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Author Topic:   Trailer: Converting Roller Trailer to Keel Roller
psull posted 01-29-2002 04:56 PM ET (US)   Profile for psull   Send Email to psull  
[Sought advice on how to convert a roller trailer to a keel roller trailer.]
jimh posted 01-30-2002 12:22 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The first consideration on the trailer is the cross members. How many are there? Is there a cross member at the extreme stern of the trailer?

Generally the cross members are rectangular, I-beams, or U-channel (really C-channel). All of these shapes lend themselves to the attachment of keel roller brackets.

For boats 18-feet and longer it is probably best to plan on using double keel rollers at each cross member. This images shows the relationship between the rollers and the cross members: .

Using double brakets avoids having to buy expensive U-bolts too mount the brackets, doubles the support surface, makes the rollers work with less binding, and permits easy adjustment.

If you look carefully at the photo you will see that the brackets are mounted with the upper bolts above the cross members, with the bolts resting atop the cross member.

The lower bolts are mounted thru the cross member, penetrating thru holes that are drilled exactly in the center of the beam. This is important. The hole drilled in the center of the beam does not create much (if any) weakening of the beam, compared to a hole drilled closer to the top or bottom of the beam. (The "neutral axis" our resident Professor of Architecture LHG explained to me.)

Costs are approximately:

Bracket.....$10 Galvanized,
Roller......$27 Stoltz Poly
Axle........$ 8 SS axle
Per Roller $45

Stainless steel mounting hardware will be about $5 per bracket (or more).

You can see that it is not hard to invest $50 per roller. With 8 rollers on a boat that is a significant cost, which is one reason you don't see these offered on too many trailers.

If you are fresh-water only you may try to save some money and go with galvanized parts. Salt water users highly recommend the stainless, otherwise you'll just be doing everything over again in a few years.

The bunks can be made from some brackets and mounting posts, along with some lumber. Again, you can get wolmanized wood or go with something cheaper, depending on your expectations for use.

Actually, I am in the process of converting my all-bunk trailer into a bunk/keel-roller hybrid. I will have more to say about this process in a few months when I finish the project and take some pictures.


Bruce Graham posted 02-03-2010 01:24 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bruce Graham  Send Email to Bruce Graham     
[Revived this eight-year-old discussion to inquire about the outcome of the renovation.]
jimh posted 02-04-2010 08:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I added keel rollers as described above. I later sold the trailer and the boat. As far as I know it is still in service and the keel rollers are still in use.

This discussion has been dormant for eight years.

deepwater posted 02-05-2010 07:00 AM ET (US)     Profile for deepwater  Send Email to deepwater     
So it looks like the serch function not only works but some people realy do us it,,thanks jimh for the search function

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