ITTOG's Truck Camper Build (was 6' x 12' Trailer Conversion)

ITTOG

Well-known member
6' x 12' Trailer Conversion

In September I purchased a 6’ x 12’ tandem axle trailer for my on road and off road adventures. I was tired of battling the rain in my tent. I do not get out as often as most on here but do get out two or three times a year for about ten days. For the past several years it has been in the mountains in SE Oklahoma on some family property. It isn’t like the Rockies but it is the mountains and does require four wheel drive to get to our place. I love going there as it is remote (ie no cell service unless on top of a mountain and where we camp is in the valley so no sounds or signs of any civilization around us). My requirements for the trailer were as follows:

1. Keeps me dry. I don’t have to worry about rain falling on me or puddling around me.
2. Must be able to handle off road travel that includes traversing creeks, mud holes that may be two feet deep, and lots of rocks and slabs.
3. I can stand in it.
4. I can put my bike (ATV) inside it. It is about 48” by 8’. It is a big Rincon 680.
5. Must have at least 17” of ground clearance.
6. Must be nice if I want my wife or daughter to ever join me.
7. Can get it into camp on existing roads without cutting down trees. (I wanted a 7 x 14 that size will not make it into camp)

So overall not too demanding. Seems like basic stuff to me. Luckily a 6’ x 12’ addresses all my needs, just not as roomy as desired.

Needless to say I was pretty excited when I picked it up.

IMG_20180921_144851.jpg
IMG_20180921_144901.jpg

But less than a week later it was raining and I discovered it was leaking in the window and through the roof. So it didn’t meet requirement 1 after all! I took it back and they replaced the window and attempted a roof repair. So the next time it rained I was in the trailer looking for leaks and discovered the roof was still leaking. I notified them of the leak and they asked me to bring it in for repair. But I decided to look at it myself before returning it and was in disbelief of the lack of quality in the construction of the roof.

IMG_20181021_142800.jpg
IMG_20181021_142805.jpg
IMG_20181021_161513.jpg

At this point I felt I had three options: return it so it could be repaired by more shoddy work, repair it myself so I know it was a good repair job, or return it and ask for my money back. After talking to a couple other trailer companies and considering the good work they did with the trailer frame I decided I would repair it myself. I wanted to use a 1.5”x1.5” drip rail to help prevent leaks but discovered it wasn’t long enough in some spots.

Instead I did some research on RV products and decided to use Geocel 2300 to seal the roof and the wall to the metal frame, and to seal the roof and the wall to the ridge cap. I then did a water test, which passed before adding the sealant that goes on top of the ridge cap. With the leaks now resolved it was time to move to the inside. First I stripped the inside so I could add insulation and a vapor barrier. I also decided to add vinyl flooring because it would be easier to clean than a textured wood sealant or any type of wood sealant for that matter.

IMG_20181028_153834.jpg
IMG_20181028_175909.jpg
IMG_20181104_141623.jpg
IMG_20181108_125738.jpg

I need to install the trim and tape the ceiling insulation and it will be ready for the first trip. In a couple weeks I will be taking it out for its first use. Other than adding drawers and cabinets in the nose and a 200 w solar system I am not sure what I will do next but I figure using it will help me decide.

One issue I have with this trailer is the poor fuel mileage I get due to the height of the trailer. So I have been contemplating making it a collapsible trailer similar to a Kimberly Karavan. Unfortunately my bike is about 4’ tall so it wouldn’t buy me much unless I put the bike in the back of my truck. If I did that I would probably cut it so the inside is about 3.5’ tall closed and 6.5’ tall open.
 
Last edited:

mudraider

Adventurer
For "3-4 times per year for 10 days", I think I could excuse the poor mileage, and instead of doing all the work to lower it, I'd just deal with it.

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
 

honda250xtitan

Active member
utility trailers are notorious for sucking.

nice call on the vinyl flooring.

if you're gonna make it collapsible, why not sell the trailer and build your own from the ground up. the frame, axles, leaf springs are the easiest part anyways.
 

ITTOG

Well-known member
For "3-4 times per year for 10 days", I think I could excuse the poor mileage, and instead of doing all the work to lower it, I'd just deal with it.

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
That is true but isn't as fun as making something custom.


utility trailers are notorious for sucking.

nice call on the vinyl flooring.

if you're gonna make it collapsible, why not sell the trailer and build your own from the ground up. the frame, axles, leaf springs are the easiest part anyways.
I have thought of that but I have two roadblocks. I don't know how to weld, yet, and I do not want to go through the titling process of a home built trailer. One thought I had was to buy the trailer frame and then I would just have to manage the walls and roof. I should be a good welder by the end of 2019 if things go as planned.
 
It looks like yours is coming along nicely. You are certainly a little further on in some aspects than we are. I like the look of the flooring you have going. We might have to steal that idea for ours.

We are both dealing with more or less the same things. Our trailer is not leaking bad, but when we pulled down the walls the metal framing was rusted in a few spots. We were surprised it was not put together as shoddily as we had feared. We have seen some postings on the internet of really crappy trailers.

Did you insulate the floor? Here in Arizona it is a must as the road radiates heat during the summer in a bad way. We are planning to cover the entire underside with a thin sheet metal with something like flex seal sprayed on it and then insulate between that and the floor.

Matt
 

ITTOG

Well-known member
ITTOG's Trips - San Bois Mountains, OK

I primarily winter camp so I didn't insulate the floor. Just the standard 3/4" plywood. However, after using the trailer in 15F temperatures it would have been nice to insulate it. I slept on the floor but I have really good gear so that didn't bother me much but I hated walking on it barefoot. So I took my Mr Buddy heater for the next trip and it made a huge difference after running it for only five minutes.

I guess I can add a few picture from my trip since I haven't done much from a build perspective due to surgery on my elbows.

I have spent about 15 nights in it now at Beavers Bend State Park, some boondocking, and the San Bois mountains. All locations in SE Oklahoma.

First a few shots from the San Bois. Not sure if I would call this boondocking since it is family land. But it is about six miles of off-roading to get there and it is definitely primitive. Anyway, the camping spot.
img_20181116 a.jpg
The following is brought to you from the four wheeler but provided by the Good Lord.
img_20181120.jpg
IMG_20190201_143943_resize.jpg
I absolutely love waterfalls.
IMG_20190131_165238_resize.jpg
IMG_20190202_123628_resize.jpg
This was a good spot for a bath. But it was cold given the water was just a little above freezing. IMG_20190131_165310_resize.jpg
 
Last edited:

ITTOG

Well-known member
ITTOG's Trips - Beavers Bend State Park, OK

Below pictures are from the Beavers Bend State Park. First a view from the camp site.
IMG_20190127_093009.jpg
I did a lot of hiking while there and followed one of the rivers downstream of the lake in the park. Of course more waterfalls. Some were just creeks but I still like them.
IMG_20190127_112104.jpgIMG_20190127_112621_resize.jpgIMG_20190127_131414_resize.jpgIMG_20190127_131507_resize.jpgIMG_20190127_135618_resize.jpgIMG_20190127_144930.jpgIMG_20190128_162531.jpg
Nothing like staring into a fire while contemplating life.
IMG_20190129_174939.jpg
The breakfast of champions. Okay not really, but beer and bacon is always good.
IMG_20190130_140552.jpg
 
Last edited:

ITTOG

Well-known member
ITTOG's Trips - Beavers Bend State Park, OK

Very nice sunset across the water.
IMG_20190130_173137.jpg
While at the state park I had to rescue this guy. Not sure how he got in there but looks like he had been in some battles.
IMG_20190130_172401.jpg
This is the view from the boondocking spot on the north end of the lake and outside the state park. It was way above the lake and had fantastic views.
IMG_20190128_143942.jpgIMG_20190128_143959.jpg
 
Last edited:

ITTOG

Well-known member
6' x 12' Trailer Conversion

I'm working on the design of modifications to my trailer and the first thing I am trying to tackle is larger tires. The trailer currently has 15x6 rims and 27" tires on 5x4.5 hubs. I have several issues here that need to be addressed.

1 Taller tires require wider tires so I will need new rims. I will probably stick with fairly basic steel rims.
2 Wider tires will require more backspacing than the current axle/hub allows. Current backspacing allowance is 4.5" with a 1" clearance to the trailer. I prefer at least 2" of clearance. Therefore I will need a new axle. Spacers are not an option.
3 Since I will be replacing my axles I might as well upgrade to a 6x5.5 bolt pattern. Unfortunately my truck is 6x135 (about 5.3") so I cannot get any hubs to match the truck. Thus I will buy a 6x135 to 6x5.5 adapter so I can carry one spare that will work on the trailer and the truck. This will be in addition to the spare I already have for the truck. I guess if I want to travel light I can just use the truck spare and get a 6x5.5 to 6x135 adapter.
4 I hope to have 32" tires, after the load of the trailer is applied, so I need to find a common tire to keep costs down. I specify after the load because my truck has 32 inch tires on it but when you measure the height it is actually only 31".

With that information what tires would you use? Once I know the tire size I want to go with I can easily figure out the rest of it but I am struggling with finding the appropriate tire size.
 
Last edited:

old_CWO

Well-known member
If you're stuck on something 32" or so tall that would reasonably fit under a trailer fender perhaps a 235/85R16. I believe you can get both LT and ST tires in that size.

Taller tires don't have to be wider tires; military trailers came with tall/skinnies and work well. Early 4x4 trucks and Jeeps were the same way.

Have you considered just slapping a set of 7.00-15 tires on the trailer as is and carry a spare? That gains about 1.5" of additional ground clearance with virtually no other changes. They are a little narrower than the 205/75s on there now so you gain a bit of that sidewall clearance you are after. Yeah, they're bias ply rather than radial. On a trailer like you have some folks might actually consider it an upgrade to ditch the radials.:whistle:

Swapping axles, wheels and fenders is a lot of money and effort for that 1 extra inch of ground clearance a 32 gets you over a 7.00-15. Not to mention all your stuff is brand new and you probably won't recover much cost from the used take off parts.

Just a thought...
 

Bayou Boy

Adventurer
I think you are way overthinking this.

You are going to spend way more money and time trying to match your trailer tires to your truck tires than it would cost to just slap a set of LT215/75r15s on the trailer and call it a day. The Kumho AT51 has the highest load rating of any that size and is a great tire for that use. Also, Walmart.com has them for like $115/each.

If you need more clearance for the box you can do an axle flip. That will lift the body and frame of the trailer 3-4". Your current 27" tires on the trailer most likely already have significantly more ground clearance at the axle than your truck so there is no need to go to a larger tire for clearance there. An LT tire WILL give you significantly more resistance to puncture and a safer significantly higher speed rating.

Just some advice from someone that went down that road and fortunately realized that I was going down a rabbit hole that didn't really accomplish anything. My last trailer had those tires and an axle flip and had more clearance everywhere than my Ram on 36" tires. It also towed at 85mph without a care in the world.
 

macexpress

Observer
Those are some amazing pictures. Just remember that that is the main thing, getting out and using it, and enjoying the beauty of nature!
 

BigAl

Expedition Leader
Very cool pics. You might like these tie downs from Erickson. I use them in my 6x10 cargo trailer/camper. They go in front and back of the tire. Once you drive over them, the ATV is in exactly the right spot. Just strap down the rear tires and you are ready to roll. The straps un-clip when not in use.Captures.PNGCapturea.PNG
Capture.PNGCapturex.PNG
 
Last edited:

ITTOG

Well-known member
6' x 12' Trailer Conversion

If you're stuck on something 32" or so tall that would reasonably fit under a trailer fender perhaps a 235/85R16. I believe you can get both LT and ST tires in that size.
Taller tires don't have to be wider tires; military trailers came with tall/skinnies and work well. Early 4x4 trucks and Jeeps were the same way.
Have you considered just slapping a set of 7.00-15 tires on the trailer as is and carry a spare? That gains about 1.5" of additional ground clearance with virtually no other changes. They are a little narrower than the 205/75s on there now so you gain a bit of that sidewall clearance you are after. Yeah, they're bias ply rather than radial. On a trailer like you have some folks might actually consider it an upgrade to ditch the radials.:whistle:
Swapping axles, wheels and fenders is a lot of money and effort for that 1 extra inch of ground clearance a 32 gets you over a 7.00-15. Not to mention all your stuff is brand new and you probably won't recover much cost from the used take off parts.
Just a thought...
I was not familiar with 7.00-15 tires so did some research. The problem with them is that they are too skinny. Where I go has a lot of large mud holes. Tires that skinny will sink so fast the trailer will bottom out and cause a lot of problems. There is no way I can go skinnier. One thought I had to recoup some of the cost is to either sell they parts or I may recover more if I build a 6x12 or similar utility trailer and sell it.

I think you are way overthinking this.
You are going to spend way more money and time trying to match your trailer tires to your truck tires than it would cost to just slap a set of LT215/75r15s on the trailer and call it a day. The Kumho AT51 has the highest load rating of any that size and is a great tire for that use. Also, Walmart.com has them for like $115/each.
If you need more clearance for the box you can do an axle flip. That will lift the body and frame of the trailer 3-4". Your current 27" tires on the trailer most likely already have significantly more ground clearance at the axle than your truck so there is no need to go to a larger tire for clearance there. An LT tire WILL give you significantly more resistance to puncture and a safer significantly higher speed rating.
Just some advice from someone that went down that road and fortunately realized that I was going down a rabbit hole that didn't really accomplish anything. My last trailer had those tires and an axle flip and had more clearance everywhere than my Ram on 36" tires. It also towed at 85mph without a care in the world.
Good point about the axle flip and the trailer having more clearance than the truck. I was hoping to get the additional height via tires only. Yes it is a lot of unneeded cost but part of it is the satisfaction of a unique build/look as I am planning other modifications to the trailer.

Those are some amazing pictures. Just remember that that is the main thing, getting out and using it, and enjoying the beauty of nature!
Thank you.

Very cool pics. You might like these tie downs from Erickson. I use them in my 6x10 cargo trailer/camper. They go in front and back of the tire. Once you drive over them, the ATV is in exactly the right spot. Just strap down the rear tires and you are ready to roll. The straps un-clip when not in use.
View attachment 501898
I like those but once I take the bike out of the trailer it becomes my shelter. The last think I need is to stub my toes on those. I did look at making them removable but it would be a lot of work every time I remove the bike. Thus I went with the flat anchors. I also looked at the type that connects to the hitch of the bike. While its profile is lower, it is still above the floor and dangerous. The pro for it is that it is only in one place.


Not sure if this helps but the picture below is a draft of some of the other changes I want to make. The changes include adding 2' in length at the back of the trailer, dropping the front edge of the trailer (if my wind resistance tests I plan to do justify it), add a 12" wide rail on each side of the trailer that is integrated with custom fenders (this will all be made with 2"x2" tubing, raise the roof 6", add a kitchen slide out, move door to the back. So a lot of work, which none is needed, but I want to customize. I don't know if I will do it yet. But I am getting my plan and costs together to help me determine if I want to do it. I still have a lot of planning and cost estimates to do. The side rail work is similar to what mischief did to his trailer, which can be found at https://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/just-another-6-x-12-cargo-conversion.197371/page-2. Another reason for this work is to balance the weight some. The trailer currently weighs 1,600 pounds and the tongue weight is over 350 pounds. Adding the kitchen and drawers in the front will only make it worse. So now you know the total plan.

Finally, thanks for your responses. Even if I don't listen, it definitely helps to have someone provide knowledge, question my sanity, and provide general input.

IMG_20190226_133923.jpg
 
Last edited:
We went through the same process over the past six months. As you saw in our cargo trailer conversion build post, we went from a single 4" dropper axle and 5x4.5 lug idler hubs with 205/75R15 wheels\tires to a straight axle 6x5.5 lug electric brake hubs and 285/75R16 wheels\tires. We also had to replace the trailer fenders. That last bit is often overlooked. This raised the trailer frame to 21" and 15" at the axle. For us the change was more than just clearance. We were going after tires\wheels\hubs and track that match the tow vehicle (2001 Chevrolet Suburban 1500 4X4) and trailer brakes to improve off road capability of the trailer. Like you this is all part of a bigger picture. The only piece of that remains to do is replace the stock leaf spring suspension with a Timbren Silent Ride trailer suspension. Total cost will about $800 total, but we already had tires that we had previously taken off the truck and did all the work ourselves. Buying new matched tires would have cost about $500 more. We looked at selling the original tires, axle, suspension and fenders (all nearly new) for about $250, but have opted to build a flatbed trailer to sell just like you suggested. That should net us a lot more.

Flipping the axle can get you good clearance for minimal cost. We did this years ago on a tent trailer with good success. Another option is to replace the leaf spring shackle links with slightly longer ones. I am not sure how these changes plays out on a bigger tandem axle trailer though. With more clearance under the fenders going to slightly larger (taller) tires at that point becomes an option. You may be able to also find wheels that move the bolting face closer to the trailer moving the tire outwards allowing for wider tires than your stock wheels.

Insulating the floor is something we need here in the southwest due to the insane heat for six months of the year, but are confident it would help retain heat during cold nights too. We are literally working on this right now and should have a post and pictures up in the coming days.
 

Forum statistics

Threads
177,441
Messages
2,771,500
Members
211,993
Latest member
Cayouche
Top