Bolt-together fiberglass Jeep-tub trailer kit - Page 7 - JeepForum.com
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post #91 of 4303 Old 10-13-2011, 10:04 AM
Doty152
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Awesome. Subbing, I'm going to need a trailer someday soon. I wish I had 1/16th of your knowledge and skill.

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post #92 of 4303 Old 10-13-2011, 10:31 AM
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Jeff, just running a stock jeep sized tire would probably be best. Then people can move up appropriately if needed.

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post #93 of 4303 Old 10-13-2011, 10:45 AM Thread Starter
jscherb
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I haven't showed you too many construction photos so far in this thread, so here are some...

For the first phase of this project, I've been working on making 5 molds:

- tub side panel
- tub end panel with tailgate opening
- tub end panel with no opening
- tailgate outer skin
- tailgate inner skin

I'll also be making inner fender molds, but I'll do them after I've made the first set of tub sides and ends.

The mold-making process begins with a "master", often called a "plug", which is a complete version of the part to be molded. Usually the master part will have extra wide flanges to facilitate trimming the final part to the exact size. Once the masters are complete, molds are made from the masters. The masters need to be as perfect as possible, since even the tiniest imperfections will be reproduced in the mold and then carried to the final parts.

Here's how I'm making the master for the end panel with the tailgate opening. To get a start on this master, I picked up two OMIX tub repair panels:



They look ok in this photo, but they're really low quality parts. (Side note: Crown also makes rear corner panels, and they're higher quality than the OMIX parts, but the Crown parts have all the holes pre-cut in them. I got the OMIX parts because I didn't want to have to fill the holes).

I think the OMIX parts may have been beaten to shape by hand in the Phillipines, rather than being made with accurate dies on a press. I had to spend quite a few hours making them accurate. First, the corner wasn't 90 degrees, I'd guess it only curved around 80 or 85 degrees. So first I fixed the curve to make it 90, and that resulted in the parts being too narrow. If I set the tailgate opening to the factory 36", the tub would end up being 1/4" too narrow. So I had to build up the tailgate jamb opening 1/8" on each side to get to the factory tub width. Once I had made the corner panels accurate, I mounted them on a board so I could make the entire end panel accurate. Being accurate to the factory dimensions in this project is important, so factory parts will fit these tub properly.



I connected to two corner panels with wood to make up the panel below the tailgate. The material I added to the jamb goes all the way to the base board; it will be trimmed on the final fiberglass part.

One of the nice things about making masters for molds is that you can use whatever material you like as long as the end result is a smooth surface. I'm using a mix of sheet metal parts and wood for these masters, sometimes wood is easier to work when building a master part. Once the bodywork is done and everything is sealed, smoothed and primed, the fiberglass molding process won't care whether the master was metal, wood or whatever.

This next photo shows a difference between making a mold master and making a final part - I made the inside of the tailgate opening extend all the way to the base board using wood (BTW, this was also part of making the tailgate opening size accurate because of the bad OMIX parts). Having these extend all the way will make the molding process easier, and the excess fiberglass will be trimmed off the final part.



Now the part is accurate and faithful to the dimensions of the factory tub; a bit more bodywork is yet to be done to smooth everything together seamlessly, more photos to come.

"Whether you think you can do something or you think you can't, you are right" - Henry Ford
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post #94 of 4303 Old 10-13-2011, 11:41 AM
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Looking forward to another awesome project! Been throwing around the idea of building a trailer for camping trips lately (the integrated tent is a must). I really like how you are using fiber glass, seems like in the end, it will really save on weight and cost. Can't wait to see what the final cost will be.
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post #95 of 4303 Old 10-13-2011, 11:55 AM
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Love it! I would seriously consider one that could fit a 4x8 sheet of plywood inside.

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post #96 of 4303 Old 10-13-2011, 12:56 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott00TJ View Post
Love it! I would seriously consider one that could fit a 4x8 sheet of plywood inside.
If you assembled a tub with 8' side panels, it would be 8' 7" long (the end panels are 3'5" each) so lengthwise you'd fit 4x8's flat on the floor just fine. And if you had a full tonneau, you could carry 4x8's in the rain without getting them wet.

But there's other ways to carry large things in shorter versions of the trailer... my yellow trailer is 7' 5" long (made to fit the Safari Cab Overland Camper top), so when I carry 4x8's in it I lay one end of the sheet on top of the closed back tailgate; works fine. That method would work fine with a 6' trailer tub too.

But even with shorter trailers 4x8's are practical using cross bars. Occasionally I want to carry something larger than my trailer, and for that I've made a set of cross bars that bolt to the top rail of the tub. A few months ago I needed to cart a Safari Cab roof home from South Carolina, and it's slightly too large to fit inside, and slightly too small to fit on the top, so the rails made it easy:



I think you'd have no trouble carrying a 4x8 sheet on top of a 4' trailer if you used cross bars like these. You could probably even get away with it without the cross bars, but they also provide a convenient place to tie down the load and prevent scratching the top rail of the tub.

The rails are just 6' lengths of 2x3 lumber, with holes in them for bolts to go through holes in the top rail of the tub; they've also got larger holes in them for tie-downs to pass through (in the case of the roof above, I secured it to the crossbars using pipe hangers screwed to the crossbars, which clamped the roof drip rail down the the rails).

"Whether you think you can do something or you think you can't, you are right" - Henry Ford
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post #97 of 4303 Old 10-13-2011, 03:13 PM Thread Starter
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Here's a couple of photos showing a TJ tailgate being test-fit in the tailgate opening...





Continuing the work on the end panel, in the photo below I've done the bodywork necessary to smoothly join the center panel to the corner panels:



Also in the shot above you can see a clamp-on "bottom" for the mold; this will be a two-piece mold to facilitate removing the part from the mold.

The next step for this master is shooting it with high-build primer, followed by fine sanding, then shooting it with epoxy primer (which is impervious to resin), but I'll wait and shoot all of the masters at the same time. I'll finish the metal work/woodworking/bodywork on all of the other masters before going to the primer step.

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post #98 of 4303 Old 10-13-2011, 03:18 PM
smittystorm
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I would be very interested in a $750 entry trailer like this for camping etc. Everything else out there is crazy expensive! It would be great to have something like this that you could later bolt parts onto. Man, you are gifted!

2005 Silver LJ stock with 31" BFG ATs

Previous: 1998 TJ SE with 2" rusty's suspension lift and 31's
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post #99 of 4303 Old 10-13-2011, 04:16 PM Thread Starter
jscherb
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smittystorm View Post
I would be very interested in a $750 entry trailer like this for camping etc. Everything else out there is crazy expensive! It would be great to have something like this that you could later bolt parts onto. Man, you are gifted!
I hope it would be able to come in at the low end of the range I stated - between $750-$1000, but that remains to be seen... that cost range assumes you use the least expensive HF trailer frame and buy it on sale and use the additional 20% off coupon, and it assumes the manufacturing cost of the fiberglass parts isn't too high.

I'm not sure using the cheapest HF trailer is a good assumption anymore, comparing the HF heavy-duty trailer I bought the other day to the cheapest HF one, I much prefer the better one at about $140 more... so maybe I should up the entry level range to say $900-$1150? (Still a bargain I think).

The wild card is the manufacturing labor and overhead... manufacturing labor, overhead and profit could easily push the price out of that range, hard to say at this point, but labor in the US is expensive these days. The cost of resin and 'glass probably would be the least expensive part of the manufacturing process, the labor, etc. would be the deciding factor. My labor to build the proof-of-concept trailer is free, so that one will come in below the range in cost, even with the extra cost of the heavy duty HF trailer .

"Whether you think you can do something or you think you can't, you are right" - Henry Ford
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post #100 of 4303 Old 10-13-2011, 05:09 PM Thread Starter
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Since I've done several posts showing the work on the tailgate end panel today...

One of the options for the trailer kit could be to have two tailgate end panels instead of having a solid panel for the front of the tub. I built my yellow trailer with tailgates on both ends, and it's really handy for carrying oversize items. Here's a photo of mine with a 16' extension ladder in it:



I didn't even have to remove the tonneau to carry the ladder. And yes, I tied a red flag to the back of the ladder before I drove it on the street.

"Whether you think you can do something or you think you can't, you are right" - Henry Ford
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post #101 of 4303 Old 10-13-2011, 05:20 PM
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i love this idea i wish i had the time to build it SWEET!!!!!!!!!!!
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post #102 of 4303 Old 10-13-2011, 05:28 PM Thread Starter
jscherb
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bennettj13 View Post
Jeff, just running a stock jeep sized tire would probably be best. Then people can move up appropriately if needed.
I just have to decide if I'm going to build the proof-of-concept trailer with "normal" sized wheel openings to accept TJ flares, or if I'll make the wheel openings smaller so they look right with the small HF tires and wheels.

This concept drawing has smaller wheel openings sized to look right with the HF wheels and tires:



HF wheels and tires in TJ-sized wheel openings would probably look pretty silly.

"Whether you think you can do something or you think you can't, you are right" - Henry Ford
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post #103 of 4303 Old 10-13-2011, 09:56 PM
dan33051
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This is a great thread with some great ides! I am in the process of building my own camp trailer as we speak. I just think that the sensible thing for ME is to use the same size tires on the trailer as on my Rubi. Eliminate a spare and the weight that goes with it! Frees up more room also. I have 33's and I think it looks good!! I would never tell anyone they are wrong, we can't all be alike.
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post #104 of 4303 Old 10-13-2011, 10:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jscherb View Post
I don't know anything about the M416 frame, so I can't give a conclusive answer, but the drawing would suggest that the fiberglass tub may be able to be adapted to the M416 frame.
Awesome. I've got a 1948 Henry Spen (civilian version of M416) that's in need of a new tub that won't rust in incredibly salty conditions.
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post #105 of 4303 Old 10-14-2011, 05:26 AM Thread Starter
jscherb
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Quote:
Originally Posted by svtkev View Post
Any chance the tub could be removable so the trailer could be decked and be used as a flatbed trailer also
Here's a frame that might work well for a removable (or not) 4x6 trailer tub; I found it at Lowes. It's got a 2000-lb. axle with 5 on 4.5 bolt circle, so the same bolt pattern as the Wrangler. The axle seems wide enough so that Jeep-sized wheels/tires could fit without interfering with the frame, so probably no modification required there (unlike the HF frame). The axle is assembled spring-under, so you could reassemble it spring-over to get more ground clearance.



This one would work very well for a 4x6 tub.

One complication with it for a removable tub is that the fenders are welded in place, so it you wanted to have the tub be removable, you'd have to work out how to remove/remount the fenders for use as a flatbed. But that shouldn't be too hard.

Price is $388 at the Lowes near me, so it's pretty affordable.

"Whether you think you can do something or you think you can't, you are right" - Henry Ford
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