Harbor Freight 4x8 vs. Ironton 5x8 first build questions

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

Re: Harbor Freight 4x8 vs. Ironton 5x8 first build questions

Postby Little Foot » Fri Jan 01, 2016 8:49 pm

Alright, so I was starting to think I could maybe use my HF 25% off coupon that was good only today, but I called the store tonight after work and confirmed that they only have the one 4x8 foot super duty folding trailer kit (item #62647) in stock. There's another 4x8 foot super duty folding kit on their website (item #62671), but it is not in stock at my local store. Now, both those trailer kits are rated for 1720 pounds, but I am concerned that they won't be robust enough to serve as a base for my camper. My concern is that the folding mechanism will be a weak point in the trailer. Maybe I'm wrong, but I got cold feet, and decided to wait on the purchase at least until I get some confirmation that these trailers are OK to use. I also asked, and they have no trailers at all that do not fold, so possibly they stopped selling those altogether. I'd like more time to think about the Harbor Freight trailer, and maybe hear from some that have used the one with the item number 62647, or I'll just suck it up and order the Ironton 5x8 foot trailer.

For anyone that is familiar with the Ironton trailer, does it require any modifications such as moving the axle like I've read you have to do with the Harbor Freight trailer?

And for either trailer, can I extend the tongue easily and safely without having to weld it?

Thanks very much, everyone's input has been a huge help, and I definitely appreciate it!
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Re: Harbor Freight 4x8 vs. Ironton 5x8 first build questions

Postby DrewsBrews » Fri Jan 01, 2016 8:58 pm

I haven't seen the ironton in person but it and the HF trailers both seem to be bolt together Chinese kits. I doubt there is much truly different besides dimensions, paint color and fenders. I wouldn't be surprised if they were made in the same factory using the same stock material.

It seems HF is changing around their products and made the super duty trailer a folding unit also. I own the lower rated folding kit. If this super duty one is anything like it then you can omit the hinges and bolt the rear frame half down permanently. In fact in normal use you must bolt it down as the hinges are not designed to hold weight.

The vast majority of modifications/additions to these can be done with an angle grinder and drill. Moving the axle location is usually as simple as drilling new bolt holes for the spring plates. It seems folks add to the tongue by flipping the coupler mount upside down and sliding a piece of 2"x2"x1/8" square tube down it, bolt to the coupler mount and the first two frame rails.
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Re: Harbor Freight 4x8 vs. Ironton 5x8 first build questions

Postby Graniterich » Fri Jan 01, 2016 11:54 pm

Having built seven on hf that all worked out well and one on the Ironton, I like the Ironton better, no disrespect to hf, but seemed tighter tolerances, much better mounted rounded fenders attached properly. Bearings are packed and installed. Also painted black. I painted the other hf black, pain in the ass.
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Re: Harbor Freight 4x8 vs. Ironton 5x8 first build questions

Postby miniaturepeddler » Sat Jan 02, 2016 3:28 am

When we went to purchase our HF non folding trailer we had to go to 4 stores to find one that had it in stock (what a pita). We tried to call ahead to each, but the sales people where so overwhelmed by the sales that they could not help us till we where at the location.
What should have been a simple run in purchase and pickup ended up being a 4 hour shopping trip.
Of course we were lucky that we have that many (and more) Harbor Freights in the area (southern Cali).
In talking with the sales associate they indicated that in general each store was only carrying approx 2 of each type of trailer prior to the sale days, and it tended to be first come/first serve.
And since the coupons are not valid for preorders we were sol at most of the stores.
Of course HF does have the coupons and sales on a frequent basis.
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Re: Harbor Freight 4x8 vs. Ironton 5x8 first build questions

Postby drshoe » Sat Jan 02, 2016 11:53 am

I did not move the axle on my ironton, and my tongue extension is bolted on, but it was made by a welder.
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Re: Harbor Freight 4x8 vs. Ironton 5x8 first build questions

Postby Little Foot » Sat Jan 02, 2016 6:59 pm

Hey guys! Thanks again for all the advice, I really appreciate it!

@DrewsBrews - I am definitely concerned about the folding trailers, so I'm not leaning away from the Harbor Freight kit as my local store doesn't seem to have or even know about the non folding kits. That's great info about extending the tongue on all these trailer kits, it's good to know I can do this without welding. I have no welding equipment and very, very little experience with welding, though I may have a friend who could possibly do it for me. That said, I'm thinking bolts and maybe some epoxy like JB Weld just for extra piece of mind.

@Graniterich - Thanks again for your vote for the Ironton 5x8 trailer. I think I'm leaning that way. Although, as DrewsBrews mentioned, it's probably very similar to the Harbor Freight tralers, but I like that it doesn't fold, is 5 feet wide, and as you mentioned already painted black. I really don't like the HF red, and repainting it is just more hassle, money, and time.

@miniturepeddler - Thanks for stopping by. I have two Harbor Freight stores in my general area, the one I usually go to (and called yesterday) is about 40 minutes away, and the other is almost an hour away. I don't think I want to be driving so far even if by some miracle the HF that's an hour away did have the non folding trailer. I have been in the stores when they have their sales, and I agree they can be crazy.

@drshoe - I wanted to ask before, is your user name in reference to my favorite TV shoe? Thanks for the input, when I solidify my plan I'll have to see if the Ironton trailer needs to have the axle moved.

The cheapskate in me is not thrilled about it, but I think I'm now leaning towards the Ironton 5x8 foot trailer. I'll post again when I decide.
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Re: Harbor Freight 4x8 vs. Ironton 5x8 first build questions

Postby les45 » Sun Jan 03, 2016 8:32 am

One more vote for the Ironton. I used the 5X8 NT (now Ironton) for my build. I found no reason to move the axle or extend the tongue. It towed and backed nice and easily achieved the recommended 10% tongue weight in its stock form. I did end up upgrading the 12" stock tires to 13" passenger car tires because it bounced a little too much with the rigid trailer tires. My final weight was about 1,300 lbs.
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Re: Harbor Freight 4x8 vs. Ironton 5x8 first build questions

Postby Little Foot » Sun Jan 03, 2016 12:46 pm

Hi, Les45! Thanks for the advice! I have seen your build before, but I would like now to ask how long your camper is? And did you have to make any modifications to any part of the camper or trailer, such as the fenders, to accommodate the larger tires? Did the upgraded tires for of the stock trailer wheels?

Thanks very much for your help!
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Re: Harbor Freight 4x8 vs. Ironton 5x8 first build questions

Postby les45 » Sun Jan 03, 2016 1:20 pm

Little Foot wrote:Hi, Les45! Thanks for the advice! I have seen your build before, but I would like now to ask how long your camper is? And did you have to make any modifications to any part of the camper or trailer, such as the fenders, to accommodate the larger tires? Did the upgraded tires for of the stock trailer wheels?

Thanks very much for your help!


The overall dimensions of the camper shell are 5X10 (not counting the tongue and battery box). The bottom bevels on each end brought it back in to the 8 ft length of the 5X8 NT trailer. I used the angular fenders from an old HF trailer instead of the round fenders that came with the NT trailer because I wanted the angular look to match the lines of the weekender. You can see how I mounted the fender over the stock wheel on page 5 of my journal at: http://tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=49333. I did use a wood spacer to get the extra width over the tires. If I recall, I had so much clearance that I did not have to raise the fender for the 13" tires. However, you will have to buy new 13" rims to fit the 13" tires. I got the best prices for new General tires on Amazon and new white spoker wheels on Ebay. The tires were 175X70R13 and they were the widest I could fit without rubbing the frame. I still had about 1" clearance to the frame. If you go that route, make sure you buy wheels with zero offset. Some people use automotive wheels with a lot of positive offset and that will affect your tire location and how you mount your fenders. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions about what you see in the journal.
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Re: Harbor Freight 4x8 vs. Ironton 5x8 first build questions

Postby Little Foot » Sun Jan 03, 2016 6:38 pm

Hi again, Les45, and thank you for the follow up! Yeah, I guess I should have known that 13" tires wouldn't fit on the 12 inch wheels... Sorry about that! But thanks for the tip about the offset, I wouldn't have known that. And it's great to know that your camper is 5x10 feet, which is about the size I know I want. I haven't decided on a profile just yet, but I know it will either be something like the Grumman II with the extended curve in the front, or a Weekender also extended in the front. But I do know that it will be 5' x 9-10' for sure, and I want to have lots of extra room for storage, even in front of the mattress. I like the classic, rounded teardrop look of the Grumman II, but I have to admit that the Weekender has a cool, contemporary look that I also like. So much to decide on! Anyway, I will review your build journal again, and I very much appreciate your help and advice. Thanks again!
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Re: Harbor Freight 4x8 vs. Ironton 5x8 first build questions

Postby les45 » Sun Jan 03, 2016 8:50 pm

Check my pics for the two open shelves on the front end. They were very convenient with all your night time stuff on the bottom shelf right at your head and your duffels on the top shelf. The area under the bottom shelf was convenient storage. The higher flat roof of the weekender makes it feel a lot larger on the inside also (not as claustrophobic). The thing that really sets mine apart from other weekenders is the two piece hatch (I called it a hatch and tailgate) that made it lighter to lift and easier to build.
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Re: Harbor Freight 4x8 vs. Ironton 5x8 first build questions

Postby Little Foot » Mon Jan 04, 2016 11:55 am

Les45, thanks again for your reply. I am actively going through your build again, and getting lots of good ideas.
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Re: Harbor Freight 4x8 vs. Ironton 5x8 first build questions

Postby Little Foot » Mon Jan 04, 2016 12:01 pm

Alright, after going back and fourth for far too long on this, I have decided on the Ironton 5x8 foot trailer kit, and I just placed my order through Amazon for $499 with no tax in NY and free shipping. May Science have mercy on my soul...... and my wallet!

Although the Ironton was more expensive than the HF 4'x8' trailer, I decided it was best for me because it's 5 feet wide, doesn't fold, and is already black. I am very grateful and appreciative of everyone who offered their advice and help with my decision. And though many of you have had great luck with the HF trailer, I just felt like the Ironton was a better fit for me and my plans. So thanks again everyone, and happy camping!
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