Wandering First Build - Doors Again

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

Re: Wandering First Build

Postby Prototear » Tue Oct 15, 2013 1:54 am

Yesterday afternoon I cleaned my garage and moved the trailer frame into it. Since it had been outside for 4 months, some rainwater got into the frame mainly through the screw holes that were there from the original plywood deck I had removed. I knew there was some in there but when wheeling it across the lawn, over bumps and up the driveway much more came gurgling up through the screw holes emerged than I expected. I also had left a few nicks in the minor frame members by one wheel well when I cut it back and the cutter got away from me a little bit. Here's the rusty water puddle left in the driveway behind the trailer frame.
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I have to deal with the water before going much further! :x

I drilled some 3/16" holes at the downhill right sides of each of the frame members that had holes in them that could have allowed water to get in. Here's the water dripping out, but a little out of focus since I was trying to take the picture in the first few seconds before the flow slowed down:
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I drilled about a dozen carefully placed drain holes and got water out of half of them, then removed the axle and rolled the frame over on its right side. My neighbors helped me roll it over carefully and we slid it into the garage easily using some 4" plastic pipe sections (those on top of frame in first picture). Once I got it into the garage very little water had dripped on the floor so I'm fairly confident that almost all of it is out now.

My plan is to make sure the frame is dry inside then treat it with some internal frame coating; I ordered a few cans of Eastwood frame coating:
http://www.eastwood.com/internal-frame- ... ozzle.html and picked this one because it looks like it will be effective and it has a long hose with a spray nozzle.

This week I will layout the new 2x2 steel box members where I want them and hold them with clamps but not weld them for now. I'll finalize my measurements and order the axle, then weld the 2x2 members when it arrives (in case I need to tweak the position a little). If my welding skill is not good enough by then I'll ask my certified neighbor to help me with it.

Here it is in the garage. Since I have a post in the middle of the garage holding up the front of the house I have to stay to one side. I'll be able to roll it outside for work or rotate it for now. The workspace will get better when I install the aluminum floorboards that are leaning against the post for now. You might also notice the foam pipe insulation wrapped on the top cross bars - I had to do this because I kept bonking my head on them when working on the frame then standing up and forgetting what was above me. I had to either add the padding or else wear a bicycle helmet when working inside the frame. :?
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It just fits under the bikes hanging from the ceiling.
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I will also list this axle (probably on Craigslist) for some nominal price, and could sell it with our without the wheels. Its got a 5.5" drop and hub-face length of about 67" and idler hubs (no brakes). Bolt pattern is 5 on 4.5".
Image
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Re: Wandering First Build

Postby Toyotamike » Tue Oct 15, 2013 8:26 am

That would be tempting if I wasn't going with a Toyota axle under mine eventually. We have a nice long dry spell this week so hope to see more updates :)
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Re: Wandering First Build

Postby Prototear » Thu Oct 17, 2013 3:20 am

Wednesday evening I finished removing the old leaf springs and cut the new 2x2 box frame members to confirm their placement and the location and length of the axle so now I can order it this week. It turns out I'll make it bigger by 2" more than I would have expected a week ago.

I also attempted to weigh the trailer frame to confirm my weight spreadsheet. Up to now, I was using just nominal spec weights for all the lengths of steel frame members (and a few bolt-on things like the stabilizer jacks and tongue jack). I was expecting a weight of about 310 pounds and measured a weight of 370 pounds, not bad considering my estimate was only a best guess before weighing anything at all. I didn't have much maneuvering room in the garage so I had to get creative to weigh it. I propped it up about 5" with 2x4s and pulled a game hanging scale tight to it, then pulled out the wood to let it hang. Since I was not right over the CG, it tipped enough to drag on the floor on one side so I put a heavy duty bathroom scale under the low edge and added the two values together. I may have introduced some errors in this method but it gives me a good idea where I stand.

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After setting the frame back on the blocks and releasing the hanging scale, I noticed that one of the hanging bicycles had a wheel on the trailer frame so this might have added a little false weight so my reading might be high by 10 or so pounds. I'll try another reading sometime when it is convenient but I'm in no rush.
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Re: Wandering First Build

Postby Prototear » Thu Dec 05, 2013 1:25 am

After some delays, I've gotten back to making some progress getting some materials and finally attaching stuff.

I sold the old axle on Craigslist and ordered a new Axis torsion axle from Frank at Vintage Technologies http://teardroptrailerparts.com/. The lead time was much shorter than ordering a Dexter from a local shop, and also much cheaper, including UPS shipping from Michigan to Seattle. Its extremely similar to the Dexter Torflex #9. I kept the old wheels for now but may change them later.
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I had been learning how to use my friend's buzz box to weld so I could attach my 2x2 square beams to then attach my new axle but my welding skills have been exposed as terrible. Its a very old Sears AC welder and unforgiving of a beginner's skills. Even if I could learn to make a decent looking weld I don't know that I'd be able to trust it for a load-bearing use like this where there could be consequences on the road if it breaks.
:hammerhead:

I understand how to weld, but it would take lots of time to develop enough skill to trust it, and I really want to get moving on this build so I hired Eric to weld it for me. It took us only a few hours this evening to install the 2x2 beams on then install the axle. Its great to finally make some real progress! :ok:
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My next step is to clean up & paint the underside of the trailer while its still on its side then flip it to an upright position. He'll come back to attach new inner wheel wall skins once I get the materials and cut them to size.
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Re: Wandering First Build

Postby Shadow Catcher » Thu Dec 05, 2013 6:26 am

Good choice, having some one who absolutely knows how to weld do the job :thumbsup:
It is looking good and I will be keeping track of the build.
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Re: Wandering First Build

Postby KCStudly » Thu Dec 05, 2013 9:31 am

+1 No shame in being sure. It does take practice and instruction to get started welding. To be good at it takes experience. Some people can pick it up very quickly. Some take a little longer, and for some it is just not meant to be.

Don't give up, though. Just pick jobs that are not critical and pick away at learning until you know which category suits you. :thumbsup:
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Re: Wandering First Build

Postby Prototear » Sat Jan 04, 2014 8:14 pm

I've made some progress in December and am just catching up with the journal.

After the new 2x2 tubes were welded on, I cut off some of the existing 1x2 frame that ran parallel to the new stronger 2x2s. This reduced a little weight and gave me some room under the floor to add hangers for a spare tire and a small (3" deep) basement using some of the cut-off material.

I also tried the Eastwood frame coating inside the new 2x2 tubes to see how it covers it since the aft end of the tube is open and I could see how it coats. The other tubes will need to be done exclusively through the drain holes I added. I had started with 3/16" drain holes but since the spray hose is about the same size, I increased them to 1/4" to have a little room to maneuver the hose in and out. The coating covered the whole inside, but is a little heavier where it looks greener. It smelled more and for longer than regular spray paint and one needs good ventilation (and maybe a mask).

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Here is the spare tire hanger under the front right floor. A superstrut L bracket is welded under the 1x2 that I had cut away earlier and had my welder add it here.

Here is the new spare sitting under the trailer (on the floor) looking from above and another shot looking from below left. In the first one you'll see an extra lateral angle-iron to support the basement floor behind the spare. I put a spare tire hanger on both the left and right in case I need to move it over to the left some day.
Image

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Re: Wandering First Build

Postby Prototear » Sat Jan 04, 2014 8:35 pm

The biggest modification done in December was finishing the wheel well inside walls. They were about 50" apart but I wanted to go to slightly over 60" to fit a queen mattress between them and align with the structural modifications underneath for the new axle. I had cut off about half of inside width of the wheel wells but couldn't re-use the old interior wheel walls because they now need to extend more than an inch deeper to connect to the new 2x2 frame beneath. Here is the sequence of the right side wheel well:
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Then I cut off the inside half (it still had the old suspension):
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Since the first cut was a little crooked, I re-cut it then pre-cut some 16 ga steel for the inside wall. We clamped it in several places then Eric welded it all the way around both inside and outside.
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Note that the flat-laying 1x2 that connected to old suspension is removed from the middle of the wheel well forward since it no longer supported any structure (I kept a section of it in the back so my aft end could stay rigid to support the bike rack that would hang off the back). I just have some grinding to do on the edges to remove the slight deliberate overlap of the 16 ga sheet we left.
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Re: Wandering First Build

Postby Prototear » Sat Jan 04, 2014 8:49 pm

My December progress was slowed by the cold weather (by Seattle standards anyway) because the garage is not heated and my little electric heater wouldn't have a chance, then a holiday trip to my hometown in Michigan. The last thing done in December was the addition of 2 Unistrut brackets under the rear corners to hold table legs out to the side of the trailer. We chose to have them point outward to the sides so that we wouldn't have to take the tables down to open/close the galley hatch. The tables will be held up by pieces of Unistrut/superstrut when I get around to making them.

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In this you can see one of the temporary HF casters I added with U-bolts to be able to push the trailer frame in an out of the garage while I keep the torsion axle out of the way for now.
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My next steps are to grind all the rough edges where the welding was recently done, finish the rustproofing I described about a month ago, then prime/paint the new metal and touch up the rest. Once I do those things I can actually get to building stuff onto the frame like the floorboards and electrical wiring runs. :beer:
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Re: Wandering First Build

Postby Prototear » Sun Feb 09, 2014 12:45 am

This build has been going in spurts. I got the flu at the beginning of January and made that last entry while sick based on work from when I just started to get sick. After recovering I managed to clean, grind, and smooth the welds, but that would look pretty boring for a build journal entry. :SH

After other distractions, I finally finished the grinding and primed and painted the modified areas on the underside with the frame sitting on its side. I prepared the basement front and aft walls using a template cut to fit in one of the 4 places. (Remember the frame is on its right side so try to not pay attention to the other junk in the garage around it or you'll get disoriented. :? )

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The template was fit in the largest spot, and trimmed down the other 3 since there was variations of 1/8" to 1/4". Since this is what I would call secondary structure rather than primary, this small error in bracket squareness is no big deal. I cut these out of the old wheel well walls which were 12 ga steel.
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I primed and painted basement walls, then riveted them into place using 3/16" structural closed rivets http://www.tacomascrew.com/Products/Clo ... /051-127_3 and black roof flashing sealant http://www.homedepot.com/p/Loctite-PL-S ... /203163733
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After a little touchup painting for when I scratched some things, this frame is finally to start receiving some floorboards! :beer:
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Re: Wandering First Build

Postby Prototear » Sun Feb 09, 2014 12:53 am

To start installing my floor, I have to flip this beast back upright. I've managed to develop a routine for flipping the trailer frame by rolling it in and out of the garage using 3 pieces of 3" plastic drain pipe. With the pipe I can roll it and it take another 1 or 2 people helping to hold the trailer still while moving a pipe we've rolled off to place in front of the opposite end. I can also slide it side-to-side since the friction on the pipe is pretty low and smooth. We pivot the frame on its lower edge using the pipes or some extra 2x6 scraps.

Since I have removed the axle to keep it out of my way for now, I have bolted a pair of 3" casters under the newer 2x2 box frame members with some blocks of wood to get enough clearance for the axle brackets and my stabilizer jacks (folded, of course). I removed these while it was on its side to get them out of the way and because I had too much of the U-bolt threads sticking through the nuts by the casters making the wheels unable to turn so I scrubbed the casters sometimes as they slid sideways. This picture is with them reinstalled allowing them to pivot all the way around this time! You'll also notice a few of the 1/4" drain holes above and behind the caster with a faint green lining in the tubes with the rust inhibitor (the line of dots below the caster is something else, not a bunch of drain holes).
Image
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Re: Wandering First Build

Postby Prototear » Sun Feb 09, 2014 1:19 am

Tonight I finally started installing the honeycomb aluminum floorboards. I had cut the front piece to fit before I saw the opportunity for the basement (and before I realized all the framing work it would take). Fortunately, I got lucky and was able to make a well-placed cut to use barely over half in front of the basement and the remainder (barely under half) for the basement floor. Since the basement is not quite as wide as the whole trailer, the end pieces were cut again for the outboard floor.

I used flexible window flashing on the frame cut to width that was adhesive on one side and something resembling aluminum on the top side. I had to wheel the trailer out of the garage a few feet to have room to insert the basement floor into the slots I left on the sides of the trailer under the 2x2" box tubes (my garage is too full of materials, tools and junk to access the side with enough room). Just as I pulled it out it started to snow which happens only a few times a year here. :snow

The slot was a little too tight on the right side of the trailer with the flashing in it to get the very rigid floorboard in, but I could fortunately insert it from the other side of the trailer and used a block of wood and a deadblow hammer to tap it all the way to the tight side.
:hammer:

I pulled it back in the garage and stopped for the night, but only after taking a few pictures, one from the rear and one from above.
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In this view you'll see one of the loops welded within the basement for a tie-down that will fit through the hand-hold hole that will be in the 1/2" plywood covering the basement, and this is just barely within the width of a queen mattress.
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The next step is to layout the aluminum doubler strips on top, drill holes, and fasten the floorboards with rivets. I'll use these big sealed structural rivets.
http://www.tacomascrew.com/Products/Str ... /054-505_6
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Re: Wandering First Build

Postby Prototear » Mon Feb 10, 2014 11:48 pm

My day-job got in the way yesterday of working on my trailer, but working on the trailer would have been more fun! :roll:

Meanwhile, I've been thinking about where to put the cooler to keep it accessible when on the road (stopping for food, ice or amber beverages) and keep the load balanced. I'm afraid putting it on the tongue would make it too heavy up front (I already have an aluminum tongue box) so it would have to go even closer to the tow vehicle. I'll likely put my battery in the tongue box. Putting the cooler in the galley would keep it close to the kitchen, but since I plan to hang a bike rack off the back I don't want to have to unload the bikes and rack to open the hatch to access the cooler. To solve this, I'm leaning toward making a slide-out going out the left or right side (or maybe even both) under the galley countertop.

This frame has 1" steel box tubes that I will fill the space between them with closed cell foam, but the rear portion has more and more members that seem overbuilt so I may cut 3 small segments out of it. This picture shows what I'd cut out (one area is already cut out for the left side doorway). The exterior wall will be 0.050" 6061 aluminum, and the interior will have plywood (maybe 1'4") except for from the pullout hole, of course. If I leave it as-is, the opening is only 14" long x 12" high (and I'd loose another 1/2" or more for the floor) but if I cut it out I'd get an area almost 17" x 17" for the slide-out (or trade less height for more width along the curve). I might even think of cutting out a little more frame toward the wheel well.

Image

I'm thinking of using slides something like this http://www.rockler.com/centerlinereg-li ... wer-slides and use either a hinged door or just put a piece of my 1/2" aluminum honeycomb panel on the end as a drawerfront with latches and a handle. :thinking:

Has anyone tried this kind of cooler placement? If so, what did you learn from it?
Steve
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Re: Wandering First Build

Postby Prototear » Sun Feb 16, 2014 8:23 pm

I started Thursday to fasten the aluminum honeycomb panels to the frame with structural sealing rivets but they didn't work!! :shock: :shock: The rivets didn't seat on the blind end but pulled back when installing. My first clue was just the feel of it when the mandrel would not break out. Fortunately, the first attempt was not into a trailer tube structure, but into angle iron where I could get underneath and see it. In this photo, I managed to break out the closest mandrel with pliers just so I could drill it out, but has the same problem as the other 2 behind it.
Image

It took me a few wasted 45 cent rivets to understand why it is happening. :thinking:

The rivet is spreading out starting within the honeycomb panel rather than starting at the far end. I riveted an old scrap (the same one I did with a 2 cent regular open rivet) months ago to watch it in action.
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This is apparently because of the slits in the side of the rivet cylinder that are free to spread inside the honeycomb with not much material to constrain it, then the rivet shortens and pulls back out of the end layers of the stacked material to be riveted. These rivets are probably fine for their intended application but don't work in cases like this. These are MTP-B6-12S, 3/16" Grip Magna-Tite Structural Blind Rivets.
Image

I spent the next day seeking rivet options, either to use these $40+ of rivets somehow, or to get different rivets. I'm looking into drilling larger holes in the panel to insert a half-inch long aluminum or nylon spacer with the right inside diameter for the rivet. Since I'm using an aluminum doubler strip under the rivet heads, I don't need to worry about the rivet head holding just the spacer down but not the panel down. I found some aluminum spacers online but they'd cost a good fraction of the rivets, and since I will need another box of something to finish the panels I just bought another kind of structural rivet that doesn't split along its length. I am awaiting delivery of these: http://www.rivetstop.com/b/6411290011 Another moisture-proof rivet would have been the simpler (and cheaper) closed-end rivets like I used for thinner material last week but I can't find them with long-enough grip (I need up to 0.75"). While I was at it, I also ordered some clecos to hold the panels in place while I rivet them.
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Re: Wandering First Build

Postby Prototear » Sun Feb 16, 2014 8:34 pm

For something productive while waiting for my new rivets, I cut out the small frame members at the back of both sides to allow for 1 or 2 sideways cooler slide-outs under the galley.
Image

I'll plan to have the small door's hinge on the edge of the vertical member on the left and I ordered this cooler http://www.coleman.com/product/50-quart ... wFmiYWx3fM that will fit with a little extra room for hardware and trim. I did this to both sides so I can decide which side I want to put the coolers, or we could even do both (one for an actual cooler and the other for general storage access to avoid removing the bike rack to open the main hatch).

Since I bought the cooler on sale yesterday, it is has since gone up $20, so at least my section was more fortunate than with the box of spendy rivets. :beer: :beer:
Steve
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