Motorcycle tent trailer (Kustom Klamshell)

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Motorcycle tent trailer (Kustom Klamshell)

Postby harleykamper » Sat Feb 16, 2013 10:12 pm

This is my build up of a Clam shell style tent trailer that I can tow behind my motorcycle. I haven't found anything I liked that was affordable, so I'll just build it myself! My wife and I wanted a lightweight, small trailer to tow this fall on a 7,500 mile ride around the USA to see the fall colors! We wanted a trailer that was wider than the usual 48" trailer. That requires I build the floor over the fenders. If the trailer is wide, it can't be tall. If this trailer is tall and wide I can't see around it or over it with the motorcycle mirrors! Therefore I'll build my tent trailer as a clam shell. That way I can keep the height low, see over it, keep the center of gravity low and the weight low also. This first picture shows a sketch up I started. It only shows the bottom not the hinged top or the tent. There's a rough drawing also that shows a cutaway view. I'll try to include as many pictures as possible and answer any questions. I'll next post the pictures of the work so far. Thanks for viewing and and suggestions or advice! Paul
Attachments
tenttraileropen.jpg
open view
tenttraileropen.jpg (38.06 KiB) Viewed 7698 times
cutaway.jpg
cut away view open
cutaway.jpg (41.07 KiB) Viewed 7698 times
mostrecent1.jpg
Sketch up drawing, No top or tent
mostrecent1.jpg (31.39 KiB) Viewed 7698 times
Last edited by harleykamper on Wed May 08, 2013 11:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Paul & Marilyn Moon
2008 anniversary edition Harley Davidson ElectraGlide Ultra Classic
Kustom KlamShell tent Trailer. (In build now)
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Re: Motorcycle tent trailer

Postby harleykamper » Sun Feb 17, 2013 12:34 am

Here are the Pictures of the build up to this point. I started withe the Haul Master 40" X 48" trailer with the 12" wheels. I used metal 2x4s instead of wood. They're much lighter. If the floor is also supported on the fenders that should help improve their weight bearing capability. I still have some more floor joists to install before the floor goes on. I'm taking two 2x4's and riveting them together after first screwing and gluing them to the trailer rails. That will help make them much stronger. I had to separate to two halves with a screw driver in able to get inside to screw them to the frame. then rivet them closed. They feel quite strong now. tomorrow I'll add the 2x4's in between the main rails. Yesterday I met with the person to get an estimate on building/welding the metal boxes that will be bolted under the floor and accessed through doors in the floor to store supplies in. These boxes will be 14"x 14" and 12" deep in the front and a larger 14" x 32" x 12' deep box in back. I'll post picture of them then I get them. The middle of the trailer is 4" in front of the axle. Total height of the trailer should be approx 34"

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I cut the metal studs with a cutoff blade.
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I'm glued the studs and then screwed them to the trailer.
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Next, here's a view looking inside the length of the 2x4 box showing the rivets.
I pre-drilled the holes for the screws into the trailer frame. Then held the two 2x4's apart with a screw driver in able to get to the screws inside the box.
A real pain in the backside but stronger.
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I had to shim the space between the fender and the rails so that the floor will touch the fender. the floor will be bolted to the fender
and to the rails. The fender will help support the weight of the floor.
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This just shows riveting the 2x4's together to form a box frame.
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Here's the first days work done. the 3 main support rails are in place and the shims are attached to
the fenders. So far, so good....... :applause:
Image
Paul & Marilyn Moon
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Kustom KlamShell tent Trailer. (In build now)
The ClamShell Tent Trailer Build Journal viewtopic.php?f=50&t=54531
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Re: Motorcycle tent trailer

Postby Rlowell » Sun Feb 17, 2013 2:10 pm

I look forward to seeing you progress. This looks cool.

Rod
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Re: Motorcycle tent trailer

Postby harleykamper » Mon Feb 18, 2013 12:40 am

Today (Sunday 2/17/2013) I've finished the floor joist. I installed the cross pieces and riveted it all together. All the joist are glued to the trailer frame and screwed down. They feel very strong. I think they'll work just fine. I cut the wood floor also. Here's the pictures. This time I tried cutting the sheetmetal with a Sazall instead of the thin grinder wheel, MUCH better.
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Here I'm using a special pair of vice grips to bend the flange on both sides of the cross braces. Then I riveted both the top and bottom of the brace together. drilled the holes in each flange and glued and riveted to the main supports.
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This shows a view of the braces riveted to the main supports.
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These are called Kleekos. (spelling?) They hold all the sheetmetal together until riveted.
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Yeeha. The braces/joists are done! Next the floor!
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Here's another view of the floor joist.
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I cut the wood floor and laid it on the joist. It has to be in two pieces because the finished size is 73" long x 53" wide. Plywood doesn't come in 53" wide stock. It's the only way I could think of to make it wider. It'll be the same problem with the luanne plywood, and the aluminium siding too. All for comfort!! :R
Image
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So you can see the size of my trailer here. The very top of the trailer will be 12" above the floor. Or approx 34" tall. Finished width will be approx 55". 75" long.
I'm waiting are the estimate on the metal boxes to install in the floor. There will be 4 of them. 14"x14" and 12" deep. Not a huge amount of storage but it'll help. I'll still need to keep the weight down while we travel so that's OK.
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Re: Motorcycle tent trailer

Postby harleykamper » Thu Feb 21, 2013 11:07 pm

Hummm, Hit a snag in the under floor storage boxes. The metal box estimate came in too high for my budget! >$500.00. I have plywood left over from the floor, but I'd like very much to keep the weight down. I haven't found plastic or fiberglass boxes that are pre-made yet. And probably won't! The plan is for them to be approx 14" X 14" x 14" deep. Could be a little larger. I have done some fiberglass work in the past. I'm thinking that may be the best and lightest way to go. A bit intimidating however. But maybe best. I've seen a few post about fiberglass work here in some of the forums. Really.......How hard can it be...... :shock: I'm thinking about 4 boxes. Each with a metal reinforced lip to bolt to the floor with. I'm not sure how thick I should arm for. 1/8", 1/4" , 3 layers, 4 layers.... :roll: Any experienced fiberglass people have ideas? I plan on storing a small stove, small propane canisters, cooking supplies, clothes, Maybe food (small amt). I would hope that fiberglass would be cheaper than the metal boxes! Could I build all four for less than $200.00 or $250.00 all said and done? They would need to be finely finished. the bottoms will be coated with undercoating. the inside just painted. Ideas, suggestions, thoughts? Thanks everyone.
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The ClamShell Tent Trailer Build Journal viewtopic.php?f=50&t=54531
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Re: Motorcycle tent trailer

Postby Rlowell » Thu Feb 21, 2013 11:57 pm

Here comes my two cents...
Have you considered bus pans, plastic jugs, perhaps you could cut a hard plastic water jug or us a reg bus pan from a restaurant supply store.
I used one to set my A/C unit on the floor in the back of the Ketza Kamper. (Photo in my gallery.) What other tin/steel cans are available?
Think outside of your regular doing or business field...How about a cut down five gallon bucket...? perhaps a large buffet pan...how about a large aluminum bowl...
re-purpose, almost anything...how about a wood frame wrapped in aluminum... how about military surplus stores...steel cans...

Any way just a $.01 worth... :NC :roll:

Rod
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Re: Motorcycle tent trailer

Postby pete42 » Fri Feb 22, 2013 8:25 am

"CLECOS" used to hold metal together before riviting.
having worked on aircraft for many years I have used clecos many times
I do believe your use of the metal studs rivited together is a first here or maybe anywhere.
thanks for posting we all can learn something new.
pete
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Re: Motorcycle tent trailer

Postby KCStudly » Fri Feb 22, 2013 4:36 pm

For the floor boxes, maybe canvas glued to foam board like they are doing down in the foamie build section. Very light weight, water tight and not that expensive. Much easier to master and more forgiving than glass.

What type of shop did you have quote your metal boxes? If it was a steel shop I would expect the price to be higher. Did you try any HVAC shops? They do light galvanized steel duct work all the time and might be cheaper. You might have to goop up the pinch seams with some sealer or metal backed tape because they won't be welded, but...

Heck, you could surely build your own out of some thin aluminum sheet; just leave tabs at the corner joints; clamp to the edge of your bench with some angle iron to bend the main side panels up; bend the tabs over by hand with an adjustable wrench little by little (if you have to); do a little "tin knocking" with a dolly behind to settle everything in place; run some closed pop rivets in; and add a bead of sealer.

What would be wrong with using much thinner/lighter ply wood with a few 1x1 cleats to secure the corners together?

Surely if you can build a TD, you can make a few boxes. There are lots of options. :beer:
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Re: Motorcycle tent trailer

Postby harleykamper » Fri Feb 22, 2013 10:44 pm

Well, I have looked for already built/formed boxes either made of metal, fiberglass, or plastic. I have looked in a variety of stores and sources here in Reno. But not all! Checked the supplus stores (military) Didn't think of the resturant bus pans. There's a resturant suppy here in Reno I'll check tomorrow! I hadn't checked the tack (horse) type stores, they might have something. Yes, I also could fab some lighter metal boses from galvanized sheet. I no longer have access to a brake or shear. But maybe could cut that with a sazall. There's some possibility there! :thinking: I got that estimate from a weld shop in Truckee. I've known him for years. That was .030 steel and welded with a 1 1/2" lip welded on the top. So, no doubt that fabing up something myself would much cheaper. I used to work in custom aircraft manufacturing, years ago. Aircraft interiors. Did lots of honeycomb, aluminium and such. I'll put some thought into the light galvanized steel boxes. That at least matches up more with my experience! I thought of using the metal wall studs when I saw some used at work to build a temporary wall in out ICU unit. They were light, easy to work with, required no welding. With two of them together and riveted, they feel very strong. Time and Travel will tell!! We're going on a 7,500 mile trip with it this fall. If it survives that, great! :beer: I guess that's why I'm fussing over the boxes, I just want them to be light weight, and still not too expensive! I want it all! Great ideas from everyone, I'll mull this over....... :thinking:
Thanks
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2008 anniversary edition Harley Davidson ElectraGlide Ultra Classic
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Re: Motorcycle tent trailer

Postby TJinPgh » Sat Feb 23, 2013 4:50 pm

Do you have an Ikea near you anywhere? They have a fairly large variety of storage boxes made from all sorts of different things, from wood to plastic to metal to corrugated materials. Might be able to find something there.
-TJ
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Re: Motorcycle tent trailer

Postby ST1100 » Sun Feb 24, 2013 6:02 pm

pete42 wrote:"CLECOS" used to hold metal together before riviting.
having worked on aircraft for many years I have used clecos many times
I do believe your use of the metal studs rivited together is a first here or maybe anywhere.
thanks for posting we all can learn something new.
pete


If you want to see the use of clecos maybe it's worth to look here http://www.motocampers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2399&page=5 in my other forum.

blues traveler, an excellent aircraft guy, builds a small aluminum cargo trailer using more than 900 rivets.

Tom
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Re: Motorcycle tent trailer

Postby harleykamper » Sun Feb 24, 2013 11:00 pm

He has used a LOT of rivets. When I worked in aircraft we had some cargo roller system projects that had 1000's and 1000's of rivets. Both pop and solid rivets. Hours spent with a pneumatic rivet gun and bucking bars...AAAggggghhhhh. :?
I'm glad those days are over!
Anyway, After much gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands I finally decided that since I already had leftover plywood, the tools and experience with wood, it made the most sense to use that instead of messing with metal or fiberglass. As it turns out the wood isn't so much more weight than the metal and faster and easier than fiberglass. I guess I should be careful to not over think these things!! I made these storage boxes from the left over 5/8" plywood used in the floor. They will next be attached to the bottom side of the floor and hanging between the rails. The bottoms will be just at the height of the axle. But not over it! Each will have a door that is opened with a flush mounted handle. The boxes are coated with spar vanish for now. When finished, the insides will be painted white and the outsides (including the bottom of the floor) will be sprayed with black undercoating. Next week I should get them attached to the floor! Yay :beer: Thanks to everyone for their input and suggestions this week regarding my construction. Your suggestions and advice helped clarify my goals and approach to this part of the build. :applause:

Here are the under the floor storage boxes. I first glued and clamped together, Nail gunned them together, then added three screws to each joint. This shows them finished, vanished and ready to install soon.
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They are made from 5/8" plywood. They two forward compartments are 14" X 16" X 12" deep. The rear compartments are 14" X 14" X 12" deep. This smaller size in the rear keeps them away from the axle as it moves up and down and back. They aren't all that pretty, but they're under the floor. When the inside is painted they'll look great! My camp stove, pots and pans, other cooking supplies and lanterns, etc all will fit in these boxes. The idea is to keep the center of gravity low. Also with two boxes in front and two in back of the axle I can put the heavier stuff wherever it needs to go to keep the correct weight at the tongue for good handling.

Image

Image

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Re: Motorcycle tent trailer

Postby harleykamper » Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:34 pm

Got more building done today. I don't think I'll get anything done the next two weeks. Birthday parties, etc!
This week I installed the under floor storage boxes. I decided to use wood that I had left over from the floor. It's heavier but cheaper. I want to really try and stay on budget. It's really easy building these things to allow the budget to slip away. That's also why I'm using 11/2" X 1 1/2" wood to support/ brace the boxes in stead of metal angles.
This is the floor after cutting the opening. There are 4 boxes.
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These are the braces/supports that the boxes will hang from. 1 1/2" X 1 1/2" pine.
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I'm using silicon adhesive to glue the braces to the boxes and floor. I used that to try and get a little flex between the boxes and the floor.
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Test fit the braces
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Glue the braces
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Nail them in place to hold them in position until I could screw them down.
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I then screwed the boxes to the braces and the braces to the floor. There's a 3/8" lip in the floor for the lid to rest on. This lip will be cleaned up and painted. Along with the inside of the boxes.
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Here are two of the 4 boxes in place
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View from underneath. The bottom will be sprayed with black undercoating.
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Here they are on the trailer. here you can see the metal Trac used and floor supports.
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All 4 boxes in place.
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This is a view with the lid open. The 4 lids will have recessed handles to open them with. No hinges. I have edge trim to install on each of the 4 sides of the lids for a nice finished look. One of the front (larger) lids will have a fitting for a 1 1/2" PVC pipe, so we can use the lid as a small table. I'll post pictures later of that. There isn't really a lot of room in this tent trailer for much else but sleeping. However, if we get rain we can eat inside and we will be able to sit up inside using the front under floor storage boxes to put our feet in and then have that small table between us.
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Here is the floor with all 4 lids in place. Next bolt the floor to the frame/trailer. Paint the insides of the boxes. I'll spray the bottom of the trailer floor with undercoating. All the wood is already coated with varnish. The floor will be carpeted when the trailer is done.
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This is my motorcycle that we will tow this trailer with. 2008 Harley Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Classic. Anniversary edition. "MotorCouch" 8)
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:beer:
Paul & Marilyn Moon
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Kustom KlamShell tent Trailer. (In build now)
The ClamShell Tent Trailer Build Journal viewtopic.php?f=50&t=54531
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Re: Motorcycle tent trailer

Postby KCStudly » Mon Mar 04, 2013 12:18 am

Good progress.

How much does it weigh so far, and are you on target for your final weight goal?
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Re: Motorcycle tent trailer

Postby Junkboy999 » Mon Mar 04, 2013 2:13 am

It was said above, but clever use for the metal studs. :thumbsup:

Keep up the good work.
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