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Old 03-02-2010, 01:18 PM   #1 (permalink)
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High Clearance Offroad Trailer

I've designed, built and tested a high clearance offroad trailer that I would like to share with you folks and get some of your opinions. I'm considering producing these to sell and would like feedback on this design from the hard truth forum of Pirate.

This particular trailer is 6' long x 48.5" wide and with the tailgate down, can fit 4x8 sheets of drywall/plywood, fully supported. With the 3500# rated axles, it can haul a yard of gravel. It will have a removable weather tight lid that will have a 4 person tent mounted to it with quick detachable gas struts/removable limiting cable for ease of opening. The tent was purchased by my customer that requested I build him this trailer.

Ever consider getting a high clearance offroad trailer to tow behind your rig when you go out wheeling for a weekend trip? To store all the odds and ends we like to bring with us and never seem to have enough room. Or when you do get it all to fit and you hit the trail, you're so top heavy, your rig has lost it's trail savyness. With the right trailer, you don't have to worry about being top heavy from your gear. The offroad testing done with the trailer attached seems to aid in traction when going over/threw difficult obstacles where you would otherwise lose traction. Added down force on the rear axle. This is contrary to most arguments brought with regards to the extra weight behind you and offroading.

It seems like the few companies I've seen that build these are asking alot of money and they end up awfully pretty. So pretty, I'd be worried to scratch it or wouldn't want to use it for hauling debris. That wasn't the goal with this trailer. Build a stout trailer for offroading and for handling some landscaping around the house as opposed to a cute trailer to camp out of. Something I wouldn't mind hauling a yard of gravel in and could handle it. The tube fenders are built such that you won't have to worry about tweaking them or ripping one off from catching a tree or rock on the trail. Nor do you have to worry about tweaking a fender leaving the gas station after forgetting the trailer was behind you and turning around the pump too early, clipping a fender on the safety poles protecting the pumps. The fenders can easily handle someone standing on them and they help tie in the cargo box structure to the frame. Making the cargo box walls stronger.

All the seams were sealed with 3M's automotive grade seam/body sealer for weather proofing the cargo box against river crossing's, etc.

Specs:

24" ground clearance with 33's
3500# adjustable height torsion half shafts
4' x 6' x 2' tall box
Folding removable tailgate
Weathertite Flip up removabe lid
Eezi Awn 4 person tent mounted to lid
Two 5 gallon water jugs
Two 5 gallon fuel jugs
Pintle style hitch
Led lights and markers (waterproof)
Stainless locking latches keyed alike to lock tailgate/lid
Tube fenders


Let me know if this is a design that would interest you. What are your likes and dislikes?


David
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Old 03-02-2010, 01:20 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Old 03-02-2010, 01:24 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Hey I like it. Did I miss what cost would be?
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Old 03-02-2010, 01:28 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Exactly what I was looking for when I bought my Outlander Trailer. I have since sold it and would be in the market for another one.
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Old 03-02-2010, 01:34 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Hey I like it. Did I miss what cost would be?

No, you didn't miss it. Until the logistics of producing these are worked out, I won't have a price.


Here's a pic of the tent opened up. On a different trailer and is only for you to get an idea of the tent size/type.
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Old 03-02-2010, 01:42 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Trail photos
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Old 03-02-2010, 01:45 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Old 03-02-2010, 01:50 PM   #8 (permalink)
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In this pic you can notice the extra detail added to aid in the tube fenders maintaining shape in the event you snag a tree on the trail or catch a pole at the gas station just simply pulling out and forgetting what's behind you which, lets face it, we all do on occasion when towing. It happens. A tube gusset was added to the front lower tube on each fender to triangulate the fenders to the frame. These sort of details should help ensure the trailers will hold up to a lot of abuse for a long time.

Oh, and not an inch of angle iron on this thing.....
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Old 03-02-2010, 02:15 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Did I miss what kind of suspension you are putting under the trailer?
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Old 03-02-2010, 02:36 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Very nice and stout looking. I like what you've done.
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Old 03-02-2010, 02:41 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Very cool
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Old 03-02-2010, 04:31 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Very cool.. I am planning on building an offroad teardrop trailer next winter, so I am probably not a potential customer.. But I will keep an eye on the thread in case my plans change. If I were looking for a tent trailer yours is something I would definitely consider.
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Old 03-02-2010, 08:03 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Did I miss what kind of suspension you are putting under the trailer?



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3500# adjustable height torsion half shafts

It's a little hidden in there. Torsion half shafts meaning no leaf springs/shackles and now axle tube spanning across the underside from hub to hub. Mounted in place here before reinforcements were added.
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Old 03-02-2010, 08:43 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I like it and have been wanting to build one for years. Just haven't had the time.
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Old 03-02-2010, 09:16 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Looks like a great start. Two concerns I would have.

1. Standard v-tongue. Being able to jack-knife or near jack-knife a trailer in offroad situations is extremely important to me. Obviously this will matter more to some than others but in 3-4 years of dragging an off-road trailer all over the west I have found it a crucial design component.

2. Torsion axles. I'm yet to see an off-road trailer with a torsion axle that handles like that of a well designed leaf spring or airbag setup. Bouncy comes to mind. That said short 'trailer leafs' will leave you in the same category, bouncy. A long, flat leaf and a shock for obvious dampening needs.

Interested to see how your final product turns out, pricing and all.
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Old 03-02-2010, 09:22 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Looks very functional.
I expect that I would have the wiring riped off of that after 1 trip. Maybe run it through the frame rails on the sides, and in conduit tucked underneath?
Also, expanded metal may be more appropriate in the front triangle, as the solid decking will hold rocks, dirt, ect.
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Old 03-02-2010, 10:49 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Looks like a great start. Two concerns I would have.

1. Standard v-tongue. Being able to jack-knife or near jack-knife a trailer in offroad situations is extremely important to me. Obviously this will matter more to some than others but in 3-4 years of dragging an off-road trailer all over the west I have found it a crucial design component.

2. Torsion axles. I'm yet to see an off-road trailer with a torsion axle that handles like that of a well designed leaf spring or airbag setup. Bouncy comes to mind. That said short 'trailer leafs' will leave you in the same category, bouncy. A long, flat leaf and a shock for obvious dampening needs.

Interested to see how your final product turns out, pricing and all.


The ability to jack knife well is a requirement and was designed into it with tongue angle and length. It turned out/works very well.

This trailer weighed in at 1100# empty with the tent mounted. Too stiff a suspension was a concern of mine with these torsions however, I can't say enough about how well it rides. It does not move around or bounce at all. It sticks to the ground as if to have bypass shocks on it. I've found in my years that tire pressures can make or break a smooth ride as well. The owner of the trailer may chime in and voice his experience with it thus far. I've received numerous voicemails and emails from him regarding how well it handles considering the axle ratings and no shocks. It's a newer torsion design and that may play a role. For what it's worth.




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Looks very functional.
I expect that I would have the wiring riped off of that after 1 trip. Maybe run it through the frame rails on the sides, and in conduit tucked underneath?
Also, expanded metal may be more appropriate in the front triangle, as the solid decking will hold rocks, dirt, ect.


I'm with you on the wiring. It wouldn't take much to solve it. The owner had unexpected time off and came in from out of town ahead of schedule. The wire routing was not a concern of his at that moment. He's going to do just as you stated, run some conduit along the inside frame rail.
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Old 03-02-2010, 10:50 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I like it and have been wanting to build one for years. Just haven't had the time.


What's up Wilson. Glad you like it.

It's either more time than money or more money than time.
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Old 03-02-2010, 11:00 PM   #19 (permalink)
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this is exactly what im after.....dont suppose you wanna export to australia!

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Old 03-03-2010, 02:56 AM   #20 (permalink)
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My concern is the durability of the axles. It has been my experience that the rubber degrades quickly when; a) used to the limits of travel, aka offroad and b) extreme weather (cold) makes them ride like poo with outright failures if forced to articulate.
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Old 03-03-2010, 07:15 AM   #21 (permalink)
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I would run a tube at an angle from the outer front corner of the fenders to the front, so if turning in tight on a tree it won't hang on the fender... kinda like a 'tree slider.'

Looks nice- I'd like to have something like that!
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Old 03-03-2010, 10:06 AM   #22 (permalink)
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this is exactly what im after.....dont suppose you wanna export to australia!



I do have a connection that's in the import/export business here locally if you were serious. I'll keep you posted.



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My concern is the durability of the axles. It has been my experience that the rubber degrades quickly when; a) used to the limits of travel, aka offroad and b) extreme weather (cold) makes them ride like poo with outright failures if forced to articulate.


I understand your concern fully. While I don't pretend to be a torsion axle or rubber expert, I do have some knowledge and would want to know a few things about your torsion experience.

There's an awful lot of different types of materials used (rubber technology, made in China or Germany) to make what was made 15 or 20 years ago. That said, I'd like to know how old the torsions that degraded were and how you were able to tell the degradation took place? How old or how long ago was this experience with the rubber torsions?

Now, don't take this as though I'm defending the torsion axles used. Not the case. Part of my industry training is analyzing and preventing failures of most anything. Shift that training to this topic and the questions I've asked above come into play. Many variables come into play when analyzing and preventing failures. What were the circumstances of your failing torsions?

Did you own the trailer over it's whole life to know how it was treated/abused throughout it's life span? How old was it before it began failing? Was it used in extreme cold climates (-30) or in the raging desert being sand blasted? Overloaded a lot? Was it home built or professionally built because design plays a role.

You don't have to answer any of these questions but for those reading this thread, quite simply, there are always A LOT of variables that come into play. A blanket statement that torsions don't last is not something that I endorse. My trailer supplier stated that the torsions simply do not wear out or fail quickly when sized/designed properly. I'm not saying it's impossible for a torsion to fail prematurely when used properly.
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Old 03-03-2010, 10:09 AM   #23 (permalink)
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I would run a tube at an angle from the outer front corner of the fenders to the front, so if turning in tight on a tree it won't hang on the fender... kinda like a 'tree slider.'

Looks nice- I'd like to have something like that!

I know what you mean. I made the tube fenders sweep back and taper up a little to help with sliding off/away tree's. Time will tell if it's enough or if more should be added as you suggest.


This is a write up by the owner of the trailer.


"First This is the first time I have used the torsion axles, I am super
pleased with the set up so far. I highly doubt the 3500# axle will fail
very easily. The whole unit, with tent is 1060#. I did level it out after
the tow home and a trip to hollister. We really tried to pound the hell
outta it at hollister. After I checked for level and she is spot on. As
far as articulation I feel that is almost impossible for a trailer to move
like a crawler.. A 4wd vehicle can articulate because it has two axles. A
trailer with only one axle must roll with terrain. Yes the suspension will
compress, but with out any counter force what can one expect. The pic I
sent with the trailer tilted is a prime example. I was more concerned with
the trailer sliding while crossing across a steep incline, or not
following down hill and pushing the vehicle around. None of which
happened. We purposely went to hollister on a very wet day and from the
pics you can see we are the only tracks in most areas. At times I felt it
gave me more traction, Kind of like someone standing on the bumper.Part of
my reasoning on getting a trailer was to get all of the recovery/camping
gear out of the jeep. now I have slightly more clearance.I wish we could
have filmed to day, we kind of shamed a few other rigs. We drove thru some
places where others without a trailer were struggling with. So far
bouncing has not been a problem. Yes she will bounce when hitting a pot
hole or a rock. But at crawling speeds offroad I was blown away at how
behaved it was. Also I was worried about the weight offroad. Example.
Climbing over obstacle, jeep clears trailer is behind and the weight is
too much and hangs you up. Not at all. JK is 3.8L anemic turd. Not even an
issue. until we got on an extreme incline. You have to moderate your
driving some what. The trailer never touched bottom. I did bash it into
various things trees, embankments,brush.
The tongue, David did an exellent job on this. I can jacknife past 90
degs. The hitch on a semi flat surface will clear the bumper. This has
alot to do with specific vehicles. exhuast, bumper whatnot. I will post a
pic of this. I wanted something over built. Believe me we are going to
push this trailer just as hard as we can. After I load it with gravel and
see how it does with weight I will give 411."

Coy W.
Day shift Maintenance Team Leader
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Old 03-03-2010, 10:59 AM   #24 (permalink)
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What's up Wilson. Glad you like it.

It's either more time than money or more money than time.
Doing well Dave, no little ones for us yet, how is yours? Sure seems to go that way.
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Old 03-03-2010, 01:33 PM   #25 (permalink)
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really like it! Would be interested for sure.
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