View Full Version : Trailer build ideas
10-29-2007, 05:06 AM
I am on the fence between building a custom exoskeleton around my topper or an off road trailer. The trailer captures my attention for the fact that it can be 100% - always good to go. No packing, no forgetting stuff, free room in the truck etc. (It is a sad fact that I have a pick up, but refuse to crowd my beloved German Shepherd with gear. Love of all kinds is blind, I suppose.) Because it is ready at a moments notice, it also simultaneously solves storage issues. The only issue is price. I refuse to justify the high cost of an aftermarket trailer. Just aint gonna happen.
So, if I am to have a trailer, it will be built. From here I am considering two options as a beginning: military type trailer or find a wrecked short bed 05+ tacoma and cut the bed free of the cab and make it the trailer. The reasons for the military type are obvious, so here is my reasoning for the Tacoma bed:
Same wheel & tire package with spare
EXTRA FUEL TANK! this could be huge! add a small pump and hose... you get the idea
Same suspension components as the truck
86 the rear bumper and trim away at will for departure angle!
Yeah - it's bigger by a lot, that is my only hesitation here
On the military front (!) I can buy a really good one and have it painted all for around $1200 Add a tent, water storage and my gear and it comes in far below the base asking price of "superior" off road trailers. Sure it might not last through 30 years of hard use - but neither will I.
Guild me a little here folks. As you can see, I need the help.
10-29-2007, 05:20 AM
I went custom trailer for my 4 door Jeep. I have a Lab and the back seat is hers. ;)
I could not find military trailers in any good shape for $1200 so if you can that's a great start.
I like the trailer aspect of being loaded and ready to go. Takes my back to when I was in high school and had my little Toyota pick up always loaded and ready to go and I went almost every weekend. ;)
I also like the idea of being able to unhook and go play. :jumping:
10-29-2007, 06:10 AM
I paid 750.00 for my CDN2 M101 a little over two years ago and it is probably some of the best money I have ever spent. With Jess and our two daughters it was essential to either upgrade my "paid for" TJ to an LJ or buy a trailer. After looking at all the options she convinced me to find 1/4 ton military trailer. The trailer has paid for itself on numerous occasions ranging from trips to the hardware store, moving, camping, and even a hurricane evacuation. There have been times where I have no idea how we would have gotten by with out it. Just my two cents of course. Good luck
10-29-2007, 01:42 PM
The Tacoma bed would have much better suspension that the military trailer. You could match the Toyota lug pattern on the military trailer either by changing out the hubs or using adapters.
10-29-2007, 03:35 PM
If you're going to use the back half of a Taco I would 86 the bed. I think you'll find that in the long run it imposes too many design & use compromises.
I see little value in carrying around a spare axle assembly or 3rd member for this type of use. Unfortunately that means a different axle if you wish to eliminate the drop-out and it's parasitic drag since, being a semi-float axle, the differential & side gears need to be there to support the inner ends of the axle shafts. You can remove some of the drag by removing the ring gear, but the pinion gear needs to stay to keep the housing sealed. Could turn an aluminum plug, but that's working pretty hard to arrive at an inferior solution.
Converting the frame to be a trailer frame is first a thot process. Some are easy to do, others are not. It's pretty easy to end up with junk if you don't think it thru first. All trailers have a critical speed. Above this speed they become unstable & dangerous. The key is to design the frame geometry such that this speed is far above any speed you've ever likely to go.
Putting extra fuel in a tank and with a pump on a trailer is a rather simple endeavor. Would likely cost about what a stock replacement EFI pump would cost, though having one of those as a spare isn't a bad idea.
10-29-2007, 03:38 PM
What type of trails/terrain do you plan to pull the trailer on? How critical is the body on the truck bed if selected?
Though they both serve the same fundemental purpose, the military trailer (assuming you go with a M416/M101 base) is much "tighter" in all the critical areas than a pickup bed trailer, ie rear corners, overhang, breakover, etc. All things considered you will be able to take the mil. trailer alot of places that might not happen (with the same effort) as the truck bed trailer.
Re: the onboard fuel tank. For some reason I have some aprehension about going that route versus just running a collection of Scepters or Wedcos. I had a tank in my trailer (the original FJ55 tank that accompanied the frame I used)... I never got comfortable with the idea of having all my reserve fuel in a single tank (one puncture = SOL) as well as having to be withing hose range of the trailer to pump. No doubt it could be cleanly done, if you do end up going that route, I would love to see your build pics... I might have to reconsider. :D
Re: Suspension spares. You mentioned "same components as truck", but you didn't say if you intend to plan on them as spares? I've heard/read alot lately about folks that plan to use a Land Cruiser rear axle or D35 to match the axle in their rig... all so they have "spare" parts if needed. Without being disrespectful, I think that is the wrong way to go about it. If anything, now that you have a trailer, you should pack all your rig spares into the build, as well as spare for the trailer components you choose. To plan on disabling your trailer in order to enable you rig... I just don't understand that. Now I know their are circumstances where it would be an esay answer, but I don't think parting out your trailer in the field will ever be easier than preparing from day one. Again, you didn't mention this was your plan, so take my rant accordingly. :)
10-30-2007, 01:02 AM
Gee whiz - thanks for the thought provoking responses! These good points have me back at the military type setup. The Tacoma bed seemed like a good idea - one I took from a Ford truck pulling a Ford bed similar to what I described doing.
Alright - if I go the military route, what is the best model for over-landing? My travels are a mixed bag - from long hauls down the highway between Alaska and Colorado to taking unknown trails in both places. My IFS is a limitation to be sure, but I will never know the challenge until I meet it. Therefor I really want this trailer to be able to cruise at 70 MPH and also take on some of the more difficult trails.
one more thing: It would be very cool if the RTT could be raised up, increasing its distance from the ground. This would be good for accessing things in the trailer while the RTT is deployed as well as require a larger, less stealthy bear to pick me out of the tent like an apple. I know what your thinking - but please - humor me. :costumed-smiley-007
I really appreciate your thoughts here. ExPo led me to buy a Tacoma, which just goes to underscore the coolness of this awesome board.
10-30-2007, 02:05 AM
Truck bed trailer......yehaaa....
Go military or build your own,,,,,
12 gallon plastic marine fuel tank is $ 50...
I looked at military, but as I travel a lot and my company won't ship trailers,
built my own and made it all bolt on except for the main frame.
It was more work, but means I can take it with me when we leave the US.
Main frame is 8 ft long to fit inside a shipping container, the axle wheels etc fit inside the main box.
Then its just the nose box.
Main box is an ex-miltary spy camera shipping case, the front box I built to match, after getting fed up with dusty equipment on the front deck.
Moab dust gets everywhere
10-30-2007, 02:40 AM
I actually thought about using the truck bed type. My idea was Tacoma bed on the frame and level the suspension so it matches the 4Runner. Or build my own trailer and add the Taco bed with roll lock style Toneu cover, then cross bars on it so I can put my RTT. I can also have a swing tire carrier if using the stock taco frame. Now If I could just find a taco frame. Heck for that matter a aux. fuel tank could be had as well as what ever else you might want.
10-30-2007, 03:24 AM
Military all the way- they just so cool-you have yesteday's nostalgia with today's function.
I have the 416 and love it!
modify it to your liking and budget!!
10-30-2007, 03:39 AM
Well I am being an odd ball here........ I am turning a camper I have into a off road trailer. Now I won't be able to go a lot of the places others will but I have the trailer already... Yes it is heavier by a long shot... But it sleeps 8 ....LOL
I will post pics as I get going but here are the plans:
Matching axle to the truck (this way I have spare 3rd member, axle shafts, brakes, etc)
Going with the same 3 link rear I have, not so much for spare parts, but for nice ride, the leafs on the camper are bouncy
I am going with 33" AT tires, also bringing 2 spares on the camper! (keeps getting heavier)
and I will increase the water storage to 15 gallons from 10!
Yeah I have a bit to do.. But I am excited.. Also like I said I won't do past a moderate trail.... No extreme trails for me.....
For those in Colorado I am looking to get it up Wheeler Lake(as an idea of what I am building for)
And just for fun I am going to add a Sirius reciever to it so I have great music where ever I go..LOL
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