Recos for buying the trailer frame

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Recos for buying the trailer frame

Postby AS115 » Thu Jul 30, 2020 1:33 pm

I'm looking to buy the trailer base before building the teardrop.

While I'm fine with building the top, I don't feel comfortable putting together something that is road-worthy using a kit from Harbor Freight (normally my go to for tools) or Northern Tool. Also, their axles seem cheap and they're only rated to 45 MPH. I'll be going on interstates so need something more robust.

That said, I'm not looking to overpay and I'm totally open to using other options to create a strong, reliable base (maybe a welder?) if anyone has done that. Aluminum seems to be a good option, too.

Any economical suggestions? Thanks!
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Re: Recos for buying the trailer frame

Postby Graniterich » Thu Jul 30, 2020 4:10 pm

Not trying to start anything, but I have towed thousands of miles at 75 mph for decades using harbor freight trailers. Just want to set the record straight. 45 is lawyer speak

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Re: Recos for buying the trailer frame

Postby AS115 » Thu Jul 30, 2020 9:21 pm

Graniterich wrote:Not trying to start anything, but I have towed thousands of miles at 75 mph for decades using harbor freight trailers. Just want to set the record straight. 45 is lawyer speak

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Thanks. Reassurance is good, too :)

How hard is it to build one from HF? I'm not that strong and wondering if I could do it. Also if special tools are needed.
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Re: Recos for buying the trailer frame

Postby Graniterich » Thu Jul 30, 2020 9:52 pm

Not hard at all. The boxes are heavy, they always load them for me. I open the boxes and remove each piece.

The 1720 lbl has a solid steel axle. You have to clean and pack bearings. Standard metric socket set is required. No special tools required. As far as strength goes, once you have built a torsion box (the actual drop) that is bolted to the frame the whole thing is very strong.

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Re: Recos for buying the trailer frame

Postby AS115 » Mon Aug 03, 2020 1:51 pm

Thanks!
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Re: Recos for buying the trailer frame

Postby Melle.17 » Tue Dec 29, 2020 10:56 am

When building a trailer from Harbor Freight or another kit, do you use LockTite on all the bolts?
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Re: Recos for buying the trailer frame

Postby wannabefree » Thu Jan 14, 2021 10:31 pm

We built the Paskett Case on the "high-end" HF frame 11 -- no, 12 -- years ago. On our first long trip we replaced the tires after my sister-in-law said "Is the tire supposed to look like that?" I did what I always do; bowed to the East and said "Thank you, China," and we went on our way, grateful the local tire shop in Nowhere, Idaho had a couple of those little tires in stock and that nothing bad happened when the tread flew off. The old guy running the shop said, "How much air you put in those things?" I told him 80 pounds, like the manufacturer said. He gave a chuckle and said, "No more than 55 from now on, OK?"
Next I decided I needed to lengthen the tongue after having to pull a U-turn on a narrow dirt road that came to a sudden end. The extra eight inches I added saves a lot of dents in my bumper and possible crushed corners on the tear as I make sharp turns. I am a poor welder, but it has held for 10 years.
Then we hit an unavoidable chuckhole in an LA freeway which bent the spindle on the right side. This is not a heavy trailer, about 1200 pounds fully loaded. It wasn't too bad and we drove it for the rest of our 3-week trip, but as soon as I got home we got a new Dexter axle (which cost almost as much as the trailer). The spindles on the HF axle are about 3/4 inch diameter, those on the Dexter are 1-1/8. The bearings are better, too.
The only thing left of the HF trailer is the steel frame and I probably don't need it because I built a torsion box floor so as to raise our living quarters over the wheels and permit a full-size mattress.
Did I use Locktite? No, between the locknuts and lock washers provided it seemed a bit too belt and suspenders even for me. I have had. no trouble with them working loose.
I have no idea what the cost of a custom trailer frame would be, but if I ever do this again (I won't) I will have one built. I would have a wider axle which would mean I would not have to build up over the wheels and I would have a more aesthetically pleasing trailer.
Sorry for the long winded reply. I have been off the forum for years and just can't resist unloading years of experience in a single drop.
In anything at all, perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away.
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Re: Recos for buying the trailer frame

Postby TwilaR » Fri Jan 15, 2021 11:33 am

Why I'm asking
wannabefree wrote:The only thing left of the HF trailer is the steel frame and I probably don't need it because I built a torsion box floor



I've wondered this.... is it possible to just build a wickedly strong (overbuilt) torsion box frame and put an axle under it?

Why I'm asking- Northern Tool screwed up my trailer order, and I'm waiting on the correct one. If I could do this I would cancel the order, as I'm pretty sure I would end up being able to go bigger.
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Re: Recos for buying the trailer frame

Postby greygoos » Fri Jan 15, 2021 1:10 pm

If you mean attach an axle to a wooden frame dont do it. It will rip off at some point
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Re: Recos for buying the trailer frame

Postby Ottsville » Fri Jan 15, 2021 3:32 pm

TwilaR wrote:]


I've wondered this.... is it possible to just build a wickedly strong (overbuilt) torsion box frame and put an axle under it?

Why I'm asking- Northern Tool screwed up my trailer order, and I'm waiting on the correct one. If I could do this I would cancel the order, as I'm pretty sure I would end up being able to go bigger.


Where's that simple "A" frame and torsion axle design...?
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Re: Recos for buying the trailer frame

Postby TwilaR » Fri Jan 15, 2021 4:28 pm

greygoos, that's what I needed to know, thanks!
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Re: Recos for buying the trailer frame

Postby wannabefree » Fri Jan 15, 2021 9:48 pm

Yeah, I kinda agree with greygoos too. The thought of a trailer falling apart as I fly down the highway at 65 is pretty scary. However... I have vague memories of seeing a build on this site that was done that way. Does anyone have any actual experience with a torsion box build?
If you don't want to go with HF or NT or the like, and are too cheap (like me) to have one built, the A frame suggestion is one way to build a trailer without any welding. 2X2 square tubing bolted together to form an A frame could require no welding, just some cutting to make gussets to hold the metal together. Then you can build your torsion box on top of that so you have a square platform to build on that won't rack. I would go for it. There is nothing special about that HF frame, just C channel about 0.090 thick. 2x2 steel tubing is available just about anywhere in 1/16, 1/8, and 3/16 thick. My tongue extension is 3/16 but I would not hesitate to use 1/16 for a frame.
In the end, whatever agency licenses trailers in your state has the final say. They will license HF and NT; not sure about anything home built. Might be a good idea to give them a call.
In anything at all, perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away.
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Recos for buying the trailer frame

Postby Toytaco2 » Sat Jan 16, 2021 9:05 am

wannabefree quote: We built the Paskett Case on the "high-end" HF frame 11 -- no, 12 -- years ago. On our first long trip we replaced the tires after my sister-in-law said "Is the tire supposed to look like that?" I did what I always do; bowed to the East and said "Thank you, China," and we went on our way, grateful the local tire shop in Nowhere, Idaho had a couple of those little tires in stock and that nothing bad happened when the tread flew off. The old guy running the shop said, "How much air you put in those things?" I told him 80 pounds, like the manufacturer said. He gave a chuckle and said, "No more than 55 from now on, OK?"

Don’t want to high jack this thread, but, I have to ask about that “55” pounds of pressure comment. My destinations have never been more than about 175 miles away. We’re planning a trip of 3,000 - 4,000 miles this summer with a lot of highway miles. I’m understanding this as 55 lbs of pressure and not 55mph.

I now have better quality 12” tires and rims than the HF originals and the camper weighs in at 1,340 loaded. Are we saying that the manufacture recommended 80 - 85 lbs is way too high?

Thanks,

Mike


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Re: Recos for buying the trailer frame

Postby greygoos » Sat Jan 16, 2021 9:52 am

I believe this frame was built from wood on this site but if you look further into it the frame eventually failed. gallery/image_page.php?album_id=2052&image_id=9108
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Re: Recos for buying the trailer frame

Postby wannabefree » Sat Jan 16, 2021 5:49 pm

To Toytaco2 above - yes, 55 PSI, not 55 MPH. Sorry I didn't make that clear. The tires are rated to 80 PSI and maybe on a heavily loaded trailer you might want that much pressure; I dunno. I do know that every time I got near one of those tires it scared me when I had 80 pounds in them. At 55 PSI the trailer pulls better and doesn't bounce around so much.
In anything at all, perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away.
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