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Blackhawkxp

Looking to Buy/ Make a Wheel House but...

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Looking at moving up to a wheel house but don't have alot of experience on what to look for or what is really needed. I have a family of 4 but usually it is just my son and I fishing. Looking at the houses that sleep 4 but I am not sure I want to pull that kind of money on the lake. My question is what would the experts recommend as far as size to sleep 2-4 people. The all season RV versions look nice but is that way overkill? Basically looking for a reasonable sleeper shack that can house 2-4. Am I better to go bigger right away vs a smaller 2 person. Also is there much to be saved by building your own house? What kind of dollars are we talking?

Thanks in Advance,

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I don't believe that you will save much if any when building your own but i could see how the quality would be far superior. I personally had a 8x 16 Grand Lodge and I think it was one of the best unit on the ice but I paid for it to. I think by getting one that sleeps four you may see your self using it all year as a camper as well than the money is more justifiable. If you keep up on maintenance these units should last along time but keep in mind the ice is very hard on these units and could require some major overhauls if a person doesn't keep a close eye on there units. Thats my .02

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I currently have an older motorhome and contemplated selling it and buying the year round version of the ice castle but 1) it is alot of money and 2) how do you get the 20ft + houses on and off the lake after the heaves start. It is really appealing though to use year round. I work for a machine shop and can source alot of the material @ cost but after buying the parts I cant make it starts adding up pretty quick. It is hard to decide if a guy should go bare bones as cheap as possible to get out fishing or go the cadilac route. Would proabably use 3-4 full weekends during winter since kids are getting older and are in sports.

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well you need to be able to use as much as possible to justify spendy that kinda money

i have a 2008 8x20 ice castle toy hauler and i love it

it sleeps 5 and the ramp door is great for hauling atvs or sleds and hauling gear in and out

i didnt want the rv one cause it is more weight mines has ac stove and a lil bathroom and forced air furnace and a wall mount in case the batt gets low

thease are not cheap but we use ours alot ice fishing and camping in the summer and we can fit 2 atvs in there so when we go wheeling we just haule them in there

has hook up for gen and the lights run off a batt it is a nice set up

also you can pick up wheel houses for a fair price as just a shell but i have talked to a few ppl that did that and they said they didnt save any money just spent alot of time on it but you can get it the way you want it that way

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people ask the same questions week after week. If they did a little research or looking they would find a ton of great info already on this this. Ok with you?

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actually no because I find the search function almost worthless. I've yet to find something using it. why not a child board within the ice fishing section. you dont like them dont read them, a bit of organization- that ok with you?

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The problem I found with search function is that sometimes they dont answer the question a guy is specifically looking for. I am just looking for some guidance on what other who have been in my shoes would do. Trying to make the most educated decision but apologize for wasting some others time.

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With the different floor plans out their look for one you like and will work for you & your family. Spend your money once on a wheelhouse. You will be happy with what ever you buy then. 8x16 is a great size for a family of 4

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Your not wasting peoples time it just gets repetitive. I built my own fish house to the specs i wanted it, and worked great. If i was to do it again I would buy a shell and finish the inside myself. IC makes nice shells i just think there interiors are cheap(they use cheap material. I think and 8x16-18' would work great for you. When i was looking for a size go walk through some IC has a hand full every year up and Eelpout in 2 weeks.

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The RV version isn't really overkill. It is a great idea if any gals will be fishing. Us guys can go a week without a shower, use buckets and grocery bags for unintended uses, use your buddies truck tire for a urinal, etc. girls....not so much. The downside is that you need to deal with holding tanks, and keeping your freshwater tanks from freezing when you aren't using the house.

8x16 is a really good size for 2-3 adults. You can make 4 work, but it gets tight. I'm really happy with my 8x20, and my half ton pulls it very well. No issues with heaves. I took it over one last night I wasn't sure my truck would even make it over. The good part about the 20' is that it's a tandem axle, and tows like a dream.

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Thanks for the responses. I think i may just have to go with the bigger unit. I have a 33 foot motor home with no slides and that does get cramped at times. My problem is my wife and daughter rarely fish with me unless the fish are jumping out of the hole so in that regard I am trying to justify the bigger unit for the few times needed. I assume there probably isn't much cost difference in the long run to go with the bigger house. I would think most would go with the biggest house one can afford so you don't end up selling it and buying bigger 2 years down the road? What is the trade off from building your own other than making it the way you want. Are there any significant cost savings?

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I have a 6.5x12 Yetti I finished by myself for my husband and I, after looking at some bigger ones I really wish I had the 6.5x16. By the time I add bunks and the cabinets up front it isn't all that much free room. I got the smaller one on a deal and didn't want to have to haul around a lot of weight.

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Thanks for the input. It looks like I will probably go with a 8' wide by 16'-20' long with 3'-4'v front. Looking at other builds on the forums and there are some awful nice home builds out there. I am now contemplating canibalizing my older camper for the furnace, stove, fridge, fold down couch, bunks, generator, and whaterver else i can recylce to build my own house. I just have to make it fly with the old lady frown? What kind of axle weight/length before you need to go to a tandem axle? I have seen some frames for sale but what should a guy be looking for for features/ do's and don'ts? I have to run the numbers but not sure if i would be better buying a premade frame vs building.

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Thanks for the input. It looks like I will probably go with a 8' wide by 16'-20' long with 3'-4'v front. Looking at other builds on the forums and there are some awful nice home builds out there. I am now contemplating canibalizing my older camper for the furnace, stove, fridge, fold down couch, bunks, generator, and whaterver else i can recylce to build my own house. I just have to make it fly with the old lady frown? What kind of axle weight/length before you need to go to a tandem axle? I have seen some frames for sale but what should a guy be looking for for features/ do's and don'ts? I have to run the numbers but not sure if i would be better buying a premade frame vs building.

You can find commercially made 8x16' in single or tandem axle. A single may be okay, but a tandem will pull better. It seems like about half the people I've talked to with that size say it pulls okay with a single axle, the other half say it pulls like a hay wagon. Anything bigger than 16', do a tandem for sure.

The biggest thing to do is decide if you want to do electric, crank up, or hydraulic lift on your frame. Crank up is tried and tested, but most setups use leaf springs, which I don't care for. Electric is a pretty simple system. They are jacks that take the pressure off the axle, you pull a spring, and let the jack down. I believe these are leaf springs as well. Hydraulic is also pretty well tried and tested as well. I believe these all use full width torsion axles, which are way better than a leaf spring setup. My hydraulic frame is 15 seconds up or down, which makes it extremely convenient. Last year when I priced everything out, crank was about $4900 and hydraulic about $5400 for an 8x20 tandem with brakes. Didn't price electric because they are too slow for my tastes.

Whatever you get, don't accept any angle iron in the frame. It is a really dumb area to try to save a few $.

Anything about 3500# needs electric brakes. I put them on my 8x12 w/3' v from 2010 and was happy I did. It's only around $200 or so, and have really helped me in some hairy situations.

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What would be a ballpark cost for a tandem axle without anything done on the inside besides insulation. It looks like your last house turned out pretty nice. Not sure if you have any designs Lip Ripper a guy could look at for dimension and materials. Like quite a few hear the work doesn't scare me if there is a substantial amount of money to be saved.

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Just to help you guesstimate:

Frame-$5,500 (Hydraulic 8x20)

1x2 Steel Framing-$900

Door-$300

Windows-$400 (4 @ $100/each)

Siding-$1,050 ([email protected]$70/each)

Roof-$480 (24 lineal feet @ $20)

Trim-$360 ([email protected])

Diamond Plate-$450

Stainless Hardware-$150

3M VHB Tape-$500

Floor Plywood-$240 ([email protected]$30)

Self Tappers-$50

Running Lights-$200

Material Estimate for Shell-$10,580

Spray foam is another $1,000-1,200.

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Thanks for the breakdown. I didn't anticipate the frame costing quite that much. Assuming around $2500-$3500. Looks like i will have to save up a little more cash. eek Where did you purchase the siding from?

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Good frames are really expensive, but there is a lot that goes into designing a frame that works properly, and will last.

Siding came from Voyager Aluminum. Clint at Ice Assault can also get some Kynar painted siding in lots of different colors.

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