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Boat Repair Issues

bobby b.

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I am curious what your experience is with bass boat mechanical/electrical issues.  This is my first bass boat and I am coming up on the end of my 3 year factory warranty.  Specifically, I have not had any issue with the Ranger boat itself nor with the Mercury 225 but rather all the mechanical/electrical parts that I am pretty sure are the same parts used by most every boat manufacturer.    In June my boat factory warranty will expire and I do have the Mercury Platinum warranty that goes for 4 more years I think plus I purchased an extended warranty to cover everything else, even the trailer.

To-date I have had the following issues (again these are the same parts that are used in many boat manufacturers)

  • garmin trolling motor - on my 3rd one - we have addressed this in previous threads, no need to talk about it again.
  • garmin transducer in trolling motor - replaced
  • 2D transducer glued in the hull - replaced
  • Infinity stereo radio (I like music to fish by) - replaced
  • operator, cable and valve for live well - all replaced I think and needs it again now
  • one trailer wheel hub, brake pads were dragging - replaced - Dexter hub, I don't know if other boat manufacturers use this make.
  • Pro-volt battery charger - replaced twice, on the third time I asked and it was replaced with a high end Minn-Kota unit.
  • Springfield butt seat power pedestal - two days ago the level and springs came flying out at me at speed.

I am told "welcome to boat ownership".  Prior to this bass boat all I every had was a 16 ft big wide flat bottom riveted jon boat that I torture duck hunting (it is over 30 years old)

This is not a rant.  Still love the bass boat but really?

Also I want to say that I get excellent service from the boat dealer.


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The cable and control valve for the livewell is surprising 🤔  They are usually good for 6-7 years.

Onboard Battery chargers...oh definitely 🙄 total pieces of crap......all of them. None are built to sustain the elements.   They need to be sealed..... but yet they also need to BREATHE !    So many are replaced under warranty that I'm surprised that anyone can make any profit on them.  

Springfield power pedestals.....too many brittle plastic components= junk. 

I see/hear of more trailer bearing or seal failures with the new-age hub systems than I ever witnessed with the old school bearing buddy/grease hubs.  Plus expensive and overly complicated to service & repair.   Not a fan at all.  

Trailer brakes are a constant nightmare.   Sitting is the culprit.   If you tow the boat every day they operate fine.   But if the trailer is left un-towed for periods of time they are gonna give you fits.

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Thanks for the reply - so more or less this is bass boat ownership?

Also regarding the trailer hub, the issue there was the parking brake was always sticking.  I have learned to unscrew the adjustment completely after releasing the level.  I see that Ranger has gone to hydraulic parking brakes now.

Question - After trailering for say one hour at the current outdoor temperature, how hot to the touch should the hub shaft be? - all I have to compare to is my bearing buddy setup on my duck boat trailer.



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Bobby it seems that is the way of boats today.  My Nitro is soon to be 7.  In a few months the brake axle failed and ruined the brakes and bearings and had to be replaced .  The on board charger had a bank go out and had to be replaced.   In just over a year the carpet got a bunch of big black spots from a dye problem.  That was past warranty and I had Tom at Championship replace it.  Then it settled down.

When I bought my Champion in 02, I changed out the trolling motor (42” 67# for a 45” 82#), moved up to top of the line Lowrance, and pulled the EFI and put on an Optimax.  I had my lot guy go over the boat with a fine tooth comb before I took it home.  It never had to have anything done to it until a YeHaw side swiped it in Everton.

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1 hour ago, bobby b. said:


Question - After trailering for say one hour at the current outdoor temperature, how hot to the touch should the hub shaft be? - all I have to compare to is my bearing buddy setup on my duck boat trailer.



I've got a dually trailer, the front bearing might be a little warm, but never hot.  The rear bearing/wheels will get hot if I brake a lot.  I've got some long downhill stretches and I've learned to slow down and downshift to keep off the brakes.  So the rear wheels will be warm when I get to where I'm going but not hot.  My trailer is now 11 years old and I've had one bearing seal fail and I tow a lot.  I have Vault bearings.  

Had bearing buddies on my saltwater boat, had that trailer for 13-14 years, never had a bearing failure and I towed it a lot too and in and out of saltwater every time I launched.  Never noticed those bearings getting hot, but didn't have trailer brakes.  I got the bearings repacked every two years.

Everything else on the trailer wants to break, I have replaced both leaf springs, turned out they were defective made in China deals, so the trailer company paid for them, but it would've been nice if they had pro-actively issued some kind of recall.

Had a brake line go out, had the hydraulic surge piston deal fail another time, and have replaced the bunks.  I've probably forgotten something, but I think that's been it.

Boat and motor (OptiPop) have been fine, replaced the battery charger 6 or 7 years ago.  Can't kill that Fortrexx trolling motor.  It is getting pretty beat up, but just keeps going.

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According to my taxes I’ve towed my 2017 Phoenix close to 120,000 miles. 3rd. set of tires. 3rd. set of brake pads and have not touched the vault bearings. 

Replaced the 4 bank charger, then got a deal on a power pole charge so took the new replacement off, if anyone needs a new 4 bank. 

Put Lithium batteries in just to do it. 
Replaced the original Minn Kota Ultrex with a Garmin as the Ultrex liked to be a fountain water spewed out the head beautifully. 

Got a new one as a replacement and sold it to put the entire Garmin Panoptic Live Scope system in. 

Mercury had a sticky trim switch, replaced under warranty. 

Pretty much it.  OH, just added a Sea Clear harnesses cable system to the Garmin’s. 

Platinum Warranty till June of 2025, so cross my fingers, really nothing but maintenance and stuff I don’t need that I have spent time or money on. 


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Even with all the guide traffic I had the first 5 years the upholster and the carpet look great. Only spent very few night outside. 

Cleaned the carpet twice with Barbasol shave cream. Unbelievable how it makes it look. Smells good too. If you have a 3 plus year old boat I highly recommend you do this. 

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Thanks for all the feedback - sounds like I may have had a bit more issues than most - a friend that has had several bass boats tells me it is all good now that I have all the bugs worked out, maybe??

Still wondering about the warm wheel bearing hubs - I googled this and got mixed answers, one indicating 90 - 95 degrees - that can't be right - it would not feel hot at all.  Another said 160 degrees would be the top end.  Plan on getting a infrared thermometer to check this - I think the parking brake is part of the issue here in that the pads may be dragging a bit.

15 minutes ago, Bill Babler said:

Barbasol shave cream

Bill, how do you do that?  squirt it all over and use a scrub brush, let it dry and vac just like regular carpet cleaner?

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