Harbor Freight trailer questions and answers

Ask questions about Harbor Freight trailers, or questions about building your own...

Re: Harbor Freight trailer questions and answers

Postby Nobody » Mon Jul 14, 2014 9:08 am

EVERY light on my TD (tail/stop/signal, & running lights) has an individual, dedicated ground wire, connected to a common ground wire of sufficient size. The 'common' wire goes thru the 7-pin electrical connector to another ground wire which is fastened to the vehicle chassis with at least a #12 or larger screw with 'star' type washer between the chassis & the wire lug, & another between the lug & the screw head. Redundant?? perhaps but I've NEVER had (& don't expect) a ground problem with this trailer. I still do a 'walk around' light check each time I 'hook up'.

All the interior & galley lights & 12vdc receptacles on the trailer also have individual ground wires that go (thru a common ground wire) to a ground 'buss' at the power converter, which is also connected to the trailer battery ground.

May have taken a little extra effort, & cost a few (very) dollars more when building but knowing the lights will work all the time, every time, is worth a lot to me...
Harvey -

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Doing the right thing ain't always easy but, . . . it's always right!
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Re: Harbor Freight trailer questions and answers

Postby bobhenry » Mon Jul 14, 2014 10:43 am

:thumbsup:
Growing older but not up !
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Re: Harbor Freight trailer questions and answers

Postby Franco Novo » Sat Aug 15, 2015 10:49 am

It's a fine trailer for the money....With sale and coupons I purchased folding trailer for only $208.00
That's less than what 4 trailer tires cost.
COUPLER HT: I believe the coupler ht. was between 16" &' 17", because I'm towing with a Ford Focus Wagon, and the receiver was so low on the car, I had to find a hitch with a 6" rise. Got one at my local RV dealership.

GROUNDING: Well, it was only yesterday that I wired into the Focus and tested all of my wiring efforts, everything worked fine.
I did ground the wiring in several spots, and did NOT count on the ground carrying thru the frame.
For instance, the front marker lights have their own ground, the rear lights have their own ground.
AND...I even ran an extra 'emergency ' ground that is in my back wall hatch. Just incase ...I can tap into that.

WE'LL SEE: after I run it a while, I'll report more
I too am surprised at the difference in Payload on folding vs. non folding. It's not true that the heavy duty is one long length
the frames are identical...they both bolt in the middle, One is hinged, one is not. The heavy duty trailer has the heavy round axle.
I wish I could have gotten that one...because the axle looks weak on the folding trailer....
BUT..then again...the whole thing is pretty light, I can wheel this thing around by hand ...much easier than moving a loaded wheelbarrow.....so, I would say the balance is good.

Franco.

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Re: Harbor Freight trailer questions and answers

Postby ukewarrior » Sat Aug 15, 2015 9:31 pm

I own both types of HF trailers and there are some differences in addition to the axle.
The cross frame pieces for the 'heavy duty version' are much heavier steel and are a partial box instead of a C channel.
The side pieces also have integrated stake pockets instead of the side mounted stake pockets of the folding trailer.
Also, for some reason, the folding version has a cross bar piece for the front A-frame that is not provided with the heavy version. This seems very weird to me and I plan to provide my own cross brace.
My heavy duty is new and I've owned the folding for many years. For $208, that was a great deal on the folding trailer in my opinion. If your build is under 700-800 lbs, that version should be fine.
However, for the additional $100, I went with the heavy duty version for no other reason than the larger & higher rated tires.
Why? Because the folding trailer tires are Class B and the heavy duty trailer comes with class C tires.
I've had class B tires blow on me during summer months on very hot western highway asphalt. This was not an overloading issue, but a heat related issue. I've never had a Class C tire blow on me.



Franco Novo wrote:I too am surprised at the difference in Payload on folding vs. non folding. It's not true that the heavy duty is one long length
the frames are identical...they both bolt in the middle, One is hinged, one is not. The heavy duty trailer has the heavy round axle.
I wish I could have gotten that one...because the axle looks weak on the folding trailer....
BUT..then again...the whole thing is pretty light, I can wheel this thing around by hand ...much easier than moving a loaded wheelbarrow.....so, I would say the balance is good.
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Re: Harbor Freight trailer questions and answers

Postby Franco Novo » Sat Aug 15, 2015 9:45 pm

Hi ukewarrior ,
Aha...so there are some differences that I can't spot by just looking at pictures.
I'm def. a newbie when it comes to trailer stuff.
But it's surprising how much you can learn just by doing.

I am a little concerned about the lighter axle and tires, I see what you mean there.
I'll be heading from Pa. to Florida with it in about a month....guess it will be a slow ride. ;)

really, I don't know how much the trailer weighs. I think the trailer itself is like around 250 lbs. and I have about 300 lbs. of wood into it, I would guess.
It's very light
One thing for sure...on my next build...I'm going to save up and go with the heavy duty model like you did.
thanks for your information.

Franco
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Re: Harbor Freight trailer questions and answers

Postby klhoush » Wed Aug 26, 2015 11:45 am

Yes the axle on the folding trailer is weak. I bent mine. Do you think the hubs from the folding trailer fit on the axle from the heavy duty trailer?

If so, all I would need is the axle and U-bolts from the HD to make a reliable trailer.

The lightweight axles are backordered at HF.

Thanks, Kurt
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Re: Harbor Freight AXLE etc. questions and answers

Postby Franco Novo » Wed Aug 26, 2015 12:45 pm

going to do a little DIY work....a little more, I should say, and U Bolt a Piece of steel, angle Iron, bed iron, anything...Oak 2x2 onto that axle....can't do anything but help. carry an extra wheel and hub, and good to go...
I was thinking that too...I don't see where you couldn't swap the round solid axle from the heavier trailer...It must be in here somewhere...
although I'm finding this forum isn't really for small tears and new builders, It's old crusty veterans who have camped everywhere, tow with big diesel rigs and tow heavy trailers. I'm pretty sure they're scoffing at our little builds :lol:

Franco

[tiny trailers]135336[are people too]
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Re: Harbor Freight trailer questions and answers

Postby klhoush » Tue Sep 01, 2015 2:08 pm

I was investigating materials sources for a bolt together frame. The HF frame members look suspiciously like structural metal framing track and purlins from steel framed buildings!
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Re: Harbor Freight trailer questions and answers

Postby Franco Novo » Wed Sep 02, 2015 8:08 pm

Well, here's what I did, Just found an old piece of metal pipe.
It's hollow, but pretty thick steel. And, it just starts to fit into the opening on the U shape axle of the folding trailer

Just bolted it on with some hardware store U bolts...I'm sure it will add some stiffeness, anyway, I feel better about it now
also...I double nutted the U'bolts that hold the axle in place. Every time I get under there, it seems I can crank on them and tighten a little bit
Guess it's all just wearing in, I've only had it out like 3 times...I see what's rattling or loose, or what appears to be a weak spot than I DIY it where needed.

I'm just re finessing little things on it now...I'm done worrying about it, it is what it is...
It's solid as a rock, travel with some extra bearings...it's all good, I've read so many warnings about these trailers
Then, I'm out on the road and see folks dragging all kinds of stuff in them....loaded to the max..rusted wheels, and they've been rolling for years.
:thumbsup:
OK...back to lurking..
Franco

Round Pipe U Bolted onto axle:
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Double Nut U Bolts:
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I started a thread a bit ago about the hitch rattle at the receiver..got a lot of good feedback Nothing I couldn't build myselt...So I tightened up hitch at receiver with a U Bolt, a hinge, and a rolled piece of steel and some aluminum shims on the sides. Tight as can be now.
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Re: Harbor Freight trailer questions and answers

Postby klhoush » Fri Sep 04, 2015 12:52 am

I did something similar. After using the BFH to straighten the bend at the end of the left spindle I used 1" black pipe which barely fits inside the axle. It's bolted and welded into place.

Then I boxed the axle on the bottom with 3/16 plate for about 6" on each end and drilled new spring mount holes. Finally the axle was flipped and installed. I also doubled the nuts on the U bolts.

I'm headed out for about 350 miles this weekend so this will have to do until Northern Tool gets the axle I ordered 3 weeks ago in stock.

Kurt
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Re: Harbor Freight trailer questions and answers

Postby Franco Novo » Fri Sep 04, 2015 7:31 am

.
.
That sounds like it should do it Kurt
Probably is stronger than the axle you're waiting on.... :)
good job !!
I see you used the cutout plywood for doors. I did too
Is that a length of rubber gasket on the hinge?
And how did you bend that axle anyway??
Just coming off of a bounce?

I water tested the Gypsy Wagon yesterday....not bad, since it's really a piece of 'found' art...you know, used whatever I could find to build it.
some leaks around the little windows, I expected that, never weatherstripped them correctly...checking weak spots..so beefing up the weatherstripping here and there, built screens for the hatches,,,, and already thinking about which one to build next...

best regards
Franco

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Re: Harbor Freight trailer questions and answers

Postby klhoush » Sun Sep 13, 2015 10:46 pm

Hi Franco, I had a successful Labor Day trip. The tires are looking worn on the edges even though they are inflated to 42psi so I think the new axle is a good idea.

The hinge is plastic from McMaster Carr with aluminum strips over each side so the screws have clamping instead of cracking force.

The axle bent when I hit a massive pothole at 30 mph that was in the shade. I saw it way too late, and didn't want to hit the brakes for fear of thrashing the F150.

I'll have the HF hubs for sale when I get them off.

That looks like a fun little trailer you have! I like the window in the front!

Kurt
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Re: Harbor Freight trailer questions and answers

Postby Franco Novo » Mon Sep 14, 2015 7:35 pm

Glad your trip was successful Kurt.
and hey...no potholes this time. good for you. :thumbsup:
what, you went about 300 miles or so?

Yep, I loaded the little trailer up..about 950 lbs fully loaded...and.been running it around, seems to be fine...hubs nice and cool , rides nice, I can feel it pushing the Ford station wagon a bit...but, that's the vehicle I have, so off I go.
Getting the Ford Focus wagon serviced tomorrow, new tires on it... and then heading out from Pa. to Florida soon
Slow ride...for sure
I like the cargo style build I did...I saw a pic of what was called the Nano Weekender on this site and that was the one I wanted to build. It's not the exact weekender, but close.
Of course, I love the original tear shape, but I'm more of a hauler of 'stuff' than a camper, really.
Thanks for the hinge info. Now just have to drive with a heads up, getting out of Pa..the pothole state...after that I'll breathe a little easier....lol.

Best regards
Franco
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Re: Harbor Freight trailer questions and answers

Postby klhoush » Tue Sep 15, 2015 8:36 pm

Thanks Franco,

I also used the plastic hinge on the hatch! It is tough!

Watch out for those potholes!

Cheers, Kurt
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Re: Harbor Freight trailer questions and answers

Postby Franco Novo » Wed Sep 16, 2015 8:12 am

oh, I know what I wanted to ask you, esp. since we both have the same 'frame'
you run the tires at 42 psi.?
and on the tire it says inflate to 60 psi

Is that for a softer ride?....or because your trailer isn't loaded...


Franco
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