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Thread: Show us your trailer mods to carry a light boat

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
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    Portland, OR
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    653

    Default Show us your trailer mods to carry a light boat

    I've obtained a 'normal-sized' boat trailer intended for a power boat, and while I have some plans for how to modify it to carry a light pulling boat, I'm interested to see how other people have managed this, successfully or otherwise.

    Post away!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Walney, near Cumbria UK
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    41,022

    Default Re: Show us your trailer mods to carry a light boat

    From your first thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Woxbox View Post
    I would make sure that the trailer was designed for really light loads, or otherwise soften the suspension (take out a leaf if leaf springs, otherwise swap out the springs/torsion bars for light-duty pair.)

    When you find your trailer watch how it behaves when you bring it home unladen. Some will bounce clear off the road. An SOF boat won't do much to change behavior like that.
    If you don't mind the work consider building a cradle that will add weight and slide on and off of the big trailer like a launching dolly.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

    The power of the web: Anyone can post anything on the web
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
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    Northern NSW Australia
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    72,624

    Default Re: Show us your trailer mods to carry a light boat

    An image off the web but it could be helpful.

    $_20 (1).jpg
    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
    Grateful Dead

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
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    dfw
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    1,140

    Default Re: Show us your trailer mods to carry a light boat

    i am just beginning this stage of a current project

    time to put a 450#(advertised in the literature) Michalak AF-3 on a used channel iron fishing boat trailer

    to avoid the common trap of just adjusting the stock bunks to fit to the bow stand ALL the farfelonious feldergarb gets stripped from the frame



    next step is to remove one leaf of the way over sprung suspension

    going from the 3-leaf assembly as seen on the far set to a 2-leaf set as seen on the near set



    in many cases it can be less expensive to buy a pair of wheels w/ tires already mounted than to buy tires and have them mounted on your old wheels

    new tires are seldom wrong

    a pair of new galvanized wheels n tires were dropt on my door step for $129 delivered ;-)

    holes were drilled for installing galvanized forged eye bolts in the appropriate locations for securing the boat for travel

    the frame gets cleaned primed w/ zinc primer(cold galvanize) painted w/ rustoleum(the cold galvanizing paint needs UV protection)

    now w/ new galvanized wheels n new tires it is ready to have a PROPER CRADLE created and mounted




    the decision of what type of lighting system will likely follow my old norm of building a LIGHT BAR so they will never get dunked in water specially salt water

    the license plate will swing from the 1/4" chain repair links seen in the middle of the rear cross member(yes i know about the license plate light regulations butt i have been using this method for MANY years on many boat trailers and have never been questioned)

    the "cradle" design is now growing in my mind

    sw
    "we are the people, our parents warned us about" (jb)

    steve

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Paulden, AZ, USA
    Posts
    85

    Default Re: Show us your trailer mods to carry a light boat

    I found a PWC trailer that was ideal for my ~ 250# 15' long boat

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    SF Bay Area- Richmond
    Posts
    15,466

    Default Re: Show us your trailer mods to carry a light boat

    Some great info on trailer renovation and support systems here -- bravo! Remember that one difficult issue is the suspension -- most US boat trailers have the stock leafspring setup for 2000lbs, which is WAY too stiff for our lightweight boats. Pulling leaf springs from the bundle is one way, although when I did it I got some slop / banging due to the ends not being in tight bundles, and when I climbed up and bounced on the trailer it didn't seem much changed from before the leaf removal.

    There are lots of good previous threads here on this topic. One option is to source sets of much lighter weight leaf springs -- like those rated for 500lbs or so. Avoid the non-leafspring torsion axle systems as those are super stiff until the upper weight range is reached -- also why they aren't used on cars.
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Sarasota, fl
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    548

    Default Re: Show us your trailer mods to carry a light boat




  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Central Ohio
    Posts
    519

    Default Re: Show us your trailer mods to carry a light boat

    Swoody126, I know they may be factory-issue, but those spring-hanger u-bolts look like garden variety ACE hardware items from here. Your nearest Tractor Supply or trailer shop will have some real bolts with proper plates, etc. to affix the axle. It would be a shame to lose both the trailer and boat to one nasty pothole or have it part company on a washed-out boat launching ramp.

    I did a cold-galvanizing job on a tilt-bed car trailer that came out quite nice. Still have to topcoat, but that's the easy part...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    dfw
    Posts
    1,140

    Default Re: Show us your trailer mods to carry a light boat

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip Chester View Post
    Swoody126, I know they may be factory-issue, but those spring-hanger u-bolts look like garden variety ACE hardware items from here. Your nearest Tractor Supply or trailer shop will have some real bolts with proper plates, etc. to affix the axle. It would be a shame to lose both the trailer and boat to one nasty pothole or have it part company on a washed-out boat launching ramp.

    I did a cold-galvanizing job on a tilt-bed car trailer that came out quite nice. Still have to topcoat, but that's the easy part...
    Chip, your comments reflect many i have told myself and it IS quite possible that i will do as you suggest

    since the nearest Tractor Supply or any like source is about 30 miles from the barn where i am doing the work the original stuff went back on to allow me to roll the unit around/out of the way...

    appreciate the comments

    sw
    "we are the people, our parents warned us about" (jb)

    steve

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    653

    Default Re: Show us your trailer mods to carry a light boat

    The first thing I'm planning to do is to remove most of the leaves, and see how bouncy it is. Ordering custom lightweight leaves is another possibility if one leaf is still too stiff.

    Peter Sibley, I love the boat-cart-on-a-trailer solution.

    I'm also thinking about how to adapt a trailer meant for a v-bottom to a narrow pulling boat. Will probably put a long 2x12 to support the keel for starters; might run slats longitudinally over the width of the trailer so I can add kayak cradles next to the pulling boat. I'll try to sketch out some plans in the next couple of days and post them so people can tell me if I'm about to shoot myself in the foot.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Emerald Coast, FL
    Posts
    489

    Default Re: Show us your trailer mods to carry a light boat

    Jet ski trailer modified with trailer guides and crossbars to carry Sunfish, canoes....



    We also modified our runabout trailer so it can pull double duty when needed.


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