Another trailer thread...

#1
Hello all, long time stalker, first time poster. I have this old trailer that I've had for the last 9 years. It is in need of an overhaul and I was thinking of making an expedition/camping rig out of it. The main purpose of this is to be able to bring my dirt bike along while camping. I'm thinking of welding on some kind of structure/frame where I would be able to put a roof top tent on the top and still have room below for my bike to go in to middle. I'm thinking of building or buying some outdoor weatherproof boxes for the sides and one on the front to house a battery and possibly a propane tank.

I would want to swap out the axle for something a little more heavy duty and throw on some 31" tires. To accommodate the tires I would cut out a portion of the flat bed to allow the tires to "fit in" I would then weld in some support beams and put a fender over the tire.

The purpose for this post is to get your guy's/gal's opinions and help me out with some creative thinking. Is there anything crazy that goes with swapping out the axle? I would assume it's relatively straight forward. Just need to make sure its square?

Here are some pics of the current trailer. Let me know what ya'll think! I'm looking forward to the project.

PS: The SEi truck in the pictures is not what would be pulling the trailer. I have a 3rd Gen T4R which would pull the trailer. It can be seen in the second pic...
 

Attachments

#2
So, I have taken the old crappy wood off and I've got it down to the bare bones now. I noticed there is a label on the axle that is telling me its a 2,000# axle and I'm now thinking this might be sufficient and I might just look into getting some new hubs that will accept a 5X4.5 wheel. Thoughts? 2000# axle enough?

I'm thinking I will cut out these supports (Green in photo) and weld in some new supports (Red in photo) to accommodate the larger wheels and tires that I'm wanting to put on. Thoughts on this as well?

FullSizeRender.jpg
20170821_190201568_iOS.jpg
20170821_190130490_iOS.jpg
20170821_190157098_iOS.jpg
 
#3
Interesting starting point, snow mobile trailer? Those things are fairly wide...which has always been a concern for me.

From my experience doing a trailer, here's a few thoughts about what you've hit on so far.

It'll probably be tough to find 5x4.5, or similar 5/6 lug pattern, hubs for your existing spindles, so replacing the axle might be the best route to achieve both the bolt pattern you want and a slightly higher weight rating. You might just need to calculate a rough total of the weight you'd expect to haul and determine if it creeps closer to 2,000 than you're comfortable with. My 3,500 pound axle (I don't need that high of a weight rating, but it's such a common axle size that it makes hub selection great) and 5x4.5" hubs (EZ Lube) were about $225 for it all, shipped.

Swapping the axle isn't hard or anything. Make sure the width, with the backspacing and wheel/tire selection you want will fit your trailer dimensions without being too narrow and without sticking out so far you'll have a hard time getting a fender situation going (example: I wanted to match the width of my tow rig with the trailer axle, which makes the wheels stick out a total of 13 inches from the trailer side. 13" wide fenders were $100 versus 10" wide fenders for $40, so keep that in mind). Beyond that, it's simply making sure you have the correct u-bolts (diameter, width, thread length and general shape: round/square), u-bolt mounting plate that will accommodate the leaf spring width and getting it all centered and clocked right (if the axle has a bow in it).

Those leaf springs look like they're probably rated 2,000 lbs or less too, so new axle (if done for weight rating, not just hub selection) might need to be paired with new leafs. Depending on the eyelet to eyelet measurement, new ~29"-30" leafs are probably $60-100 for a pair of 1,750 lb rated.

If you're going to replace the axle/hubs/wheels, make an effort to get a close match of wheel width between the trailer and the main tow rig. This is for two main reasons: it will help with the trailers tow/following characteristics and it'll make tackling any obstacles you face easier when off road. For example, if your 4Runner fits in the ruts or if you have to straddle something, having a closely matched wheel base on the trailer will give you an easy understanding on where the trailer will track, slide, hit, etc.

Cutting the green sections shouldn't be an issue. It looks like it'd be "weakening" an area that wouldn't really be utilized as a main weight bearing portion on the setup so I'd say you're fine. Obviously, I'd just start with figuring out the axle and wheel setup first, then see what needs modified on the frame.

Curious to see how this goes man, keep us updated with what you decide to do!

Jake
 
#4
Interesting starting point, snow mobile trailer? Those things are fairly wide...which has always been a concern for me.

From my experience doing a trailer, here's a few thoughts about what you've hit on so far.

It'll probably be tough to find 5x4.5, or similar 5/6 lug pattern, hubs for your existing spindles, so replacing the axle might be the best route to achieve both the bolt pattern you want and a slightly higher weight rating. You might just need to calculate a rough total of the weight you'd expect to haul and determine if it creeps closer to 2,000 than you're comfortable with. My 3,500 pound axle (I don't need that high of a weight rating, but it's such a common axle size that it makes hub selection great) and 5x4.5" hubs (EZ Lube) were about $225 for it all, shipped.

Swapping the axle isn't hard or anything. Make sure the width, with the backspacing and wheel/tire selection you want will fit your trailer dimensions without being too narrow and without sticking out so far you'll have a hard time getting a fender situation going (example: I wanted to match the width of my tow rig with the trailer axle, which makes the wheels stick out a total of 13 inches from the trailer side. 13" wide fenders were $100 versus 10" wide fenders for $40, so keep that in mind). Beyond that, it's simply making sure you have the correct u-bolts (diameter, width, thread length and general shape: round/square), u-bolt mounting plate that will accommodate the leaf spring width and getting it all centered and clocked right (if the axle has a bow in it).

Those leaf springs look like they're probably rated 2,000 lbs or less too, so new axle (if done for weight rating, not just hub selection) might need to be paired with new leafs. Depending on the eyelet to eyelet measurement, new ~29"-30" leafs are probably $60-100 for a pair of 1,750 lb rated.

If you're going to replace the axle/hubs/wheels, make an effort to get a close match of wheel width between the trailer and the main tow rig. This is for two main reasons: it will help with the trailers tow/following characteristics and it'll make tackling any obstacles you face easier when off road. For example, if your 4Runner fits in the ruts or if you have to straddle something, having a closely matched wheel base on the trailer will give you an easy understanding on where the trailer will track, slide, hit, etc.

Cutting the green sections shouldn't be an issue. It looks like it'd be "weakening" an area that wouldn't really be utilized as a main weight bearing portion on the setup so I'd say you're fine. Obviously, I'd just start with figuring out the axle and wheel setup first, then see what needs modified on the frame.

Curious to see how this goes man, keep us updated with what you decide to do!

Jake
Jake,

Thanks for the reply, I greatly appreciate it. It is an old snow mobile trailer. I had a concern about width as well, but unfortunately, I don't get into as many narrow trails as I would like to.

I was actually able to find some 5X4.5 hubs to match up to my axle pretty quickly. At a local trailer supply store, I found a new set with bearings and seals (pic) for $73! Since I was able to find these pretty easily and inexpensively, I think ill keep the axle that is on there for now. I don't foresee loading up anywhere near that amount of gear. My bike weighs about 300# and if I'm loading up more than 1,700# of camping gear then I have a problem! I know the frame of the trailer factors into that as well as the frame I want to build for the roof top tent, but I still don't see getting anywhere close to that. If I do later on down the road, Ill swap it out then.

As far as where the tires sit with my T4R, they are pretty well in line already, so keeping my current axle should keep them in the same spot.

I made an attempt at installing the new hubs but reached a stopping point when I couldn't get the cotter pin to go in. The new hubs are about 1/16" longer than the previous ones so when I put the castle nut back on, it doesn't sit back as far. I just need to go get some smaller diameter pins. I had had enough fun for one day anyway.

I'll get the cotter pins and probably pick up the wheels and tires next so I can see exactly where I'll need to cut the frame of the trailer.
 

Attachments

#5
I'm jumping way ahead but I'm trying to price things out. What kind of decking would you guys recommend? I did some Googling and it looks like 3/4" CDX plywood coated with Hurculiner or some kind of truck bed liner would be a good option? I want it to be as water tight as possible to avoid having to rebuild the trailer again.

What have you guys used for your expedition trailers?
 
#7
Nice! That's a good looking trailer!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
#8
Hey, glad you were able to find some hubs easily! I presumed that was going to be way tougher, glad I was wrong.

Harbor Freight has a good multi size cotter pin set for cheap.
 
#9
Hey, glad you were able to find some hubs easily! I presumed that was going to be way tougher, glad I was wrong.

Harbor Freight has a good multi size cotter pin set for cheap.
I was pretty impressed I found them so easily as well. I appreciate the tip on the Harbor Freight cotter pin set. I'll definitely pick those up!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
#10
So I wasn't able to get much work done during the week with my work schedule, but I got off a little early this afternoon so I swung by Harbor Freight and picked up a cotter pin set and I was able to get the new hubs installed.

Throughout the week I did some shopping online for wheels and tires. I have picked out wheels and I know i want to go with 31x10.5x15 tires. Now, I am slightly concerned about how high these tires will put the trailer off of the ground. Even with the tiny tires that were on there before, I had to have my drop hitch upside down with the ball installed backwards to put the ball up high enough to get the trailer to ride level. (I have stock suspension on the T4R. A lift is in the works.)

These are the wheels that I will be ordering...:wings:

20170824_190418000_iOS.jpg

It appears as though the leaf springs are installed in a leaf over axle configuration. If I were to change this and install the leafs under the axle, this would drop the trailer a few inches. I'm also wondering about these leaf springs. It seems as though they are relatively short which puts quite the bend in them which seems to me as this is putting the trailer up a little higher as well. If I were to get some new, longer leaf springs that didn't have such an arch, this could lower the trailer a bit as well. Lastly, at the end of the tongue, someone has welded on a section that raises the ball coupler up a few inches. I'm thinking I could cut this section out and well on a new coupler? I would hate to shorten the tongue as I like how long it is but I'm just spit-balling.

20170826_010916910_iOS.jpg

20170826_010927843_iOS.jpg

20170826_011008774_iOS.jpg

20170826_012546623_iOS.jpg

20170826_012718150_iOS.jpg
 
Last edited:
#11
I was able to make a bit of progress recently. I ordered the new wheels and tires and waited for those to arrive. Once I got my hands on these I was able to make some measurements and get to cutting. I cut out the sections that would interfere with the new tires. Here are the wheels and the sections that I cut out:

20171030_170309411_iOS.jpg

20171019_204745485_iOS.jpg

20171019_204758831_iOS.jpg

I fit the new wheel and tire onto the hub and realized that the wheel would rub on the frame of the trailer.

20171019_210524290_iOS.jpg

I took some measurements ordered some 1 1/4" wheel spacers to fix the problem. I ordered them from wheeladaptersusa.com and they took about two weeks to arrive. Once I got these, I was able to bolt everything up which I just did yesterday. Here are some final pics:

20171110_174740790_iOS.jpg

20171110_174448765_iOS.jpg

20171110_174550910_iOS.jpg

20171110_174602885_iOS.jpg

20171110_174622499_iOS.jpg

20171110_174658459_iOS.jpg

Now I can move on to welding in the new support beams and fabbing up some fenders!

Also, I don't know why it's choosing to rotate my images like they are. That's not how they were when I uploaded them. Anyone know how to fix this??
 
#14
I like it , hope to see more progress soon ..
I hope to get some work done on it this week. I need to get the fenders welded up and get some wood on it. I’m moving to Washington and this will need to be done in the next three weeks. I’ll probably just throw some temporary wood down for the time being until I get settled in WA. Also ran into a bit of a delay when my 4Runner (pictured) decided it was time for a new timing belt. Just finished this up a few moments ago actually.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

wADVr

Adventurer
#15
I just redecked my snowmobile trailer. I did a bit of research and ended up using 3/4" Marine grade plywood primed with a 3-2-1 Primer and painted with Waterproof Behr solid stain. A lot of research i found recommended products like Behr Deck over or Rustoleum 2x deck paint etc. I have had much bad experience with these types of 'paint' on wood as they tend to peal up and flake off. Knowing that I would have tracks and skis sliding across the wood I opted for the route I did. I can't say it will be much stronger if any but if it adheres I will be happy. So far this season I have spun track enough to leave rubber on it without any sign of pealing or even wear just rubber. So I am happy so far. Also want to mention 3/4" is pretty stout so consider your spans on the frame might be able to go with a 5/8" or maybe even 1/2" oh and Marine grade is expensive... at least in 4x10.. so if your deck is 10' long something to consider.