Suggestions Needed

Kathryn Klos

squirrel whisperer
Denis bartered with a friend for this great little trailer. We hope to make it useable for transporting canoes, and would like the advice of anyone who has done any similar trailer-modification. Would be nice if we could switch it back and forth between a canoe transporter and a trash-hauler.

Total length is 11 feet and width excluding fender is 51".

Tongue is 36"-- suggestions on how to lengthen that?

Hitch is gross wt. 3500 and tongue weight is 500.

This is a Tilt Trailer by MEB Trailer Mfg. of Walnut Ridge, AR.

And it matches my car...

Kathy
 

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Canoe Trailer

One of Cliff Jacobson's books ("Expedition Canoeing"?) has a good descritption of converting a box trailer into a really useful one. It's more designed for hauling boats many kilometers on Canadian Northwoods back roads, but you can scale it back for whatever your reality dictates. The "drop down" side bars are kind of a nice feature -- they let you get by with a light-duty upper crossbar. Though solid upper crossbars have their merits as well.

You'll probably want to weld the tongue extension onto the existing bar, and I've seen extensions that have been welded AND have bolts & locknuts. It's the Belt-And-Suspenders approach.

My trailer is an old small boat rig, with a plywood gear box built into the midsection, and the two trees on either end. The bottom crossbars are 2x10s, and the top ones are metal bars that I'm going to replace with Yakima crossbars, so I can put both kayak & canoe accessories on it (the wife & kids are the 'yakers). Someday I'll even get around to it...

Can send pictures if you like, just don't have any here at work...
 
I'm sure making it convertible will be relatively simple, and I agree on lengthening the tongue. Even if the boats would fit without it, I hate backing up with short trailers! The long tongue really makes life much more enjoyable. Plus it gives you more places to bolt stuff.
 
Kathy & Denis,
take a trip to a marina and see some of the new boat trailers with the removable tongues on them, then fab one up to whatever length you want. Longer the better, as far as I'm concerned.
Just weld up a removable rack section you can bold down in the bed, then you can convert it back and forth without dedicating it to any one purpose.
 

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I think Andre's canoe trailer is made from the same vintage small boat trailer as mine... the trees & gear box are a little different, but not by much. Same idea, different hardware store. See attached (I hope they stuck!)
 

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Andre Cloutier said:
Kathy & Denis,
take a trip to a marina and see some of the new boat trailers with the removable tongues on them, then fab one up to whatever length you want. Longer the better, as far as I'm concerned.
Just weld up a removable rack section you can bold down in the bed, then you can convert it back and forth without dedicating it to any one purpose.

Hey! The removable tongue extension is a great idea! You can store that just about anywhere, not just across the whole garage at a diagonal.

Why didn't I think of that?!:(
 
I think Andre's canoe trailer is made from the same vintage small boat trailer as mine
Nah, mines not nearly as good - that looks like it was made stateside. Beats my Taiwanese treasure hands down, it wasnt even square when measured on a diagonal! All I know is its much more fun speeding with the canoe secure behind you in your slipstream rather than hunting around on top of the car. Plus your spouse is happier since you dont bring her van back with scratches.;)
 
What about on a personal watercraft trailer?

I bought one of these that I am going to cobble up for my 55 Cartopper. I am also going to look at massaging it to carry canoes. Reading this I am curious if wiser :)D ) folks have been down this path?
 
Canerodz said:
And they aren't hitting their head on the over-wide bars you need for two canoes.

I put old tennis balls on the crossbar ends -- it makes the lobotomies less painful...:D
 
Andre Cloutier said:
Kathy & Denis,
take a trip to a marina and see some of the new boat trailers with the removable tongues on them, then fab one up to whatever length you want. Longer the better, as far as I'm concerned.
Just weld up a removable rack section you can bold down in the bed, then you can convert it back and forth without dedicating it to any one purpose.

Not a suggestion, but a question: do any of you have experience with the extension being done "the other way around," i.e. the "plain" end of the extension inserted into the receiver and then the ball extension mounted into the trailer end?

steve
 
If I understand you correctly, that would give you the length to haul canoes, but make backing even more difficult.
 
Canerodz said:
If I understand you correctly, that would give you the length to haul canoes, but make backing even more difficult.

I'm kind of spatially challenged. So, having the "pivot" several feet behind the rear of the vehicle would make backing what, significantly more difficult, marginally more difficult?

Steve
 
"Oh my god we're all going to die worse." :)

Well, maybe not that, exactly.

The reason short trailers are such a pain to back is that it takes so little force to get them to go off course. Longer tongues mean more control and you need to make a deliberate effort to make it deviate from the straight course.

Additionally, and this will be easy to illustrate, you don't want your canoes on a short trailer with a long extension up to your car. Draw it with both configurations going through an intersection. With the pivot point 6'+ behind your vehicle your boats will be sticking out with nothing but air under them. I would rather mine tracked right behind the car so that they weren't hanging out in harms way.

This is just my opinion, of course, not any kind of rule or anything.
 
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Canerodz said:
"Oh my god we're all going to die worse." :)

Well, maybe not that, exactly.

The reason short trailers are such a pain to back is that it takes so little force to get them to go off course. Longer tongues mean more control and you need to make a deliberate effort to make it deviate from the straight course.

Additionally, and this will be easy to illustrate, you don't want your canoes on a short trailer with a long extension up to your car. Draw it with both configurations going through an intersection. With the pivot point 6"+ behind your vehicle your boats will be sticking out with nothing but air under them. I would rather mine tracked right behind the car so that they weren't hanging out in harms way.

This is just my opinion, of course, not any kind of rule or anything.


Thanks. A well thought out opinion.
 
Most good canoe trailers have a 8 ft tongue this helps to keep the canoes from hitting the tow truck when backing up also you should have 8 ft between the uprights for good canoe support.
 
Gary Willoughby said:
Most good canoe trailers have a 8 ft tongue this helps to keep the canoes from hitting the tow truck when backing up also you should have 8 ft between the uprights for good canoe support.

All makes sense.
So, if I want to refit my 4X8 utility trailer to accommodate a canoe or two I need to extend the tongue by about 5'. All good to know.

Thanks
 
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