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Old 03-15-2010, 01:19 PM   #1 (permalink)
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converting a camper to a car hauler?

I've got an interesting dilemma. I have been offered a 24' tandem axle camper for basically nothing. It's old, and needs a roof and interior stuff and needs to be hauled out of it's storage space ASAP. My intention is to make a new trailer out of it. I want to build either a flatbed hauler to haul my jeep and/or my old tractor to steam shows, or a utility trailer for hauling supplies and chit to the dump. My issue is I want to make sure the frame and axles are good.
I figure I can tear the camper body off and renforce the frame, put a wooden bed on it with d-rings for tie-downs, nice LED lights and loading lights.
Either that, or tear the body off and shorten the frame, and build a wooden bed and stake sides for it. A tilting box would be sweet. Either way, I figure it would be a cheap project.....

thoughts?
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Old 03-15-2010, 01:27 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I've seen lots of bare camper frames for sale on craigslist and other places... it seems like it'd be pretty easy to just bolt plywood to it and have a deck, the braces extend all the way to the width of the wheels.

On the other hand they don't look like they're built for much weight. The construction just kind of seems thin, if that makes sense, like maybe the body was supposed to provide some strength too. If it were me I probably wouldn't want to put more than like 4,000 pounds total on the trailer.
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Old 03-15-2010, 01:39 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I've thought of that. If I went car trailer route, I'd definatly throw some braces on it to make it stiffer and stronger....
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Old 03-15-2010, 02:41 PM   #4 (permalink)
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The travel trailer frames are usually pretty narrow from my experience, with usually 60" between the frame rails and there for the axles are pretty narrow as well. Considering a car trailer is at 72" wide and usually 80" wide this is something to consider.
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Old 03-15-2010, 03:04 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by LCexplorer View Post
The travel trailer frames are usually pretty narrow from my experience, with usually 60" between the frame rails and there for the axles are pretty narrow as well. Considering a car trailer is at 72" wide and usually 80" wide this is something to consider.
hmmm....I didn't consider that....it might be easier to go the utility trailer route....
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Old 03-15-2010, 04:02 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by LCexplorer View Post
The travel trailer frames are usually pretty narrow from my experience, with usually 60" between the frame rails and there for the axles are pretty narrow as well. Considering a car trailer is at 72" wide and usually 80" wide this is something to consider.
its been mostly my experience that they are alittle wider than that... ive built a couple trailers out of camper frames and only had to add 12 inches or so to the outside of the frame rails to get a 91" width.

its not too big a deal you just need to build driveover fenders. depending on the trailer its might even be possible to build a deckover with a perfectly flat deck.

here are a couple ive built:

18' bumper pull from a 6" box tube camper frame:


toyhauler,from a 5" box tube 5th wheel camper frame.


36 foot deck,from a 10" I beam mobile home frame


the first 2 are both 91" wide. the toyhauler has a deckover for the flat deck section. the gooseneck is a full 8 foot wide. both it and the bumper pull have the deck atop the main frame rails with outriggers on the outsides of the main rails to support the deck.

let me know if you have any other camper or mobile home frame trailer building questions
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Old 03-15-2010, 04:09 PM   #7 (permalink)
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First look at the GVWR for the trailer. If thats not there, how many lug nuts does it have. I was offered some circa 1960 travel trailer that had bolts holding the rims on. I said no thanks.

If its not too old, like less than 20 years or so. Then the axle are most likey Dexter and you can get new part for them. My only concern would be the axles, are they big enough for your purpose.

Does it have I beam or box frame? In the end you will have some steel framing and axles. Thats worth something right there with the price of steel these days. FWIW I would only run 6 or 8 lug axles and 16" load range E tires for a car/jeep hauler.
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