Building a utility trailer...Would love your thoughts -
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Unread 10-07-2015, 09:50 PM   #1
Registered User
1999 TJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 263
Building a utility trailer...Would love your thoughts

I'm in the process of getting some supplies together for a 5' X 8' trailer build and would apprecaite any thoughts you have.

Yes, I know it's going to be cheaper to just go out and BUY a trailer, but I already have a 58" wide Dexter #3,500 axle, springs, hubs, 15" wheels, and tires, most of which was basically free. I already picked up some "flat top" fenders, and just have to pick up the steel, a 45deg-coupler, and a set of trailer lights.

The purpose of this post is to hear your thoughts on the choice of steel used to build this trailer. I'd like to build something like this pictured below, but without the ramp, and without the short steel "railing" around it. I'd rather have stake pockets with a classic 'wooden fence' around it. (removable)

I've scoured quite a few plans and came to the realization that most of these plans use angle-iron for the structure of the trailer, so the short railings are a part of the structure of the trailer and stiffen (truss) what would otherwise be a floppy mess.

My thought is to build the main frame of the trailer from 3" channel iron like this (except placed on placed on edge):

My reasoning for the use of channel is that (I think) it's more stiff, but I "aint no engineer" so would love your thoughts. This trailer doesn't need to be super heavy duty, (I already have an 18' car-hauler for the big stuff) like I said I'm just building it because we already have most of the stuff for it. (and a welder!) I figure 5'X8' is also a good size to tow behind a small/mid-size garden tractor for hauling things around the yard. I know channel is heavier than angle, but if I can get away without the upper structure, the finished trailer may actually be lighter.

Any thoughts you have are apprecaited.

I intend to live forever. So far, so good.

'99 Wrangler Sport: 2.5" Old Man Emo lift and shocks, adjustable trackbars, Quick-Disko sway links, rollin on 31" BFG A/Ts
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Unread 10-08-2015, 02:40 AM   #2
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2006 LJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Newbury Park, CA
Posts: 1,557
I'm no expert on this subject, but just an observation...

Most boat trailers are similar to what you're describing - a flat steel frame, without a rail to stiffen the structure. And they're usually made of either steel channel or steel rectangular tube.

We have 3 boat trailers in the family, each used to haul boats between 7000-8000 lbs, and each one is made of steel tube.

If steel tube / channel is strong enough for a 7000 lb boat, it should be strong enough for your utility trailer.
2006 Black Unlimited 6-speed, Rubicon Express 5.5" Long Arm Kit
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Unread 10-15-2015, 02:55 PM   #3
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2001 TJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: , MO
Posts: 11,641
I have a pick up with a 5X8 foot flat bed and built a "wood fence" for it and it is frickin heavy.

Here is my trailer, I didn't build it though. I did a spring over and it has hubs that match my jeep so the tires and rims are inter changeable.

01 TJ, 34 Super Swaper 34x10.5 bias, Winch, locked, belly up, some armor.
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