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Unread 06-15-2012, 09:13 PM   #1
Burlbook48
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Burlbook48 builds a camp trailer

Just a thread to document the foibles, faux pas, mistakes, re-takes, and double takes as I try to bring the vision in my head to reality. As usual, I expect my plans to be more "fluid" than concrete, I tend to think of new ways to improve (read: complicate) my projects, be they woodworking, landscaping and/or house repair, or working on my jeep. I tried planning it all out in CAD, and that brought the FAIL on my part in a big way. Back to charcoal, papyrus, and a lot of erasing. Hey, I guess I'm the last of the cavemen.

For starters. I'm thinking of an M416-style trailer, bed 5' long, 42"total frame width, and leaf springs centered on the frame at 40" center width, 57" hub spacing so the tires match my YJ's tread width, 3500 lbs. straight axle with electric brakes, adjustable tongue length, rectangular fenders with incorporated brush guards/can holders for either water or fuel tanks. Either a pintle or 3-axis hitch. Maybe a lid at a later date, to support the dream of a roof top tent. Possible battery box or storage compartment on the tongue, if the spare tire doesn't take priority. We'll see how it evolves.

For now, the axle is ordered, 5 on 4.5 lug pattern to match a set of old 33" tires and 10x15 aluminum wheels I have from my YJ before I did the SOA conversion. This will save me some bucks from buying a new set of wheels to match my YJ's 5 on 5.5 current pattern. (I can always swap hubs on the trailer at a later date if I get the long green to buy wheels to match my YJ's bolt pattern) I plan on using a pair of factory springs from my YJ, since I now use RE 1.5" SOA springs on it. 3"x2"x1/8" rectangular tube for the frame and cross members, with a 3"x3"x1/4" rear bumper/frame member and a 3"x3"x1/4" spine for the adjustable tongue support. A-frame reinforcement of the tongue. 1"x1"x1/8" skeletal supports for the sheet metal, don’t know what gauge for the skin yet. Tailgate to be included in the design.

So far, about $350 for the steel tube, and $365.84 for the axle. Yeah, I know, an M-416 might be cheaper in the long run (especially for you guys near a military surplus lot), but around these parts they bring top dollar. Besides, I get to build this myself.... priceless. It's a welding class project, so I get credit for doing something in class other than making two 4-foot wide BBQ fire pits out of propane tank, and a front bumper/winch mount for my heep.

That's the plan. Care to wager how much it changes before it's done?

So much for the long intro. For now, here's is the stuff I actually have on hand at home. The steel tube is sitting on the floor at the classroom, and the axle is on the way. Humble beginnings, no? But I guess it puts my sig line in context.



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Unread 06-20-2012, 12:05 AM   #2
gspup
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I'll be checking in on this one periodically
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Unread 06-21-2012, 07:42 AM   #3
Burlbook48
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A little progress has been made. First, a mock-up of the axle to help me visualize what I had in my head:



Next, a layout of the basic plan in progress:



Then, I decided to add a rear reciever. Not to tow anything, but a great thing to have in case I want to use it for a seat, workbench, rear rack for my kayaks, that sort of stuff. Found out the hard way that 2.5" reciever tube does NOT fit into 3x3x1/4" tube. Doh! Luckily, the class instructor has access to a machine shop, and didn't see any need for me to buy a new piece of 3x3x3/16" tube. Solution? Just mill .015" off opposite sides and I'm golden! Nice of him to do that.



Now, a shot of how it looks so far. Time to start tacking things together once I make sure all pieces are square, fit right, and coplaner.




More to come next week. Anybody have insight into what gauge metal to use for the box skin? Doesn't need to be armor plating, just something that coolers and camp gear can bounce around in without the trailer denting like tinfoil.
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Unread 06-21-2012, 01:31 PM   #4
Machinist
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Looks like a fun build
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Unread 06-26-2012, 04:06 AM   #5
aggiejon
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16 gauge should be more than adequate. Looking good
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Unread 07-03-2012, 12:11 AM   #6
Burlbook48
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Thought about calling this "Project Overkill", but did a search and found it's been done before... many times. Suffice it to say this frame is bullet proof.

Forgot my camera tonight, will take pics tomorrow. The frame is welded by now, it's a heavy-duty sumina bish. My welds got better as the frame progressed, vertical welding isn't as easy as it looks.

The axle arrived, albeit with both dust caps crushed. The idiot who loaded it on the pallet "COULD HAVE" loaded it diagonally so the whole axle was within the area of the pallet, but no... he had to load it straight across, so both ends of the axle stuck out past the pallet's perimeter. Suffice it to say both dust caps were shmushed (is that a word?), one side to the point of not being able to rotate at all due to the spindle's cotter pin hitting the dust cap-- which originally had a LOT of clearance. Grrrrr... hunting down a pair of standard 1.98" diameter caps in my small home town ain't easy.

Received the pintal hitch and rotating lunette tow ring via UPS. Gunna try something different.... using UHMW plastic as bushings to allow the tow ring to rotate without lubrication. I'll show pics tomorrow so you can see what I am thinking. I will graciously accept any and all constructive criticism. Heck, I designed this in my head while driving down the road, it could be a train wreck waiting to happen.

The SOA set-up on the axle with YJ springs seems to be a great match for my SOA YJ. Mocked up, the frame sits about one inch higher than my YJ's receiver, I'm guessing it will level out with the weight of the trailer and cargo on the springs. Spent tonight getting things set up for welding the suspension to the frame--- frame level on stands, springs bolted to the axle, spring hanger templates measured and cut out in cardboard. Made the axle plates at home over the weekend, and was kinda proud all 10 holes lined up perfectly, even though measured and drilled separately.

Set backs...

1) The four leaf spring u-bolts were different, even though they all had the same part number. Two of them had the longer (wider, taller?) nuts and heavy duty washers associated with suspension U-bolts, but they had less thread, even though they were the same length as the other two. Found that out during mock-up. Had to make some spacers out of scrap pipe just to tighten the nuts and get the axle plates tight to the leaf springs.

2) Having to design a way for the tow ring to rotate without having metal to metal contact or needing lubrication. I may be waaaay out in left field with this, or I may have come up with a decent idea. You'll be the judge.

3) Trying to find slightly unusual parts in a small town. Why is it that virtually ALL store clerks have the same "deer in the headlights" look when you ask them for something that *isn't* listed in the their computer by make and year model? It's a frigging 1.98" dust cap for a 3500 lbs. trailer axle, wadda ya mean what make and year model???

Sorry for the long rant. Enough babbling, more to come....
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Unread 07-03-2012, 12:18 AM   #7
Tylerzap
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I like it!
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Unread 07-03-2012, 10:20 AM   #8
RenoF250
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Nice, how come you did not run the tongue steel all the way to the rear? That would make it so you could pull pretty hard on it. Could be usefull for pulling a broken Jeep with a towbar on the trail. Also, I think I might put the hitch on a receiver and have it go in a receiver in the front as well. Then if you get stuck in a place that is difficult to turn around you could just pull it from the other side to a turn around. Not sure if that would be useful or not.
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Unread 07-03-2012, 10:57 AM   #9
Burlbook48
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The open spot in the frame is room for a water tank. Figured one of these days I'd cobble together a small pop-up camper water tank. Low center of gravity, protected place tucked up above the axle, that sorta thing.

The frame is stupid strong as is. Not worried about pulling it apart, I think the jeep will rip before the trailer does. As for the tow ring, I'm making it so I can switch it between long and short tongue extensions, no need to carry around extra weight if I won't need the long tongue. I have a hitch receiver and winch on my front bumper, so there will be ways to pull the trailer backwards if I need to. But drilling the short extension to make sure it can be used in the rear receiver is a great idea.

Thanks for the thoughts, I appreciate it. Helps me visualize the project from a different perspective.
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Unread 07-03-2012, 02:04 PM   #10
Burlbook48
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A few pics of an idea I'm playing around with.... using UHMW plastic as a self lubricating surface between the tow ring and the trailer tongue bracket I will build. No grease--- no dirt picked up on road or trail. Picture a 1/2" plate between the two pieces of UHMW, braced on two opposing sides with more 1/2" plate to just clear the nut, welded to the tongue. This way I can tighten or loosen the ring's fit on the tongue. The tow ring can also be removed if I want, to change tongue lengths, or to make the trailer hard to steal. Thoughts?

Tow ring with a couple pieces of UHMW plastic drilled to fit the ring's threads and rough cut for trimming.




Using scrap plywood as spacers for trimming plastic.




I traced the washer on the plywood, and rough that by hand since it only serves to fill space for a couple minutes, but this is how I trimmed the plastic.




Finished product, ready to be installed in the tongue bracket once I make it. First things first, gotta work on the spring hangers tonight.

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Unread 07-03-2012, 03:45 PM   #11
athos76
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The trailer is looking sweet so far... As soon as I get my welder and some pocket change, I'll start my build.

The UHMW is a great idea. No grease, no mess, and less to worry about.

I'm subscribing... Can't wait to see what happens next
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Unread 07-03-2012, 09:34 PM   #12
karlo
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Cool. Can't wait to see the outcome. Good luck, man.
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Unread 07-04-2012, 08:35 AM   #13
Burlbook48
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Got a small bit done last night, it's the details that take the time. Spent most of the shop time available to me (taking turns on the tools means stop and go progress) working on the frame mounts for the leaf springs. I need to make the mounts wide enough to fit the 2.5" springs on a 2" wide frame.

First, a continuation of the post above. This shows a basic idea of the tow ring and the part of the tongue frame it will pass through. Still have to cut that to length. Plus a piece of 2x2 tube to serve as the drawbar. Didn't like the first hole I drilled, to much slop. So I drilled another pair of holes for a perfect fit. Gotta remind myself which pair to line up when I weld the tow ring bracket in place.:



Here's the trailer supported on jackstands, with the axle rolled under it and wheels bolted on to start planning where things are going to be placed. Crummy pic.:




Here's some pieces to build up the frame thickness, and what I came up with for bushings on the spring mounts on the frame. It's a piece of DOM, cut to length, and some poly bushings left over from when I changed my YJ's springs from stock to RE 1.5" SOA springs. Did I do right, or should I have used regular frame bushings like what my YJ uses in the frame? The bushings fit perfectly in the DOM, nice and snug, but not so tight that I need a vise to squeeze them in place. Nothing is set in stone yet, but I "think" this will work:





How the bushings look, getting ready for mock-up:



Eyeballing where I want the axle to be. Need some tongue weight, but not too much. Remember the spare will be on the tongue, I’m thinking midway on the box is about right. Final postion will be forward of the spot shown in this pic, with the front spring eye 11" back from the front crossmember. You can see the difference in the next two pictures, with spring placement reative to the second frame crossmember:



Working out how the mount is going to be welded, and locating the placement:



Shot of how it looks from the inside, with only one half of the mount in place for mock-up. Notice 1" pipe spacers under the nuts on the outboard u-bolt. I bought 4 u-bolts from NAPA, all the same part number. 2 of them had threads too short to reach all the way down to the spring. Who would have thought they'd be different thread lengths after checking one bolt for suitability. Just my luck I checked one of the bolts that was correct. Grrrr.... Teach me to inspect all parts BEFORE leaving the store.




That’s all for now, have a great 4’th of July everybody. Happy Birthday America!
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Unread 07-04-2012, 09:54 AM   #14
gspup
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I like the SOA. If I knew anything about leafs that's what I would have done ! Nice fab work on those mounts.
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Unread 07-04-2012, 01:23 PM   #15
RenoF250
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Nice, looks like it will be plenty strong.

I am learning about thread lengths myself. Bolting a railing on the side of my deck and need 4.5" bolt but they only come in 4 and 5". 4" is too short and the nut bottoms on some of the 5". Thread length seems to very by at least 1/4" you would think the machines would be more accurate than that.
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