Harbor Freight Folding Trailer: Modification / Write-up / Review - Page 5 - JeepForum.com
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #61 of 86 Old 02-17-2012, 10:52 AM
Registered User
1956 CJ5 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: tucson
Posts: 2
sorry to continue an old thread

Hey guys, I am thinking about buying one of these HF trailers. I was wondering how it looks underneath; do you think I could swap in a heavier axle with 15" wheels? It looks like everything would be gtg as long as all the joints were welded up like you described.

supesazpd is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #62 of 86 Old 02-17-2012, 08:15 PM
Registered User
Indy's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Viera
Posts: 3,457
With enough duct tape anything is possible.

I just bolter mine together per instructions and it held up to years of abuse until i sold it. It took a bunch more after that. Short of needing new.decking it was still going strong last time i saw it. They are pretty stout without mods.

I'm the only gay eskimo.
Indy is offline  
post #63 of 86 Old 02-21-2012, 09:59 AM
Registered User
1956 CJ5 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: tucson
Posts: 2
Thanks for follow up, I went and looked at one and wasn't too happy with the c-chanel frame. I think I'm just going to build one because I want a multi purpose setup. probably going to use a torsion axle to avoid the leaf spring too.
supesazpd is offline  
post #64 of 86 Old 03-18-2012, 11:29 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Peoria
Posts: 1
Awesome write up and project. I just bought the same trailer a few weeks ago and finally (I think) have the wiring fixed up right (with the help of a dedicated ground wire) and am getting ready to build the stakes and side panels, and put the deck down.

One question I have for the OP: you mentioned that you used "3x8" x 1 1/2" lag bolts with nylock nuts" to fix the decking to the frame. I assume you mean carriage bolts or hex had bolts. I'm particularly interested in how you sunk the heads of whichever of these you chose into the decking so as not to make them pop up above the surface (which I assume would be a problem when loading certain types of materials).

I was going to try to go with a screw head that I could easily sink into the wood and make flush. On this page, e.g., they call it a "countersunk flat" type:


Menards sell some machine threaded screws like this and call them "stove bolts", but the problem is that they tend to only go up to 1/4" in size, not 3/8" like I really want.

Anyway, if you figured out a good way to make hex head or carriage bolts sink into the surface, I'd like to see how you did it.

One other question about the decking too, you say that you chose 3/4" CDX which is what the manual recommends, but I think I read somewhere that that is actually too think to really let the two halves fully fold up. Did you have any trouble with that?

I've also completed two other modifications that were somewhat inspired by what you'd mentioned here:

1) to hold the side panel stakes in, instead of using a cotterpin held bolt, I'm going to try using these cotterless pins. Since the hole they go through must be very close in size to the pin so that the ball bearing will properly secure it, I re-drilled 1/4" holes through all of the stake holders into the frame:


2) To hold the two halves together, I bolted one of these across the middle of the outside cross bars:

tgice is offline  
post #65 of 86 Old 04-04-2012, 10:23 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Illinois
Posts: 5
I'm in the process of assembling this trailer. I have a question as I need to purchase the piece that goes onto the hitch. When the trailer is standing straight what's the height from the ground to the ball "socket" on the tongue of the trailer? I purchased a hitch for my car and it came with everything however the piece that goes into the receiver is too short - will not clear the bumper; and I called a trailer place and they need that dimension. I've searched internet and can't find this info. Thanks.
94cruiser is offline  
post #66 of 86 Old 05-03-2012, 07:38 PM
Registered User
Join Date: May 2012
Location: eugene
Posts: 1
Thank you for taking the time to make this great thread. I was hoping you might be able to answer a question for me... I am considering purchasing this trailer and I was wondering if it will still roll while folded so you can use it as a mini trailer if needed. Thank you
sherry is offline  
post #67 of 86 Old 07-18-2012, 03:19 PM
Registered User
1989 YJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Santa Clara
Posts: 58
Originally Posted by lupinsea View Post
Where to get those interlocking hinges? I have looked everywhere and I cannot find it...
vijay is offline  
post #68 of 86 Old 09-13-2012, 02:49 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Indianapolis
Posts: 1
Corner Stake Rack Connectors

vijay, you can buy those interlocking hinges at RedTrailers.com. They call them corner stake rack connectors. Here's the link - http://redtrailers.com/ListItems.asp?cat=40

densitywave is offline  
post #69 of 86 Old 09-24-2012, 04:28 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: laverne
Posts: 23
I changed out the casters already. Home Depot has some metal wheel 2" casters, but they use 4 bolts. The wheels can be unbolted if you bust one. The inside of the "L" bracket for the trailer will interfere with the bolt heads if you are not careful. Since you can get new wheels, the casters could be welded on also. These casters are great! They roll over almost anything, and do not self destruct in cracks and joints like the original ones did.
whyohwhy is offline  
post #70 of 86 Old 09-24-2012, 04:38 PM
Registered User
1989 YJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Santa Clara
Posts: 58
Originally Posted by densitywave View Post
vijay, you can buy those interlocking hinges at RedTrailers.com. They call them corner stake rack connectors. Here's the link - http://redtrailers.com/ListItems.asp?cat=40
Awesome, thank you....
vijay is offline  
post #71 of 86 Old 12-31-2012, 06:02 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: WDC
Posts: 1
My HF mod

Thank you for the very informative post. It helped me a lot to do my HF upgrade. Sorry I don't have a Jeep
Attached Thumbnails
IMG_0152.jpg   trailer.jpg   t4a.jpg  
crvman is offline  
post #72 of 86 Old 01-31-2013, 03:21 PM
Registered User
1992 YJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Bonney Lake, Wa
Posts: 1,398
Has anyone dealt with having to raise one to pull behind a lifted jeep? I would rather not use a 16 inch drop hitch to get this thing to ride level. I have a 97 XJ with 32 inch tires, 4 inches of lift, an the reciever in the middle of my bumper (which puts the reciever above factory almost 3 or 4 inches).

I am kinda thinking of seeing if the hubs can handle standard 15 inch steel wheels an truck tires, an if not, upgrade till it can.

Looking for ideas

John Moore ~ Real Men Still Crawl...
97 XJ (Diablo) 4.0L H.O. w/AW4 4sp Auto Dana 30/Chry 8.75 2.5 inch Flowmaster Exhaust 4 inch Lift w/ 32inch tires & RS5000 Shocks
92 YJ (BOSS) 4.0L H.O. w/AX-15 5sp Manual, 231 TCase, Dana 30/8.8 (3.73) 2.5 inch Flowmaster R.E. 2 inch lift and 2 inch body lift for CJ clip
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
JohnFM3 is offline  
post #73 of 86 Old 05-21-2014, 09:14 AM
Registered User
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Hayward
Posts: 3

I'd like to thank this forum for hosting this veritable encyclopedia of Harbor Freight trailer information. The best I've found. I don't have a jeep ( yet ) but I do have one of these trailers - sitting in its two boxes in the back of my Astro cargo van. Due to recent changes in my family ( a pair of 7-month-old twins ), the Astro is alas going away, to be replaced by a brand new Toyota Sienna minivan. The Sienna can carry babies, but it is far too nice to fill it up with junk like the Astro. Far too nice to pick up a load of ready-mix or a pile of two-by-fours or some sheets of plywood. The Sienna is in hand, the front of the house is looking like a used car lot, the boss has spoken - the Astro Must Go!

I plan to weld the corners like the OP did. I'm reasonably good at welding, but my Miller MIG welder is VERY good at welding. So good, it makes me look good . I'd very much like to make it unfold easily and quickly with
gate latches or similar. I'm not even going to install the stock casters - they're obviously inadequate. Am thinking of using Harbor Freight "3 inch rubber locking casters", their #95356. I realize I would have to modify the
bar they bolt to - four bolts instead of one in the middle - MIG welder to the rescue! I would also have to lengthen the piece that sticks out and keeps the trailer from kicking out when you lower it for unfolding.
jerryk1234 is offline  
post #74 of 86 Old 05-21-2014, 11:20 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Stateline
Posts: 41

Hi Jerry,
First off, congrats on the twins! (And Good Luck ;^)

I just ordered replacement casters on my folding trailer (not an HB, but similar) and I thought I'd chime in. Please forgive, its been so long and I did not bother going back through this thread this morning - I am just gonna post for now (and look later)...

The casters hunt was frustrating. I didn't like (was uncertain about) what I found locally, and I don't know about caster tech. I want to be able to maneuver my trailer on end not only in the garage (on flat smooth concrete) but also out on the rough drive and sometimes in the dirt as well, and those 3 inch that come stock are not only crap, but they are too small for rolling over the hard dirt out here.

I ended up buying some Jacob Holtz brand casters (very popular/competitive manuf of casters, and that 2nd link shows you the ones I picked up on sale thru Global Industrial ).

Before I did, I shopped around a lot. I found most of what I "wanted" were in the $14 to $20++ dollar per item range - more than what I wanted to spend. I am including some link below to some resources that helped me better figure out how to spec my "need vs want" factor.

These sites helped me gain a better general understanding of the caster technologies you generally see out there:
RWM Materials info
RWM Bearing Application Guide
Industrial Caster and Wheel (you'll have to peck around)
Cisco - Eagle
Durable USA
Caster City

There were some others, but you get the idea (of my websearch effort).
Jacob Holtz (link above) has a handy 'narrow it down' resource on their site, and then GI (also linked above) is a reseller of theirs as well as others.

Well its not too insightful a post, however, I just went through this and am eagerly awaiting my replacement casters ...so I hope it helps somewhat.

Good luck. Be sure to update the thread on what you got and how it worked out.

twohawks is offline  
post #75 of 86 Old 05-21-2014, 12:53 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Stateline
Posts: 41

UPDATE AFTER TESTING: SORRY -THIS WONT WORK. I am considering deleting the post. For now, its good info on a decent tripod. I am posting my update a couple posts ahead in this thread with details.

This is a bit lengthy due to detailed info/report.

I just thought I'd add this... My (non-HB) trailer weighs about 350+ lbs, and I am an older (but not old) dude who cannot lift that (after fully folding) all the way vertical and onto its caster-assembly by myself (allllmost -dammit, but no cigar ;^).

So I hunted around for figuring a not too expensive "hoist" solution that I could take with (I travel a bit and need to store it at various 'ports of call' as I go, or I would simply rely on the 5-to-1 pulley hoist I made and put up in the shed).

While a "hitch-mounted hoist" solution seemed attractive to me, I wanted to be able to not have to rely on the Jeep's hitch for putting up the trailer, as I may wish to move/roll the trailer into a spot and then hoist it right there ...where perhaps it would be inconvenient or impossible to have the Jeep front/rear hitch present.

SO I started figuring on building a "TriPod Hoist" solution with a hand-winch.
As most hunters already know, there are several over-the-counter solutions for both hitch and tripod hoists for handling game (that typically break down for more manageable transport), and I though one of these might be the way to go. (As well, ranchers and farmers will also be familiar with tripod feeders - similar tech.)

WARNING: Problem is, almost all of the "non-top-dollar" solutions out there suffer from some complaint or other on how poorly they perform, or arriving in semi-broken condition, etc... so if you follow this down be careful to read user/consumer-posts and all the details you can gather on anything you may consider purchasing. (Not only that, there is no "non-top-of-the-line" item out there with a good enough pictures that shows you what all you are really getting.)

AS WELL, when/if shopping be mindful to observe the weight of the tool... the cheaper ones are attractive at around 45-50 lbs, while the heavier duty ones usually weigh in beginning at 90++ lbs (which, personally, I don't want to be hauling everywhere with me).

For instance, a common "less expensive" manufacturer of these types of tools out there is ForeverLast. They cost from $125++ to well over $200 depending on type (hitch-mount or tripod) you look at, and reviews are all over the place - buyer beware. If you look at a Texas or similar lifts, while more "reliable" those types start at about $300 (up to $700+).

So I stumbled upon one at Walmart (of all places) that cost only $70, rated at 300 lbs capacity, and it had pretty good reviews too. I figured, what the hell - close enough, and for half-to-a-third of the money I was otherwise looking at spending, I can test and modify it as/if I need to... I mean how weak can some metal poles and a winch with a 1/4" steel cable be anyway ?! I bet it can do 500lbs with a 'little help'.

Well it arrived yesterday, so I will tell you about it 'so far'. Bottomline is I think this is gonna work just fine (I won't get to test it for real till weekend).

What this is: Hunter's Pointe Steel Frame Tripod Hoist
You can read the description at the link, so I will skip the main specs.
The poles are about 1.75" diameter (or slightly less) made of thin-ish metal (and we all know chinese steel is non-too-strong). But they are not flimsy. They are sectioned in half with lock-rod clips at the joints (handy), and the Tripod Head and Feet appear to be decently welded (not tack, but full).

***The Tripod Head on this one has a 2:1 Pulley Hoist assembly. I consider that a bonus since pretty much all the other ones only have a direct 1:1 pulley setup.

It arrived in a box measuring 57.5" x 14" x 5" (poles measure almost 9' long when assembled) that was fairly beat up, but everything was there (nothing lost). I was a little disheartened to find a pole-end slightly bent 'out of round' (from shipping handling), but I was able to fix it (you will hear this sort of thing a lot ...boxed without adequate protection for contents, missing pieces, damage, etc... I consider myself lucky). Rankam does include a phone number and instructions for contacting them directly (the California Manuf outlet) if anything is damaged or missing, or if you need parts. While I didn't call them, it felt good seeing that. Many purchasers of the "cheapo stuff" report no recourse provided at all !

The hand-winch appears similar to decent 500 to 600 (or even 1000) lb styles I have seem, is bolted on (not welded - which I have seen complaints about the welded on ones), and if it isn't up to the task (cannot imagine) I can simply attach my own pulley hoist, no problem. As mentioned above, its got a fairly beefy near quarter-inch steel cable on it. To be clear, I hear some have flimsy handles that have bent, or come apart, or stopped functioning, or are flimsy construction all around. This is as decent, and heavy duty, a hand-winch as I typically have seen, and I don't see any of those things are gonna happen with this one.

IMPORTANT / SAFETY: On these types of tripod 'tools', you have to use the stakes or leg stablizers (if any) that come with. If you do not anchor the feet, especially on a cheaper tripod, the weight you are lifting can cause the legs to spread, and then potentially buckle or break the welds (in the head), resulting in failure and potential injury. I am going to make my own cable stabilizer for this, as it only comes with stakes.

I will post back after testing it, but to mention... assembly went well, and it appears to be very sturdy and capable. I don't think it will need it, but if I need to add some heft to it I already have some ideas for simple additions.

Last thing I should mention... anyone who buys these who has no experience typically complains about the wire spool. What happens is these types of tools typically ship with a loose bail (duh). You HAVE to unspool, and then re-spool the bail with some weight to pre-prep these for proper use.
Additionally. what I do is, after prepping the hand-crank spool ...take a tough velcro compression strap and wrap it around the bail after re-spooling it in order to keep the bail from loosening up. That way, when finished with the load, or disassemble for transport, the bail keeps its "wrapped integrity" so there will be no "funny business" going on next time you setup for use.

Okay, that's my prelim report. As you can see I am excited about this tool, and to try it out. I guess part of the excitement is not having to spend hundreds of dollars on a potentially marginal tool, and/or having to lug around a huge and/or heavy piece of iron for managing my folding trailer "in comfort", and anywhere I want.


Last edited by twohawks; 05-23-2014 at 12:16 PM. Reason: added just a few clarifications
twohawks is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the JeepForum.com forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid e-mail address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Jeep Forums Replies Last Post
Harbor Freight hoosier724 General Discussion 8 04-29-2012 09:31 PM
Harbor Freight Trombino General Discussion 2 08-22-2008 04:52 PM
Harbor Freight Folding Trailer Mod: Bumper waterboarder Trailers & Towing 1 08-11-2008 09:36 PM
Harbor freight frumpy General Discussion 30 03-25-2008 10:27 PM
Harbor Freight vs Costco Portable 12v Air Compressor - In Depth Review w/ Pictures RickyN29 General Discussion 0 02-20-2007 11:38 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome