Where to start:
First lesson is MAKE SURE EVERYTHING IS SQUARE. I used a square, tape measure and level to make the trailer and I still got it out of square in the end. Not sure what more I can do, but on the next trailer build, I'll be more careful. Being this was my first build, I didn't realize how in the end, a little off in the beginning will amplify itself a lot by the time you get done. What happened was the top of the bed was not square and I had to build a side bracket in order to get the hinges to attach to the bed/lid properly. You might be able to see it in one of the pics. It's kind of monkey rigged and disappointing to say the least. But, now I know.
Second, DO ALL THE WELDING FIRST.. In other words, plan out ALL your welds including tops, hinges, hooks, and of course frame and sides, etc. As you can see by my thread, I put various things on as I went along (aka the wood siding, etc) and still had other things to weld on (aka the lid). This wasted a lot of time and energy as I had to grind off paint and so forth before I could weld more stuff, and then go back and repaint. I even painted the frame after I finished it. That was a mistake. Talk about wasting time grinding off paint and repainting. On that note I would weld everything, including the lid, and then paint it, before putting the siding on as well. Siding last.
Third, I would use a 2x2 for the tongue instead of a 2x3 piece of steel beam. I'm not a very good welder and so thought I would compensate by overbuilding. I even put bolts through some of the frame parts just to make sure the thing won't fall apart if my welds fail. I've learned a lot about my machine (Hobart 135) and my welding now that I'm pretty secure with my welding, so I wouldn't overbuild my next one. This was meant to be a practice project anyway. Now of course I have to beat it up on some pretty bad roads just to see if my welds will in fact hold.
Finally, take your time. I know this took me almost a year in time to make, but most of that time I wasn't working on the trailer. In terms of total time spent on it I would guess it took maybe 6-8 weeks, mostly weekends. In not really planning it out (which I didn't) and going by the seat of my pants, I really wasted time, energy and money. Plan it out first, then as they say measure twice and cut once. In my case, I'll measure three or four times on the next one. And again, plan, plan, plan. I was so anxious in the beginning that I failed in that department. It cost me.
I am glad that I made it with encouragement from the Jeep Forum readers and the idea by ArmyRN. In spite of the faults of it, I'm pretty pleased with it. I hope to get a few years of use out of it, and then build a "mini" trailer. I've always referred to this as a micro trailer due to it's size. The next one will be a bit bigger and be from scratch. And if I copied anyone with some of my ideas, I apologize if I angered you. I saw a lot out there that I really liked and so I borrowed the ideas for this trailer. In some cases, from some of the really nice trailer builders on this forum. The cool part about this is it cost very little in the end. Which was a must as unfortunately I can't afford those "Cadillac" trailers. They're great trailers I'm sure, but I just can't afford them right now. Maybe someday. Besides, I feel good about building something by myself and it was a hell of a lot of fun.
Well now it's time for a road trip. We'll see how it all works out finally.
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