dustboy's 6 x 12 conversion

Converting Cargo Trailers into TTTs

dustboy's 6 x 12 conversion

Postby dustboy » Fri Jan 11, 2013 9:16 pm

Howdy folks-
I picked up a used 2006 Interstate 6 x 12 a little while back. Its primary purpose is for work, as I own a small custom cabinet shop. However, I love camping, and my wife and young son would come out with me more often if I could keep them warm and dry. Winter is prime camping season here in CA, and if you're willing to take a chance with the weather you can often luck upon a beautiful sunny weekend with no crowds.

So, the plan is to make it a part time camper, while still being able to deliver a kitchen's worth of cabinets.

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She's been around the block a few times, and I'm currently trying to work out a sticky brake.


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The interior will need some cosmetic upgrade, and maybe a few windows. Linoleum, insulation and probably replacement of the lauan. Side door will get a RV-style latch. Otherwise it will be pretty spartan, the only thing I like to do inside the camper is sleep. 8)

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I think this can be accomplished with a removable unit that slides in the back door. This unit will include a galley kitchen toward the back, and folding bunks on the front. Here's a very rough Sketchup drawing of the layout. I (will soon) have a forklift to facilitate the storage/removal/installation of this unit.

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Here are the bunks unfolded. The lower adult bed will fold into a couch, and maybe a pedestal table in front of that. The kids bunk will fold and stow above. Somehow.

My first questions:
-I want the galley to carry 20-30 gallons of fresh water. If the galley unit is self-contained, this will be very uneven weight distribution toward the back (60% of weight forward of the axles, right?). May need to place the tank at the front, even over the tongue?
-What's a good heavy-duty flooring material that can withstand a lot of abuse, yet remain marginally attractive?

Thanks all!
dustboy
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Re: dustboy's 6 x 12 conversion

Postby jwhite » Fri Jan 11, 2013 9:53 pm

after trying and failed with 2 other type flooring I used the enginered flooring from lowes and it looks great I wish I had spent a little more because it looks that good.
my 7x16 trailer cost 100.00 I was going to put it down in my house so this was a trial install,I know they also make a more industrial type for high traffic but I don't know if it's that much better.
If you want something that looks great this is what to use,I am glad I did it.
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Re: dustboy's 6 x 12 conversion

Postby hankaye » Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:54 pm

dustboy, Howdy;

Welcome to the forum.
I like the design you have, only question is
how will you be getting the 'slider' in and out???
Are you just planning on removeing the rear wall and beds
or the whole shebang???

hank
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Re: dustboy's 6 x 12 conversion

Postby dustboy » Sat Jan 12, 2013 12:30 am

Hankaye, I'm imagining a rear wall with the galley on one side and bunk frames on the other. Maybe build it on a custom pallet so the forklift can slide it in and out. Haven't got much further than that, but the interior needs to be wide open in hauling mode.

jwhite, I'll take a look at Lowes. Flooring needs to be as thin as possible, since I'm 6'3" and my head is right at the roof ribs as it is. I'm resigned to stooping a bit inside, the only other option was a custom trailer which is 3x what I paid.

Thanks!
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Re: dustboy's 6 x 12 conversion

Postby hankaye » Sat Jan 12, 2013 11:27 am

dustboy, Howdy;

If you are looking for a thin floor how will it have the strength to
bare the weight of the unit when you lift it in and out. Have to have
room for the forks to get under it and most forks are about 1" to 2"
thick. Interested in your thoughts. :thinking:

hank
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Re: dustboy's 6 x 12 conversion

Postby dustboy » Sun Jan 13, 2013 11:22 am

I'm just talking about laying some linoleum or similar over the ugly plywood floor that's existing. It will have to stand up to the galley unit sliding in and out, and the abuse of many cabinets being dragged around. I think any engineered wood laminate might be too thick, even adding 1/2" to the floor height will impact my standing comfort inside.

I'll also be losing a bit of height when I cover the ceiling, that will probably just be some 1/8" mdf door skin with paint.
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Re: dustboy's 6 x 12 conversion

Postby hankaye » Sun Jan 13, 2013 12:51 pm

dustboy, Howdy;

OK, was just being my usual courious self ... :thinking:

hank
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Re: dustboy's 6 x 12 conversion

Postby dustboy » Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:46 pm

Here is my newest employee, Clark is very strong and good at lifting heavy objects. He's also good at moving my trailer around the parking lot.

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Which means that now I can build a rear galley unit that can easily be added or removed from the trailer. I'm still stuck on the question of where to place the water tank. If I place a tank in the galley unit, that means that ~300 lbs of water will be riding behind the axle, with virtually no other weight in the front.

Where have you all located your fresh water tanks? Am I overthinking the weight distribution?
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Re: dustboy's 6 x 12 conversion

Postby jwhite » Mon Feb 11, 2013 4:16 pm

I put my water tank under the sink and it happens to be right next to the shower,the tank is 16 gallons and I try and use as much as I can to get rid of the weight but that isn't that much to worry with.
I also bought a faucet that has a sprayer nosel for the sink and I can pull it all the way out and it will reach into the shower so I can rinse it out if I need to when I am camping,I haven't done it much but I can if I need to.
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Re: dustboy's 6 x 12 conversion

Postby hankaye » Mon Feb 11, 2013 7:56 pm

dustboy, Howdy;

I think 'Clark' will work out just fine for ya... :thumbsup:

hank
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Re: dustboy's 6 x 12 conversion

Postby dustboy » Tue Feb 12, 2013 7:01 pm

Got started on the sketchup model. There will be some room under the seat, so maybe that's as far forward as I can get the water tank. Got a 21 gallon Valterra tank ordered today, so that's only 175 lbs.

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The wall will be framed in steel to provide a strong backbone for the unit. The beds will rest on rails attached to the trailer walls.
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Re: dustboy's 6 x 12 conversion

Postby dustboy » Sun Mar 10, 2013 9:34 pm

Finally found a little time to get some work done on the trailer.

Fantastic Fan installed toward the front, set into the roof with SikaBond (great stuff!) and screws, caulked with SikaFlex (more great stuff):
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Prewiring done, includes wiring for vent fan, and 4 ceiling lights. Insulation started, 3/4" InsulFoam. Has the added benefit that I don't have to wear my tinfoil hat inside the trailer. Front, corners, and doors still need insulation.
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Window installed on left side. Had to trim the studs a bit, and welded in a cross rail below. Attached window with SikaBond and clamped til dry, caulked outside with SikaFlex.
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I have another identical window for the right side, that will get put in this week.
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Also added a slam latch to the side door and welded on a handle inside to release the latch. The angle-grinder scars are from the P.O., not sure who cut off the lock but they did a sloppy job of it.
Image
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Re: dustboy's 6 x 12 conversion

Postby hankaye » Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:25 pm

dustboy, Howdy;

Don't forget about a latch keeper for the front cam latch, for those times
when you're inside and the friendly kid from the next campsite wants to latch your
door for ya ... just to be helpful ya know...

hank
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Re: dustboy's 6 x 12 conversion

Postby dustboy » Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:09 pm

Good call, Hank..more likely it will be my own kin locking me in.

I've ditched the idea of the wall unit as seen in my earlier posts. My wife pointed out that my son will be sleeping in his Pack 'n Play crib, so we need more floor space and room to get around it.

My new idea is this simple platform, with the galley at the rear. The rear 24" of bed platform can double as countertop when needed, and handily, our Ikea foam futon mattress has a split to fold easily out of the way.

Image

The sink and stove will slide out, uh, on a slide-out, using 42" 500lb drawer slides (PM if you need). Water tank will sit laterally toward the front, and there will be 3 drawers at the front for our clothes (I hate digging through duffel bags for my clothes).

You can see the slots for the lift truck forks.

I think the cooler will also be on slides, in case somebody goes to bed early you can still get at the beer!

The only problems I'm seeing with this plan is that opening the rear doors will expose the trailer's occupants to the elements, and sleeping toddlers to sunlight. Might have to work out a screen and/or curtain.
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Re: dustboy's 6 x 12 conversion

Postby dustboy » Sun Mar 24, 2013 10:03 pm

Had the trailer out on its maiden voyage this weekend, 200 mile round trip to a top-secret camp location off the grid on the Monterey Bay.

Even with the insulation, it got COLD in there. Temps outside dropped into the low 40's, I don't think it was any warmer inside.

I haven't put up the plywood on the ceiling yet, I'm hoping that will make a difference, somehow. I might add another layer of thin foam before I do.

Otherwise, all was good, the insulation definitely does a good job of insulating from outside noise. My son slept well even though we were hooting and banging on our guitars around the campfire.

I hope to get rolling on the galley/bed unit this week.
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