How To Convert A Boat Trailer From Rollers To Bunks

Are you feeling frustrated with your roller trailer? You may have heard that switching to a bunk trailer is the way to go. It can offer more stability and maneuverability when you’re launching and retrieving your boat. The process of converting from rollers to bunks isn’t too complicated, so don’t worry! In this article, we’ll take you through the steps of how to convert a boat trailer from rollers to bunks. With the right tools and materials, you’ll be able to make the switch in no time. Let’s get started!

Gather Necessary Tools and Materials

To get the job done, you’ll need to gather the right tools and materials – so let’s get started! Depending on your particular trailer, you may need a variety of items. You’ll want to make sure you have paint preparation supplies such as sandpaper and primer for any exposed metal surfaces. You will also need measuring tape and a saw or jigsaw for cutting down the bunks to size. In addition, you’ll want screws and bolts, nuts, washers, sealant, wood screws suitable for outdoor use, and painter’s caulk. All of this should be available at your local home improvement store.

You will also need some lumber in order to build the bunk beds. The type of wood used is up to you; however cedar is often recommended since it resists rot better than other woods when exposed to salt water or humidity. Have your measurements ready when purchasing your lumber since bunk measurements can vary greatly depending on what kind of boat you are hauling with the trailer. Make sure that whatever lumber you select is appropriate for outdoor use.

Finally, don’t forget that once all of your parts are assembled and attached securely to the trailer frame that they will still require some finishing touches such as paint or varnish before being put into service! Always take care not to miss any important steps throughout the conversion process from rollers to bunks so that your new setup is reliable and safe for both yourself and anyone else who may be using it in future trips out on the open road or sea!

Remove the Roller Assembly

Taking the rollers off your vehicle can be an intimidating process, but with the right knowledge and tools, you can remove the roller assembly in no time. Before you begin, assess the weight of your trailer so that you know what type of materials to use when replacing the rollers. It’s important to choose materials that are strong enough to support your trailer and will last over time.

To start, remove any existing hardware from the frame of your trailer. This includes screws, nuts and bolts that may have been holding on brackets for the roller assembly as well as any plugs or additional attachments. Once all of these pieces have been removed from the trailer frame, it’s time to move onto taking out the actual rollers themselves.

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Take each roller one by one and either unscrew it or pull it away from its mounting bracket depending on how it was attached to begin with. If there is any rust on these pieces make sure to scrape off as much as possible before installing new bunks in their place. After all of your rollers have been taken off you are now ready for installation of bunk boards which will replace them for more stability when hauling a boat on your trailer.

Install the Bunk Assembly

Installing the bunk assembly is easy, just make sure you’ve got the right tools and materials ready for the job. Start by measuring the angles of the trailer’s frame to ensure that your new bunks will fit securely. Next, mark out the bolt patterns on each side of the trailer, making sure to measure twice and cut once. Drill pilot holes in these areas and use stainless steel bolts to secure them into place.

With your bunks now installed, it’s time to adjust them so they sit level with your trailer. Place a spirit level or carpenter’s level across each bunk board in turn and adjust them until they are correctly positioned. If needed, shim wood strips between your bunks and frame to help create a more secure installation – this can be especially useful if there is any discrepancy between how wide or narrow your frame may be compared to standard trailer frames.

Once everything is tightened down properly, double-check that all nuts and bolts are securely fastened before putting your boat onto its new bunks. With any luck, you’ll have an even load distribution that won’t allow for any rocking of your boat as you’re hauling it from one port to another!

Attach the Support Brackets

Securing the support brackets is a cinch – just make sure you’ve got the right supplies and you’ll be good to go! Start by gathering securing bolts and washers, as well as any other materials needed. You’ll want to use a wood selection that can withstand saltwater and humidity, such as marine-grade plywood or cedar. Measure the length of your bunks and cut them to size with a circular saw. Once everything is cut, drill pilot holes into each bracket before screwing them onto the bunks using galvanized screws or nails.

You may also need to install mounting plates if they weren’t included in your kit. If so, attach them to each end of your bunk with either screws or bolts, depending on what type of hardware came with your set-up. Make sure all of your hardware is secured properly; this will help ensure that your trailer remains stable while it’s being used for hauling boats over long distances. Use an electric drill for added convenience when installing larger screws or bolts into thick material like marine-grade plywood.

Once everything is installed securely, check all nuts and bolts one last time for tightness and give each piece a quick visual inspection before you begin loading up the trailer with boats. Pay special attention to areas where water might accumulate or be prone to rusting; this includes any metal parts near the edges of the boat trailer frame or crossbar supports near wheel wells. With proper installation, these support brackets should last many years without issue!

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Test the Trailer

Now that your set-up is complete, it’s time to test out the trailer and make sure everything works as intended. First and foremost, safety checks should be done before launching onto the water. Make sure the brake lights, turn signals, and running lights are all in working order and properly wired. If any of these items don’t work correctly, they need to be replaced or repaired before attempting to tow the boat on a public road. Additionally, inspect both axles for proper tire pressure, bearing protection caps attached securely, grease fittings properly lubricated, and no signs of wear or damage on either axle or wheel components.

Next step is to check for proper loading of the boat by making sure it sits evenly on both bunks with an inch or two between them and the hull. Ensure that you have correct tension across all four winch straps – not too tight but also not so loose that there is excessive movement when pulling forward or reversing the trailer. It may be necessary to adjust any bunk brackets if needed for proper fitment of your particular boat model according to manufacturer specifications.

Finally take a test drive at low speed around a parking lot prior to taking it out on an open road; this will help ensure that everything is functioning correctly with regards to steering control while under load conditions as well as provide one last chance to observe any potential issues before taking off down the highway.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of boat can I use with a bunk trailer?

When choosing a boat to use with a bunk trailer, it’s important to consider both the size of your boat and the size of your trailer. As a general rule, you should select a boat that is slightly shorter than the length of your trailer. This will ensure that there is enough room for the bunks to fit underneath the hull and keep it stabilized while in transport. Additionally, you’ll want to make sure that your trailer has adequate weight capacity for your chosen vessel. Knowing these two measurements ahead of time will help you find the perfect combination for safe transportation.

Can I use the same trailer for both roller and bunk trailers?

Yes, you can use the same trailer for both roller and bunk trailers. The key to adjusting your trailer width is to ensure that there are enough supports at the bow of your boat so that it can rest on the bunks without tipping. To do this, you’ll need to add support posts in specific locations depending on the width of your boat and then adjust the bunk height accordingly. You may also need to adjust the frame of your trailer by adding or removing cross-members. Additionally, make sure all bolts are properly tightened and all hardware is securely attached before loading your boat onto the trailer.

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What is the most cost-effective way to convert my trailer?

If you’re looking to convert your trailer from rollers to bunks while saving money in the process, there are a few cost-effective options available. You can swap out your current roller setup for bunk boards of the same size and shape, or purchase an aftermarket kit specifically designed to replace rollers with bunks. To ensure compatibility with your existing trailer, be sure to measure before buying any new parts. With a bit of research and planning, you can successfully convert your trailer without breaking the bank.

Are there any safety concerns with using bunks instead of rollers?

When it comes to towing safety, converting a boat trailer from rollers to bunks is an important decision. Bunks provide the most secure way of supporting a trailer when it’s loaded with gear and weight, as compared to rollers which can shift during transport. However, you should always make sure that your trailer meets state regulations for maximum weight capacity when using bunks. Additionally, you’ll need to use bunk boards or carpeting on the top of your bunks in order to prevent damage and wear on both your boat and bunk boards over time.

What are the benefits of using bunks over rollers?

When choosing between bunks and rollers for your boat trailer, you should consider the size and type of your boat. Bunks are more stable than rollers, so they can help keep larger boats in place better during transport. Additionally, bunks are better suited for single-axle trailers than rollers because they provide a wider range of support. Finally, bunks also make it easier to load and unload a boat from the trailer since no straps or winches are needed.


You’ve now converted your boat trailer from rollers to bunks. To ensure you’ve done the job correctly, test it out on a flat surface and make sure the bunks are supporting the hull of your boat. If all looks good, you can hit the water with confidence knowing that your trailer is properly equipped to handle whatever conditions the lake throws at you!

It may seem intimidating to take on this kind of project but hopefully after reading this article, you feel more confident in your abilities and have a better understanding of how to convert a boat trailer from rollers to bunks. With some patience and attention to detail, you’ll be able to get back out on the open water in no time!

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