Tucson tortoise

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Re: Tucson tortoise

Postby noseoil » Sat Jul 01, 2017 5:18 pm

With apologies, but Photobucket wants $400 a year to provide 3rd party posting of pictures on the site. I will not pay them that amount of money, so I hope you've all enjoyed the build! Thanks, best, tim
Build log: viewtopic.php?f=50&t=60248
The time you spend planning is more important than the time you spend building.........

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Re: Tucson tortoise

Postby Sheddie » Sun Jul 02, 2017 4:38 am

Ouch.
Hi Tim, sorry to see all the photos go off all your posts, although I see there are still a lot on your Gallery.
We are with dropbox, I hope they don't come up with the same ideas.
Image
Yah! looks like that worked.
I didn't think it was right that there wasn't a photo of your beautiful Tear Drop on your Journal. :thumbsup:
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Re: Tucson tortoise

Postby noseoil » Thu Apr 05, 2018 6:20 pm

Update after a while away. We now have 13,000 miles of towing & I finally weighed this thing at a friend's business scale. Thinking I should call her "Miss Piggy" at this point, since it's tipping the scales at 1660# empty!

I decided to get a better axle setup with a 3500# rating, springs & 10" drum brakes. I called around & had a friend suggest his place up in Phoenix. For anyone in that area, Deer Valley Trailer is very good. Ask for Dan & let him figure the job for you. The new axle, springs, brakes, break-away switch, welding & installation was $600 out the door. It's a great place to do business with & I can't recommend them enough.

Here's the old setup with 2000# axle & springs, just a bit over an inch of movement from axle to frame, which was cutting things pretty close.
Image[/url]

Here's the new setup in place. Still need to install the brake controller, but that's about it.
Image[/url]
Build log: viewtopic.php?f=50&t=60248
The time you spend planning is more important than the time you spend building.........

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Re: Tucson tortoise

Postby KCStudly » Fri Apr 06, 2018 1:39 pm

Good to hear from you! That's a lot of miles.

How does she ride now?
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Re: Tucson tortoise

Postby working on it » Fri Apr 06, 2018 3:18 pm

noseoil wrote:Update after a while away. We now have 13,000 miles of towing & I finally weighed this thing at a friend's business scale. Thinking I should call her "Miss Piggy" at this point, since it's tipping the scales at 1660# empty!

I decided to get a better axle setup with a 3500# rating, springs & 10" drum brakes. I called around & had a friend suggest his place up in Phoenix. For anyone in that area, Deer Valley Trailer is very good. Ask for Dan & let him figure the job for you. The new axle, springs, brakes, break-away switch, welding & installation was $600 out the door. It's a great place to do business with & I can't recommend them enough.

Here's the old setup with 2000# axle & springs, just a bit over an inch of movement from axle to frame, which was cutting things pretty close.
Image[/url]

Here's the new setup in place. Still need to install the brake controller, but that's about it.
Image[/url]
  • Your trailer isn't all that heavy...my 4x8 is now at 2025 lbs loaded weight! Besides, you'd have to call it something other than "Miss Piggy"; Vedette already named his creation that.
  • When I changed out my original, inadequate axle, to a much stronger Dexter 3500 lb axle w/brakes, with all new springs/hangers/hardware, and lots of steel for frame reinforcement, I spent more than the $600 you did, and the welding work was amatuer-ish (me), though it seems to be durable, so far. I called two local, mobile welder services,vasking for their estimate, and both said $300-500, just for the few welds needed (for my plan to come together, with two sub-assemblies bolted/welded onto the existing frame). A welding shop said they would do it, but not to my design, for $500, and there would be 2 week wait to start it. No parts included, in any estimate. I had already taken off the old axle and removed the (one torn-off) spring hangers at that point, so I probably couldn't have transported the axle-less TTT to their shop, anyway. And I had a trip planned in less than a month, so I had to do the work myself.
  • I ended up buying a welding machine (actually two, but that's another story) and welded the sub-assemblies myself, while learning to weld at the same time (all my previous welding was done with an expert present; this was my first solo project, at home). So, I ended up with a $325 axle, $100 for springs/hangers/grade 8 hardware, $75-100 for frame reinforcing steel, and nearly $400 in welding machines and peripheral equipment. Totalling nearly $900, overall (my best guess, CRS in effect!). And I spent many, many hours in designing, measuring, parts shopping, laboring, and worrying about this axle upgrade. It consumed my waking hours for a month, and I dreamed about it constantly, too. Who knows the amount of time I spent on it??? So, in retrospect, I surely wish that I had been able to get the work done, by a pro, and get a turn-key upgrade s you did, for such a good price! Color me envious. :applause:
2013 HHRv"squareback/simple" TTT, semi-offroad? 4x8, 2000+ lbs travel weight
  • 3500 lb Dexter axle w/brakes,
  • 27x8.5-14LT all-terrain tires,
  • LED lighting in/out,
  • A/C & heat, Optima AGM battery,
  • extended-run 2500w generator,
  • Coleman dual-fuel stove & lantern,
  • zinc/stainless steel front rack
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Re: Tucson tortoise

Postby noseoil » Fri Apr 06, 2018 3:45 pm

Yep, best to go with a pro, to be sure.

Figured I could bang out the controller this morning & be done in an hour, WRONG! 3rd brake light for the hatch was something I had forgotten about, so I'm having to run one more wire to the front & tongue box as the signal for the controller. Will take a picture of the controller location when it's finished & working.

Hi KC, it rides pretty well so far & long time no see. Definitely stiffer than before, but I think overall the ride is a bit more stable & firmer. It doesn't seem to be harsh, but we'll have to see what a dirt road feels like at some point. The extra couple of inches in height are fine, profile in the rear view mirror is slightly taller, but it's OK. Yep, we've put a few miles on it since the build was done (is it ever really done?) but have really enjoyed travelling & meeting lots of new people. We went to Why, Arizona for a meet earlier this year, then over to Lake Perris in California, last weekend found us at Lake Pleasant above Phoenix for the Rockabilly Bash & later this month we're heading to Lake Patagonia, which is south of Tucson a few miles.

We've been really fortunate to have had good luck with the trailer, so hoping the new axle setup with brakes will make things even better for towing in the mountains. Still need to plan a summer trip to the high country (Colorado maybe?) & I will probably head over to Bonneville again this year to watch the racing...
Build log: viewtopic.php?f=50&t=60248
The time you spend planning is more important than the time you spend building.........

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Re: Tucson tortoise

Postby noseoil » Sat Apr 07, 2018 2:15 pm

OK, the system is installed & working now! Had to run an extra wire from the back area (behind the TV set) up to the tongue box to get a proper signal for the brake controller. The wiring was set up for the 3rd brake light & it seemed better than using a circuit with a turn signal attached to it. PITA, but it's done now. I pull the fuse from the hot line when it's parked (it's using the trailer battery & wiring, not the truck system) then just put the fuse back in when it's ready to tow again. The solar panel keeps everything supplied with power, so it's all good. I did have to flip the hitch over & set the ball at a different height, but it was a simple change to make. We're towing about 2 1/2" higher now with the extra clearance at the axle, but it's better & I don't cringe when I see some of the potholes & bumps we have to drive around & over on our journeys.

What a difference it makes to have brakes on the trailer, it's much better with the extra stopping power! Did a small amount of adjusting at the controller to set it up, but it seems to be working properly now. It always felt like a big hand was pushing on the the back of the truck without the trailer brakes, but now it feels more like a passenger car when stopping. 100% improvement over what it was in comfort & peace of mind. Anyone thinking about doing this would be well served to have the extra stopping power, especially in mountains & city traffic (Phoenix comes to mind, it's chaos towing through there).

Also, a shout out to "Sheddie" for mentioning his setup for the brake controller. He has more than one vehicle he uses for towing, depending on where he's going & what he needs to do. I asked him about having to set up multiple vehicles with brake controllers, but his answer was simple, just put it in the trailer then it doesn't matter. It was so simple I would probably have missed it completely.

Here's where the 3rd brake light circuit is located. It's the module with the red wire at the top-left & now splits for the 3rd brake light (green wire) & the signal for the brake controller (pink wire).
Image

Here's the tongue box, with a board to mount the controller & the wiring going into the 7 pin harness box. I did a soldered splice inside the box for the signal wire to the controller. Everything gets solder & heat shrink tubing, then it's good.
Image

Looking forward to the next trip & a few hills to sort things out a bit & see how it works.
Build log: viewtopic.php?f=50&t=60248
The time you spend planning is more important than the time you spend building.........

[img]http://www.tnttt.com/gallery/image_page.php?album_id=4138&image_id=137880[img]
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Re: Tucson tortoise

Postby dales133 » Sat Apr 07, 2018 10:25 pm

That's some serious miles mate.
Good to hear things are going well with it.
I went for breaks and 1850kg axle right of the bat because I was expecting mine to be on the heavy side.

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Re: Tucson tortoise

Postby noseoil » Sun Apr 08, 2018 7:43 am

I didn't plan on making it this heavy, but it happened over the 2 years of build time, so it sort of snuck up on me. Guess I should have checked the weight when it was finished, but I didn't bother until a couple of weeks ago. My 1250-1300# guesstimate was off by 400#, so it makes sense to weigh things to see where you end up. Funny, since I guessed a friend's trailer weight to the pound (twin axle, steel deck, 2250#) when we were done working on it & missed mine by a mile!

No complaints about the build, it's done pretty well in all respects so far, with the new axle & brakes it should be good for many more miles to come. If I had to do it again, I would start with brakes even on a light build. It just makes towing so much easier & safer.

So far the only real "repairs" in the build have been a bad speaker-wire connection in the galley, which was an easy enough fix. Also, I had a bad wind storm where the canopy gouged the hatch aluminum one evening & I had to sand & buff out the rear skin a while ago, but it looks good again & you can't really tell it was there. Everything else has performed as designed, so I guess I just got lucky for a first attempt at a teardrop. These things are really fun!
Build log: viewtopic.php?f=50&t=60248
The time you spend planning is more important than the time you spend building.........

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Re: Tucson tortoise

Postby dales133 » Sun Apr 08, 2018 7:46 am

You didn't get lucky you took your time and nailed it.
It's a credit too you man

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Re: Tucson tortoise

Postby KCStudly » Sun Apr 08, 2018 10:42 am

dales133 wrote:You didn't get lucky you took your time and nailed it. It's a credit too you man


My thoughts exactly. You made your own good luck by planning well, and executing well. :applause: :applause: :thumbsup: :applause:
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Re: Tucson tortoise

Postby Sheddie » Sun Apr 15, 2018 5:12 am

Great to see the brakes are in and operating as you hoped :thumbsup:
noseoil wrote:OK, the system is installed & working now! Had to run an extra wire from the back area (behind the TV set) up to the tongue box to get a proper signal for the brake controller. The wiring was set up for the 3rd brake light & it seemed better than using a circuit with a turn signal attached to it. PITA, but it's done now.

I was forgetting about the strange way you Americans wire and operate your stop lights and indicators. :roll:
noseoil wrote: I pull the fuse from the hot line when it's parked (it's using the trailer battery & wiring, not the truck system) then just put the fuse back in when it's ready to tow again. The solar panel keeps everything supplied with power, so it's all good.

Looking at the controller you have, it looks like the same one I have. ;) I keep my one connected to the power all the time as it will shut down after about 15 - 20 minutes of inactivity. It kicks in to life again as soon as you touch the brake pedal. :)
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Re: Tucson tortoise

Postby noseoil » Mon Apr 16, 2018 7:26 am

Hi Frank, I'll have to look at that one, but I was concerned about power drain & figured it would just be better to pull the fuse as part of my preparation for towing/storage.

Back from our weekend trip to Lake Patagonia in southern Arizona & it was the first time I was actually able to use the brakes on hills & stops, other than in town a bit. Really enjoying the way it feels now & glad I went with the 10" package & not the smaller 7" shoes. These are probably larger than needed for the load we have, but they really do the job. 12" brakes wouldn't have fit inside the 13" rims we run for tires at this point & 7" brakes actually cost more than the more common 10" size.

Here are a few shots from this weekend's trip
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153875
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Build log: viewtopic.php?f=50&t=60248
The time you spend planning is more important than the time you spend building.........

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