looking for some pointers...

Anything to do with mechanical, construction etc

looking for some pointers...

Postby SkyNerd » Sun Aug 27, 2017 10:53 pm

Hey all, this is only my second post but I have been lurking a bit and have reached a point in my "design phase" where I think I need help getting some questions answered. Hopefully my picture attached and what I'm about to say makes some sense. It's a pretty rough sketch and not to scale (meaning i didn't use a ruler).
21B8A2A5-9B60-4935-B2F9-02AB66BC1BF7.png
21B8A2A5-9B60-4935-B2F9-02AB66BC1BF7.png (115.98 KiB) Viewed 1297 times

I have a family of five, so a teardrop is a stretch to begin with, but If I can make this work for a few years I'll count it as a win! The advantage I have is that the kids are only 2, 4, and 6, and they don't take up much space. If I followed through with the top bunk, that plus the full size mattress and probably at least 2 more feet for the kitchen. brings me to a 12' trailer, yikes. I figured I could extend out 2' over a 10' trailer but I worry about getting close to the truck (see questions below).

my requirements for this build are: a.) has to fit in my single side garage, my f150 with mirrors hardly fits width wise anyway overall width according to ford is 79.9" (excluding mirrors) I also have 17 feet of space (length wise) that I can use, there is a step and an additional 2.5 feet of space at the back of the garage as long as the tail end of the trailer stays high enough to clear it when backing up. So whether I extend the bunk or go with a bigger trailer, overall length has to fit in the garage.


Questions:

1.) If keeping the trailer no taller than my tow vehicle (F-150) which stands just over 6' (75.6" according to ford) how much should I deduct from my working height to account for the trailer clearance? (I assume there is some range or average that will give me a starting point my guess was 14" trailer height)

2.) I would like to have a battery (or two) for lights, charging phones, maybe running a small heater overnight. Is this what is normally in the forward storage area? (the "?" on my picture).

2b.) How far from the tow vehicle should this forward storage area be? Or in my case if I extend the front out over the storage box will I just end up hitting the back of my truck in turns? I assume there has to be some distance from the tow vehicle per width of trailer calculation that I could use to figure out how close to the truck I can build. I will likely be having a custom trailer made/built. I could also taper in the sides of the bunk to give a greater turning radius.

3.) Noting my picture, I could potentially just make a really long trailer and then use the lower portion (below the bunk) for inside AND outside storage. This is more of an opinion question, but would it be easier to retain the traditional shape and just make a long trailer? I want to conserve MPG's as much as possible as I plan to do another 3000-4000 mile trip next summer. FYI I'm not afraid of a design challenge or leaving the traditional design with the forward bunk area either, however if anybody thought it was a bad idea PLEASE educate me :D

4.) Trying to estimate weight. What are most 10', 2" tube steel trailers weighing in at? I've looked for utility trailers to re-purpose but most weigh in the 1000lb range!!! even if I strip the railing, remove the 2x6 floor and detach the loading gate I assume it would still be 700ish lbs? The difference is I can get one of those cheap, but I would gladly spend the extra $$ having one built if I will save significantly in the weight department.

Thanks in advance for any advice/information. Feel free to use, print edit, repost my picture.

- Jes



PS. I traveled 3200 miles a few months ago tent camping with my family we had a great time. Unfortunately we lost so much time setting up and taking down camp, and we had little room for toys. the teardrop gives us everything we need to "setup" ready to go anytime. and we can spend our time loading and unloading bikes, fishing, gear, etc. and less time dealing with tents, sleeping bags, cots, camp stoves etc... so I don't think I want much more than anybody else, a comfy place to sleep, protection from the elements, maybe a little climate control too. lol
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Re: looking for some pointers...

Postby Wildfire » Mon Aug 28, 2017 11:35 am

You could make the front bunk like a V-berth in a boat. It would taper to a point - that's where the feet go.
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Re: looking for some pointers...

Postby drhill » Thu Aug 31, 2017 1:26 pm

hey Jes, you are not getting much help here.

I'll try and provide a bit of info in response to your questions

1) trailer deck height - mine is 19" from ground to top of the trailer deck. It is a 5'x10' and has 205/75R14 tires. I actually wouldn't want the trailer any lower as the ground clearance is needed on some driveway and service station entrances and on some forest service roads. The longer the trailer, the more clearance you will want.

2) Battery location - I can't help, I don't have a battery in my trailer.

2b) some will say the trailer tongue should be clear for a length of just over half the tow vehicle width, so you can fully jack knife the trailer when backing. I would just learn to back up. Then figure out how much clearance you need going forward with the steering wheel fully rotated to one side. (like in a tight right turn).

3) - I'll get back to that

4) - trailer weight. As mentioned, mine is 5' x 10' with a long 3x3x1/8 HSS tongue so that a bike rack and large tongue box can be supported. The trailer side rails are 3" channel and the front and rear cross pieces are 2x2x1/8" HSS, the other cross pieces, every 2 feet, are 2 x 2 x 3/16" angle iron. That adds up to about 300 lbs of steel, about 170 lbs for the tires, rims, axles and springs. With the spare tire & holder, a plywood deck, coupler, chains, lights etc it comes to 585 lbs. The 3" channel has more than 3 times the strength of 2x2x1/8" HSS and only adds about 22 lbs. For the abuse I dish out on a trailer I wanted that, but you could get away lighter.

So back to question 3) " however if anybody thought it was a bad idea PLEASE educate me :D"
What ever you want to build and gets you out camping is great. BUT, in my opinion, and you did mention, this is a bit of a stretch for a teardop. 5 people is definitely a crowd in a teardrop. You might want to consider a small trailer or a tent trailer, or build a more normal size teardrop and still carry a tent along for one parent and a kid or two. The really big convenience of the teardrop is the ready to cook galley, no packing and unpacking the cooler, stove and dishes for every meal. We have done a couple weekend trips with our 2 adult kids and a girlfriend, so 5 adult sized people. The wife and I get the teardrop, but the tents and foam sleeping pads for the others are all just tossed into the teardrop for travel. I think it is good experience for kids to also learn how to tent camp and work together to set up a tent while your wife cooks and you enjoy a beer and supervise (OK, just dreaming) Nice thing is you can build whatever you like, but my advise would be to keep it simple and not too big so you can have it done in time for next camping season. Too big and complex and the kids might outgrow it before it leaves the driveway. Just my 2cents as they say. Cheers, Don
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Re: looking for some pointers...

Postby dancam » Thu Aug 31, 2017 1:59 pm

SkyNerd wrote:Hey all, this is only my second post but I have been lurking a bit and have reached a point in my "design phase" where I think I need help getting some questions answered. Hopefully my picture attached and what I'm about to say makes some sense. It's a pretty rough sketch and not to scale (meaning i didn't use a ruler).
21B8A2A5-9B60-4935-B2F9-02AB66BC1BF7.png

I have a family of five, so a teardrop is a stretch to begin with, but If I can make this work for a few years I'll count it as a win! The advantage I have is that the kids are only 2, 4, and 6, and they don't take up much space. If I followed through with the top bunk, that plus the full size mattress and probably at least 2 more feet for the kitchen. brings me to a 12' trailer, yikes. I figured I could extend out 2' over a 10' trailer but I worry about getting close to the truck (see questions below).

my requirements for this build are: a.) has to fit in my single side garage, my f150 with mirrors hardly fits width wise anyway overall width according to ford is 79.9" (excluding mirrors) I also have 17 feet of space (length wise) that I can use, there is a step and an additional 2.5 feet of space at the back of the garage as long as the tail end of the trailer stays high enough to clear it when backing up. So whether I extend the bunk or go with a bigger trailer, overall length has to fit in the garage.


Questions:

1.) If keeping the trailer no taller than my tow vehicle (F-150) which stands just over 6' (75.6" according to ford) how much should I deduct from my working height to account for the trailer clearance? (I assume there is some range or average that will give me a starting point my guess was 14" trailer height)

2.) I would like to have a battery (or two) for lights, charging phones, maybe running a small heater overnight. Is this what is normally in the forward storage area? (the "?" on my picture).

2b.) How far from the tow vehicle should this forward storage area be? Or in my case if I extend the front out over the storage box will I just end up hitting the back of my truck in turns? I assume there has to be some distance from the tow vehicle per width of trailer calculation that I could use to figure out how close to the truck I can build. I will likely be having a custom trailer made/built. I could also taper in the sides of the bunk to give a greater turning radius.

3.) Noting my picture, I could potentially just make a really long trailer and then use the lower portion (below the bunk) for inside AND outside storage. This is more of an opinion question, but would it be easier to retain the traditional shape and just make a long trailer? I want to conserve MPG's as much as possible as I plan to do another 3000-4000 mile trip next summer. FYI I'm not afraid of a design challenge or leaving the traditional design with the forward bunk area either, however if anybody thought it was a bad idea PLEASE educate me :D

4.) Trying to estimate weight. What are most 10', 2" tube steel trailers weighing in at? I've looked for utility trailers to re-purpose but most weigh in the 1000lb range!!! even if I strip the railing, remove the 2x6 floor and detach the loading gate I assume it would still be 700ish lbs? The difference is I can get one of those cheap, but I would gladly spend the extra $$ having one built if I will save significantly in the weight department.

Thanks in advance for any advice/information. Feel free to use, print edit, repost my picture.

- Jes



PS. I traveled 3200 miles a few months ago tent camping with my family we had a great time. Unfortunately we lost so much time setting up and taking down camp, and we had little room for toys. the teardrop gives us everything we need to "setup" ready to go anytime. and we can spend our time loading and unloading bikes, fishing, gear, etc. and less time dealing with tents, sleeping bags, cots, camp stoves etc... so I don't think I want much more than anybody else, a comfy place to sleep, protection from the elements, maybe a little climate control too. lol



Hey, i am building a 5x10 for a family of 4, here is my build thread http://tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?t=66816

Why a teardrop design specifically? It just has to be aerodynamic right?

1 put a high back canopy on your truck for storage and more hight in your trailer. I bought a 5x10 trailer and installed a 3500 pound brakes axle over the springs and the deck hight is 15inches iirc with 13in tires.

2 put em wherever you want. Should be isolated from sleeping area because of fumes. Depends what you will use to charge really. You want as short of wire runs as you can.

2b. Look in my build thread at my tongue box. I hooked up the trailer and did as tight of a turn as i could moving ahead. Made the tongue box with one inch clearance on each side for that turn. When backing up i will just get my wife to watch and make sure i dont turn too sharp. My car has a short wheelbase and turns quick, you may want more room for a truck. For aerodynamics you want it as close to the back of the truck as you can.

3 again, see mine, you can make a square back aerodynamic. Curve it down a bit if you want, that would be far better. What i did works in theory.

4 mine was built with angle iron, not tube. Dont buy one like that! After removing the rail there is no strength. I just copied my weight note:

Trailer before i cut it up: 607 pounds
-Trailer after: 270 pounds (182decking, 155metal removed)
-plywood: 43 pounds each=86 pounds
-trailer with bottom built, no door, old axle, no welded angle: 100 tongue, 180/tire= 460 pounds. ( minus trailer is 190 pounds, minus trailer and plywood is 104 pounds.)
-same as above but new axle and welded angle. Extra 2x2 and straps before taking home. 101 tongue, 238 each axle. 577 pounds. (Axle and angle added 110 pounds, frame is now 380 pounds)

- oct 21, 2016 top built on frame, bigger axle. 233,228, 84 pounds. 545 pounds. Minus trailer frame is 165 pounds for the top. 80 pounds of that is the paint. Weighed 6 days after painting, so may not be all evaporated yet.
-Were at 735 pounds total for the trailer so far.



Our purpose with this is to reduce downtime on a 3 month road trip in which we travel nearly every day. Im trying to keep mine aerodynamic for obvious reasons.
Keeping the same width and hight as the tv does wonders for towability, length and weight matter far, far less.
Have you considered making the top pop up or anything?

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Re: looking for some pointers...

Postby dancam » Thu Aug 31, 2017 2:20 pm

Just read your other thread as well. Have a look in the foam section, when reading my build thread all my early pictures are gone thanks to photobucket so go to the end and start heading back to see what it looks like.
Read/skim this one too http://tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?t=69057

I said earlier that aerodynamics matters far more than weight, but to add to that here is an example: see this trailer? Its 900 pounds with what you see in the photo.
Image
Image
See the plywood on the front? Anyway, 30mpg like that. Take off the plywood so its still 900 pounds since the plywood was inside my car and its like 45mpg. Take everything out of the trailer but put the plywood back on (300 pounds or so) and its back to 30mpg.
Its all aerodynamics.
Hills are a little different but wind resistance is still the biggest killer above 50mph.
So, keep the shape the same as the back end of your truck, getting a high back canopy swoops the air up with little loss for the benefit of hight. Built the front of the trailer to catch the air from the back end of your truck and smoothly bring it around the sides of the trailer. Make the back of the trailer aerodynamic and. Curving the sides and top to a rear taper is aero but a ton of work. A pop up helps but is a ton of work. Keeping the tires under the trailer helps, when they are wider than the tow vehicle the fenders catch wind, noticable on my setup anyway.
Extending a trailer either way may require moving the axle to maintain proper weight distribution.
I for sure would build 12ft if i were you.

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Re: looking for some pointers...

Postby PanelDeland » Fri Sep 01, 2017 2:44 pm

Seeing you sketch and post, the first thing I thought was to swap ends with your lower bed and put the feet under (at least 2-3 ft ) the upper bunk. Using a Benroy or similar front profile you could still get the storage. With a 5 ft high profile, it may be a bit tight but you could play with it. That would leave you room at the head of that bed to put a couple of cabinets and inboard wheel wells with a single bunk above them. Doing it this way still leaves some storage under the upper front bunk (1-2 ft). That nets you about 12 ft long by 5 wide and gives you three kids spots up to 5 ft tall kids. If you go 6 wide, those bunks last a lot longer because the kids can use them at 6 ft for most of the (I'll still be seen with my parents) part of their lives. I'm just shooting off the top of my head there and this may not be the kind of suggestion you're looking for. I would also suggest a mattress that folds for the lower bunk and a removable table so you can use the center as a dinette type dry area for games and snacks in bad weather because we all know bored kids are no fun.


BTW at 5 wide, you can use a queen bed. Face it, the little one may or will wind up in bed with you and your spousal unit. That's plenty since none of you will fall off the edge of the bed. :lol: If you use the Benro9y profile, you can put a tongue box big enough for a couple of batteries and still have a little room left over making that 2-3 ft under the bunk a storage spce, either interior or exterior access. Easier seal if it's interior.
"I know the voices in my head aren't real,but they have some really good Ideas!"
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Re: looking for some pointers...

Postby SkyNerd » Wed Feb 14, 2018 2:43 pm

Just reviewing everyone’s posts. Thanks so much for all the helpful info! I’ve doing tons of research and and searching teardrop designs for months now. My idea has changed slightly. Here’s what I’m working with...

I’m going to model after the Camp-inn 560 ultra. And just stretch to 12 ft. I’m considering an alternative to my original bunk beds. If I build to 5-5-6ft wide I could put a booth in the front that converts to a bed and add an additional bunk above. I’m going to use a full-size futon mattress and make a slide out that will convert the master bed to a couch and provide storage for bedding underneath during the day.

No pictures today but this weekend I’m gonna work on a rough scale model from some dollar tree foam board mostly so I can get an idea if I actually have the room for what I’m trying to do.

I like the idea of a swoop up camper shell I just work that it will complicate getting supplies in and out of the back of the truck. Otherwise I’m strongly considering it.

I’m working with a welder (friend of a friend) to get a quote for a trailer. I’m trying to keep it and wide and y’all as the truck but still be able to fit in my single side garage (I’m too cheap to pay for storage and HOA won’t allow it in that driveway).

Very excited to share my mock up. Hopefully I can get it finished this weekend.

Thanks again

- Jes


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Re: looking for some pointers...

Postby SkyNerd » Tue Jan 29, 2019 6:47 pm

WOW almost a year and a half since my last post..... UPDATES BELOW

I have been lurking here and all over pintrest for ideas for nearly 18 months. Finally coming to terms that I probably wont build the perfect trailer on my first try, I’m finally ready to order a trailer and just get to it!

I found a local trailer manuafacturer (to cut out the middle man markup) and got quoted for a 5’x10’ trailer with 3” channel, extended the tongue from 3’ to 3’6” to make room for the jack a propane tank and a decent sized storage box for electronics (battery PV charge controller etc.) and maybe some other utility items, and a couple rear trailer jacks to level things out when camping.

Ive seen SO many awesome galleys and internal storage configurations I have decided to start with the most BASIC trailer I can.

The plan is to put only shelves in, no cabinets and rig up some bunjies or paracord to keep things in place. The galley will be just shelves initially as well and a big storage compartment in the lower area for the Ice chest, etc.. Once I know “how we camp” I figure I will know what our storage needs are and can add in cabinets or little storage areas from there as I discover what works for our needs.

I’m so excited to get things started.

If anyone has any suggestions before I pull the trigger on this order. Please give me a heads up I’d hate to have to take it back for additional welding if I over looked anything.

One thing I’m looking in to is adding some “tabs” to bolt the floor of the trailer to the frame as to prevent drilling holes in the steel. Thoughts?

Also, I figured I would build the lights in to the back of the trailer (mostly for looks), but should I just have them weld on the mounts to the rear of the trailer and keep it simple?

Lastly, considering this is a 3500 lb axle trailer with 3” channel on a 5x10 frame and a (probably 5’ tall) camper built on it, would it be smart to consider trailer brakes? They are far cheaper to add during manufacturing VS. afterwards, and though adds about 20% to the price, its not out of my price range. I have two tow vehicles, an F-150 and a Subaru ascent (rated at 5000lbs towing). The brakes would be more for the Subaru than the truck. But do you think I should do it, or is it over kill on a trailer this size, single axel with an AUW of probably no more than 3000 lbs?

Thanks in advance for any replies!!

- Jes
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Re: looking for some pointers...

Postby Tom&Shelly » Tue Jan 29, 2019 7:35 pm

SkyNerd wrote:WOW almost a year and a half since my last post..... UPDATES BELOW

I have been lurking here and all over pintrest for ideas for nearly 18 months. Finally coming to terms that I probably wont build the perfect trailer on my first try, I’m finally ready to order a trailer and just get to it!

I found a local trailer manuafacturer (to cut out the middle man markup) and got quoted for a 5’x10’ trailer with 3” channel, extended the tongue from 3’ to 3’6” to make room for the jack a propane tank and a decent sized storage box for electronics (battery PV charge controller etc.) and maybe some other utility items, and a couple rear trailer jacks to level things out when camping.

Ive seen SO many awesome galleys and internal storage configurations I have decided to start with the most BASIC trailer I can.

The plan is to put only shelves in, no cabinets and rig up some bunjies or paracord to keep things in place. The galley will be just shelves initially as well and a big storage compartment in the lower area for the Ice chest, etc.. Once I know “how we camp” I figure I will know what our storage needs are and can add in cabinets or little storage areas from there as I discover what works for our needs.

I’m so excited to get things started.

If anyone has any suggestions before I pull the trigger on this order. Please give me a heads up I’d hate to have to take it back for additional welding if I over looked anything.

One thing I’m looking in to is adding some “tabs” to bolt the floor of the trailer to the frame as to prevent drilling holes in the steel. Thoughts?

Also, I figured I would build the lights in to the back of the trailer (mostly for looks), but should I just have them weld on the mounts to the rear of the trailer and keep it simple?

Lastly, considering this is a 3500 lb axle trailer with 3” channel on a 5x10 frame and a (probably 5’ tall) camper built on it, would it be smart to consider trailer brakes? They are far cheaper to add during manufacturing VS. afterwards, and though adds about 20% to the price, its not out of my price range. I have two tow vehicles, an F-150 and a Subaru ascent (rated at 5000lbs towing). The brakes would be more for the Subaru than the truck. But do you think I should do it, or is it over kill on a trailer this size, single axel with an AUW of probably no more than 3000 lbs?

Thanks in advance for any replies!!

- Jes


Very similar dimensions to the trailer we had built. Haven't finished the tear drop yet, so anything I say should be considered in that context.

153904 153907 153908

With the anticipated weight of our teardrop (1600 lbs) we went with brakes. Lots of folks here will say it's a good idea regardless of weight. I have no reason to disagree.

We also chose to build the lights into our tear. Haven't dealt with that yet, but not regretting it so far.

We did make a design change that had us going back in to get some metal welded. Namely after seeing how much room a battery would take up, we decided to put it behind the axle, below the floor:

156453 156648 156649 156452

Since we went this route, may as well make enough room for two. We could also use the extra aluminum box for other storage. I made the boxes out of scrap aluminum and bought some steel angle from the hardware store to mount them on. We were going to ask a friend to weld it for us, but he was in the middle of a move, and the place that made the trailer offered a good price. Since we didn't have lights, we put temporary ones on to take it back.

We plan to install a 70 lb Climate Right air conditioner in the front, which is why we moved the spare tire to the back. Our weight and balance spread sheet claims that's okay, and it give us room in front for some cargo doors to ventilate the AC.

Hope that helps. Have fun with your build!

Tom
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Re: looking for some pointers...

Postby redbicycle » Tue Jan 29, 2019 8:30 pm

Yes get the trailer brakes. Also you should install a hitch receiver in the rear of the trailer for a cargo rack or bike rack


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Re: looking for some pointers...

Postby tony.latham » Tue Jan 29, 2019 8:40 pm

Very similar dimensions to the trailer we had built.


I found a local trailer manuafacturer (to cut out the middle man markup) and got quoted for a 5’x10’ trailer with 3” channel...


How much, out of curiosity???

:thinking:

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Re: looking for some pointers...

Postby Tom&Shelly » Tue Jan 29, 2019 10:46 pm

tony.latham wrote:
Very similar dimensions to the trailer we had built.


I found a local trailer manuafacturer (to cut out the middle man markup) and got quoted for a 5’x10’ trailer with 3” channel...


How much, out of curiosity???

:thinking:

Tony


Ours was $2099. Bit more than I expected based on comments by others, but lowest of three bids from builders in Albuquerque.

Tom
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Re: looking for some pointers...

Postby redbicycle » Wed Jan 30, 2019 10:36 am

I paid $800 for my 5x10 with a 3000lb brake axle and 15" wheels.


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Re: looking for some pointers...

Postby tony.latham » Wed Jan 30, 2019 11:17 am

Red & Tom:

Thanks!

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Re: looking for some pointers...

Postby SkyNerd » Thu Jan 31, 2019 8:49 am

Great idea on the hitch receiver!!

As of right now I’m looking at a 10x5 3” channel flat bed with a 3.5’ neck, 2 rear trailer jacks, 3500# axle, electric brakes, and upgraded bulldog hitch.

$1080 out the door

I’m still waiting on additional pricing to add the mounting tabs (do I need them?), a propane holder and I’ll have to add the rear receiver hitch.

Even with all that I don’t expect to pay more the $1300 ish and I think that’s an amazing price for a trailer built to spec. .

- Jes

PS I see lots of builds done off the trailer. How/what is the best way to get the wood on the metal frame? Links?
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