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High Clearance Offroad Trailer

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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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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!
this is exactly what im after.....dont suppose you wanna export to australia!

:eek:


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



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.:rolleyes:
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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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What's up Wilson. Glad you like it.

It's either more time than money or more money than time.:shaking:
Doing well Dave, no little ones for us yet, how is yours? Sure seems to go that way.
really like it! Would be interested for sure.
I really like it, but that's way too big and heavy for me. I'm working on building a miniature version of this to tow behind my Samurai. With the rooftop tent, I'm hoping to keep the empty trailer weight below 500lbs.
It's beyond great first of all. I think you are sincere in asking for peoples 2 cents so here you go:
Don't knock the competition. There are some fantastic off road trailers available that are set up with years of experiance building them right.
Don't claim it offers traction making it go off road better than no trailer because thats just BS.
Keep your 3500 torsion axles because they are easy to work with and the newest ones are probably better than ever but....
Find an axle or hubs that will take an 8 on 6.5 bolt pattern and if you can match the different jeeps and toyotas then offer them. We can skip the spare or have an extra on the trailer for the tow rig.
Offer a fuel rack for Spector fuel and water jugs because they are loved.
Mount the tounge jack on a reciver tube. That way you can mount it on the back and scoot the trailer sidways in some predicaments.
Make the tounge long enough so you can remove it and install it on the rear to pull it backwards in a pinch.
There is a formula for the best distance the wheels are from the vehicle. I think if the wheelbase is 103" then the trailer tires ideally should be 103" from the rear vehicle tires. Clarification anyone? You can offer custom and ideal wheelbase combinations for max tracability.
Offer an option of smaller box upfront for caming gear (skip the trendy roof top tent) and open the rear for hualing a quad or dirt bikes. We wheel, camp and ride in extream places and use 4x4 to get there. A real trailer would suit the dirt bike or ATV crowd well. So would just a stout trailer for the Rino side by side guys. We ride in rough terain and getting to it to camp is a bitch.
Last... Offer to meet me half way to Phoenix with the dirt bike version.:)
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It's beyond great first of all. I think you are sincere in asking for peoples 2 cents so here you go:
Don't knock the competition. There are some fantastic off road trailers available that are set up with years of experiance building them right.
Don't claim it offers traction making it go off road better than no trailer because thats just BS.
Keep your 3500 torsion axles because they are easy to work with and the newest ones are probably better than ever but....
Find an axle or hubs that will take an 8 on 6.5 bolt pattern and if you can match the different jeeps and toyotas then offer them. We can skip the spare or have an extra on the trailer for the tow rig.
Offer a fuel rack for Spector fuel and water jugs because they are loved.
Mount the tounge jack on a reciver tube. That way you can mount it on the back and scoot the trailer sidways in some predicaments.
Make the tounge long enough so you can remove it and install it on the rear to pull it backwards in a pinch.
There is a formula for the best distance the wheels are from the vehicle. I think if the wheelbase is 103" then the trailer tires ideally should be 103" from the rear vehicle tires. Clarification anyone? You can offer custom and ideal wheelbase combinations for max tracability.
Offer an option of smaller box upfront for caming gear (skip the trendy roof top tent) and open the rear for hualing a quad or dirt bikes. We wheel, camp and ride in extream places and use 4x4 to get there. A real trailer would suit the dirt bike or ATV crowd well. So would just a stout trailer for the Rino side by side guys. We ride in rough terain and getting to it to camp is a bitch.
Last... Offer to meet me half way to Phoenix with the dirt bike version.:)


Thanks for the tips. You bring up some good points. I'll have to get back to you on the dirt bike version though.
Seems to me an all aluminum version would kick complete and total ass. I gotta learn to TIG, damnit.
i really like the trailer.you did a great job.
i can't wait to see more picture of it in action,my concern is the turning radius on the trail behind different vehicles.i have a Land Rover Discovery 2.i do more trail riding in the Pinelands of New Jersey than anything else.i don't like rock crawling.I'm more into expedition type running.most of the time we are under water.in the swamps.
Nice work.
I think if the wheelbase is 103" then the trailer tires ideally should be 103" from the rear vehicle tires. Clarification anyone?
Thats not absolutely correct nor would it be financially beneficial for a company to cater to each individual vehicle make and model. best solution is to measure the distance it would take to completely jack knife the trailer (90 degrees). this also gets the trailer out of the way when in camp. from that point on you can start your building. visualize the trailer full. you want about 200lbs on the tongue for good tracking at hwy speeds. factor in that to much tongue weight is bad as well. axels to far forward makes a trailer hard to control when backing and to far back puts to much weight on the tongue. Looking at your design, while I like it, it seems the tires would be a little to far back. Also think of the weight of your building materials. heavy duty is good but heavy is bad. As a dual purpose trailer this would be cool as well, top comes off and i can haul the wheeler or dirt bikes...
I work with a company that makes aluminum dog trailers for hunters. They primarily use torsion axles and they have had numerous customers in desert climates that wont run torsion axles. It something about how the sand gets in the crack of the torsion tube, where the axles actually rotates. I dont know all the details, but something for you to look into. We are in the design stages of a axleless suspension that runs a variable compression rate, without having torsion, bags or leaf springs. Basically it will be set up for a 1500 trailer dry and as you add weight it will handle up to 3500 lbs. It is designed for the high priced dogs to be riding in vehicle style comfort, no matter how much food, water, or cargo you have on the trailer.
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.:rolleyes:
Fair enough, I will attempt to switch from dilettante to diligent, though it won't be easy and may take a little time as its Federal budget analysis day:(

In the spirit of dilettanteness, yes, they were used in -30 to -40 weather, not fun. More later.
mabe i missed it, what was the weight of the trailer empty?
Very nice trailer. When will you know a price?
What is the model of the tent that you mounted for the customer?
The picture that you added of it deployed is the family model, it's HUGE!!!
It's 48" x 87" closed... :eek:

I don't recall the exact model but it's fairly large. Something like 48" x 72"


I work with a company that makes aluminum dog trailers for hunters. They primarily use torsion axles and they have had numerous customers in desert climates that wont run torsion axles. It something about how the sand gets in the crack of the torsion tube, where the axles actually rotates. I dont know all the details, but something for you to look into. We are in the design stages of a axleless suspension that runs a variable compression rate, without having torsion, bags or leaf springs. Basically it will be set up for a 1500 trailer dry and as you add weight it will handle up to 3500 lbs. It is designed for the high priced dogs to be riding in vehicle style comfort, no matter how much food, water, or cargo you have on the trailer.

Sounds pretty cool. Post up some spy pics
Fair enough, I will attempt to switch from dilettante to diligent, though it won't be easy and may take a little time as its Federal budget analysis day:(

In the spirit of dilettanteness, yes, they were used in -30 to -40 weather, not fun. More later.

No, I don't suppose -30 would be any fun. I've never been anywhere close to that kind of weather.



mabe i missed it, what was the weight of the trailer empty?

1100#


Very nice trailer. When will you know a price?

Thank you. As soon as the logistics are worked out, I'll let you know.
I have seen numerous trailers break where the box and tongue tubes meet. This needs to be re-engineered by adding thickness or vertical gusseting there...or a third tube coming from the trailer hitch straight back past the box and hook into the next "crossmember."

That third tube could be 2x4, or thick receiver material which would have enough strength for the hitch and moving the other two back to allow the 90' backing. The tongue/ring could actually slide back into it for shorter storage.

Note from trailering the Rubicon.... You either have a nice trailer or a nice Jeep...but you generally can't or won't have both for long.

The tail area looks like it would take a roll with no damage. Bending the fender tubes instead of welding them at the outside would give you the needed clearance for tips. The taillights need a slider.

Want to know how much a trailer moves around? Hang a cow bell off of it and see how long it lasts. Pack well.

I Like the ideas for the box, fenders and simple tortions...I would just concentrate on the tongue as several have mentioned.
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;)
I have seen numerous trailers break where the box and tongue tubes meet. This needs to be re-engineered by adding thickness or vertical gusseting there...or a third tube coming from the trailer hitch straight back past the box and hook into the next "crossmember."

That third tube could be 2x4, or thick receiver material which would have enough strength for the hitch and moving the other two back to allow the 90' backing. The tongue/ring could actually slide back into it for shorter storage.

Note from trailering the Rubicon.... You either have a nice trailer or a nice Jeep...but you generally can't or won't have both for long.

The tail area looks like it would take a roll with no damage. Bending the fender tubes instead of welding them at the outside would give you the needed clearance for tips. The taillights need a slider.

Want to know how much a trailer moves around? Hang a cow bell off of it and see how long it lasts. Pack well.

I Like the ideas for the box, fenders and simple tortions...I would just concentrate on the tongue as several have mentioned.

I'll keep your advice in mind. You can never have too strong a tongue. Especially when offroading (or dating;)).
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