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Malone EcoLight 2 Kayak Sport Trailer Review and Assembly

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Review and Assembly of the Malone EcoLight 2 Kayak Sport Trailer

AJ: What's up everybody It's AJ with Today, we're going to be checking out the Malone EcoLight Trailer with the V-bar, hull style, kayak carriers.Looking over here, you see what I mean When I'm talking about hull style, it holds it by the hull with these V-bars that have a nice protected padding on them, so they're not going to scratch up your kayaks or anything like that, and it makes it easier loading it in here from the waist. I can just load it up on my trailer instead of lifting it up on my roof and being a hassle. I can strap it all down right here to the trailer and get on my adventure sooner.Let's check it out. Coming down underneath, you can see exactly how it works. The kayak sits down in these cradles that holds it like this.

That's where it gets the name V-bar. Now, they're not a perfect V or anything. They're kind of curved to fit the sides of the kayak, but it holds it nice and tight. I got the strap, it's got the slots on top. We'll show you that later on.

How it feeds back down in here, wraps around this post, so when I pull it tight, it pulls against this post, pulling this down, keeping the space. I'll try and shake it around here. You can see, it's not moving. I'm moving the whole trailer and it's staying in place, so that gives me confidence when I'm going on the road, and these V-bars are the way to go. They're going to keep it nice and contained.I prefer the J-style myself, just because it gets it up more at an angle.

And that way it doesn't take up the whole trailer, so you might be able to sneak a bike rack or something in the middle, in between the two J-styles. Or if you need the extra room, you have it, but I don't see anything wrong with these V-bars either.Here's the slot I was telling you about, and then when we come up here on top and you see how it runs twice for each strap across the top of our kayak, and it goes down underneath, wrap around that bar, pushing that pressure down there. I'll give it the shake test a second time, just show you from up here. It's not going anywhere. I'm moving the whole trailer.

The only thing that you're hearing is this hitting on the side and that's really good for Malone. I mean, each one of these carriers, the different ones I've worked with, they all have those slots. They come with the straps, so it takes really a lot of the guess work out that always kind of. Excuse me, always kind of frustrated me. A lot of the racks, it's like, "What do I tie down to Where do I put this Where's the best way to strap it" It's like, "Oh, slot's right there. Run that strap through there, pull it down, go underneath." Very simple.With this set up, you're only going to be able to carry two kayaks, which is fine, because it takes up your whole trailer anyway, but I think it's going to work better for those heavier kayaks. Now, the weight capacity is 400 pounds, so even if you had two of the heavier fishing kayaks on here, that's still not going to exceed it. You don't have anything to worry about.Something else to consider, when you're thinking about the kayaks that you own, and what you're going to put on this trailer, is it does have a maximum length of 14 feet for your kayak on the trailer. This one, our longest one, is 12 feet, so that just gives you an idea of how much extra space it is between the vehicle and that kayak. Then that helps, because of this extended tongue here. Not only is it extended, but it's got reinforcement here in the middle where they come together. You got this nice two brackets and four bolts. That way, it's not just one really long piece of metal that might have a weakness just around here, if it was one solid piece. The fact that it comes together and it's reinforced is really nice.I'm sure you're wondering how it performs. How it looks when you're driving around, how it's going to act and you go over a bump. Well, I'm going to drive around in the parking lot here at etrailer and we're going to put it to the test.All right. We're back from taking it around on the parking lot. You can see, it performed pretty well. Trailer didn't seem to have any issues. It might've bounced around just a little bit, but it is a light trailer. Kayaks are light. You got small tires. It's going to jump a little bit. It's actually made to do that, because it's got a suspension system that's a leaf spring suspension system. It helps take out any of that shock that the trailer would get when you do go over a bumper or anything like that. It's not just a trailer with no suspension. You have that working with you when you're going down the road, to know that if you hit a bump, it's not a big deal.The whole trailer frame is made out of a galvanized steel, so you don't have to worry about it rusting or corroding. If you leave it out in the rain, you get rained on, or if you full on back it into the water, it's not going to bother it. It's going to hold up just fine. The only piece that's not galvanized steel is our fender wells here. These are made out of an injected molded plastic, so it's going to hold up to those elements just fine too, but I'm glad it's there, because when you go to go kayaking and you don't always get to go on a paved road, sometimes you have to go off the road, onto a dirt road or a gravel road, and the tires are going to kick that up and throw it at your kayak. Well, that's why this is here. It's going to bounce right off this and go back down on the ground, protecting your stuff.Another great inclusion is the tail lights and side marker lights, and runs a four full up to your vehicle, so you're going to attach it and it works in tandem with your vehicle. Left turn, right turn, all show up. When you hit the brakes, it shows up back here, just in case you got the kayaks blocking your tail lights, or you're just driving around at night, to be safe. They also include a license plate bracket for your license plate and a light that comes down on that license plate.The coupler's going to fit a two inch ball. It's got a latch with a hole, so you can add a padlock in there. That way nobody can mess with it when you leave it unattended. The latch just flips up that easy, and it's got a handle that makes it easy to lift it up and set it back down. You can maneuver it wherever you need it to be. It also included safety chains, so that's awesome. Just in case your latch doesn't catch and your trailer becomes disconnected, your safety chains are going to hold it in place, so you can stop and you don't have to worry about losing your trailer. The handle might be my favorite, just because it makes it so much easier to take it, and bring it up, and set it down.Whichever way you want to haul your boat this trailer is capable of. It comes in a bunch of different kits. You got J-style, V-style, post-style kayak carriers, all three of those, and then it also just has bunks, you can put on there too, to haul your boat that way. Each one of the trailers has the same base that this is. You're just going to have the accessories added onto the bars on top.Let's check out the assembly we did earlier in the day. Just kind of got everything laid out for how we're going to put this trailer together. Each bag is labeled for different groups, so the instructions actually tell you, use this bag with this number for this section of the steps. We're going to go step-by-step and put this trailer together. If I can find any shortcuts or anything to make it easier on you, I'll let you know.The first step, I'm going to be putting this grommet in our bottom hole on the tongue here. This is going to be at the front. It's got the Malone sticker on it, so you know this one goes through the top. We're going to put the coupler on here later on, but I was just helping you identify which one this is. It looks like you just push this plastic grommet in there. It's going to help protect the wires when you run them through, so it won't slowly cut those. I kind of just push them towards the back to guide them back that way. That way they don't come out the front.Now, we've got it threaded through the first one, we're going to run through the second one. This time, just through the front, we don't have to go through the side. We'll just push that wire back down through the other side.We ran the wire through both tongues, pushed them together. Now we're going to connect them with these plates. We're just going to push these plates on the side. Make sure you line up the four holes with these four holes. I got the one already installed on the opposite side. Make sure you line it up. Looks like it's good. Put our bolts through. There you go. The good thing about it, if one goes through, all the other ones will be lined up too. With the bolts pushed through the holes we'll go back and just hand tighten the nuts on here. I'm going to come back, I'm going to ratchet and wrench, and tighten it down.Now we've laid out the bars that are going to make up the frame of our trailer. This is where it gets just a little confusing, but I'm going to give you some pointers here to help you figure it out. You want to arrange them the way you will when the trailer's put together. The center bar, the open part's going to face towards the back. Something to look at on these side ones, so you can tell which ones go on the side, are these three holes here. This is where you're going to put your side marker lights. You want them up towards the front of the trailer, so that's how we knew to flip them and put them this way.If you come back here, you'll see that the back bar says Malone on it, so that's another good indicator of, "Okay, that bar goes on the back," and you set that up there. We're going to drop some bolts in the holes in every one of the bars and put a nut underneath it. I'm going to do that on this side. You can see I already did it on that side. Then we're going to flip it over for the next step. Let's get the bolts installed.I've lined up the parts of the frame, I'm going to drop the bolts down in there on each one of these. I'm going to loosely tighten them by hand, so that we can still move the frame around and make sure it's square before we tighten it down fully.With all the bolts dropped in and hand tightened down, you want to make sure that your frame is actually a square, so when you go to take a look at it, make sure that it's all nice and even. You can measure corner to corner, and a 58 inches is a good way to tell if it's out of whack or anything like that. That's why you have it hand tightened so you can actually move it, and get it to be a nice square frame. We got it right at 58, 58, so I'm going to go back down now and hand tighten them completely down.Looking at our frame. You can kind of look at it, eyeball it to make sure that it is actually nice and square. Supposed to be 58-1/4" across, so you can measure with your tape measure to make sure that the frame is its box form, it's supposed to be. It was a little out of whack at first, and that's why we only loosely put the nuts on everything. That way you can still move the frame and individual parts to get it a nice even square. Now, since it's there, we already measured it. I'm going to go back down and fully tighten all the bolts.With all six of the bolts put in and tightened down, I can flip the frame around upside down. Then we're going to do the same thing, six more bolts installed, tighten those down and then we'll move on to the next step.Next up is the spring hangers. We're going to put those on the bottom of my frame on both sides. The open one's going to go up front, and the one, it's kind of a square, will go on the back. We're going to drop our bolts in, just like we did with the frame, and then add a nut underneath. This front one, we're going to just do hand tighten for now, but the back one we can fully tighten once we get the nuts on there.Next up, attaching the tongue to our trailer frame. I'm going to flip it upside down like the rest of our trailer, so you can see the sticker Malone is upside down, it means the tongue's upside down. I'm going to come set it over here and line up these holes. I'll move it aside. See there's a hole in the frame on both of these bars. We're going to line up the holes on our tongue with those and drop our hardware in. You want to make sure the wiring is also to one side of that tongue, so you don't fight with that when you go to drop your bolt in. We've got a washer at the end, we'll take our longer one, drop it all the way through the tongue and to the frame underneath.A helpful tip for this part would be go ahead and lift up on the tongue, drop your bolt all the way through so it comes out the bottom. Then it makes it easier to line it up with your frame. Then I come back here and use the shorter bolt and washer. Same tip as before. Push it down, then it's easier to line up the hole so you can add the nut down here.Now with them hand tightened, we'll go ahead and back, and fully tighten them down. Now you did the bolt in the back, now we'll do the longer bolt up here, up front.Now we're going to move on to the axle. We're going to assemble that separately over here, and then we'll attach it to the trailer afterwards. First step, you look on this side, I've already done it. We're going to attach the spring, add these U bolts up there and put this plate on the other side. You see what it looks like Let's see how we did that. There's a hole in the axle. You'll line it up with this one here. Make sure it's in the middle, nice and balanced. I'll go ahead and set the plate on top and then bring our U bolts from underneath. It's got that indention in there that you can line up real easy and keep it in place. You don't have to do any guesswork or anything.Now I'm going to come back with my ratchet and tighten them down, but I'm not going to fully tighten it down. I'm going to get it just enough to where this plate won't pop off and come loose on us. We want to leave it a little bit loose, because that's what it says to do in the instructions.We're going to set in our axle now. Make sure the spring is up here at the front, have a hole through. We're going to go through these hangers up here, that way we can install that bolt and keep it in there, but before you do that, you want to make sure you slide the flat end into the back hangers. Looks like I got that one in. That's one of the reasons they have you leave it loose, so you can kind of move it and manipulate it as you set them into place. I got the back ones in. Now I line up the front loops and add our bolts.The instructions do say to make sure that the bolt goes from the outside in, so I'm going to lift up on the spring, make sure the bolt goes through that and to the other side, add a nut. Like most of this trailer, we're going to repeat the same thing on the other side.Another detail that they've mentioned with this bolt is you want to tighten it down, but you don't want to crush it, so once it starts to get tight, just go ahead and stop there. You don't want to push in and bend the spring or anything. That's good. You want it to be loose enough so the spring can move a little bit, and you're not crushing it. Now, once you have that one tightened down, then we're going to tighten down these bolts on the hangers. We're going to keep that in place, and then we'll move on to tighten this down.Now it's time to put our tire on. Go ahead and flip it around, make sure the air valve is on the outside of the tire. We'll just match up these bolts to the holes on the tire. This side on, and then we'll add our lug nuts.Now with the tires on there, we're not ready to torque them down yet. We're going to flip the trailer over and then we'll be able to torque them down with the tires on the ground. I would suggest getting a second set of hands to flip your trailer over, it's a little heavy, but I'm just going to go for it. With the trailer flipped and the tires on the ground, we're going to go ahead and torque it down. Make sure you follow the torque specs in the instructions. We're going to do that in a star pattern for each one of the lug nuts.We're going to take our grommets and put them in the bottom hole here so that we can protect the wiring that's going to connect to our lights. Just like before, just push them in with your thumb. I'm going to do that for the other side too. I'm going to come up here and push in another grommet through this one for our side marker lights.Another grommet we need to add is down here at the center beam, the bottom most hole. That's where the wire is going to pass through, so we want to keep it protected there too.Now, we're going to attach our side marker lights to the side of our trailer. You're going to use the center hole for our bolt here in the middle of the light, and then on the sidehole, we're just going to run the wire through. Make sure you put your lock washer and your nut on there.Next up, we're going to install our tail lights on our trailer. The driver's side is going to be a little bit different, so that's the one we're going to focus on. We've got our license plate bracket that we're going to put on in between the light and the trailer, and you see the familiar grommet down here. That's where you're going to run your wire, so we'll take our two wires and go ahead and feed those in now, and then line up the bolts and add our washers and nuts.Now we can go back and tighten them down.Now it's time for the wiring. It's not that bad. It's pretty straightforward. We're going to run this wire up to the side marker light first, and then we'll split our wires. We'll go through that grommet we installed earlier. Get that pulled nice and tight, and once we do that, we'll going to go ahead and add a clip. That way, it just holds our wire here. To get the clip on there, you just put it on the edge. I would suggest hold on to the top and then tapping the bottom part with the hammer, and that'll get it in place. With the clip installed I'd recommend coming back with a screwdriver to go ahead and pry up on it. That way you can feed the wire in there.With our driver's side wire ran up to the front and clipped in. We could tell that it was the driver's side, because it's yellow and brown. Your passenger side is going to be green and brown, and you're going to do these same steps for that side, but that's how you're going to separate the wires to go down. Here, back to that tail light, and then on the passenger side, same thing.What we're going to do now to get our wire ready, is I'm going to cut in between the wire down here. You can see, I kind of ran it like it's going to be ran. We'll run it here, attach it, and run it back. About here, so I'm going to cut in between these wires with the blade and separated it, so we can make our connection. I just put the blade down in the middle and then pulled on the wire separately. It was a nice even cut, now it's separated like we want.Take one of the quick connectors that's included. I'm going to run the black wire into the shorter side of it, and then we're going to push the brown wire in through the top side. Make sure it gets down into there and into the channel. There we go. Then, I'll come back with some pliers and push down on this metal tab. It's going to go through both wires, making that connection for you. Test our connections. It's good.I'm going to take the wire and run it back the way we came. Run along the end of the trailer here, back to our taillights. I'm going to take my knife and cut down the middle of it to split it. You just need to cut a little bit and you can do the rest with your hands. Now we're going to attach our yellow wire to our yellow wire, our brown wire into our brown wire, but first we've got to strip these wires, so they have it exposed just like these are. Got some wire strippers, just help us clamp down on there and pull it out.We'll go ahead and twist our wires together, before we put our twist nut on, then feed up in the very top of there, and twist it again. It should grab those wires and twist them together. You can feel it grabbing and actually see the wires twist too.We're going to do the same thing for our yellow one.We're going along, add some more clips here to take up that excess wiring. When you do it at home, when you build it for your time, it might be better for you just to go ahead and trim it here, trim it to length, then you don't have any excess wiring. We aren't going to keep this trailer like this. We're going to disassemble it when we're done, so I don't want to cut any of the wire.Now it's time to add the fenders. How we're going to do that, is we're going to put the brackets on there first, putting a bolt and a nut through each one here, and then we'll add the fender on top of that. To do so, like I said, get the shorter bolt and the nut, you can put the bracket with it angled down, and with the dip pointed down, because the fender's going to fit down in that groove itself. You just want to loosely put this on, because you want to be able to move the brackets a little bit when you go to put the fender on, so we'll just leave it like that for now. I'll repeat that process on the second one. Should be the last two holes left in the back of your trailer here, so easy to identify and install these brackets.Now I'm going to set the fender down on the brackets, trying to match up the holes, and that's why we left them loose, so we can move them up like this. I'm going to grab my hardware. I'm going to get one started, so that it holds it in place, and kind of move the bracket with this hand, line up with the holes on the fender, drop the bolt through. We're going to add a nut to the back.With it all loosely installed, I'm going to go ahead and tighten down these bolts to the trailer. I'm just going to lift this up, and then we'll go ahead and tighten the bolts down on our fender.Back up towards the front of the tongue of our trailer, we're going to start putting this part together. We're going to add the stop at the bottom. Let's just go ahead and do that now. It's going to help hold up the trailer while we're working on it anyway. You got a tab underneath there. You're going to slide into like that. I'll set it back down and it'll hold it in place.We're going to make our ground here at the front of the tongue of the trailer. I went ahead and stripped back the wire just like you saw me do before. Now, I'm going to add this ring terminal. It's in there nice and tight. Now, what we're going to do is come back to the front of the tongue and we've got a couple of different things going on, but we'll start with adding this at the bottom. It will work as the stand. You guys can see under there. I'm just going to insert that tab. I had it the wrong way, insert the tab back here, and we'll add a bolt up here, up the front, but for now it'll work and help it hold up.Now, we're going to use the bolt and we're going to secure the stand, and the chains, and ground the wire at the same time. The chain is going to go on the outside. I'm going to put a washer on our bolt, follow up with the chain links. Then we'll add another washer and put it through the hole. Now it's going up to the inside, and what I'll do there before I put the nut on there, is add our ground. It just goes on top. Then I'll add the nut. Come back with my ratchet wrench, and tighten it down. I threw a block of wood under there, just to get up a little higher off the ground. Easier to get this ratchet in here.Now that we're done on the inside of the tongue, we're going to attach our coupler and handle. I've already run the bolts through the handle, the holes here, are going to align with the holes here. We'll set this on top, line up the holes in the tongue, and then, just put our bolt through it. You go to the other side, we'll just put some nuts on there like we've done for most of this trailer.When it comes to tighten this down, we're just going to get it tight against the tongue of the trailer. No reason to go any further than that.Now we're going to go ahead and put our end caps on our bars. You want to make sure you do it towards the top, by that single hole. The double holes will be at the bottom of our bars, because we're going to put them around the frame here. You can get a block of wood and a hammer, or you can easily just push down on it and it goes into place. Line it up with the corner of our frame here, making sure this top hole is right above the frame. We've got my U bolt. Come back down, tighten it down, and we'll repeat this process on all the corners of the trailer.Now, the last part is to install our crossbar. What we're going to do is install these clamps on the bars we just finished tightening down. I'm just going to run the bolt through, lining up the holes, add a nut to the other side. That way it's loosely installed and then I'll just start to go ahead and put the bar in there now, before I get it tightened down. It's a little different than what the instruction said, but I just kind of found this easier myself.I'm going to loosely put the other bolt in, then we're going to look and make sure it's even on both sides before I fully tighten this down. The other bolt, we'll just lift it up on the bar, put it underneath it and hold it up towards the top of this bracket. Once again, add a nut, we'll loosely install it, get it even on both sides, and then I'm going to tighten it down.Now, we're going to come back with the length a little bit over 10 on each side. It's nice and even. We're going to go ahead and tighten it down. Keep everything in place.Now the final step, we're going to add our end caps to the end of the bars. I did this to the other three, much like the ones we did earlier. Just push it on there. It goes right into place. Now your trailer is assembled.As you saw, it wasn't that bad. Really, just follow it step-by-step. Really, just a bunch of bolts and nuts is what you're adding, and you're just repeating every step on the other side, so it's good practice on this side. You'll nail it on the other side. That's how I did it.Now there a few notes on it. I will compare it to some of the other Malone trailers. The wiring, I didn't like it as much on this one, because it had the quick connectors. Malone and the other ones I've worked with have bullet connectors where you just plug them in, easy, done. They're sealed, no splicing, no channel locks or anything like that. I didn't like that on this one, and I would suggest not even using the quick locks it comes with. I would get some heat shrink butt connectors. That way you can get it nice and sealed, and a good connection, and it's waterproof, so if you do leave your trailer out in the water, you don't have to worry about that get into it, bothering the wiring, affecting anything. Or if you back up your trailer into the water, again, it just further protects you down the line.One other small nitpick I had for this was the ground wire. It wasn't very long. We had to extend it. I put some electrical tape and loom over it to cover it up and keep it nice, all together, but it was a little disappointing to have only that much, and it was pulled really tight, so you wouldn't be able to drive a truck like that. I suggest, go ahead and extending that ground wire to help yourself out in the long run.Now to put on our V-bar hull style holders, I've already done all of them except for this last one, so we're going to go over how it goes. You can see how it looks, just sits on top of our crossbars like this, and you get brackets. The one at the top is the bigger bracket. That's going to go over the bar and the bar here, this little one's going to go on the bottom. You can see it perfectly fits the bottom of the crossbar. What I recommend doing is not undoing both bolts. This just save you some frustration. We'll just take one bolt out and swing it. Make sure you put the bars facing each other, and we put them about 12-1/2" away. I'm going to line up with the one we already had installed. Looks like about there's good. Swing this bracket back down underneath. Now, I'll add the washer and the nut. Get it started by hand as far as it can go, then I'll come back with a ratchet and tighten it down.Now I want to mention, go back and forth and tighten them evenly. This one's already a little tighter, but we'll get this one tightened up, but don't tighten it all the way. I would leave it a little bit loose, like slightly, to where you can kind of just move it like this, but it stays in place, so you can set your kayak down to make sure it is set for your kayaks. We already did that, so I know it's good to go. I'm going to go ahead and tighten it down. Get those last few turns, give the shake test. It's not going anywhere. We're ready to load up our kayaks.Onto the V-bar holders, and now we're going to strap it down. Each one of these bars has a nice slot in the top that you can run the straps through, which just makes it easier to keeping the strap straight and not twisting on you. I'm going to come around here, bring the strap and feed it through the slot in the top of the V-bar. Extend it and making sure it's not flipped around or twisted on me. See, it feeds right through like that. Pull it up here so that the buckle sits on top of the kayak and it's got this felt pad underneath it, so it's not going to damage anything.Come back around to the front. We're going to go down through this slot. Make sure it's not flipped around. Back down through the slot, the right way this time. Then we'll come down here to this post. I'm going to wrap it around the post and send it back up. That way, when you go to tighten it down, the strap has something to pull against to make the kayak sit nice and tight to the bars. Go back through the slot, just keep it all right there and contained, then I'll run it through the pad and the buckle. Pull it nice and tight, and the kayak is secure.Just like most of the accessories on this Malone trailer, the installation was pretty simple, just a couple of bolts and brackets, and tighten them down. Just make sure you get the spacing right for your kayaks. We didn't do it right the first time. The second time we we're like, "Oh, we should probably space it out a little bit to let the kayak sit down in there." With that knowledge, now you can do it too. I think that does it for our look at the Malone EcoLight Trailer with V-bar attachments. I hope this helped.

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Info for this part was:

Employee Andrew K
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Andrew K
Employee Chris R
Video Edited:
Chris R
Employee Aidan B
Video by:
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