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Old 18-06-2012, 15:49   #1
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Support wheel for trailer tongue

I saw an article about launching a boat from a trailer by disconnecting the trailer from the tow vehicle and using a tow rope/strap to let the trailer down the ramp.

I successfully did this this year and used a wheeled jack to support the front of the trailer. While I did get this to work, the jack support was pretty well mangled.

I did read another article about using the spare tire mounted to a rotating spare tire carrier.

Can anybody point me to where I can get one of these?

I'll take alternate suggestions, but the normal beam tongue entensions are not what I'm looking for.

Thanks.
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Old 18-06-2012, 16:15   #2
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Re: Support wheel for trailer tongue

Too scary for me. The wheeled tongue jack is mostly for moving the boat that last little bit to line the ball up.
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Old 18-06-2012, 16:27   #3
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Re: Support wheel for trailer tongue

I found that out when it came back up out of the water. I think it failed when the wheel tried to reverse and it mangled the bracket.
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Old 18-06-2012, 16:38   #4
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Re: Support wheel for trailer tongue

Have seen at least one trailer with a short axle welded to the trailer tongue and small diameter yard tractor wheesl. The guy backs trailer down the ramp, disconnects the trailer, lowers the tongue on to the tongue tires and pushes it into the water with a rope attached. Once the boat floats, he pulls it back up the ramp aways with the rope and reattaches the trailer to the truck.
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Old 19-06-2012, 11:13   #5
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Re: Support wheel for trailer tongue

Any particular reason why the tongue extension doesn't work?

Anything else and you are likely looking at custom made. Also lowering the boat trailer with a rope doesn't give you much control.
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Old 19-06-2012, 12:52   #6
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Re: Support wheel for trailer tongue

That's exactly the procedure I used & it worked great except that the trailer jack I used couldn't take the turning of the wheel & I used a 20' tow strap rated for over 20000 lbs.

The article I read indicated that it was more of a spare tire mount that the wheel rotated on the mount.

As for why the tongue extension wouldn't work, it's more of a cost thing and I have not ruled it out. Also, what I did use was just barely long enough. I need at least 7-8' to float off the trailer and I can always attach another strap.
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Old 19-06-2012, 12:57   #7
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Re: Support wheel for trailer tongue

If the water at the ramp shoals gradually, you may not have enough depth to launch until the boat/trailer are way out there. Would need a very long and really really hefty tongue extension to make it work. The boat I'm familiar with was a 5' plus draft sailboat and boat had to go out 20' or so to float. Extendable tongues are expensive in material and fabrication. Out here at the end of the world, you are looking at about a boat unit just for the square tubing for the tongue.
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Old 19-06-2012, 16:17   #8
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Re: Support wheel for trailer tongue

I have done this 2 ways. One was to bolt a really heavy caster wheel to the front of the trailer. I set it up so that it could be removed for towing over the road. I like the idea of the spare tire mount but have never seen this in practice.

The other thing that I did was to build a dolly which has the appropriate size ball on it. You hook it up to the trailer and just winch the trailer down in. The key with this is making the dolly have a big enough footprint that it won't tip over. Also, I would never want to do this on anything other than a smooth ramp in case one of the wheels caught and flipped the dolly.

You might check out the system that triad trailers uses, it is pretty slick. They have the load carried by a wheel and the tongue extension is hinged so it only takes side and fore and aft loads. Even if you don't want to do that, they have a nice system for their tongue wheel.
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Old 19-06-2012, 16:52   #9
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Re: Support wheel for trailer tongue

Quote:
Originally Posted by wbranner View Post
I saw an article about launching a boat from a trailer by disconnecting the trailer from the tow vehicle and using a tow rope/strap to let the trailer down the ramp.

I successfully did this this year and used a wheeled jack to support the front of the trailer. While I did get this to work, the jack support was pretty well mangled.

I did read another article about using the spare tire mounted to a rotating spare tire carrier.

Can anybody point me to where I can get one of these?

I'll take alternate suggestions, but the normal beam tongue entensions are not what I'm looking for.

Thanks.
In my younger days we used to set up the trailer for inboard ski boats with the spare trailer wheel mounted to a hub that was mounted as close as possible to the tow hitch. The hub was on a stub axle welded to a u shaped bracket that fitted the trailer beam and bolted on.
One backed the trailer as far down the ramp as one could, applied the brakes, disconnected the tow vechicle and reconnected using a long rope. The trailer has the weight on the spare which is free to rotate but not to steer the trailer, take the strain with the tow vechicle, release the trailer brake and allow trailer to continue down ramp.
Works a treat, easy to do both launch and recovery.
The jockey wheel is definately not suitable for the job!!
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Old 19-06-2012, 19:38   #10
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Re: Support wheel for trailer tongue

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Old 26-06-2012, 10:43   #11
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Re: Support wheel for trailer tongue

One thing I see is the wheel is TOO far aft. the closer to the fulcrum the short the lever arm, and the more force exerted. My wheel is almost to the tongue. Also that wheel is the basic undersized except for 18ft or smaller boats. They make heavy duty ones that can take twice the weight.

I had to use a chain to launch mine last weekend. I backed until the boat was mostly in the water. It only slid back 1-2 ft before it floated off, so most of the boats weight was already displaced.

I'm going to try to fabricate an extender for the next trip, I'm going to use a tongue bolted to a 4 ft bar with a ball end, and a plate stop.

I'll build it, and test it, and report back.
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Old 26-06-2012, 10:58   #12
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Re: Support wheel for trailer tongue

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=3500744878422The key is to have a large tire and wheel that is hard mounted to the front of the trailer, just behind the tongue area.It should NOT SWIVEL and it should be 10"-12"-14" if possible.
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Old 26-06-2012, 11:22   #13
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Re: Support wheel for trailer tongue

One more thing...make damn sure you are tongue heavy. That is...more weight on the tongue so the whole thing doesn't "nose up" as you make the transition at the incline of the ramp.
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Old 26-06-2012, 21:00   #14
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Re: Support wheel for trailer tongue

The jack was rated at 2500# with an 8" wheel, so it was as heavy duty as I could get and was as far forward as possible (about 4-6' from the tongue). The trailer is about 36' long & 3500#. With the boat it's around 17000#
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Old 26-06-2012, 21:02   #15
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Re: Support wheel for trailer tongue

Quote:
Originally Posted by rhr1956 View Post
FacebookThe key is to have a large tire and wheel that is hard mounted to the front of the trailer, just behind the tongue area.It should NOT SWIVEL and it should be 10"-12"-14" if possible.
The link didn't come up. Can you post the pic?

Is this something that is available? I have seen spare tire mounts with a hub, which looks like it would serve, but I can't tell for sure.
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