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Used wheel houses?

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Looking at used wheel houses and a lot of them are ice castles. I have heard some of the older ones had some issues and the newer ones have gotten better. Wouldn't want to old of one anyway but around what year did they improve their product? Probably looking in the 10-15K range for price and at least a 16 footer 

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I'm in no hurry but it does seem like the market is getting flooded with these which is good for the buyer. I would be looking for something 8 foot wide that is set up to stay in comfortably in for a week or more at a time as I am retired. Still think I can get more bang for the buck on a slightly used one and not take a hit on depreciation. Right now I'm just kicking tires and educating myself on what they are worth and what I want. Then Ill wait for that cherry to come along. Sometimes the deals are even better later in the season or the off season.

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My personal opinion is to stay away from Ice Castle, or at least look at others. There are better quality companies out there. I will say IC has gotten better than they were but that's not a huge compliment as they were terrible for years. JMHO though, not trying to start a war.

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I will definitely look around and right now I'm just educating myself on whats out there and what they are worth. Just see a lot of ICs for sale but they have been around a long time and have sold a lot of them. But I am open minded and in no hurry. I'm not even really looking for one for this winter as I have a lot of other plans for this winter but I do want one before the following winter. So I have plenty of time to look and wait for that screaming deal to come around.

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It's good you're starting your research early.

I haven't been a fan of Ice Castles either.  Too many little issues that become big ones have been my experience.  A symptom of mass production, IMHO.

We've been happy with our Ice Cabin.  The finish and build is nice.  The one negative for me has been the singularly controlled electric jacks and service requirements for the axle pivot.  Ours is a 2013, built in 9/2012.  The jacks are slow but tolerable.  The axle pivot needs actual maintenance like grease!  We bought ours used and that service wasn't done.  I had to pull the pivot point apart, clean out the old dry grease and recoat with fresh.  Keep up on this and it's not a problem.  There are zerks where you need them but easily overlooked.

The newer models of Ice Cabins and True North houses (about 2015 and newer) have never seize bushings to prevent the axle pivots from seizing.  That being said, nothing is fool proof without some maintenance.  It's pretty minimal if you ask me.  The newer models also have remote control jacks and let you run all three at once.  And they're a LITTLE faster.  Those two things combined make a noticeable difference. 

The quickest raising and lowering is hydraulic but that's a spendy option.  Your need for speed will determine what you're happy with here.

If you're thinking about spending a week at a time out there, don't compromise on the 8 foot width and go 18 feet or better, depending on your tow vehicle.  8x18 is a pretty good mid point.

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Walleyehooker - 

I own a 2011 8x16 IC with a beavertail and rubber flooring.  There's a lot of griping on the boards about them but keep in mind, there are also more IC's out there than any other maker by a wide margin.

It's had it's share of issues, but nothing too overwhelming.  I'll admit, I take pride in everything I own and am a bit of a perfectionist as I like my gear to work when I get out on the lake and I like it to look good.  I often sell my used equipment to my buddies because they know I take care of stuff.

In my experience, as long as you do preventative maintenance every year, you'll avoid most major headaches.  This past season, I did have to have one of the trailer brakes re-wired and had to replace the co-ax cable to the dish (about $800 by the time things were diagnosed and completed).  If IC built it with a (ground box?) in the V, I'm told this would've been a simple/cheap fix, but of course, they didn't, so all wiring had to be replaced.

Annually, I like to:

  • Grease all pivot points (I had an extra zerk installed on each side near the pivot point several years ago for good measure)
  • Re-pack the bearings (I did this for the first time myself, a few weeks ago, pretty easy; although they should probably just build them with bearing buddies IMO)
  • Sand down any rust spots on the frame and repaint (I use a 3M cordless drill brush attachment and some anti-rust primer and spray paint).  Keeps the frame looking great and only takes 3 hours or so while enjoying a few barley pops.
  • Replaced the chrome hub and lug nuts for the first time as they had rust developing
  • Spray the beavertail surround with silicon to avoid sticking and keep the foam/rubber from cracking.

Other larger projects I've had off the top of my head include:

  • Replaced flimsy tongue lift with heavy duty crank lift (shop welded it on)
  • Replaced steel cable with stainless steel cable several years ago (I have crank up/down).  This should be standard but I suppose stainless costs more.
  • Over several years, I've replaced all screws (probably 300+), internal (mostly hole cover surrounds) and external, with stainless screws.  Again, this should be OEM but I suppose stainless are more expensive, which is pathetic but oh well.
  • After this coming season, I'll probably replace the tires for the first time.


Not sure any of this will help you, but thought I'd share my experiences based on the past 5 seasons.  I will say, if/when I buy a new one, I'll probably look at Yetti the hardest. 

The lighter weight (about 1,000 lbs lighter I believe in an 8x16) along with never dealing with rust again, are very attractive.  That being said, I'll also be looking at a $8-$10k price premium, so we'll see.

I am kind of curious what my IC would go for (I'm definitely not selling it this year but maybe next).  Would love people's input just for curiosity.


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I think its a lot like buying a used boat. Lots of makes and models out there. But it is MN and ice fishing seasons have been short especially for a little bigger houses. Just like boats there are some houses that have only been used a couple times and I like when the ad reads always stored inside. I will definitely look around and see whats out there before I pull the trigger. I told a friend of mine to look at a Yetti a couple years ago and he ended up buying one and finishing the inside himself and really likes it. Definitly like the Alum frame. But that also comes at a price. I even looked at alum frames on cargo trailers when I was looking for one last year. But ended up going with a steel frame because of cost and it will still last a long time for the amount I will use it.

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