Hi from Missoula, MT

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Hi from Missoula, MT

Postby xbiker423 » Thu Feb 15, 2018 11:01 pm

Hey All-

Just like nearly everyone here, I'm a long time lurker. I am not really sure when I first learned about TDs, but I think it was around spring 2013 because my girlfriend and I drove cross country that summer (visiting National Parks) and I distinctly remember making a point to see if we could find any TDs. I recall passing one somewhere in WY and it was red and beautiful and being towed by a mkv VW TDI wagon (I have an 03 TDI wagon).

Anyway. The time has come where I'm ready to take planning seriously. So seriously, in fact, that I have a few TD items in my possession: a Fantastic Fan, side marker lights, a third brake light, a hurricane hinge, a new router and a piece of birch plywood to start cutting up for some woodworking practice (never done it before...). I also have a sort-of profile cut out on a piece of 1/4 ply.

My first goal is to get a trailer built (roughly 5x9). I am not a welder (though I'd like to be - it's on my to-do list) so I am going to have someone weld it for me. My goal is to keep the total trailer width to 79" or less, so I don't have to run additional markers on the fenders and the three lights on the top. Also, a narrower trailer will fit better behind my TV. North American towing restrictions put a 1,000# tow limit on my car, so weight conservation is also on my radar. I did two a 5x8 uHaul box trailer from NH to MT this summer and I just learned that the empty trailer is 900# (according to the uHaul website). My car didn't even notice when it was behind me. I did notice the trailer when it was fully loaded - so I was aware of my speed and following distance and took appropriate precautions. Back to the frame. I am thinking of building along the lines of the Atma Travelear frame, with a few modifications.
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Question time:

1) What type of steel should be used? Mild?
2) How are you all mounting your spare tires under the trailer (I would like to do this because I'm planning on having a bike rack set-up on the tongue so this is both the next logical place and will help balance out the tongue weight)?
3) I can't seem to access the trailer tongue page, but can I substitute 2x2x11ga angle for the two legs of the A Frame tongue (I'm planning on having a center tongue (2x2x11ga) run to the second cross member)? I seem to recall reading somewhere that the tongue bracing doesn't really increase the strength, it just prevents it from twisting.
4) Mitered corners-vs-butts. Should this be decided by my welder?
5) I feel like this will result in many opinions, but... what/how do you recommend painting the frame? Clean it with mineral spirits and then a self-etching primer?

General construction plan:
Floor is 1/8 sandwich with 1x poplar framing and 3/4 insulation (same for walls)
Profile... oh, profile. Simplicity (and what's on the 1/4 ply) is a Benroy-ish shape (24" radius on front). Pic will come later, I think I have one... I am not in love with the Jelly Bean profile, though I do like the Teardrop NW profile:
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and I also like the Silver Shadow profile as well. Why 9'? We want to have our Coleman cooler tucked in lengthwise, and we also have a Chocolate lab who will have to sleep in the TD when it's cooler outside. We're hoping to camp more into the shoulder seasons with the TD than what we do with the tent.

I plan on skinning with FG and epoxy, something I've never done but I'll practice on the underside of the floor first. I'm thinking 6oz. cloth. I'd like to finish the interior with a Danish oil finish, as I feel that putting poly on everything will make sound echo and it will feel "cold".

The only part of the electrical which I am still trying to figure out is how to charge the TD battery while I'm driving. I initially was thinking of running 12v back from the TV and tying it in to an inverter, which is then tied to a Noco genius 7.2 amp charger. I realize there are inefficiencies with this system, however, I need a charger regardless. Plan B is to run 12v back from the TV in to a solar controller, which I can then modify to also run off of solar when at camp (later down the road). Thoughts?

I am still waffling back and forth between a Frederick or not style hatch seal. I haven't made up my mind yet. That's one of the biggest hurdles, actually. How am I going to end the back of the hatch?
xbiker423
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Re: Hi from Missoula, MT

Postby tony.latham » Thu Feb 15, 2018 11:28 pm

X:

Boy howdy--your wheels are turning.

I'm three hours south of you. The only thing that jumped at me in your opening statement was this:

I'd like to finish the interior with a Danish oil finish, as I feel that putting poly on everything will make sound echo and it will feel "cold".


Even with your planned sandwiched walls, you can expect some condensation from time to time --especially on the shoulder seasons when you might be tempted to close your ventilation down. I just don't think Danish oil will seal well enough.

My first teardrop was a factory Hunter. Straight plywood walls. On cold nights it sweated like a wrestler. The shellac finish didn't do well and I had to sand it down and poly it.

Sandwiched walls are dead quiet so don't worry about an echo. I suppose satin poly could feel cold. But they sure look nice and warm.

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And I vote for a Fredrick's style hatch.

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No dust, water or spring back. :thumbsup:


Tony :beer:
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Re: Hi from Missoula, MT

Postby Vedette » Fri Feb 16, 2018 1:12 am

I read your introduction and love your enthusiasm! :thumbsup:
BUT.......and not to rain on your parade.
Reading between the lines, it sounds like you have done a lot of homework, become acquainted with all of the terms,
dreamt over and over about what you want to build, pictured yourself out camping in it, etc. etc.
But, even though it might sound romantic and cheaper for you to build your own TD Trailer, you sound young enough not to have
mastered the skills or possess the tool, equipment, or knowledge of their use, to undertake a project of this magnitude.
If you really like camping and traveling........BUY the trailer that you feel suits your needs and is ascetically pleasing to you, and save yourself the
aggravation, and money that you "Will" encounter if you go head as planned in your mind.
Sorry for being honest with you, and this is only my opinion.........so take it as you will.
But do remember it 3 years from today!
Good Roads
Brian & Sandi
Good Roads
Brian & Sandi
Here is a link to my Build Journal
viewtopic.php?f=50&t=50912
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Re: Hi from Missoula, MT

Postby tony.latham » Fri Feb 16, 2018 10:42 am

I am still waffling back and forth between a Frederick or not style hatch seal.


I just re-read your post. Have you gotten a copy of Fredrick's Shop Manual?

Tony
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Re: Hi from Missoula, MT

Postby xbiker423 » Fri Feb 16, 2018 10:43 am

tony.latham wrote:X:

Boy howdy--your wheels are turning. (snip)...


Thanks, Tony, for the advice and real life experience re: condensation. I've been trying to figure that one out and it sounds like poly is the way to go. I have a table I built last fall and finished it in poly so I have some familiarity with it. I also know you're an advocate for the Frederick style hatch so I figured that would be your vote. I think I like his design better, overall, and I also think I understand the actual construction of it. It's the mating of the bottom surfaces which has me perplexed now. I also have a copy of his manual, yes.

Vedette wrote:I read your introduction and love your enthusiasm! :thumbsup:
BUT.......and not to rain on your parade...(snip)


Thanks for echoing the already loud voice in my head. I will take your feedback in to consideration, whether it's to skip the project all together or to do a simpler plan as a "first build" and learning experience.
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Re: Hi from Missoula, MT

Postby Dan242 » Sat Feb 17, 2018 10:07 am

If all goes according to plan, i will be moving to Superior in a few months, Nice to know other TT addicts are close by
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