Harbor Freight Trailer Question

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Harbor Freight Trailer Question

Postby CLChastain » Sat Jun 11, 2016 5:22 am

Re: little red 4x8 trailer at Harbor Freight ... Does anybody know....

1. What's 4x8, the rectangular frame, or the overall size, hub to hub and tongue to back of frame?

2. Does it have leaf springs? It looks kind of like it has little black ones, in online photos, but it's kind of hard to tell. The only other kind of springs( or is suspension the proper term?) I know of is torsion, but I wouldn't know one of those if it bit me.

3. The weight capacity is 1720, apparently sufficient for a teardrop, but what about a small standy (6 x 8 or 6 x 10) built as sturdy but lightweight as possible. I've tried to estimate weights using info online, and it looks like the frame, plywood, fasteners, for floor, interior and exterior walls, roof and ceiling, and furniture would come to about 730 lbs. This does not include windows, door, plumbing, wiring, appliances, and camping gear. Experienced campers, it is realistice, or even possible, to keep all that under 1720 lbs? I know the vintage Shasta 1400 is named that because it weighed 1400 lbs without gear, so maybe it is.

4. When loaded to capacity, if it is getting close to the limit, but still below it, will that tiny axle, tiny springs and tiny wheels/tires hold up to highway towing for couple of hundred miles? What about several hundred miles, but with several stops to camp? These little trailers are evidently made to be utility trailers with a little box that can haul tree limbs and stuff to your local dump.... local meaning "not far away."

5. Is the 1720 limit just for towing, or all the time? When stopped to camp, my hubs and I would add over 300 lbs to the weight. I realize the trailer would be supported with jacks at all 4 corners. Would that be sufficient to handle it if the weight, while stopped, exceeds 1720?

Thanks for info/advice.
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Re: Harbor Freight Trailer Question

Postby KennethW » Sat Jun 11, 2016 7:36 am

1. What's 4x8, the rectangular frame, or the overall size, hub to hub and tongue to back of frame?
The bed is 4x8(the part you build on)

2. Does it have leaf springs? It looks kind of like it has little black ones, in online photos, but it's kind of hard to tell. The only other kind of springs( or is suspension the proper term?) I know of is torsion, but I wouldn't know one of those if it bit me.

It has leaf springs. A trailer with torsion would be more money.

3. The weight capacity is 1720, apparently sufficient for a teardrop, but what about a small standy (6 x 8 or 6 x 10) built as sturdy but lightweight as possible. I've tried to estimate weights using info online, and it looks like the frame, plywood, fasteners, for floor, interior and exterior walls, roof and ceiling, and furniture would come to about 730 lbs. This does not include windows, door, plumbing, wiring, appliances, and camping gear. Experienced campers, it is realistice, or even possible, to keep all that under 1720 lbs? I know the vintage Shasta 1400 is named that because it weighed 1400 lbs without gear, so maybe it is.

A 6x10 standy would be pushing the weight limits But with all foam and canvas it could be done. Plumbing is just a pain and is almost worthless. Do you really need a pump to get water out of a jug? The small sinks are to small to wash any thing but you hands. Do you really want to deal with a black water tank or would you rather have a double bagged poop bag.


4. When loaded to capacity, if it is getting close to the limit, but still below it, will that tiny axle, tiny springs and tiny wheels/tires hold up to highway towing for couple of hundred miles? What about several hundred miles, but with several stops to camp? These little trailers are evidently made to be utility trailers with a little box that can haul tree limbs and stuff to your local dump.... local meaning "not far away."

If you don't know already the stuff in the bearing of a HF trailer is NOT grease the bearing have to be cleaned and packed. After that is done the trailers are good to go. I have over 12,000 on HF trailers with the tiny tires and no problems. I lot of those miles are above 70 mph and for hours at a time(road tripping).

5. Is the 1720 limit just for towing, or all the time? When stopped to camp, my hubs and I would add over 300 lbs to the weight. I realize the trailer would be supported with jacks at all 4 corners. Would that be sufficient to handle it if the weight, while stopped, exceeds 1720?
The 1720 is for towing.

Get the HF trailer with the round axle,2"ball and the 5 bolt wheels. It has a little bigger tires too.
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Re: Harbor Freight Trailer Question

Postby daveesl77 » Sat Jun 11, 2016 7:40 am

Conch Fritter rides on a 1720# HF frame. The frame area is slightly over 4' x 8'. Our trailer weighs in at 1,340 loaded. The actual trailer weighs 280#, thus the 1,720# load limit = 2,000 #. It takes about 3 hours to assemble. In addition to the bolts, after making it square, I then welded all of the attachment points. I also added in a 2x2x1/8" center tongue that runs back to the second cross member. The load limit is for towing purposes. Remember to take apart the hubs, remove the clear gunk that is in the bearings (which is not grease) and then pack with a high quality red bearing grease. I've seen a 6' wide, 5.5' tall, 10' long on this frame. Conch Fritter is 5.5' wide, 10' long and 5.5 tall (+/-). It tows like a dream. It has leaf springs.

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Re: Harbor Freight Trailer Question

Postby CLChastain » Sat Jun 11, 2016 9:47 am

KennethW wrote:A 6x10 standy would be pushing the weight limits But with all foam and canvas it could be done. Plumbing is just a pain and is almost worthless. Do you really need a pump to get water out of a jug? The small sinks are to small to wash any thing but you hands. Do you really want to deal with a black water tank or would you rather have a double bagged poop bag.


No blackwater tank -- plan to use a porta potty type toilet. I want a wet bath for showering when we can't/don't want to use campground showers, but it would be a shower in a bag thing. Plumbing would consist primarily for draining water.

I'm thinking of a chuck box/outdoor kitchen with ice chest, coleman stove, etc., for most cooking But I want a kitchen inside in case cooking needs to be done there. A lot of indoor cooking will be done in a microwave, but I want an electric hot plate and toaster oven for occasional use. I understand that electricity users can't all run at the same time.

So foam and canvas is the only way a 6 x 10 standy can be kept within the weight limit?

Thanks for your information. It is most helpful
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Re: Harbor Freight Trailer Question

Postby CLChastain » Sat Jun 11, 2016 10:17 am

daveesl77 wrote: I've seen a 6' wide, 5.5' tall, 10' long on this frame. Conch Fritter is 5.5' wide, 10' long and 5.5 tall (+/-).


Thanks, Dave. Alas, 5.5" tall is 6" too short for my husband to stand up in.

I don't know about welding attachment points; that's beyond my capability, and I don't know how expensive welding is in my area. I'll check, though. That sounds like it would be safer (and give more peace of mind).

Conch Fritter! What a great name!

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Re: Harbor Freight Trailer Question

Postby KennethW » Sat Jun 11, 2016 10:40 am

CLChastain wrote:
No blackwater tank -- plan to use a porta potty type toilet. I want a wet bath for showering when we can't/don't want to use campground showers, but it would be a shower in a bag thing. Plumbing would consist primarily for draining water.
So foam and canvas is the only way a 6 x 10 standy can be kept within the weight limit?

Thanks for your information. It is most helpful

Have you looked in to a small shower(potty) tent? I use a popup hunting blind. 5x5 give me more room to change and shower and don't have water all over in the camper.
I don't know if a wood 6x10 standy can be in your weight limit. I know a all foam can be. A foamie can be very easy to build with very little in the way of power tools. Could even be made with just some hand tools. It is easy to build a heavy camper It is harder if you need to think about weight.
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Re: Harbor Freight Trailer Question

Postby CLChastain » Sat Jun 11, 2016 11:46 pm

It looks like I may have to compromise in ways I don't want to. I really don't want to do teardrop style camping where all you have inside is a mattress and a television set. Yes, a lot of camping consists of being outside, but I want to be able to do more inside than just sleep.

What I actually wanted originally was to build a (12 x 7 cabin) trailer (or restore a vintage one, which appears to be more trouble than building from scratch) in the mode of U.K. "touring caravans," but that could be used for camping, as well. It would have lots of bells and whistles, including a permanent desk for my computer, water tank, water heater, graywater tank (but no black -- have always preferred a porta potty). Electric only, no propane cuz I'm skeered of propane. (Any cooking with propane would be done outdoors on a Coleman stove.) I will have to await winning the lottery or selling a ton of books before I can do that one.

The ten footer is a compromise. I'm trying to plan the building for as little money as possible (think used, salvaged, freebies). I'm retirement age, so the camper doesn't have to last 40 years. The compromise design will have as much emphasis on camping as on touring. Even so, I don't want a tent for porta pot and shower; if I have to get water out of a jug, I'd prefer that it be mounted high in a cabinet (not during travel, of course) for a gravity feed system, to a faucet over the sink. Concession to camping cheap -- water would be heated as needed in the microwave. The sink I plan to use was salvaged from an old Aristocrat LoLiner and looks big enough for occasional dishwashing. (I don't plan to cook everything in tinfoil and eat on paper plates every meal.)

Part of the reason I was looking at the HF trailer was because it doesn't cost much and it's new. I am a little leery of buying an old popup or travel trailer and tearing it down to the chassis because rust, metal fatigue, etc. But if the little red trailer can't accommodate my plan, I'll have to look for another solution. Alas, the bigger they are, the more they cost....
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Another question

Postby CLChastain » Mon Jun 13, 2016 7:54 am

This is an image of 6 x 10 floor framing superimposed over a HF 4 x 8 trailer bed. What concerns me is how far inboard the wheels look. Will such a narrow wheel base, or whatever it's called, affect stability when in tow? I don't suppose there's any way to make the wheels farther apart without a lot of expense, in which case, one may as well buy a bigger (more expensive) trailer to begin with...

Education about this subject would be most appreciated.

Connie

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Re: Harbor Freight Trailer Question

Postby les45 » Mon Jun 13, 2016 8:55 am

The next step up in a kit trailer would be the NT 5X8. Many people have used that one for a base for their builds over the years and it has proven to be a sturdy choice. I built my 5X10 weekender on one. Building 6' wide out over the wheels should work well. They are currently on sale at NT for $489. You would pay double that for a custom trailer unless you did it yourself.
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Re: Harbor Freight Trailer Question

Postby bobhenry » Tue Jun 14, 2016 8:41 am

Perhaps something on this order might be the answer ?

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I was offered this one for free but after harvesting all the goodies out of it (for free) I found the guy a buyer. It went for $125.00 and rolled 90 miles home without a problem.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
My boss had this one and I found him a buyer for it as well I think it went for $150.00 and was complete.

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Re: Harbor Freight Trailer Question

Postby tac422 » Tue Jun 14, 2016 9:12 pm

Here's a 6X 10 on a harbor Freight frame.
http://www.mikenchell.com/images/foamie39.jpg

Look about halfway down this page.
http://tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=55&t=44091&start=15

Yep, It's the Big Pink :D
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The wheels look fine, my walls are 2" thick.
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Re: Harbor Freight Trailer Question

Postby CLChastain » Wed Jun 15, 2016 6:06 am

Wish I could find freebies, or near freebies like that, in my neck of the woods. The only thing I worry about with old trailers is whether they'll crack. My old Aristocrat LoLiner frame cracked. I had it welded back, and sandblasted and then I rattle-canned it. But that was ten years ago. I got no farther on it because my knees got too bad for such activity. It's been in the yard with a deteriorating tarp on it. The bed is the perfect size 7 x 12, but I don't know if it's any good after all these years. I might consider using it, but for two things -- that crack still spooks me (what if it cracks again, in another place) and I hate the drop floor....Hate it.

That's why I'm considering a smaller camper, because I'll have to spend the money for another trailer.

I don't have any pics of the weld, but it kind of amazed me. If memory serves, the crack itself wasn't welded, but everything around it was, and a piece of metal welded on perpendicular to the member that cracked, so I assume it was a good fix but if the metal is fatigued an might crack again ....

My knees will be fixed (replaced) later in the year and I really want to get started on SOMEthing, after that... but of course, nothing can be done about that drop floor framing.

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Re: Harbor Freight Trailer Question

Postby bobhenry » Wed Jun 15, 2016 6:50 am

What you have forgotten is that with a properly built body it actually assists the frame in its effort to support the load. A drop floor on a seven wide offers a foot well for the couch by day and the couch can become the bed by night. I personally think I would utilize the frame as they are generally a bit heavier construction due to the lack of side wall support because of the canvas.
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Re: Harbor Freight Trailer Question

Postby CLChastain » Wed Jun 15, 2016 7:25 am

bobhenry wrote:What you have forgotten is that with a properly built body it actually assists the frame in its effort to support the load. A drop floor on a seven wide offers a foot well for the couch by day and the couch can become the bed by night. I personally think I would utilize the frame as they are generally a bit heavier construction due to the lack of side wall support because of the canvas.


Good to know that about the body assisting the frame.... I was planning an entirely different floorplan, and assumed the drop floor would not accommodate it. Maybe I should re-think that, as my "favorite" floorplan has changed some since 10 years ago....
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