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Old 09-08-2009, 02:09 PM   #1 (permalink)
Wheeler
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Member # 141944
Location: Washington
Posts: 338
Off-road trailer build

Let me start out by saying this build is on a couple boards already so some Jeep guys may have already seen it. Sorry about that. I'm a "beginner" fab guy I guess you could say and this is by far the biggest project I've tackled to date. At times, I think I may have bit off more than I could chew, but I'm learning as I go and having fun doing it and it's coming out OK I think so far. I've been directed here for some help with a few things that I may need down the road in fabbing and suggestions when I get to that point, so I figured I may as well start from scratch and post the whole thing. Here goes-hope this is the right section to put it, it looked like the best place:

This will be a long, drawn out process, but I'll attempt a trailer build thread for my current project. We have a number of other trailers at home and up at the ranch for various duties ranging in size from a 30' gooseneck to a 14K tandem, some stock trailers, and my little 5x10 I regularly pull behind the Jeep. The 5x10 handles most chores well, but lacks in a few areas that I'd like to address with this new trailer. If all our trailers saw was highway use, we'd be fine, but our property is 45 minutes off paved roads up in the mountains over rough road. Some gravel, some dirt and some classified as "improved" to say the least. When it's washed out, it's rough at best. Our trailers take a beating, as does our equipment or gear. When it's dry, everything gets covered in dirt and filth, as it also does when it's raining or snowing. I'm going to attempt to build this new trailer with full sides and a removeable locking top as well as tailgate to help keep things clean inside. It will be dual-purpose for camping, but also utility work as well. Rough dimensions will be around 4'x6' and around 30" deep or thereabouts. Haven't finalized any of this yet except that I want a full 48" INSIDE box width for sure. Track width will be pretty close to the Jeep and I intend to run matching tires/rims as the Jeep so I can swap the spare from Jeep to trailer as need be and cut down on weight/bulk by only carrying one spare instead of one on the Jeep and one on the trailer both. It will be built with off-road use in mind and intended to take the beating we dish out and HOPEFULLY hold up better than our other trailers, yet still weigh in light enough that I can pull it easy enough with the Jeep when fully loaded. I HOPE I can accomplish that when it's all said and done.

Let start with the parts list:

Here is the axle setup. It's a 3500# Dexter with 10" electric brakes. The Jeep track width is roughly 60" but I'm running Spydertrax spacers so I had the axle cut to 63" WMS to be close to the Jeep with the spacers included. Part of this also deals with measuring for springs centers and the fact that I want a full 48" INSIDE box width, and taking into account the measurements needed for tire buldge measured at the fenders and distance needed to the frame. For springs, I was worried standard trailer springs would be too stiff, so I went with the longest I could get at 27" and had them remove a leaf. These are "softride" spring packs 3 pack leafs 27" instead of the standard 24/25" 4 leaf pack you normally get with this setup. Also have a trailer break-away box, bearings, etc. The builder upgraded me to EZ-Lube spindles as well, where the entire spindle has been outfitted with a zerk, drilled and tapped with a grease channel feeding the inner bearing first, then grease flows through the inner bearing, fills the cavity and works it's way to the outter bearing. These are NOT your typical "bearing buddy" setup, this is the actual Dexter EZ-Lube spindles.



Here you can see the grease port in the spindle. Pump the grease through the zerk on the outside, it flows through the spindle, out the port here to lube the inner bearing first, then makes it's way through the hub to the outter bearing.



Next, for the hitch, I went with the Lock-N-Roll setup. This is the 6,000# rated hitch as I felt the 2,000# would not be adequate and obviously the 15,000# was a bit overkill. Obviously it's the 2" slip-in style and will have the ability to mount forward or rear of the trailer as I'll have a receiver front and rear both. It's the 3-axis design and should work great for both on and off-road use. Very well built. Very nice setup. I got it from the Lock-N-Roll site direct here:
http://www.locknroll.com/
and used the #303 adjustable drop/rise bar hitch here:
http://www.locknroll.com/products_sub.aspx?cid=2&id=26
and the #212 2" slide in coupler here:
http://www.locknroll.com/products_sub.aspx?cid=1&id=28



For tires and rims, I'll be running the matching Jeep Moab rims and matching tires. Thanks to MJM, I got a contact to a seller here in Washington who had a great deal on some Moab's in great shape. The tires are shot, but I'll use them for now to take measurements from to get the trailer started and get a roller going, then buy tires later when I'm further along. Final tire size will be 255/85/16. Here's the factory Moabs with the stock 245/75/16 MT/R's:



more to come...

Best of Luck,

Mike
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Old 09-08-2009, 02:19 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Lights

As far as lighting goes, I really had a tough decision with lights for this trailer. I am CONSTANTLY replacing lights on our other trailers for various reasons. We are always breaking taillights somehow, someway whether it be a tree falling on them, cattle chewing on them and ripping them off, hay bales falling over and smashing them or various other things going wrong, or just not paying attention and backing into things and breaking them, we are constantly replacing lights. I replace a lot of bulbs due to vibration on the gravel roads that just beat the tar out of the filaments and shake them loose too. As much money as I have in full replacement housings and replacement bulbs, it just made me sick, so I thought long and hard about this trailer and how I wanted to go about handling the task of illuminating it to meet WA laws and safety standards to be legal for road use yet somehow possibly save some money in the long run by not replacing so many bulbs or housings down the road.

Thankfully, I got ahold of Doug who happens to know a little something about trailer lights. Doug runs two on-line internet businesses specializing in LED lights and does an excellent job at it as well. I ordered all of my stuff through http://www.ledtrailerlights.com but you can also check out http://www.4x4led.com for a few different items for your truck. Doug is GREAT to work with and really knows his lights. I had a TON of questions for him as I knew NOTHING about LED lights in general. I fired a bunch of emails and PM's back and forth and he was lightning fast in his response and very thorough and detailed and more than happy to help out. He even listed various WAC codes and pointed me in the direction of the right legal descriptions I needed for some various things I had concerns about as well. He even helped with some wiring questions I had. After talking with Doug, the choice was clear. It might mean a little more money up front, but in the long run, I think it will be a sound investment for this trailer and will cut my costs down the road in replacement housings and bulbs as LED's last longer and are vibration proof as well as water and dust proof also. I ordered up the following for this trailer as a start:

For brake lights/STT's I went with 42 LED Maxxima's as seen here along with grommets and harness: http://www.ledtrailerlights.com/stt/stt_M63420R.htm



For backup lights I went with these 27 LED units along with grommets and harness:
http://www.ledtrailerlights.com/other/H60027WSD.htm



For marker lights, I went with 10 LED 2" round Amber and Red units as seen here-both with amber and red lens: http://www.ledtrailerlights.com/cm/cm_HD20010-2inch.htm



Here's the harness and grommets, both very nice units and well made:







As you can tell from the thread so far, it will be a long while before I get to install the lights and try them out. When I get to that point though, I'll post back with some shots of them actually lit up and in use. Doug was a HUGE help and I'd highly recommend anyone looking into lighting for a future trailer build to consider LED's and give Doug a shout and discuss your options. I think it will be well worth your while in the long run. I haven't even got this one built yet and I'm already planning on swapping the lights out to LED's on a couple of our other trailers that we use the most.

Thanks Doug for all the help and for the Great Service!

more to come...

Best of Luck,

Mike
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Old 09-08-2009, 02:24 PM   #3 (permalink)
Wheeler
 
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Location: Washington
Posts: 338
Spacers

I wanted to run matching tires/wheels on the trailer so that I could only carry one spare between the Jeep and trailer both and swap between either rig in an emergency if need be. With a good tire repair kit, one spare is all that is really needed anyway, so no need carrying two. It's a good place to save weight and space for other stuff. After getting my 3500# axle with electric brakes and EZ-lube spindles, and finally locating my pair of Moab rims, I came to the realization that the Moab rims would NOT bolt onto the 3500# brake drums/hubs as a direct bolt-on like I'd hoped. This meant a wheel spacer or adapter would be required to make it work. Great. I'd had the axle cut to the Jeep track width already with the Jeep spacers in mind, so my axle for the trailer is already at 63", which means my spacers or adapters for the trailer will be even wider than I wanted. Oh well, it has to be done in order to work. In the pic below, you an see why. Basically what is happening is the center bore of the 3500# brake drum hub is roughly 2 1/2" outside diameter and sticks up 1 3/4" from the WMS. The lug studs are only about 1 1/2" tall if I remember right. What happens is the center cap on the Moab rim is only 1 7/8" and the hub for the brake drum comes into contact with the narrower center cap and won't fit through the smaller hole. You can see that in the pic below-obviously the shorter wheel studs won't fit through the hole either and the WMS won't even contact:



I searched for a while trying to find an adapter or spacer that would work in order to mate the Moab rim to the 3500# brake drum. As we all know, the Moabs are 16x8 rims with 5x4.5 bolt pattern and 5" BS. It goes without saying the brake drum is also 5x4.5 bolt pattern which is a common off-the-shelf trailer axle part size, but the hard part is finding a spacer that has a center bore large enough to clear the hub on the drum. I run Spydertrax on my Jeep and have for well over 30,000 miles now, but after talking with Spydertrax direct and explaining the problem, it was determined by the Spydertrax rep that they would NOT work and they recommended I find a different manufacturer for my trailer. I could have ordered them, then taken them to a machine shop and had the centers machined out to the larger diameter and had the hub-centric ring removed and made them work, which then would have weakened the spacer and made them questionable from a safety standpoint, but why? It didn't make sense to go to the trouble and hassle of ruining and weakening a spacer making it questionable and unsafe, so the search continued. I only mention this here simply because I've seen it mentioned in other threads on other boards as a solution. It is not safe and I do not recommend it. There are other solutions that are much easier and much safer, so please, use some common sense and just buy one that fits right off the shelf.

Where do I do that you ask? Well after some searching I learned most folks are ordering custom spacers made to fit their needs. That is all fine and dandy, but is rather expensive and takes a few days to order, make and ship so it could be a while. I needed spacers now and didn't want to spend a fortune getting them. I thought I'd check one last place before going custom at a place here relatively local out in Cashmere Washington at JT's Differentials here: http://www.justdifferentials.com/ I noticed they sold wheel spacers so I called up and explained my situation, then asked if they knew the center bore diameter. Jeremy had answered the phone and said he didn't remember the exact dimensions but could I please hold and he'd go measure real quick and be right back. He was back in a matter of seconds stating that the center bore was right about 2.8". Great! the hub diameter was about 2 1/2" so this was a little more than I needed. He said I've got 1.25", 1.5" and 2" in stock, come on out if you think they'll work, I'm here till 5:00. I asked if he'd mind if I brought a rim and the drum to do some test fitting to make sure I got the right one. Jeremy said sure, no problem, bring them out with you, I'll have one of each on the counter waiting and we can test fit each to find the one that works best so you know they'll fit. Awesome, I'll be right out.

When I got to the shop, I test fit the first spacer in the 1.25" size as I wanted to keep the track width as narrow as possible. The spacer worked great! It bolted right on, everything worked fine, or at least it seemed to. No need to test the 1.5" or 2" spacers, so I just paid Jeremy for the 1.25" then was on my way back home to fit everything together, excited I finally had what I needed. The next day I got to putting the axle together, fit the spacers up then found when I put the center cap on, the wheel wouldn't fit-I was at least 1/2" too short!!! After inspecting things further, the dust cap for the axle made contact with the center cap on the rim. Crap! I didn't take that into account when I got the spacers from JT's the day before. After examining things I needed another 1/2" minimum of clearance to make this all work. JT's had a 1.5" spacer which would get me another 1/4" and I THOUGHT I could cheat another 1/4" pretty easy in another area so the simple answer was to call JT's back and explain my screw up, and ask if I could exchange my 1.25" spacer for a 1.5". Luckily I got Jeremy on the phone again who already knew my situation. I explained what happened and asked if it would be at all possible to make the swap. Sure, no problem, bring them on in, I'll have the 1.5's sitting here ready for you when you get here. Great! I was in a rush and sure enough, they were on the desk waiting when I got there so I was able to just drop them off, make the trade and go. The customer service at JT's was excellent, I was impressed with the help I got with these spacers!

The spacers themselves that you'll need are regular Jeep 5x4.5 bolt patter in the 1.5" thickness. They are made from 6061 T-6 aluminum using grade 8 hardware. JT's has these made to their specs for them. The center bore is about 2.8" so it will bolt directly on to the 3500# brake drum making it a safe, smart and easy way to make the Moab rims work on the trailer. You can get them in 1.25", 1.5" and 2" for the Jeep, but they sell other spacers for other rigs as well, and I think even for 8 lug rigs as well. Here's what I got for the trailer that was a direct bolt-on:
http://www.justdifferentials.com/ind...oducts_id=2163
You'll notice the cost was right on these, which was about half or less than going custom so that was nice. I bolted them on using red loctite like I did with the Spydertrax spacers on my Jeep as I haven't had any trouble with them in over 30,000 miles now, so I expect these will perform just as well on the trailer.





more to come...

Best of Luck,

Mike
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Old 09-08-2009, 02:33 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Join Date: Sep 2009
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Location: Washington
Posts: 338
Clearance Issues

In the post above, I mentioned an issue with the dust caps sticking out too far and making contact with the center caps and preventing the wheel from bolting on. The dust cap on the axle is also too large a diameter to fit through the center cap hole in the rim so that leaves me with either finding a way to make it all fit together, or boring out the center of the rim a little so the dust cap would fit through. If I did that, the center caps would not fit any longer and it would create an aesthetic issue when I rotate the wheels/tires to the Jeep. If I never do that, then it won't be an issue, but I'd like the option so I want to keep things clean and functioning as they should. I'll find a way to make things fit. Here's the problem:



Here's two possible areas to buy clearance:



I started with the center caps and used a dremel to cut the teeth and remove about half the material back to where it just begins to engage on the inner lip of the Moab rim. This effectively removed about 1/4" of material. Remember I got the other 1/4" by moving to the 1.5" spacers. Granted, my track width on the axle has now moved from 63" to 66", but it had to be done. My inside box width will easily be 48", likely much more now, so that goal was accomplished, may as well take advantage of that extra width. Anyway, with a simple cutting disc on the dremel, the plastic teeth came right off:



Here they are all cut down:



Here is the unmodded cap and the clearance issue it created:



Here is the rough cut cap prior to smoothing out and the clearance gains I needed to make it work:



Here you can see the dust cap and how it didn't fit prior to the mod, where it sticks out beyond the WMS-this would NOT allow the wheel to mount to the hub-keep in mind the dust cap would NOT fit through the center cap hole even with the center cap removed:



And here is the clearance gained after trimming the dust cap-roughly 1/4" was gained here and you can see the dust cap just BARELY fits inside the Moab WMS:



more to come...

Best of Luck,

Mike
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Old 09-08-2009, 02:39 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Location: Washington
Posts: 338
Dust Cap Mod

I've been too worried about that possible 1/16" clearance and my lack of time to do anything with the axle and any possible delays when I actually get a day off work with the setback it would create IF it didn't work as Murphy usually dictates, so I spent some time with the dust caps to clearance them a bit. I mentioned "massaging" them a bit earlier-perhaps I should rephrase that to "modding" the dust caps now...

It's not exactly pretty, and was more work than I planned, but they'll be covered by the wheels and I think it will work with about 1/16" to spare now. With some trial and error, it involved testing with Mig, then ended up with grinding a bit off the top, TIG welding a patch, grinding another tiny section TIGing it, letting it cool, grinding another tiny section, more TIG, cool, grind, TIG, cool, grind, TIG, etc., then grind down to make it look decent. Here's the finished results:





Here you can see prior clearance prior to the mod at just over 1 5/16":



Here you can see the modded cap at just under 1 1/8":



Hard to see, but all this has to fit in about 1 3/16" space:



Since it LOOKS like it will fit with a HAIR bit of room to spare, I'm going to try and work on the second cap tonight if time permits. This should be all the clearance I need and everything should bolt up just dandy now. Once I get a day off, it should be smooth sailing for assembling the axle now so I can measure for, and burn in the spring perches-knock on wood...

more to come...

Best of Luck,

Mike
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Old 09-08-2009, 02:49 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Wheel Fitment

OK so with all the above work into the dust caps, center caps, spacers, etc., it was time to test-fit everything on the axle to see if it fit, and find out both if it did for one, but also IF it did, then I could start measuring for my spring centers which would allow me to start the actual welding process. Here's how it all looks:

Here's a shot of the spindle depth that was causing all the issue with the dust caps and why the outter lip on the cap needed to be lowered a bit. This is just one solution that I came up with-you might possibly run another style cap, I don't know, I still haven't had time to look into that. It's on my list to try though for spares.



This shot's kinda fuzzy but you can see with the cap on, just how far out the spindle sticks and the zerk with the flat surface of the cap in place-you really need all the clearance you can get.



Here's kind of a side shot-hard to tell, but the zerk comes out right to the surface of that lower flat edge.



Here's a shot with the wheel mounted. Only three lug nuts in place, but they're locked down good and in firmly in place. As you can see, not much room for error, and the tolerances are tight.



Here's a side shot of just how little room there really is with the wheel locked down and dust cap in place on the axle-it is TIGHT. I was hoping for a LITTLE clearance back there, and that's just about what I got!



And the money shot-it all came together and actually works!!! The center cap actually fits in place like I'd hoped for. There is literally NOT much room to spare, but it fits, the wheel spins and rotates, everything works well.





I needed all the room I could get and everything worked out exactly as I'd hoped. Now I can move on to the spring perches and start work on the actual cutting/welding part of the build.

I should note that I've decided for ease of maintenance and if I BL the Moabs, I'll likely NOT run the outter center caps. For other guys wanting to do so, that's how I went about it. Lots of ways to skin a cat, this is how I did it. You could run other style of dust caps on the spindle, or do the easy route and run 2" spacers. That kinda takes all the fun out of modding things though...

more to come...

Best of Luck,

Mike
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Old 09-08-2009, 02:53 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Location: Washington
Posts: 338
Frame Work

Well, made a little progress on the frame today. Ended up changing the design twice though from my original plans. Haven't welded in a LONG time now-well over a year at least so I'm pretty rusty to say the least. Had some trouble on the vertical up welds on the rear bumper part with the 3/16" bumper welding to the 1/8" main frame. Didn't turn out as nice as I wanted so I'll be going back and making that look better later. Just when I thought I had it figured out, ended up with a major set-back as my welder blew the regulator pop-off on the guage. Made a call to Oxarc and it sounds like I can rebuild it but it will cost darn near as much as a whole new setup. That blew the rest of the day today so first thing in the morning I'll go get a new regulator/guage setup so I can get back welding again. Got a used torch setup yesterday so I'll pick up some things to go along with that as well so I'll try it tomorrow too. Will need it for the main receiver tube work-or part of it anyway. Oh, decided I HATE fitting 45 degree angles! Man, what a waste of a day that was. Between cutting on the chop saw, then spending hours with the grinder and flapper disc to fit right measuring back and forth trying to get a tight enough fit to weld-what a pain! Don't know how much time I wasted trying to get those all dialed in good. Finally got it, but man, what a pain! Anyway, here's a few pics:

Here's a shot of the pile of steel just to get things started. Some 2x4 .120 wall rectangle tube for the main frame, some 2x4 3/16" wall for the bumper, a stick of 2x2 .120 wall and 13'6" of receiver tube I'll cut down to final length currently undetermined at this time which will run full length front-back:



Here's a shot of the main frame pieces cut with the 45's:



And here's where the regulator blew and I left off for the day. Main box is mostly welded and the crossmembers are cut and loosely fitted but not tacked yet. I had tacked the thing together then cut it apart about 4 different times and measured then re-measured from every damned angle possible side ways, length ways, cross ways, diagnol, etc., etc. trying to get this thing perfectly square. After cutting it apart and tacking it back for the 4th time, I finally got it. Did I mention I HATE 45's? This is my first trailer build, I've never done anything like this before, so it's a first attempt. Trying not to screw it up too bad. Anyway, here's where we left off today. It's actually SQUARE!



Anyway, I'll get my regulator and more supplies tomorrow then get back to it.

more to come...

Best of Luck,

Mike
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Old 09-08-2009, 02:54 PM   #8 (permalink)
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cool. Looks good so far.
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[QUOTE=Myanarchy;9475039]maybe if more kids got involved in projects we'd have less kids living in projects:flipoff2:[/QUOTE]
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Old 09-08-2009, 02:57 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Damn Receiver Tube

Okay shameless update for today. Got a late start as my Grandparents came to town this morning to see the baby so we all had a great visit and lunch at the house before they left for some business in town. Finally got to the garage around 2:00 this afternoon. Just in time to hit the heat of the day for 103 degree temps and still managed to loose 6 pounds during working with this damned receiver tube and finally getting to do some welding on the dumb thing. Man what a bear that was. Can't say that I ever want to go through that again. Finally called it quits around 8:30 tonight as I'm just getting too old for this I think.

Anyway, after fighting with the holes I bored through the frame and crossmembers and finally enlarging them enough to fit the receiver tube through, I was finally able to get the dumb thing to fit all the way through front to back. Here it is loosely sitting in there after fighting for a while just thankful it finally fit:



After grinding off all the scale to nice shiny metal for welding on the front face and back face of each crossmember and front beam as well as rear bumper, then drilling out the rear receiver tube hitch hole, I set it in place and took tons of measurements to get it centered. I marked a spot up on the tongue in the center and measured for diagonal as well off the front beams to get it centered that way as well, then once it was all perfectly centered as best as I could tell from all angles, I went ahead and tacked it in place, then went ahead and burned it in. Here it is with it mostly welded across the 3 faces top and sides of what you can reach as it sits on the jack stands here. Tomorrow I go back to work on grave, but I'll finish welding the bottom side in the morning just so that part is all done.



I had to bring my wife out to discuss this portion of the receiver tube for a bit. Originally I was going to flush mount the rear part of the receiver, but after lining it up and assessing where the hitch pin would line out, it worked out that it would fall almost directly on the rear bumper line and would not allow for much weld in that area. I could push the beam through more, but then it wouldn't allow for much weld on the outside face. After discussing with my wife, she decided that if she had to remove the bike rack or hitch, or shackle, or whatever was hooked up back there, she was NOT crawling underneath the trailer to undo the hitch pin. She said make the beam come out beyond the bumper so she could access the pin from plain sight outside the trailer without any trouble and without crawling underneath. She spoke, I listened, and so it be. Here's where it sits for now. If need be, I can cut it back some, but this actually serves dual-purpose as a receiver, but also protection for my LED lights as well. There will also be a pair of D-ring shackle tabs welded in as well that will stick out a couple inches so I don't think this is to bad. This sticks out 3.25" total:



Anyway, after fighting with that damned receiver tube, I had to post pics for today's progress. It's not totally welded in, but I'll finish it up tomorrow on the bottom side. Some of the gaps are pretty big in order to make it fit and slide through, but even so, it was a real bear to bang in there with a sledge hammer. Luckily it's about 1'6" longer than I need so I'll cut some off the tongue end when I determine the final tongue length as the end is pretty beat up. Funny thing about this receiver tube too-my LNR hitch fits perfect with absolutely ZERO slop, but none of my other receiver hitches fit. It's 2" inside diameter seamless tubing. Haven't checked my Yakima Fullswing bike rack yet or the main D-ring recovery shackles and such. Not sure if I want to open it up slightly with a dremel just a HAIR, or take the paint off all my other items to fit. Not sure why nothing else works. It's standard receiver tube. Wonder why the LNR works??? Everything measures 2" with a tape, just splitting hairs-literally-as to whether it goes or not. Good thing is there will be NO wobble on the tonge of this bad boy when it's finished.

more to come...

Best of Luck,

Mike
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Old 09-08-2009, 03:00 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Axle Placement

Well I finished the welding of the receiver tube, then cut the tongue length down to an estimated length. I got a little nervous of spring placement so I made the tongue length 2" longer than my original planned length just in case my axle center doesn't work out as I hope it will and I need to move it forward a hair. I didn't want to have the tongue length too short if that happened. If the axle placement works out as planned, I can trim that extra 2" off no big deal and all will work out nicely as planned.

From there I went ahead and tacked in the spring hangars in their location based off my planned axle center if it works out the way I'm hoping it will. I'm still not sure of shackle angle and from what I can tell so far, anything from 0-10 is acceptable, so I set these at 6.5 degrees. Being loose with no load, they should settle under the trailer weight and kick back a hair more, then under load, be more yet which should be fine. Like I said, they're just tacked for now, so I'll play with it a bit and if I don't like it, I'll move them. Here's what it looks like after messing with it a little today. From what I figure, frame height should be roughly 27" off the ground if I'm looking at it right upside down. There will likely be some spring sag in that, but it should be close.



more to come...

Best of Luck,

Mike
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Old 09-08-2009, 03:05 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Location: Washington
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Tongue Framework

Well time for another update. Did some work the last couple days to the tongue fitting the rest of the frame together. I wanted the trailer to be able to break 90 degrees from the Jeep if need be, so I bolted the axle under it, then parked it sideways behind the Jeep to simulate the same thing. It turns out my trailer sits pretty close to what I expected while on the axle/tires, at 26" exact to the bottom of the frame. This puts the center of the hitch at 27.5" off the ground, and exactly 2" above my Jeep's receiver. Somehow I neglected to measure that part on the Jeep so I'll need a rise hitch instead of a drop. Thought I had one, but turns out I don't think I do in the size I need for the build. Measurements given are with the BALD MT/R's that I'm tossing out as soon as I replace with new 255/85's of some sort. Can't get my current BFG MT's anymore so I need a replacement. Likely Toyo MT's, but we'll see. Any suggestions? Needs to be TOUGH. Anyway, I'll likely gain another 2" with the tires so I may be in a slight predicament with my swingout-we'll see after everything settles.

Anyway, with the trailer 90 degrees from the Jeep, I found I could stretch the A-frame further out than I originally thought, which is good. Stronger design than a shorter A frame would be, and more room for a bigger box and other items up on the tongue, which I was hoping for later on. All good news. Bad news is fitting this sucker was a royal PITA!!! Chop saw would only cut the rear most angle at the main frame end, so that meant cutting all four sides of the 2x4 .120 wall tube with an angle grinder and cut off wheel. Got pretty close, but still needed a fair amount of grinding/sanding with a flapper disc and MANY test fits and cleanups to get to a good fit before even thinking about welding the damn thing. Cut pretty far out with the disc too and as the receiver is more radiused, left a pretty big hole I had to fill. Welds aren't the greatest up there, but they'll work. There is a LOT of weld up there around that thing too, front and back on the main beams, top and bottom as well, then with my fish plates on the bottom as well tying it all together. I think I'm good. Man, what a bear!

Enough rambling, here's the tongue framework:





After the tongue was together, I decided it was time to break out the torch and make some fishplates for the bottom for the main joints at the front most point on the tongue on the A, at the main 3-point connection of the A and the main frame and the back of the main frame where the bumper ties in. These serve a couple purposes actually-first to lock everything together solid and secure the joint, but also to act as a skid plate of sorts when the Jeep breaks into a ditch or over a log/rock what have you and the trailer augers in to the ditch. My other trailers have all worn away the main frame in these locations and are weakening. I don't think I'll have the same problem with the 2x4 .120 wall tube, but the added 3/16" plate will be extra insurance just the same.

I acquired a few Victor torches a while back along with some tanks, tips and various other supplies to go along with. I've never used a torch before so I didn't know the first thing about them. My Jeep buddy down at Oxarc (gas supplier/welding outfit) said to bring everything in and he'd test it all and teach me how to use it, make sure it was all working and safe to use, so I did. Everything checked out and I went through the safety course with him just so I knew what I was getting into. Even with his help learning how to run it, I'd still never actually cut anything before. When I tried making my first cuts today, I kept killing the torch. Found out after a while I wasn't supplying enough gas or oxygen. I've used plasma many times before, but never a torch. One day I'll afford a plasma cutter and nice shop, but for now, this will work. Once I figured it out, and after a couple test cuts, Wow, this thing made quick work of my 3/16" plate, and sliced through it like butter!

Not sure what would happen with it, I made a make-shift platform to protect my driveway with a few bricks and some steel plate, then some more bricks to elevate my main plate I was cutting from. After tracing my templates, I transfered them to my steel, then went to work cutting them out. It was a little difficult being all bent over and cutting freehand, but it worked and they came out all pretty dang close. After some quick cleanup with the flapper disc, they burned in pretty good with the welder. Good enough for me anyway.

Here's getting started:



And here's the silly little platform with the fishplates cut out:



more to come...

Best of luck,

Mike
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Old 09-08-2009, 03:11 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Fish Plates

I'm not sure the proper name for these, so I'm calling them fish plates as I think that's what similar plating is called. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.

Here's one of the rear bumper/frame plates:



Here's one of the front 3-point main frame-tongue joint plates:



And here's the front most A-frame plate:



After welding them, I just used a regular wire brush and hand brushed them down to look like that. Knocked all the color off from welding. Here's the whole frame:



Once I had the bottom done-or at least I think it's done. I actually went ahead and finished burning in the spring hangars too while I was on this side. This thing is getting pretty heavy now and I'm getting tired of having to flip it over all the time, so I tried to finish the bottom side today and be done with it to minimize flips. Anyway, after getting that done, I flipped it over again and welded in the top sides. I couldn't really get the wire brush in there as the wood handle is too big, so these are pretty dirty looking. Here's the rear corner:



And here's the front 3-point plate again from the top side:



That's it for pics for today. It took a long time making the plates and finishing up the bottom of the main frame. I did get my main uprights cut, but had to quit as the neighbors probably don't like all the cutting/welding/grinding after 9:00pm. I'll get started on them tomorrow I hope. If that happens, I'll have to figure out what to do with either the Jeep, or the trailer as one or the other won't get to sleep in the garage anymore...

more to come...

Best of Luck,

Mike
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Old 09-08-2009, 03:18 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Started the Uprights

Boy, I SEVERLY underestimated the time it would take to build this thing! I was hoping to use it by the end of the summer. A lot of that is due to my hectic work schedule and never getting time to work on it, but also, I must be about the slowest builder in the world. Granted, this is the first time I've done this, and this is by far the biggest/largest/grandest project I've ever tackled, but still, today's work didn't get me very far. Took me a while to figure out a jig system to make sure everything was square and true to the frame for each piece, and how to measure it all out so it was centered perfect, then once I had that down, took a while to level them all and get them squared and perfectly level front-back and side-side. I had to account for my fish plates underneath, so I made the corners a little longer, and the fudge factor with the cut-off wheel on the chop saw, then the center 1x2's and front 1x2's are all shorter because there is no fish plate in those locations. Once done, they're all dead level each way and exactly 30" deep to the bed depth. They all came out right, but man, sure took me a while. Cleaning the metal took the longest I think as I'm kinda picky about that most of the time, then leveling everything. Had to tack, then re-tack several of them a few times. I got the top-rails all cut, and had to box the ends of the two long rails before I could cut the 45's for the front piece. Got all that done, then cut the front section and both 45's for it. The top will be all boxed and mounted on top so everything is sealed. Don't want any bugs or critters making nests in my end pieces. Started getting too dark to see good enough to actually weld in the 45's and I want them good and square so I spent the rest of the night cleaning up. Got lucky in the placement of the trailer as the garage door only had 3/4" to close! Would hate to try and move this now. I did NOT finish weld the uprights as I want to fit the top rail first, then adjust as needed to square everything in case something moves while laying down the final beads. Here's how it looks so far:

In this pic, I have the 4 main corners tacked in already. They're 2x2 .120 wall. You can see how I went with a jig to align and place the center uprights, which are 1x2 .120 wall. With this method, I was able to center them even across the frame, support them underneath as a brace, then level and true them up from there:



Here's another shot of the jig braced up:



Here's a front-on shot with them all on:



A diagnol profile-excuse the dog, he was inspecting things:



When I load my elk camp and four wheeler on my 5x10, I stack my cook stove on top of my big cooler. The pair together was 30" deep, which is why I wanted this trailer to be 30" deep. I needed this to be no less than 48" inside width, and the way I built it, I was able to get a solid 50" inside width. It's 6' long inside once the tailgate will be done, which will sit inside the frame, and basically over the rear bumper area. Here's how the stove looks on top of the cooler right now. There will be a lid, which will sit 2" above this:



Another shot:



I've actually been asked a few times about the "pink mask" in a few of the pictures. Figured I'd post up just what that "pink mask" is for. Most folks know this already, but some don't. During cutting, welding, grinding, cleaning metal, removing scale, and yes, also during MIG welding-that plume of stuff you see given off is all putting dust and vapor in the air that you breath and inhale. This was spread out all over the garage floor just from today's little bit of work that I was able to accomplish in the uprights alone. Not much welding, not much cutting as I had the main pieces already cut last night. A fair amount of work done, and lots of hours spent working, but nothing in comparison to yesterday's welding on the fishplates. Here is the dust from today-just a hair under 2 pounds, scattered through the air and thrown all over the garage that you'd breath in without the filters:



These are basic half-mask respirators with P100 filters. Or, your "pink mask". I learned about them through work, as they're required by OSHA and by our plant regulations while cutting/grinding and welding due to the plume and dust given off after a certain amount of time working. I forget the specs/standards, but the guys have to wear them. I have two of them. I got the grey one first, which is the 5500 series half-mask respirator and used it for a while. I now use that as my back-up. A short time later, I got the black one, on the left. It is the 7700 series. Both are NIOSH units, the difference in them being that the black one-the 7700 series is a little more soft, little more pliable and a lot more comfortable to wear, especially when wearing them all day long over long periods of time. They are a soft plastic type material of sorts, not sure what exactly, but are able to be totally torn down into pieces and washed in regular dish soap and water by hand. To be truly certified, you need to be "fit tested" using a sulfur stick, which I had done at work to make sure they are sealed properly. The "test" to see if they leak REALLY SUCKS! But, it's good insurance to make sure they're sealed properly and working. I think it was a sulfur stick, I could be wrong on that. The filters themselves are the "pink" P100's. They filter 100% of the particulates in the air, or all that crap you see above. Ever blow your nose after welding and have a bunch of black crap come out? I did before wearing this. I also had bloody noses and a couple major sinus surgeries. I decided my health was far more important than being seen wearing a silly pink mask. Now, after wearing this all day long, I no longer blow black crap out my nose, no longer have bloody noses, and no longer have sinus problems after cutting/grinding/welding all day. The mask themselves cost somewhere around $20-$30 and you can get any kind of screw-on cartridge for them including organics, ammonia, paints, chemicals, these P100's, etc. The P100's I have here cost between $5-$6.00 a pair for replacements and are NO comparison to the regular white dust mask you see elsewhere. These work, and work well. Oh, and they make two kinds-regular cartridge style, and the "pancake filters". These are the "pancake" style. They fit great under a welding hood! North brand 75FFP100 NIOSHP100 W177132 www.northsafety.com.



Hopefully tomorrow I can get the top rail fitted and installed. If I can, I'll try and finish-weld all the uprights and top rail both. My wife will be home tomorrow with my beautiful baby girl sometime in the morning, then it's back to work Tuesday so no more trailer work for a few weeks. Hopefully I can finish the uprights before they get home. I'm about out of supplies too so time to re-stock.

more to come...

Best of Luck,

Mike
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Old 09-08-2009, 03:21 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Top Rail

Well, it's starting to look like something. I got the top rail built, then fought with the damn thing ALL day. Right back to the slowest builder/fabricator ever as mentioned earlier. Once I got the top rail set in place, I tacked it in at the corners then went around the centers from there and adjusted as needed. Thinking I was OK, I burned in the top 2" strips along the frame. Bad idea. It pulled the whole thing in well over 5/8" at the back end where the tailgate will be-where there's no bar across to hold it steady and level like in front-just the big open gap. So, had to cut it out, cut all my 2" strips on the centers down the sides, and try again. Tried a different approach and got better, but still not good enough. Even with 4x4 bracing and ratchet straps pulling the top rail almost 5/8" over to the opposite side and that far off-center, once burned in, it snapped back with a loud twang once I loosened the straps and removed the 4x4 bracing. Ended up cutting it all out 3 differnet times and finish welding for the 4th time to get it right. Was a real PITA, but it finally worked out. Some optical illusions in the pics looking down the rails-it's all square, level, centered and even. Still have some cleanup to do and some touch-up stuff, but I'm out of materials and need to re-stock supplies.

Here's a few shots of how it sits now:







more to come...

Best of Luck,

Mike
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Old 09-08-2009, 03:32 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Well crap. That's where I'm at so far, but now I've forgotten what I needed some help with. Have a damn headache now from all this computer work. Better get out to the garage for a few minutes before I have to go back to work tonight. Can at least do some cleanup work on the frame for a while. Didn't get to the steel yard today unfortunately.

Oh-couple easy things-I want the lid removeable so was thinking some sort of easy hinge setup, possibly greaseable, but I guess it doesn't have to be. Any ideas for those, or where to get and how to lock them in place for regular use, yet lift them high enough to slide them out when I want to remove it? Does that make sense? Tailgate will be the same way.

How about latches-want to lock the lid and tailgate somehow, yet also have them function as a solid latch/securing funtion. I guess they don't need to be both, but somehow needs to hold tension to hold lid/tailgate closed, and lock them both too. Want them both removeable like I said, and so that one will still function without the other ie can use tailgate without lid, etc. Don't want them tied to each other and dependant on one another. This will mean two locks at minimum, which is fine. I have the Detasco (sp?) style that I modified for my rear swingout on my Jeep, but I don't think you can lock it. It works good to secure the gate closed though. Anything similar or that works well?

Thanks,

Best of Luck,

Mike
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Old 09-08-2009, 03:52 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Very nice work.
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Old 09-08-2009, 03:58 PM   #17 (permalink)
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The trailer looks great, really clean and sturdy work man.
And I have to give my props to Just Differentials as well. Really well priced even when shipped up to Canada.
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Old 09-08-2009, 07:39 PM   #18 (permalink)
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holy shit man, great write up, great pics, everything looks great..

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Old 09-09-2009, 09:32 PM   #19 (permalink)
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trailer

Gotta jump in and say GREAT TRAILER !!!!! Nice well thought out rig!
With my work we have the Speedglass welding hoods with supplied filtered air, helps tons with the black snot, sinus infections, etc. I used to deal with. Kind of a pain carrying around the filter deal like a fanny pack, but love the no sinus infections gig!!
Filter is in precarious position for "gas", but seems to filter that out too.
When leave the auto darkening lense off, it is tinted perfect for plasma cutting, lense up and you still have clear lense for grinding, and the filtered air seems to be cool in the summer heat.
I think they are just over 1200.00, but we bought a couple hundred hoods and got them for under 800.00 each a few years ago.
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Old 09-10-2009, 04:25 AM   #20 (permalink)
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nice project... looking forward to your continued progress.
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Old 09-11-2009, 09:53 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Nice start, I will watch for updates and ideas for my build!!
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Old 09-11-2009, 10:04 PM   #22 (permalink)
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I've been following your thread on ROF. Nice job!
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Old 09-11-2009, 10:30 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Very nice work. For the roof/lid you could use some barrel hinges with removeable hinge pins to attach the top. Pull a few pins and the top would lift and/or pivot from the front/back/side. Or get a few over-center latches from McMaster Carr, etc

I like the red Willys pickup in the driveway/background, too.
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Old 09-12-2009, 06:58 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Man thats going to be a heavy mother when finnished, looking good tho.
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Old 09-12-2009, 08:32 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guidolyons View Post
Very nice work. For the roof/lid you could use some barrel hinges with removeable hinge pins to attach the top. Pull a few pins and the top would lift and/or pivot from the front/back/side. Or get a few over-center latches from McMaster Carr, etc

I like the red Willys pickup in the driveway/background, too.

Wow, Thanks for all the props guys, sure appreciate it. Being my first time, I'm learning as I go. Not getting it done as quick as I'd like-especially since I was hoping to have used it by now, but have ran across a few hurdles, adapted and overcome, learned from them and had fun doing it. I am happy with it's progress and condition so far, so I guess that's what counts.

I'm liking the sound of this hinge setup. I'm not exactly sure I totally understand what they look like though-I THINK I follow, but may be a little ignorant of what exactly they are. Any chance you have a pic so we're on the same page? If they're what I think they are, I could probably build them easy enough right? Think I found a few latch styles that might work on McMaster already-at least a few possibilities anyway...

As to the weight, I scaled out my little 5x10 that I regularly pull behind the Jeep, at work a while back. It weighs in at 1100 lbs. empty and the Jeep handles it just fine. I regularly max it out, especially to elk camp, which is around 3500 lbs. max rating of the LJ. Little more of a workout for the Jeep fully loaded, but regardless, it tows it fine with the 4.88's and 6 speed on 33's. I'm trying pretty hard to keep this one right at that 1100lbs. empty mark. I've actually kept a few of the larger pieces shorter than planned (receiver tube, total length of 2x4 .120 wall and so far less 2x2 .120) so I'm looking better than planned up to this point. I'll be putting a little more in it on the fenders than planned as I just changed my mind again, and my tires are going to weigh more than planned now too-just ordered them yesterday!

Tires-I'll address them in another post once they actually arrive. They're SUPPOSED to be here Wednesday at the latest. I actually broke my own rule with tires as I have always supported local shops with them up to this point, but for the going rate these days, and being I only needed two right now, nobody local could even come close. I found a place called tirecrawler.com who had them for $206 a tire, instead of the $260 sale price local, plus mount/balance/tax/disposal, etc. Cheapest quoted price was $580, got them delivered for $460 from these guys, had them in stock and shipped yesterday supposedly. 255/85/16 Toyo MT's. Never bought on-line for tires, we'll see how it goes.

As for the Willys-Meet Pearl. She's a '55 Willys Truck. Basically stock down to the 5.38's with the exception of a transplanted engine which I THINK is a Ford inline 6 226 if the numbers traced right. Not positive on that, but I think it's close according to the parts guys at Napa. Swapped my LJ Rubi's factory MT/R's over to her a while back to have some decent rubber on there. Used to drive her all around the orchards and neighborhoods around here, but haven't in a while. All 6-volt still. Meant to be a project, just never enough funds to get started. Poor thing, has potential.

I'll be back to work on the trailer this Thurs/Fri I hope. Looks like work schedules changed again and I might actually get a couple days off.

Thanks again,

Best of Luck,

Mike
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