Boat Trailer Dolly - Colorado Fishing Forum

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Old 06-23-2014, 04:27 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Boat Trailer Dolly

Anyone use a dolly to help them get their boat into a garage? My old Skeeter was no problem to back into the garage and could easily be moved around by one person manually. My new boat is wider and probably 500 + lbs heavier and is on a trailer with a 3' longer tongue (when extended). My driveway is L shaped with a 90 degree turn to negotiate. Due to the longer tongue, I run out of driveway space for my tow vehicle to position the boat into the garage. Additionally, due to the greater width of the new boat, the side clearance for the boat/trailer through the garage door is minimal (3" to 4" on each side)- so extreme caution must be used to avoid damaging the garage door and/or the boat/trailer. I had not anticipated this situation when I brought the new boat home and, after lots of maneuvering when I arrived home with it, was able to position the rear end of the boat/trailer for entrance into the garage but did not have enough room for the tow vehicle to get a straight enough angle to push it into the garage.

"No problem" thought I; I'll just hop out and detach the trailer from the vehicle hitch and push it in. Well, the extra weight of this new rig is significantly greater than that of the old Skeeter package and was a major problem to move by myself. My driveway has a slight incline to the garage and the boat wanted to follow gravity when I uncoupled the hitch. Additionally, I have about a 1" higher lip from the driveway concrete slab to the slab in the garage. The small wheel on the trailer tongue jack does not pivot easily and I had to kick it to position its direction. After about 20 minutes of making a big racket in moving and positioning the boat, I was able to generate enough momentum to overcome the 1" lip and get the unit into the garage. I do not want to have to repeat this exercise ever again. It was physically very taxing and, without a doubt, disturbing to the neighbors.

So, with that in mind, do any of you guys use a trailer dolly to help in garaging your boat? These seem to be the options:

http://www.harborfreight.com/heavy-d...lly-69898.html
This is a manual, heavy duty dolly but I'm not sure how much mechanical advantage it would have over using the trailer tongue jack. It would definitely be superior for its ability to position the trailer quietly but will it lower the effort needed to actually move the beast? Since I was able to overcome the slight incline and generate enough speed to get the trailer wheels over the 1" lip when I was pushing and guiding from the trailer tongue when I brought the boat home, I'm guessing that this dolly would work but, if the physical effort to move the trailer remains excessive, I can't envision myself continuing to do this (I'm retired) forever. If anyone has used one of these or a similar style manual dolly, I would appreciate hearing of their experience. If someone has one of these that I could very briefly borrow to determine whether it would suffice for my needs, I'd be most grateful.

http://www.trailervalet.com/shop/tra...FdNzMgod-2AAaQ
This was suggested in a thread on walleyecentral.com . This unit is manual but has a 2 speed crank to assist in providing locomotion for inclines. (Some have speculated that the manual crank might be able to be operated using a cordless drill). Brackets can be permanently mounted to the trailer but it has a quick detach pin which allows for folding along the trailer when not in use or for removal. As there have been some reports of rust and wear for this unit and to minimize its attractiveness to thieves, I would detach it from the trailer when not in use and keep the trailer tongue jack that's already on the trailer mounted as is.

http://www.sportsmansguide.com/net/c...bled+Deep+Link
This one is motorized using a 12v battery so a battery would need to be dedicated to its use- which would entail cost, storage and charging requirements (thought I'd solved my charging concerns by ordering a 3 bank charger on the new boat). I would assume that a connection to one of the boat batteries or the car battery might be able to be Macgyvered in. This unit can also have its mounting brackets permanently attached to the trailer frame but, for reasons similar to above, I would also quick detach it from the trailer when not being used and leave the stock trailer tongue jack on the trailer frame. Unfortunately, this unit is currently back ordered until late July.

There are also full electric dolly units but they are large and expensive ($1000+) and would present obstacles as far as storage so I am hoping to avoid them unless absolutely necessary. Seems like overkill for my needs. Here one of them at a very good price:
http://denver.craigslist.org/boa/4534096505.html
I just don't have the storage space to accommodate it.

I would appreciate any input or experiences that could be shared using boat dollys.

Thanks, Ratt.
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Old 06-23-2014, 04:45 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I didn't even know these things existed, they look sweet, but I have no experience with such thing. I can manually move around my 17ft tracker by myself, it takes a little effort though. It seems like this is only swapping the front of the trailer tire with a bigger tire, I guess you are also exerting your force down instead of up to life the boat if necessary. I don't see it making that much difference though I could be wrong, maybe someone one here has more experience with them. I think you need to just learn to do a L turn with a trailer behind your car
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Old 06-23-2014, 05:12 PM   #3 (permalink)
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The answer may already be attached to the front of your trailer.
set an eye bolt or eye ring in the concrete floor of the garage where the back of the trailer needs to be when parked in the garage...
disconnect the hook from the boat from the hand wench that is mounted to the trailer... freespool the line and run it down thru the front of the trailer and back to the eye ring mounted in the floor... engage the wench and start cranking, pushing the front of the boat from side to side as needed...
you're welcome!
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Old 06-23-2014, 06:11 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Is your trailer single axle or tandem? Tandem offers so much better stability in a trailer, but makes it nearly impossible to manuever by hand. I have a difficult time moving my tandem axle utility trailer by hand - even when it is empty.

I have the Harbor Freight dolly, and it works reasonably well for my Lund. That said, I think it would give you no advantage in your situation.

I had a PowerCaster for a short time to try to get my ski boat into the garage at my parents house. It worked great on flat, hard surfaces. It did not work on road base.

I think that Craigslist find is what I would jump on if I were you. It will work well for your situation.

Would a front hitch for your tow vehicle help you out?
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Old 06-23-2014, 06:16 PM   #5 (permalink)
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if it's at all possible to back it in but you're uncomfortable with the clearances... mount a ball on the front of your truck and push it in instead.
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Old 06-23-2014, 06:35 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I've got the Harbor Freight unit and it works, with some limitations. You are manually moving your load, and so you have to be the power and the brakes. Works fine for my small boat, not so well for the bigger one with the tandem trailer. For that the other choices you posted would be much better. It would be great to have the right tool for the job -- thanks for posting the links!

One thing to consider is your tongue weight. I found it a whole lot easier to move my boat around when I made some adjustments to the trailer and moved the weight of the boat back just a bit.
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Old 06-23-2014, 06:47 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Get a boat winch and mount it on the garage wall...attach a hook to the back of the trailer and winch it in?
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Old 06-23-2014, 07:08 PM   #8 (permalink)
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How do you get it out of your garage?
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Old 06-23-2014, 07:20 PM   #9 (permalink)
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1 Craigslist electric dolly.

Modify if necessary.

Why risk an injury? Cheaper than a medical issue?

2 Fasten a winch at the back of the garage to the floor with a remote control or long cord.

3 Buy a different house.
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Old 06-23-2014, 08:58 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hobiecat View Post
Get a boat winch and mount it on the garage wall...attach a hook to the back of the trailer and winch it in?

use a 12 volt electric winch. attach to your tow rig, trailor ball or a short 1/2 inch chain and hook to your safety chain attachment point, connect to your trailor light plug on your tow rig. run the cable to a pully attached to your back wall or floor, hook to the back of your trailor. push the switch and the boat will park itself. i think i would rent a concrete grinder and get rid of that 1 inch lip
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