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Old 07-13-2011, 01:46 AM   #1
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Eddie Bauer-type liftgate retrofit

Soliciting opinions here on a sort of far out idea.

In the back of our new-to-us '54 Safari, there will be a bed running width wise under the window. Beneath that sits the "basement" storage hatch.

Enjoying the luxury of a 19 foot interior after years with just 16 feet... I was thinking it'd be fantastic to have the option of carrying our 17 foot antique canoe inside the trailer, rather than on our tow vehicle's roof. However, the width and height of a standard canoe won't fit through the rear window.

So I'd like to ponder adding the functionality of an Eddie Bauer style lift gate that will let the boat slide right in, while maintaining the existing exterior appearance; rivet lines, panels, the functionality of the window, etc... all appearing intact.

Even the license plate holder could potentially be transformed into a twisting, locking handle married to the hardware of a teardrop galley T-handle latch.

I'm attaching 2 concepts - and wondering if you think either is feasible. Assuming a structural member runs horizontally across the bottom of that window... what would my options be to remove it while keeping the area rigid?

Oh, and ignore that funky bumper - this isn't our actual trailer, just a donor photo.
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Old 07-13-2011, 03:14 AM   #2
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My Cruiser gets a liftgate like on the 3rd photo, but up to the push seaweeds, so incl. the left luggage office flap....
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Old 07-13-2011, 05:10 AM   #3
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Personally, I see it as a lot of work, potential for leakage, and loss of structure as something I would not take on. Maybe someone who has owned a toy hauler will comment. I keep my canoes and kayaks on the rack on truck cap. You can easily modify Yakamas to side load. I been doing it for 17 years and it works for me.
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Old 07-13-2011, 08:55 AM   #4
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The flap comes to the rivet lines, one sees not that is the whole its one liftgate.... Price 3'500 Euro...
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Old 07-13-2011, 10:00 AM   #5
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If it was my trailer, I would personally commit to that job only once I saw the condition and layout of the lower ribs and window frame supports on the inside of the rear endcap. And I don't think you could perfectly keep all the rivet lines the same, but you would certainly have to add some new ones to rivet on an extrusion frame around the inside and outside of the opening. Look at how many rivets are involved in the door frame, and picture that on the sides of a giant hatch. Also, I would probably opt for choice 2 as opposed to 3. The window is already a single framed unit, and it would not be difficult to make that a sealing item. The lower hatch could be a separate one that is sealed underneath a small (1 inch) extended lip of the window. However, the downside to this is it will be more difficult to get a solid seal on the lower edge where the hinge would be.....

I don't know if the metal experts will agree, but thats my 2 cents on how I'd do it.
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Old 07-13-2011, 03:44 PM   #6
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All good points. Thx Cruiser54 for pointing out your blog, I can see the blueprints where you'll be doing the same. Dwight, you're right about it raising the possibilities of all kinds of trouble.

We currently use a Yakima rack as well - I was thinking about this as being useful more for when we're in camp - out hiking - and don't want our antique canoe sitting in plain view all day. That sort of situation.

I'll think about it lots more, and Worldinchaos makes a great point about making final decision after seeing what we're dealing with the inner skins removed.
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Old 07-13-2011, 06:13 PM   #7
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A fellow kayaker and I were chatting about the Eddie Bauer at the BASH. The concept doesn't really make sense to us - we almost always kayak someplace away from where we're camping. Having the boat(s) inside also gets in the way during rest area stops while traveling.

Also, I'd guess that the front kitchen in your trailer might mean that you don't really have all of those 19 feet to play with...

Tom
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Old 07-13-2011, 06:30 PM   #8
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I would say the second option (3rd pic) has a better chance for fewer leaks - one less horizontal joint/hinge. But, I wonder how high you will be able to lift the door before it hits the rain guard/drip cap? Would it be high enough to stand under & manipulate the canoe? Also, I would be concerned about how to wire the lights through the hinge and down through the window...

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Old 07-13-2011, 07:22 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mutcth View Post
Also, I'd guess that the front kitchen in your trailer might mean that you don't really have all of those 19 feet to play with...
True, Tom. All three of our antique canoes are 17' long, so it'd certainly be cozy but neat if there could be a hook for a carabiner and a sling, or something small that kept out of the way when not in use.

Quote:
Originally Posted by InsideOut View Post
I wonder how high you will be able to lift the door before it hits the rain guard/drip cap? Would it be high enough to stand under & manipulate the canoe? Also, I would be concerned about how to wire the lights through the hinge and down through the window...
Oh pooh.. details, details!

The whole assembly would likely need to be fairly thick to be more rigid, accommodate the horizontal locking bar, make room for rubber channels to keep water out, etc. Wiring would come down the sides of the window frame (note I haven't examined any of how this is constructed yet... so I'm just guessing).

On the drip cap, maybe I'd remove and reattach it with hidden, spring-loaded hinges at the top so it can lean up and out of the way as the door opens.

Quote:
Originally Posted by InsideOut View Post
I would say the second option (3rd pic) has a better chance for fewer leaks - one less horizontal joint/hinge.
I like your point about "fewer joints". On leaks, if I could mimic the method used in the Bauer to keep the water out (assuming it doesn't in fact leak) then there's no reason it shouldn't work in an older trailer. If anything, maybe our sloping back walls should channel water away better than the current body style which kicks back in below the beltline.
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Old 07-13-2011, 07:51 PM   #10
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Hi Brad!

Missed seeing you at Alumapalooza - did I just miss you?
Many times the rear window is also the emergency escape hatch. What are your plans?
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Old 07-13-2011, 10:09 PM   #11
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Quote:
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Hi Brad!

Missed seeing you at Alumapalooza - did I just miss you?
Many times the rear window is also the emergency escape hatch. What are your plans?
Hey, missed you too - we were busy putting our condo on the market. Next year, perhaps. I'm working on the logo for it right now, so I'll at least be there in spirit.

You're right, it is the escape hatch. I've been looking at photos of the big twisting latch on the Eddie Bauer "trunk", and thinking perhaps I could have something similar on both the inside and outside so we'd maintain the handy dandy escape hatch feature.
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Old 07-14-2011, 01:59 AM   #12
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Oh pooh.. details, details!
Sorry...that's my job! It's what I do all day...figure out how to make those pesky little details actually work ~

Shari
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