Hey guys, General mfg. question. The skiff builder I'm working with offers either Magic Tilt or Continental brands. It seems as though I've seen a few negative opinions on M.T. Anyone care to weigh in? Thanks.
The "tilt" feature does make dry launching and loading from places where there really isn't a ramp easier, but since most folks use ramps to wet launch that benefit is outweighed by the risks of having the trailer hinge when you don't want it to. Especially when the water is too shallow to float the boat on a steep entry and you end of with the engine or transom stuck in the bottom and swamp the boat during launch. Having it tilt while driving on can also result in a precarious situation. Plus any loose gear in the boat slides to the back when it tilts and can accidentally break things.
My guide friend just replaced his 20 year old galvanized Magic Tilt with an aluminum Ameritrail for his Maverick because even though he never put the trailer wheels in the water the rear frame got dunked every time he launched or loaded and rusted out. But he did get 20 years out of it.
In speaking with Glasser last week about trailers he claimed that galvanized steel trailers pull better than aluminum trailers because they are lighter and stiffer. And he also said that he could sell me an aluminum Continental trailer that was equal to a HB style RamLin and cost $1k less.
Of the two, I'd get the Continental because they have dealers everywhere.
My dad had a Magic Tilt for years. It never tilted when it shouldn't have, but we also never used the function that I recall. It needed to be rewired after a few years in the salt and the original axle was too light for our purposes. Once the axle broke and he replaced it, there were no more axle issues. I consider them cheap trailers and would much rather have a non-tilt trailer, but the tilt function is very important to some people. I have no experience with Continental for comparison.
I actually have and use a Tilt trailer for my skiff and absolutely love it! we also use them on the rescue boats at work and have never had any issues with them. Both are Continental's. I only have to get the tires barely wet on any ramp, or beach, and then the skiff will nearly launch itself. It works great on any steep or shallow ramp I've tried.
I'm not sure about MM experiences, but I have never even come close to getting it suck in the mud of any launch no matter the conditions. And our rescue boat is extremely stern heavy! I don't think I would ever launch a skiff with the motor down so that's not an issue. The trailer can't really tilt accidentally if the bow is hooked to the winch, so even if you forget to lock the tilt (I may have done this on occasion :-?) it will not tilt. Also the angle that it launches is not as extreme as you would think.
My only regret is not getting the posi-lube axle, which is an option I may upgrade to eventually.
I got mine brand new for $800 if memory serves. So if it rots out in 10-15 years so be it, I will most likely not own it by then anyway. I am not a fan of aluminum trailers since you can't really put a swing tongue on them.