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From Virginia - Finally ordered my CT

PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2014 7:38 pm
by lrrowe
After looking at trailers and following this great forum for about 18 months now, I finally ordered my CT yesterday. I will use this posting to document describe the trailer and my plans, but I will create another one or modify the title for this one as time goes on to share the build process.

After reading all the great posts from others on their trailers, after researching many brands and then taking into consideration a lot of other issues, I went with a Car-Mate 6 x 14 Custom Cargo. I added an extra 6" to the height for a total interior height of 6', 6". Here in Virginia, I seemed to have a small selection of brands to go look at. I will not compare the quality of mine to other forum member choices as that is just not a good thing to do. Everyone makes their decisions based on what they see and what is important to them. I just looked at what I could, read and absorbed what others wrote about their CT's, talked or emailed with dealers and manufacturers, worked the calculator, reviewed what my goals and needs are and then went from there.

Here is a photo of a similar model, although I do not think this one looks 14 feet long. And I selected a silver color over white. I wanted to stay light in color as I was sensitive to the heat absorption issues, but I wanted something different then white. Also matching my TV's color was important to me. I guess time will tell if I made a good decision. But one thing in my favor is that since I mostly will camp in the eastern states, I will not have the same issues as you western campers have when it comes to both high temps and large temp swings in the same 24 hours.

It will have a 6000 lb Dexter Torsion axle rated at 5000 lbs by the builder. Electric brakes are self adjust and it will have EZ lube. Tires will be 225's.

I ordered two ceiling vent framing for my adding vents myself later. I ordered an 32" RV door and specified the threshold be 1 1/2 inches higher then normal so I can add insulation to the inside floor with sleepers and then 3/4 (or maybe less) plywood top flooring. I think this will give me a good insulation benefit. CM will raise the door and leave the threshold strip loose in the trailer.

I wanted screwless siding, but had to give this up if I wanted to easily be able to do my own insulation of the sides. The reason is interesting. CM builds their trailers using either wood or steel uprights (steel is the higher priced option). I am taking a lead from Jerry from OTTCT and his successes with wood. Their mounting of the interior paneling is done with glue and staples. The fit was precise on the model I looked at. For me to take the plywood off so as to be able to add insulation and windows would have been very difficult and would destroy the plywood. If I wanted screws used, I had to go to steel uprights and that would have added about $400 to the cost. Decisions, decisions and then optional ways to do something; very frustrating.

But I could go with the plywood on the outside with screwed aluminum exterior paneling and the trailer would come to me ready to be insulated on the inside (means nothing added to the walls by CM).

Jerry, I know you have the plywood on the exterior and with screwless siding. But your trailer broke the mold so to speak. They had so much trouble producing yours correctly (did it over three times) that they said "no more." So it looks like you got the first and last trailer made this way. They remembered you.

I justified the wood uprights despite many other concerns about moisture issues by recognizing these points:
- If there is really an issue, the trailer will still probably out last me. So if I take some building precautions, then this becomes less of an issue for me.
- I believe the wood uprights will produce better "thermal bridging" numbers then will steel, so for me, that is a plus. I do not want to lose any more interior width which would happen if I added more insulation to the surfaces of the uprights. I need every fraction of an inch for the interior width.
- I am going to think out how I might keep my eye on mold issues and fix any unlikely issue before it becomes an issue. This also includes understanding better the feasibility of adding moisture barriers. One thing in my favor as of this writing is that while I will have heat in the trailer, most likely I will not run it at night while sleeping. Also the vent will most likely be cracked open at night. In my house for most of the winter months, my wife and I sleep with the windows open and heat off for the bedroom. So this is not a new technique for me.
- And they were lower in price (over steel from CM) which helped with the total on the bottom of the order.

I expect delivery in about 6 to 8 weeks depending on the availability of a 32" RV door as 36" is what they normally stock I think.
This amount of time is actually good for me. Because of my back issues and surgery in May, I am way behind in house and yard chores. I need the time to catch up. Also I can think more about what items I will add now and what will wait til later. For those "now" items, I can start to accumulate them now (wire, insulation, wood, electrical and plumbing stuff, etc).

I have more to comment on, but will do that later.

Re: From Virginia - Finally ordered my CT

PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2014 8:30 pm
by Rainier70
Congratulations. I hope the delivery and build are quick so you can get out camping soon.

Re: From Virginia - Finally ordered my CT

PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2014 8:50 pm
by lrrowe
Thanks Cindy,
I agree, it will be good timing as the woods start their change here in the East in Sept/Oct.
My first priority will be to make it ready for hunting season. Then I work on #2 priority and that is to have it ready for my wife to enjoy and to allow us to become Snowbirds and try surviving in Florida during the better part of February.

Re: From Virginia - Finally ordered my CT

PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2014 8:59 pm
by OverTheTopCargoTrailer
YEA BOB .......

So i guess you have a screwed exterior with plywood on the interior ? If I understood correctly thats because I broke the mold !! That's both funny and sad...., because from what they said putting plywood on the exterior screwless was no problem when I ordered and they never mentioned the hassle latter. We did drill some holes into house walls and filled them with foam - so you might find a guy for that with non expanding foam, since a guy here finally broke the myth that some with no knowledge spread so freely.

I'm glad you got some of the other options...... You can never go broke on good quality & I'll most likely be dead also before mine wears out - but I would like to get 100,000 miles out of it !! If I could loose some weight & improve my health I'd like to go for version 3.0 :lol: :lol: :lol: if not I'm gonna add another 700 to 1,000 watts solar to the side. I love the Lithium batteries worth every penny :thumbsup:

My new 9,000 mini split ran great on 10 min test but I made 2 bad flair fitting so it had a little leak, had to do a pump down & will solder on some new ones tomorrow hopefully. Got some advice from my AC guru today, I just had to drop a little tribute into his cash register :beer: Hopefully trailer won't burn down :thinking:

I had to find a new PCP yesterday - so the "Great White Wizard" at urgent care ( A Doctor older then Moses) would not give me more then 30 BP pills , so I told him I did not want a new PCP unless she was as sweet as Nutela & as beautiful as Aishwarya , knowing that this request was a impossible task, well he pulled out some business cards & came damn close. So I was joking with her about how she became my new PCP, she is Indian doctor nice looking about 40-50 , so pretty close.

Cheers Jerry

Re: From Virginia - Finally ordered my CT

PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2014 9:25 pm
by lrrowe
No, screwed with plywood on exterior. :) I hope it was a good decision.
I definitely will add solar, but not for phase one. Phase one gives me a hunting sleeping place in November that is safe from all the bears that seem to be more plentiful here these days. And when I do go solar, probably four 6v flooded cells will be all the budget will stand. My goal will be to add them before I hopefully can winter over down in FLA in Feb.

Re: From Virginia - Finally ordered my CT

PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2014 10:05 am
by hankaye
lrrowe, Howdy;

Looks like you've put in the skull-work about what you want,
looking forward to seeing what you do with it. Congratulations!


Re: From Virginia - Finally ordered my CT

PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2014 12:56 pm
by lrrowe
Yes Hank,
I know what I want to do, but there are plenty of areas where I will be looking for advice or help such as with the electrical side of it and with several heating ideas I have. On the electrical side, I plan on ultimately having a solar power and want to put in the basics which will save much work and maybe some dollars later.

For heat, I have at least three concepts to think and talk about.
1) is to use an Atwood 6 gal propane heater with the built in heat exchanger. This is pretty much a given that I will go after one of these. Then I will think about running hot water through finned exchanger with fans. I might also think about putting Pex tubing in the insulated sub floor I will make. And then there is OTTCT's radiant heat tank.

2). The second or even later option for heat is to use the Platinum Cat heater.

3) And third and the least desirable option to me is a furnace such as Attwood's RV model. This is about the same price as the Platinum Cat heater but less flexible to me.

Re: From Virginia - Finally ordered my CT

PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2014 7:27 pm
by OverTheTopCargoTrailer
Option 4 just drop 12 bennies on a 9 k mini split & heat pump
Heating and cooling in stealth mode ......
Will run on a Honda 2000 no sweat
If you heard mine run - its love at first ice cold blast

Cheers OTTCT

Re: From Virginia - Finally ordered my CT

PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2014 7:50 pm
by lrrowe
A few I just googled shows 220/240 volt with 7.5 amps, 9K BTU at $900 or 110V, 19 amps.
High amperage drain.
Then unless you know how to handle refrigerant, one needs professional installation.

Then I would still have to get a water heater, maybe an "Instant On" unit for several hundred more. And to dry camp, I need to copy your system or something like it or keep the generator going. Way too much for me.

This might be outside of my scope and budget, but please keep the ideas flowing.


Re: From Virginia - Finally ordered my CT

PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2014 12:01 am
by OverTheTopCargoTrailer
lrrowe wrote:A few I just googled shows 220/240 volt with 7.5 amps, 9K BTU at $900 or 110V, 19 amps.
High amperage drain.


Your dead wrong , mine has soft start 200 watts then slowly goes to 700 max within 30 seconds.
120 volts 6.75 amps - super quiet. WITH HEAT PUMP Only 12 Benjamin's :lol: :lol: :lol:
Just hook it up and ready to go ..... Anyone can do it - soooooooooooo simple.


Re: From Virginia - Finally ordered my CT

PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2014 6:37 pm
by lrrowe
I welcome any inputs for this question either tonight or tomorrow morning(EST).
I am having a hard time trying to decide if I want to add 2" to my ground clearance. I can do this by having the Torsion Axle moved from the neutral position to. 22.5 degree down angle for the torsion arm. There may be an additional charge for this change.

Right now the platform height is 19". Subtracting 4" for the frame tubing and 3/4" for the plywood floor that leaves a calculated clearance for the frame of 14 1/4". An added 2" results in a 16 1/4" clearance.

What have others done? I will not be going off road but will go on Forest Service gravel roads and sometimes setting up in primitive sites. Also I will add plumbing someday for the shower to the under carriage.

I must advise the dealer on my decision tomorrow morning. My inclination right now is to leave things alone and not add the change to my order.

Re: From Virginia - Finally ordered my CT

PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2014 7:10 pm
by OverTheTopCargoTrailer

I had hard time getting them to change that to -22.5 deg , it's still pretty high as it is.
The factory dexter does not charge extra just CM makes new drawings for you to approve
With me they really did not wanna change.

Re: From Virginia - Finally ordered my CT

PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2014 7:46 pm
by lrrowe
I am not sure from your note. Did you get 22.5?
If yes, what was the actual clearance for you when done? Is it possible to measure yours?
And yes, this will all go towards a drawing for me to approve.

Re: From Virginia - Finally ordered my CT

PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2014 9:32 pm
by OverTheTopCargoTrailer
Hi bob

No I did not get -22.5 I got the standard I think + 15 or +22.5
And they did want maybe $250 extra for -22.5 when it's Free from Dexter

I asked them about it & that I know it did not cost more -
I think they want more money for the drawing & special order / handling ..... Hassle & stocking etc
I would guess it will increase you build time to 8 weeks also, mine was done in 3 weeks

If you get the 5,000 axel - your finished weight should be 3,500 - 4,000 to get the best ride
But even empty my towes like a ghost.

My current clearance fully loaded is 12"

Cheers OTTCT

Re: From Virginia - Finally ordered my CT

PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2014 2:29 pm
by lrrowe
Thanks Jerry,

I went with it....22.5 degree (do not know whether to say + or - position) to give me two more inches of ground clearance to the frame. With some travels and parking off road and with the very likely possibility that I will run some drain pipes (even if only for the shower), I pulled the trigger on this question.