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Discussion Starter #1
This week I took delivery of a fourteen foot Trib and a 6x14 (cargo area) utility trailer. Big week! This summer my daughter and I plan to fancy the trailer up but for now I just want to mod it enough to handle the Trib safely. My plan is to carpet three 2x4s, lay them across the trailer and U bolt them to the pipe (pipe top trailer). The bunk carpet comes in twelve foot rolls so I'll probably just get two rolls and use eight foot 2x4s. The boat is 6'10" so I'm thinking that should work out great.

I intend to set it up so there are about two feet of open trailer in front of the boat for gear which of course means there will a couple feet of boat hanging off the back of the trailer, but I don't see this is a problem since the flat section will be well supported and secured.

Anyone see any issues with this plan?
 

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Do a google image search on "raft trailer" and you will see that 99 percent of raft trailers are only big enough to support the bottom of the boat and that the ends of the boats usually extend past the trailer on the front and back. For me I did that on purpose with my old trailer because launch and takeout areas have very limited parking so I wanted as small of a trailer as possible that would support the boat. In other words you'll be fine. Just make sure that you have 60 percent of the loaded weight in front of the axles so that you don't shake the trailer.
 

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Use 2x6 pressure treated- 2x4 will bend excessively. The grey outdoor carpet at Home Depot works great- I applied with stainless steel 3/8" staples and a pneumatic stapler. For a roller across the rear 2x6, I bought 2 90 degree threaded pipe ends with footings and a section of threaded plumbing pipe (also home depot). Covered it with 3 short sections of pvc and it just screws together. It rolls just fine and requires zero maintenance.

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks guys. Osseous, I'm guessing the rear cross member is higher than the others because of the roller assembly. Does part of the boat sit on it?
 

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I took a similar approach with my trailer I added two 12' 2x12's on my 2x4 crossmembers. That way my boat has continous support.

Depending on the height of your gear you may still be able to center your boat as the rocker will give you space under the bow.

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I didn't bother with carpet either not sure it would help in any meaningful way.

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I used doubled 2x6 in the roller position. My boat rests on the roller, with not much pressure. My trailer is just 10'- boat is 15', so yours would not touch. I run a strap across that area and use the corners supporting the roller as a lashing point for that strap. The carpet gives the sand somewhere to go so it doesn't rub the raft fabric while towing. Otherwise it can have a sandpaper effect.

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Discussion Starter #8
So how many 2x6 cross members total do you have? It sounds like the roller is positioned under the stern kick so there's not as much contact?
 

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That is correct- 3 additional cross members, plus the roller.

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Discussion Starter #10
Got it. Thanks! You just completed the puzzle for me. I was back and forth on whether to add a roller and had finally decided against it in the interest of expediency, but now I'm going to do it. I know I'll be glad I did.
 

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Go to the plumbing pipe section of home depot. Find the 90 degree threaded fixtures with the screw footing. That will screw to your cross member. Right next to those footings are threaded steel rods for the cross piece. Match a piece of pvc that's just slightly larger in diameter and section it into 3 pieces- that allows you to easily steer the raft into the right location on the trailer. I had a winch mount welded up to place the winch farther forward- basically a 45 degree angle off my spare tire mount point in the front. Took the spare off and bolted the winch bracket to the same mount that the tire had used. That allowed clearance for the winch in front of my boat. I'd take some pics, but it's all under a tarp and 2' of snow right now. Hit me up if you have any questions.

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I used doubled 2x6 in the roller position. My boat rests on the roller, with not much pressure. My trailer is just 10'- boat is 15', so yours would not touch. I run a strap across that area and use the corners supporting the roller as a lashing point for that strap. The carpet gives the sand somewhere to go so it doesn't rub the raft fabric while towing. Otherwise it can have a sandpaper effect.

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I would love to see a pic of your set up.
 

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Hey man, I just went through this whole deal last year. Here is what I came up with:

*The raft floor doesn't support any weight or weigh that much itself- you don't need cross members.

*Do continuous 2"x12" centered under the tubes instead. The trailer sides act as one support underneath the 2x12, but you may need an additional support on the inside of the trailer due to the width of your trailer + raft (my trailer sides were close to the center of the tubes so the 2x12 are resting only on the trailer sides + the wall of the trailer).

*Use treated 2x12 and no carpet. Carpet will just hold in the moisture and speed up the rot.

*Once inflated, my floor is up above the bottom of the tubes and I can fit all my gear + even large coolers underneath the raft, in the trailer. You can balance the load and raft a lot easier this way. With a roller I can easily slide my raft back a couple feet to access gear for camping the night before at the put in.

*Consider making a roller. I didn't build one at first, but after a couple times trying to hoist the boat up at the takeout made me realize why I wanted one. I made mine removable so I can still use my trailer as a utility trailer.

*Also consider adding a winch. With a roller + winch you can be off the water from a weekend trip in a few minutes. It's great.

For my roller, I used flange bearings from Ace Hardware that fit in the ends of 1-1/4" galvanized pipe and have an inner diameter that fits 1/2" steel rod. Here is where I got my inspiration: Trailer Roller - Wooden Boat People.

If I was gonna do the roller again I'd use 'roll-end bearings' or 'sleeve bearings.' They come in a variety of plastics and are not susceptible to water damage like my bearings, and you can get them made to fit in standard sizes of the larger diameter pipe that is less likely to bend (1" or 2")
Sleeve Bearing @ McMaster-Carr
Trailer Roller Bearing @ DriftBoatParts

Hope this helps...
 

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That's a cool design- nice build!

His trailer has round rails- so I don't know that he can get the stability out of his lengthwise runners the way you have. I would skip ball bearings altogether in the roller- they're completely unnecessary and create a maintenance issue when you add sand and water to the equation. Here is my roller design-



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Discussion Starter #18
Hey, thanks for going to the trouble of getting a couple pics, Osseous. You're spot on regarding my decision to go with cross members rather than lengthwise bunks. I'll let y'all know how it turns out.
 
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