Fitting an 18' canoe on a jet ski trailer

Stumpalump

Expedition Leader
Craigslist Shoreland'r trailer with title and permenant tag was bought to hual the canoe.

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I moved the winch all the way foward and test fit the canoe.

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The tires were tiny 4.80" X 12" and the springs were too stiff.

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Arch was removed from the lower two leaves to soften them up with mild heat and a hand sledge hammer. Now it will flex under the much lighter load. 1/4" x 2" aluminum flat bar was used to make brackets to raise the fenders. They used to be bolted to the lower holes and the flat bar raised them to the top of the frame.

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Now much larger tires on 13" rims fit.

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The rear of the canoe will be held up by a 4x4 covered with carpet. I recycled the jet ski bunk brackets and bolted them to a piece of 3/8" aluminum angle.

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Whenever you cover wood with carpet it's best to leave a gap on the bottom to let it breath and dry. It also gives you a place in the center to note the orientation of any brackets or holes that you drilled. I had indoor outdoor carpet glue and used staples. The trick to gluing this type of carpet is to not have any thick globs. The glue soaks thru the carpet real easy and will show thru and look stained.

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Stumpalump

Expedition Leader
The tounge will need to be longer so I extended the trailer light wires. I recycled a power cord because it was nice and thick. Once you throw away crimp connectors and go to solder and shrink wrap you will never go back. It will never fail and looks a lot cleaner. Another trick is to keep old cooler lids near the tool box. They are great work trays to keep everthing together and out of the dirt.

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I'm working on a longer tongue and front brace but here is the scrap pile next to the saw. 1/8" 4x4" box steel was used for the tongue and the C-channel will hold the front 4x4 front bunk. The tongue just got a coat of white Rustoleum brush paint for long life but it needs to dry a couple of days.

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Stumpalump

Expedition Leader
2nd coat of paint just went on the new tongue. The old tongue is on the ground for scale and you can see the front bunk bracket that was welded on. It's all pre drilled for the attachment, coupler and the spare tire. The trailer frame is all welded but the tongue and it's parts are all bolted.

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I used Rusy Metal primer on new steel. It's what I had. That primer is loaded with fish oil that's supposed to soak into dirty rusty metal. On clean or painted steel that fish oil has no place to go and floats to the surface causing problems with the top coat. The trick is to only put on a thin single coat and let it dry 24 hours. It's over 100 degrees here and 4% humidity so I get away with it. Oil based brush on Rustoleum is the best paint that you can buy bar none. It can take up to 3 days to dry between coats if it's cold and wet. You should use good Purdy or Wooster Chineese bristle brushes made for oil based paint and yes you have to clean the brushes in mineral spirits or paint thinner. Never buy low-oder mineral spirits and especially don't buy the "Green" water based crap. They don't work. The low-oder stuff will split your head with a headache and burn your throte and lungs from breathing it. Once you know those tricks it's worth using oil based paint because it's permanent. I chose satin white to match the faded but good powder coat on the trailer frame.

Can you guess where that coffee can came from?

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Here are the bigger wheels and tires next to one of the old ones. All trailer tires come from China today. No USA manufactures. I needed wheels and tires or would have used what my buddy at Discount Tires told me to use. Passenger car tires. For my application pulling thru some rocky shorelines I went with Azsun steel belted biased tires on the advise of a local trailer builder that picked these up at the wholesaler for me. Weird. I never heard of steel belted biased tires but was told they have the thick strong side walls of a biased tire but roll and absorb the bumps like a radial. Azsun is China's largest manufacturer.

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Stumpalump

Expedition Leader
Boat launches are a great place to find broken license plates. The plates are often mounted to plastic holders that break or the plates themselfs break from the force of the water as you put in and pull out. I've lost them. When the lady at the DMV gave me my title I asked for a smaller motorcycle size tag. She gave me one and mentioned that it won't break off like the larger ones do. If you get stuck with a full size plate that will be swinging in the breeze then stack up a few old plates as a backing plate. This stops them from bending and breaking. Here is my full size plate on my other trailer with two back up plates.

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Stumpalump

Expedition Leader
Bearing Buddies is a trademark. These allow you to pump grease directly into the wheel hub and wheel bearings. You only need these if you dunk your trailer under water. If not then they stick out too far and are just not needed. The trick with these is to only pump in grease until you just start to see the center being pushed out by the grease. Not one extra pump but just until it moves a smidgen. Any more grease will be forced out of the rear seal and slung on your load. All this grease keeps the water out of the hub and bearings. Other brand or knockoffs of Bearing Buddies will fail. The fit is poor so the whole thing falls off, the zerk pulls out of the cheap stamp steel center, the circlip holding the spring and center cap are not made of real spring steel so they fall out and you loose the parts and the center cap fits so bad that it does not move until you pumped a wad of grease past the rear seal. Twice the price of the knockoffs but real quality that will serve forever. This trailer had them or I would have just packed the bearings and put on a steel cap.

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Hitch couplers are adjustable. You latch it on a ball and check for movement. You don't want it tight but just a little slop like on a wheel bearing. To adjust it you open the latch and push down. This releases the bolt from the rectangle locking devise. Screw it and test it until it feels just right and moves on the ball freely but does not have excess play. The locking piece holds the nut in place but after I adjust them I use lock tight. These things will fall apart. There is a hole in the latch for putting a padlock on. All I will say about that hole is that I know guys wiser than me that won't pull a trailer one unless a lock, pin or wire is thru that hole. See the little chain and cotter pin. That goes in the hole. A piece of coat hanger wire is what I've used on other trailers.

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Stumpalump

Expedition Leader
The tongue was made long enough so it could be slid in enough to hold the spare tire. The tire will be stored under the canoe and out of the sun. A bracket from the old bunks with long threaded bolts tack welded to it will hold the tire down. Nuts that hold the spare were chosen to match the 3/4" lug nuts. The wire strain relieve is a nut, bolt and hose clamp. Trailers seem to get backed into brush and have road debris kicked up so the wires take a real beating. Two feet of slack got tucked up in the tongue for future wire repairs. The ground wire gets run all the way to the main frame.

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Front bunk and the spare tire.

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The winch, coupler and safety chains. I used another nut and bolt to keep the trailer wire coming out of the corner of the tongue. The wires can get pinched around the ball so that should keep them out of harms way.

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Winch straps are my favorite but the sun destroys them after time. I cut off the small part that rots in the sun every few years and tie a bowline to the hook.

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Stumpalump

Expedition Leader
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Prober load distribution on a trailer is 60% of the load in front of the axel. The law only cares that the load is no further back than 4 feet from the tail lights unless you want to use a red flag on the load. Thats how the tongue, bunks and winch location were determined.

Loaded up for trip to the lake.

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I had this cool spring loaded chain latch so I mounted it to come up thru the middle of the spare tire and attaches to one of the canoe crossbars. It sucks the canoe down nice and tight. The rear just got a ratchet strap for now.

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I'm desperately seeking two more of this style tie down latch mechanism. Any suggestions apreaciated.

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Ready for the lake that has a 4 wheel drive trail with some drop offs and such to see how it fares.

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Stumpalump

Expedition Leader
Last Saturday I found a jet ski trailer on Craigslist and this weekend it made down the Bartlett resivior trail to the Aqua Fria River for a day on the water.

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It worked!

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If I find the right truck box I'll cut some height out for a paddle and life jacket storage. It will mount long ways on the dropped cross bars. I'd also like to get away from using a ratchet strap on the rear. The wife loved how fast and easy it was to unload and reload. Here it is backing down to the river to call it a wrap!

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4x4x4doors

Explorer
Just a cautionary note on the multi-plate setup. Its been a few years but I got a ticket for that setup in Florida. Obviously, YMMV and it probably varies by state (and attitude of the officer). The issue was the expired/improper tags even though not obviously displayed.
Nice repurpose.
 

calicamper

Expedition Leader
Been doing boat ramp dumps for god knows how long. About every 8-10 yrs I would simply replace the flexible mount. The flexible mounts are designed to flex so the plate doesnt. Never had any issues.

The dime a dozen pwc trailers are hard to ignore for custom projects! I plan on building a light camping rig for my dad out of one at some point. Road only no off road so the flat zieman style pwc trailer would be a great starting point.
 

Amphibeast

Adventurer
Well done lumpster! Wanna fix all my crap? Lol... I'm stock piling & fabbing parts for the winter... I choose not to work in 100+ as I once did... I need a shop or garage!!!! Dig your trailer!
 

Stumpalump

Expedition Leader
Well done lumpster! Wanna fix all my crap? Lol... I'm stock piling & fabbing parts for the winter... I choose not to work in 100+ as I once did... I need a shop or garage!!!! Dig your trailer!
You have to get up at 4 AM because at 9 AM it was already 104 degrees!

I got a little done on a paddle and life jacket storage box. Gotta love Craigslist!
It was too tall so I hacked a hunk out of the bottom.

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The latches got adjusted and oiled so the lid won't vibrate and a piece of scrap aluminum angle was added to facilitate cold wet one handed opening.

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A body hammer was used to bow the bottom of the box out and the top in. It slid together like a shoe box lid and riveted. Rivits are my go to for everthing. So fast, simple, strong and easy to remove when you drill out the center. I have about an hour in this box mod.

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Brackets were made out of what should be in every shade tree mechanics junk pile. Old bed frames. They are super hard spring steel so they are hard to drill and cut. Most people pass them by because they are hard to work with but sometimes you need strong light steel that won't bend. Plan extra drill bits, cutting oil and extra time if you dare to fool with this material but once in a while it's worth having on hand.

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The trailer frame is only 1/16" boxed steel so clamping is preferred to drilling. Backing plates made from scrap was drawn out and drilled before they were cut to make handling simple. These plates could have been cut with the thin blade on a grinder just as easy.

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The paint is on and should dry fast in this heat. I can't find away to remove the last two attached images without rewriting this. If you know how please let me know.

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Attachments

Stumpalump

Expedition Leader
Here you can see the box mounted. It's high enough to clear the axle and low enough to be accessible when the canoe is on.

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Lots of room for two canoes worth of gear for when we spoon mount two canoes.

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With the whole shooting match loaded and ready a canoe trip does not have to be a planned event. Throw drinks in the cooler and go. If that helps us do an extra trip or two a year it was worth it! My last canoe was aluminum and my next one will be as well. Hopefully a Gruman 19' square back freighter if I ever find one but I'm keeping the 18. It's the best material and large enough for all the gear. Speed is a factor of length. The longer the faster. A dog or person jumping around does not affect it. If all goes as planed I'll grease the wheels and swap tires in 7 years then be good for the next 7.
 

jonnyquest

Adventurer
I'm bookmarking this one. I have a 17' Grumman that I love as well. This is a perfect setup. Very well thought out.
 
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