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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I just bought a 10ft Alaskan Camper that I'm planning to carry on the back of a cummins quad-cab AND on top of a semi-dedicated trailer so I can haul the camper behind some of our smaller trucks.

The previous owner of this camper had mounted it on a janky single-axle boat trailer that he converted and I didn't have any problems hauling that home behind my V6 Tacoma. I've already got it off that trailer, but I'm glad I got a chance to pull it before I start building a new one. I was afraid it might be too big or heavy, but it's not.

When it comes to building a trailer (as soon as I figure out what I need), I know I don't want it to be any bigger than the footprint of the camper, and it needs to be burly enough that I'll be able to get it out to some remote areas in the PNW where we'll use it as a basecamp for dirt bike and wheeling trips. I want to build something that will be semi-dedicated to this purpose, but I'm sure I'll end up hauling a lot of other stuff with an 7x10ft trailer when it doesn't have a camper on top of it.

I'm not exactly up on my trailer tech though, so please excuse the dumb questions.

Single or tandem axle? Ideally, the trailer would run the same wheels and tires as the truck. I should be fine runing two axles and light-duty 33-35" tires, right?

Leafsprings or torsion suspension? I like the idea of using a high-clearance torsion axle. How much wheel-travel should I allow for, and why don't most trailers have shocks?

Weight distribution. It would be great if I could tow a trailer with something closer to a neutral tongue weight so that it won't over-tax the rear suspension of the tow vehicles, but I know that presents some handling problems. What are the general guidelines here?

Where should I look for water and fuel tanks that I could mount under the floor of the camper, between the framerails of the trailer?
 

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If you want tamdem axle for tracking and stability, do it. I would personally go leaf spring because torsion axles don't equalize weight between them. This means the trailer needs to be perfectly level when towed and the load should be evenly distributed. Not such the hot ticket if you plan to use this on multiple trucks. I think the common guidline for tongue weight is 10% of the total loaded weight on the tongue.
Travis..
 

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In the other thread you said it'd weigh less than 2500lbs wet/stuffed full of gear. Based on that I'd go single axle for manuverability.

Don't use tandems torsion axles on an off road trailer, the're's no way to exuallize the load between the axles, so when you go over a large bump all the weight goes on 1 axle and it'll fail.

I assume the 8' wide is the deck, why so wide?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I've been reading up on weight distribution for safe towing and it looks like everyone recommends 10%.

I understand what you guys are saying about the torsion axles. I hadn't considered how they would (or wouldn't) equalize weight between two axles (if I end up using two axes) and from side-to-side.

I don't have a whole lot of experience towing tandem axle trailers. Will they really be that much less manueverable than a single axle?

Sorry, I just mis-typed the trailer dimensions. The camper is 82" wide, so I was planning on making the trailer 7ft wide (outside-to-outside of the tires), not 8.
 
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I have made 2 trailers from full size pickup frames with 8 ft pu beds, for carrying cabover campers. The main difference between mine and others I have seen is I make the tongue about 7 ft. long overall. That makes for storage under the cabover part and they handle great and are easy to lift the suspension with add-a-leafs too. And they have shocks. fwiw
 

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Tandems just have allot more tire scrub and it's amplified on short trailers. To run a tandem axle with 33" or 35" tires tire would also present a problem, you couldn't use regular trailer springs with an exualizer between then.

I'd still make the trailer 12' long though. When you have the camper on, leave the extra 2' at the rear. This makes for a nice place to step out on, and it's also a handy "table". When your just using it as a utililty trailer, 12' is the perfect length IMO.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Filthy McChevy-
This is a non-cabover camper, so it's only 10ft long. I was thinking that if I set it on top of a utility bed, that would add a lot of useful storage. I think I'd prefer to just add seperate storage boxes to a flatbed though, so that I have more options and can use the space however I need to. Using a truck frame is a good suggestion, but I'm going to build a custom frame to keep this thing as low as possible, with good ground clearance. I think that means I'll probably build some type of perimeter frame. I want to install some fuel and water tanks between the framerails (under the floor of the camper) too, and with so many different things that I'll want to do a specific way, I think it will be easier to just start from scratch.

1wook-
Thanks for the input on the tandem axles. I'm going to need to do some more research before I make a decision about this. I do need to be able to run at least 33's, and should be able to run 35's, so that the trailer can run the same wheels/tires as any of the tow rigs. That's a good suggestion too, about leaving some extra length at the rear. I was thinking about making something like a tailgate that would fold-up for travel.
 
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Heres another possibility, I built this trailer using an M105A2 Army trailer bed which I put a different frame and axle that I made on. 36" tires, almost 10 ft long bed.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Those things are super cool, but aren't they also super heavy?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
What do you think it weighs now? I might consider using one of those beds if I was going to use it as an open/general purpose trailer, but I'm not sure what that structure would add (except weight) to what I need to build. The sides don't fold down, do they? I need to be able to make use of all that storage space in front/behind the wheelwells, and that would be hard to get to if the camper's mounted in a truck with a regular bed or in a trailer like yours.
 

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For what you are wanting to do, I would build a frame from 2x6" .1875" (3/16") wall box tubing. On a 10 foot frame I would build it so as that the base of the camper rests on the frame rails, with cross members front and rear, and two more evenly spaced in the middle. I would also put gussets in the front and rear corners to keep it square. As well to prevent flexing of the frame and ultimately of your camper I would build a frame off of the sides of the frame that rises up in the same locations of the cross members out of 2x2" box tube, with a 2x2 box tube rail that the "step" of the camper can ride on, as well I would extend out from there to create a "shelf" for the camper to ride on.

Something else to consider here would be installing a piece of 10 Gau (.125") thick plate on the bottom frame to make a floor, and on the steps to keep your trailer happy and puncture free.

Then between the uprights in the front I would install a piece of .1875" plate to serve as a forward stop motion bulk head, as well it will do wonders once again to stiffen the frame.

For an Axle, I would run a 7,000 lb single, 8 lug, with 16" wheels, D or E load range tires and electric brakes. You can even get electric disc trailer brakes now.

IF you are towing this thing off road, I wouldn't put water tanks down in the frame, your just asking to get a punctured tank, I would build them in the area of the step, and surround them in steel cages to protect them.

Your best bet for a hitch is going to be either a 2 5/8" ball, or a Pintle.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Thanks. That's all really helpful input. I'm moving into a place with a larger shop at the end of this month, and then I'll have some time (and more room) to start laying out a frame for the trailer. I'll post some CAD files of what I'm planning to build before I start cutting any tubing.
 

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Tandems just have allot more tire scrub and it's amplified on short trailers. To run a tandem axle with 33" or 35" tires tire would also present a problem, you couldn't use regular trailer springs with an exualizer between then.
Why not? Just buy longer springs. I have built trailers using two 37"s. It was tight but it fit.
 
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