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Looking to get a trailer for my 14' raft. How are people's experiences with tilt deck snowmobile style trailers? Do the bearing/wheels hold up on lots of highway miles?
 

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The problem with tilt trailers is that the axle is placed close to center of deck, which makes for difficult backing and an unstable ride at highway speed. Look for one with an extra long tongue to help alleviate this.



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The wide tires suck... Went through 3 (including 2 brand new) during a 1400 mile trip years ago. I'm sure there was an issue with alignment but nothing we could figure out afterwords even. I was left believing that those short wide tires are really susceptible to being out of alignment and if driven for long periods they wear funny and blow. They all blew before being worn out, got too hot maybe? The bearings were always fine. We drove it about 75mph on that trip. I went through several other tires in the 4 years I owned that trailer. I liked the large deck, low to the ground but wouldn't do it again my self. I'd agree with Maxpower, get the longest tongue you can find and if the deal is right they're really easy to replace with longer. If you find one with the skinny 12" tires I'd lean that way over the big wide 10" pos's.
 

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I've had great luck with mine. Look for a trailer with the larger tires if you can 13-14 in. If you have one with the small wide tires think about converting to larger (taller) tires. This slows down the rotation which reduces wear and tear to both the bearings and the tire. I have a 8x10' with 14" tires and have never had an issue with it being unstable at highway speeds (75+) I have lots of friends that have utility type trailers that they have to lift their raft up on to and its seems like more work. I prefer the low deck of the snowmobile trailer that I can back into the water and slide my boat on to. Just my 2 cents. Happy floating!
 

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not really any alignment on a single axle trailer. the tongue and the axle will find where they want to be by themselves, it does not matter if the axle is not square to the trailer! my sawmill is set up intentionally with the axle at an angle so the whole thing tracks a little bit diagonal.

the little fat tires should work just fine. single biggest reason tires fail is improper air pressure. too low and the tires get HOT. too high they wear poorly, but run just fine. i have been running my little tire tilt deck snowmobile trailer for 12 years. have never had a problem. most of my trips are short, but i have done some rough roads for 3 or so hours.

i have never had any trouble with the trailer at highway speeds, or any speed for that matter. if is wanting to sway on the highway, then there is not enough tongue weight. as for backing, that is just operator error.
after 12 years, i moved the axle back on mine, simply put the front axle bolt in the rear hole, and drill a new rear hole. again, there is NO alignment on a single axle trailer. also, remove the pin for the tilt and put a bolt in it. the tilt feature is worthless.
 

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The tilt feature has saved my ass many times, short trailers are harder to back, for sure. Yes you can do it but longer is easier. You can absolutely misalign a trailer. It may "align itself" but with a big sail (read inflated raft) on the back it will constantly be being pushed behind the tow vehicle and you will see wear on the outside of one tire and on the inside of the other...boom half the tire life.

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The tilt feature has saved my ass many times, short trailers are harder to back, for sure. Yes you can do it but longer is easier. You can absolutely misalign a trailer. It may "align itself" but with a big sail (read inflated raft) on the back it will constantly be being pushed behind the tow vehicle and you will see wear on the outside of one tire and on the inside of the other...boom half the tire life. The tires may get hot being under inflated, but they get hotter hitting the pavement at an angle when not properly aligned. Go to any trailer manufacturer and ask. They don't go to greatest passions to align for aesthetics.

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the axle on a trailer would have to be so far from square that it would be visible to the naked eye to cause any tire wear.

greatest passions? someone is bullshitting you. there are three points of contact, the ball, and the tires. a simple tape measure check for square is PLENTY sufficient. i have built cars that we align with a tape measure, and then go 125 miles an hour and they do not pull, wander, or wear tires unevenly. it is not hard at all. the accuracy in the measurements is not precise.
crosswinds, rutted roads, and bent axles issues will cause far more issues than "alingment".
 

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Right, passions was an auto correct issue, should say pains... A misaligned trailer, self aligning itself off to the side of a rig is like a constant cross wind. I'm glad I haven't ridden in you're cars if that's all the care you take. I've experienced several misaligned trailers. You? Just theorizing?

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insult me all you like dipshit.

you would shit your pants to even get in one of the cars i have put together. i was a crew chief on more than one racing team, from non-competitive dumbasses to winning points championships. so theorizing, no.

if your trailer is "misaligned" that far. go run it into another pole and straighten it out. to have experienced "several" misaligned trailers, something is obviously not right with what YOU are doing.

i have a 32' flatbed gooseneck tri axle, 25 foot flatbed gooseneck tandem dual, 4 place enclosed snowmobile trailer, 2 place enclosed snowmobile trailer, gooseneck stock trailer, gooseneck horse trailer, 14' dump trailer with a log loader on it, 5th wheel camper trailer, and my raft trailer. NOT ONE has ever been "misaligned". i have pulled flatbed handmade car trailers from the tip of Baja to Colorado. NEVER have i found a tire wear issue from "misalignment". from a bent axle, yes. we tow tandem axle hand built trailers with cars up to 7000 pounds on them on the pot holed narrow roads of mexico, and we do not take our time. "aligned" with a tape measure on all of them!
 

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Excuse me, you are obviously the man, I stand humbled by your excellence. I'll try to keep my trailers between the trees and pass on shiting my pants in one of your cars, crew chief. To the OP, if you're really interested in a good trailer look past a little fat wheeled snow machine trailer. That said any trailer is probably better than none, so if you get a good deal go for it, but a bring a spare.....maybe two.

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Back on track.....small tires suck. Get big ones. That is all.

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I'd agree with Maxpower, get the longest tongue you can find and if the deal is right they're really easy to replace with longer.
So talk to me about changing to a longer tongue. How is that done? Tongue extender?

My trailer is a 6.5 X 9.5 ECHO ATV trailer. I've had it for about 5-6 years. No issues with it at all except to replace lights a couple time, and that takes 5 minutes. It tows like a dream if loaded right, with a bit more weight up front. I have taken it from Utah to Idaho on the freeway many times. 13 inch tires. It also has removable 2 ft. high metal mesh sides, front, and back for when I carry gear and not an inflated boat. The sides are in two sections so I can lift them off easily. I love this little trailer except for two things.....
1. short tongue - PITA to back it up, and sometimes it makes it harder to get it deep enough on a ramp to float the boat on & off.
2. The wheel fenders are inboard. For many years I just put my cats right on the side rails with no problems. I had the fenders rounded off, and I covered them with foam/tape for extra protection. I never had a rubbing issue. With my raft, I opted to run boards across to make an elevated deck.

It's not the fanciest trailer, and I really want to add a roller of some sort. It gets the job done, and has been a sturdy trailer so far. Some tweaks would make it better. Here are some pics when it was brand new, with my cat, and a picture with the raft.
 

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At Home Depot, in the plumbing get supply section- you will find a threaded steel pipe- 1 1/2" IIRC. Near the threaded pipes are threaded 90 degree angles, and threaded drilled base plates. Buy some PVC that is slightly larger diameter so it rolls on the pipe. I cut mine into three sections and slid it onto the threaded pipe (added some axel grease- but probably not necessary). Screw the drilled bases to the back of that rear-most cross piece of yours and you have your roller. Working great GREAT for me- cheap, easy, works. Holler if you need pics- for me it was a simple, affordable solution. I added a winch up front on an angled mount that I had a welder fab up for me.

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If you just want to buy an awesome raft trailer. Take a look at the C&B Trailers whitewater. They are awesome. They are all aluminum, so they are as low maintenance as it gets. Mine has a 14' deck but I can still stand on the side of it and lift half the trailer with little to no difficulty at all. Every time I use it, I move it by hand. I just slide my raft back a little and the thing is so light that I move it around by hand with ease. I doubt it is recommended but I've done 85 with it. Stable as could be.

I didn't like their roller design, so I didn't get it. However, my understanding is that they have recently changed the design. I haven't seen it yet, but it sounds like they addressed the exact reasons I didn't like it. I feel good recommending them. They are local to me and owned and operated by a nice family.
 

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Cataraftgirl, unfortunately your tongue will not be easy to extend. Most tilt bed snowmobile trailers have a single long tongue that attaches with a bolt at the pivot point and a pin to lock it from tipping. To extend it, you simply replace the tongue with a longer one... A couple bolts for the coupler, extend the wires, new pivot hole and locking pin hole. You need a good drill, bit, wrenches and wiring tools. Usually costs about a hundred bucks.

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At Home Depot, in the plumbing get supply section- you will find a threaded steel pipe- 1 1/2" IIRC. Near the threaded pipes are threaded 90 degree angles, and threaded drilled base plates. Buy some PVC that is slightly larger diameter so it rolls on the pipe. I cut mine into three sections and slid it onto the threaded pipe (added some axel grease- but probably not necessary). Screw the drilled bases to the back of that rear-most cross piece of yours and you have your roller. Working great GREAT for me- cheap, easy, works. Holler if you need pics- for me it was a simple, affordable solution. I added a winch up front on an angled mount that I had a welder fab up for me.

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Thanks. Pics would be helpful.

I have seen hitch receiver extenders. Extra 8-18 inches. Do these work?
 

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I made this to extend my trailer tounge it comes on and off with ease. Hundreds on miles with no issues. It adds a few feet.

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Thanks. Pics would be helpful.

I have seen hitch receiver extenders. Extra 8-18 inches. Do these work?
They don't change the way the trailer backs, just give you more room between load and bumper, usually for use with campers etc. the issue with short trailers is the distance between coupler and axle

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They don't change the way the trailer backs, just give you more room between load and bumper, usually for use with campers etc. the issue with short trailers is the distance between coupler and axle

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Thanks. That makes sense. I guess I'll just learn to be a better trailer backer-upper. Sadly I was not born with that gene though :(
 
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