How to Build Your Own Jon Boat Trailerby Pauline Gill
Jon boats are well known for their stability and utility for fishing and duck hunting. Their wide flat-bottoms and square fronts allow anglers to sit higher up in pedestal seats which affords greater comfort and visibility as they fish. The wide flat bottom and light weight also require less draft to float, which makes them extremely easy to launch and re-trailer even without a formal launch ramp. It also simplifies a jon boat trailer building project.
Measure the length and width of the jon boat. Add four feet to the length from the rear of the motor if it has one to the front of the bow handle. This will be the trailer's overall length. The one-piece galvanized steel tube that comprises the backbone of the trailer needs to be this length.
Cut off two lengths of galvanized square tubing equal to the width of the axle mounting pads. These will comprise the cross-beams that place the trailer's weight on the tube's axle spring mounts. They should mount above the center tube with the galvanized offset U-straps. The rearmost cross beam should be 2 feet from the rear of the trailer, and the forward one 4 feet from the rear of the trailer.
Cut off two 2 1/2-foot lengths of the square tubing to support the two cross-members above them and attach the axle spring mounts below them. These two lengths will be at the same level as the center beam and parallel to it.
Drill holes in left and right square-tube sections at each end to bolt to the cross beams and in the middle to bolt on the axle spring mounts. Bolt up the axle assembly first, then the cross-beams.
Attach the entire assembly to the center trailer beam using two U-bolts per cross-beam. Face the U-bolts with the threads downward.
Mount the two pressure-treated studs to the cross-beams with galvanized U-brackets so they can swivel slightly to conform to the bottom of the boat. They should be spaced so that they are about six inches in from each side of the jon boat. Cover them with all weather carpet to protect the boat's hull finish and help it slide easier.
Mount the hubs to the axles remembering to pack the hubs and bearings with marine bearing grease. Pressurized hub covers are the best choice for long life. Mount the wheels and tighten the lugs to specification.
Attach the trailer hitch ball receiver to the front of the center beam per instructions. Also install the lighting kit per its instructions, running the long wires though the insides of the tubes to protect them. Also mount the draw winch on a one-foot section of square tube at the front of the boat. Install a short piece of wood with a carpet cover for a stop at the front.
Install hooks on the frame so the boat can be strapped down properly with web hold-downs.
- Check local, state, and federal laws for trailer construction regulations.
- Use pressurized bearing covers to dramatically lengthen wheel bearing life,
Things You'll Need
- 2-inch square galvanized steel tubing
- Square U-bolts to fit tubing, 6-inches long, with nuts and cross-brackets
- 1/2-inch diameter galvanized steel bolts, nuts, and lock washers.
- Two pressure treated two-by-four wood studs, 8-feet long
- Wheel, hub, and torsion rubber spring loaded axle kit for small boat trailer about 5-feet wide
- Class 3 Hitch ball receiver for front of trailer
- Small Trailer LED-based lighting kit
- Galvanized steel strips 3/16-inch thick by 1-inch wide
- Light duty boat trailer winch
- Never haul a trailer that has safety issues.
- Over speed and overload with trailers could result in serious mishap.
Pauline Gill is a retired teacher with more than 25 years of experience teaching English to high school students. She holds a bachelor's degree in language arts and a Master of Education degree. Gill is also an award-winning fiction author.