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Old 03-22-13, 07:53 PM   #1
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Default rebuild of my kayak trailer

I posted my kayak trailer before, it is a Harbor Freight 4'x8' trailer with 12" wheels. This is my trailer "before" picture from a couple weeks ago before I started the rebuild.

Wasn't real happy with the short trailer, it was hard to back up as I couldn't see it very well behind the car and the short distance of the trailer wheels from the two vehicle cause it to turn very quickly, it was much more diffult to back up than my boat trailer. So Harbor Freight had this trailer on sale AND I had a 20% off coupon made it pretty darn cheap.

I put together another 4'x4' section and added it on the front of the existing trailer extending it 4' and moving the wheels the same distance away from the car. A couple problems I encountered were the "thin" metal the trailer is formed from is just fine for the regular 4'x8' trailer but extending the length made a very week joint where I added the extra secton. I overcame that by using the original tow bar and some uni-strut (great stuff) to support the front section and strengthen the joint then had some welding done at the joint. That gave me sufficient strength to continue with my "re-design"

It's not COMPLETELY done yet, today my friend brought his PA-14 over to check my "second tier". I wanted to be able to carry a couple kayaks if need be and this longer trailer will allow that. I found a couple "weak points" some we corrected (temp) today, and I have another to do tomorrow. But generally it should be fine after the "tweaks". Part of the problem was I wanted the second tier to be easily removable, as I won't need it for the majority of my trailering requirements. So I made it modular in design. Both side sections are secured by a turn buckle arrangement that pulls down and in on the side rails. Loosen both turn buckles and the side lift off easily. The top section is made from uni-strut and secures to the side rails with u-bolts. Loosen 6 nuts on each side and the top rails come off. No need to completely undo any of the hardware to take the top tier off, so I won't loose hardware, it all stays attached.

With a couple of the "tweaks" finished the second tier was pretty tight so time for the road test. That went just fine. I'm not sure about the J-bar placement - should I have the need to transport kayaks that can be carried on their side. For now I'm just happy the second tier is going to work.

I also used additional cross member from the second trailer kit to strengthen the frame and to make the cross member to support the jack stand. I also painted the trailer with bed liner paint. Will be tinkering with it some more, but I think this will better suit my needs.

It was a bit of a PITA as I assembled the additional parts through trial and error. But the uni-strut is easy to work with and has a lot of strength. Actually used a couple short pieces to make a rail mount for the spare tire under the rear section - out of the way! The original chain placement was pretty much in-line with the side rails and allow a little bit of sway. I moved them inboard about 6" as one of my "tweaks" and that tightened it up. I also had to replace the front PVC lateral uni-strut with a heavier (thicker) piece. I only used one lateral in the front to support the PVC rails and it flexed too much. The heavier bar solved that.

Ready for the test drive, that went well. Some minor things to do tomorrow, some heavier hardware that won't bend to secure the chian that holds the side rails down.

At this point I can transport two kayaks, up to TWO PA-14's and am still several hundred pounds under the weight limit of the trailer. One little problem I can't fix - just too much trouble - I "thought" I allowed enough clearance for the seat in my kayak, but I ended up about an 1" short, so I have to remove my seat when the second tier is on. No biggie, just two thumb screws to remove the seat. Way easier that cutting all new side supports and taking everything apart.

Last edited by bassboogieman; 03-22-13 at 08:00 PM.
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Old 03-22-13, 08:19 PM   #2
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looks awesum bruce!!! you did an OUTSTANDING JOB MAN!!!
so many lures, so little time.
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Old 03-22-13, 10:06 PM   #3
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Bruce that is really a great setup.
I really like the ability to carry two.

You are one handy individual!
You would be amazed how often your posts pop up when I'm doing kayak homework.
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Old 03-22-13, 10:17 PM   #4
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nice work there looks great
the only easy day was yesterday
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Old 03-24-13, 02:26 PM   #5
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You never cease to amaze!
Looks great!
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Old 03-24-13, 02:31 PM   #6
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Thats a really great upgrade Buuce. I'm very impressed!
Just one more cast, and then some!
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Old 03-24-13, 02:52 PM   #7
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I looked and looked, but I still can't find that Cadillac emblem on your kayak, Bruce. It must be there somewhere...because it is definitely getting the Cadillac treatment.

Awesome job, bud.
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Old 03-24-13, 05:17 PM   #8
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Bruce I was wondering the other day, since I always carry my yak in the bed of the truck, is there a hit to your vehicle MPG with such a small trailer? 1-2 mpg? Or is it so light as to be negligible?

Awesome work btw.
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Old 03-24-13, 06:21 PM   #9
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Bill the kayak trailer (as originally configured) had virtually no impact on MPG as I don't take my Durango (6 cyl. Pentastar) out of overdrive when I'm towing it. Now with the mods, it is about 50% heavier with two big PA-14's on board. I didn't notice much of a difference over the original configuration during the test drive, but we only went a few miles. It's hardly noticable back there. If you towed one behind your truck, I doubt you would feel it back there and am very doubtfull it would impact your MPG at all. The 4'x8' trailer with a kayak loaded is probably under 400 lbs, not enough to impact your truck at all. That's considering using 2" PVC for the bunks (big weight saver).

The other option, which a lot of guys are using, would be a jet ski trailer. You can get them pretty darn cheap. My reason for the HF trailer was that I could use it for other things than just the kayak, by laying a couple pieces of decking boards on the frame. Hauling my mower in for service, mulch, lumber, etc. Can't do that as easily with a jet ski trailer. Depends on what you need. If you go the trailer route I STRONGLY suggest one with 12" tires.
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