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Unread 10-02-2013, 11:56 PM   #1
smokeybear
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smokeybear's harbor freight build

I felt bad about hijacking azcat's trailer build over in General Jeep & Off Road, so I'm starting a new thread with my build. First post is copied from azcat's thread. Sorry dude!

I got tired of doing the stuff I'm supposed to do, so I started a new project a couple weeks ago based on some stuff I saw here and at the Dinoot trailer site. Harbor Freight had their big 1750 pound trailer kit on sale and I had a coupon for 25% off that price, so I bought one. My old 1080 pound HF trailer is about 25 years old, holding up, but looking really ugly. I had made some modifications over the years - 2000 axle, 1750 pound springs, Jeep wheels and tires, so I took the axle, wheels, and tires from the old trailer and put them on the new.

First I painted it all black. The red fades to a feminine shade of pink in about a year. I build the front half of the trailer - 4x4 section of frame and tongue assembly - then relocated the spring hangers and used spare parts from the un-built back half of the frame to build a spine from the hitch to the rear crossmember for additional strength and to support a receiver that I can use to mount accessories like a bike carrier. I attached a rear bumper using a section of unused frame bolted on with rubber blocks from an unused set of pickup stake pocket tie downs.

Now I just need to wire the lights and decide what sort of box to build. Most of these trailers just have a simple box matching the frame and fenders over the tires. I'm kind of thinking about a box that comes up about 8 inches above the frame, then goes another foot wider on each side to cover the tires before going up another 12 inches or so. Basically a 20 inch deep box with a 4x4 base that widens to a 4x6 box over the tires. That eliminates the need for fenders, but I'd have to hang mudflaps off the back to be legal. Might end up being a good winter project to get me out of the house. Glad I have a pellet stove in the garage!

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02 TJ Sahara 4.0 5 spd, 3.73, Dana 44 rear, 2" Rubicon Express BB w/ Bilstein mono shocks, Warn M8000, 33x12.50 General Grabber AT2.
formerly 92 YJ 4.0 5spd, 3.5" Black Diamond lift, 1 inch Daystar body lift. 1 inch motor mount lift, Warn M8000, 33x12.50 BFG ATs, Ford 8.8, 4.10
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Unread 10-02-2013, 11:59 PM   #2
smokeybear
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02 TJ Sahara 4.0 5 spd, 3.73, Dana 44 rear, 2" Rubicon Express BB w/ Bilstein mono shocks, Warn M8000, 33x12.50 General Grabber AT2.
formerly 92 YJ 4.0 5spd, 3.5" Black Diamond lift, 1 inch Daystar body lift. 1 inch motor mount lift, Warn M8000, 33x12.50 BFG ATs, Ford 8.8, 4.10
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Unread 01-12-2014, 12:08 PM   #3
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Well, I ended up just building a 4x4 box 22 inches tall on the trailer frame. It towed well, but I wasn't real happy with it. I loaded it with 1600 pounds of wood pellets and the balance was wrong - I could lift the tongue with two fingers. The problem is that the modified build has the axle centered under the bed instead of set to the rear to put at least 10% of the load on the tongue. I restacked the bags of pellets to get the balance right for the drive home. Well, I decided to make it a dedicated camping/expedition-type trailer like others have built. I put a plywood lid on it, bolted up a high lift jack, and called it good. Basically I had a shorter version of the old trailer with less versatility. So I started over.

I moved the axle with the big wheels and tires back to the big trailer. More visually balanced and that set up worked well for camping and landscaping and everything else I abused the trailer for. I put the 12 inch wheels and 2000 pound axle that came with the trailer kit back on the trailer. I took the box off. I put a Harbor Freight receiver hitch extension on the front to get an additional foot ahead of the bed to play with.
http://s1139.photobucket.com/user/sm...n.jpg.html?o=3

I took one of the leftover frame pieces and bolted it to the tongue to get another foot of bed in front of the axle.
http://s1139.photobucket.com/user/sm...r.jpg.html?o=2

I then bolted down a 3/4 inch sheet of plywood cut to 5 feet long by 43 inches wide for the bed bolted to the crossmembers and used 2x10 treated lumber for the sides bolted to the frame rails. I used eyebolts attached to the frame, to metal attached to the frame, and to the 2x10s attached to the frame for lashing stuff down. The tailgate is removable for easier loading of some stuff.
http://s1139.photobucket.com/user/sm...r.jpg.html?o=1

http://s1139.photobucket.com/user/sm...r.jpg.html?o=0


I'm still looking for a set of 14 or 15 inch wheels so I can upgrade the tires.

Basically, I now have a much more versatile trailer. I can haul my trail bike with some gear, I can pack camping gear and roll it up in a big tarp, and I cut down the old box so it will slide right into the new trailer with some space left at the front for gerry cans or water coolers or whatever.
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02 TJ Sahara 4.0 5 spd, 3.73, Dana 44 rear, 2" Rubicon Express BB w/ Bilstein mono shocks, Warn M8000, 33x12.50 General Grabber AT2.
formerly 92 YJ 4.0 5spd, 3.5" Black Diamond lift, 1 inch Daystar body lift. 1 inch motor mount lift, Warn M8000, 33x12.50 BFG ATs, Ford 8.8, 4.10

Last edited by smokeybear; 01-12-2014 at 12:13 PM.. Reason: Images didn't show up, so I changed to links
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Unread 01-17-2014, 05:43 PM   #4
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Sub'd!

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Unread 01-18-2014, 08:57 PM   #5
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Where do you get these ideas? Are they sold at harbor freight?
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Unread 01-18-2014, 11:00 PM   #6
smokeybear
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Harbor Freight sells a variety of bolt-together trailers. They are remarkably durable. For this project, I watched for a sale on their heaviest duty 1750 lb rated 4x8 trailer and used a 25% off coupon that regularly shows up in the Sunday newspaper and in most automotive magazines. The main source for the modifications was one of the builds on the dinoot trailer site, specifically the one that uses the heavy duty trailer cut down to 4x4:
http://www.dinoot.com/building-one
Got a lot of ideas from armyRN:
http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f27/m...hread-1180456/
Utah Jay did a nice build using the smaller Harbor Freight trailer:
http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f27/m...build-1532052/
Azcat had some good stuff:
http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f27/a...build-1545447/
And Sahara707 had some great ideas he did with a different brand of trailer that inspired use of some old Jeep parts I had laying around:
http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f27/a...build-1558519/
If I was to start over, I'd take a closer look at Skippy PB13s build. I'm thinking the 6 foot bed would be about perfect. It would be a bit of work to narrow the frame, but it would be worth it to be able to use a variety of wheels. The trailer wheel/tire combination has about 3 inches of backspacing, leaving about an inch clearance to the frame. Spacers or new axle are necessary to put a regular Jeep wheel on the full 4 foot wide frame.
http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f27/a...build-1399344/

I was really tempted to go with the smaller, less expensive trailer, but I regularly haul large quantities of wood pellets for my heating stove in the winter. The heavy duty trailer doesn't quite hold a ton legally, but I've loaded it up to a bit over 1600 pounds and there's lots of room for the springs to compress. Upgraded tires would ease my mind about putting a ton on it -- these tires are only rated about 1050 pounds each. The downside is that it has a tendency to bounce down the road when empty. The 3/4 inch plywood and treated 2x10 sides helped a bit since they are pretty heavy. Probably not over 100 lb, though. Nothing's perfect!
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formerly 92 YJ 4.0 5spd, 3.5" Black Diamond lift, 1 inch Daystar body lift. 1 inch motor mount lift, Warn M8000, 33x12.50 BFG ATs, Ford 8.8, 4.10
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Unread 01-18-2014, 11:33 PM   #7
Cadreamin
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Tires would help. I was curious because I am thinking of building a trailer for my tj need a design though. 16 foot by 7 foot dual axle. I can weld it together ect. But plans , designs and axles are what I am,looking for. I have the stock tj wheels, wonder if they have designs on a larger scale.
Also tire bounce. What about light weight shock?
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Unread 02-28-2014, 08:15 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cadreamin View Post
Tires would help. I was curious because I am thinking of building a trailer for my tj need a design though. 16 foot by 7 foot dual axle. I can weld it together ect. But plans , designs and axles are what I am,looking for. I have the stock tj wheels, wonder if they have designs on a larger scale.
Also tire bounce. What about light weight shock?
I am also wondering about putting shocks on to keep the bounce to a minimum. Anyone out there put shocks on their trailers?

Cad, your trailer came out nice. Looks real HD. I like the idea of a heavy-duty frame as well. For my next trailer I probably will go that way. Though my current one is heavy-duty enough for my needs right now. (see build thread below)
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Unread 02-28-2014, 08:17 AM   #9
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BTW - how did you attach your receiver on the back? Did you weld it on? I only see one bolt head.
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Unread 03-01-2014, 06:06 PM   #10
smokeybear
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The receiver is bolted on with two grade 8 3/8 bolts. One through the frame at the rear (you can't see it in the photos) and the one you see through the backbone.

Picked up a pair of 15 inch wheels with 205 trailer tires. Got the trailer dug out of a snowdrift and plan to let it thaw in the garage tomorrow before fitting the tires, fenders, and maybe a couple more changes.
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02 TJ Sahara 4.0 5 spd, 3.73, Dana 44 rear, 2" Rubicon Express BB w/ Bilstein mono shocks, Warn M8000, 33x12.50 General Grabber AT2.
formerly 92 YJ 4.0 5spd, 3.5" Black Diamond lift, 1 inch Daystar body lift. 1 inch motor mount lift, Warn M8000, 33x12.50 BFG ATs, Ford 8.8, 4.10
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Unread 03-02-2014, 10:45 AM   #11
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I run shocks on my trailer. I certainly helps with stability. You may want an adjustable to compensate for different load weights.
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Unread 03-03-2014, 08:09 AM   #12
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Love your innovative trailer work.

You never went with a 4x4 bottom to 6x4 top box on the back? I wonder why not? I like that idea. What materials were you thinking of using if you were to build it?

Thanks,

john
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Unread 03-04-2014, 10:46 PM   #13
smokeybear
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I tend to like to work with wood because it's easy to fix mistakes and not a big deal to take apart, redesign, and rebuild. Besides, I don't have much for metal working tools.

Mostly I didn't go with the 6 foot wide by 4 foot long upper half of the box because it looked really goofy when I fabbed it with cardboard. It was wider than either the Jeep or the mid-size pickup I use to pull it. I think it would look better as a 6 foot wide by 6 or 8 feet long box - like the old military trailers, but it's still a lot of frontal area to be pulling through the wind.

I'm contemplating building sort of a slide-in camper that's 5x4 to slide into the flatbed part, and expand it to 7 feet long by 6 feet wide over the short sides of the flatbed. That would make it overhang by 1 foot on each side. I'd have a 30 inch wide platform 7 feet long on one side with thick foam padding for a bed, a 2 foot wide alley way the length of the trailer, and a 1 foot wide shelf 7 feet long on the other side with a rail, bungees, maybe a cupboard for storing gear. Under the bed would be a space 2 feet wide by 5 feet long for more gear storage - maybe water jugs, battery for a light, and other heavy stuff to keep the center of gravity low. Making it 4 feet tall would provide a bit of space inside without going too tall - sort of like a hard-sided tent. Maybe make it wedge-shaped so there's 6 feet to stand up in at the back dropping to 3 or 4 feet at the front. A couple windows and a door on the back opening to an awning high enough to stand under might be comfortable at low expense.
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02 TJ Sahara 4.0 5 spd, 3.73, Dana 44 rear, 2" Rubicon Express BB w/ Bilstein mono shocks, Warn M8000, 33x12.50 General Grabber AT2.
formerly 92 YJ 4.0 5spd, 3.5" Black Diamond lift, 1 inch Daystar body lift. 1 inch motor mount lift, Warn M8000, 33x12.50 BFG ATs, Ford 8.8, 4.10
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Unread 03-05-2014, 12:06 AM   #14
Cadreamin
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There's a kid who did a tear drop mini trailer about what your describing on here some where, I've been looking to build a small trailer to take fishing behind my jeep and sleep in with my 4 year old son, I have a 24 foot travel trailer with all amenities but need my truck to tow the trailer and haven't figured out how to pull the jeep also. Maybe I'll start a thread and ask?
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Unread 03-05-2014, 09:34 PM   #15
smokeybear
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Lots of ideas for teardrops and other small trailer builds using the Harbor Freight or equivalent frames at Teardrops n Tiny Travel Trailers...
http://www.tnttt.com/
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02 TJ Sahara 4.0 5 spd, 3.73, Dana 44 rear, 2" Rubicon Express BB w/ Bilstein mono shocks, Warn M8000, 33x12.50 General Grabber AT2.
formerly 92 YJ 4.0 5spd, 3.5" Black Diamond lift, 1 inch Daystar body lift. 1 inch motor mount lift, Warn M8000, 33x12.50 BFG ATs, Ford 8.8, 4.10
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