Submitted: 09-30-2011 by dawulf
Last year I transported our two kayaks from Dallas to a high mountain lake in Colorado on top of a car. This worked OK but for frequent steering corrections made necessary in a cross wind with the ôsail" on top of the car. Another problem was the damage caused by the tie downs rubbing the cars paint. Fuel economy was not improved by carrying the kayaks on their sides in Malone cradles atop the car. While staying at the lake, a fellow from Texas pulled into the next unit with three kayaks on a unique trailer built for the purpose Myof hauling kayaks or bicycles. It featured motorcycle type independent suspension using coil over shock units. It piqued my interest to the extent that I began looking into such a trailer as preferable to car top transport.
After a lot of research using the internet, I settled on the kayak trailer produced by SportsrRig Micro Trailer. The trailer arrived in five boxes that were delivered at one time. All components arrived undamaged.
We kept the boxes in the garage for several months and didn't begin assembly until a week before a planned trip to our usual destination in the later part of summer to escape the summer heat and do a little hiking and kayaking.
After unpacking and inventorying all the trailer parts, I began the process of assembly, following the enclosed instructions. The first step is to mate the outer frame components, known at the C sections with the center frame section called the H section. Thus began assembly hell. It was nearly impossible to mate these sections. The H section is the female section and the C sections are supposed to slide into the H section until the securing bolts can be applied. I pounded on the first C section all one morning with a 24 oz dead blow plastic hammer and didn't succeed in getting it joined to the H section. The weld and ridging from punched holes inside the square tubing interfered in a very big way even though I lubed the inside of the big tube with grease to help. Much more preparation on the tubing interior should have been done by the manufacturer to make this task reasonable. By my estimate, forcing the C frames into the H frame required at least a thousand blows with a 24 ounce dead blow plastic hammer. Joining the frame sections took the better part of two days in the Texas heat. I had to laugh at the instructions at this point because they said,"If needed, tap the sections a little with a rubber mallet to help line up the holes." In fact, this was not a laughable matter and proved a major unexpected challenge.
The balance of the assembly was far from problem free. I next discovered that the load bars, which sit atop the frame, did not match up with the locating holes in the frame. To make them line up I was forced to spread the legs of the load bars with a jack. It took some head scratching to engineer the fix.
The next problem was encountered in mounting the tongue extension. Again the inside of the female tube was full of welding and drilling burrs. Using the knowledge gained from mating the frame member, this time I used a long file to massage the interior of the female tube to allow an easy seating. On sliding the two sections together, we found the drilled holes for through bolting did not line up. Fortunately I had the proper tool to enlarge the misaligned bolt holes so that the two sections could be bolted together.
On the third day of assembly hell I again faced another major problem. The lights would not work. Only the running light on the drivers side smiled at me. My knowledge of electrical problems is extremely limited, but I have an excellent son for whom this was no challenge. As an aside, it would be nice to have had a wiring diagram for the trailer.
My son inspected and tested the trailer lighting and determined there was no ground to the tail lights and that the passenger side running light light bulb was broken. The bulb was broken but the plastic lens showed no sign of rough handling. SportsRig had run a ground wire to the running lights only. They overlooked the fact that the powder coating on the frame insulated the sections from each other. My son ran an additional ground wire to the tail lights and replaced the broken light bulb and the lights functioned nearly properly. However, in examining and testing the supplied tail lights we determined they were so poorly constructed that constant contact for the light bulbs was unlikely. We decided to replace the tail lights to assure constant function. We replaced the taillights with LED lights that function properly all the time.
The final problem was that the the jack stand would not fold back on the tongue because the wiring harness was in the way. We altered the harness so that the jack stand could be folded up onto the tongue. At last assembly was complete in only five days.
Assembly of the trailer has not been a pleasant experience. The manufacturer could have done a much better job by practicing a modicum of quality control, However; 0ne thing is certain, the powder coat is tough, it has absorbed more than a thousand hammer blows without complaint. The trailer's first outing was a trip of 805 miles one way with two kayaks on Malone cradles. The trailer performed flawlessly once we overcame the problems of quality control. In retrospect, I would not choose this manufacturer over other alternatives and would advise others to proceed with extreme caution when choosing a trailer supplier.