Trucks & Trailers - Trailer mods, need advice. Drastic shortening of tongue.
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07-22-2010, 08:26 PM
Looking to buy a used KW 186. The boat and motor are just under 21ft long. Thus I need the trailer to not stick out at all past the bow.
For a new boat I've been told I can order a trailer that will be built w/ a swing tongue so the trailer will not stick out past the bow.
But I want to buy used and just adding a swing tongue to all the trailers I have seen will still leave 1ft or so past the bow. So I'm considering whether I can have the front of the trailer basically lopped off and shortened. Anyone done this?
All the trailers I'm looking at are the usual bent aluminum I-beam frame with a galvanized box tongue sticking out. The boat I'm looking at has 14" from the bow eye to the tip of the bow so I'd basically have 14" to work with for attaching the bow-stop (what do you call that thing that supports the bow and has the winch?), the stationary part of the swing tongue, and the jack. Seems like enough.
Definitely some cutting/fabricating/welding. Anyone do anything like this?
07-22-2010, 08:44 PM
If this isn't already super obvious, the first thing that comes to mind is that I highly doubt you'll get anyone to do this for you because of liability reasons.
I've done a LOT of fabricating including truck frame repairs and modifications on old Landcruisers and Toyota trucks ... never anything larger. The reason for that is larger trucks and trailers ... the frame is actually part of the suspension system. If you ever watch a full size truck off road, or a boat trailer bouncing down a road, you'll notice that the frame bends and twists with the ride.
Ever wonder why full size truck frames and large trailers never have anything welded to it? They are either bolted or riveted ... that's because things move. And any time you put a bead of weld, that becomes the hard spot. So if the rest of the frame twists around the hard weld spot, it's going to break.
For the safety of yourself and everyone else on the road, don't do it.
07-22-2010, 09:04 PM
HFF, Full size truck frames are HEAT TREATED , that's why you don't weld on them.
Large trailers , that are made of STEEL are to big to Galvanize the whole trailer so some things are bolted on.
Large Alloy trailers , well, it's just easier and cheaper to bolt sh!t on.
07-22-2010, 09:05 PM
I'm aware of the no weld rule on large framed vehicles for the reasons you note (I'm an engineer and work w/ passenger rail car designs). You can even see stickers stating the no-weld on (alloy?) semi-trailer frames when sitting next to one at a stop light. I've made a couple of 14ft boat trailers for aluminum boats out of mild steel, all stick welded. But no real weight on the trailer there. Rigid is ok.
I was hoping to hear from others that they've gone back to a trailer fab place and had their rig reworked to their needs. Will make a few calls on that tomorrow. The weldng I was imagining would be to customize the galvanized parts that connect, via bolts, the frame rails and thingy that supports the bow (what the h_ll is that called?).
Don't fret, been trailering a while and never a problem. Other than the time a deer ran out and hit the side of my boat when I was going 60 down the road.
07-23-2010, 01:47 PM
Think lever and fulcrum...think tongue weight...think you may have a problem. Not to mention if you have to jackknife it into a parking space. If there was no space in between, wouldn't their be a concern that the boat would hit the tow vehicle?
07-23-2010, 06:17 PM
I need to shorten it when it's in the garage. The length when coupled to the tow vehicle will remain constant via a swing/removable tongue.
Spoke to a couple of trailer fabricators in FL. Both said the same thing: we'll do whatever you want by the hr. But our recommendation is to have us build you what you want and you can sell the old trailer.
And that basically increases the cost of me buying used vs new by about 1.5k vs the 500 I was budgeting to do the trailer mods. With a new boat I can have the trailer built to my spec from the start.
07-23-2010, 06:51 PM
I'd much rather have a new trailer.....but I've seen a kit you can buy to do what you want. You would cut the tongue off leaving enough beam to use to bolt/weld onto on each side. The part that gets installed is the swing-away piece your looking for. I just can't remember where I saw it, but it does exist.
I just bought a new 21CC and although my garage is 44 ft deep, I wanted the get my truck in with the boat.....I had the trailer built with a swing away and it works fine.
07-23-2010, 07:39 PM
My bad....I thought you were thinking a permanent shortening of the tongue....
Depending on how the trailer is designed, you can add a swing kit. May require some rewiring of the lights and/or brakes to add extra slack, but not a big deal.
08-13-2010, 09:12 AM
Ok, just an update. Bought a used boat and had the owner's dealer install a swing tongue. Thought I was getting something like this:
but instead they ordered a complete new tongue assembly from magic tilt which basically included the entire tongue (~6ft long) and the hinge. Was charged 160 for the part and 160 to install which I was ok w/. When I asked why they didn't just hacksaw the existing tongue off and install something like the part at the above link they said anything other than a really small light boat will stretch out the hinge bolt/pin holes over time and become unsafe (my boat is a KW 186cc, ~3k lbs total w/trailer, etc.).
Next step is to move the boat forward on the trailer. I have about 7" that the bow stop can slide forward. Will measure the before & after tongue weight and slide the axle forward if needed. Hope I can avoid that.
That should result in perhaps 6" of trailer sticking out past the bow when stored.
Now if I had just noticed that the chart plotter wouldn't clear the garage door before I backed it in for the first time.....
Sorry no pix. Forgot to do that and now I'm 1100 miles away.