailer I meaure front middle back and make them even. you want it to be even due to brakes, but you also want to keep the weight distributed evenly across the axles.

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I trailer my Sunesta a lot, too. It is a lot lighter though, at 4400 lbs dry. I think the OP was mainly asking to prepare for the boat delivery, so he cannot check the trailer level yet. I would bring a couple receivers with you, if you have them (or buy and return later if unused). If it's a big truck with a rigid rear suspension and airbags (as you said), and you expect little to no sag (like my auto-leveling suburban), then I'd say you better bring a good drop with you. If you just want to bring it home, a slight off-level probably won't hurt much. My boat was 2 hours from home at delivery, hwy cruising at 60-70 mph, so it mattered much more. I borrowed a bigger drop from my neighbour before buying mine.

Also, check the ball size (ask the dealer). There are common sizes: 2 inch and 2 5/8 (edit: 2 5/16!) I think!

Actually - the OP needs to be sure he not only has the proper ball size but also the proper load rating / bolt diameter. I had to upgrade my old ball that had a 6,000 lb rating to one with a 12,000 lb rating because I wanted the additional shear strength due to my total towed weight changing from about 4,000 lbs just around town to well over 7,000 lbs fully fueled and loaded around town and out on the open highways.

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We have a Signature 28 on a custom aluminum trailer. We tow it with a Ford F350 4x4 single rear wheel with no suspension modifications or airbags. I use a 2" drop and the trailer sits perfectly level once the truck sags. Of course, the tongue weight is much higher than yours (about 900 lbs) and an overall weight of right around 10,500. Once up to speed on the highway, towing isn't all that bad. With the 10' beam, I make sure the rub rail is inside the highway lines and cruise.

I use a 16,000 lb Reese cast iron hitch I got on Amazon for about $35 and a 30,000 lb ball I got on Amazon for $30. U-Haul wanted over $120 for the SAME set up. I would highly recommend finding the right hitch-ball set up and then purchasing from Amazon - the savings is worth it.

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As ChappyMike said....check your hitch and ball ratings. Some trucks don't have class V hitches on them and therefore they are not ready to tow a heavy load even though the truck is. I had a class IV on mine and changed over to a class V.

Also check your width restrictions up there in Washington State. In CA it's 8'6" max. Anything over you need a annual permit from the state. What that means is that they send you updates everyweek on road closures and restrictions for oversize loads. It also means a $100 annual fee owed to the state as well. Just another way for CA to get their money from us. Blah blah blah....

Might want to convert your trailer brakes to electric over hydraulic as well if not so equip. That will give you braking power when you are backing down the ramps.

Can't wait to see pics of the new boat.

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What are you towing with?

Suggest you get the boat/trailer weighed so you will know what your total towed load is

brick

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Everyone, thanks so much for the advice. I will tow the boat with a Ford F250 Super Duty 4x4 with air bags. I got a 11,000 lb receiver yesterday. The truck currently has a 6,000 lb hitch and should be fine as i only need to go about 10 miles from the dealer to the ramp. I plan to have a 11,000 lb hitch installed and my towing will only be about 50 miles. I still want the security of knowing I can safely tow. The trailer does have hydraulic brakes and I want to test them and the reverse solenoid before hitting the road. Looking forward to share pics soon.

Kmartonic, yes I got the boat at Seattle Boat. I actually was looking at the same boat a couple years ago when they had it then too. I was selling a bigger boat and wanted to downsize. I was sold before I could get out of the other boat. I really love the layout and roominess of the cockpit. We will probably overnight from time to time. I hope to see you on the water some time soon.

Rob Gibbs

Normandy Park, WA

2001 285 SSI

1990 Mirage 23 Trovare

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An F250 stands fairly high, so I suspect you will need somewhere around a 2 or 4 inch drop drawbar. Set the trailer level, and measure from the ground to the coupler. Then measure from the ground to your receiver hitch. The difference is the amount of drop you will need.

brick

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Thanks for the info on this topic... I am considering upgrading to the 285 SSI 2003...it comes with a trailer...see the pic of the boat on a new trailer .  Trailer is a 2018 new Venture trailer... doesn't this look wrong?  The stern should not be that far off of the end of the trailer right?  I am assuming we can move the boat further to the tongue?  

285ssi.jpg

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From what i can see, it appears that you should be able to move the winch stand forward.  BUT, that will change your weight distribution and tongue weight.  which model trailer is it.  i Have the VATB-7225 for a 255 ssi, hopefully that boat has the VATB-8725, which can carry 8725 pounds.  

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I believe you'll find the winch stand is about as far forward as possible on this Venture trailer, or if any movement is possible, it's less than a foot.  Looks already close to the surge brake mechanism/tongue.  I agree (huhner), the rear of the boat is too far off the bunks and the boat needs to come forward.  The transom on many Chaparral's is stepped, and from this picture, it's impossible tell how far the inner most part is compared to the bunks.  Overall, on large beautiful boats such as this, a bit more trailer is better than less.  Safety is priceless and towing easier.  Whether there's enough adjustment left, you'll need to determine in person or have the seller take a few pictures of the winch stand and the gap ahead of it (all from above, and each side - from about 4 or 5 feet away).

P.S. I believe this boat is located in Duluth, Minnesota.  It's on craigslist.

P.S.S. I have the Venture VATB 12,625 tri-axle, and bought it from the guy that sold this trailer.  

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I looked at craigslist again.  There's a better picture of the transom and trailer posted.  The transom is stepped, and it appears there's plenty of room to move the winch stand and boat forward.  You'll need to potentially mount the jack differently, but with a little effort, you should be able to achieve better balance over the over the duals and position the bunks under the step (or at least significantly reduce the overhang).  Good luck. 

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Get the tongue weight right first, so that the boat tracks right in your trucks wake. (see what I did there)...   You will want somewhere between 600 and 700 pounds on the ball and moving the winch standard forward will add to the total and rolling the boat aft will decrease tongue weight and adds static weight back on to the trailer. Next is to get her level and the tape measure to ground method is best. Failure to do so will increase tire wear and spring loading on the favored axle, especially on torsion springs which act completely independent of one and another. I needed to shorten my trailer by 18" and that required moving both the winch standard and the axles themselves in order to achieve the right tongue weight. Now it does not take an entire parking lot to turn her around and she tracks fine.  Most trailers are both universal and completely adjustable.  W

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Read the manual for your tow vehicle. A lot of posts here say level or slightly nose high for the trailer, my manual says level or slightly nose down. Just a guess but it might have something to do with the anti sway built into the truck.

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Yes it is the one in Duluth... and it is the one you have referenced on Craigslist... thanks for all of the info!!

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