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Thoughts and opinions?


dnewton
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What is everyone’s opinion of a set up like this? I built the rail system and carriage for a friend of mine. He didn’t choose the “push/pull” style winch and just got a standard unit, so it lacks in that area a bit. Still totally manageable and functional. Obviously the garage is a decent chunk of change, but the rail system, carriage and winch installed totaling a bit less than 10k seems rather doable for most ski sites. I guess I’m just looking for some feedback from people that use their boats often. Thanks, any input or dislikes would be appreciated. usfnyirgeo6h.jpeg

 

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My father built our rail system, carriage and the garage itself for our 1963 Glastron. He aquired a winch used to pull planes in and out of hangers. Gravity took care of the ride down the tracks as the floor of the garage was 7' above the water. Tracks were made from galvinized farm irrigation pipes with discs used to plow as feet for the pipe legs holding the tracks. A brilliant build as the entire system could be taken out of the lake for the winter via pins holding the pipes together. Old farm equipment made up most of the carraige as well. The only down side was a cotter key that kept the winch and motor tied together. It would snap if the cable ever got slack do to the carraige wheel catching a pipe joint on the way down. Cable would snap tight, key would break and gravity would send the boat down 20'+ of rather steep track. Sort of a splash and boom all at the same time. But man did it all keep our boat pristine for decades...5 of them.

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@Than_Bogan sorry I couldn’t find a video, I must of deleted them. Here are some more pictures to give it some more detail.

@jjackkrash what do you mean by fouled? Damaged I assume? All summer being submerged underwater the rust isn’t nearly as bad as one would think since it’s not being exposed to as much oxygen as if it was constantly in and out of the water. When water temps get close to freezing, the owner puts a sump pump in to keep the water from freezing and causing damage.

The second one for his pontoon even went better. There are still a few improvements I would want to make on the next one.

 

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Materials and labor....thats probably a pretty good price, especially to be paying someone else to do it.

 

While I like the system, and would likely do it just because its cool if I had the money. I'm not sure I see a great benefit over just having garage doors on front and back of garage, paving a ramp, and just pulling in and out with your truck.

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@ScottScott Yes, I totally agree. That was the customers plans, but he couldn't get the elevations correct without sending all of his run off water into his garage/boathouse.

 

@MS yes, I think I would just pour a slab and put a car port on it. I would love to stop wiping my boat off upside down.

 

With a standard lift, you're limited in travel of the carriage. I have to pull my boat out if we get a heavy rain. It would be so awesome to know it is under a nice structure and is not going to float away.

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@dnewton there is always a limit of course - but many lifts have ~50" of lift travel and 50" of leg extension, so if you pick an area that starts out ~2-3 feet deep, adjust the leg extension out 1' and set the depth of the lift to there - now you have a foot you can drop it if you get a draught, and you can go up another 3'+ by extending the legs and still get the boat ~50" up to secure it under a canopy.
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After messing with lifts for 20+ years, I would never go back...unless I had to of course. If I was building new though, I would make more room on both sides of the boat and a little more gradual slope. I do take the rails that attach via pins to the seawall out of the water for the winter. No degradation noticed in the 6 years I’ve had it in the water. I have a powerful fan mounted to the ceiling above the windshield for drying the boat out.

 

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My setup is on a river with a significant current, especially during high water. I just wash the tracks off with a hose when taking them out for the winter. Some folks drop everything to the river bottom for the winter, but I've seen ice gouge the bottom and move them quite a distance.

 

I also clean out the tracks with a long pole with a machined end to fit into the "U" channel, as sand and small rocks often collect in the channel which hinder the wheels rolling smoothly. I've heard of zebra mussels collecting in the tracks causing issues at some lakes in Wisconsin.

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A guy down the lake a bit from me used to have a rail set-up that he built very cheaply and it worked quite well. The rails were just joints of 3" or so oilwell drill pipe welded together end to end and a connecting framework. The transport was just a boat trailer riding on rims with no tires mounted. Can't remember what he did for supporting the front (tongue) of the trailer.

 

For a winch system, all he had was a half or 3/4 hp 220 v electric motor controlled by a reversing drum switch coupled to a 40:1 gear reducer which drove a winch drum via a simple chain drive system. The whole winch system probably cost no more than a few hundred bucks to cobble together. I can probably dig up some pictures of the system if anyone's interested in seeing how it's put together.

 

They later converted the boathouse half of that cabin into a TV room so the system was decommissioned. I got the winch system and installed it into my boathouse. New environmental regulations prohibited me from installing a rail system or pouring a concrete slab or tracks down the beach into the water so my boat has to roll over the beach which is comprised of coarse sand, gravel and some rocks instead of riding smoothly down rails. Because of this, and a number of other reasons such as my boat being heavier, I had to upgrade to a more powerful electric motor and change the chain drive sprockets on the gear reducer and winch drum to make the winch spool faster but now the system works very well for my situation and it's very easy to push the boat out of the boathouse and lower it into the water with the winch and to winch it back up into the boathouse at the end of the season to ride out the winter in a nice sheltered and secure environment.

 

Because the beach is soft in spots and there are some rocks and things the trailer must ride over, I had to engineer and have fabricated a special dual baloon tire system for the tongue jack. Below are some pics of it before I spray painted it with Tremclad to prevent it from rusting. I just purchased a standard cheap tongue jack with a single narrow solid tire and modified it as shown below so it could easily roll over rocks and soft spots. The tongue jack didn't cost a lot on sale and the materials and welder/fabricator's labor didn't cost much more than around $125 all in I think. It may have even been less than that. If anybody's interested, I can provide a copy of the engineering sketch I gave to the fabricator and was all he needed to build exactly what I wanted. Just PM me for it.

 

If I ever need to trailer the boat anywhere, I simply remove this modified tongue jack and swap in a standard tongue jack which can be swung up and locked into towing position. This one can't for obvious reasons.

 

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