My "New" Willy's II Trailer Build


I haven’t done much this week so far. I came in on Monday and drilled the holes for the air line valves in the tongue. I was waiting for more air line to arrive. It came a few days ago. So, today I ran the lines, and installed the valves.

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I added extra protection for the tubing that was exposed, using spiral wire loom.

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I also worked on the tongue jack wheel and tube. I had to order a new tire, and tube, they should be here by Monday. I also weighed the tongue, to see how much tongue weight I have so far, and it came in at 100lbs, +/- an ounce or two. I was surprised that it came in so heavy. I thought it was only 40, or 50 lbs.’ or so. I still have the front basket to fabricate and install, and of course the box itself, so, it is way too early to tell yet.

The other thing I have been doing, is working on the tent lift platform. I think I have it figured out. It will be similar to what I did on the first trailer, but this time, it will lift out over the right side of the trailer. The height I need is yet to be determined. I don’t have the height of the box yet. Soon!

That’s all for now.

Happy Trails!


Yesterday, I picked up the new tire and tube for the tongue jack, and came out to the shop to mount it.

It went together very nicely. I also pulled the scale out to weigh the tongue to see how much tongue weight I’m dealing with so far.

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Let me know if my method is correct. I tried it with the tongue jack resting on the scale, and the complete hitch on the trailer. Then my friend told me to take off the part of the hitch that goes into the receiver of the tow vehicle, and set the end of the tongue on the scale. Doing it the last way, was half the weight of the first method. The second try was 50 lbs., as opposed to a 100 lbs. using the first method.

So, today I cut and tack welded the start of the tent support frame. I’m using 1 ½” x .125 square tubing for the tent frame, and the tent lifting platform.

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I decided the box height will be 33”. So, I gave a 2 in space underneath the tent frame and the top of the box. That makes the top of the tent base frame at 36 ½” from the top of the chassis up. From the ground at normal ride height, it is 65”. The lifting platform for the tent will sit on top of that. So, the trailer, from the ground up, at normal ride height, will be about 81.5” tall, to the top of the tent, which is 15” from the bottom of the tent, to the highest point. When I deflate the air bags to the bump stops, that drops it down to about 77”, so I can get it in the garage. The tent lift platform will raise the tent 12 to 13”, to give me about 77” to the bottom of the tent platform. So, at 4’ 28” tall, I can stand under the tent, when it’s deployed.

So, that is where I’m at so far. It looks like I am gonna half to pick up some more tubing, because I am coming up short. More later.

Happy Trails!


I went down to the steel supply store on Monday, and picked up another 40 feet of tubing, with the help of my friend. However, as it turns out, I needed a bit more. Frustrating! But, I was able to get the material for the tent platform cut out. I just need one more 6-foot piece to support the hinges on the left side of the tent.


I’m still working on the lifting system for the tent platform. And I think I have it figured out. With the help of my friend. I'm in the process of drawing it out.

Now that the prices for plywood and such are coming down, I can start putting my materials together for the box. I’m going to go ahead and get the cheaper plywood (indoor sanded ply) and fiberglass the outside of the box. That way it will be water resistant. The marine ply in ½” is still 80, 85 bucks a sheet. And I can get the interior sanded for about 40 bucks. Even if I spend 250 bucks on glass and resin, I’m still saving 3 or 400 bucks. I figure it will be a bit stronger too.

Happy Trails!


Tack welded the tent lift frame today.
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With that part done, I can get more serious about how I plan to lift the tent. I want to come up with a lever and linkage set up to lift the tent with out the aid of gas struts, or electric jack screws.

After that, I thought more about how I wanted to do the lifting arms for the platform. And after careful consideration, I think I’m going to make ends with tabs, that will weld to the end of the tubes.
This is what I have come up with for the ends.


this should be more than strong enough to support the tent, and me. Now to cut some tubing, and see how it looks.


After doing the tube ends, I decided to go with it. But after doing that, I realized that I was going to have to make up a jig, so the arms come out the same.

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My first arm looked ok, but upon closer inspection, I found that it was not aligned right from one end to another. Somewhere, I messed up setting up the jig.

I got three done (the one I still have to cut the ends off, and realign it), and I ran out of the DOM tubing I was using for the bushing. I thought that I would be able to stretch it, but no joy.


After looking at how the arms came out, I don’t think I am going to be happy with them. I may scrap the ends, and do something else with them. I bought the welding tabs from our local metal supply, however, they were not very uniform, but I thought I could make them work. Oh well, that’s for another day. It’s 90 degrees in the shop, and 110 outside. Time to go home and cower in the airconditioned house.

Happy Trails


Well, I scrapped the arms for the tent lift. I just didn’t like the way they came out. So… I started over. I’m going with what I know works, but with a slight mod.

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I had to go get more steel today, and I asked why the weld tabs I bought were so irregular, and I was told it was because the ones I bought, were for fencing and non-critical projects. The ones I need, were in a different place, and of course, they are 2 or 3 times the price, but they are precision cut and drilled. So, the new design of the arms will cut in half, the number of tabs I need.

That’s all I got to today.


I missed a picture.


This angle gives a better view of the ends. I will weld them all up, and smooth out all the rough edges, and make them look pretty, after they are test mounted for function.


So, I changed my mind about welding up the arms. I decided that if they were straight and true (and they are) then there is no reason not to finish them. So, I did just that.


I have to say though, they are not as pretty as I would have liked, but once I get some paint on them, no one will see the imperfections anyway. As for the welding tabs, I found a company in Florida, that will cut tabs any shape or size you want. And, they are laser cut. I need 16, but I’m going to buy 20 for good measure. Might need tabs for another project anyway. They will end up costing about $2.50 a piece or so, only not that bad for laser cut. At least they will be the same tolerances.


So, I finally got the tabs on Saturday, and they were not what I ordered. I won’t bore you all with the details, but I ended up taking the “blank” over 2” tabs to a machine shop, to have them cut the tabs to the right size, and drill the holes. By the way, it was not the vender’s fault, it was mine. And we’ll leave it at that.

So, after a week of being busy working off the “honey do” list, I am back at the shop. I was able to get the lift platform arms tack welded in place, and it looks like it will work out just like I planned.

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I am going to weld stops in place on the arms so they stop where I want them too. They are pretty close right now, but I want that extra 1/2". I am still working on the mechanism that will do the lifting. I did take a piece of tubing, about 4 ft. long, and using the frame side as a fulcrum, lifted the platform to see how much effort it would take, and, I think with the right leverage, it will lift the tent and frame with little effort. And as I get older, and start having difficulties raising the tent, I will just move the fulcrum, and make the lever longer. Or, I could make sure that I am wheeling with my son, so he can do it. LOL!!!
That’s all I have for today. The temp creeped up a bit,


Green is outside, and the blue is inside.

I hope everyone following, are staying safe, and healthy!!!

Happy Trails!


Got back to the shop for a while on Saturday. I had to get the parts and materials I needed for the tent lift mechanism. I spent most of the time pondering, but, did manage to get a few things done.

Today, I went in with the goal of completing a working mechanism to raise the tent platform.

I mocked up the connecting shaft bushings and the shaft itself. For the ends of the shaft, I’m using threaded couplers in ½” ID, so I can use a piece of ½” threaded rod to thread in the couple a bit, that will slide in the ¾” OD, DOM tubing, which is ½” ID. They are welded on both ends. And I used a 1” piece of DOM, that is ¾” ID for the bushings (I had to grind a little of the top spines on the threaded coupler, on one end of the connecting shaft, so it would slide in and out of the bushing).

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Next, I worked on the lifting point of the tent platform that the mechanism will attach too.
Half way through, I realized that I was going to have to move everything out away from the frame more, because of the box. That messed up what I had planned for locking the platform in the down, and up position. I’ll have to figure something else out for that later.
Next, I worked on the arms that will do the lifting. I’m using 11/16 impact sockets, that connect to the shaft ends. So, I bored a 1” hole in the end of the short arms, and welded the sockets to them. Then drilled the holes in the other arms for bolts.

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The total travel of the platform, is 21”. So, I added 3” to the total. The drive arm is shorter than the connecting arm because of the difference in height of the platform and frame. And after everything is said and done, it actually worked! Just as I hoped it would. Go figure.

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I did a video of it in action. Unfortunately, I couldn’t upload it on the forum. I used a ½” breaker bar for the test, and I was able to lift the platform easily with one arm, but that was without the tent, I’m sure I will have to use serious effort with the tent on it. Can’t wait.


The last thing I did, was radius the ends of the arms to clean them up (I didn’t get a picture of that this trip. Next time.

Happy Trails!
I did a video of it in action. Unfortunately, I couldn’t upload it on the forum. I used a ½” breaker bar for the test, and I was able to lift the platform easily with one arm, but that was without the tent, I’m sure I will have to use serious effort with the tent on it. Can’t wait.

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Have you considered adding a gas strut or two to help lift it? I think my RTT is 150lbs, so doing it by hand, unaided, is going to be tough I think.


Have you considered adding a gas strut or two to help lift it? I think my RTT is 150lbs, so doing it by hand, unaided, is going to be tough I think.
Howdy PF, up until today, I had not truly tested the leverage on the linkage I came up with, other than to lift the basic frame, which lifted easily. With the help of my friend, we shortened the arms a bit, so they would lay out straight, and with a pin, lock in place, to secure the tent in the up position. We then placed a piece of plywood on the tent platform, and my friend got up there to add some real weight (220lbs). I was able to lift him up, but with a lot of effort, using a 17" breaker bar. By adding an additional 7" of throw (24"), I was able to lift him up much easier. Almost one armed. The tent weights in at 150lbs as you said, so there was an extra 70 pounds, that won't be there. So, at least for now, I think I can manage it. However, I have had a pair of struts as a plan B in mind as a back up, just in case. One way or another, I was gonna make sure I could get the tent up.


Back at it today. I made some changes to the tent lift mechanism, with the help of a friend. The lift mechanism worked well, but it was to long, and the arms would not line up. By having the arms line up, it would allow me to add another hole for a second pin, that would lock the arms in the straight position, securing the tent in the up position.

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In the second picture, I snapped the picture before Rick finished the complete cycle of the lift. The arms are straight. We also did a load test, with my friend sitting in for the tent. we put a sheet of plywood up for a seat, and I lifted the platform (including Rick) up into place. I was able to do it with a 17" breaker bar, but I have to admit, I had to really bear down, in order to accomplish it. So, we added 7" to the length, for a total of 24", and the second try was much easier. I could almost do it with one arm (almost, but not quite). Tomorrow, I will finish all that up.
The other thing I worked on today was the front basket. I got the bottom frame tack welded in place, and I will work on the top rail, and the vertical tubes tomorrow.


My friend has some big sheets of .80 steel sheet, that I will cut the front and sides from, using the plasma cutter (that should be fun). Then for the bottom, I am using a steel mesh, so water will drain out. Once the front basket is done, the last thing I need to do is mount the tent. By the end of the week, I should have all the steel done. That means that I am going to have to bite the bullet, and purchase the material for the box. To date, I am in to the trailer for about $3,000.00. The material for the box, will probably be in the neighborhood of $1,500.00. I’m hoping to sell my other trailer to offset the cost. It would be with out the tent, however, If someone wanted the tent also, I would let it go for another $1,000.00, and purchase a new one. When I’m ready to list it, I will list the trailer, and price on the proper site in the forum, including pictures and details.

See you tomorrow.

Happy Trails!

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