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Convert I/O trailer for my Echelon


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In my build thread I showed the mangled trailer that my Echelon came on, and as I'm looking for a replacement I'm curious if you guys think it would be tough to convert a standard trailer to one for a ski boat. (I'm having a heck of a time finding a used inboard trailer).  


My initial thought is that trailers made for deeper hulls should easily clear the tracking fins, and I'll need to cut out the rear crossmember and weld in a protective "cage" for for the boats hardware. Let me know your thoughts on the feasibility.  

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It's do-able, but a lot of work.

Usually, inboard trailers have a fair amount of distance (like 4 feet) between the rearmost crossmember and the crossmember directly in front of it. If your I/O trailer has its second-to-the-back crossmember too close to allow for the slope of your prop shaft, you might have to have "prop guards" on the back two crossmembers.

Using an I/O trailer on a direct drive inboard will give you too much tongue weight unless you move the axle(s) forward. I would be inclined to do the rest of the work, then experiment on different fulcrum points for the axle so that I had between 5% or 7% of the trailer's weight on the tongue. That should be around 300# of tongue weight. Don't take advice from travel trailer types of folks who like 10% to 15% of the trailer's weight on the tongue -- that's too heavy a tongue for a boat trailer.

The bunk board mounts will most surely be wrong, but that's not the end of the world. If there is a set of rollers down the middle of the trailer, I would put a 2 X 4 lengthwise down the rollers then set the boat down on the 2 X 4 with jack stands on either side to keep it level from side to side. I would pre-mount the angle pieces that go between the crossmembers and the bunk boards into place onto the bunk boards at the correct spacing for my crossmembers. I would then position the bunk boards in place between the crossmembers and the bottom of the boat. If you can crawl under the boat and tack weld the angle pieces to the crossmembers, you could then remove the boat to do the final welding. If someone else is doing your welding off-site, you could at least C-clamp the angle pieces in place where they go. If you C-clamp them, it might not hurt to drill some holes and put in a temporary screw or a 1/4" bolt and nut.

Once you have your angle pieces welded permanently to your crossmembers, you can remove the 2 X 4 that went down the middle of your trailer. That should allow your boat to sit on the bunk boards an inch or two above your rollers, which is just about right.

A safety note: If you're careful, you can lift a boat with an engine lift or two. I used one cherry picker type engine lift and one come along going to a beam in my garage. You kind of have to be creative with this. I felt comfortable crawling under my boat and trailer since if everything went wrong, my boat couldn't fall farther than the trailer. Naturally, I didn't get under the boat when it was in the air without the trailer under it.

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What kind of trailer budget do you have?  There are a lot of cheaper alternatives than a custom trailer.  There are universal inboard trailers available for a lot less.


Something like this should work for an echelon - figure $3200 or so

ShoreLandr SLIB33B



Edited by oldjeep
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