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Unread 08-09-2013, 06:02 AM   #751
armyRN
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sahara707 View Post
I didn't order the front stand and wished I did. I thought it might be to short when I upgrade the axle and wheels. I sure could use it now. I'll finish the wiring tonight and secure the diamond plate back down. Saturday morning I'll put the box on. Pretty solid little trailer.
I thought it might be too short also when I upgraded my wheels and tires, but it's fine. You'll be glad you got it, and it's fairly cheap.

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Unread 08-09-2013, 06:43 AM   #752
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sahara707 View Post
I didn't order the front stand and wished I did. I thought it might be to short when I upgrade the axle and wheels. I sure could use it now. I'll finish the wiring tonight and secure the diamond plate back down. Saturday morning I'll put the box on. Pretty solid little trailer.
You can pick up the front stands with a wheel for it at Harbor Freight for around $25 with coupon. That is what I have on mine and love it because I can push the trailer around in the garage as I need to very easily. I got the marine one because it had 2 wheels rather than 1 which I felt would reduce sinking issues into the ground at camping spots (twice the footprint) and I figured the sealed bearings that are designed for be underwater would be better as well.
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Unread 08-09-2013, 07:56 AM   #753
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Gonna save and follow this! Nice
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Unread 08-09-2013, 10:19 PM   #754
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Progress

Making progress. Finished the wiring, put on the diamond plate floor and loosely put up two side panels.


Complete build here:
http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f27/a...build-1558519/
p8090268-medium-.jpg   p8090269-medium-.jpg   p8090270-medium-.jpg   p8090271-medium-.jpg  
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Unread 08-09-2013, 10:24 PM   #755
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sahara707 View Post
Making progress. Finished the wiring, put on the diamond plate floor and loosely put up two side panels.


Complete build here:
http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f27/a...build-1558519/
Looking good
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Unread 08-10-2013, 04:10 PM   #756
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Epic Fail!
Ok, maybe not epic. But it could have been. It was a nasty failure none the less. Last week my little Harbor Freight-based mini expedition trailer failed me. Before I get in to the details, a little background.

Those of you who have seen my earlier posts know I drag this little trailer over some pretty rough trails. See post #215 for early pics. And you can see a short video of the type of trails I often traverse in post #335. (This video happens to be Pearl Pass.)

After last year's excursions I modified a few things, but that all had to do with the box. The frame held up great (at least as far as I could tell). You can see a video of my design choices and changes in post #638. At the start of this season, I checked all the fasteners and the general health of the trailer. The bolts on the tongue were just slightly loose, but everything else looked good.

After some mods and improvements, I took it for a short run a few weeks ago (one night out) and all seemed good. In fact I was quite pleased with everything (except the eggs that broke inside my ice chest). I even took it up to Grizzly Lake (also shown in post #638) and that trail has a tough obstacle right at the start.

Next it was time to load up for a 4-day trip into the Colorado back country. The group included two people in my TJ, two in a 4-door JK, and one in a 4Runner.

Catastrophic Failure!

We trekked out towards southwest Colorado and started up our first trail, Hayden Pass. Suddenly BANG! and the 4Runner radios "hey, I think you're dragging something!"

On this trailer, the tongue is attached in just two places, the front cross member and a middle cross member. The metal failed on the middle cross member causing the bolts to break loose (back end of the tongue). This caused the rear of the tongue to drop and drag on the ground. Fortunately, it was still attached to the the front cross member otherwise the trailer would have broke loose and slammed into the Toyota behind me. We were going up a fairly steep hill and if the tongue breaks loose there is nothing holding the trailer. This failure was dangerous.

Why did this happen?

You can see what happened in the pics below. Note that the tongue was fine. Replacing this tongue with a stronger one would not have prevented this.

I believe this failure was due to metal fatigue at the frame. The Harbor Freight trailer -- actually the brand is HAUL-MASTER -- is just not meant for the kind of punishment I subject it to. Also, this design does not use triangular braces on the tongue. Therefore, the tongue acts as a lever with the pivot point at the front cross member. Each rock I bounced over put tremendous stress on the points where the tongue attaches to the frame, more so at the back. (Imagine driving over a street curb 10 times in a row hitting first with one tire, then the other.) Over time, the metal at the rear joint (and the front joint as well) weakened until it failed, like bending a coat hanger in the same spot repeatedly. I did have more weight in my trailer this trip than previous ones (cooler, water, extra fluids for the Jeep) but I think this failure was brewing for some time.

What now?

Probably the easiest thing for me to do is buy another HF trailer and use parts from the old frame to create additional bracing. I think I can use the previous side rails to create triangle braces for the tongue. I could also add another cross brace. The more points the tongue attaches to the better, and the less it can act like a lever. All of my time and effort went into building the box, so I don't want to start over with a different frame.

However, even after it's repaired and improved I don't think I'll ever be able to use it like I had hoped. These little trailers are great on the street and on easy dirt trails, but they are just not suitable for the off-road abuse I've been subjecting mine to. And here's the other thing: even if I built a frame that could withstand anything I could throw at it, the trailer bounces too much to protect and carry things over the trails I had in mind.

That's not a criticism of these HF trailers, or of any expedition trailer. Rather, it's my realization (from lessons learned) that serious trails are not meant for trailers. I need to shift my thinking to using the trailer as a base camp, i.e. something I drop off and come back for after I'm done rock crawling.

Last words and recommendations

I've enjoyed my trailer and will continue to do so. These little trailers are great for pulling behind a Wrangler. They add a lot of space and can go any place a stock Jeep can go. If I were starting again, I would use one of the designs that has triangle bracing for the tongue. In addition to strength, it makes a handy place to attach additional storage.

The pics below show (in this order): rear cross member (view from below); broken piece; broken piece held in place with tape (view from above); front cross member after tongue unbolted (view from below); rear bolt holes in tongue (undamaged); front bolt holes in tongue (undamaged).
rear_cross_member.jpg

broken_piece.jpg

broken_piece_in_place.jpg

front_cross_member.jpg

rear_tongue_holes.jpg

front_tongue_holes.jpg

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Unread 08-10-2013, 05:24 PM   #757
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I think the DEI trailer is made with a heavier grade steel and the center bar, back to front is four sided vs. three. This is only my opinion. I think it's worth the extra 50.00. Plus the a frame supports in the front.

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Unread 08-11-2013, 07:53 AM   #758
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sahara707 View Post
I think the DEI trailer is made with a heavier grade steel and the center bar, back to front is four sided vs. three. This is only my opinion. I think it's worth the extra 50.00. Plus the a frame supports in the front.

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I agree. The extra $50 would be worth it.

I'm not sure the DEI is any different from the HF design or steel, other than the A-frame supports. From the picture it looks the same. The center bar or tongue appears to be identical for both, and in my case the tongue did not fail.

But the A-frame supports alone would be worth the extra cost.
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Unread 08-11-2013, 09:13 AM   #759
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Wow; that's the first trailer fail I've seen on this thread. I'm glad nobody was hurt! Thank-you so much for sharing what happend and the accompanying pictures.

Sounds a lot like Jeeping; you find the weak link and then upgrade. You found a weak link for sure!

But you're right in these little trailers in stock form probably aren't up to hard-core extended off road adventures. They do make a good starting point, and with some relatively simple bracing they should do fairly well. Options include:

A heavier duty tongue running all the way to the rear.

Triangulating braces going to the front of the tongue (like the black trailers).

Some "L" brackets or something to add to the two bolts on the two front crossmembers that attach the tongue (so you'd have the two bolts on the top part of the tongue, and one on each of the sides of the tongue).

A piece of angle iron running the length of the crossmember to reinforce it (where the tongue bolts to the crossmember) and spread the load/stress. The angle could also be bolted to the vertical part of the crossmember to tie it all in.

When I get home I'll definitely rig something up on mine where the tongue attaches to the crossmembers - some "L" brackets of some kind to start with. I've also thought about adding an extension piece that ties in the factory tongue and takes it to the rear crossmember. I'd use a piece of 12-18" receiver tube (so I'd have a 2" receiver on the rear) and a piece of "C" channel that the tongue and receiver tube ties into.
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Unread 08-12-2013, 08:12 AM   #760
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Wow, I will definitely add some plate above that mounting point to try and spread out the load better, then get a longer tongue down the road.

A tongue that runs all the way to the back (using all 3 cross members) would have helped as it would have cut the twisting forces down by 66% (yes, I am a nerd/engineer and calculated it).

A 1,000 lbft torque around the front cross member would exert a 500 lbs force on the bolts that broke through. However if all 3 cross members were connected, the force one the middle and rear cross members would drop to 167 lbs. This is the same idea as using a long breaker bar, the third cross member is farther away and therefor less force is required to produce the same level of torque (in this case resisting the desire to bend).
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Unread 08-12-2013, 08:25 AM   #761
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Another suggestion/addition is some more flexibility in the tongue where it connects to the hitch - some sort of multi-axis hitch (or even a pintle hood/lunette ring set up). That's why I put a 2" receiver on the end of my trailer's tongue.

I don't know if the cross members on the black trailers are made of thicker metal or stronger than the ones on the red trailers. On the black they're a C-channel; on the red they're different. But after seeing these pictures I think spending a few bucks putting some reinforcements in will be money well spent.

Pentaflex - you might be able to just order two crossmembers for your trailer. The owner's manual that came with it should break it down by part numbers. Somewhere previously in this thread (not too far back) I had contacted HF regarding other trailer parts, and the phone number is in there.
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Unread 08-12-2013, 08:31 AM   #762
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Pentaflex... You never did say, what did it take to get you "trail fixed" and moving again. It is always good to share the trail side repairs as well in case any of us ever end up in a similar situation.
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Unread 08-12-2013, 01:46 PM   #763
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Nice idea!
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Unread 08-12-2013, 03:21 PM   #764
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I'm not planning on taking mine on that rough of trails, but hopefully, the modifications, as suggested by jscherb, made to the "heavy duty" HF trailer will keep this from happening.
image-2571515853.jpg

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Unread 08-12-2013, 06:55 PM   #765
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Quote:
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Pentaflex... You never did say, what did it take to get you "trail fixed" and moving again. It is always good to share the trail side repairs as well in case any of us ever end up in a similar situation.
Good question. I carry tools so I was able to unbolt the tongue from the front cross members, but it too was severely damaged. I considered putting the tongue on the back end (i.e. pulling the trailer backwards) but I could only attach to the rear cross member. I don't carry a drill or I could have made new holes to attach the tongue. I did have a whole bunch of zip ties and some duct tape, but... nah.

In the end, I was lucky to find a single hole in each of the front and middle cross member. These lined up and allowed me to reattach the tongue, very off center, with only one bolt on each cross member. This was enough to turn around and pull the trailer back down to the start of the trail. I had to find room for my essential gear in the other two vehicles. I left the trailer, and we went on with our trip. I rented an open trailer from Uhaul for $15 and retrieved mine a few days later.
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