the scheduled maintenance
page for frequency
- General Appearance / General Care
trailer will look better and last longer if you wash it off
with fresh water several times a year. If you boat in salt
water, rinse the trailer thoroughly after each use.
a proper fit
engaged the coupler should not rattle against the hitch ball.
Adjusting the fit
- Hand-wheel type couplers are adjusted by turning the hand-wheel.
- Lever-type couplers should never need adjustment provided
that you are using the correct hitch ball. Only a dealer should
attempt to adjust a lever-type coupler.
to using your trailer, apply a light coating of bearing grease
to hitch ball.
Engage the hitch ball and the coupler.
Tow your trailer to ensure grease adheres to all surfaces.
NOTE: When parking or storing
your trailer, keep the coupler off the ground so debris will
not build up in the ball socket.
When jacking up the trailer, ensure that all wheels are blocked
in both the forward and reverse directions. Failure to block
the wheels can result in personal and property damage.
Some tongue jacks have a small ZERK (grease) fitting. ZERK
fittings allow you to easily use a grease gun to lubricate
the part. If your tongue jack has a ZERK fitting:
Ensure your grease gun has wheel bearing grease (or equivalent).
Secure grease gun to ZERK fitting.
Pump grease until grease comes out of the jack - usually excess
will come out of the bottom of the jack.
Crank jack between completely up and completely down several
times to allow grease to adhere to all surfaces.
If your jack does not have a ZERK fitting:
Remove the black plastic cap on top of the jack. The cap is
usually secured by a small set screw on the side of the jack.
Push grease into opening on top of tongue jack. Reapply cap
and secure with set screw.
Crank jack between completely up and completely down several
times to allow grease to adhere to all surfaces.
With swivel jacks, in addition to the procedure for applying
grease to the jack, you should lubricate the swivel surfaces.
a light coating of penetrating oil (such as WD-40) on and
around the swivel surface.
WARNING: Special care must always
be exercised when engaging or disengaging a swivel jack. When
removing your trailer from the tow vehicle always check that
the swivel jack is engaged before allowing the jack to support
the weight of the trailer.
the winch assembly is free of dirt and debris.
Apply a light coating of household oil (e.g. 3-in-1 oil) on
the gears only.
Operate the winch to ensure proper adhesion of oil onto all
Inspect strap, cable, rope
You should inspect your winch strap, cable or rope every time
you launch and recover your boat. Stowing your winch strap,
cable or rope evenly and neatly will also extend its useful
Verify the bow eye hook is secure to the strap, rope or cable.
If necessary, re-tie bow eye hook to the rope.
Completely extend the rope, cable or nylon strap.
Check the entire length of winch strap, cable or rope for
cuts, burrs, rust, tears or any other damage that would degrade
the performance of the securing strap. Replace as necessary.
Ensure the end of the strap is secure to the winch assembly.
Rewind the winch.
each use, check torque on all lug nuts. With trailer wheels
blocked to eliminate the chance for accidental movement, tighten
each lug nut to 85 foot-pounds.
If replacement nut/nuts are required, ensure you replace with
the correct size and type.
are three widely available types of bearing covers. Some trailers
have a cap (painted or galvanized) on the end of the hub that
protects the bearings. To add grease to this hub assembly, you
must disassemble the hub. With this system, a semi-annual inspection
and repacking the bearings is recommended.
The second type of bearing system is a Posi-Lube spindle. On
the end of the spindle is a small ZERK fitting which allows
grease to enter the spindle and get routed to the bearing surfaces.
To lubricate this bearing, perform the following steps:
Remove the dust cap from the hub exposing the ZERK fitting.
Using bearing grease, secure the grease gun to the posi-lube
Gently add grease.
When grease comes out around the outer edge of the bearing,
stop pumping grease.
Reapply the dust cover.
The third type uses Bearing Buddies to easy lubrication of the
bearing assembly. Bearing Buddies keep a positive pressure of
grease on the bearings limiting the potential intrusion of water
and debris into the bearing assembly. To correctly lubricate
a bearing equipped with Bearing Buddies, complete the following
Remove the protective bearing cover from the hub exposing the
Attach a grease gun (with bearing grease) to the ZERK fitting
at the center of the Bearing Buddy.
Gently add grease.
When the center plate of the Bearing Buddy starts traveling
forward, stop adding grease. With experience, you will be able
to feel the additional pressure against the grease gun when
the Bearing Buddies are close to being filled. NOTE. If your
trailer is not equipped with Bearing Buddies, you can purchase
these components at your dealer. Never apply Bearing Buddies
over Posi - Lube Spindles. The two systems are not compatible
when used together.
CAUTION: Never use a pneumatic
grease gun. The force of the grease gun can damage or destroy
the rear seal. If your rear seal is damaged you must get it
repaired before using the trailer. Even without a pneumatic
grease gun, too much pressure could damage the rear seal.
destroy the back seal of the hub assembly and have
drum brakes. The grease can enter the brakes and erode the
performance of your brakes.
least once a year when equipped with Buddy Bearings or Posi-Lube
spindles (and semi-annually when these lubrication systems are
not installed) your trailer should have the bearings repacked
by your dealer. Your dealer will perform the following:
Remove the tire
Remove the dust cover or cap from the hub.
If present, remove the Buddy Bearing.
Remove the cotter pin from the spindle.
If equipped with a tang washer (some torsion axles and posi-lube
spindles), bend the ears of the washer and remove.
CAUTION: Never re-use a tang washer.
Never use anything but an actual tang washer. Reusing the tang
washer or using a part other than a tang washer can cause the
wheel to become separated from your trailer. This could cause
serious property and personal damage.
Back off the axle nut (the large nut on the threaded spindle).
Remove the hub assembly from the axle.
Disassemble the seals and bearings in the hub assembly.
Carefully clean the bearings and hub with mineral spirits (or
other parts cleaning liquid).
Clean the spindle where the hub is seated on the axle.
Perform a careful visual inspection of the spindle face, bearings,
hub compartment. If you notice any cracks, scoring or voids,
replace the damage part. If metal shavings are evident in the
grease, replace all bearings and seals. Rocket International
strongly recommends replacement of bearings at this same time.
Replace (do not reuse) grease seal.
Reassemble hub assembly with repacked bearings. Grease should
be applied liberally to all surfaces.
Place hub on spindle and secure with axle nut. While making
sure that the bearings properly seat, never over-tighten axle
Insert new cotter pin or new tang washer. Do not reuse either
cotter keys or tang washers. Bend securing device to lock axle
WARNING: By failing to use or improperly
using an axle nut securing device (cotter pin or tang washer)
you jeopardize your property, your safety and the safety of
others. Always ensure that cotter pins or tang washers have
been properly applied.
Re-apply Bearing Buddy and protective bearing cover.
Secure tire to wheel (with 85 ft-lbs of torque per lug nut).
Tire should spin but not wobble when bearings have been properly
This procedure may have to be slightly modified if the trailer
is equipped with brakes.
WARNING: Keep tires properly inflated.
Failure to maintain correct pressure will result in tire wear,
potential tire failure and possible loss of control of your
trailer. Improperly maintaining tire pressure will void your
warranty but more importantly creates a very dangerous road
NOTE: The most common cause of
tire wear and tire problems is under inflation. Verify the tire
manufacturer’s requirements by reading the tire sidewall. Even
tires of the same size can have different recommended tire pressures.
Always check tire pressure prior to each use (when tires are
For tire maintenance remember the acronym PART:
Pressure: Under inflation is a tire’s #1 enemy. It results in
unnecessary tire stress, irregular wear, loss of control and
accidents. A tire can lose up to half of its air pressure and
not appear to be flat. Tires do allow for some leakage of air
to occur, especially when stored for extended periods of time.
Alignment: is your vehicle pulling to one side or shaking? A
bad jolt from hitting a curb or pothole can put your vehicle
out of alignment and damage your tires. Check your alignment
periodically to ensure your vehicle is properly aligned.
Rotation: promotes uniform tire wear - only required on very
Tread: measure it and inspect it. Advanced and unusual wear
can reduce the ability of tread to grip the road in adverse
conditions. Visually check your tires for uneven wear, looking
for high and low areas or unusually smooth areas. For most trailer
tires, Rocket International recommends replacement at least
every five years.
CAUTION: Driving your vehicle in
an overloaded condition is dangerous.
This can cause excessive heat to build up in your tires. This
can lead to
sudden tire failure and/or serious personal injury.
the brake fluid reservoir cap on top of the actuator.
Refill as necessary using DOT 3 heavy-duty brake fluid to 3/8
inch below the top of the reservoir.
CAUTION: Brakes directly affect
the safety of your vehicle and everyone else on the road. No
one should attempt brake adjustment, replacement or repair of
brake components if they have not been trained in the repair
and maintenance of braking systems.
WARNING: Allowing your brake system
to run low of brake fluid – or using fluids other than brake
fluid - could degrade the brake performance and possibly lead
to a dangerous road condition.
your boat removed from your trailer, trace your brake line from
the actuator to all brake clusters.
Verify that the brake line does not have cracks, abrasions or
holes. Replace components as necessary.
Verify all brake line connectors are secure and not leaking.
Replace as necessary.
If you have had to replace line and / or connections, you must
have your dealer refill the brake fluid and properly bleed your
WARNING: Improperly bleeding brakes
could cause air to be trapped inside the brake line. This air
could significantly erode brake performance or even render your
flush (Drum Brakes Only)
flush is only for trailers with drum brakes installed with a
flush kit. Drum brakes without a flush kit cannot use this procedure.
Secure the male adapter from a standard garden hose to the female
adapter located on the trailer frame.
Gently apply freshwater. You should only apply a very gentle
stream of water as more vigorous washing will not aid in removing
the salt and debris from the braking system. Too much water
pressure can cause the flush kit connectors to separate and
render the flushing system inoperative.
Drive the trailer around after flushing to dry the brakes. This
prevents the pads from sticking and causing a lock-up.
actuator operates like a piston. When fully extended it does
not apply pressure to the brake fluid. When your vehicle slows,
the actuator is pressed in (toward the rear of the trailer)
and applies pressure to the brake fluid. The fluid in turn causes
the brakes to engage. Any item or debris that hinders the travel
of the actuator diminishes the effectiveness of your brakes.
Annually have your dealer verify the distance over which your
actuator travels between fully extended and fully engaged.
Your dealer will compare this travel distance to information
in your brake owner’s manual or published brake system operating
Your dealer may also apply a lightweight oil to inhibit rust
from accumulating on the actuator.
Adjust brakes (Drum Brakes)
Brake adjustments should only be done by a qualified mechanic.
Rocket International strongly encourages you to return to the
dealer where you purchased your boat, trailer and engine. Only
this dealer understands the unique nature of your boating equipment
as well as the local road conditions.
WARNING: Failure to complete brake
adjustments correctly can
result in diminished or loss of braking. Brakes adjusted too
cause premature failure of the brakes. Any maladjustment can
lead to property and / or personal damage.
Correct the adjustment of your drum brakes after the first 50
miles of operation, again after another 300 miles and then every
600 miles. Regardless of the amount of miles you put on your
trailer, Rocket International recommends a drum brake adjustment
at least annually.
Adjust each wheel brake assembly separately. To perform this
maintenance, the mechanic will have to safely jack up your trailer.
When scheduling your service appointment, you may wish to ask
the mechanic whether they can remove your boat from the trailer
or if you will have to make arrangements to have the boat taken
off the trailer.
To complete this adjustment, the mechanic will do the following:
Locate the brake adjustor - behind slot at bottom of the back
side of each backing plate.
Tighten adjustor with brake adjustment tool until you cannot
rotate the wheel by hand.
Caution, only rotate the drum forward.
Back off the adjustment ten notches (or ten clicks).
brakes (Disc Brakes)
There is not an adjustment procedure for disc brakes. If you
suspect brake problems, take your trailer to your dealer immediately.
Checking pads, rotors, master cylinder
you should ask a mechanic to complete a visual inspection of
your brakes. They will complete many of the same steps used
to adjust your brakes, plus:
Visually inspect all components, looking for uneven wearing,
cracking, warping or corrosion.
With brake pads, your dealer will recommend replacing the pads
when they are approximately 1/8” thick or less (new pads are
usually 3/8 inch thick).
If your dealer discovers bent rotors, inoperable master cylinders
or other defective parts, the dealer will replace those parts.
At the conclusion of the inspection, the dealer will reassemble
the brake system, fill the system with approved brake fluid,
verify there are no leaks and bleed the braking system.
tail lights / brake lights / verifying ground
Before attaching the wire harness from the trailer to the wire
harness from the tow vehicle, trace the wiring system from the
tow vehicle to the trailer and back. Look for bare wires, cracked
or chafed insulation and corroded or rusted terminals.
While tracing the system, verify the white ground wire is connected
to the trailer frame. Your tail lights may have an independent
grounding system (evident from a short white wire from the tail
light assembly). Verify that this wire is also securely attached
to the trailer frame.
Replace any wires, wire harnesses or securing screws that are
damaged, worn or missing.
Attach the wiring harness from the tow vehicle to the trailer.
If equipped with disc brakes, also attach the single wire for
the reverse lock-out solenoid.
Have another person depress the brake pedal and the turn signals
while you remain behind the trailer and verify that the correct
lights illuminate on both the trailer and the tow vehicle.
NOTE: It is a good practice to
activate your tow vehicles emergency
flashers whenever backing your trailer. This will cause your
on your trailer to illuminate.
trailers equipped with disc brakes - to verify the reverse solenoid
works correctly, gently back the trailer.
Replace cracked, damaged or poorly illuminating bulbs. Replace
crack, work or defective light shields and light covers. Some
tail lights have a removable insert that can be removed through
the bottom of the tail light. With these tail lights, you do
not have to remove the lens cover to gain access to the tail
light bulbs or their sockets.
A small amount of electrical socket grease on plug contacts
and light bulb bases will help prevent rust and corrosion.