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retractable wheels on an Otter sled - help?


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I typically have my ATV hooked up to my portable fish house. I leave directly from my backyard to fish, but need to go about 2 blocks to get onto the lake. Most of the year it's tar with no snow/ice, so I hate to drag my sled across it. Today, I use a small trailer, but that's a pain once I get to the lake (every time I move to a spot I have to lift/unlift onto the trailer vs. just moving).

Anybody ever seen a design for retractable wheels on a portable Otter-style house (I actually have a 2-person flip-style Polar)? I'd flip them down to go down the road, then flip them up once I get to the lake. Obviously they'd need to flip out of the way. They couldn't just lift up or they'd be inside the house once set-up. I'm thinking they could flip towards the back of the house.

Also, they'd need some sort of rigid tow bar. If I use my regular tow bar, which pivots, the front of sled would drag when the wheels are down. But, how do you have a tow bar attached to something that may move front to back? That would mean an adjustable length tow-bar (certainly doable with a pin).

So, I've done some thinking about this, but don't have a design yet that will work. Ok, I've done lots of thinking when the fish aren't biting.

I figured with the season coming to a close, it's a great time to keep modifying the house.

Any thoughts you have would be greatly appreciated.

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Welcome to FM! I don't have any thoughts on retractable wheels, but have you looked into a hyfax runner kit for the sled? It will save on wear and tear on the bottom of the sled over the pavement. Good Luck!

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Don't waste time trying to do the wheel thing.

I tried that with no luck.

just go to a plastic supply place and get some HDPE that is at least 1" thick and screw it to the runners. it will last a long time dragging it on the pavement.

you can cut it on a table saw with no problems.

mine is on its 5th year and is still like new.

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Welcome to FM.

I have the same problem as you do. I too have to go a few blocks on tar to get to the lake and I do not like the thought of sliding the flip over (even with hyfax) down the tar. I think that is an awesome idea! I some ideas already, just from readng your post. I think that I will have to start putting it on paper to see if it will work as clear as it does in my head. ;\)


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If you are set on the wheel path, when I close my eyes and envision something, a "2" wheeled device would work. Something on the lines of a snowmobile cart. Something you guide around the Otter, pull/push down on the tong and it hoists the Otter off of the ground. Hook it to the back of the wheeler or snowmobile and go. Like this:


Or maybe on the lines of this:



Just throwing out some idea's. Give you a possible start..

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I would consider getting 2 sets of bike training wheels. I haven't done this myself, but I think it would work and at minimal price. Since the training wheels are adjustable, permanently mount a set on each side (one in the back, one in the front). Mount the highest hole with a bolt through the sled and use some type of removable pin for a bottom hole. This way the training wheels will stay in the upright position and retracting them would be easy as all you would have to do is pull the bottom pin. If you try this, let me know how it works.

Also, depending on the weight of your sled, you may want to use a 1x2 as a backing on the inside of the sled.

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I was just on Otters web site and found this. If you are a behind wheeler, this would work under correct snow conditions. I do not know if it is easy to remove the sled from trailer, but you buy the kit separate from the sled. I would contact Otter via e-mail and ask them for ideas or new products also.


Basically if you could get something like this, where the wheel retract upwards via removing a pin, this would be sweet.

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Thanks for all the great ideas.

I don't think an Otter wheel kit will work. From what I've seen, that's a fairly permanent mount. Plus, when I get to the lake I'd like to lift the wheels. My experience is that the sled itself rides across the lake much smoother than wheels (which tend to make the sled bounce all over the place).

I too recently thought of training wheels, primarily because they're small and light. I have two sets at home collecting dust, so I may have to look into that over the next few weekends.

I think I'll also try the HDPE route as a test. I've used old skis in the past (Goodwill for $2), but fear that some day I'll wear through them and before I figure it out I'll have holes in my sled. The fact that somebody has used them for 5 years is a good testament. The nice thing about this is it extends my ice fishing season. I can test this all summer by hooking up the house to the ATV and running it up and down the road (I can see the look on my wife's face already). It's all in the spirit of research.

For my training wheels, picture this - a square frame, about 6" long and the width of your sled, with the wheels attached to two of corners across from each other. Put the other end of the frame through the sled. The wheel kit would rotate front to back on the part that's through the sled. Mount it close enough to the back of the sled so that when it's in the "front" position the wheels are down (the sled would rest on the wheel axel). When it's in the "back" postion the wheels flip up past the back of your sled and can be lifted a couple inches off the ground (you could keep them off the ground by just clipping them to the back of the sled). What's left to figure out is the tow bar. It needs to be rigid with the wheels down, unless I did this front and back (which is definitely a thought).

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You could try making a winch kit for a smaller set of lawnmower tires. Make a small mouninting bracket like you would for a wheel house so that way when you get to the lake all you have to do is crank it up and lower them down when you want to move.

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