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Old 19 March 2012, 10:11   #1
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Trailer Mods, advice please

Dear Forum

A little advice please from the experts please.

I have been looking at where to store the boat recently as since number one son has now got a car the space on the drive is a bit tight. I have just been offered a lock up garage around the corner for a very reasonable rate. Problem is that the garage is only 17 feet long and the boat including trailer is almost 20 feet long.

Thought that I might cut three feet off of the draw bar, just in front of the winch support, and have a piece of box section made up that fits snuggly inside both pieces by about 12 inches, permantly bolt it the detached (front) section and then have a couple of bolts that can quickly reattach the detached piece back onto the main trailer.
As an added bonus, if I take the detached section away with me it makes a pretty good anti theft device.


A few questions arise:

1 Have I read somewhere that the law insists that the main draw bar must be in one piece? Not too worried about this as I only tow it about one mile but interested to know.
2 What size bolts would you think 10/12mm, stainless with Nyloc nuts?
3 Anyone know where I could get about 2 feet of box section made up in the Fareham area as sods law says it will be an odd size and it must be a snug fit to avoid bending or twisting?
4 Anyone out there done this or something like it before and offer any advice?
5 Anyone got any better ideas?

Regards

Andy
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Old 19 March 2012, 12:07   #2
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Why not use a hinge on the draw bar? I have one, they make them for trailers over here. Not sure what brands might be available in the UK tho.
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Old 19 March 2012, 12:20   #3
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Fulton makes the foldable draw-bar as a bolt-on or weld-on kit.

I've seen tongue extenders similar to what the OP was describing; generally consisted of a telescoping section mounted under the original drawbar. Not, I suspect, intended for on-road use, rather as a means of keeping the tow vehicle dry.

I do seem to recall someone doing the co-axial extension arrangement, but have no details on it. If it were me, I'd weld a collar around the cut of the outer piece (to keep it from tearing), and use pretty beefy stock for the inner (may have to be fabbed up, depending on what size you have available.) 3 or 4 hitch pin type through-bolts (like these) would do the trick, assuming you were incorrect about needing a single-piece drawbar.

Luck;

jky
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Old 19 March 2012, 15:52   #4
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Andy

Assuming that your trailer is not braked, or has no brake system fitted? If so, and like jyasaki says, if it's legal, then a mod like this would be fairly easy to do. As long as the outer section or female part of the joint is strengthened or strapped properly then you would only need one drawbar pin like the one in jyasaki's post. We make and repair extendable legs and drawbars on machinery quite often. What size is the original drawbar?
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Old 19 March 2012, 16:32   #5
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Hi Andy

The guys are talking about one of these:



I'm fairly sure I've got one munging about somewhere. Drop me a line with your address (I'm in Fareham too) I'll happily swing by and give you some advice and pointers. I've got a service to do in Stubbington first thing and then I've got a re-build to do in Park Gate, but I can bimble by after that, if you'd like? You never know, I might have an idea that'll end up costing you nothing!

All the best
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Old 19 March 2012, 16:52   #6
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OK nobody likes a smart-arse
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Old 19 March 2012, 17:29   #7
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trailer mod

Trailer guy, no one has answered the question on if a trailer draw bar must be one piece (not cut and bolted together) do you know the answer?, also the hinged bracket you showed is this legal for road use, as i have the same issues with mine.

thanks for any help, Trevor
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Old 20 March 2012, 03:42   #8
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Thinking about it, alot of trailers we come across in the agricultural sector have extendable drawbars with several holes and a pin for adjustment and theres nothing to say that it's not legal!! Also lots of boat trailers have drawbars which can be adjusted to the boat they are carrying as the main drawbar is only bolted or clamped into the A-frame or main body of the trailer. Surely if it was a safety issue then trailers would have to be welded together or made to be used as they are and not adjustable?

Maybe if it was modified then it would have to be done professionally, so the liability falls on the company doing the work! That's why we pay s for insurance I suppose!

What thinks ye Trailer Guy?
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Old 20 March 2012, 04:03   #9
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I had my old draw bar cut, and a pin system so that it could be removed - i never had a problem with it, and it was done by a trailer company - so guess it must be ok.
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Old 20 March 2012, 04:35   #10
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Hi Gents


I don't believe there's any stipulation regarding trailers having a fixed drawbar. I had a quick scan of the trailer braking directive (71/320/EEC) and couldn't find anything in that.


Additionally, I used to sell plenty of Brian James Micro T, mini car transporters, which had folding / lifting drawbars to save on space.


I think if you have a type approved trailer (unlikely in the UK, as this stipulation is still being phased in - any saddos out there, like me, have a shoofty here for more details: Trailer Type Approval ) then you probably shouldn't muck around with the design of the trailer.


However, if you have a trailer manufactured by a company in the UK (that has now fallen outside of it's warranty period) I don't think it's unreasonable to make modifications as you see fit. Where do you draw the line? You have to go back to the manufacturer to have a spare wheel fitted? Or that really nice ally box you had fitted retrospectively has now made your trailer illegal because you drilled some holes through the chassis?


I appreciate it's not quite the same as fundamentally changing the design of the trailer and adding a folding drawbar, but you appreciate my premise, I'm sure.


So legally? I can't see anything that says you can't (perhaps Mike at SW Rib, or the other trailer chap on here knows differently? I'd appreciate any input you guys may have).


Is it safe? Absolutely, if you know what you're doing or have someone do it that knows what they're doing.


All the best

PS. Andy, if you want a chat, feel free to drop me a line - 07921 853190
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