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Boat trailer conversion to utility trailer

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  • Boat trailer conversion to utility trailer

    I purchased an 18' (from tip of trailer tongue to tail lights) on craigslist for a very nice price.

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    I wanted a 14' x 7' utility bed, but the size is difficult to find used....new trailers are too expensive. I decided I would convert the cheap boat trailer into a bigger utility trailer. No cutting of the boat trailer was needed. I wouldn't want to damage the integrity of the frame by doing so. I simply purchased some angle iron and 2x2 11 gauge steel tubing. I framed in the trailer and welded it down. I followed by adding the steel tubing as support for the boards. After welding on the support, I taped off sections of the trailer, scraped it down and applied a base coat primer of rust-o-leum to help prevent rust. I followed up with another coat of black rust-o-leum. I also added some 45 degree 2x2 11 gauge steel tubing from the front outer corners of the angle iron frame back to the curved frame of the boat to give the front outer corners of the trailer more support. The boat trailer curved in too soon so the corners wouldn't have been properly supported. They are barely visible in the pic below.

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    I then cut the 2x10s to size, used a ratchet strap to move the boards as close together as possible and then started bolting them down with carriage bolts.

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  • #2
    Re: Boat trailer conversion to utility trailer

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    Now the only issue is that the trailer is tongue heavy. I will be purchasing a wheel jack. I thought about moving the axle but at this point, I'm happy with the way it's turned out. It may be a future project. In all, stove bolts, iron angle, iron tubing, paint, wood....I put in roughly $280 in materials. It was quite a bit of work, but it still is significantly cheaper than a similar sized utility trailer. The final step is to shave down the last board in order for it to fit in the open slot. I may eventually put sides on, but it serves the purpose for now. I have a 14' JP marine inflatable boat that I will be hauling on the trailer.

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    • #3
      Re: Boat trailer conversion to utility trailer

      Originally posted by ajrunke View Post
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      Now the only issue is that the trailer is tongue heavy. I will be purchasing a wheel jack. I thought about moving the axle but at this point, I'm happy with the way it's turned out. It may be a future project. In all, stove bolts, iron angle, iron tubing, paint, wood....I put in roughly $280 in materials. It was quite a bit of work, but it still is significantly cheaper than a similar sized utility trailer. The final step is to shave down the last board in order for it to fit in the open slot. I may eventually put sides on, but it serves the purpose for now. I have a 14' JP marine inflatable boat that I will be hauling on the trailer.
      You already went this far,so go ahead and move the axle forward,you will be glad you did.....other than that it looks good!!!!

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      • #4
        Re: Boat trailer conversion to utility trailer

        I agree, go ahead and move the axle. Looks good by the way.
        Starcraft Chieftain V21 Sea Ray 210CC SXL

        sigpic

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        • #5
          Re: Boat trailer conversion to utility trailer

          Yeah I suppose I might as well do it. The only problem is the brackets are welded on instead of bolted. This makes it a difficult project rather than a simple one.

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          • #6
            Re: Boat trailer conversion to utility trailer

            Looks like you might be in luck, use the front brakets to hook back of spring to and just make a new set for fron of springs.

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            • #7
              Re: Boat trailer conversion to utility trailer

              Yeah that's a good thought. I'll have to weigh that option. It would help reduce the work and that's always a good thing!

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              • #8
                Re: Boat trailer conversion to utility trailer

                Anyone have an idea as to what I should coat the wood boards with? I was thinking of using an oil based enamel which would help protect the wood from moisture. I have a 14' inflatable soft bottomed boat and I'm looking for some ideas to help relieve any wear and tear to the PVC tubes. The enamel coating would hold in any splintering wood, but I'm open to any other innovative idea.

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                • #9
                  Re: Boat trailer conversion to utility trailer

                  im glad i saw this! i wanted to do this with an old boat trailer i had but wasnt sure how it would turn out. looks great!!

                  def need to move the axle or you will run into too much weight up front with loads.

                  if the wood isnt treated i have treated wooden floors before by putting town a light layer (spray bottle) of auto tranny fluid. yeah i know not the best for the enviroment but lasts for years
                  If you dont know how to fix it the RIGHT way dont!!

                  1996 Rinker Captiva 212 5.7lx

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                  • #10
                    Re: Boat trailer conversion to utility trailer

                    The wood is treated, though since I'm carrying an inflatable boat, I'd like a protective layer on top of the boards to put a layer between the boat and the boards.

                    The trailer turned out better than I had anticipated. It's very sturdy and though it's tongue heavy, I hauled it last night to test how it would ride. I had it up to 60 mph and didn't want to go faster since the speed limit was 45 mph. For it being tongue heavy, it rode beautifully. I didn't know it was back there. I slowed down rapidly to test; no issues. No bouncing. Granted it was empty, but it was ideal.

                    I drive a 99 Tahoe.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Boat trailer conversion to utility trailer

                      You might consider something like Rhino lining. Their website indicates it's suitable for docks, so it seems to me it would adhere to PT wood just fine. Light and tough and will last as long as the trailer does.
                      Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.
                      21' Suntracker(for my girls), 16' Polarkraft MV w/ 25 HP Merc(for me), 14' Odyssey bucket raft, Square stern Ouachita canoe (finally confessed to the admiral) Cute little 2.5 Merc, 16' Purple Mad River Explorer; vice-admiral's boat, but she lets me use it as long as I don't forget it's hers. Blue Hole Sunburst; a piece of history (or a piece of something else if you ask the admiral)

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                      • #12
                        Re: Boat trailer conversion to utility trailer

                        like incoop said - rhino liner, or go to your auto parts store and they should have some do it yourself spray on bedliner that should work great and should not hurt your wallet to bad either. We did this on our 4 wheeler trailer and it worked great. Prep the before applying and we left the bottom side uncoated so it could breathe.
                        Starcraft Chieftain V21 Sea Ray 210CC SXL

                        sigpic

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                        • #13
                          Re: Boat trailer conversion to utility trailer

                          Rhino lining sounds like a good, thick coating for a first layer of protection (to protect the wood from the moisture), but on top of that why not lay a layer of marine carpet? IIRC, I read somewhere that Astroturf is a better option than carpet (slicker and softer).

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                          • #14
                            Re: Boat trailer conversion to utility trailer

                            Nice trailer? I'd be leary of putting on anything that may peel off later. I don't know how well rhino liner sticks but scraping and repainting sucks. Why not just use a transparent or semi transparent wood sealer? You could re-seal it annually in less than 1/2 hour.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Boat trailer conversion to utility trailer

                              I actually ended up going with an oil based enamel clear coat partly for cost and party for aesthetic reasons. It may be slippery compared to Rhino Lining, but I need less friction to pull the boat on/off. I put the first coat on last night and it will need at least 2 more since it seeps into the wood.

                              I'm using the boat this weekend so I will use it as is and do more coats next week. I'll maybe post a pic with the boat loaded on it. My only other issue is my trailer hitch. It's at a 2 1/2" drop and I need to flip it to give it a rise to make the trailer more level...except I cannot get it out. I've sprayed penetrating oil in every opening that I can. I pounded on it with a heavy duty rubber mallet and I cannot get it to budge.

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