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I'm looking at investing in a trailer this season. I've seen the really nice raft specific trailers out there for sale (super nice if you have the $, about 1500-2000).
Anyone out there ever used a snow mobile trailer and modified it for rafts? Any major issues that I should be aware of by going this route? Other than length and width?

Seems like I can pick up an 8 foot flat bed and modify it with a roller at home for less than $700.

Thoughts?

PS my raft is 14.5' long.


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Snowmobile trailers are fine. Your boat will hang, but the trailer typically has a long enough neck that you can spread your overhang over the front and rear of the trailer.
 

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They work well. You may have to extend the tongue. The little wheels might be an issue if you drive on access roads with clearance issues. If you can find one with a tilt bed that can come in handy for some putins and takeouts.
 

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My prediction: You buy anything from Harbor Freight (as shown in the link in the previous post)-- in 1-3 years it will start falling apart..................................
 

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Snow mobile trailers

Get an aluminum one with the torsion axels. They only weigh 400lbs and can haul 1500 lbs. I've had one 8 years and changed the tires once. The only problem I see is on wet dirt roads the front of the boats get covered with mud.
 

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I've been using a 9.5ft X 6.5 ft Echo ATV trailer for about 5 years for a 14 ft. cataract and now a 14 ft raft. Works great. My friend who helped me find the trailer had stake pockets welded on the frame and had 2 foot high panels with metal mesh built for it. There are 6 panels total so they aren't super heavy for me to put in place when I want to haul cargo. Most of the time I haul my raft inflated, rigged & ready. I haven't added a roller to it but it's never been a problem, as the lights are all sealed and I can back into the water to float the raft on & off. 13 inch tires. I've trailered my raft & gear all over Utah & Idaho with no issues on the highway or off road.
 

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As has already been said, lots of people use snowmobile trailers. They work fine to a point. I ran one for about 4 years. Went on a 1500 mile road trip lightly loaded and went through 4 tires, 2 were brand new halfway through the trip and trash when it was over. If you don't pull long distances they hold up fine but you need to go slower or you'll overheat them (experience).

Those trailers are typically pretty easy to modify - add tongue length and sometimes even deck length. You can also usually modify to take 12" or 13" "normal" trailer wheels by shimming under the axel or flipping the axel. Look at what your going to buy and see if it will be relatively easy to modify.

I think the best thing is to modify utility trailers, like Cataraftgirls, or other folks that are sure to reply. They usually take the simplest mods and are easily converted back to utility mode for your random trailering needs. That's what I have done most recently.

Another option is to modify an old boat trailer. It can be relatively simple depending on your skills and imagination. If you or a buddy doesn't weld, it's probably not going to be cheap though. I did that for a friend 2 years ago and he loves the trailer, has $700 into it all told. It's simple, light (like 300 lbs) but less flexible than a modified utility and harder to adapt. It runs on 12" tires and is lower than most modified utility trailers.

Look at the trailer porn thread. There are lots of ideas there if you're the tinkering type.
 

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Another option is to modify an old boat trailer. It can be relatively simple depending on your skills and imagination. If you or a buddy doesn't weld, it's probably not going to be cheap though. I did that for a friend 2 years ago and he loves the trailer, has $700 into it all told.

Look at the trailer porn thread. There are lots of ideas there if you're the tinkering type.
This is what I did as seen in Trailer Porn thread. Well, my retired Dad (that's in constant need of new projects) built it for me.
 

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This is partially through my boat trailer mod.

Same base trailer as rockgizmo's I think (Calkins?). I just happened to have an old heavy duty gate that I adapted as a deck and ran stringers across the trailer frame vs length wise as he did. I decked mine with ply wood over the whole gate. There certainly are many ways to skin a cat.

 

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Our Harbor Freight Trailer

For what it is worth, we have a 4x8 Harbor Freight Trailer that we have used for three years without issue. Don't pay full price, or even the sale price. Make sure to use the 20% off coupon on top of the sale price.

1720 lb. Capacity 48 in. x 96 in. Super Duty Folding Trailer

These trailers are decent for the cost, but require a few modifications. First of all, make sure you remove all the grease from the wheel bearings, and replace it with quality grease. This is the single largest point of failure on these trailers. The grease that comes on it is simply a shipping coating to prevent the bearings from rusting.

Here's a list of things we did:
-Welded the frame together
-painted it black to make it look less like a HF trailer :mrgreen:
-Replaced the tires with new tires meant for a geo metro - $36 each on amazon, mounted ourselves with a lot of groaning and lighter fluid.
-Built a 7x8 frame out of pressure treated 4x4s
-Decked it with 1/2 plywood, sealed with some outdoor coating.
-Added a spare wheel/tire

In total, we have about $500 into it, and we built it in three days before a trip we hauled it on a 1200 mile round trip loaded with raft gear.

Since we built it three years ago, we have put over 5000 miles on it, and the only issue we had was one of the bearing covers fell off, and it is a weird size, so none of the auto parts stores had the right cover. We ended up using a slightly smaller one with grocery bags zip tied around it until we could get home and order a replacement. I recommend ordering a spare hub assembly and these covers to have some spares just in case.

Here are some photos of it loaded. You can see our rudimentary panels we made with plywood and pool noodles to contain gear stored under the cat.






Is it the best trailer out there? No. Was it cheap and got us by? Yes. Do we plan to buy a nice one this year? Yes- we need a second trailer. This one will stay in service, though I may build a nicer deck for it.
 

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Raft trailer from old camping trailer

[/ATTACH]

Made this trailer for a total of 600.00. Bought an old camping trailer, completely stripped it to the frame, raised bed height to clear tires with angle iron, laid down a wooden deck using 4"x 12' decking material from Lowes.

Good frame and tires a must. Handles well with 2 14' rafts on deck.

Similar product will run you close to 1,200.

Good luck.
 

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Good looking rig on the cheap. I hate to even type this but I would cover you tires with fenders. Either build the deck over em or buy some fenders. They are going to sand blast your boat. Just trying to be helpful and not a know it all.
 

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Good point. Did consider fenders but as you suggested, covered the tires with the deck. Have had no problems with sand blasting the rubber.
 

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Good looking rig on the cheap. I hate to even type this but I would cover you tires with fenders. Either build the deck over em or buy some fenders. They are going to sand blast your boat. Just trying to be helpful and not a know it all.
Curtis, I think that's great advice and I was going to throw in another reason to cover them, but I think its an illusion on the photo. It looks to me like the deck does over hang the tires, if you look closely.

If I'm wrong on that, the other reason is a tire coming apart. All kinds of tire parts (including wire) go flying - it could really mess up a boat.
 
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