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Thread: Freighting on the river

  1. #1

    Default Freighting on the river

    Got a question how much weight can or do you haul up the Yentna in ideal conditions. I wil be on the river this winter hauling and would like some do's and dont's. Whats the best freighter sled?

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by pa18tony View Post
    Got a question how much weight can or do you haul up the Yentna in ideal conditions. I wil be on the river this winter hauling and would like some do's and dont's. Whats the best freighter sled?
    Lot of variable's on the best answer. I have hauled 2200# loads, average loads though are around 1500#'s. Depends on your machine though. If it is a one season affair, just hauling building materials or fuel, I would use a car/truck hood with a tonque attached. Free and when your done, it's junk anyway. They work well on good trails. Freight sleds are not cheap and if you aren't expecting to haul much freight in the future, you should consider other options. Borrow or rent one, if you don't want to use a hood. If you are hauling super long loads, use a sled that is extendable or two that you can run in tandem front to back.
    Do: Tie a rope to the back of the load and have another sled hold it back when going down steep or long grades. Get a pass through rope come along and carry it with you for when you will need it. Avoid hauling in overflow conditions, as it will slow things down quite a bit.
    Stay on the most traveled route, even if it is a little bit longer than the short cuts. Get a roll of the stretch wrap plastic from Home Depot or Lowes and wrap the whole load before heading out. Make sure you have some pallets pre-positioned for where you want to dump the loads, as it helps protect the goods through the spring melt. Always carry an extra belt for the snowmachine. Make sure you have enough fuel to do the job, as it takes extra gas and oil to freight. Tweak your driven clutch if it is one that is easily adjustable (some are/some aren't). Make sure you have got a good, well established, well packed, beaten down, gradual path leading from the river to your place (usually where most guys have the most problems).
    Don't: Overload the sled, it is hard on clutches and belts. Pay an exorbident price for a sled you will only use a few times. Exceed your sled's and snowmachines limitations. Expect it to be fun.
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  3. #3
    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    I've been on the Yentna when the trail is so hard and wide you could drive a pickup on it. Other times it's drifted over. There's so much traffic on that river that the trail stays huge. The whole thing from Deska Landing is so smooth and fast that you could follow Akres advice about the car hood with no issues I once hauled a 500# load up that trail behind my XLT and averaged 65mph..smooooooothhh.
    Bunny Boots and Bearcats: Utility Sled Mayhem

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    The early season trail is smoother but conditions are unpredictable. The late winter trail is great for hauling but it may be bumpy. There's no free lunch. My favorite days to haul are in March, early in the morning when the temps are hovering at or just below zero but the afternoon sun will warm things to shirtsleeve weather. Haul when the trails hard, play outside in the warm afternoon temps.

    I've built several sleds through the years. What I wanted always evolved to be something I didn't have....yet. Culvert sleds, ski sleds, blended mutts of culvert and ski sleds. They all have their merits. It depends on what you're hauling and how hard the snow is. Watch what other guys are using and don't be afraid to ask questions. Guys are proud of their freight sleds. There are some very good designs being used on the river.

    There are guys out there that haul for-hire, too. That may be the least expensive way to get your materials to your lot.

  5. #5
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    Default Another option

    Last year the trail from the deshka landing was smooth and wide in late March and early April. The temps were too warm for my liquid cooled sled so we used the 6x6 with trailers instetad. Heck, I'll bet you could have driven a p/u truck out there last spring!
    BK

  6. #6

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    Thanks for the good information guys. I will be hauling a big dock, all the floor, roofing and foundation, will be using a 09 bearcat 570. Lots of 20' stuff. Looking into a ski type more like a logging trailer that hooks together for the return trip. Have a 4x10 sheet of uhmw too. Wife wants log cabin and will have that barged in.

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    Logging type? You're describing what I've always called a Swedish Freight Sled. A friend and I built a couple a few years ago. When the conditions are hard it's the best freight sled I've ever pulled. Self-braking on downhill grades, too.

  8. #8

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    You would'nt happen to have any pics? I don't want to over build a sled but wasnt it to hold up. Steering system is what i'm mostly interested in. Whether to go with pivot in the center or axels and tie rods. Googled alaska freight sleds in the picture search and there is a picture of two SWT's pulling doubles on the Yentna. Looks to me they have 2500# plus on the sleds.

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    I can get you pics and dimensions next week.

    We built turntables between the load rack and the front ski truck. Two round disks of 1/4" steel and I even put a zerk in the top disc to grease it. It works darn well. Our rear trucks are connected to the fronts with a long 3/4" pipe that has holes drilled every few inches to pin it to the desired length. Mine goes out to 12-14' but it would be easy to fab a longer one or a splice section to stretch it to 20'. There are no moving parts on the rear truck. Well, almost. We have adjustable load arms on both trucks that we can slide in or out to fit the load width.

    Depending on the snow conditions you could easily haul 2500# on level ground. Hills and bumps make it difficult. Hills for the obvious reason and bumps because the snowmachine goes down the bump as the freight sled climbs the bump. Then the opposite with the machine climbing the next bump and the sled coming off the last one. Heavy loads beat the heck out of the machine and the rider in bumps. With slick skis on a friend's old sled we had well over 3000# loaded and one guy could move the sled around in the parking lot. The problem with slick skis is that the load will try to pass you in corners.

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    Thanks that would be great!

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    Default pipe or logging truck

    Truckers use a dolly for the rear of their long log or pipe loads. The dollies are held in place by the length of the load. Sometimes they use a crossed cable system to steer the rear so it tracks around corners. If you take a hard right turn, the cables pull the rear to steer left. That makes it easier in the trees or twisty trail.
    I just saw a neat set up yesterday. It was about 10' long, but you could make it as long as you wanted really. The front skis were solid to the hitch. That assembly had a single pivot onto the load platform. This sled had a solid bottom as these guys use it for stove length fire wood, but their design could be modified as I described above. The rear ski assembly was also on a pivot point.
    I wish I could take pictures, but unfortunately had help from my daughter in losing the camera.
    I did not look at the list of buyers, but recall Tony was wanting a piece of UHMW from that order this past spring. If you have that, you could build a sled that is virtually a full 4" wide and a little less than 10" long. Just don't bend the sides and use eye bolts as tie down points. That sled could carry shorter material on the bottom, and then use a "dolly" for the rear too. If you are able to get your long material up a bit higher without being top heavy you can go a lot of places. Then when you are done with the project, you could cut and/or rebend the sled to narrower dimensions.
    OZAK built a 2 part system for hauling logs for his cabin. PM him and see if you get a response and pictures. His stuff normally works pretty good.

  12. #12
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    If your leaving from deshka landing Look up Ron, Or Larry Heater These Guy,s haul more than anybody pick there brain take a look at some of there sleds. Soft or breaking trail i use full bottem sled, March hard pack ,I go to 4 skied that can be extended out to 12ft, and haul 16ft stuff. Drive through the lot up there bring camera there about everything you can think of parked out there.

  13. #13

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    When my wife and I built our cabin we rented/borrowed a homemade freight sled that was built in a very simple manner and it couldn't have worked better. It has two 8' x 1' skis made of uhmw and four legs made of square steel tubing that go up about 18" from the skis to a flat bed. The bed has a steel frame and a 4'x10' hog panel welded on the top. The steering was more steel tubing connected to the two front "legs"; these tubes connected about 4' in front of the sled and a pintle hitch connection was installed there.

    We hauled a couple of really good sized loads up the Yentna on this sled (estimated at 2000#+), and a bunch of smaller loads, without any problems. The trail is usually so hard packed and solid that the sled can turn without any complicated steering system. We hauled lumber up to 16' on this sled and could have hauled longer. I always thought with a little dolly sled out back, the length of lumber being hauled would be unlimited.

    Then again, the old car hood trick is fun, too. When I was a kid we used to pull the hood off of an old beetle with about 75' of rope and a kid or two inside the hood. Talk about a ride!!!

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    Almost done with a sled. this one is made out of 1.5" gal. thin wall square tube 11" sides 10' long and 45" id. wll use 4x10x1/4 UHMW and 3 10'x2"x3/4 for runners. Not finished with the hitch may use a long travel shock absorber. MR pid if you have the time to send pics of your sled that would be great. Will start on the 2nd sled in jan.

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    I forgot my camera last week. I'll get them this week!

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    Quote Originally Posted by pa18tony View Post
    Not finished with the hitch may use a long travel shock absorber.
    My heavy hauler sled uses a 2" ball hitch mounted to a heavy bolt with heavy-duty springs. For added cushion I installed a steering damper. The mounts were easier to configure than a shock absorber and the rate of damping is equal in both directions. The springs do the work but the damper slows them down. It works really well. Another thing I learned over the years is that hardened bolts are not good for sled hitches. They're brittle when they get flexed. Mild steel bolts work the best. They bend but don't break. Brittle bolts leave you stranded on the trail, or leave your sled stranded while you chase down a replacement bolt. Not fun.

  17. #17

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    Perfect! Long travel and dampens equally both ways. 2" ball is the way to go takes more slop out. LW makes a hitch using a ball I will get one from him. I did buy a cast eye bolt that i was going to use for the j hook, I will take that back and use the round stock that i got too. Thanks.

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    you should talk to ron out @ deshka, he build his own frieght sleds & also rents them, lots of experience with what works & what doesn't out there

  19. #19

    Thumbs up Lets see it!

    Quote Originally Posted by pa18tony View Post
    Almost done with a sled. this one is made out of 1.5" gal. thin wall square tube 11" sides 10' long and 45" id. wll use 4x10x1/4 UHMW and 3 10'x2"x3/4 for runners. Not finished with the hitch may use a long travel shock absorber. MR pid if you have the time to send pics of your sled that would be great. Will start on the 2nd sled in jan.
    Got any pictures yet?

  20. #20

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    After the x-mas stuff will be able to finish sled. The square tubbing is from a greenhouse frame did not mic but it is no more than .0060 Should be stout enough. need to haul 6 wheeler on the first trip. Dock,foundation,joists/rafters,floor and roof this winter and have the logs barged in high water. Oh i forgot the kitchen sink. The time to procrastinate is over now it's time to git r done.

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