Unique Utility Trailer Build

Discussion in 'Trailer Tech' started by rain76king, Feb 19, 2012.

  1. rain76king

    rain76king Wheel more, post less GOLD Star

    Messages:
    2,623
    Location:
    South Shore, MA
    So there's been a evolution of my trailer needs.

    My first trailer was a rusty old m416 I bought, cleaned up, threw a tongue box on it with a battery system and a lid with a roof top tent and called it done.
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    This worked great for me while I was single and didn't need the space.
    I also didn't travel too far out of the New England area.


    My second was a huge score of an imported South African Cutt's Manufacturing Bundu Safari Trailer. Some may have remembered the thread http://www.expeditionportal.com/foru...ler%28to-me%29.
    I must of moved the location of the pictures in the thread.
    To sum it up though it was a rusty mess when I got it but after a lot of elbow grease, rust sealer, primer and paint I got a wonderful purpose built trailer that has served me quite well after 2 years of club event's, camping trips and quick weekend getaways.
    Some pictures of the project below-
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  2. rain76king

    rain76king Wheel more, post less GOLD Star

    Messages:
    2,623
    Location:
    South Shore, MA
    I love the idea of the utility bodies turned into trailers.
    The problem with them in my eyes is that they are typically very heavy in nature.
    The other issue is that you lose a lot of the weather proof storage that you get with the "clam shell" style or as I refer to them as the coffin style!

    The issues I have with the clam shell style trailer is having the RTT on the hinged lid.
    My wife is not an early riser like myself, so if I want to get up and set up camp or start breakfast it means she needs to get out of the tent.
    Also she is about 5'2 and if she needs to access something in the far hinged area of the trailer she needs to basically climb in.

    I have been searching for about 2 years for a unique utility body to do a trailer build on.
    It needed to meet the following requirements.

    It had to not weigh a lot.
    It would need to have a lid or have an area for me to build a lid for to have storage out of the elements.

    I know I can find some of those things in some of the finely built overland trailers on the market but I'm not willing to drop that sort of coin on a trailer.

    What I found completely reached and far exceeded all the requirements that I had hoped to be able to find.

    Here are some pictures of what I will be building.
    Your ideas and guidance in this build will be greatly appreciated.


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    Trailer is all aluminum and we are guessing that it weighs in at about 4-500 pounds.
    There are reinforced beams on the roof so it's plenty strong to be able to mount a roof top tent on.
    We are most likely going the way of a large or family style car top tent.
    will also equip the trailer with a FoxWing awning. This will attach to the drivers side.
    The large size tent will take up the entire roof of the trailer and will open to the passenger side of the vehicle.
    This is the side of the truck that has the slide out drawer that at this point we're planning on making it a kitchen set up.
    The nice part of running this large tent is we are able to utilize the large changing room style option that will pretty much enclose that kitchen area and the large side opening into the trailer.
    Trailers frame will be the typical ladder style trailer frame.
    Will go with leaf springs for the cheap and simple factor.
    The standard 3,500 pound trailer axle with electric brake and a bolt pattern matching my FZJ80.
    Would like to run 315 KM2's to match the FZJ80.
    I would like a good size tongue box but there seems to be nothing on the market to meet my needs so I may need to seek a local fabricator.

    That's where I'm at now, really excited about this build!

    We have a 14-16 day trip planned at the end of August that will take us from Boston, Through VT and into Quebec. From there we will be hitting the Trans Lab Highway and catching a ferry to Newfoundland, down the coast of Newfoundland and hopping another ferry to Nova Scotia to check out the area and then driving home through Maine back to Boston.

    Hoping to have the trailer done for then but it's not imperative.
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2012
  3. ntsqd

    ntsqd technerd

    Messages:
    4,806
    Location:
    Upper So. CA
    No idea what your plans are so my first comment is Please do not butt the tongue to the front of the trailer frame. Run it under the leading cross-member and pick up the main rails with the diagonals. I have often recommended the MM Smith Vol II book on building trailer structure because it covers all of these sorts of good and bad design issues.

    Second comment is to use as long of a spring as is reasonably possible and include shocks from the start. A trailer doesn't need, or even want, a lot of wheel travel, but it does want a supple ride so that the rough roads and trails don't beat up it or it's contents.
  4. rain76king

    rain76king Wheel more, post less GOLD Star

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    Location:
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    There is no concrete plan at this point, but I wouldn't do that with the tongue anyways.
    You pretty much stated what was in my head for the frame.

    As far as the suspension I will absolutely use a shock and I was thinking of running a FJ60 rear Spring pack with a leaf taken out.

    Thanks for the input!
  5. cruiserpilot

    cruiserpilot

    Messages:
    1,845
    Location:
    Ladysmith
    That utility box is a great find, really a cool idea for a foundation. So are you upgrading your tent size then? If I'm not mistaken the one you have is a Cascadia tent. Thinking of the same brand? I'm in the middle of deciding to get the Mt Shasta for my 60+trailer. I will follow your build with interest. Good luck. J
  6. prairiecruiser1

    prairiecruiser1

    Messages:
    153
    Any thoughts of selling your safari trailer when the new project is done
  7. Ebag333

    Ebag333

    Messages:
    8,163
    Location:
    Medford, OR
    That pull out drawer would make a killer cook area. You could mount a small sink in there, some cook tops, etc.

    Or, if you're not claustrophobic, a place to sleep. :lol:
  8. rain76king

    rain76king Wheel more, post less GOLD Star

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    Thanks!
    I'm upgrading the tent to an adventure 2 tent more than likely from South East Overland- Southeast Overland | Southeast Overland
    I currently have a Mombassa expedition.
  9. rain76king

    rain76king Wheel more, post less GOLD Star

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    I'm fairly certain my trailer is already spoken for.
    If it falls through it will be in the for sale section shortly to fund the build.
  10. rain76king

    rain76king Wheel more, post less GOLD Star

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    I may sleep in there when I run solo!

    The pullout is definitely the designated cook area. Stay tuned, cook top and sink plans already drawn up!
  11. rickyjunker

    rickyjunker

    Messages:
    28
    BTT since I really want to see what you've done so far. Great platform for a build.

  12. rain76king

    rain76king Wheel more, post less GOLD Star

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    Location:
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    Work has been busy so I haven't done much but research.
    So far I figure I will run a 3500 pound axle with Electric brake and Parking brake from RedNeck supply.
    Will need to run hub adapters. Trailer axles do not com Hub Centric like fzj80 stock rims.
    Trailer frame will be made of steel and house a watertank and possibly a aux. fuel tank.
    Nose cone or Tongue box will most likely be made of aluminum to try and keep weight down.

    Just doing research now but will be updating as I move along.
  13. titanpat57

    titanpat57 SILVER Star

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    Can you set that on a M116A2/M101A2 frame by any chance?

    Thought it might be quicker than trying to build an entire frame/springs/and all that.

    You could bob the tail, build up the box to sit on there...thinking outloud here...smell something burning?

    :beer:
  14. rain76king

    rain76king Wheel more, post less GOLD Star

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    I more than likely could, but the price it cost to purchase one comes pretty close to having built or having a trailer frame built for me.
    It's a great platform though.
  15. REZARF

    REZARF

    Messages:
    3,314
    Location:
    Broomfield, CO
    That is a rockin' platform. Looking forward to seeing it come together.
  16. rain76king

    rain76king Wheel more, post less GOLD Star

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    Thanks Drew, Hope to have it a 1/4 as useful and cool as your build!
  17. twoyotas

    twoyotas

    Messages:
    303
    Location:
    Vacaville, CA
    very cool, should turn out great. kitchen set-up on that slide-out is exactly what I thought when I saw the photo. I might be a little concerned about enclosing it though, just because of propane fumes and incidental cooking smoke.
  18. Adventure Copan

    Adventure Copan Changing Lives Through Coffee!™ SILVER Star

    I'm waiting for a progress update with some pics! :D
  19. rain76king

    rain76king Wheel more, post less GOLD Star

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    Not too much to update-

    Ordered two 315/75/16 KM2s
    got two used leaf springs out of a FJ62...Thanks Remy1974!
    Ordered a easy axle swap kit from Ruff Stuff to be able to spring under or spring over the axle to better match the LX450's ride height.
    ordered pin kits for the leafs from CoolCruisers.
    Ordered shackle hangers and shackles from Ruff Stuff as well.
    Will order a Max coupler within the week as well.

    Once I get the tires here I can get them mounted and get them under the utility body, from there I can measure for trailer axle width.
    Once I have a measurement I will have to factor in the width of the Lug centric to hub centric adapters in order to run matching LX450 rims.

    Once I find a large triangular tongue box I can get moving on figuring out the frame.

    There is progress going on but just not anything worthy of photos...unless you want to see a before and after of my bank account...lol

    If I mount the tent to open up on the side of where the slide out is and use the room enclosure, it's very simple to unzip it and drop a wall.
    My only concern would be grease fire or the wind blowing a wall into the stove.
    As parts arrive and the trailer gets mocked up it will answer many questions.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2012
  20. Adventure Copan

    Adventure Copan Changing Lives Through Coffee!™ SILVER Star

    Right on! I'm just jealous and wanted to feed my desires through your cool build! Lol :D

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