6x12 Interstate cargo trailer conversion

Converting Cargo Trailers into TTTs

6x12 Interstate cargo trailer conversion

Postby rxberg » Mon Apr 03, 2017 3:44 pm

Jan 21st

After perusing countless teardrop builds on this forum, I've been unable to convince my wife to let me build one. Enter our upcoming Yellowstone vacation. After crunching the numbers between hotels, RV sites, and fuel economy, I convinced her that we could take $700 from the vacation budget and put it towards a camping trailer.

Our main wants for a camping trailer included the following:
* small, lightweight, & easy to tow
* able to fit an actual queen pillow-top mattress (king would be great, but see above)
* some kind of kitchen area
* lots of storage space for our camping gear
* budget friendly
* somewhat stealthy for parking lot camping

Because we couldn't find anything commercially available that suited our needs, we decided to convert a cargo trailer. After quite a bit of research and looking around, we decided on an Interstate LoadRunner trailer we found on sale from our local dealer.


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Last edited by rxberg on Mon Apr 03, 2017 9:58 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: 6x12 Interstate Cargo Conversion Build

Postby Iconfabul8 » Mon Apr 03, 2017 4:00 pm

Nice! looking forward to the build. Post lots of pics :pictures:
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January 27th

Postby rxberg » Mon Apr 03, 2017 4:02 pm

I forgot to take a "before" photo of the inside, since I wanted to get started as soon as possible. Here's the closest thing I have (after taking down a section of plywood and taping off furniture dimensions)
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The first night after work, I got 5 pieces of insulation in, and was thinking it'd go quickly

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A week or two of battling Murphy's Law proved that wrong
Last edited by rxberg on Mon Apr 03, 2017 9:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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January 29th - February 2nd

Postby rxberg » Mon Apr 03, 2017 4:07 pm

I got some help from the wife on Sunday, so I took a break from insulating to run some wire and put in some electrical boxes
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Then straight back to insulating
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February 4th & 5th

Postby rxberg » Mon Apr 03, 2017 4:58 pm

Tired of insulating, I decided to work on the front cabinet to try to figure out how to make it work.
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The next day I started working on the bed and bench combo. We decided to make a murphy bed and to use the plywood base as the back to a bench when the bed is up. Here is where the bed will rest in the up position and the bench. The top of the bench will have removable cushions and will function as support for the bed when it is down. (which is why the bench is 3/4" shorter than the bed platform) We will also be using the area under the bench for storage.

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In between helping me with the bench, my wife put a coat of primer on the floor.
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February 10th

Postby rxberg » Mon Apr 03, 2017 7:44 pm

Another day off gave me a chance to cut some holes in the trailer. I'd been putting this off because it's a little disconcerting cutting holes in a new trailer you just bought. Oh well - onward. I installed the exterior outlet and the porch light (disregard the smudges- I need to replace my phone camera lens)
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then went to the other side and cut a hole for the 30A plug
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February 18th & 19th

Postby rxberg » Mon Apr 03, 2017 7:52 pm

We decided to put the batteries in the front cabinet, and since the left side will be enclosed, I fashioned a battery sled that allows me to pull the batteries out to work on or replace them yet still holds them in place. It's a heavy SOB, but I can manage to lift and pull it out as long as I've had my morning Wheaties.

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We decided to build the front two cabinets to fit the front curves of the trailer. Eight hours later, I was seriously regretting this decision, and vowed to never again make any non-square cabinet... The gap in the middle of the two cabinets will eventually be where we hang up our clothes.

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February 21st

Postby rxberg » Mon Apr 03, 2017 8:04 pm

While Lynne spent some time priming everything, I started on the cabinet that will house our electrical power center, this air conditioner, and I dunno...probably towels? After much assistance getting it glued and screwed, this is what we ended up with:

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February 24th

Postby rxberg » Mon Apr 03, 2017 8:16 pm

With my power center cabinet in place, it was finally time to bring some life to this trailer. I spent the morning stripping wire and hooking up breakers and fuses. Image
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It's ALIVE!
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and you might also notice in the above photo that I spent an hour or two installing a couple ceiling panels. I don't really want to talk about that right now...
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February 26th

Postby rxberg » Mon Apr 03, 2017 8:52 pm

Apparently I worked on the trailer for a day or two and was too tired to take pictures. We built a cabinet for the back for my tailgating table and various camping gear and attached it to the power center cabinet with some pocket holes.



Next up, we decided to tackle the kitchen cabinets. I would love to have been able to buy some cabinets, but since we really want to be able to use the counter from both the inside and outside, everything was much too tall. We built them around 2ft tall, which gives a counter from the outside (on level ground) a height of about 41". We plan on kneeling or sitting on the bench to use the kitchen from the inside for the few times we stealth camp in a parking lot overnight.

We finally agreed on version 27.1.1 of kitchen cabinet design and got to work. We found this countertop at our local Habitat for Humanity Restore and picked it up for a luxuriously priced $8. They even threw in the dust for free

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We put the cabinet in the trailer (which was quite the ordeal) and set it up like we are planning to use it to make sure everything fits and looks ok.
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hey, look - there's that previously undocumented cabinet on the left
Last edited by rxberg on Mon Apr 03, 2017 9:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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March 5th

Postby rxberg » Mon Apr 03, 2017 9:26 pm

Since Lynne didn't love the way the ceiling boards looked and since I admit the installation wasn't my best work, I took them back out and we made a run to the local big box store to find something else to use. We settled on some paneling, and also picked up some different screws to complete the look.

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She liked the look much better, and I'll admit that the result was worth the extra effort.

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Re: 6x12 Interstate cargo trailer conversion

Postby McDave » Tue Apr 04, 2017 6:27 am

:applause: ... :applause: ... :applause:
Very nice! I like the way you used logic to justify the creative financing plan. I've tried that before, Got the eyeroll/headshake. Didn't take it as a No, however. Did what I wanted, paid the price.
Well you got quite a lot knocked out already. Very nice of the Mrs. to get involved. You're gonna love Yellowstone, I been there a dozen times and am still blown away. Amazing and Beautiful. I don't know your plan but Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons are not very far, also the Beartooth Mountains in Montana/Wyoming are just about an hour from Gardner, (West Entrance/Exit to park) and you can visit Red Lodge, Mt. and Cody, Wy. I tried to get a good look at your avatar, I'm thinkin' Harley? Put that baby in the trailer, you won't regret it. The Beartooth Hwy and Chief Joseph Hwy loop is the number 1 motorcycling road in North America. Also, the Beartooth Rally and Ironhorse Rodeo in Red Lodge is usually the third weekend of July, Great time. If you need more info, just ask.
Alrighty then, Great start on that trailer. Keep up the good work.

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Re: 6x12 Interstate cargo trailer conversion

Postby rxberg » Tue Apr 04, 2017 2:10 pm

McDave wrote:Very nice! I like the way you used logic to justify the creative financing plan. I've tried that before, Got the eyeroll/headshake. Didn't take it as a No, however. Did what I wanted, paid the price.
Well you got quite a lot knocked out already. Very nice of the Mrs. to get involved. You're gonna love Yellowstone, I been there a dozen times and am still blown away. Amazing and Beautiful. I don't know your plan but Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons are not very far, also the Beartooth Mountains in Montana/Wyoming are just about an hour from Gardner, (West Entrance/Exit to park) and you can visit Red Lodge, Mt. and Cody, Wy. I tried to get a good look at your avatar, I'm thinkin' Harley? Put that baby in the trailer, you won't regret it. The Beartooth Hwy and Chief Joseph Hwy loop is the number 1 motorcycling road in North America. Also, the Beartooth Rally and Ironhorse Rodeo in Red Lodge is usually the third weekend of July, Great time. If you need more info, just ask.
Alrighty then, Great start on that trailer. Keep up the good work.

McDave



Thanks! I've still got about a month of work to put in the thread, but unfortunately things have slowed down a bit lately as far as the build goes. Hopefully we can pick up the pace and get it mostly there by our mid-May trip.

I think the fund allocation argument only went so far - it was mainly that I told her I'd sell the Road King that convinced her. She's not a huge fan of motorcycles, and the five or six times a year I get to ride it just don't make the cost or storage room worth keeping it. I'm still working on convincing her that riding in a side-car is safer so I can get a Ural...though admittedly without much success.

We're really looking forward to Yellowstone! We're driving from Missouri, so we're hitting up Rocky Mt. National Park and the Grand Tetons on the way, then Devi's Tower, Wind Cave, Mt. Rushmore, & The Badlands on the way back. We've got a pretty full trip planned, but if we find some time we'll definitely have to check out Beartooth. Thanks for the suggestions!
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March 9th & 10th

Postby rxberg » Tue Apr 04, 2017 3:39 pm

With a trip to my parents' coming up, we figured it would be a perfect time to bring the trailer and try it out for a couple nights while it was still cold enough to test the propane and electric heat. That being said, we had a few things to get done before the trailer was usable, so I spent a couple days off getting as much done as possible.

I attached the 3/4" sheet of plywood to the bench we made with three heavy duty hinges then installed the leg and leg bracket. I used a couple click into place table leg brackets that seem to work pretty well.
With a Herculean effort I probably couldn't replicate, I carried the mattress from our shed out back around the house and put it in the trailer. And then I rested..and drank a beer.
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I installed a slide bolt to lock the bed in place when it is up. I'll put one on both sides when I get the front cabinet face frame finished and can find a good spot to drill a hole. The leg folds up, and helps hide the top of the mattress. I was figuring to cover it in plywood, but Lynne was fine with it like it is for now.

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Re: 6x12 Interstate cargo trailer conversion

Postby McDave » Tue Apr 04, 2017 4:08 pm

Missour a, Well you're gonna hafta Showme you're serious bout sellin the King. That don't even sound right. And yea, I'll just bet you are dyin' to get a Ural, but sidehacks are cool. In fact there is a guy here in Tinytown that has one w/hack. He's an odd Duck but has all kinds of cool toys. So listen, gimme the stats on the King, yr, miles,$$$, town etc. and maybe a pic or two. I got lots O'Peeps. Also, if you want to PM me I'll give you my #'s, If you need anything, or roadside assistance etc. your return trip is my stompin grounds. In fact, the third full weekend in May,18,19,20,21, we have the "World Famous Buckin' Horse Sale", AKA "The Cowboy Mardi Gras" in our town. Pretty good Rodeo and One Hell of Party, they just close off Main St. and let em' run amuck for a few (sometimes more) days. Keep that in your back pocket, a little surprize for Mama? But regardless of the date, if you are comin across SE Montana headin for Devil's Tower or Badlands, Let me know, I know of a couple good joints, I'd gladly buy ya a cold one, or two. And if ya need help etc.
If you're going past Billing's MT, you are basically at Beartooth, but you don't want to tow anything up there. Google Beartooth Hwy, you will see what I mean. There will still be 15-20 feet of snow at that time of year. And, Oh ya, I can just about gar-ron-tee you will get snowed on at some point, so prepare accordingly. Here's some Beartooth pics.
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Holla back,
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