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  1. #1
    Petty Officer 1st Class
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    Default Extendable trailer tongue

    Here's my solution to getting my boat into the water while keeping my car out of the water. I unbolted the coupler from the 3 inch square trailer tongue and bought a 12 inch long standard class III receiver tube to put in its place. The ID of the tongue (2.75 inch) and the OD of the receiver tube (2.5 inch) didn't quite match, but 4, 9 inch long pieces of 2 inch wide, 1/8 inch thick steel made excellent shims. The receiver tube was secured in place by drilling and tapping holes for 16, 5/8 inch long, 3/8 inch bolts. The new coupler is bolted to a 7 foot long piece of 3/16 wall 2 inch steel tubing, which is inserted into the receiver tube. The coupler can be pinned short for towing, long for launch and retrieve and removed completely for storage.
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  2. #2
    Petty Officer 3rd Class
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    Default Re: Extendable trailer tongue

    Thats a cool idea.

  3. #3
    Honorary Moderator Emeritus tashasdaddy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Extendable trailer tongue

    they are already produced. http://www.xtend-a-hitchnorthwest.com/
    FLORIDA GATORS
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  4. #4
    Petty Officer 1st Class
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    Default Re: Extendable trailer tongue

    Yes, I knew about the commercial version, but the under-tongue mounting system would have required removing the "tongue rest" (see first picture) and would have been a little too close to the ground for my liking. The tongue jack in the picture was actually installed after the extendable tongue. At $70, my version was also significantly cheaper. It's not galvanized, but I'm a freshwater-only boater. I'm over 1000 km from the nearest ocean and I'm not sure I'd want to take a 14.5 foot boat out on the Straight of Georgia anyways.

  5. #5
    Honorary Moderator Emeritus tashasdaddy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Extendable trailer tongue

    i just mentioned it, as some members are not as crafty as you. you did a great job.
    FLORIDA GATORS
    TEBOW Country



    Please, NO PM's (Private Messages) regarding boat/engine problems. they will not be answered.
    That is what these forums are for. Post your questions, in the appropriate Forum.

  6. #6
    Captain
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    Default Re: Extendable trailer tongue

    Is there any sag when fully extended due to play in the coupler? Did you do anything to reduce the trailer tongue further back to make a tighter fit?

    I did something similar for a guy a few years back, he on occasion towed his boat long distance and needed to be able to fit the boat on the trailer into a car trailer along with his motor cycle and jeep.
    What I did was to find two pieces of tubing which fit snugly into one another, banded the end of the larger diameter piece for strength. I replaced the entire tongue rather than trying to find something to fit perfectly inside it. I used double hitch pins to secure it with a series of hole drilled in the inner tube.
    By not modifying the original tongue, he has the option of reinstalling it if he so chooses. His boat was only a small jet boat, about 14' or 15', so it too was a small trailer and light load. The tongue on that one was in the 3"x3" range. The new tongue was much heavier duty than the original one and also on a painted trailer so salt water or galvanizing wasn't a concern but I could have gotten it all galvanized if needed. It would have meant maybe rethinking the tubing sizes though since the coating adds a bit to the tubing ID and OD.

  7. #7
    Petty Officer 1st Class
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    Default Re: Extendable trailer tongue

    It doesn't sag noticeably when extended, although the extension tube is a bit springy. There's nothing at the back of the tongue holding the extension tube, just the receiver tube at the front. There's always 12 inches of contact between the extension tube and the receiver tube (even when extended), so there isn't much play.

    My original thought was also to find a piece of tubing that would fit snugly inside the original tongue, but 2.5 inch would be too small and the next standard size is 3 inch. I also worried about the retaining pin concentrating the towing stresses on a small area of fairly thin metal. When I saw the receiver tubes at the local Princess Auto I realized I could permanently attach one to the end of tongue and use thick wall 2 inch tubing for the extension. Basically a tow vehicle trailer hitch in reverse.

  8. #8
    Captain
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    Default Re: Extendable trailer tongue

    Usually in order to find two matching inner and outer tubes, I have to go right to the local steel mill and do some searching. It's often a mix of tubing types that gets the job done. If I have to worry about clamping strength or thin wall tubing, I'll weld in a cross tube to support the inner tube and use double pins to hold the tongue inplace.

    I had one older trailer which came from the factory with just that sort of tongue, it could be extended over a 6' range in all. It used one bolt and one hitch pin with a safety catch as a tilt. I never like the way the tongue on that trailer would wobble side to side, so I bolted the tongue fixed most of the time. I finally just sold it when I found a nicer trailer.

    I like the idea of the reverse trailer hitch idea, it certainly is heavy duty enough for just about any trailer. I was looking at a trailer which was used by the local power company to haul cable on a spool, it had a similar receiver and tongue. It took a 4x4" tongue, only a foot or so long. but it looked like it was either done to allow various types of hitches or for security reasons. (They left it on side with no tongue jacked up on stands for a week). It also had the same receiver set up front and back, either to maybe double up trailers or to allow the cable to be pulled in a different direction?

  9. #9
    Commander Lou C's Avatar
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    Default Re: Extendable trailer tongue

    I thought of getting one of the extenders, but in the end I just got a two foot longer Load Rite tongue from trailerpartsdepot.com for my old 94 Load Rite. To make sure it would not flex too much I got a piece of galvanized angle stock and used that for a second crossbrace. The OE tongue was 7 ft long the new one is 9 ft long. I also put thicker and longer roller mounts on so that the trailer fits the boat the way it should. The original length was about 20 feet, it's now a little over 23 feet long and the rear rollers go all the way to the transom.
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