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Author Topic:   Has Anyone Convertred A Trailer?
george nagy posted 01-15-2002 11:47 AM ET (US)   Profile for george nagy   Send Email to george nagy  
I have a continental galvanized float on style trailer for my 18' outrage. It is really hard to get off the trailer when launching. I was considering adding keel rollers to the trailer but there are not as many crossmembers as a traditional keel roller trailer. I have read the trailering section of this website and am unaware if this has been tried or if it is even a good idea. What do you guys think?

By the way I just replaced the springs, u-bolts, nuts, bearings, and tires so I'm reluctant to spend another $1,000 or so on a new trailer.

dfmcintyre posted 01-15-2002 12:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
George -

Before going the conversion route, have you sprayed the bunks?


Arch Autenreith posted 01-15-2002 01:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for Arch Autenreith  Send Email to Arch Autenreith     

I agree with Don. Spray first and/or adjust your trailer depth method possibly (?) before converting.

I've used float-ons and definitely prefer them to roller almost all the time. If I couldnít submerge the trailer, say on a beach or somewhere, I can see that would cause a problem but Iíve never had to deal with that. I'm aware of the views of bunks vs. rollers but even with my Montauk, the two carpet-covered 2x4's I have as lateral support end up being less than 2 pounds per square inch on the hull while at rest. And I'll bet your current trailer has 4 bunks, right? I'm curious to know. Even with the increased weight of your Outrage it will still be far less than 2 pounds/inch sq.

I put in 30+ times a year and often consider converting to 4 bunks and I may do it this spring. It's far easier to load/unload by myself and I know safer. That I'm sure of and no one can tell me differently. Iím not standing in the water or balancing myself somewhere on the trailer trying to get the keel lined up with the rollers then try to swing the stern inline again after the wind, waves or current pushes it out and then cranking it up to the bow-stop. I can't tell you how many times I wish I had the bunks when it was difficult, to say the least, to load myself. Maybe with the bigger Whalers bunks may not be such a good idea. Iím not sure.

I know I'm going to stir up a hornet's nest with this comment but this is what I believe.


george nagy posted 01-15-2002 01:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for george nagy  Send Email to george nagy     
My trailer has 2 bunks (4x6) and carpeting. The carpet needs to be replaced. I'm thinking of using plastic. What is this spray and where do I get it? Does the silicone pollute?
Arch Autenreith posted 01-15-2002 01:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for Arch Autenreith  Send Email to Arch Autenreith     
There was a thread recently about using plastic on the bunks. I'll have to find that and read it. If you're talking about a relatively thin sheet of plastic to cover OVER the carpet then staple down I think that might be a good idea. Haven't thought of that. But my initial image was of seeing those hard plastic strips and I don't think that's good unless you use lotsa but then I don't think they would conform to the shape of the hull very easily which I think is crucial.

The silicon I was thinking of is in a spray can available at most stores. ($1.50? K-mart, auto, etc.) I honestly don't know about any enviro impact but I would think it's minimal. Unfortunately my 2 banger probably puts out more crap in the water in 30 seconds that a couple applications of silicon.


lhg posted 01-15-2002 01:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
George - Since I use a Continental trailer for my 25, I know the brand well. If you want to "save and convert" the trailer to keel rollers, take it up to Bob Cantway, at Cantway Trailer in the very north end of Delray Beach, on Federal Highway. He is a large Continental dealer and would know what additional crossbeam members to order for the conversion.

But if you're planning on keeping the 18 Whaler, I would trade it in for a new trailer from him. The model "CWV9", in 2800# capacity, is a galvanized vee frame keel roller model and will only cost about $1000 (no brakes).
My guess is that this would be the same net cost as converting the old one.

I've never thought those Florida style float-ons, with the two heavy timber bunks, far apart, support a Whaler properly. If you're going to use a bunk trailer, I think most of the bunk fans here agree that it should be the type with four 2x6 carpeted bunks, forming a pretty good vee cradle under the hull, and distributing the load to the large surface of the 2x6's.

george nagy posted 01-15-2002 02:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for george nagy  Send Email to george nagy     
LHG, I get parts from cantway for my continental. They quoted a price of $1,020 w/out stainless hardware (a must for me). As far as a conversion I was thinking of just adding rollers at the keel(2 on each side of the crossmembers) and readjusting the bunks & mitering to the correct angle. The cost of this will be a few hundred at most. If you look at the commercial products catalog of a few years back you will see they show trailers with roller bunks. Well anyway thanks for your input and hope to see some of you at the boat show.
jimh posted 01-15-2002 02:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I was interested in Arch's number of 2-pounds/sq.-in. loading.

Let's see how that works out:

hull = 950
engine= 350
gear = 100
TOTAL = 1400 (probably low)

To keep the loading at 2-lb/in-sq, we will need to have 700 in-sq of area.

A 2x4 is about 3.5-inch in width, so we will need a total of 200 inches of 2x4 bearing on the boat hull. That is 16.6 feet. It seems reasonable that two 8-ft long bunks could bear the hull weight at a loading of only 2-lb/sq-in.

The trick is to get the bunks to be in contact with the hull in a uniform manner so that they really bring their full width to support the boat, not just a point contact.

The carpet will probably tend to help distribute the load.

Two-pounds per square inch does not sound like much, but that is 288 pounds in a square foot. That sounds like a much higher load. I imagine a square-foot cube of material that weighs 288 pounds. I lift this a quarter inch above the hull and drop it onto the hull bottom in an non-reinforced area away from the keel. Does it make a dent?

Bigshot posted 01-15-2002 03:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Better not dent. If a 300lb guy steps on you deck will it dent? How about if he falls or jumps on it? I have seen a few "crap" boats dent from bad bunk positioning or rollers but never a "good" whaler or any other quality boat. Center rollers on a light boat like a 18 or smaller Are not necessarily needed but still help(can't hurt and help with launching, etc).

I have a 1989 Montauk with a bunk trailer. It has been on a trailer like this since 1989 and only has 2 bunks that are 3.5-4 inches wide by 10" high, no dents. I am gonna put 4x4's on it so as to lower my center of gravity and since I do not have a "V" the 4x10's are unnecessary. I am gonna rig my boatramp with the 4x10's but use center rollers. Why am I typing all this, like you guys care:) My boat is finished with the new engine...gonna go get it now.

Arch Autenreith posted 01-15-2002 03:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for Arch Autenreith  Send Email to Arch Autenreith     
Actually, I was just using two 2x4's as an example. I would not do that but rather four 2x4's (or probably 2x6's like George). 2 as close to the keel as possible and the other 2 outwards of those of course.
george nagy posted 01-15-2002 05:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for george nagy  Send Email to george nagy     
One problem associated with wider supports is friction. The more surface area contacting the hull will result in more grab. With the added factors of carpet and bottom paint, length of trailer and varying ramp slopes it may sometimes be impossible to launch. Backing the truck into salt water is a definate NO-NO!
noswah posted 01-15-2002 06:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for noswah  Send Email to noswah     

George, With my trailer I don't think it would matter if you put glue on the bunks, it would still be easier to launch a boat than from any other trailer I've seen.

I have a Sportman LR trailer which stands for lifting keel rollers. It has bunks on the sides and bunks in between the keel rollers. If the trailer is set up right, when I pull the keel roller lever it lifts the keel rollers up about 2 or 3 inchs and the boat is lifted off the keel bunks and will roll right off of the rollers. It will be balanced on one side bunk or the other and you can rock it from side to side and it will launch with no effort. Plus the trailer doesn't ever float.

There take that you bunk and aluminum guys.

triblet posted 01-15-2002 07:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
Don't forget gas: 24 gal. at 7 lb/gal
is 168 pounds.


fester posted 01-16-2002 01:51 AM ET (US)     Profile for fester  Send Email to fester     
I have a 20' Outrage that was sitting on a new Pacific bunk trailer. Was not happy with the bunks in that I had a hard time keeping my truck out of the water when launching. As a result, I converted it to a keel roller trailer with 13 rollers. I had to add 5 cross members to the trailer which I did with U bolts. Cost me about $750 plus a couple of weekends of work. I am real happy with the new set up. Boat is real easy to launch and retrieve from the water. I have bunk board guides on the trailer which really make it easy to retrieve the boat from the water.
fester posted 01-16-2002 02:01 AM ET (US)     Profile for fester  Send Email to fester     
With respect to the 2 lb/ discussion, it would appear that the weight of the boat may not be entirely uniform on the bunks. Wouldn't the stern of the boat with the motor be the heaviest part of the boat meaning that the load on the bunks in this area would be the greatest. In addition, the bunks often bolt to the frame of the trailer at a point near the stern of the boat. It would appear that at the point where the bunks attach to the frame the bunks are very inflexible and will not distribute the load as well as other portions of the bunks. The end result may be that the load at the stern of the boat where the bunks attaches to the frame may exceed 2lb/
noswah posted 01-16-2002 08:45 AM ET (US)     Profile for noswah  Send Email to noswah     

Triblet, Gasoline weighs from 5.8 to 6.5 lbs. per gallon. Source:
Taking an avg. of 6.1 x 24 = 146.4 lbs.
I've got to much time on my hands.
george nagy posted 01-16-2002 01:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for george nagy  Send Email to george nagy     
I'm going to use a longer hitch in my reciever. They sell extensions so you can lenghten at the ramp. I'm going to go this route. My explorer has been saved twice by the old (short)hitch a longer one will come in handy too. I will also try the spray as for now the boat lives most of the time in the water anyway I think I would rather put the money to a new bottom job and possibly an epoxy barrier coat. thanks!
triblet posted 01-17-2002 01:37 AM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
Note that the longer hitch on the truck side
will make the trailer more sensitive when
backing up. Smaller truck corrections will
make bigger trailer changes.


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