Chasing snow every winter doesn’t necessarily afford Snow Goer staffers the opportunity to stop and smell the roses, much less to service snowmobile trailers.
But while replacing bearings, seals, wheels and tires on our nearly 10-year-old Ridgeline trailer in the summer of 2016, we realized the plywood deck had worn thin in a few spots – specifically where the wear bars rest when a sled is parked on the bed. The trailer ramp’s factory-installed plastic ski glides were in rough shape, too.
We rounded-up a few stray ski glides at the shop and screwed them to the plywood, but this was just a temporary solution because most of the wood remained vulnerable to wear and the repair did nothing for the ramp. We decided to reach out to Bowdriks Industries to come up with the ultimate solution, which included Super Traction Grids, Super Glides Wide and Edge Rail Trim pieces for our 12-foot, two-place trailer.
Three Useful Products
The Super Traction Grid is made from a durable plastic material that provides traction for loading and unloading snowmobiles, while also protecting trailer decks from stud damage. Traction Grid pieces are 8.25 inches wide – so they can straddle track-style tie-down bar systems – by 29.5 inches long. Each kit includes four pieces, which is enough to make a 16.5- by 60-inch footprint, though the exact width depends upon lateral spacing determined by the installer.
Super Glides Wide are made from the same durable material. Super Glides allow skis to easily slide over them, but their integrated traction bumps have sharp (relatively speaking) edges that provide foot traction. Narrower versions are also available, but the Wide variety is designed to also accommodate ATV tires and offers more surface area so humans remain sure-footed when loading and unloading machines. Kits include eight pieces that are 13.5 inches wide by 30 inches long, and cover 20 linear feet.
Both products include screws with plastic spacers under the screw heads that prevent them from seating on the grids or glides. That feature plus the slotted screw holes in each product were designed to let the products expand, contract and move without buckling.
Aluminum Edge Rail Trim provides support when used to fasten glides to ramps like the one for our trailer. The trailer’s 5-foot long ramp has six horizontal rails spaced 12 inches apart. That’s too far for Super Glides to span without excessively bowing under the weight of a snowmobile, but the Edge Rail Trim provides the necessary support with eight 5-foot pieces included in each kit.
Easy, But Time-Consuming Install
Installing the traction products was straightforward; the pieces simply needed to be fastened to the trailer deck with the screws included in each kit.
To fit the glides on our trailer deck, we had to shorten each of the four rear Glides. Cutting 4 inches off those pieces also removed the factory-machined screw slots, so we butted the cut ends against each row’s second-from-the rear piece so that the factory ends of the glides could be fastened to the rear of the deck. If we had placed the cut end at the rear, the glide’s loose end could get hooked by wear bars or skis when driving sleds onto the trailer.
testedEdge Rail Trim isn’t subject to expansion and contraction, so its self-tapping screws don’t include the plastic spacers. We installed the trim along each edge of the ramp’s Super Glides by fastening it to the ramp’s rungs. Not only did it provide necessary support, it also gave the ramp a clean, finished appearance – thumbs up for that. After trim pieces were fastened to the ramp, we simply slid the Super Glides into the channel and ran a couple self-tapping screws through each aluminum trim piece and into the edge of each glide, as instructed, to prevent the glides from slipping out.
Since each traction grid required 18 screws and each Wide Glide took nine fasteners, our math said installing the Bowdriks Industries products meant we twisted 516 screws into the trailer deck. We put each screw in the center of its slot to allow maximum movement and left a quarter-inch gap between the ends of each grid and glide – also to accommodate for expansion. The plastic spacer was loose on many screws so it was important to twist them until they met the bottom of the screw head before driving them into the wood, otherwise the screws wouldn’t have gone in as far as intended.
The products performed as expected and held up well to the day-to-day abuse of loading and unloading sleds. A bonus of providing protection and making it easier to load and unload sleds was that the products revived our used trailer by giving it a like-new feel and appearance. The only downside we identified concerning the grids and glides is they made it difficult to sweep or shovel snow, ice and debris off the trailer bed, but that’s a small price to pay for a quality, worthwhile trailer accessory.
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