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  1. #1
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    Default 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.

    Trailer 1.jpg

    Trailer 2.jpg

    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.

    trailer 3.jpg

    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.

    TRAILER 4.jpgTRAILER 5.jpg

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Boat trailer conversion to utility trailer

    TRAILER 6.jpgtrailer 7.jpgtrailer 8.jpgtrailer 9.jpgtrailer 10.jpg

    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.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Boat trailer conversion to utility trailer

    Quote Originally Posted by ajrunke View Post
    TRAILER 6.jpgtrailer 7.jpgtrailer 8.jpgtrailer 9.jpgtrailer 10.jpg

    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!!!!

  4. #4
    Senior Chief Petty Officer badkins50's Avatar
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    Default 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


  5. #5
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    Default 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.

  6. #6
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    Default 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.

  7. #7
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    Default 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!

  8. #8
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    Default 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.

  9. #9
    Petty Officer 1st Class not enuf toys's Avatar
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    Default 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


  10. #10
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    Default 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.

  11. #11
    Rear Admiral lncoop's Avatar
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    Default 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)

  12. #12
    Senior Chief Petty Officer badkins50's Avatar
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    Default 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


  13. #13

    Default 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).

  14. #14
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    Default 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.

  15. #15
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    Default 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.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Boat trailer conversion to utility trailer

    I had this problem, finally took hooked to tree with chains, slowly pulled forward. Came right out.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Boat trailer conversion to utility trailer

    trailer 11.jpg
    trailer 12.jpg
    trailer 13.jpg

    Still working on getting the trailer hitch out. I had it chained to a tree in the front yard. I had a guy on a bike across the street stop and watch. I think he thought I was attempting to take down this 3 foot wide tree with my truck. No luck. I'll get some penetrating spray and a sledge hammer, then chain it to the tree.

  18. #18
    Rear Admiral lncoop's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boat trailer conversion to utility trailer

    Nice job man. That's really sharp.
    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)

  19. #19
    Chief Petty Officer '78 Crusader's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boat trailer conversion to utility trailer

    Let me get this straight....you converted a boat trailer to a flat bed trailer so you can haul a Boat?????

  20. #20
    Rear Admiral lncoop's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boat trailer conversion to utility trailer

    Quote Originally Posted by '78 Crusader View Post
    Let me get this straight....you converted a boat trailer to a flat bed trailer so you can haul a Boat?????
    It's an inflatable thing. Rubber boaters march.......I mean float?......to a different beat. I brought home an old hideous 4x8 utility trailer and camper shell from my grandfather's (Patcho) back yard. I married the two in my garage in a wedding that would have made Dr. Frankenstein green with envy. I painted the whole thing OD, then my daughter drew patterns on it and wrote T or B (tan or black) in each one. I went behind her with a spray can of each. The end result was a feat of southern engineering the likes of which the world has never seen. Patcho was a southern engineering virtuoso of legendary acclaim and is undoubtedly still laughing about it in heaven. My river raft and accoutrements live in it, so whenever I want to do a float trip all I have to do is throw in some camping gear and firewood and hit the road. Occasionally I'll bring it up from the back yard and leave it in the driveway for a couple of days just to make the admiral happy. Still trying to decide whether to paint the camper shell, and if so what color. Sorry for the hijack aj. Just trying to defend you from the unenlightened.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    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)

  21. #21
    Chief Petty Officer '78 Crusader's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boat trailer conversion to utility trailer

    Incoop, you're a trip man...lol. That is one fine peice of redneck engineering if I've ever seen one.

    Thanks for the "Enlightenment" bro. Lol.

  22. #22
    Rear Admiral lncoop's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boat trailer conversion to utility trailer

    Quote Originally Posted by '78 Crusader View Post
    Incoop, you're a trip man...lol. That is one fine peice of redneck engineering if I've ever seen one.

    Thanks for the "Enlightenment" bro. Lol.
    Thanks man! That's a compliment coming from a Texan! Hope you're not being impacted by the fires.
    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)

  23. #23
    Chief Petty Officer '78 Crusader's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boat trailer conversion to utility trailer

    Quote Originally Posted by lncoop View Post
    Thanks man! That's a compliment coming from a Texan! Hope you're not being impacted by the fires.
    Lol..

    Nope fires in my parts though it is very dry....... crispy dry which is ripe for fires. Good thing I'm heading to the lake this weekend..... the only fire that can get me out there is on my boat and lets hope THAT doesn't happen. Lol.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Boat trailer conversion to utility trailer

    Quote Originally Posted by '78 Crusader View Post
    Let me get this straight....you converted a boat trailer to a flat bed trailer so you can haul a Boat?????
    Yeah, don't you love the logic behind that? Lol.

    An inflatable is a different beast. Plus with the camping I do, I can use this trailer to haul other items! it's a win win.

    Quote Originally Posted by lncoop View Post
    Sorry for the hijack aj. Just trying to defend you from the unenlightened.
    No problem , converted trailers fit into this thread, plus one as interesting as yours needs to be shared.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Boat trailer conversion to utility trailer

    Well, after hitching up to a tree and attempting to yank it out, pounding on the hitch with a maul...I gave up trying to get the hitch out. I called a buddy and brought it to the shop that he works at. He heated it up, used an air hammer on it and still didn't budge. He then used the acetylene torch to heat it up until it was glowing bright bright orange. I was going to replace it anyway after it was heated up. After getting it orange, almost white hot, he used the air hammer again. Didn't budge. Finally we said screw it and he used the torch to cut it out. It proved more difficult then anticipated. After cutting section by section out, he heated the last sections up and finally it started moving. The hitch was on for 2-3 years. He said that his shop that sells quite a few trucks, he has to get the hitches out on all of them that come in and this was the hardest he's ever dealt with. I bought him a 24 pack and called it even.

    Getting the hitch out proved to be the biggest PITA of the whole trailer conversion process. I used anti seize gunk on the hitch this time and plan on removing it and doing basic maintenance twice a year.

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