My scratch built expedition style trailer build up thread

Discussion in 'Trailer Tech' started by REZARF, May 31, 2007.

  1. REZARF

    REZARF

    Messages:
    3,310
    Location:
    Broomfield, CO
    Here we GO!

    After nearly 9 months of planning, designing and gathering parts, I am ready to start my scratch built, homemade trailer for expedition/camping style travel. I have been greatly inspired by this site and ExPo to make this thing. Special thanks to Exiled, MikeS, Brownbear, Wesintl, and AxleIke for helping me out this far.


    My Goal:

    To create a small capable trailer that will be able to chase my fj40 over trails rated up to 3.5, and allow my wife and I to enjoy some of the modern conveniences of a small pop up trailer. We want to see all that Colorado, and Utah have to offer, and the rear end of a fj40 just doesn’t lend to multi-day camping/wheeling trips.


    My Design Criteria:

    Strength to match the fj40 without killing our lightweight approach.
    Simple, in both operation and design.
    FJ40 Cruiser track width.
    3500# axle.
    Matching wheels and tires to tow vehicle. (35” MTR’s)
    6x5.5”hubs
    Roof Top Tent.
    On board Air (CO2).
    On board 12v Power.
    On board LPG.
    On board Water.
    On board shower and sink.
    On board kitchen.
    Multi-hitch options, pintle and ball hitch.
    Must be smurf blue with a white top.


    Building verses Buying:

    After months of research, advice and searching, I decided to scratch build my trailer for a several reasons:
    1. Most of the trailers I looked at needed heavy modifications to get them to do what I am wanting from a trailer. Take the m101 trailers from Canada. They are SWEET little trailers with a proven track record, and are nearly bomb proof. However, by the time I add a lid, extend the tongue, swap the hubs, buy new wheels, and install a tailgate, I could be well on my way to building one. Not to mention the time smoothing dents or repairing rust. I am NOT saying this is a bad way to go, but after comparing the cost of tracking one of these trailers down, adding shipping to my house, repairing, and modifying it, I can easily build my own. There isn’t that much to one of these little trailers.
    2. Cost, I will come out ahead of buying a professionally built unit like the Adventure Trailer (though they are one of the finest trailers I have ever seen). All said and done, I should come in right around the cost of a modified m101 or m416.
    3. I love to build things! This project will be as much about the journey as the end product. I work with people for a living and to be able to work with my hands is a MUST in my free time. It will take longer and most likely cost a bit more than expected but in the end I will love building this thing from scratch.
    4. I can do it right… MY WAY :D, and only do it once, instead of modifying over and over as things go along…yeah right, is anything every really finished?


    My Design:

    I picked up one of those Mombassa Tents when they were going like hotcakes last fall. That inspired me to look into a trailer, have always wanted one, but the RTT got the ball rolling.

    I am planning on a main cargo box and a two drawer sliding system with a lid on top. One drawer will be a slide out kitchen and storage, while the other side will be gear storage. The RTT will go on top of the lid, really nothing new to the trailer world, but hey, if it ain’t broke… I will have a tailgate and under bed storage for hard spares (axles and such) that don’t need to be accessed often.

    The chassis will be a simple ladder frame made from 2x3x.120” tubing. I will have a 3x3x.25” tube as the main drawbar, with a 2.5x2.5x.5” tube that can adjust its overall length and connect to the hitch.

    Doodles are worth 999 words so here are a few, the first pic shows the (rough) final frame design. The second pic is of the drawer concept and what the trailer should resemble when finished.
    final-chassis.jpg drawers.jpg
    Last edited: May 31, 2007
  2. Mike S

    Mike S

    Messages:
    2,536
    Looks like a winner to me Drew. I d recommend that a trailer that classy should have a Maggiolina on top, tho...
  3. lfd270ben

    lfd270ben

    Messages:
    52
    Location:
    Louisville, CO
    cant wait
  4. REZARF

    REZARF

    Messages:
    3,310
    Location:
    Broomfield, CO
    Today I mocked up the axle. I needed to get some hard measurements before starting to cut and weld. I got my axle from Randy at www.abctrailerparts.com they are a great business and I highly recommend them. I wanted to see what kind of clearance I needed between the axle spring perches and the inside of the tire. It looks as though I will have a 42” wide frame and clear the tires with room to spare. These springs don’t flex all that much like vehicles suspension. The hitch will do most of the articulating.

    Here is a pic of all the parts with the kit, and a shot of how I taped off the axle to make my measured lines a bit easier to see. I also used a few 2x4’s to mock up the frame width to aid in measuring.
    parts.jpg taped-off.jpg 2x4s.jpg
  5. REZARF

    REZARF

    Messages:
    3,310
    Location:
    Broomfield, CO
    A run to the local steel yard netted all the steel needed for the chassis.

    I am using:

    2 x 3 x .125” for the cross members, the frame side rails, and the triangulating tongue supports.

    2 x 4 x .125” for the rear bumper.

    3 x 3 x .25” for the main tongue (chassis portion).

    2.5 x 2.5 x .25” for the extendable tongue.

    You can see in the pics how the lunette fits into the 2.5” material easily, and then it slides into the 3” material as well. MikeS gets credit for the idea here, thanks Mike! This will also allow me to slide a 2” ball coupler as well. I like this for the simple reason that I can drive the trailer in relative peace on the way to the trail, then let the banging begin once at the trail head, simply by swapping out the coupler for the lunette. I will use standard hitch pins for quick and easy swapping.

    Does it look like a trailer yet?
    Steel.jpg tubingsquare.jpg lunettetubing.jpg
  6. gavman

    gavman

    Messages:
    145
    Location:
    Vancouver Canada
    Way Cool, Just what this forum needs, Please don't take a year to build it though:D
    I'm about to launch into a M101 project this Saturday and plan to do everything to it that you mentioned in the start of this thread...LOL
    Only difference for me is the cheap purchase price and the fact it was only 10 mins from my house.
    What are you planning to use for drawer slides?
    Keep the pics coming...:beer::beer:
  7. That looks like a cool project, have fun with it. :beer:
  8. Exiled

    Exiled

    Messages:
    1,835
    Location:
    Round Rock, TX
    Man, I'm in awe, Rezarf, I've been wanting to do this for the better part of five years!
  9. Koffer

    Koffer

    Messages:
    2,216
    Location:
    Hopewell NJ 08525
    Looks like its going to be a winner.
    I think the one thing you may not like is the trailer springs . They are short and will make the trailer "jumpy" on the road and dont flex as well off . Thats the only thing I can see you might want to change and toss a set of longer springs under it .
  10. REZARF

    REZARF

    Messages:
    3,310
    Location:
    Broomfield, CO
    Thanks guys.

    Exiled, it is hard to fall asleep at night as I think through every aspect of this thing... it will be fun for sure.

    Koffer- Your totally right. I looked at all the suspensions out there, from air bag trailing arms, to torsion axles, to long leaves... my decision came down to reliability and tried and true performance. No doubt it will bounce a bit, but I picked up a few secret tips while down under this past winter... I will reveal them later.

    As a side note the short springs are designed to help control swaying loads, and carry the weight of the cargo... these springs won't do much to help dampen the bumps, but I have a lot of tire sidewall to work with.

    Thanks!

    Drew
  11. spressomon

    spressomon glutton

    Messages:
    11,249
    Location:
    Central Coast
    Awesome Drew! Jeez...I gotta quit reading this thread...its getting me inspired to start building something again:flipoff2:.

  12. REZARF

    REZARF

    Messages:
    3,310
    Location:
    Broomfield, CO
    My plan is the drawers will be removable, and slide in and out with legs that work like an amublance stretcher cart thingy... so they collapse as you push the drawer in and kick out when you slide the drawer out.

    I will most likely use some of the nylon or poly strips to aid the sliding action.

    And yup, I hope I don't take a year, but who knows, I am going to do it right... when time allows. Remember this is my therapy.

    Rezarf <><
  13. sirenmoses

    sirenmoses

    Messages:
    3,279
    Location:
    7400', central NM
    Looks great, and way more useful than the shrink.

    Love the lunette/ball swap option.

    I concur with a Maggi up top, and happen to have one I could perhaps be talked out of. ;)
  14. REZARF

    REZARF

    Messages:
    3,310
    Location:
    Broomfield, CO
    I got to sneak a little more work in on the trailer today. I got the hitch figured out. My fj40 has a home made tire carrier/bumper combo that I made last year to get a 35” spare out of my rear bed. I planned on using a pintle/hitch combo that I have used for years, but failed to cosider or realize that the pintle had to swing open to allow connection of the coupler… bummer.

    Anyhow, I am getting around this by adding a 4” square section of structural steel that has a 3/8” wall… this thing is beefy. I will add a ¼” piece of plate steel behind the cross member to stiffen it up as well. The combo hitch and spacer weigh in at 21 lbs!

    I finally got to use my drill press that I got last year for Christmas, woo-hoo! Makes drilling a ton easier, especially in the thicker material.

    Here are a few shots of the rear carrier and a close up of why the pintle wouldn’t work as is. I will remove the shackle mount and probably attach it to the rear of the trailer for extraction.

    …and here is a link to my bumper build up as well: http://forum.ih8mud.com/showthread.php?t=75040
    DSC01682.jpg DSC01683.jpg spacer.jpg
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2007
  15. REZARF

    REZARF

    Messages:
    3,310
    Location:
    Broomfield, CO
    And a few of the finished hitch and spacer... Grade 8, 1/2" bolts, nuts, lock washers and flat washers.
    DSC01694.jpg DSC01695.jpg DSC01696.jpg
  16. Rubiconcruiser

    Rubiconcruiser

    Messages:
    549
    Good show Drew, cant wait to see the progress.
  17. Rubiconcruiser

    Rubiconcruiser

    Messages:
    549
    Another consideration, Nitrogen instead of CO 2 availability is an understood dimension, cooler, cleaner and less environmental nut consequences.
  18. REZARF

    REZARF

    Messages:
    3,310
    Location:
    Broomfield, CO
    Yeah, but I am already set up for CO2 and my other car is a 38mpg Corolla to keep my hippy friends at bay.

    It is hard to compare the two... CO2 volume is amazing!

    Drew
  19. cbmontgo

    cbmontgo SILVER Star

    Messages:
    2,864
    Location:
    Colorado
    Cool, REZARF. I look forward to seeing this progress!
  20. Exiled

    Exiled

    Messages:
    1,835
    Location:
    Round Rock, TX
    Unless you absolutely need to have the ball hitch, I would use a dedicated pintle hitch, it will be quieter and safer.

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