KCStudly, you bring up some very good points. Thank you for sharing your experience with building trailers, and explaining how strong does not need to mean heavy. I am very open to redesigning the cabin structure, as long as I can keep the basic shape, have it be strong enough to hold together in off-camber situations on rutty jeep trails, resist being punctured by trees as you suggest, and maybe support 150 lbs of roof rack or a solar panel on top. Lighter weight means less gas consumed and less wear and tear, both of which would be good.
Re: ladder or stool... Yes!
Re: sealing holes: thanks. I'll see when I pick the trailer up next week which metal it is made of. A magnet should do the trick. The rust we see could be from the generator feet if the deck is made of aluminum. I was hoping to avoid having to get it welded. Are there other good methods that would stand up to time, or do I really need to bite the bullet and get it professionally sealed by welding?
Re: trailer weight: you are right, 750 was low balling it. Here is a data plate from a similar trailer that I found using Google. Hard to see, but it looks like the dry weight of the M116A3 is 960 lbs.
Thanks again for your suggestions. They are not discouraging. I am learning as I read your responses and research other threads. Thanks for having the patience to help the noobs! If this were the LostJeeps forum, where I chat about my Jeep Liberty, I think you just kept me from the equivalent of installing a spacer lift kit (a bad idea that looks good on the surface).
Let me dig deeper. Please let me know if this sounds right, or what you would change:
A composite shell for the cabin could be a sandwich of 1/4 inch plywood on the interior and exterior, with 3/4 ply in the middle, with sections cut out of it (skeletonized) for foam insulation using a jig saw.
- The inner 1/4 ply could be a nice interior grade birch, whereas the outer 1/4 could be rougher, since I would cover it with aluminum.
- Does the outside ply need to be marine grade to resist rot (whether under aluminum or not)?
- 1x2's or 1x3's (both are actually 3/4 inch wide) could stand in for the 3/4 inch plywood in the wall sandwich, right? What kind of spacing would do the trick (a vertical beam every foot, 2 feet, etc.)? I do want the trailer to be insulated.
- Does polyurethane glue or carpenter's wood glue work better to hold it all together?
Thanks for answering my questions. Apologies if these things have been answered a lot already. I am in the process of doing my research, and I want to create a high quality trailer even though this is my first build.
Have a good night. --Lauren