Travel trailer, cargo trailer or.....

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Re: Travel trailer, cargo trailer or.....

Postby Elliot » Sat Jan 05, 2013 4:47 pm

:D
Canoe, this is a very nice setup! But I am worried about a possible structural weakness in your trailer frame.

(Years ago my brother and I discussed careers, and he said I ought to be a quality control inspector because I so readily find fault with things. :P )

I’m talking about the spot where the triangular tongue attaches to the rectangular box. There is a lot of bouncing-force here, and over the years I have seen many trailers sitting along the road, broken in exactly this spot.
For one thing, the steel looks to be installed horizontally, which gives it less resistance against up-and-down flexing than if it were vertical. And for the other this spot appears to be welded together, which invariably represents a weakness compared with undisturbed metal.
Commercially manufactured trailers generally have uninterrupted vertical steel in this area – and they still sometimes fail.

So I’m thinking you might want to take this thing to a competent welding shop and ask his opinion about reinforcing it.

I “enjoy” spotting weaknesses like this because I believe it is the best way to avoid disasters down the road.

If I have not explained my concern clearly enough, I can look for photos of such cases to illustrate the point.

What do you other shade-tree-engineers think?
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Re: Travel trailer, cargo trailer or.....

Postby FIGJAM » Sat Jan 05, 2013 6:23 pm

I could'nt believe the guy I bought my trailer from basicly did a frame on a frame! 8)

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Re: Travel trailer, cargo trailer or.....

Postby Elliot » Sat Jan 05, 2013 8:43 pm

:D
Here are two examples I pilfered off the interweb:

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These trailers seem to have been uncommonly flimsy, but this type of failure happens to quite sturdy-looking trailers also. Don’t let it happen to you.
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Re: Travel trailer, cargo trailer or.....

Postby Canoe » Sat Jan 05, 2013 10:02 pm

Elliot wrote:... I am worried about a possible structural weakness in your trailer frame. ...
I’m talking about the spot where the triangular tongue attaches to the rectangular box. ...

Hmmm.
Good point.

This trailer started as a boat trailer, which is why the tongue is so long. The tongue is rather similar to figjam's image, only the tongue sides don't extend all the way to the side of the trailer, but shortly after going under the front of the box, they turn to the back with a weld to a longitudinal member, which runs along inside of the wheels.

I don't remember the exact details, but I had the same concerns, so I did examine it, and had someone jump on it while I watched to see what flexed where. If I remember some correctly, then:
  • the outer sides of the triangle tongue are two "C" pieces of steel sandwiched together to make a "tube", which makes me think someone has already added to the original design
  • the centre tongue member is a through-and-through, and rather robust, again two "C"s sandwiched, but looks original
    (I was able to feed doubled extension cord through it to serve as new robust wiring for the lights - what else use for an extension someone's gone over with a lawn mower)
  • the front of the box sits against a small piece of angle iron, welded across the three member tongue, as does the rear of the box
I though I had photos, but I can't find them right now.
As a utility trailer, this has had ridiculous loads in it, loaded up past the side supports (like we see in its last use when full of bikes, with bins of steel parts stacked at the front), with with much heaver loads of hardwood and scrap steel (previous owners, semi-rural setting, helped feed their kids by heading out every Sunday night to fill the trailer with scrap metal left out for the garbage trucks). We tried to break it once, but couldn't. Oddly, its taken the abuse.
When I adapted it for "living" use, for reinforcement on the inside I added 2x2 to near every seam with 1x2 up the sides. Under the box I added a near full-length piece of angle-iron to each side, bolted to the longitudinal steel member running inside of each wheel. I also discovered that the box was just sitting there, not bolted on, small screws rusted away... It's now bolted to the new angle-iron.

I'll have to take a much closer look at what goes where, once it's warm enough to do so.

Note: with the top section of 1/2" plywood being so heavy, and the triangle sides putting more weight to the rear, it's biased the whole balance to the rear. With the trailer empty, there isn't enough tonque weight, even with the spare tire. It has to have a load.
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Re: Travel trailer, cargo trailer or.....

Postby Canoe » Sat Jan 05, 2013 10:07 pm

Note the way you get "towed" when you're already towing a trailer...
Never had that happen before.
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Re: Travel trailer, cargo trailer or.....

Postby Elliot » Sat Jan 05, 2013 10:35 pm

:D
The long tongue is a good thing -- the longer the trailer the more stable it is on the road.

I use two runs of Outdoor Extension Cord also.

Sounds like you have a good grasp of the structural situation. I just wanted to make sure it wasn't something you blissfully ignored, as most regular folks are prone to do.

And don't forget to service the wheel bearings.

:D
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Re: Travel trailer, cargo trailer or.....

Postby Canoe » Sun Jan 06, 2013 8:26 pm

Elliot wrote:And don't forget to service the wheel bearings.

Guilty there.
Relied on the previous owner, good friend, saying he did it.
Will redo myself this year.
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Re: Travel trailer, cargo trailer or.....

Postby Canoe » Tue Jan 08, 2013 7:19 pm

Elliot wrote:... I am worried about a possible structural weakness in your trailer frame.
...
I’m talking about the spot where the triangular tongue attaches to the rectangular box. There is a lot of bouncing-force here...

Good catch!

I found (in the second photo I posted) that my memory was wrong. The tongue side members attach by weld to the longitudinal members right at the front of the box. I'll take a good look at that in the spring, perhaps adding a plate or a short member to lessen that joint being a stress riser.

Image
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Re: Travel trailer, cargo trailer or.....

Postby Elliot » Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:12 am

:D
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Re: Travel trailer, cargo trailer or.....

Postby Simon of the Playa » Wed Jan 16, 2013 7:10 am

1934 thompson house car.
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Re: Travel trailer, cargo trailer or.....

Postby winebuff » Wed Jan 16, 2013 8:08 am

Elliot, I was always told it is not the size of the tongue that matter... :D
Simon, I LOVE that car. That would be killer using it to haul my 59 airstream to BM :)
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Re: Travel trailer, cargo trailer or.....

Postby Canoe » Thu Jan 17, 2013 4:20 pm

Another alternative?
pickup extension.jpg

Build with hard sides, polysi (a la hexayurt wall), other?
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Re: Travel trailer, cargo trailer or.....

Postby FIGJAM » Wed Feb 20, 2013 9:24 pm

Bump. :wink:
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Re: Travel trailer, cargo trailer or.....

Postby Bounce530 » Thu Feb 21, 2013 2:54 pm

Can I derail a bit here?
I'm going to be pulling a 5x8' open trailer with about 800+/- pounds on it, with a Ford Expedition. The truck currently does not have a receiver hitch on it, but has a bumper ball. The bumper say's it has a 400# tongue weight and 4,000# towing max.
I've googled around and the reviews about using a bumper ball are mixed.
What do you guys think about that? It should be fine, right??
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Re: Travel trailer, cargo trailer or.....

Postby Elliot » Thu Feb 21, 2013 3:50 pm

The numbers look good. But as you have read indications of, bumpers have little room for error, and errors are rather common for regular folks who only occasionally pull a trailer. For example, it is awful "easy" to jack-knife a small trailer when backing up, and then the forces on the ball and bumper can skyrocket far beyond the specs. I had to wrestle somebody's bumper back into usable shape right in BRC once.

There is a second aspect to this: the height of the ball above the ground. Bumpers vary greatly in height, and trailers likewise. A major discrepancy could spell trouble. But with a receiver hitch, you have almost unlimited options for ball height, since the bar that connects the ball to the receiver comes in so many heights ("drop" or "rise"), and these bars are available in most auto parts stores. You can even get them adjustable.

Hope that helps. :D
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Re: Travel trailer, cargo trailer or.....

Postby Jackass » Thu Feb 21, 2013 3:55 pm

My tent trailer weighs alot more than that and I tow it with a small Nissan Frontier with a bumper ball, no problem.
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Re: Travel trailer, cargo trailer or.....

Postby ygmir » Thu Feb 21, 2013 4:17 pm

I'd agree with Elliot, Bounce.
Knowing that engineering is at least x2 on anything stamped for public reading.
And height is an issue, it making sure you have enough tongue weight. Enough weight on the ball, can't be over stated. If it were multiple axle, height would be even more important, IMHO.
Just make sure it's front loaded.

you don't mention brakes, and I'd guess the trailer has none? if so, again, tongue weight is critical, and, remembering you're going to have that trialer trying to push you past stop signs and such, so allow lotso of extra room.

One indicator on not enough tongue weight, is "fishtailing". also underinflated tires.
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Re: Travel trailer, cargo trailer or.....

Postby theCryptofishist » Thu Feb 21, 2013 7:18 pm

ygmir wrote:... "fishtailing". ...

Yeah, yeah, blame the fish.
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Re: Travel trailer, cargo trailer or.....

Postby Bounce530 » Thu Feb 21, 2013 11:29 pm

Your right yggy, no brakes on the trailer. I feel better now though, as I was having some sticker shock at the price of having a receiver hitch installed, I was thinking $200, but the local hitch guy is talking over $500. The weight shouldn't be an issue as the load will be very adjustable.
Thanks guys!
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Re: Travel trailer, cargo trailer or.....

Postby ygmir » Fri Feb 22, 2013 8:31 am

Bounce530 wrote:Your right yggy, no brakes on the trailer. I feel better now though, as I was having some sticker shock at the price of having a receiver hitch installed, I was thinking $200, but the local hitch guy is talking over $500. The weight shouldn't be an issue as the load will be very adjustable.
Thanks guys!


if you can get the hitch, I'm happy to help install it here.
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Re: Travel trailer, cargo trailer or.....

Postby motskyroonmatick » Fri Feb 22, 2013 5:05 pm

ygmir wrote:
Bounce530 wrote:Your right yggy, no brakes on the trailer. I feel better now though, as I was having some sticker shock at the price of having a receiver hitch installed, I was thinking $200, but the local hitch guy is talking over $500. The weight shouldn't be an issue as the load will be very adjustable.
Thanks guys!


if you can get the hitch, I'm happy to help install it here.


Installing hitches is a fairly approachable task even for a novice mechanic. Instructions always come with the hitch and wiring harnesses that plug in to the wiring harness at the back of the vehicle are available at any major parts store or that really large on line retailer. Real person advice on installing or repairing nearly anything is available on numerous vehicle chat sites and many times on youtube. Warning! Having a heavy duty hitch is super handy but can lead to budget busting purchases for new hitch facilitated must haves and new hobbies.
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Re: Travel trailer, cargo trailer or.....

Postby Thorormr » Sun Feb 24, 2013 6:12 am

motskyroonmatick wrote:
ygmir wrote:
Bounce530 wrote:Your right yggy, no brakes on the trailer. I feel better now though, as I was having some sticker shock at the price of having a receiver hitch installed, I was thinking $200, but the local hitch guy is talking over $500. The weight shouldn't be an issue as the load will be very adjustable.
Thanks guys!


if you can get the hitch, I'm happy to help install it here.


Installing hitches is a fairly approachable task even for a novice mechanic. Instructions always come with the hitch and wiring harnesses that plug in to the wiring harness at the back of the vehicle are available at any major parts store or that really large on line retailer.


^^^
This. Most off the shelf aftermarket hitches are kits assembled on site. All the holes are already there it's just a matter of bolting the hitch together then putting (usually) six bolts through existing frame holes and making sure everything is torqued down. Until you start talking upper end of class III and class IV welding is optional.

Bumper balls are fine as long as the planes of both the vehicle and trailer are parallel to ground when hitched.

And then comes learning how to parallel park with a trailer.
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Re: Travel trailer, cargo trailer or.....

Postby Flabio33 » Thu Apr 11, 2013 1:40 pm

Thinking about buying used truck to pull my trailer with this year. I like Toyota Tundra's because of Toyota reliability. But it may be cheaper to buy a domestic and just pay for the repairs when they are needed. Figjam, what do you pull your trailer with?
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Re: Travel trailer, cargo trailer or.....

Postby FIGJAM » Thu Apr 11, 2013 2:40 pm

A lot more truck than I need. :lol:

Just because that's what I have.

98 chevy 3/4 ton 4X4 turbo diesel!!!

I use it for moving cactus, but it's real handy for the Burn. 8)
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Re: Travel trailer, cargo trailer or.....

Postby ygmir » Thu Apr 11, 2013 5:09 pm

FIGJAM wrote:A lot more truck than I need. :lol:

Just because that's what I have.

98 chevy 3/4 ton 4X4 turbo diesel!!!

I use it for moving cactus, but it's real handy for the Burn. 8)


I dunno FJ. a good heavy truck, is safe, and more controllable.
a lighter truck under a large load, probably gets near the same fuel economy.
for the difference, I'd take you truck, hands down, pulling a trailer of any substantial size or weight.
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Re: Travel trailer, cargo trailer or.....

Postby FIGJAM » Thu Apr 11, 2013 5:33 pm

I agree Yg, it's just that I don't load the trailer down that much.

I think if I weighed it when loaded for the burn, the gross would only be about 1000#. 8)
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Re: Travel trailer, cargo trailer or.....

Postby gyre » Sun Oct 13, 2013 5:13 pm

Re bumper hitches, the ranger bumper is pretty bulletproof.
A friend has pulled huge weight with his.
However, pulling the boat trailers home with the ruined tires on one side, the bumping, even at very slow speed, bent the bumper where the ball is, just a bit.

Look for mail order retail hitches, or used will save you more money.
I found a new old stock for the Ranger, so heavy I am delaying putting it on.
Big advantage is being able to unhook with the tailgate down.
Can't do that now.

I found a receiver for my friend's ford van on a chevy van. Same bolt points.
And receivers can be modified from other types or made from scratch.
Used northern tools tube to build one for a car for the burn, bike carrier insert.

$25-50 is typical for a used one.
Found the nos receiver in a hitch shop.
Bought it uninstalled for $60.
They wanted $100.
Paid $10 or $20 for the truck receivers in an auto parts yard, my removal.
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Re: Travel trailer, cargo trailer or.....

Postby FIGJAM » Thu Oct 17, 2013 8:47 pm

Playapod part Dux!!! 8)

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Re: Travel trailer, cargo trailer or.....

Postby delle » Fri Oct 18, 2013 7:07 am

Ooh la la!!!

Tres jolie!!

:D
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Re: Travel trailer, cargo trailer or.....

Postby peyote2004 » Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:11 am

Looks great Figjam :)
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