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The Final Hurdle - Boat Trailer

Sorry for all the posts, just anxious to get everything in order so I can finally get my fish in the water.

The final and biggest hurdle at this point is a boat trailer. I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled for one but find it difficult to either find one within budget and one that seems suitable for a sunfish.

One option I find intriguing can be seen in this video. Thoughts about what this guy is doing? I’m not the handiest person on the planet but I’m almost certain I can do what he’s doing here. Would love to get opinions!

 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
I just bought Harbor Freight's smallest trailer ($239) and added some thoughts to an existing thread--page 2:


I don't need a trailer but thought--look how easy it would be to cut the existing tongue in the middle, and add a few feet to transport a Sunfish.

Square metal tubing would be best, but a 2x4 would get you across the street.

That video would discourage any beginner: It's not that difficult!
 

redfish56

New Member
If you are eager to get it in the water sooner than later but also prefer to wait for the perfect trailer in your budget, you could just buy one of those $50 canoe dollies that you can find on Amazon for now. This is assuming you are able to transport the boat using a roof rack or truck bed to where ever you plan to put it in the water. The boat will tend to slide right off the front of these cheaper dollies when you try to pull it, so you'll need to tie a rope from the dolly to the bow handle to keep that from happening. I store my Sunfish 200 yards from a boat ramp, so this is actually what I use as my permanent dolly.
 
I have a high quality dolly so I’m set there, but the thought of hoisting this thing to the top of my Xterra is enough to induce nightmares. Just have to wait for the right trailer at the right price. Surely one will come along at some point!
 

tag

my2fish
I took a boat trailer just like that one and built a storage box and A-frame so I can carry two Sunfish type boats.
 

Attachments

Breeze Bender

Breeze Bender
Here’s one that I think is close to you- a bit of a project but it looks solid. Easy to add new bunks and lights, probably needs new tires, but the price seems fair. Not mine!

 
Here’s one that I think is close to you- a bit of a project but it looks solid. Easy to add new bunks and lights, probably needs new tires, but the price seems fair. Not mine!

Yeah, probably more of a project than I want to take on. After adding bunks and getting it up to snuff I’ll probably have spent what I could have on something that’s ready to go. I like the price though!
 

po-man sailor

Active Member
Looks dull galvanized from what I can see on the pic. Galvanized trailers will rust, they just take longer to do so. It also depends on the quality of the process. Surface rust shouldnt hurt anything if it looks like you can take a wire brush to it and hit it with a rattle can of "cold galvanize spray" paint. You can get some use from it. The main Issue would be to make sure the springs are in good shape and not rusted/breaking down or shedding metal. Also grab the top of the tire and pull it toward you and push away to see if it has any loose slack in it. If you can, lift one side at a time off the ground and spin the wheel and listen. Should be no roaring or squeaking sounds of a dry or worn bearings. If so you may not make it back to your destination. These are all signs of a salt water used trailer. Lastly look at the tires for weather cracks that may heat up and seperate at highway speeds. Of course it all could be good and the surface rust could be from raod salt if used in the area. In that case it shouldn't effect the bearings as much.
I hope its all good for you. I cant see those things in a pic.
 
Already looking like it might not work out. I’m being told that since the trailer already has a plate, it was registered, and since it doesn’t come with any paperwork, I won’t be able to register it.
 

po-man sailor

Active Member
Dang, in the south we don't have to worry about it so much but if we did we would just change it around a little make some enhansments, call it a home built and register it as such.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
Why not the little HF one--like mine? $239. Only needs an extension to the tongue. Drill four holes--fit four bolts. ;)
 
Dang, in the south we don't have to worry about it so much but if we did we would just change it around a little make some enhansments, call it a home built and register it as such.
Well not all of the south. Texas as of July 2020 has enacted new regulations on used trailers that are worse than New York or New Jersey. This has become a nightmare in Texas.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
Photo appears in post #41...
Harbor Freight Sunfish Trailer | Page 2 | SailingForums.com

The capacity of my little trailer is half a ton. With simple bunks and secured straps, a "bow rest" seems excessive. Even a winch would be too much, seeing that the Sunfish can be "scootched" fully onto the bunks by one sailor.

YMMV...
That photo is without the modifications though, right? I want to see the end result!

Also, the price difference between the small and large trailer is $50. After making the modifications needed to the smaller trailer, it would actually come out to be more expensive. Worth it?
 
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L&VW

Well-Known Member
That photo is without the modifications though, right? I want to see the end result!

Also, the price difference between the small and large trailer is $50. After making the modifications needed to the smaller trailer, it would actually come out to be more expensive. Worth it?
There isn't going to be an end result. I got a good deal on a brand-new trailer—already assembled. I've advertised it for this weekend—along with two refurbished Sunfish. Somebody will like NOT putting this trailer together. :)
 
There isn't going to be an end result. I got a good deal on a brand-new trailer—already assembled. I've advertised it for this weekend—along with two refurbished Sunfish. Somebody will like NOT putting this trailer together. :)
Do you need my address? You can send it all to me and I'll dispose of it for you! Lol
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Yes, you should be worried about rust. I know you moved on but I bet every fastener on that trailer was seized, so break out the cutoff wheel. As much surface rust as you see, imagine what the inside of that tube axle looks like. And it appears the tongue was bent.

You might check the local sporting goods stores for a new trailer, either 12 or 14 foot jon boat. Might not be as much as you think and have 12 inch wheels vs the HF 8 inchers. Also keep an eye out for gently used utility trailers, you can fit a Sunfish on a 10 footer and have room for all of the other party gear.

We just kind of threw this Sunfish on here, rescued it from a hurricane debris pile, but they ride nice with a some padding.

IMG_0661.jpeg
 
Yes, you should be worried about rust. I know you moved on but I bet every fastener on that trailer was seized, so break out the cutoff wheel. As much surface rust as you see, imagine what the inside of that tube axle looks like. And it appears the tongue was bent.

You might check the local sporting goods stores for a new trailer, either 12 or 14 foot jon boat. Might not be as much as you think and have 12 inch wheels vs the HF 8 inchers. Also keep an eye out for gently used utility trailers, you can fit a Sunfish on a 10 footer and have room for all of the other party gear.

We just kind of threw this Sunfish on here, rescued it from a hurricane debris pile, but they ride nice with a some padding.

View attachment 45822
Checked the local sports stores, couldn't find one for less than $800. The search continues.
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
I know that we never got a GOOD trailer for less than $400, and it was 4 years old, so it would need 2 new tires in 2 years ($100). So it was really closer to $500. We used to pick up old trailers and fix them along with the boats, but we NEVER made any money doing that and on average each trailer cost out around $500+ by the time we bought the trailer, then made it road ready with new tires, lights, bearings sometimes, an axle one time, a spring here, a spring there, etc...We were not going to be happy with a trailer with questionable rusty bits.

So what I am trying to say is $800 might be worth looking at, for peace of mind and avoidance of other trailer money pits.

We no longer do trailers BTW, if someone wants a trailer I send them to my Boat Trailer builder Eddie or I buy the new trailer and resell it with the boat.

Now Skipper's first boat trailer OTOH, different story. Theseus' Ship or My Grandpa's Axe has nothing on George/Jack/Skipper's trailer. Last time it went in to Eddie English for repair it got a new tongue, coupler, bow stop, winch, keel rollers, bunks, lights, bearings, tires, wheels, guide posts, hubs, springs and axle. The only original parts were the box frame and 2 fenders. Cost about $200 more than a new trailer :)

Eddie and Skipper

Eddie Audrey.JPG
 
I would love to throw $800 at a trailer for my $100 boat, but it’s just not in the budget. I’m already nearing the $1k mark all in on this hobby that I’m still not sure I’m into, so I have to work with the budget I have. That probably means I’m either stuck with the harbor freight trailer or I take up skydiving.
 

po-man sailor

Active Member
That seems legally questionable.
I'm with Charles if its altered enough its good enough. I can't tell you how many old or damaged trailers get broken down and rearranged down here. Never a problem. We take axils off one put on another, winches and winch posts moved, strip all the bunks and make flat bed styles. Basically it is a rebuilt or home built at that point. I've made special purpose motorcycle trailer out of a single jet ski trailer and had absolutely no issue with the holme built situation. But then again I'm not dealing with your dmv and your state. Hell, my state allows you to use the same tag moved from one trailer to another, as long as its called a utility trailer. I have 3...LOL
 
I'm with Charles if its altered enough its good enough. I can't tell you how many old or damaged trailers get broken down and rearranged down here. Never a problem. We take axils off one put on another, winches and winch posts moved, strip all the bunks and make flat bed styles. Basically it is a rebuilt or home built at that point. I've made special purpose motorcycle trailer out of a single jet ski trailer and had absolutely no issue with the holme built situation. But then again I'm not dealing with your dmv and your state. Hell, my state allows you to use the same tag moved from one trailer to another, as long as its called a utility trailer. I have 3...LOL
Yeah, NY is...a bit more stringent about things. They don’t call it the evil Empire State for nothing.
 

po-man sailor

Active Member
Yeah, NY is...a bit more stringent about things. They don’t call it the evil Empire State for nothing.
Oh yea my last 2 cents. I I were going to spend big bucks on a trailer I would go with Signals advice and look for a utility style. And build a couple easily removable bunks in it.. Then at least its multi purpose and everyone can use a utility trailer at times. Very handy. Then also when you decide to leave the hobbie a utility trailer will sell instantly on craigs list. Never a money looser if you don't get ripped of when you buy it.
Po-man out...
 
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