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I think floatmaboat & Barlow are the same person giving us some entertainment as we lament about the heat and not being on a river. Good on ya! Much appreciated.
I legit thought WBarklow was our old friend James shilling for some new rip-off raft trailer company...I was just trying to troll him into revealing himself. Looks like it may have worked?🤣🤣🤣 he gone lol
 

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So I picked up my trailer from Tim (3 Forks, Mt.) and thought I’d give it a review for those of you thinking of getting one;
I wanted the 12’ trailer, (7’x12’ $2300), but I wanted an extra plank wider. Final size is a full 12’x7’9”. Total length is just over 16’. That bumped the cost up to $2550. It pulled beautifully on the way home, at up to 70 mph. The tongue weight is heavy, around 60 lbs.



View attachment 67653 View attachment 67653

The frame and undercarriage are nicely welded and finished. The joints are welded both sides, which didn’t have to be done, but reflects his attention to detail. View attachment 67654

The axle is a 2300# axle, with a five lug hub on 2 5/8” spacing. It has a grease zerk for the hubs, and a nice rubber plug to keep things clean. The tires are 175/80-13”. 2/4 ply, rated to 1300# each View attachment 67653 View attachment 67654 . This leaves the trailer deck sitting at 28” off the ground.
The roller is full width. It’s a simple tube, spinning on a rod at each end. No bearings.

View attachment 67655

There are three things that I can see that I’d point out as flaws, or at least needing to be aware of; the wood on my deck is bad. The 1x10s are planer gouged, bowed and crooked. I’m not too upset about it, since availability has been awful lately, and these were probably the best he could find.
Second, the planks are fastened with 1/4” carriage bolts, lock washers and a simple nut, instead of nylock nuts. Forty nylock nuts would not cost more than about $15. I’ll be changing that out myself. Lastly, Tim sells these without a title, as a homebuilt. The buyer has to go through the bother of the inspection and paperwork, plus the additional expense.

It has a budget winch with a strap that reaches about 3’ beyond the trailer. The tongue jack just barely levels the trailer when fully extended.
View attachment 67662
I had to add a 6” lift hitch for my Tundra to level the deck. All in all it’s a good trailer for hauling a raft. It’s about $2,000 less than an aluminum model, so I’d say it’s worth the money.
I’d add a gusset to the leading edge of the wench before your boat and the before mentioned end up down stream.
 

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Ordered a trailer from Tim a year ago and picked it up last spring. Ordered heavier axle with the need to be able to haul 2 four wheelers when not using it to haul my raft. He confirmed he could build this. Paid $2500 or more can't exactly remember. Anyway used it one time lat 4th of July to haul four wheelers. They bounced all over the deck of that trailer and could not keep them strapped down. Finally had a chance to take a closer look and the main support beams did not run the full length of the trailer, making it act like a trampoline. It flexed so much I am amazed I didn't lose both bikes. The cheap bolts and hardware, 50% of them broke... I had to take the trailer to a fabrication shop and pay another $500.00 to fix the framing and render it useful. Had to replace all the bolts and hardware plus add self tapping screws to the center sections to keep the deck boards from cupping and bouncing! Last but not least of the shoddy workmanship was the wiring that was attached randomly to the bottom of the deck with office grade staples!! After one attempt to haul the four wheelers the wires were hanging off the trailer and one tail light is now not working. I'm sure wires are severed with the nice staple job. I HAVE LITERALLY HAD TO REBUILD THIS TRAILER!! COMPLETELY DISGUSTED!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #47 ·
That doesn’t surprise me a bit. I had to rebuild mine right after I got it, and lately I’ve started redoing the cheesy wiring and lights. I’m pretty disgusted with his workmanship.
 
RMR, Hyside, NRS, Sawyer, K2 coolers, Whitewater Worthy Trailers, Frames and soft goods
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It is unacceptable to have a product makes you feel bad about giving your money to someone.

Our trailers are well built and designed but I have more money into materials that you paid.

It’s often said and experienced that if it seem to good to be true it is.
 

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I've been steering people clear of these trailers since the first one I have seen. The problem being that people buy them and get so excited about the great deal they got that they run their mouth about them and before you know two or three of their friends have grabbed them up. I have FOUR friends that own these piles of scrap lumber and steel.
He cuts corners, that is why they are priced so low. As WhiteWater Worthy said, you get what you pay for.

Unfortunately I don't have anyone to recommend you buy a trailer from as I usually build my own. But DO NOT BUY from that hack in Three Forks.

WallRat...You should update the original post to reflect the poor nature of these trailers. That way someone doesn't read the first few posts and think they are a good idea.
 

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Maravia Zephyr (Lime) Aire River Couch (Also Lime)
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I left my career as a Industrial Construction Superintendent last November and have started my own light fabrication company. I mostly do architectural railings and such but recently I've done a few repairs and upgrades on some raft trailers (whose builders shall remain nameless.) Seeing these problems and hearing about the dissatisfaction of several trailer brands I'm considering building a few new trailers. In ya'll's opinion would you say there's a decent demand for a well built raft trailer company in the Billings/Bozeman area?
 

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Problem is like alot of things. Guys want an "afoardable " trailer but that mostly means it's "afoardably built". I've known Tim for decades. Hes s crazy good fabricator when he wants to be. I've seen him personally build beautiful stuff for luxury Homes here. I had a shop near one he worked in and they built amazing stuff. So if your going to build a good trailer and you want to make money I'd guess alot of people would buy and alot of people could not afford a "good" one. I've had a free trailer a home made trailer a car trailer and now I have a snowmobile trailer. I bought it for 1200bucks used and it works fine. So the 4-6k dollar trailers a hard sell to me. When he first sold those he charged 1200 new and it was just a cheap trailer to get your b oat to the Madison. If your like other expert fabricators than your trailers may price out alot of people. Of course not all but maybe see what one would cost you and how much you'd want to profit and see. Mike has 15-20 decent trailers at his shop under 3k new. Hard to have good and cheap in same the thing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #54 ·
I left my career as a Industrial Construction Superintendent last November and have started my own light fabrication company. I mostly do architectural railings and such but recently I've done a few repairs and upgrades on some raft trailers (whose builders shall remain nameless.) Seeing these problems and hearing about the dissatisfaction of several trailer brands I'm considering building a few new trailers. In ya'll's opinion would you say there's a decent demand for a well built raft trailer company in the Billings/Bozeman area?
There’s definitely a demand for a decent trailer in Bozeman. The problem with Tim is that you expect X quality, on par with other professional manufacturers, but get Y. There should be a discussion about what you will provide, and options with pricing for each. So if someone wants a junky Chinese winch, it’s a certain cost, or a solid 2-speed Fulton winch is this much. Give the customer an option. Then, if they choose cheap, it’s on them, not you.
I paid a price for my trailer that should have covered a level of quality that simply wasn’t there. No discussion of options, levels of quality, or any up-front disclosure that I was going to get hamburger, but would be paying for steak.
 

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I built rafting specific trailers for years, it's not hard to do, but to do it at a price people want to pay is another thing. Steel these days is thru the roof, where aluminum was 15 years ago, it's crazy. Axles are now north of 450.00 wholesale for a torsional one with the ez-lube option. Tires and rims are north of 120$, back in the day, I was hard pressed to turn a product out for less than 2300.00 and make anything at all on it. Given that there's every bit of 8 hours of labor to cut, square and weld it together, and then sandblasting it, paint, installing decking and wiring / lights I'm not surprised to see them selling north of 4K$.
 
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