Rafting Trailer Build
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  1. #1

    Rafting Trailer Build

    Hello all, I am fairly new to the forum and welding. I started about 6 months ago with a CraigsList special MIG Lincoln HD 180 welder, then I bought an Everlast 200DV to learn TIG and stick. I have been making some good progress with some small project but nwt I am taking on my most ambitious project yet and I am looking for some feed back and help from the community.

    I am building a trailer for a whitewater raft, I live in Colorado and do a lot of boating and having a trailer is extremely helpful and a hug time saver for a weekend warrior. I have a trailer currently that works fine but would like to build one of my own that is more durable and hopefully come up with something a bit different than the current option on the market and build a business around specialty trailers in the Rocky Mountain region.

    Below are some picture of my progress and design drawing that I have come up with. Some of the issues I want to address are durability, a raft trailer does not carry a particularly heavy load but they does take a lot of punishment on the dirt roads that we drive in the middle of nowhere back and forth from the river. I have had multiple problems with the hub so want to find the best components for this so looking for suggestions. I am going to make this out of primarily HSS I but I don't know what the best wall thickness should be for the various members. I want to build the highest quality trailer I can with out add cost that does not add value.

    Yes that is a wooden jig table that I have built, I had the timbers laying around from an old pergola that I built. I am going to build a steel one once I get the first few built. I also designed the table to be adjustable because my garage floor has heaved significantly.

    Also I am looking for design suggestions, the design below is based on the current trailer that I have with some improvements but I am not a designer or engineer.

    Thanks in advance for you help, I will post updates as the build progresses.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Re: Rafting Trailer Build

    "I have had multiple problems with the hub"

    what problems are you having?
    Ed Conley
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Hardwood Lands, Nova Scotia, Canada
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    Re: Rafting Trailer Build

    Only thing I can see is I'd add a gusset on the bottom of the two diagonal braces going to either side of the trailer frame from the tongue. Any chance of hitting the back of your car/truck with the corner of your tool box frame if you should jackknife it?
    Have you considered a torsion axle http://tinyurl.com/yctk8pen this is the first link I found, there are different styles. They don't bounce forever no moving parts............Mike

  4. #4

    Re: Rafting Trailer Build

    Some of them were just my own stupidity. When I first got the trailer I never realized that you had to lube them and I would submerge them in the water when loading and unloading the raft. I changed to marine grease to help with that and now I do not fully submerge them.

    I am buying an Dexter axle with the ez-lube spindle to make maintenance more efficient. The main problem I have had is I lost a wheel when I hit a pot hole on a dirt road and the bearings broke, so I want to find a more durable hub. The wheel came off while driving and passed me on the road. The hub I am buying is the 5 on 4 1/2 and going to go with 15" wheels, and I am going do with a higher quality bearing. I am not sure if there is a better option to get a stronger hub but trying to eliminate any problems. With rafting we end up on roads that are in very bad shape and literally in the middle of nowhere.

  5. #5

    Re: Rafting Trailer Build

    I don't follow on the gusset, can you elaborate?

    I have looked at the torsion axles, they are more expensive than a spring leaf and we are not worried about ride height on this model. I do have a design for one that would need a torsion to keep the deck height down.

  6. #6

    Re: Rafting Trailer Build

    "Any chance of hitting the back of your car/truck with the corner of your tool box frame if you should jackknife it? "

    Yes there is that chance, I am trying to keep the center beam of the tongue long enough to avoid that.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    CA
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    3,415

    Re: Rafting Trailer Build

    Call a few boat or boat trailer builders and ask what they are using for hub. All my boat trailers have had Bearing Buddy's on them for ease of lubrication and helping to eliminate water from getting into the bearings during launching the boats.

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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
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    1,740

    Re: Rafting Trailer Build

    About your bearings on the hub ,it sounds like you didn't have enough preload on the bearings and excess play caused it to shatter .

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    10,870

    Re: Rafting Trailer Build

    Preload on an axle bearing will kill it. Read up on this crap before you post
    "Any day above ground is a good day"

    http://www.farmersamm.com/

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    Re: Rafting Trailer Build

    Generally, you want about .0015 thou freeplay in a bearing assy.

    http://www.timken.com/pdf/10420_Whee...ent_Poster.pdf

    Trouble with the tapered roller bearings is......they heat up like any other bearing, and start to generate heat when the tolerance disappears when they've been over tightened. Then you have trouble.

    I know I'm being a prick about this, and you don't deserve to have someone climb yer azz.

    Sadly, this is the reason that a lot of vehicles are now coming with those stinkin' cartridge bearings. Nobody knows how to properly install a bearing.
    Last edited by farmersamm; 04-12-2018 at 06:56 PM.
    "Any day above ground is a good day"

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  11. #11
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    Aug 2008
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    Re: Rafting Trailer Build

    The same procedures apply to regular non-commercial bearings.

    A lot of guys will put a preload on a bearing, and later discover it's just about loose enough when it's worn in. The key is "worn in".........either the rollers, or the race, has worn.......and if you're lucky......the wheel end didn't separate from the vehicle.
    "Any day above ground is a good day"

    http://www.farmersamm.com/

  12. #12
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    Aug 2008
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    Re: Rafting Trailer Build

    I get really anal about wheel bearings, so don't take it to heart.
    "Any day above ground is a good day"

    http://www.farmersamm.com/

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    Re: Rafting Trailer Build

    Go to Dexter, and find their bearing install instructions. The castle nut is always backed off after it's been seated by torqueing. Usually about 1/8 turn on the nut.

    Look up the TPI on those axle spindle threads...........then relate it to a micrometer.........and you'll see that the .0015 end play is what's specified.
    "Any day above ground is a good day"

    http://www.farmersamm.com/

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
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    Pine City mn.
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    Re: Rafting Trailer Build

    You should put another crossmember in between your main rails right at the point where the angle braces meet the mains. With that joint right at the front of the bed it is a very critical point of the structure. That bend will make them want to twist and you need to tie them there to prevent that. I would also plate the bottom there too.

    As for wheel bearings, if you grease them with white wheel bearing grease they will last many thousands of miles. Bearing buddies may or may not help with boat trailers, but I've fixed plenty of boat trail we bearings both with and without bearing buddies. I kno w on a regular trailer they are more harm than good. You do not want your hubs completely full of grease or it will seep out through the seal then water and dirt will follow the grease under the seal causing bearing failure. When I do bearings I grease them befo re they get installed, then put the hub on and tighten the nut til tight and the hub is locked. That is to mak e sure the races are set. Then I loosen the nut til the hub is loose and spins free, then tighten til just snug then back the nut looser to the next notch the pin fits in. I've never had any significant bearing issues doing it that way.

    Jon
    Yeah, I know, but it'll be ok!

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  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    Re: Rafting Trailer Build

    I've made several raft trailers for customers and used a spec sheet from Aire Super Puma and they worked out well. All the customers wanted them with 15" tires for the bigger bearings helping out on longer trips. They have all held up well and the customers have been very satisfied.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  16. #16
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    Re: Rafting Trailer Build

    Looks like a hot dog on wheels

    "I wish I were an Oscar Meyer weiner".............
    "Any day above ground is a good day"

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  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    Re: Rafting Trailer Build

    We walked into Atwoods sometime this Winter.

    K'kins is good at spotting a bargain. Especially if it's clothing.

    She shoves me................."Look at those pants for $2.50" She ain't gonna wear them, but I gotta.

    Cheapo camo pants at 2.5 a pop.............I bought 7

    I usually wear regular jeans

    So..........all Winter I've been wearing these baggy camo's.

    About a week ago, maybe less...................I got back to jeans.

    Didn't realize that the jeans constricted the blood flow to my brain..........I got used to those baggy camo's

    So..........................I can pretty much say anything I want................I can just blame it on the jeans

    "Any day above ground is a good day"

    http://www.farmersamm.com/

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    10,870

    Re: Rafting Trailer Build

    Think I'm messin' with y'all???????????????????????

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    Three of the 7 I bought.
    "Any day above ground is a good day"

    http://www.farmersamm.com/

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    10,870

    Re: Rafting Trailer Build

    Good thing about them.........I can change them whenever I want to!!!!

    She doesn't know if it's been a day, a week, or a month Well, a month is stretchin' it. Even her nose isn't that bad
    "Any day above ground is a good day"

    http://www.farmersamm.com/

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    10,870

    Re: Rafting Trailer Build

    Only problem with those dam pants.............I've been hit twice crossing the street They don't see me comin'
    "Any day above ground is a good day"

    http://www.farmersamm.com/

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Western Washington
    Posts
    133

    Re: Rafting Trailer Build

    Those pants should show up good in Cali.... once they paint the road white
    Last edited by ronsii; 04-12-2018 at 09:54 PM. Reason: ssss

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