Harbor Frieght Trailer modification

Much has been written about Harbor Freight trailers.

But wanted to add my two cents…

Link below will bring you to what I ended up with.


Looks Awesome!
My next trailer is going to be that size HF trailer. Gonna set it up so I can pull it behind my Gold Wing! Really liked how you extended the tongue. Great work!

If you live in Nokomis,
I think I’ve seen you on the road! I’m in Venice

U-Bolt for tongue?
The u-bolt attachment of the tongue with the bent piece looks a little weak. Something like that bending at all makes it seem under-engineered, not over-engineered.

Great job on making stuff though. It’s good to see people still taking initiative and making things work for them the way they need them to work. Much better than buying a 3x the price special made trailer.


A similar thought

– Last Updated: Jun-27-12 6:02 PM EST –

Actually, I'm not too worried about that bent backing plate. It's bent about as far as it can go, and there's virtually no tongue load, and what tongue load there is stresses the the rear U-bolt much more than the front one. Still, I'd replace it with something a bit heavier. You might have to spend $5 at the hardware store to get a piece from which you can obtain the 15 cents worth of steel that you need, but I'd do it, and maybe even add one or two more clamping attachments too (personally, I weld everything, but for people who can't, "more is better" is good advice when it comes to improvised connections like these). Sometimes, "trailer" and "loosening bolts" are practically synonymous.

The thing I noticed that's a bit worrisome is those two 2x6s standing on edge. They seem to have a bolt right through them edge-wise, but the flat edge of the frame they are bolted to is very thin metal and will have some "give" if the wood pieces decide they want to tilt one way or the other, and in any case, you are asking a very small contact surface to resist such tilting so even the softness of the wood will allow easy tilt of those boards. The crossbars across the top will only add a similar degree of support (just a little) against tilt. However, attaching another 2x6 "face-wise" across the ends of the existing boards, both at the front and at the back, would turn the whole boat framework into an extremely rigid unit with no ability for the individual components to flex relative to each other or to the trailer. It will even make the trailer more rigid. Stand on one corner of the trailer right now while it is hitched to your car and notice how much the frame twists, corner to corner. Do it again after attaching these extra boards, and you will see that the whole trailer will be considerably stiffer in torsion. All this extra rigidity would be excellent insurance against various connections tending to work themselves loose as the trailer bounces on a long trip.

Those are just some easy improvements to what's basically a really nice job. Not many people mess with making their own stuff anymore.

Beef it up just a bit
A few simple things will make it mo-betta.

The trailer itself flexes a lot unless you add a 4 by 8 sheet of plywood. 3/8 inch is probably enough to help that AND it protects the boats a little from anything that might get kicked up from the trailer tires (mud, gravel, etc). I used 3/4 inch and gave it a few coats of an oil based paint and I cut it so the trailer can still fold in half – which I never do.

I would highly suggest the weld on the tongue extension and some support for those upright 2x6 boards. You can add a lot of support without a lot of cost or weight.

The strap setup is also odd. With the Thule bars, you don’t need the large eye bolts. From the buckle, the straps run over the kayak, under the bar at the middle of the trailer, back over the kayak, under the bar on the outside of the trailer and up through the buckle. If the boat overhangs the bars a bit, you’ll need something to ensure it doesn’t work it’s way off the end of the bar – Thule probably makes a special endcap for that. The eye bolts are probably okay for backup lines or bow/stern lines.

You probably also need a red flag on the back of longest boat – check you state or local laws for those kinds of requirements.

Just a few ideas to kick around…


Yes live in kingsgate club