trailer advice

Im going to attempt my first canoe trailer and was looking for suggestions and advice on everyone’s favorite design and how far apart to put the T’s for an allagash 174.

its an old glasclaw boat trailer that i have chosen to be my base. i will post the pics as soon as i get a chance. i still need to get it home and sand it down and put new lights, paint, wheels and bearing on it. so i have a little time to discuss storage and T length and width. for right now it will be for two canoes.

my idea for storage on it right now is truck tool boxes. i purchased 2 side rail boxes and will have 2 of the full size boxes to put on the trailer.

Kayak trailer
Here is some before & after pics of my converted boat trailer made to haul kayaks. The rack is about 5’ apart to clear the cockpit of a 12’ Pongo. I don’t know if that spread will work for canoe’s. The rack is removable so I can use the trailer to haul other things.

simple yet effective. i like the storage space you have.i was origanally hoping for something like that but couldnt beat the price of the trailer i got. but so far after new shocks, toolboxes, hubs, paint, lights, rims and tires i think im around $400 and still have some metal to buy and welding work along with a few other odds and ends. i’m actually happy with the price. plus with the work i have done it is really starting to look good imo.

it is 19’ but the tonge is bent so the overall length will end up being 17’ as i will have to cut the tongue. im setting it up for 16’ and 17’ canoes and am still curious on some distances between the t’s.

i know i will have to play with it to get it right where i want it but i am hoping someone already has an idea to make this a little easier. plus i wouldnt mind seeing other pics of more trailers if you have them.

pipe racks
Rnaimio, trailer looks good. The only reservation I would have is with the lack of triangulation in the pipe frame. I would worry about undue stress on the pipes/ floor flanges in the event of a panic stop with two canoes up. Of course, I haven’t seen the trailer loaded and lashed. you may very well have addressed that issue with a stout quatering backstay to the rear of the trailer or, something compleatly different.I don’t mean to critacize,just wondering if that is a potential problem. I envy your long reach, I have to fabricate a detachable extension tounge and racks for my fairly short multitasking utility trailer.


have you spoken with your …

– Last Updated: Apr-02-12 11:07 AM EST –

....... local MVA about their procedure for registering a home built trailer .

Usually you produce all your reciepts for the intial trailer base (if applicable) , modification and replacemant materials ... and have photos of the work from original trailer to new modified trailer (home built) , plus the trailer inspected (and passed) by a state inspection shop , and of course insurance verification (binder or policy) .

These are just the legal formalities that go along with a "home built" , or substantially modified trailer .

Also I'm pretty certain there are legal consequences in selling a trailer when you have kept modifications secret from the MVA ... the purchasers may be able to come back on you and claim your modifications were the reason for an accident , trailer failure , etc. . I would not count soley on a state inspection passing as your safeguard to the purchaser come back scenario . Personally , I would register any modified trailer I made as a home built .

If you are expecting to just get a trailer inspection on an existing registered & titled trailer and not make any mention to MVA that you are modifying it (keeping it secret from MVA and insurance co.) ... I would talk to both MVA and your insurance company about that scenario to discover if any legal ramifications could result .

The "homre built" is a simple procedure and results in a "new" trailer serial # tag (issued by MVA) that you apply to the trailer .

Welding , and incorperating inside corner braces at verticals and horizontals are the best way I know of to make a fool proof strong , lasting and dependable design modification .

There are other ways such as wood and through bolts , threaded iron pipe , etc , all of which are piece assembly with seperatable connections .

As for space distance between horizontal front and rear carrying bars , I think as close to 8' as you can get is best , and side loading on an A frame is better (much easier to load) than end loading on a rectangular frame .

You can easily carry 4 canoes on an A frame design , two on each side ... or use any of the canoe carrying places for other things instead of more canoes .

If you don't understand the A frame concept , just ask , also it's the simplest and strongest . Triangles are inherently stronger than rectangles .

Some more ideas
This is for a kayak carrier but could be used for cannoes. Look around the album for other ideas.

Pipe Racks
Glazierwood made some great comments about my pipe rack trailer. After the pictures were taken and a couple of trips to the local lake I noticed some back and forward sway in the racks. I attached 2 ratchet tie-down straps to the front and rear of the racks and that helped a lot. I have the rack apart right now for a new paint job on the trailer. I plan on welding the pipe flanges to some larger pieces of steel plate so I can attach the plate to the floor with larger & more bolts through the floor. I will let you know how that works.

Rick Naimo

in indiana you cannot insure a trailer or its contents so im not worried about the insurance. also on pre 1986 trailers that do not have a vin i had to have a sherrif check out the trailer so i could get a vin number and get a title and license for it. the modifications are not very drastic so i just going this route will be easier.

the only major mods that are being done is brackets to hold the tool boxes up, T’s, and removed the rollers. but i will still take it to local and have them take a pic just to be certain.

i think the t’s will be best for me as in the a frame i would suspect wind would catch more on the long distance runs as there is more canoe for it to catch on. but i am unsure so this is something i will need to look into.

this is not my design but it is similer.

…my suggestion is not for a specific distance between supports but i suggest you don’t get them too far apart. whether that works out too be 3 ft or whatever, I’m not sure. You don’t want them so far apart you have too worry about the center sagging under it’s own weight or from a hot Sun or high day temps. the ends you can tie down like they were on a car top carrier.

good thinking
this is something i havent thought of as far as sagging. what about 3 t’s instead of 2? to help support the middle weight or is this a bad idea as it is something i dont usually see.

No need for three supports
The only way to make three cross bars work is to make the height of one bar infinitely adjustable. Otherwise there will be no way to insure full contact between the gunwales and all three bars. Not only would no two canoes be completely identical (a gap between one bar and the gunwale of a tiny fraction of an inch is the same eliminating that cross bar), many have so much curvature of the gunwales (as seen from the side view) that you’d need a LOT of bar-height adjustment just to change the support settings between different canoe models.

But that’s all moot. Do not worry about your canoe “sagging” between support brackets that are “too far apart”. It simply doesn’t happen. The only thing remotely similar to that is the sagging (hogging) of the hull of poly canoes (and ONLY poly canoes, not Royalex or composite), especially the really cheap models. However, when you see such a boat, notice that it’s the bottom surface of the hull that deforms a great deal, while the sides and gunwales do not appear to be involved in this type of deformation (which only makes sense from the “bend-ability” of vertical versus horizontal sections of hull material). Therefore, no amount of extra gunwale support will make any difference for such a boat.

Bar spread only becomes important when there’s not enough of it, and three feet is just not enough. With too little spread, the ends of the boat become levers to be pried by the wind, or even by the momentum of the boat as the trailer jolts around. If you have room to put the bars 6 or 7 feet apart, do it. A little longer can’t hurt anything. Just don’t go so long that you start supporting boats by the skinny part close to each end, but I bet your trailer isn’t big enough to go to that extreme.

well just thought i would update since i never did. and now its cold and i want to go canoeing but cant so might as well talk about it.

getting the title was very easy since it was a pre 78 or something. just punched their numbers in the sherrif came and checked it out, sent money in, and i was good to go.

i went with 3 T’s because where the toolboxes were at it just lined up perfect. i have it for additional support if glad i went with this design so if i want to upgrade 2 four canoes later i can. just weld up some more T’s but for right now its perfect.

plenty of storage with the toolboxes and glad its a holsclaw trailer. love having actuall suspension instead of it bouncing around. it made the 10 hour round trip just fine.

here are some pics and if you have any questions please ask.