Pictures - Starting my 5x8 Cargo Camper Conversion

#1
Hello all, this is my first post to the forum. I live in Southern California. I have been lurking around soaking up information for a few months since I made the decision to build a trailer I could tow behind my Wrangler JKU. I was originally planning to build a teardrop style camper from scratch, but found that registration would be easier if I just bought a trailer that was already registered. I decided to go with an enclosed cargo trailer. It seemed like the right choice for me since it saves me the work of building the exterior frame and siding and still allows me the freedom of customization.

I wanted to share the pictures of what little work I have accomplished so far. I swapped the drop axle for Timbren axleless suspension and put on 35" Toyo OC tires I got from craigslist. The bottom of the trailer frame sits at 23" off the ground and the lowest point is around 19". I used the cross member between the suspension and I also beefed up the frame with an additional 0.25 3"x2" cross member in the frame above the suspension. I am going to do some more beefing up as well.

The next step for me is to weld in a new step/fender and replace the coupler with a receiver hitch for my max coupler. I plan to lengthen the tongue, too. I will share updates over the next couple months as continue work. I work on it for a half day here and there.

I am using the attachment manager for the first time to insert these so bear with me if nothing shows up.

Here's the day I brought my trailer home. The tow ball is dropped 6 inches
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Here's the factory axle
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Here's the timbren suspension getting into place. The hardware seen here was replaced with grade 8 per Timbren's specifications.
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New hardware and new tubing in here. We had to cut out a cross member to bolt on the suspension so I replaced it with something way beefier, 0.25 3"x2" tubing. That's in addition to the 0.25 3"x2" tubing that runs between the suspension
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Brakes and wheels installed. The brakes are dacromet, partially because I wanted them to be corrosion resistant and partially because that's what they had in stock and I didn't feel like waiting for non dacromet brakes to come in.
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Here is the trailer on the ground now.
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This is my first time building a trailer so I am very open to advice and ideas. Thanks for reading my post!
 
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calicamper

Expedition Leader
#3
Fun project. Whats your head count vs accommodations plan?

Ive been thinking something like this with a tip up roof like a VMI for kids bunks up above, and a slide out kitchen for out door kitchen under a batwing style awning would be an interesting combo. I really like my 4x6 but Ive always thought a 5x8 or 9 enclosed is right aboutthe sweet spot on size.
 
#4
4 heads but two of them are furry and have tails. It's just my girlfriend and I with our two dogs, who are relatively small.
 
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#5
Yesterday I began building the new fenders. I definitely underestimated the amount of time it would take to make the fenders. Also realized I need to paint the backside before I attach them or else I will have bare metal I can't reach to paint. IMG_4330.jpg
 
#6
Fun project. Whats your head count vs accommodations plan?

Ive been thinking something like this with a tip up roof like a VMI for kids bunks up above, and a slide out kitchen for out door kitchen under a batwing style awning would be an interesting combo. I really like my 4x6 but Ive always thought a 5x8 or 9 enclosed is right aboutthe sweet spot on size.
I'm in the same boat as you, calicamper. We have three kids and I have to figure out the best way to fit them in somehow. I think a 6x10 would be a good base for us. I'm currently stuck on the idea of cutting the roof off and fabbing up a lift system similar to a pop top camper, with lofted bunks up high to save floor and living space down below. I'd like to be able to fit a small sink/stove/cabinet inside, maybe storage for a toilet. I guess I need to start modeling some ideas up in Sketchup to see what will work best.
 
#7
Yeah I think 1 kid would be the comfortable limit for a 5x8. I have seen a design with a bunk running across the trailer over top the main bed that looked pretty cool.
 
#9
I love my 5x8. I'll be interested to see how you build out yours!
I just checked your post history for pics and realized I have seen yours when I was googling for ideas. Got any interior pics? Edit: Nevermind I found more of your pictures. Here's a 3d model of my preliminary plan. The back will be a galley
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#10
Just wanted to update the thread with some new pictures. I have welded the new tongue and it's ready for the tongue storage box I will be building out of angle iron and expanded steel. I also added two receivers in the rear, jacks slide into them and they can be used to level the trailer for sleeping.


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calicamper

Expedition Leader
#11
I'm in the same boat as you, calicamper. We have three kids and I have to figure out the best way to fit them in somehow. I think a 6x10 would be a good base for us. I'm currently stuck on the idea of cutting the roof off and fabbing up a lift system similar to a pop top camper, with lofted bunks up high to save floor and living space down below. I'd like to be able to fit a small sink/stove/cabinet inside, maybe storage for a toilet. I guess I need to start modeling some ideas up in Sketchup to see what will work best.
After seeing the tip up VMI idea two kids up on top is easy. 3 though yes the longer roof line of a 10 footer would open up options.

The pull out drawer / slide kitchen at the front end where you have top loader fridge, camp stove, sink, ideally accessable from inside when kitchen is pushed back in then opens up the backend of the trailer for packing small toys etc. flip down parents bunk etc.
 
#12
I've have an Interstate 4x6 trailer and have been impressed with the build quality and construction. I initially wanted to lengthen the tongue and do a SOA conversion, but it pulls so well I'm afraid to mess it up. A longer tongue would be nice for backing, but it's pretty nice as is. We have a smittybilt RTT on top, works well. I wish we had a side door so I could make a rear galley. Looking forward to your progress.
 
#13
Getting the new fenders put together... used 1 inch square tubing and 14 gauge diamond plate. I am going to spray paint them a textured matte black. Can't wait to get them finished and installed.

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#14
Yesterday I began building the new fenders. I definitely underestimated the amount of time it would take to make the fenders. Also realized I need to paint the backside before I attach them or else I will have bare metal I can't reach to paint. View attachment 425344
When I did the fenders for my trailer, it took me about 12 hours between cutting the steel, fitting and tack welding, then fully welding, grinding, then welding the sheet metal on and then bed lining.
I thought it was going to be 4 hours tops. Next time I'll just buy fenders.

Trailers looking good! I'll be watching..
 
#15
Fenders are painted! I will grind of the paint on the ends where I will be welding them to the frame. I am super happy with how they've come out. Here's hoping the fit properly on the trailer over the tire.

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