Do Over Question

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Do Over Question

Postby retiredblue » Thu Oct 19, 2017 6:05 pm

If you had a chance to "DO OVER" would you start with a pre-fab(like a Harbor Freight type frame) trailer or build one from scratch? Fomey or plywood? Interior skin or carpet? Rear hatch or not? Trad teardrop- grasshopper - I am getting parts together and just looking around for ideas :thinking: - My idea is for an Off-road type for the Deserts and mountain trails here in So Cal - some trails are pretty rough :roll: - Thanks in advance
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Re: Do Over Question

Postby kramergwt » Thu Oct 19, 2017 9:02 pm

I would definitely build a TIG welded aluminum trailer for the project. I bought the Northern Tool trailer I’m using because I didn’t trust my welding when I started.


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Re: Do Over Question

Postby GuitarPhotog » Thu Oct 19, 2017 9:18 pm

Well, I didn't build my trailer, it was built in 1948 based on the Tear for Two plans from Popular Mechanix. But in almost 7 years of teardropping with it, and talking to other teardroppers, and reading here, I've come to a few conclusions:

1. I'd have a custom chassis made to order, welded steel.
2. I'd build a stick-built frame, thick enough for 2" rigid foam insulation.
3. I'd skin the outside with aluminum over luan or similar "bending ply."
4. I'd panel the inside with similar luan and upholster the interior with hull liner (as my current trailer is).
5. I'd use gas struts to lift the galley hatch as high as my current one (6' 6" at the peak, 6' 2" at the low point).
6. I'd hard plumb propane from a tank on the tongue to the stove and a quick disconnect at the rear for the fire ring.
7. I would not waste galley space on a sink or water tank. I would build in a top-loading compressor refrigerator ~40 qt.
8. I'd use, as does the current trailer, an AGM deep-cycle battery, a Progressive Dynamics PD4045 converter, a solar charge controller, and about 200W of solar panel.
9. I'd do an "old-style" profile similar to my existing '48 because I like the roomy interior.
10. I'd build a 5X10 with two doors and windows.

I think that's about all on my wish list. I probably won't build a trailer, my wood working skills aren't up to it yet, but if I had it to do, that's pretty much what I'd do.

My $0.02 worth
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Re: Do Over Question

Postby gudmund » Fri Oct 20, 2017 8:44 am

what charly? no plumbing and cooling system with a tap........................ ;)
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Re: Do Over Question

Postby GuitarPhotog » Fri Oct 20, 2017 9:53 am

gudmund wrote:what charly? no plumbing and cooling system with a tap........................ ;)


Nope, no beer on tap in my trailer. Now or in the future.

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Re: Do Over Question

Postby tony.latham » Fri Oct 20, 2017 10:02 am

retiredblue wrote:If you had a chance to "DO OVER" would you start with a pre-fab(like a Harbor Freight type frame) trailer or build one from scratch? Fomey or plywood? Interior skin or carpet? Rear hatch or not? Trad teardrop- grasshopper - I am getting parts together and just looking around for ideas :thinking: - My idea is for an Off-road type for the Deserts and mountain trails here in So Cal - some trails are pretty rough :roll: - Thanks in advance


1. Custom trailer chassis. Why build a house on a budget foundation? Especially something that's headed for the boondocks?
2. I'd (again) do Steve Fredrick's inside-out method using sandwiched walls and his sealed galley lip. Can't imagine not having a gally back there. (Smell that coffee?)

Here's a quick view of Steve's methods with my wife helping on teardrop #3.



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Re: Do Over Question

Postby KennethW » Fri Oct 20, 2017 10:50 am

retiredblue wrote:If you had a chance to "DO OVER" would you start with a pre-fab(like a Harbor Freight type frame) trailer or build one from scratch? Fomey or plywood? Interior skin or carpet? Rear hatch or not? Trad teardrop- grasshopper - I am getting parts together and just looking around for ideas :thinking: - My idea is for an Off-road type for the Deserts and mountain trails here in So Cal - some trails are pretty rough :roll: - Thanks in advance


I would still go with a HF trailer with a foamy body. Yes to a galley. Yes to surface wiring. Yes to Anderson Powerpole connectors. Yes to teardrop shape, Yes to Wiley tilt in windows with removable screens I would keep the drop floor I put in the galley but change the Galley hatch to a rollup vinyl(pickup box cover?). I would use 2 or 3 58" x 23 solar panels for the roof(angled to keep the teardrop profile).
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Re: Do Over Question

Postby booyah » Fri Oct 20, 2017 1:13 pm

Honestly I love how ours turned out so well,the only changes I would really do are
1. Maybe a more streamlined profile. A benroy is cute, but not really sleek.
2. 2ft longer so I can have that little bit more room
3. Given the extra 2 feet, headboard cupboards. at 8ft long with a dedicated kid bunk I lack good interior storage.
4. Given the extra 2 feet, a larger galley. Mine is very small because of the kid bunk, and it does tend to complicate cooking, cooler selection, etc.
My build, 5x8 modified benroy "Smiles to go". Started April 2nd 2015, first trip August 2nd 2015.

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Re: Do Over Question

Postby working on it » Fri Oct 20, 2017 9:20 pm

  • I love my little (but very heavy, at 2020 lbs loaded) 4'x8' squareback trailer. I designed and built it starting over 6 years ago, long before my knees and back became really bad, before frequent restroom needs at night became a real issue, and before loading/unloading the gear needed on a camping trip became another issue, now that I'm a bit more worn-out. I've actually spent more time addressing those issues than I've spent camping, so I might just as well modify it a little more, while stuck at home for awhile (if I can't camp, then plan and build for when I can camp!).
  • I've prepared nighttime facilities for myself, in the form of a porta-potty tent alongside/partially under my canopy, with a Luggable Loo inside. For liquid-only relief, I have a urinal that routes thru the floor into a 5-gallon, sealed container, that can be easily toted home for emptying. The relief for my knees and back was harder to come by, since I designed small doors at the front of my cabin, requiring me to "dive" forward under an overhead shelf...easy to enter and exit previously, now only with some help I've added. I put an overhead crossbar, with handles and a hanging "noose" in the center, so I can lift myself up from the bed, and use the handles to swing forward thru the door(s) when exiting. And, since dressing inside has become a chore, I have a second side-tent, that attaches directly to my canopy covering the second door, so when I need to change/clean-up, I can use it if I need the extra room. Actually, I probably won't use both side-tents at any one camp, unless I'll be there for an extended stay...they get to be a hassle to pack up (as are my two canopies, since I camp solo).
  • Speaking of a hassle packing-up, I've added more storage in the form of a front rack over my sloping front roofline/tonguebox area, to carry both canopies and a chair-in-a-bag, weighing about 100 lbs total. That way, they're always ready to go, without trouble, between outings. I can also strap my portable pantry to the rack, on top of the tonguebox, if perchance my truck bed is full, but probably won't.
  • But since this thread is about a do-over, not livability modifications to an existing trailer, I've already recently posted my plans for a longer/wider version of my 4' x 8' trailer, made by cutting it apart, adding structural members to frame and body both, or transplanting the enlarged body to a pre-constructed, bigger, trailer frame (6' x 12' most likely). My plans are shown here: http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=53&t=69012&p=1216661#p1211474. Here's one drawing, with 3 versions, from that post:
  • Bruder-inspired variations of the HHR-v.png
    Bruder-inspired variations of the HHR-v.png (696.45 KiB) Viewed 395 times
    I can dream, can't I ?
  • Right now, all my attention has been focused on demolishing our failing double-wide manufactured home (44 years is too old, when built to lousy 1970's standards), reconstructing our pad/patio/retaining wall (we're on a sandhill that tends to flow downhill), and moving in a new, better-built double-wide to replace it. We're also re-doing our septic system for better flow, and all new water lines underground (our old lines ran thru a neighbor's property, and were often damaged by his projects there). And, we're finally upgrading our electric service from 100 amp to 200 amp. Packing up the saved contents from the old house took up two storage containers, three sheds, and my 1/2 empty 3-car garage (all stand-alone structures), and we left a few items in the house to be disposed of along with it. But, my wife had me save our 6-month-old back door, which she said she might use on one more shed to be built. But, I envisioned using it on yet another modification to my existing trailer, as a larger side door for an easier entry/exit. I made a quick drawing of it added, after being cut-down to 46.5" tall (my trailer's inside height). Once again, about three feet will be added to the center portion, after the trailer is bisected, but using only a single axle, I would move mattress forward and porta-potty and heavy items rearward, to offset the gain of mass in the center.
  • HHRv MAXIMUS, vers.4 with reclaimed door.png
    HHRv MAXIMUS, vers.4 with reclaimed door.png (365.89 KiB) Viewed 395 times
    proportions are inexact; but I'm a dreamer, not a designer
Last edited by working on it on Sat Oct 21, 2017 10:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
  • 2013 HHRv,"squareback/simple" TTT, semi-offroad? 4x8, 2000+ lbs travel weight
  • featuring: 3500 lb Dexter axle w/brakes & HD leaf spring system > riding on General Grabber 27x8.5-14LT tires, LED lighting inside, A/C & heat, AGM battery 12vdc, 110vac from extended run generator onboard or park power, Coleman dual-fuel stove & Northstar lantern
  • 147697148333
  • 148599125895148106
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Re: Do Over Question

Postby GPW » Sat Oct 21, 2017 6:32 am

On the second one … we’d build the same Foamie (FS) , but build in "drip edges" to protect the bottom of the trailer . And we’d build it on one of those LOW utility trailers … Easier to get into ...
There’s no place like Foam !
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Re: Do Over Question

Postby JohnnyG » Sun Oct 22, 2017 9:27 am

I would have a chassis welded up rather than store bought.
Would not use piano hinges for the doors- not waterproof. I would use two, high quality stainless steel hinges for each door. Keep all the corners on doors rounded. (looks better)
Would go wider that 4 feet.
Resist overbuilding-try to make it lighter weight.
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Re: Do Over Question

Postby kokomoto » Fri Nov 03, 2017 8:11 pm

Custom trailer. I'll buy a 115v MIG next time and weld my own rather than pay to have it done. I would use 2x2x11ga steel tubing. Add a quality axle with trailer brakes, and you have a solid, safe platform to build on. The trailer brakes are a must when towing with smaller TVs (like my Cherokee XJ) Stopping a 1250lb trailer with a 3,000 vehIcle in an emergency situation is inviting disaster. Add a downslope, and the stopping distance increases exponentially.

I'd still follow Steve Fredrick's build method for the build for the inside out technique and the hatch. The next build would be sandwiched wall with a 3/4" skeleton plywood frame. Stick building the frame took too much of my time for little or no benefit, and probably cost more in the bargain.

I would definitely buy doors prebuilt rather than spend several weeks building my own from scratch.
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