Monday, June 25, 2012

Axle work

I started work on the axles to haul the hull to the launch site. The front axle for the hull will be a steering axle, and the rear will be a dual wheeled axle.

The reasons for sitting the hull on axles vs having it hauled by a commercial boat hauler are a few. The main reason for going this route are that I had two boat haulers look at the job and both did not want to make the trip down my driveway. Our driveway is fairly steep, greater than a 30% grade, and paved with gravel. For a truck pulling a heavy trailer, getting up it is also a challenge as the truck drive wheels will spin in the gravel and rubber gets torn off. The other reason for using a home made dolly to haul the boat is the clearance I have to have getting under a highway over pass. The over pass measures 16' exactly, and as the boat sits on the cradle she measures 15' 11". Putting her on a trailer would raise her up over 16' and would require me cutting off the bowsprit handrail. Another reason for not using a commercial hauler is that I built the boat in the barn backwards. I should have built her bow forward pointing out the door. Getting her out of the barn will still require a dolly of some sorts given my ass backwards way of building her, so I might as well leave her on the dolly and haul her to the launch site myself. Why did I build her in the barn backwards? I have no idea, but I can't cry about it now.

Getting her on the axles has run into a snag. I've finished the front steering axle, and it's ready to go under the boat. My plan is to jack the hull up, sit the hull on to the  steering axle, then fabricate some stanchions to hold her steady. I'll then weld some two "D" rings to the hull and two "D" rings to the axle and use some chains and binders to hold her fast.

I had to fabricate a hitch/steering arm to make the front axle work the way I want. I used some 3" schedule 80 pipe for the hitch arm, and fabricated a pivot joint using 1 1/4" round stock and thick walled tube for bushings. I bored the tube on the lathe to .005 over the pin diameter to make things fit a little easier. The hitch arm will swing left to right, and by welding an arm to this and connecting that arm to the linkage on the steering axle, the wheels will "steer" and follow the hitch arm. Because I have to connect the hitch arm to the haul truck, I welded another pivot point turned 90 degrees to the steering pivot to allow the hitch to also move up and down. Basically, I created a home made "U" joint. Once the hull is out of the barn and I can figure out how long the up and down part of the hitch needs to be, I'll join the two together. Right now the hitch arm is about 4' long.

The snag I ran in to has to do with the dual wheeled axles for the rear. A friend gave me the axle but once I saw it up close I knew I did not want them in the shop as they were. This is a pretty old axle and it  had two piece wheels that were in bad shape and what I viewed as very dangerous. I called the tire shop that sells me equipment and they told me they could get me some used wheels and rubber that would be safe and make the trip to the launch site. When one is working on two piece wheels, the wheels should be place in a steel cage in case the lock ring on the wheel fails ( the two piece part of a two piece wheel) and blows apart. The mechanic at the tire shop must not have followed this practice as the wheel lock ring came off of the tire and hit him in the leg with enough force to break his leg. He's lucky he still has his leg, and even more lucky he's alive. The tire shop is still going to finish the job and has promised me I can pick it up mid week. Once in the shop with newer radial wheels and rubber, I'll have to put a bearing and race in one side, and after that I can get the hull off of the cradle.

Getting her off of the cradle pretty much means most work on the hull is finished until she gets to the launch site. Once off of the cradle, my main focus will be to finish the wheel house and salon. There's really not much more I can efficiently do to the hull so having her remain on the building cradle makes no sense. It will be easier to get her off of the cradle with the barn free of the wheel house so I'm holding off on starting that build until the axles are in place. Also, once the hull is on the axles, she'll be sitting about 18" out of level in regard to the water line, and I don't want to be working on her in that position.




  1. How much do you figure the boat weights now Conall?

  2. Three axels going to be enough?

  3. I only have two axles. Single wheel steering axle on the bow, dual wheel on the rear. On a daily basis, I have single axle dump trucks leaving the gravel pit loaded to 40k. Those loaded trucks run hundreds of miles at highway speeds carrying that weight. I'm going to be moving the hull at a much slower speed. I have decent rubber on the wheels, and both sets of axles have new bearings in them, so all in all, my equipment is decent. The haul is about 12 miles so I think I'll be OK. I guessed 35k for the hull weight, but it could be less, or it could be more. Honestly, I think she's a bit under 35k. I'm still nervous. I'll be doing the move during business hours so if I have a problem, help is only a phone call away. Boats look a lot heavier than they are.

  4. Can you weight your rig w/o the boat and afterwards with the boat loaded? There's a pit just up the road from me and I'm hoping to be able to do that too.

    Good luck with the move. Looking forward to seeing the "whole" boat out in the open! :-)

  5. Rick,

    I knew what the steep package weighed when it showed up at my shop. I can measure the wheel house steel and figure it's weigh per square foot, back that out of the delivered weight of the steel package, then take a guess at what I've added in regard to lumber and equipment to get a good guess at the weight as she sits.

    The best method to weigh your boat set up for cruising is to measure from known points down to the water line. The designer should be able to tell you what the displacement is once you know where it sits relative to the drawn water line ( DWL ).