Cartopping Idea for the lone sailor

sunstorm87

New Member
Hey all, I have a toyota corolla, which I could tow a sunfish with...just dont have money for the trailer right now. So I purchased two Roller blocks from Oak Orchards Canoe. They have a magnetic base and are completely hardened rubber, with a steel rod in the center and smooth bearings. So you line them up, with one on your trunk hood at the very back, and one on the very back of your roof. In addition, I have a Thule LB50 load bars up top and they work great (up to 165 lbs) and two large hull shaped foam blocks on the bars to protect the boat. I have a small dolly on the stern to cart the boat around. So all you have to do is line up the boat with the back of the car, push it up the rollers and away you go (after tying it down of course). Very easy, just remember to use proper lifting procedures.

BC
 

Wayne

Member Emeritus
So I purchased two Roller blocks from Oak Orchards Canoe. They have a magnetic base and are completely hardened rubber, with a steel rod in the center and smooth bearings.
These guys?

http://www.oakorchardcanoe.com
http://www.oakorchardcanoe.com/suvroller.php
Image2.jpg
So you line them up, with one on your trunk hood at the very back, and one on the very back of your roof... all you have to do is line up the boat with the back of the car, push it up the rollers and away you go
Do you have some pictures showing your steps to loading solo?

What was the total bill for rack and the addition of the rollers?
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sunstorm87

New Member
That would be them! They have a small grove down the middle that is awesome. It fits the keel of the sunfish perfectly and guides it up without it sliding or slipping. The following is a list of the parts included. (I recommend ORS Racks Direct, very low prices on this stuff, minus the rollers.)

two magnetic style 12" rollers - 89.00 x 2 + 13.95 S&H = ~ 191.95

Dolly ~ $56.00

Thule load bars - ~$70 + S&H

Thule Foot pack ~ $134 (depends on make and model of your car)

Foam blocks and tie downs ~ $20

Total ~ $471.95

However, I would just buy a trailer if you have the money, you'll save yourself gas and time. This is somewhat of a temporary solution until I get one, but I am sure it would work for the long run. trailers run about 500-800 then add in the cost of shipping and about 120-150 for a bumper hitch for your car.

As far as steps for loading the boat on...

1. Line up the rollers and the foam blocks with the logo on the center of your trunk hood.
2. Dolly the boat behind your car and line it up, placing the bow on the rear roller
3. Hold the boat along the edge of it as you make your way to the stern and push it up the rollers. (so it doesn't roll back off the car on you)
4. Make adjustments as necessary to the foam blocks, tie the boat down, remove the rollers and away you go!
 

Memnar

Member

I have the same trailer but with the 12" wheels. Harbor freight sells both. I cut the trailer in half and put a box on it to pull behind my Harley. I have carried 150-200lbs up to 90mph with no issues after towing 5000 miles.

If your pulling on highway I would go with the 12" wheels vs. the 8", the smaller tires burn through wheel bearings pretty fast. (this is learned from when my dad owned a boat shop in the 80's ) If just in town either is ok.

One thing, remove the extra leaf spring and also lower the tire pressure. I had 18lbs of air in the 12" tires. Otherwise it will be so stiff every time you hit a small bump the trailer bounces in the air.

-Erik
 

Wayne

Member Emeritus
If your pulling on highway I would go with the 12" wheels vs. the 8", the smaller tires burn through wheel bearings pretty fast.
Granted the smaller wheels spin at higher revolutions to cover the same distance, but the ability to handle highway speed is more a function of the number of cord Ply’s and the DOT rating. Both sizes come in low and high speed ratings. A 12" wheel/tire combo is still going to catastrophically blow out if it's a low ply count, low speed tire being driven beyond it's safe speed rating.
 

Memnar

Member
Granted the smaller wheels spin at higher revolutions to cover the same distance, but the ability to handle highway speed is more a function of the number of cord Ply’s and the DOT rating. Both sizes come in low and high speed ratings. A 12" wheel/tire combo is still going to catastrophically blow out if it's a low ply count, low speed tire being driven beyond it's safe speed rating.

Yea thats true, but I was talking about wheel bearings as most people forget about them. As for tires....

For tires, the bigger the better, but for small trailers like our Sunfish trailers, most won't be able to fit a 13"+ tire. I have noticed I can go a little faster than the rated speed with a very lightly loaded tire. I feel all the litigation and frivolous lawsuits have prompted in part the tire manufactures to post these speeds on the tires. My friend bought a new $50,000 bass boat and the tires were rated for only 65mph, ridiculous. With my modified Harbor freight trailer rated for 1000lbs, towing at 75mph with 150lbs of gear in it, I was not worried about the bearings or the tires. After 5000 miles the tires looked brand new. I would have probably worn the tires substantially if I had the rated load.

Less weight usually = less tire heat. Anyone ever feel their trailer tires at a stop? I know of a few guys who carry a cheap <$20 IR temperature gun and measure the tires temps..tires start getting hot before they blow or throw their tread.
plus....
I always feel the trailer hubs when stopping, they should be warm but not hot. On a new trailer I bought from a factory, I had to stop and readjust a bearing as it was installed too tight from the factory. The hub bearing was very hot compared to the other 3 (4 axle trailer). It just needed the nut to be backed off 1/2 turn.

Here is a trick us hot air balloonists have learned as we carry the balloons in enclosed trailers..being the balloons cost more than the trucks pulling them and I don't want to leave it on the road.
We have switched to auto tires vs trailer tires. Not one person has had a blow out or thrown tread since switching, and most tow many thousands of miles between states. I know the tire dealers say it won't work. But no flats since switching.

-Erik
 

Webfoot

New Member
If you go with the HF trailer, use one wheel as a spare and go to the next bigger four lug tire size. This will reduce bounce more than changing the springs. Also get the tires balanced as this will reduce chance of tire falure and trailer sway. Trailer has worked well for me although I keep in inside and don't use it in the winter (salt) so I don't know how metal would hold up to more extreem use. I would not recommend this trailer for rough for washboard roads. Also gotta slow way down crossing RR Tracks. One of these days I'll retro it with a shock absorber kit and make it a proper long distance trailer.
 

Memnar

Member
If you go with the HF trailer, use one wheel as a spare and go to the next bigger four lug tire size. This will reduce bounce more than changing the springs. Also get the tires balanced as this will reduce chance of tire falure and trailer sway. Trailer has worked well for me although I keep in inside and don't use it in the winter (salt) so I don't know how metal would hold up to more extreem use. I would not recommend this trailer for rough for washboard roads. Also gotta slow way down crossing RR Tracks. One of these days I'll retro it with a shock absorber kit and make it a proper long distance trailer.

yea I have to agree- the trailer is made of the worst metal I have ever seen. The axle and hubs seem ok, but the rest is minimal. But ok for some uses..
-Erik
 

Webfoot

New Member
I've had mine for about 3 years. Not sure if the quality has slipped since then but coming from China it's probably a real grab bag as far as quality goes. Wheel bearings have seem to have held up OK, earlier buyers were not so lucky.
 

PMagnani

36474
The problem here though is you're cartopping the boat upside as opposed to upside down which is the best way to transport...unless I missed something! Good idea for short drives though.
 

Webfoot

New Member
The thing with car topping is you want the canoe/kyack etc. upside down so it does not fill with water if it rains. Can make the vehicle top heavy and it will too. As long as the drain plug is out it should be OK. I would not want to car top a waterlogged SF though. SUV + Waterlogged SF = Capsized SUV.
 

sunstorm87

New Member
Well, i'd love to say that it is possible to carttop a sunfish upside down by yourself, but it would be pretty difficult. I would imagine you would need to place the rollers far apart to support the edges as you roll it up, and get an extra set perhaps for the trunk hood. And you have to be careful not to slam the ratcheting block or the v-shaped deck coaming on your roof rack while rolling it up. Oh and a good mast down cover will solve the problem of water getting in the boat while carttopped :). Anywho...ive been thinking of figuring out a way to put it upside down, so ill try it tomorrow and see if it works solo with just two rollers...because if you add another pair of those things you mine as well buy a Trailex SUT 200, because the cost is going to creep up for such a complicated system.

BC
 

sunstorm87

New Member
Well, I tried carttopping it solo with the hull up towards the sky, deck down...very difficult if you plan to roll it up the roof, which is the only way. Not only are there too many obstructions on the deck, but the rollers are not high enough to clear the roof rack of the obstructions. So I would say you would always need another person if you were to put it deck down on the racks, unless you plan on really damaging your boat.

BC
 

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