My version of a Trailer build

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Apr 9, 2002
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Olympia, WA
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www.OlympiaFJ60.net
Seems like allot of guys are getting their builds going and done. This has inspired me to get back to mine.

I first built it about 5 years ago on the back of my M416A1 military trailer. It has a hot water heater, 20 gallon water tank, electric water pump and double sink.
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I started by building a frame out of 1×1 thin wall tubing. This was placed on the M416 and attached to the stock mounting points (the trailer frame was never altered). After the frame was built, I skinned it with (heavy) 14 gauge steel. I think this was over kill. I the rebuild we will be removing this an using a little lighter gauge metal or aluminum.
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The water heater is a standard RV type made by Atwood. It runs on propane. There are other models that are 3 way (120v, 12v, propane) but I thought this was too much for an off road trailer. We won’t be using camp grounds with hookups and the 12 volt draws too much current for regular use. It doesn’t really take long for it to heat up with the propane. I just start the water heater first and there is hot enough water by the time camp is all set up. If I were to do it again I would consider a hot camp water heater like the ones sold by Decker’s Hot Camp (also where I will get a heater for the tent space if I decide I need one).
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The sink is also a standard RV type I found at a local RV wrecking yard. I currently have a double sink installed but will be changing that to a single sink and make room for a 2 burner camp stove to it’s left. I also carry a Camp Chef 3 burner stove. The sink drains into a small holding tank that can be rolled to the nearest safe spot to drain (it is just rinse water).

Last feature that we would like to have on this trailer when it is complete is a tent mounted to the top for quick and convenient sleeping arrangements. I have looked at several designs and really like the Australian and South African types that have a large ground floor area as well as an annex off one end for covered cooking area. This is not just an off-road trailer, this is going to be a family camper.
 
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I decided a new, dedicated trailer was needed. The next step was to figure out whether it would be better to find a built trailer and make the box fit or build a new trailer to fit the box. I decided on the latter. After a few trips to Centralia Supply and Fabrication I had enough parts together to start the build. I decided on a simple ladder frame build from 2″x3″ tube steel. I chose to use a combination A frame draw bar that extends to the spring mounts. I had some old Land Cruiser springs and hangers so I used them.
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For the axle I went to ABC Trailer Parts as recommended on the forum Ih8mud.com. Since it is going to be a little heavy fully loaded and for off-road use I opted for a 3500# axle with electric brakes. I think this will greatly improve the safety and drive ability of the trailer on the Highway and off-road.
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I had the old fenders so I went ahead and used them. They are a little small for 31-33″ tires but I think they will work out fine.

The trailer is decked with 1/2″ pressure treated plywood fastened down using rive nuts and flathead cap screws. I decided to add the deck in increase the usability of the trailer. While I said I wanted a dedicated trailer for the camp box, I realize having an extra trailer could come in handy.
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I just used some LED boat trailer lights from Schuck’s Auto Supply. Be sure to print out the page and take it in if you decided to get these lights. Online they are $39.99 and in the store they are $54.99. Schuck’s will price match it’s online prices if you have proof of the price.
trailer_build_21.jpg

For the draw bar I had a piece of 2″x3″x1/4″ tube. I welded a pintle lunette onto the end and formed it for a little cleaner look. I drilled a 1/2″ hole for the safety chains about 12″ from the end and added the brake away switch for the trailer brakes. This hitch is rated at 10k# and should be more than sufficiant for my needs. If you are a concerned about the strength of your particular draw bar, take a look at this source (found on ih8mud.com) for specifications gleaned from some Australian Highway Codes.

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The box is held to the trailer using the same rive nuts, 4 per side. Now I just need to add some “D” rings to the sides of the box so I can easily hoist it off.

The box will house a RV style hot water heater, power connections, 2 deep cycle RV batteries and a 20 gallon water tank. It also has provisions for a sink and stove that slide out of the back of the trailer. There is also room in front of the box to store extra fuel, water, cooler or other supplies.

Eventually I would like to add a large tent to the trailer making in a complete off-road camper. I am currently trying to source a supplier for such a tent.

Here is a sample 3D model I drew up using Google’s Sketchup program.
trailer_tent.jpg
trailer_tent_2.jpg
 
Joined
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I love it, great looking trailer, I was about to buy one of those propane heaters from Atwood, they seemed really great, but the space they require was a bit of an issue since I am trying to add cargo room for my fj40. I love the build so far. Are you going to buy the canvas ready made or have it made up?

Looking forward to your progress bud. Keep up the good work.

Drew
 
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looking good, what are the plans for paint?

For now I just rattle canned with Rustoleum Professional Enamel, frame black and the box will be Aluminum. When I repaint the 60, I will have extra Factory Metallic Silver mixed for the box.

I love it, great looking trailer, I was about to buy one of those propane heaters from Atwood, they seemed really great, but the space they require was a bit of an issue since I am trying to add cargo room for my fj40. I love the build so far. Are you going to buy the canvas ready made or have it made up

I saw the instant heater in the 80 section someone put in. I think that would be a good option for an expedition trailer. The Atwood does take up allot of space. I still need to rework how that, the water tank and the batteries fit inside the box.

For the tent, I am trying to find one already made, but it looks like shipping (from Australia or China) may make it too costly. I may try and build it all my self. Just need to figure out how to do the poles.
 
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HERE is the link to the water heater thread. photogod has it mounted in his truck, but it would make an easy hot water solution to any trailer. If I didn't already have the Atwood I would definitely get one of these.
 
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Here are a few update shots. I'm nearly done with the trailer. We are taking it on a week long camping expedition (looking for "sheep camp" were my mom and her family spent their summers in the 40's and 50's) in the Owyhee Mountains in SW Idaho.

I'll post some action shots when we get back rather than my poser shots here.

The Front
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The back with kitchen closed
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The side showing utilities, RV water heater, water tank fill, power box, battery charger plug,
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A close up of the power box with 110v outlet (fed by a 400watt inverter) for charging batteries and lite electrical loads.
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Next two are the kitchen roled out. I am using a two burner camper stove and a bar sink (15"x15") from Home Depot.
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Rear door locked up. I'm not much of a carpenter though.
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I bent the fenders up to make small running boards. Also improved stability of the fenders.
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Planned location for Propane bottle. Just need to find/make a mount.
normal_finished_trailer_15.JPG
 

titanpat57

Bigfoot?!...never heard of him...
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Hudson Valley, NY
Very nice..I'm really digging that rear kitchen, and the electrical panel is awesome too!! The frame looks super duty, I wish the trailer I'm working on had that type...but a good reason for the next build. Enjoy!!
 

hicruise55

IH8MUD VOYEUR
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Looks awsome Brandon, I really need to get going on the 55 trailer- we need to get together again before the snow comes!
 
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Looks awsome Brandon, I really need to get going on the 55 trailer- we need to get together again before the snow comes!

Thanks Aaron.

We made it on our trip and it worked great. I think I need to spring over the trailer though. Once loaded with water, camping gear, fuel and bikes I didn't have much room left in the fender or bump stops. I also need to make sure I clean my rusty spring plates a little better for the next shock mount. There is half a shock some place between Juniper Mountain road and Jordan Valley :).

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Off topic, but you can read about our trip here Owyhee Sheep Camp Expedition, Part 1 | OlympiaFJ60

Thanks to all the other trailer builders and idea people to help get me motivated to finish (or finish for now) this project.
 
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Bend, OR
I spent a week working (exploring) everything south of you down to the Owyhee a couple years ago. Amazing country. Here are a couple pictures from that trip.The iris photo was taken about 1.5 miles NE of the Boni HQ where you are parked -in the middle of a cattle grazing pasture. The stone house and willow barn are 12-13 miles south. Bob
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Blue HZT60, thanks for the pics. This really is a beautiful area. I think we will be making it an annual trip. It is amazing to see what they were able to do with so few resources up there and how well they have stood up to time in such a dry climate. For those that don't know, the willow barn (if like the willow sheep corals we saw) is actually made from 1" and smaller willow branches stacked together between posts. After 50-80 years, they are still solid and held tightly together.

Evolving to chat here I guess, so here is some more tech.

Pictures of the interior of the trailer. I used AGM batteries for safety and reliablility (like optima just no spiral).


When at a campground our at home, I use a trolling motor charger to keep the batteries topped off. When driving I charge through the vehicle using a hellroaring battery isolator I installed as part of my Dual battery setup into an 87 FJ60 | OlympiaFJ60


The back of my power box. I used circuit breakers from the batteries to the power. One battery is for the water pump and lights. The second batter is for the inverter.


For the inverter I just used a 400 watt inverter I had wired with a relay to switch on and off from the switch panel.


Here is a shot of the water heater. You can see how much space this thing takes up. I think in my next trailer I will use the on demand type heater instead. The second picture is off the whole inside. The water tank is the other item I would change. It is too tall. I think a wider but more flat one would work better for storage space. Even with the limited space I am able to carry the camp table, chairs, tent and shower/toilet enclosure.

 
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Nov 22, 2007
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Nice self sufficient trailer. How does that hellroaring battery isolator work? Is it connected thru your trailer light plug like most travel trailers? Do you just run a wire from your truck battery back to the trailer? I want to do this on my M-416 but did not know how to go about doing it.
 
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Right now the battery isolator is in the truck and separates ALL extra batteries from the starting battery. My dual batter and both trailer batteries. The isolator will eventual end up in the trailer to isolate that from the truck and I will have a second Isolator (the one that can handle combined winching and starting) in the truck. The trailer mounted isolator will connect in line between the battery wire coming from the truck via RV style 7 pin trailer connector. I may also leave it in the truck so any trailer I connect gets isolated, just move it into the rear quarter panel.

To get power to the back I have a 10g wire running through a circuit breaker then back along the frame. I use this for both my aux backup lights (via 10 amp fuse and relay) as well as plugging into the 7 wire connector. For the connector I just picked one up from Uhaul. Easy to install if you already have 4 flat trailer connector. It just plugs into that then has 3 butt connectors, one for ground, one for reverse lights and one for trailer 12v+ (this is the on the batteries connect to).

HTH, I will see if I can find the schematics I used when setting this all up
 
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Nov 22, 2007
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That sounds easy, so all I would have t do is run a wire from the battery in the truck to the back of the 7-pin connector. Then continue the wire from the trailer connector to the isolator. Then connect the aux battery to the isolator. Is there any need to have the remote switch in the truck for the isolator? Thanks for the help.
 
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That sounds about right. I don't think there is any need for a remote switch in the truck. As far as I understand it, that would be used to combine the two batteries when there is no input from the alternator. Don't forget Circuit breakers or fuses at both ends close to the batteries (or alternator depending on your connection point in the truck).
 
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Starting the next phase on the build. Going to pick my tent up from the freight terminal tomorrow.

Then I just have to figure out how I'm going to mount it on the trailer. Also reconfiguring the tailgate door to swing to the side rather than down, planning some under trailer water/waste water tanks and stabilizer jacks for the rear. Along with everything else it should only take be another couple of weeks :D
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