Truck Canopy Trailer - Updates... Solar Panel, Jack, etc.

...ask your questions in the appropriate forums BUT document your build here...preferably in a single thread...dates for updates, are appreciated....

Truck Canopy Trailer - Updates... Solar Panel, Jack, etc.

Postby ohbugger » Tue Aug 23, 2011 2:24 pm

I'm getting started on this...
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It's a Harbor Freight 4x8 hung out 1 foot on each side for a 6x8 overall size.
A truck canopy top, very similar to this one:
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For $150 I got all my windows and doors, the top half of my trailer, the back opens with a hurricane hinge, and the inside is carpeted and I believe it is lightly insulated as well.

The clearcoat is peeling and it will need some sanding and a new coat of paint, the upside is that I can paint it whatever color I choose. I'm thinking silver...
Last edited by ohbugger on Thu Jul 19, 2012 1:45 pm, edited 14 times in total.
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Postby ohbugger » Tue Aug 23, 2011 2:32 pm

Got a Harbor Freight trailer, and it was in pretty good condition... But being a nut for details I tore it down all the way, cleaned it up and bolted it back together. This time with no hinge mechanism, and nylocks all around. It is no longer a folding trailer...

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I'd say the end product looks very good for $75, some sweat and busted knuckles!

Thanks again Craigslist!
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Postby aggie79 » Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:10 pm

:thumbsup: :applause: :thumbsup:

Great CL find and start to your project. Looks like you have a good foundation for your build!

You probably already took care of this, but you may want to look at your bearings. As it ships on most HF trailers, what looks like bearing grease, is actually rust protector, something like Cosmoline. You need to remove this and use a good bearing grease.

Take care and keep the picks coming!.
Tom (& Linda)
For build info on our former Silver Beatle teardrop:
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Postby ohbugger » Tue Aug 23, 2011 4:25 pm

Thanks Tom, I read your entire build journal the other night. Your teardrop is a work of art, you should be proud! I wish I had your woodworking skills, truly fantastic.

Regarding the bearings, the trailer came with bearing buddies which is a plus, but I'll still clean/repack the bearings before I tow it anywhere.

I measured the trailer corner-to-corner this morning before work and much to my surprise, the trailer is square! Off to pick up wood tonight!
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Postby Deryk the Pirate » Wed Aug 24, 2011 5:21 am

Interesting design...I like it. Cant wait to see ya build it!
Build Thread lil vardo 1: http://tinyurl.com/baqe6py
Build Thread lil vardo 2: http://tinyurl.com/b3rwffm
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Postby ohbugger » Wed Aug 24, 2011 1:19 pm

I stepped out and didn't quite do the decking the traditional way...

First, I built up the framing with pressure treated 2x2s and a 2x4 in the middle to span the 2 metal beams and provide a good surface for both sheets of decking to mate to.
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I drilled 1/2" holes corresponding with the holes in the trailer and drilled a 1" hole to countersink the bolts and washers leaving a flat 'joist' to screw the decking to. Like this, but with a washer also:
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Needless to say, they aren't going anywhere. Next it's time for decking...

Usually everyone uses the paint-on asphalt. That looked messy and not like the most fun. I used asphalt based window flashing:
http://www.lowes.com/pd_286475-81326-TS ... Id=3055547
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It's about $13 for a 9" x 33' roll and I needed 2 rolls to cover and overlap the underside of my 6'x8' trailer. It's probably 1/32" of sticky rubberized asphalt with a thin protective film on the backside. I applied it from front to back but the stuff is so sticky I don't think 70 mph wind or water would penetrate even if it was backward.
I figured by the time you buy a gallon of tar and a brush to toss and some disposable gloves the $26 of flashing is the same price and a better sealant/protector. I hope people see this idea and find it useful!
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Finally the decking is down...
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Postby ohbugger » Wed Aug 24, 2011 1:26 pm

First thought is... wow, 6x8 is gonna be pretty big behind my little car. Maybe I may modify the design a bit so I don't have such a large flat sail to pull.

Also, here's some pics of the canopy I bought
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You can see the clearcoat is pretty much gone.

It's a hightop canopy so the dimensions from the bedrail to the top are 33" giving it an inside height of about 31"
The door in the back hangs down about 24" from the sides. The good news is that the inside is all finished and carpeted and in much better shape than the outside.
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Postby kc2hje » Wed Aug 24, 2011 3:41 pm

hello there looks like your going the same route as me!
Take a look at my thread and as to pics they will be up soon.

http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?t=36782&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0

My first word of advice is to check the with of the cap at the front and back as my cap came off of a GMC and is tapered widest at the front (where the cap meets the cab ) and about three inches narrower at the rear (where the door is ) I cant tell you how much work had to be redone once I discovered this.

Good luck with the build and have fun.


Chris[/url]
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Postby ohbugger » Wed Aug 24, 2011 4:07 pm

kc2hje wrote:hello there looks like your going the same route as me!
Take a look at my thread and as to pics they will be up soon.

http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?t=36782&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0

My first word of advice is to check the with of the cap at the front and back as my cap came off of a GMC and is tapered widest at the front (where the cap meets the cab ) and about three inches narrower at the rear (where the door is ) I cant tell you how much work had to be redone once I discovered this.

Good luck with the build and have fun.

Chris[/url]


How strange, looks like we even have the same towing vehicle, Silver Scion XB? Creepy!

I will double check the canopy, I think it is from a Ford and straight all the way back, but I am going to put the canopy on the trailer deck tonight just to see how it sits and take some measurements while it's on a surface.
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Postby ohbugger » Wed Aug 24, 2011 4:19 pm

Considering changing the design a bit after seeing how big a 6' wide trailer with a flat front would be. Anyone care to give thoughts on the new potential design? It would be approximately 3' tall on the inside up front and 4'6" in the rear.

Just trying out things in the virtual world where mistakes are free!

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Postby kc2hje » Wed Aug 24, 2011 4:56 pm

I had a scion Xb traded it on a MINI hardtop in May Xb is a good option to a small SUV but the gas mileage stunk with my commute @ 140 miles per day

As to the idea of pitching the nose forward it would have an impact however the rear door would be a bit of a pain, Also We are towing with a 2011 CRV and it's about the same height as the camper so while towing we only see a .5 MPG difference so the wind my not have as much as an impact as you think seeing that the Xb and CRV are about the same height.
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Postby crumbruiser » Wed Aug 24, 2011 7:54 pm

I would be afraid that the door would leak. You might consider constructind an "air dam" or air reflector for your tow vehicle or make the trailer with a pointy nose?
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Postby ohbugger » Thu Aug 25, 2011 3:01 pm

Got the vinyl flooring down last night. Has a cork pattern that should hide dirt really well, and it was really thick stuff on clearance ($0.50 sq/ft) so hopefully it's plenty durable for taking on the outdoors! The other benefit of it being so thick is that it definitely hides all the countersunk screws that I didn't bother to fill in and the seam between the 2 sheets of plywood.
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Also, playing with ideas for the tongue jack I already had. I think the ultimate plan may be finding someone who can just weld it to the back of the hitch coupler. That would eliminate the twisty stuff.

If I can continue to get one thing done a day, I'll be a happy camper ;)
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Canopy Top Tiny Travel Trailer - Moving Along!

Postby ohbugger » Mon Aug 29, 2011 12:43 am

Today was a big day! Made lots of sawdust!
How do you fit 4'x8' sheets of plywood in a Scion XB? Cut 'em in half!
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As everyone here already knows... those 2x2s don't even pretend to be straight, so I used 2x3s cut in half for the top and bottom plate. The plywood sheets were cut to 2x8 and from the inside flooring go up 19" and hang down 5"

This does a pretty good job of hiding the trailer frame, also the front and back is some really nice 3/4 cabinet grade plywood that was on sale. I may bolt that to the trailer frame just for a little extra strength.

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After I get the top on, I may want to laminate another sheet of plywood to the rear depending on how much depth I have. The rear plywood is 3/4" 7-ply and it provides the lateral stiffness to the side walls in the rear. Another sheet would provide even more strength.
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Postby ohbugger » Mon Aug 29, 2011 1:05 am

Oh, I also got my tongue jack mounted properly...

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I took the jack I had off the swing-up pivot mechanism and welded it to the back of the square tube on the tongue. The frame doesn't flex and twist anymore and I was able to use the jack I already had! The downside is that with the 6" wheel I only had about 5" of clearance which wasn't enough it so I had to cut the wheel off. Now it's basically a bulldog jack.

I'll miss the wheel, but the bulldog style jacks never have one either.

Also, I am coming up with plans on how to waterproof this thing. The big orange box has these 4x8 sheets of waterproof vinyl that would be really useful for a traditional teardrop's sides or even the roof. I think it is intended for industrial showers or kitchens. It is really flexible, looks nice, and would be easy to clean.
However, I've found a product that will work well for my 24" walls. It's a roll of white vinyl flashing 24" wide and 50' long, so I can wrap all the way around the trailer and only have one seam in the rear. Still not sure if it's a good idea though.
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