My Baja Trailer build....

Joined
Aug 8, 2007
Messages
152
Location
West Los Angeles
Since everyone is doing trailer projects, i finally made the plunge to start my project that ive been wanting to do for a couple years now.

Most of my travels are in baja and i have towed many trailers and broken all of them at some point on a trip usually in the middle of nowhere and had various things go wrong with each trailer. Having these experiences has educated me as to what works and what doesn't. So my goal is to build a trailer that can take the abuse that baja dishes out while bouncing happily behind my 4Runner or the Cruiser.

The biggest problem ive had with other trailers is the suspension. The little 25" long leafsprings always break because they're too rigid and create a lot of heat thus breaking. Also, the little spring hangers break or bend, things are just not designed for constant off road abuse. So i wanted long leafs that flexed a little combined with a shock, and some stout hangers/hardware.

So far here are my specs:
4' wide x 7' long
The box will be 2' deep, aluminum diamond plate sides with 3/4" marine ply for floor.
Box lid - still figuring this out, but have designs for either a 1 or 2 door lid thats water tight.
Full rack out of 1x1 square tubing to mount my eezi awn above the box and hold surfboards
Frame: 2.5" x 2.5" 3/16 angle bracket for frame
Box: 1.5 x 1.5" angle bracket for corner/side/top frame supports
2" reciever pipe for tounge
3500 # axle with 6 on 5.5 hubs from abctrailerparts.com
Suspension: New 5 leaf tacoma leafsprings from wheelers offroad
Shocks - figure that out later
Wheels - 16" tacoma rims with 265's or 285's bfg at's
Spring hangers - home made.

So far the springhangers have been welded together. Now im waiting for the axle to arrive today so i can weld the frame to get the frame positioned exactly over the spring perches so the leafs are exactly lined up.

Scroll Down For Pics....
 
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Joined
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Bozeman, MT
 
 
 
Sweet another build!

Looking forward to seeing your project come to life, I love getting to build mine!

Drew
 
Joined
Aug 8, 2007
Messages
152
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sorry i havent posted pics yet, but so far heres whats done:

Frame fully welded with cross members welded on.
Spring hangers welded on.
Tounge welded on.
2" coupler welded on.
Leaf springs mounted.
Axle resting on leafs until i fab some u-bolt plates tomorrow morn (sun).

Once i finish the ubolt plates (1/4" steel) and fasten the axle to the leafs, then i can turn it over and mount the wheels and start the box.

It's amazing how much time things take when you do it right. I forgot how long welding can take when your laying a bead down on every joint - top, bottom, and sides.

This thing is soo stout and strong, i'm already feeling confident that this thing is gonna handle the beatings thats waiting for it. hehe.

Ill snap some pics sunday.

I
 
Joined
Aug 8, 2007
Messages
152
Location
West Los Angeles
She's Alive!!!!

Ok, here we go. Ive bust my azzz to get the frame and suspension done. This thing is soooo solid, dosent shake, flex or shimmy at all. I drove it around the block and around the neigborhood for a while, got it up to 40 mph for 4 blocks and it traks dead straight and like a dream. Im soo happy that it actually performs (for now) like i had hoped.

But, im not done yet. I still have to make the box, and the rack over the box to hold up the Eezi Awn roof tent, then load it all up and see how it handles fully laden. I have a feeling i might have to add 1 or 2 leafs to handle the weight, but well see when i get it all done.

Here are the pics:
1 - frame upside down (still welding/assembling)
2 - rear spring hanger
3 - rear spring hanger
bajatrailerbuild 002 resize.jpg
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Joined
Aug 8, 2007
Messages
152
Location
West Los Angeles
more...
1 - you can see my home made u-bolt plate - 1/4" cold rolled steel
2 - passenger side suspension
3 - passenger side spring/shakle
bajatrailerbuild 023 resize.jpg
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Joined
Aug 8, 2007
Messages
152
Location
West Los Angeles
more more more...
1 - drivers side suspension
2 - drivers side front spring hanger and leafs
3 - front view trailer (looks kinda distorted in the pic - its actually all dead straight in person)
bajatrailerbuild 026 resize.jpg
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bajatrailerbuild 029 resize.jpg
 
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Joined
Aug 8, 2007
Messages
152
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West Los Angeles
last ones for now...
1 - me proudly standing next to my hard work
2 - side shot trailer.

Things to finish: still some welding on the edges, and top. Wheel caps. Make the box and tent rack, fuel can rack either on front or rear of box, and spare tire mount either on front or rear of box (obvously opposite of where the fuel cans are gonna go).

Thats it until this next week when i get more time to build the box. Thx for the support here. ;)
bajatrailerbuild 035 resize.jpg
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Joined
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Bozeman, MT
 
 
 
BRAVO!

J-man, that thing is going to rock! I love how you made the floor. Seems like you used light tubing but enough to keep it strong! GREAT JOB!

I have been blown away at the amount of work mine has taken, you should be proud dude! BTW, your welds look great what kind of machine are you using?

Keep it up man,

We will have to have a gathering for the home built trailer guys here... ;)
 
Joined
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Rockville, MD
 
 
 
Looking good!

I have concerns about a couple of things though. The first is your shackle setup. Why did you decide not to use any sort of bushing for the shackle mount? I have a feeling this will make a LOT of noise and eventually wear away at itself. Especially in the harsh conditions of Baja. If this was a landscaping trailer to go to Home Depot it might be a different story, although I would still be a bit suspect.

Second is your overload springs. They appear to be upside down. If your leafs go that inverted you have big problems IMO.

Third is your u-bolt plates. Now I realize these won't see the forces that they would on a vehicle(much less articulation on a trailer axle), but I would still brace them so that the u-bolts do not pull them down on the sides. You can do this by simply welding a piece of angle iron across them. If you look under any truck with leaf springs you will notice that the u-bolt plates have bends in them perpendicular to the spring, this is why.

Overall great job though. The frame looks absolutely bomber and I doubt you will have any problems there! :D
 
Joined
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Messages
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Looking good!

I have concerns about a couple of things though. The first is your shackle setup. Why did you decide not to use any sort of bushing for the shackle mount? I have a feeling this will make a LOT of noise and eventually wear away at itself. Especially in the harsh conditions of Baja. If this was a landscaping trailer to go to Home Depot it might be a different story, although I would still be a bit suspect.

Second is your overload springs. They appear to be upside down. If your leafs go that inverted you have big problems IMO.

Third is your u-bolt plates. Now I realize these won't see the forces that they would on a vehicle(much less articulation on a trailer axle), but I would still brace them so that the u-bolts do not pull them down on the sides. You can do this by simply welding a piece of angle iron across them. If you look under any truck with leaf springs you will notice that the u-bolt plates have bends in them perpendicular to the spring, this is why.

Overall great job though. The frame looks absolutely bomber and I doubt you will have any problems there! :D
thx for the feedback, its exactly what i want.

1. Shakle set-up - i was soo excited to get it put together, i didnt put all the correct pieces on. My plan was to put a sleeve over the bolt which sits inside the shakle mounts freely, or tacked in. Then put the toyota rubber bushings between the hanger and the shakle itself then locked with either a lock nut or lock washer/nut combo.
Any ideas on that? Ways to improve?

2. Overload springs - these are leaf packs out of a tacoma - thats how they come from the factory and i too hope that the leafs never arch that far, hence i might put 1 or 2 more leaves in to compensate for the weight that will be inside it for trips.

3. U-bolt plates - great idea on welding an angle on them to prevent bending - definately gonna do that one - thx.

U-bolts - i need longer ones so i can put a lock washer beneath them and have some room to play. Maybe put some bump stops - dunno yet.
 
Joined
Sep 8, 2003
Messages
5,167
Location
Bozeman, MT
 
 
 
Looking good!

I have concerns about a couple of things though. The first is your shackle setup. Why did you decide not to use any sort of bushing for the shackle mount? I have a feeling this will make a LOT of noise and eventually wear away at itself. Especially in the harsh conditions of Baja. If this was a landscaping trailer to go to Home Depot it might be a different story, although I would still be a bit suspect.

Second is your overload springs. They appear to be upside down. If your leafs go that inverted you have big problems IMO.

Third is your u-bolt plates. Now I realize these won't see the forces that they would on a vehicle(much less articulation on a trailer axle), but I would still brace them so that the u-bolts do not pull them down on the sides. You can do this by simply welding a piece of angle iron across them. If you look under any truck with leaf springs you will notice that the u-bolt plates have bends in them perpendicular to the spring, this is why.

Overall great job though. The frame looks absolutely bomber and I doubt you will have any problems there! :D
Arya- You're the king of the details... and overbuilding! :D ;)

I think he'll be fine on the ubolt plates, and the springs will not ever flex that much on a little trailer if they were designed for a full sized rig. I do agree with you on the spring hangers, I bet you might break a bolt there or at best oval out the bracket holes over time.

Looking good!
 
Joined
Dec 2, 2003
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3,400
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Rockville, MD
 
 
 
I don't have the time to build a trailer right now, so I have to live vicariously through you guys, hence the attention to detail :D And hey, I'm the one who told you reduce the thickness on your rear bumper remember? Strength is relative, but flat 1/4" plate for u-bolt plates will bend. Guaranteed. :)

J-man, for your shackles, IMO you need to get a different kind of shackle. How wide are the frame brackets(inside to inside) and how wide are the leafs? The kind of shackle you need has a bushing on one end and bolt holes on the other. If the dimension are right, you could use the stock shackles from a Chevy pickup or a Jeep Cherokee. In fact, if the dimensions are right and you can wait 2 weeks(they're at my shop 3 hours away), I will send you a set of stock Cherokee shackles I have laying around for the cost of shipping.

As for the overloads, I think you might be better off just removing them. The ends hang down far enough to the point I'd be worried about snagging them on something. If you did that, you wouldn't have to buy new u-bolts either :D
 
Joined
Apr 5, 2006
Messages
44
 
 
Trailer; Pintle Hitch ?

Looking at the military 416 & 101 trailers I see that they have pintle hitches.

Seems a better way to go for secure articulation in an offroad venue.

Nice job on your trailer. it sure is fun to put something like this together.
 
Joined
Aug 8, 2007
Messages
152
Location
West Los Angeles
I don't have the time to build a trailer right now, so I have to live vicariously through you guys, hence the attention to detail :D And hey, I'm the one who told you reduce the thickness on your rear bumper remember? Strength is relative, but flat 1/4" plate for u-bolt plates will bend. Guaranteed. :)

J-man, for your shackles, IMO you need to get a different kind of shackle. How wide are the frame brackets(inside to inside) and how wide are the leafs? The kind of shackle you need has a bushing on one end and bolt holes on the other. If the dimension are right, you could use the stock shackles from a Chevy pickup or a Jeep Cherokee. In fact, if the dimensions are right and you can wait 2 weeks(they're at my shop 3 hours away), I will send you a set of stock Cherokee shackles I have laying around for the cost of shipping.

As for the overloads, I think you might be better off just removing them. The ends hang down far enough to the point I'd be worried about snagging them on something. If you did that, you wouldn't have to buy new u-bolts either :D
yeah, the rear shakles are the one part i wasn't completly satisfied with. So your saying some chevy's or jeep shackles will work best? What are the specs? Part #'s? Sounds good to me.
The leafs im using are 2 &3/4" wide (businging to bushing outside).
As for shakle width, mine are 2 &5/8" - 2 &3/4" wide, although i do have another set of hangers i can weld on if needed. I want to do it right the first time so cutting and grinding the old ones off is not a problem if need be.

Ive been contemplating removing the overloads so i dont have to get new u-bolts, and may add another leaf to each pack, dunno yet. As far as snagging, probably wont where i go - sandy washboard roads, tho there are some rocky arroyos to drive up/through.
 
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