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  #1  
Old 06-14-2004, 04:56 PM
killerd killerd is offline
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Convert Travel Trailer to Houseboat

My plan is to take a 20' used travel trailer, remove the suspension, etc and bolt it onto the deck of my 28X8 pontoon boat, leaving ~8' to relocate controls to a bridge/front porch area. Boat is rated to hold 2850lbs so with removing current seats, etc, i figure as long as I keep the trailer under 3000lbs I'll be ok. But what do I know! Anyone see flaws in my plan?
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  #2  
Old 06-15-2004, 04:05 AM
kapnD kapnD is offline
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Sounds, awesome, I can picture and airstream with a Lycoming pusher prop rig on the back.
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Old 06-16-2004, 01:42 PM
Alan1234 Alan1234 is offline
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Two areas of concern. The biddgest short-term concern would be stability. The biggest long-term concern would be maintenance.

Looking at the first issue - The trailer, having sides and a top that are likely to be heavier than those normally found on enclosed pontoon boats, will also have a vertical center of gravity that is higher than the previous hull was designed for. Since you don't have a detailed weight report for the travel trailer, you will need to do somewhat of an inclining experiment on it.

Picture this: Trailer wheels and undercarriage have been removed. Take a piece of 4-6 inch pipe, and remove a lengthwise sliver that encompasses 90 degrees of the pipe's circumference. This pipe (as long as the bottom strait edge of the trailer) becomes a pivot. Drill two or more holes into the pipe and thread rope or wire rope thru the holes. The rope passes under the trailer, up the far side, and over the top back to you, standing on the same side as the pipe section. Jack up the non-pipe side of the trailer, then support the trailer in the slightly raised position with the rope. If you have a spring scale in the pull path, then you will know what force is required to just slightly roll the trailer. Combine this number with the weight of the trailer and you can find its vcg.

Second issue - Undercoat or other wise seal the bottom of the trailer. It will have holes you will otherwise never find.

Alan
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Old 06-18-2004, 12:04 AM
tspeer tspeer is offline
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Maybe you should hitch your travel trailer behind this amphibious school bus.

He's looking for crew to circumnavigate the world in it.
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Tom Speer
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Old 06-18-2004, 03:55 AM
Kevin Lester Kevin Lester is offline
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You need to remember all the weight of crew and provisions. Also consider the huge wind force on the sides of the trailer. Not only could the wind induce capsize but you may find yourself being 'blown' where you dont want to go.
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Old 06-22-2004, 05:19 PM
killerd killerd is offline
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Thanks

thanks for the advice. I figured I would need CG front to rear, hadn't really thought about higher vertical CG. I found one example where this was done, but it was a small trailor on a large platform, not a full side to side like I envision.
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Old 06-22-2004, 11:47 PM
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PAR PAR is offline
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The first thing I'd do is weight the travel trailer. Take it to a grain mill, land fill or any where a drive on scale is available and get a weight. Then remove what you plan and weigh each piece after it's come off the thing, subtracting this from the weight from the scales. I think you'll find the travel trailer is much heavier then you believe and you'll need larger or additional pontoons to support it.

CG location and stability would be my next concern.

Travel trailers aren't known for their world class construction methods and techniques, having me wonder if the thing would come apart father from shore then you'd care to swim back too, if hit by anything other then glass like wind and water.

Frankly, I think you'll do more engineering trying to address travel trailer into boat issues, then the construction of a new boat using travel trailer equipment (sinks, appliances, shower stalls, etc.) which isn't well suited to life on the water, but can be made to do in a pinch.

When a travel trailer breaks down, you can call AAA or thumb a ride to a gas station. This isn't as easy a thing when playing in the wet stuff, as you will not drown waiting for the AAA truck to show up at your rear bumper, but can when in the environment you envision for this thing . . .
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Old 06-24-2004, 04:50 PM
killerd killerd is offline
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Valid concerns. I would hate to have it tipped by wind and wave. I have also thought about inspection. Would I have to have it inspected / passed by USCG?
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  #9  
Old 06-24-2004, 09:24 PM
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PAR PAR is offline
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You could tie a lawn chair to a cargo pallet and have no problems with the USCG, unless you were to take "Passengers for Hire" (charge folks for a ride) or other commercial uses, though most would question your ideas on safety.

There is a considerable amount of effort, education and skill needed to design a boat with any reasonable level of success expectations, like floating with the deck side facing up under full load, bashing into bigger then anticipated sea conditions.
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