"Warning" Beware of used or old trailers

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"Warning" Beware of used or old trailers

Postby Staryder61 » Mon Nov 20, 2017 6:41 pm

If you have used an old or used trailer and it's worked for you. :thumbsup: Then you can probably skip the rest of this post.... and Thank You for reading..

If you're new to the tnttt scene like I am.

I've wanted a tear drop for a long time. Finally decided it was time to build one. :) Started working on the design and how I wanted to build it. Part of the fun right? :D

Then came the trailer. :shock: A trailer. Not just any trailer. A FREE boat trailer. To have a free trailer is to save money right? :thumbdown: Think again?? :roll:

How can free be bad? Well for starters. It got my hopes up.. saving money.. who doesn't want to save a little...? Know the old saying "It it sounds to good to be true or a good thing.... etc....".

Since first receiving the old trailer. I started with grinding all the extra parts and metal off the trailer. Which took some time..

Then did the math so I'd know where the axle needs to be relocated to. Springs were weak on one side. So bought new hangers and springs. Stepped them up to a 4 leaf set. Knowing the approx. weight of my build.

With rims and tires off, inspected them good. A badly dented rim on the inside. OK, can deal with that.. :thinking: Ditch the 13", replace with 14" rims and tires. Bearings were next. Replaced them also.

Looked everywhere on the axle to find a name or weight limit. No luck... :NC :NC so measured the axle and found out it was only rated for approx. 950 lbs.
Now have a new axle. :worship:

Next figured a little extra angle iron here and there for mounting the tear drop to the trailer. Started taking measurements to square everything up. UT OH :frightened: Nothing on the trailer was square or aligned properly.. further checking the 3" square tongue tube was twisted. So this trailer had been jack knifed probably more than once..

Just returned earlier today from a trailer builder here in town. This is where I bought the springs, hangers, axle, receiver and will get the new rims and tires..

He is going to make me the frame I needed in the first place. And add everything I had already bought from him for a very decent price.. Think he felt sorry for me. :FNP

Anyway,, Please just keep in mind.. FREE is not always FREE...
David

"A Great Mind is like a Parachute, it works best when it is open.."

"Our build Journal.." http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=69528

staryder61@gmail.com
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Re: "Warning" Beware of used or old trailers

Postby steve cowan » Mon Nov 20, 2017 8:13 pm

It is good you are getting off on the right foot now instead of finding this out half way through and then having to make changes.Good luck on your build.
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Re: "Warning" Beware of used or old trailers

Postby working on it » Mon Nov 20, 2017 9:13 pm

  • I bought my junk trailer at a swap meet for $50, after I had already bought a junk mini-bike from the same guy for another $50. I wanted the bike, but only took the trailer as an impulse buy. I rebuilt the bike, and later sold it for a good profit (for barely used racing equipment and parts...you can never have too much), and built another that I still have, but am too old to use anymore. But, the derelict trailer was never used, for about twenty years, after I made a few repairs to it, and tried to give it to a relative to haul his ATV, but he used another. So it sat, in a swampy part of my property, rusting away, for two decades.
  • I decided to resurrect it, transform it, and use it myself, after reading about small trailers on Expedition Portal, and later here, at TnTTT. I had known about teardrops since the 50's, and liked the layout and campability, but wanted to do it a little differently, and tailored to my (lack of) building skills, and the intended use of it later on (semi-offroad, off-grid camping). I ha little or no budget, and pieced it together a little at a time; I often used re-purposed items (gate hardware and pipe clamps), salvaged parts (ST tires, with many patches, from my friend's junk pile), and borrowed parts (the spare from my wife's business travel trailer, and jack from my car-hauler), and traded my labor on other projects for my friend's welding skills, as I added steel extensions and a whole new tongue to the tiny, crappy, original frame.
  • I knew that the original axle and springs (on a trailer that initially had 8" wheels) would be incapable of off-road travel, or even carrying heavy loads for long, but I used it as-is for over a year, until I had a spring hanger tear free, and added a heavy-duty axle suspension set-up, that I knew I would need for the end usage goal of rugged travel. I had long before upgraded bearings, hubs, and added 14" wheels, to make it a little safer, but the original was only kept until I could justify the expense to my wife (after promising I could build it for $500, she had gotten wise to over $2k of parts passing thru my garage door...she never saw much of it!). I spent what I needed to, and when I needed to spend it; that's reason enough for me.
  • After I built it (but never finished it, because a good project keeps on getting modified!), I often thought of how much better a custom frame, with the ideal suspension and axle would've been to have, making the build quicker, easier, and resulting in a safer end product, but then I wouldn't have learned some skills I developed along the way, or fully utilized some I already had, if the trailer base I started with had been suitable from the beginning. In my case, the building experience, and the problem solving I did to make it all work, actually were as enjoyable to me as all the camping I've done since. The best part in the journey, is the journey itself, rather than the destination.
  • My user name (a variant of which, I've used on many forums for 20+ years) reflects what I used to be, a guy always "working on it", on one project or another, for most of my adult years. Not so much now, but that's where I got my most pleasure from. If constantly working on, or fiddling with, a trailer and its' thousands of parts is not your thing, then a custom or ready-made frame is the best way to go. I'm sorta glad I chose a road less traveled, but enjoyable nonetheless.
  • junk trailer, with twin bed frame for size comparison.jpg
    junk trailer, with twin bed frame for size comparison.jpg (169.77 KiB) Viewed 671 times
    very few trailers have started with more dismal features
2013 HHRv "squareback/squaredrop", semi-offroad, 4x8 TTT, 2065 lbs
  • *3500 lb Dexter EZ-Lube axle, w/brakes, 3000 lb. springs, & active-progressive bumpstops
  • *27x8.5-14LT all-terrain tires (x 3) *modified Weight Distribution system for single-beam tongue
  • *LED lighting, triple fans, Pioneer stereo *A/C & 110vac heat, Optima AGM, inverter & charger(s)
  • *extended-run, on-board, 2500w generator *Coleman dual-fuel stove & lantern, Ikea grill
  • *zinc/stainless steel front racks *96"L x 6"Dia. rooftop fishing rod/reel carrier
156212148599156215
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Re: "Warning" Beware of used or old trailers

Postby NorthEGPhoto » Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:58 pm

Yeah, I have an old pop-up frame i'm working with. I measured it and found that.. it is slightly not square. I built a wooden frame on top of it to square it out and put a platform on that. it tows well as is, we shall see what happens when I stick the rest together.

Also had to re-do bearings, and one wheel, and now probably the other because it is leaking slowly. Tires are old.. like probably 70's old. Hubs need new bolts, or just to be replaced - probably will put brakes on if I actually do that. Thinking I'll make due with what I have and if things get bad I'll replace them with 5 lug hubs with ebrakes. Dealing with 4 lug now.

Not to mention the week I spent grinding off all the rust, converting what was left, and painting over that. all told The frame cost probably $600 in parts and labor. Not sure I could buy a new frame for that, but Cest La vie.

If I do it again, I'll probably either build the frame myself or pay someone else to do it.
"In the morning, the light is golden, in the midday 'tis time to nap, and in the evening the light returns. Into the night the stars shine brightly, now if only the moon would stay out of sight." - Some photographer
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Re: "Warning" Beware of used or old trailers

Postby Esteban » Mon Dec 04, 2017 3:55 pm

I agree! Costs can quickly mount up for unanticipated/nice/needed trailer upgrades that may still be less than optimal.

A custom built trailer may be a better way to go.

I had a local welding shop build a custom trailer frame. I took them plans for a 61' wide by 117" long trailer with an A-frame tongue on a Friday. We quickly agreed on a few details and the price. So, I gave them a go ahead. The next Tuesday they called me to pick it up!

They bought steel for less than I could. I saved the (considerable) cost of trailer fabrication tools. Plus a lot of time and effort. The price was very fair for their labor and materials for a well built custom trailer.

Previously I bought wheels and tires, plus a Dexter #9 torsion axle with brakes which the welder installed.

If I ever do this again, I'd probably buy an adjustable Flexiride axle instead. Or maybe I'd upgrade, even more, to a Timbren axle-less axle kit to be off road ready. I'd also prefer to have a 2" Bulldog trailer coupler.
Steve - SLO, CA
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Re: "Warning" Beware of used or old trailers

Postby Staryder61 » Tue Dec 05, 2017 2:11 am

Just picked up the new trailer I had a small trailer company here in town build. It's everything it should be. :)
Took them a little more time to build it. Delay was on my part, waiting on the funds. Though, well worth the wait.

Definitely the way to go Esteban. Yes, having them built costs more. But no stress of worrying about a trailer that night fail out on the highway. :thumbsup:
Done, finished, ready to wire. And comes with a title that will make it much easier here in Texas to get it registered and on the road legally.

Frame is 5' wide and receiver to back is 16'-6". I went with 14" wheels with 6 ply tires and my deck height is at 18" I did go with the 2" bulldog receiver.

So now comes to fun part, all the wood... :FNP
David

"A Great Mind is like a Parachute, it works best when it is open.."

"Our build Journal.." http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=69528

staryder61@gmail.com
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