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

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

Postby Little Foot » Mon Dec 28, 2015 4:32 pm

Hey, thanks again for the help guys!

Kennethw, you have a 5x10 foot camper on a Harbor Freight 4x8 foot trailer kit? Any issues or regrets at all? If not, it's starting to sound like maybe I should save the money and go with the HF trailer kit.

Thanks a lot everyone!
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Re: Harbor Freight 4x8 vs. Ironton 5x8 first build questions

Postby daveesl77 » Mon Dec 28, 2015 5:04 pm

I built mine on the HF frame, but I did modify it some, like the above couple. Mine is 5'4" wide, 10' long, 5' tall. It tows like a dream, weighs 1,340# loaded. Mine is different though, as I did not use a hatchback galley, but instead made mine to pull out and rotate. I have an old, full sized beagle, he has plenty of floor space in our design, plus when the galley is pulled out, he also has a massive amount of room under the bed. We have storage in the front and on the bed sides. We also have a built in dorm fridge inside. For electricity we can go 120v shore, 12v battery, 12v-120v inverter, solar or truck charge. For water, I have an on demand hot water heater and carry 8 gallons internal, with city water hookup. This winter I'll be finishing the AC and hotwater Heating systems. We use ducted ventilation and no roof vent. All lights are LED.

Here is the link to our build journal
http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=62386&start=135

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

Postby Little Foot » Mon Dec 28, 2015 5:10 pm

Hi, Dave! Thanks for the reply and great info! I have seen your build before, but I'll go back through your build journal again since your camper sounds a lot like what I'm hoping for, though I might not have the budget for all the extras you mentioned, and I envision a typical rear hatchback galley. Good to know that the size I want can definitely be build on the HF 4x8 door trailer without any issues. Although I was previously leaning towards the Ironton 5x8, I'm now thinking the HF will be more than adequate and a decent cost saver. Thanks again for your help and input!
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Re: Harbor Freight 4x8 vs. Ironton 5x8 first build questions

Postby daveesl77 » Mon Dec 28, 2015 5:24 pm

Now, I'm retired, but my build from start to going on the 2,600 mile trip to NY in June took about 5 months. I probably really worked on it about 20 hours per week and I'm not fast. The thing that took the most time was resawing the 1,500 linear feet of cedar into the 3/16" thick strips. I think we have a final tally of about $2,700 total in the build, but I did have some stuff already and got a bunch of stuff really cheap using the HD cull lumber, then cut it to my need.

If I build another, I may go even bigger, but with more foam. I way, way overbuilt mine, it is like a rock. The main reason I did not do the traditional galley is that I saw so many people talking about leaking issues. With mine, that doesn't exist. The built in galley can be closed faster than mine, but not that much faster. I take maybe 1 minute to open and 3 minutes to close.

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

Postby DrewsBrews » Mon Dec 28, 2015 8:10 pm

It's a cost vs headache argument. $150 or so might not be a big deal if it you want the more traditional teardrop with fenders look and are willing to stick to near 5' wide in order to save the headache of dealing with getting the floor over the wheels. Though if low on funds and high on time then that might overrule.
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Re: Harbor Freight 4x8 vs. Ironton 5x8 first build questions

Postby drshoe » Tue Dec 29, 2015 9:50 am

I just finished building my first on the northern tool 5 x 8. I built it to have a 5' wide interior and it is 10' long with all the extra length built out onto the tongue. A tongue extensions was necessary, but there is still room to mount a tongue box if I need one.

I was able to get a full 5' interior on the northern tool with 1 1/8" thick walls and without having to do anything special to deal with the fenders, (although they do appear to put a little inward pressure on the walls).

Image

Image

I left the axle in the standard place and with a battery, window a/c, PD4045, and 40qt 12v koolatron in the back we have a tongue weight of about 130lbs. Although, the axle wouldn't be that hard to move using a decent drill, titanium bits and a can of wd-40.

Also, you may want to check into license/registration in your locale. The Northern Tool I got came with a manufacturers certificate of origin, which at first made it more difficult to register (because nobody knew what to do with it) but ended up saving me time, money, paperwork and a "safety inspection".

The northern tool manual says max 45mph, the tires it comes with say max 55mph. It took 55 just fine, I don't know that I'll ever bother to go faster - for us it is all about the journey.
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Re: Harbor Freight 4x8 vs. Ironton 5x8 first build questions

Postby WizardOfOdds » Wed Dec 30, 2015 2:07 pm

It looks like you have done a lot of homework on the HF/NT choice, so maybe what I have to add is nothing new. But for the sake of other readers, let me add a few remarks.

I purchased a HF (was then 1800#) frame in 2006 that I use for the Tip Top Tier Drop (not a Tear Drop)http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=56232. I was very happy with the frame kit (except the coupler), but the trailer was destroyed in a rear end collision. I considered using the NT frame for rebilding, but in my hurry to get camping again, it was just quicker to buy another HF locally. The new HF frame was the same design, but the quality was quite a different story (see Tale of Two Trailers in the frame threads http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=61451).

Now I see HF is listing two replacements for that kit and both are the folding type. If you download the manuals, you will see they differ a bit. For example, the axle on one is the C-channel type (like the NT)while the other has the round axle (which I had on both of mine). I like the idea of the stake pockets on the new versions (the old had slots in the rails probably matched to metal side rail kits). Local stores may not yet carry the new versions, so use care to see what SKU you are buying.

Years ago our local HF store had both the non-folding and folding trailers hung on the wall. As I recall the rails on the non-folding were a bit more beefy. I am not sure how the new versions compare with each other and with the ones I inspected.

If you intend to move the wheels, remember that the side rails on the HF are two four foot segments joined by a separate piece which connects to the leaf springs. Most of the folks who moved the axle appear to have used a cross rail to bridge the two 4 foot members - one cut in half might be adequate - but you do loose at least one cross rail. The side rails on the NT appear to be a single 8 foot piece with just a couple of brackets for the leaf springs.
WizardOfOdds: Chalet shaped rag roof clam shell TIER drop for 4 cylinder tow
Tip Top Tier Drop thread http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=56232
Unusual Designs thread http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=64495
Tale of 2 Trailers thread http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=61451
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Re: Harbor Freight 4x8 vs. Ironton 5x8 first build questions

Postby Little Foot » Wed Dec 30, 2015 9:41 pm

Hey guys! I'm sorry about the late reply. I just wanted to post quickly to say thank you for all the great info. I will read through everything more thoroughly tomorrow evening, and I will then probably have some more follow up questions, but I do very much appreciate everyone's time and advice.

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

Postby Little Foot » Thu Dec 31, 2015 10:24 pm

Happy New Year everyone!!!!

I am still not 100% sure which trailer I'd prefer, but I did get a 25% off coupon for Harbor Freight that's good only on January 1st, and their 4x8 foot trailer kit is currently on sale for $379, so I am seriously considering this option. I don't think it will be too hard to build over the wheels, and though I'd prefer the look of fenders, I can live without them. I did notice that there are two 4x8 foot trailer kits listed on the Harbor Freight website. Does anyone know if there's a difference between the two?

Thanks very much!
Last edited by Little Foot on Fri Jan 01, 2016 8:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Harbor Freight 4x8 vs. Ironton 5x8 first build questions

Postby Little Foot » Thu Dec 31, 2015 10:40 pm

Never mind! I see that one HF trailer kit folds and the other does not. I'm pretty sure the non folding one is more robust, and therefore better to build a camper on. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong about that.

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

Postby WizardOfOdds » Fri Jan 01, 2016 12:34 am

If you prefer the fixed bed trailer, I suggest you call the store and check what they actually have in stock. It's a good bet most stores will give the discount on the older trailer if they have it in stock. Check me on this, but here is what I find:

SKU 90154 1195# folds with C-Channel axle & 4.80x12 tires (252#)
SKU 62647 1720# folds with round axle & 5.30x12 tires (new)
SKU 62671 1720# folds with C-Channel axle & 5.30x12 tires (new)
SKU 94565 1720# fixed (but tilts) round axle& 5.30x12 tires
(2006) 6464 1800# fixed (but tilts) round axle& 5.30x12 tires

I purchased the fixed bed (bottom 2) versions in 2006 and 2014.

Maybe the new sku 62671 is just be the 1195# trailer with larger tires and maybe heavier springs ??? Who knows ?? Very light trailers (like mine) are probably better matched to the 1195# trailer, but when I looked at the folding and fixed pair side by side, I liked the heavier fixed bed trailer. But remember, that was way back in 2006 and a lot has changed since then.
WizardOfOdds: Chalet shaped rag roof clam shell TIER drop for 4 cylinder tow
Tip Top Tier Drop thread http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=56232
Unusual Designs thread http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=64495
Tale of 2 Trailers thread http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=61451
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Re: Harbor Freight 4x8 vs. Ironton 5x8 first build questions

Postby Little Foot » Fri Jan 01, 2016 7:47 am

Thanks, WizardOfOdds! I am looking again this morning, and now I'm not seeing the fixed bed trailer kit. I will try to call this afternoon and see what they have in stock, then I'll decide. I have read that the fixed base trailer is the way to go, if I do the Harbor Freight trailer kits.

Thanks a lot, I appreciate your help!
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Re: Harbor Freight 4x8 vs. Ironton 5x8 first build questions

Postby Little Foot » Fri Jan 01, 2016 8:04 am

OK, I'm getting a little confused trying to read about HF trailers. On their website this morning I see two trailers, both say folding and both say super duty. Here's the one I was thinking of getting. Is this a good choice at 25% off (today only, at least until their next big sale), or would the ironton be the better choice for strength and I durability? The HB works out to be about $325 with tax and discounts, and the ironton will be $499 shipped. Any thoughts?

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

Postby daveesl77 » Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:06 pm

Do not get the HF folding trailer if you plan on doing anything over the base 4x8. The folding is only rated for a bit over 1,100 lbs, while the other one is 1,720 lb capacity. While the structure is essentially identical, the main difference is the axle, hubs and rims. This makes a big difference. With various coupons/sales/whatever it is pretty easy to get it for around $300 out the door. I think mine was $310 including tax.

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

Postby Little Foot » Fri Jan 01, 2016 5:26 pm

Hi, Dave! Thanks again for the help. Both folding trailers I'm considering that are listed in the HF website are rated to 1740 pounds. They both are listed as super duty, and I can't figure out what the difference is. Any idea?

Thanks!
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