How to Replace your Trailer Bunks
Boat equipment

How to Replace your Trailer Bunks

Unless you want your boat’s hull to be ruined by scratches, you’ll need premium-quality bunks on the trailer. They have one important job: to keep the trailer as “comfortable” for the boat as possible. Now, your trailer probably already has a set of bunks. So, why replace them in the first place? Well, over time, they tend to tear up; plus, natural elements can make them lose their original properties.

That’s why I decided to write this guide: to help you get rid of the factory bunks and install a brand-new pack. First, we’ll get all the necessary tools and equipment. The next step will be to carefully remove the stock bunks. Finally, you’ll learn how to properly install new boards and wrap them with carpet. Let’s begin!

Step #1: Getting Started

Essentially, boat trailer bunks consist of two things: wooden planks and Carpet for Boat Trailer that protects the hull from cracks, leaks, and tiny scratches. Make sure you buy marine-grade carpet; otherwise, it will go bad in the blink of an eye. As for the wood, a pack of 2 by 6s and 2 by 4s should be just right. Synthetic wood will also do – like Trex – but it will cost more and be heavier. The list of required tools is pretty big. Here goes:

  • Protective gloves and a mask
  • Measuring tape + a marker
  • A circular saw (preferable cordless)
  • A standard-issue drill with bits
  • Bolts and staples
  • Pliers or an impact wrench
  • A socket set
  • A utility or razor knife
  • A staple gun

The drill is gonna be the most expensive purchase. These are available for $120-160, with the drill bits costing you an extra $15-20. Not very cheap, I know, but this set will serve you for many years. Some folks believe that circular saws are expensive, but you can get one for as low as 40-50 US dollars.

Step #2: Removing the Old Bunks

Ok, with the preparations done, let us see how we can remove the factory bunks hassle-free. First of all, put the protective gloves on. We’ll be working with wood, and unless you’re super careful, you’ll end up hurting a finger or two. The mask, in turn, will protect from the toxic particles that will fill the air once you start cutting the carpet.

Handling the Carpet

The main tool for this is the utility knife: it will help you cut the carpet and get rid of it. Scissors will work as well, and they’re a more budget-friendly option. However, before you get to any of that, make sure to find a smooth and even spot to “park” the trailer. Ideally, it needs to be an open space so that you can approach the trailer from all four sides.

Obviously, for this to work, the boat has to be off the trailer (just tie it up in the water for the time being). Again, start by cutting the carpet in half with a utility/razor knife. It’s not a particularly safe material, which is why I recommend putting a mask on. It shouldn’t take you long to deal with the carpet. This is especially true if it’s relatively old and “beaten up” by water, UV rays, and the boat.

Moving on to the Wooden Boards

How to Replace Your Trailer BunksNext, grab the impact wrench/pliers and remove all the bolts. Sometimes, it might be easier to start with your hands and then use the tool.  A quick tip: before you remove all the bunks, go ahead and measure them (I’m talking about the length, of course). Why do that, exactly? Well, the idea is to make the new wooden boards just a smidge longer. The reason – you’ll need some extra inches for the carpet (to wrap it around properly).

If you run a bit short, that will cause you one big headache! But that’s pretty much it for the removal slash preparation routine. All that’s left to do now is install the new trailer bunks and hit the open water!

Step #3: Putting the New Bunks in Place

Drilling in New Holes

The main thing here is to lay down the wood properly so that the trailer’s brackets are right in the middle. Put the board over first and then do some “fine-tuning” to make it fit. Again, leave some overlap at the ends for the carpet. What I like to do next is mark the drilling spots with a marker. And label whatever you think is important. That way, it will be much easier to keep track of things.

When drilling new holes for the bolts, go slow. If you go too fast, the drill might damage the wooden boards, and that’s bad news. So, flip the boards over, do the drilling, and turn them back up for installation. This shouldn’t take long unless you bought the cheapest drill bits. To increase the lifespan of the bunks, you can use sandpaper to smooth out the edges, but this isn’t absolutely necessary. The bolts shouldn’t be hard to handle, especially with the wrench.

Stapling the Carpet

Roll out the carpet and make sure it meets and exceeds the length of the wooden board. It would be best to have a friend hold the carpet in place while you’re busy securing it. Or, use a clamp (it will cost you $20-30). The rest is just a matter of using the staple gun to, well, staple the carpet. Once the first couple of staplers are in there, it will be much easier to complete the project. To remove the excess carpet on the sides, use a pair of scissors.

Do this with all boards, and you’ve got yourself a brand-new set of trailer bunks! This will take you 2 to 3 hours, but it will be worth it!

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