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Sunfish dolly

sosopix

New Member
See a used laser dolly for sale here at half the price of a new one - would this work for a sunfish too?
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
For those needing a dolly to be used on a smooth surface (concrete, wood), Harbor Freight is advertising (locally) an "extended" Columbus Day Sale of a "Moving Dolly" for $8 that could be modified or used "as-is". It is carpeted, and has four caster-type wheels whose cost normally exceeds this entire dolly.
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
Hi, is the Laser dolly a Seitech? If so it will work as is, although you can (or at least used to be able to before Laser Perf stopped supplying many parts) but a Sunfish shaped nose piece. The back of a Laser dolly is wider than a Sunfiah one but that makes no difference. It it's another brand of dolly I assume it'll work but don't know.

Unless your beach or lawn is made of smooth wood or concrete I cannot see how an $8 Harbor Freight dolly will be of any benefit.
 

mixmkr

Well-Known Member
The harbor freight dollys are junk. I bought one for my shop and it didn't roll on my wood floors. Total garbage. The wheels just lock up. Although harbor freight might have some useful things...like cheap sockets or whatever, I pretty much find their stuff to be a waste of money. Don't even think about their power tools.
 
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Webfoot1

Active Member
But Harbor Freight is selling 10 in. Pneumatic Tires with White Hubs for $6.00. Can't get a better start to making
a dolly than that. For that price you could double up the wheels on each side for sand flotation.
 

mixmkr

Well-Known Member
like I said...some stuff from Harbor Freight can be useful. I've looked at those tires as well. That said, I've bought clips and their LED flashlights, etc. However, I've seen their power buffer/sanders stop when pressed against the intended object to sand or polish, heat guns last a day or so..... etc "buy cheap, buy twice"
 

Alan S. Glos

Active Member
For the most part, Harbor Freight has cheap, functional tools and hardware. The tools are often 1/3rd the price of name brand tools (Stanley, Makita, B&D etc.) but for some applications they work fine (and you get the little LED flashlight for free - I have a bunch of them in my shop, house and cars.) The HF mail order boat trailers are pretty good owing, I believe, to the fact that they have to pass muster with the US Dept. of Transportation standards. I would not want to tow one to Alaska, but I have a friend who towed one from here in Central NY to Maine and was pleased with how it performed.

Alan Glos
 

Webfoot1

Active Member
Had one and worked well for a Sunfish and light aluminum boat. Only drawback is single leaf springs
kind of bouncy for rough roads or RR tracks. Would do better if 8 inch tires were swapped for 12 inch
but for pulling down the highway or paved roads works just fine.

HF professional Spray Gun worked well for about 50 bucks, had luck with pneumatic finish nail gun. I think
finding good power tools is going to require going above todays consumer grade stuff.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
The harbor freight dollys are junk. I bought one for my shop and it didn't roll on my wood floors. Total garbage. The wheels just lock up. Although harbor freight might have some useful things...like cheap sockets or whatever, I pretty much find their stuff to be a waste of money. Don't even think about their power tools.
Speaking of sockets, I had been buying multiple sockets sets with ratchet, ratchet wheel, adapter, extension, and a metal case—complete—for $3 each. :) Made in India, the kits had sockets in both ¼" and ½" sizes. The smaller sized sockets were handy for spacers on bolts. ;) Can't say I broke any of 'em. :)

In defense of HF: I remember ordering a 4" grinder, and it came with replacement brushes! (But it's still running with the old brushes and original grinding wheel). Years later, the same grinder—with the same price—doesn't come with a grinding wheel, so you're rewarded with having to buy a set of four at another $7 dollars. :mad: Their saber saws don't come with even one blade. :(

Back when HF shipped everything from California—and had no outlet stores—their prices and quality wasn't awful. Now that my restorations of old cars is history, a lot of my power tool purchases from 35 years ago are selling on Craigslist for about what I had paid for them. (So I'm happy). :)
 

eseibel67

New Member
ratchet, ratchet wheel, adapter, extension, and a metal case—complete—for $3 each
Seems impossible, especially with several layers of profit for the distribution. I paid $80.00 for a single 3/8" Mac ratchet 30 years ago. It's on it's 3rd or 4th set of gears and I use it almost every day. I expect that it will last my remaining days.

Now to get closer to the topic at hand - I bought a new Dynamic Sunfish dolly a couple of weeks ago. Put it together and used it just to wheel the boat to it's winter storage location, haven't actually used it to launch in water. But I will say the quality of the materials is very good, even the plastic joints seem to be very robust.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
Seems impossible, especially with several layers of profit for the distribution. I paid $80.00 for a single 3/8" Mac ratchet 30 years ago. It's on it's 3rd or 4th set of gears and I use it almost every day. I expect that it will last my remaining days.
Macs are great tools :) I have a few. I found a Blackhawk wrench recently—another quality manufacturer. But once you've got one Snap-On tool, the rest appear 2nd-best. :cool: Blue Point is their non-warranty "sub-brand". Most Craftsman hand tools were made by S-K, as were Husky, of Home Depot "fame". The reason I mention all this, is that even Snap-On is now made in China! :(

Here's a photo of that $3 ratchet set from Harbor Freight. The earliest sets had a "spin disc" made of chromed steel. This set's got one in plastic. The empty space is for a nut driver, which is located somewhere else in my shop. :confused: Because the bed for the sockets is made of flimsy plastic, the sockets pictured are in no particular order.

It's made in Sri Lanka. (An island which I think separated from India a few decades ago).

Photos 10242016 62251 PM.bmp.jpg
 
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L&VW

Well-Known Member
Just one more thing before returning to Sunfish dollies. Something we home-owners always use.

I think I paid less than $10 recently for this DeWalt drill-bit set and index. Yes, it is made in China. :oops:

The bits are Titanium-plated against wear: but it's the index that is remarkable, as it has a tilt-out feature that holds the drill bit firmly. (So it—or they—can't fall out all at once). :confused: The drill bit marked as "1" is tilted, but firmly held, and can be removed readily. :cool: The bright yellow color makes spotting it on the work bench easy. The case latches firmly.

All but the smallest bits are milled so they can't slip or spin in the chuck. On all but the smallest bits, the tips are ground smaller to minimize "walking" of the bit. The shank of the largest bit ("2") is cut down to fit a 3/8ths chuck.

I mention this, because of all the drill bits and indexes I've owned, this one I always keep handy. :)

Photos 10242016 65830 PM.bmp.jpg
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Sosopix don't know if you got the dolly, but it should work.

Also for those interested I believe that Dynamic Dollies can provide parts that would adapt/repair a Seitech as needed. We have bought several Dynamic Dollies, love em, and also can sell them with free shipping if you can't find one other places.
 
The Harbor Freight 600# capacity boat trailer is certainly inexpensive at $399, but looks to be all steel, I fear it would rust the moment it approached salt water...

Transport your 12 to 14 ft. boat safely and easily with this purpose-built boat trailer. Lightweight with 8 in. diameter wheels and tires for easy maneuverability when you launch. Large rear signals for high visibility.
  • For boats 12 to 14 ft. long
  • 8 in. diameter wheels and tires
  • Large rear signal lights are easy to connect to your vehicle’s tail lights
  • Lightweight for easy maneuverability
  • An additional lift-gate charge may apply.
Per the manual, the bunks appear to be adjustable enough to set a proper width for a 'fish...
http://manuals.harborfreight.com/manuals/62000-62999/62668.pdf

600 lbs. Capacity Boat Trailer
 
This thread is (mostly) about dollies, not trailers...
Yeah, sorry... I get that, but I too am looking for a short distance transport solution, and have debated adding a trailer hitch coupler to a Dynamic or Seitech dolly; but then that gets one to debating whether an inexpensive trailer is a better solution. It does seem that both a dolly AND a RightOn® trailer are overkill for my needs. So, I was just tossing it out there to see if anyone had opinions as to the corrosive resistance of the HF small boat trailer in salt water use. Sorry if it seemed like thread-jacking.
 

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
No worries!
That trailer will be (a bit) awkward when used as a (hand) dolly. But it can serve as such.
Are you also going to pull the trailer behind your car? Then one might want to remove a spring, if possible, to make for a softer ride.
Long-term storage on a trailer with those bunks may be painful to your Sunfish because the hull is not well supported.
 
That trailer will be (a bit) awkward when used as a (hand) dolly.
I will be cartopping the 'fish from SF up to Bodega Bay where it will remain in our garage. From the Bodega home it is about a 4 minute drive to the boat ramp at the harbor, (there is a fairly steep hill with a pretty tight switchback between home and the launch spot.) I'm thinking towed dolly, (or trailer if I must), rather than cartopping, to make it easier to single-hand the boat to and from.

I'm hoping local law enforcement will forgive me for towing a dolly on the back road at 5mph, given perhaps bicycle LED flashers and a reflective slow moving vehicle triangle.

Perhaps down-the-line I can work out something with one of the marinas to stow the hull on site with them somewhere for a reasonable price. The easier I can make this process, the more I will SAIL!!!

I'm shying away from that, or any, trailer as it becomes a storage issue, and I'm also concerned about rust in the marine environment. Good point on the hull support and bunks; I suspect you could set the bunks wide and use slings in lieu of resting directly on the bunks. But regardless, without some grading and pad construction, we have no where to park the trailer with the hull on it.
 

Webfoot1

Active Member
I think you best bet is a single rail trailer like a Tee Nee. It's about as
light as your going to get and still have it hold together going down the
road. If you're pulling anything behind a vehicle it needs to be road
worthy for safety. Too many accidents with people constructing ad
hock trailer solutions. You should be able to pick something up on
Craigslist about $150. As for corrosion, I've gone the Rustoleum route
and it seems to work. You can hit it with a new coat of rattle can paint
one a year for about $7.00. Had a Harbor Freight trailer and while it
works fine it is really too heavy to wheel around like a dolly.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
I will be cartopping the 'fish from SF up to Bodega Bay where it will remain in our garage. From the Bodega home it is about a 4 minute drive to the boat ramp at the harbor
A four-minute tow (at 5-MPH) sounds like a perfect use for a modified "trailer-dolly". :cool: Northern Tool was selling them for $49 last summer.
http://www.sailingforums.com/threads/el-cheapo-sunfish-dolly.31402/#post-150173

Remove the ball, lengthen the tongue, add a hitch and wood bunks/slings—and you're off!

(there is a fairly steep hill with a pretty tight switchback between home and the launch spot.)
Flashing lights might attract unwanted attention, whereas a small red flag would meet regulations in the other 49 states. ;) Tell law enforcement that the switchback makes a full-length trailer inadvisable.

The above trailer-dolly already has a short wheelbase—a plus. If you keep the tongue short—and your turn wide—the switchback could be eliminated as a problem. If needed, an extended ball mount will help make that turn:



Trailer dollies are available out of China for just $30 each, but you have to buy 300 of 'em! :eek:

.
 
I think you best bet is a single rail trailer like a Tee Nee. It's about as light as your going to get and still have it hold together going down the road.
Sound advice, thanks. I have been watching Craigslist for affordable trailers, however, I suspect the wife will not be enamored with the idea of a trailer taking up our sole garage space, and there's no real place to stash the trailer outside without creating a neighborhood eyesore. For this reason I like the idea of a lightweight dolly with added hitch. Will add a specific watch on Craigslist for a Tee-Nee though.

A four-minute tow (at 5-MPH) sounds like a perfect use for a modified "trailer-dolly".
I have been considering the modified trailer dolly as per the thread you cite. I had read on the NT site that those, (cheap?), pneumatic tires have a tendency to go flat and one might want to upgrade to the run-flat version of the dolly. As the cost and build labor time increases on such an approach, I start looking back at adding a tongue to a purpose built dolly, especially considering I can disassemble or hang such a lightweight unit easily.

These are pretty reasonable, not sure as to quality though:
Sunfish/Laser Aluminum Dolly | eBay

Or the Jotag at Intensity is at a decent price point:
Jotag Dolly for the Laser® or Sunfish®

The Dynamic looks to be better quality than either of the above, might make sense to just pony up for it, but I'm then spending more on transpo than the boat itself... (We don't count upfit parts, do we? ;) )

Flashing lights might attract unwanted attention, whereas a small red flag would meet regulations in the other 49 states. ;) Tell law enforcement that the switchback makes a full-length trailer inadvisable.

The above trailer-dolly already has a short wheelbase—a plus. If you keep the tongue short—and your turn wide—the switchback could be eliminated as a problem. If needed, an extended ball mount will help make that turn:



.
Great insights. (And astute observation as to the "other" 49. Cali legislature is crafting lots more onerous legislation to trickle down, coming soon to your state!)

Not looking forward to my first attempt at that switchback with a trailer in tow, (I'm a towing neophyte), but your advice is helpful. (I assume you mean "narrow" wheelbase above?)

Trailer dollies are available out of China for just $30 each, but you have to buy 300 of 'em! :eek:

.
Group buy!!! :) Three each?

In the meantime, city living...

 

water rat

Member
My camper is built on a HF trailer and its been hauled at least 5,000 miles on all types of roads. Once a year I crawl under it and prime and paint a couple of surface rust spots and it is kept in my yard which is 1.3 miles from the Gulf Of Mexico. The only Con is that the red paint fades after a year but an hour with a paint brush and it looks new again.I give the sucker 5 stars.
 
I give the sucker 5 stars.
Nice testament to the quality of the HF trailer and it's basic corrosion resistance. I suspect partial submersion in salt-water a couple times a week might prove a tougher challenge however... Given a bit of diligence with fresh-water rinsing and some annual prime/paint maintenance one would likely be rewarded with years of service it sounds like.
 

water rat

Member
Salt water will do a job on any steel trailer no matter where it is made. That is why we see more and more trailers made out of aluminium and other materials.Modern hubs have eliminated the need for bearing buddies. For my fish I took a jet ski trailer and with about $100 worth of parts and advice from the trailer shop got a perfect fit on my 68. Steel body but with new axile, hubs and wheels. Here in Florida second hand trailers are easy to find but you will probably have to replace hubs,wheels and bearing sor risk a break down.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
I had read on the NT site that those, (cheap?), pneumatic tires have a tendency to go flat and one might want to upgrade to the run-flat version of the dolly.
Yes, the tires are cheap, but replacing pneumatic tires cheaply every few years might be preferable to heat buildup with the foam-filled tires.

As the cost and build labor time increases on such an approach, I start looking back at adding a tongue to a purpose built dolly, especially considering I can disassemble or hang such a lightweight unit easily. Not looking forward to my first attempt at that switchback with a trailer in tow, (I'm a towing neophyte), but your advice is helpful. (I assume you mean "narrow" wheelbase above?)
The "narrow wheelbase" refers to the effective distance between your car's rear axle and the dolly's axle. (Shorter is better). The dolly has a narrow track—which is mostly a good thing for navigating a switchback.

The dolly's tongue is present, but likely too short for a Sunfish. Bolting on the shortest possible length of (removable?) pipe would allow upright storage at home. An auto muffler shop can supply the pipe and might help with drilling for new bolts or pins.



Several years ago, I bought a replacement 2" coupler for about $12. It, too, can be bolted-on. Having an auto dolly, a flat-tow hitch, and other trailers, I "standardized" on a 2-inch ball, even though it was overkill for the smaller trailers—but at scant increase in cost.

 
Here in Florida second hand trailers are easy to find <...>
Heh. Here in the SF Bay Area, much is 2-3X or more what it should cost. Hence, it seems the prices on the new dollies as seen on Amazon and eBay seem reasonable. I see countless rust-piles on Craigslist selling as trailers for circa $1K. Silly. (On my way to the Tampa Bay Area Xmas Sunday at 6A for a few days. Wonder if I can fit a trailer in the overhead bin on the return trip?)

heat buildup with the foam-filled tires. "narrow wheelbase" (Shorter is better). narrow track— good thing for navigating a switchback.
Bolting on the shortest possible length of (removable?) pipe would allow upright storage at home.
Thanks for the insights and clarifications. Still weighing all these options...
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
1) It's been suggested in states that salt the roads in winter, that a mix of automatic transmission fluid and kerosene—sprayed from a simple spray-bottle annually—will give superior rust resistance. :cool: The 50/50 mix allows "creep" to get into welds and seams. Marvel Mystery Oil is the same fluid with a minty odor. :oops:

2) Just stumbled on a dolly alternative:

For firm surfaces, foldable/removable, $89.
Boat Launching Wheels for Dinghy/Canoe/etc.
 
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