Off-road Teardrop Design/Build

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

Off-road Teardrop Design/Build

Postby kokomoto » Mon Nov 07, 2016 9:47 pm

I have been researching this forum and other sites for design ideas and solutions for my teardrop build. Some specs I have settled on, and others are still being worked out. The basic concept is for an off-road capable teardrop that is light, durable, with a nod to the early age of teardrops in appearance. It will be 5'W x 9'L x 4'H. I think that's about a small I can use to accommodate a roughly queen sized mattress and sufficient storage space. The basic frame will be a standard 5' x 7' rectangle with 3 cross braces custom fabricated, and on a 3,500lb axle on 2,000lb rated leaf springs. Planning to use 2" x 3" steel tubing. 15" or 16" smoothie wheels 5" or 6" wide with some skinny, off-road bias ply tires.

I'm leaning toward stick-built walls using 1" x 1" thick wood skinned with 1/8" plywood on inside and outside to accommodate sufficient insulation in the walls, and to keep it light. Roof spars of 1 1/4" x 3/4" aircraft grade Sitka spruce because I already have it in the garage.The floor might be 1/4" bolted to the frame with a 1" x 3" frame built on top of that to create an under floor storage area, and topped with 1/2" plywood with access hatches built in. I say might be, because I'm not entirely sure that I want to sacrifice 3" of head space to gain 3" of storage space. If not, 1/2" plywood will do. I intend to stuff 3" of foam insulation under floor between the frame rails to insulate the floor. Entire body skinned in .040" aluminum.

At this point, building and sealing the doors and hatch are still a mystery to me.

Other details I'm considering are a Fantastic Fan that closes when it rains because I will forget to close it, a top- hinged window like Little Guy (can be opened in rain without getting my mattress wet), under trailer spare tire/hub mount, roof rack for kayaks and gear, basic ac/dc power system for use on battery or Honda eu2000i generator with solar upgrade capability, and a good mattress because a teardrop is just a cool way to haul around a bed after all is said and done.

I've already found this forum to be a valuable resource, and hope that sharing my experiences might help someone else. Pictures and drawings to follow.
User avatar
kokomoto
Teardrop Master
 
Posts: 214
Images: 1
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2016 3:18 pm
Location: SE Tennessee

Re: Off-road Teardrop Design/Build

Postby tony.latham » Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:05 pm

Welcome aboard.

"At this point, building and sealing the doors and hatch are still a mystery to me. "

Get a copy of Steve Fredrick's Teardrop Shop Manual. http://www.campingclassics.com/shopman05.html I think it's 250 pages with lots of photos and explanation. With great sections on doors and the hatch.

:thumbsup:

"I intend to stuff 3" of foam insulation under floor between the frame rails to insulate the floor."

I think there's builders in both camps, but it's me belief that if you are loosing heat through your floor, your mattress isn't thick enough.

Image

Tony :beer:
User avatar
tony.latham
Gold Donating Member
 
Posts: 3743
Images: 17
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 4:03 pm
Location: Middle of Idaho on the edge of nowhere

Re: Off-road Teardrop Design/Build

Postby yrock87 » Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:16 pm

Welcome to the forum. Sounds like you have done a good amount of research already. Planning for rain is something to keep in mind that is often forgot till you are already camping...

At 48in high I would recommend building yourself a mockup with cardboard to see if you want to sacrifice those 3 inches. We opted not to because the better half is a bit claustrophobic. 3 inches doesn't sound like much till you see it in person.

I built my floor the same way I built my walls (1/8 ply, foam, ply) so I could work out the kinks on a piece with straight edges before tackling a curved object. I slightly overbuilt the floor as a result, but ended up with a super strong, insulated floor for my troubles. That and knowledge that came in handy for the wall build.

Looking forward to see your design progress

Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk
The SJ Cruiser, my 5x10 Benroy build http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=64944
User avatar
yrock87
Teardrop Master
 
Posts: 286
Images: 97
Joined: Sat Oct 31, 2015 2:32 pm
Top

Re: Off-road Teardrop Design/Build

Postby alchemist77 » Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:18 pm

What is the TV? Curious how wide the vehicle is to gauge the trailer.

Sent from my Lenovo TAB 2 A10-70F using Tapatalk
David Campbell
KF7SFU
RaDAR
SOTA
alchemist77
Teardrop Advisor
 
Posts: 62
Images: 10
Joined: Sun Feb 26, 2012 5:16 pm
Location: Middleton Idaho
Top

Re: Off-road Teardrop Design/Build

Postby kokomoto » Wed Nov 09, 2016 8:52 pm

My TV is a Cherokee XJ.

Spoke to the local trailer shop today about the axle. They recommended 10" brakes for reliability over 7" brakes. 73" hub face spacing and 58" on the mounts for the Dexter model axle. Plan to order it tomorrow after getting the final wheel selection made so that the correct hubs can be ordered.

The floor insulation is an optional add on. Inexpensive and easily installed. Just trying to avoid any condensation issues. Probably varies greatly depending on atmospheric conditions and cabin ventilation, but figured it might be good insurance against a wet mattress that will grow mildew.

We looked at a few TDs at Overland Expo East last month. There are some great TDs being built, but didn't find one that incorporated all of the features that we want. Found a ton of inspiration though. We like the Vintage Overland design, but want a little more cabin and storage space. Aero Teardrops has a nice trailer. Blue Ridge Expedition BrX1 has Some great features and impressive craftsmanship, but is a bit heavy. Timberleaf has a nice rig with space and nice galley, but we prefer the traditional TD shape.

The axle will take 3 weeks for delivery. That's plenty of time to get astart on the walls and floor. The local welder/fabricator says he can have the frame welded up and rolling out the door in 2 days once I deliver all of the components and materials. I knew I found the right shop when Imshowed him my plans, and he started brainstorming ways to improve my design. He seemed genuinely interested in the project, and eager to help make a really nice TD.

Thanks for the feedback!
User avatar
kokomoto
Teardrop Master
 
Posts: 214
Images: 1
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2016 3:18 pm
Location: SE Tennessee
Top

Re: Off-road Teardrop Design/Build

Postby Andrew Herrick » Thu Nov 10, 2016 1:32 am

I'm excited to watch your build play out. Designing an off-road teardrop is a fine dance between weight, strength and cost.

I'm curious to know what coupler you're using. When you say "off-road" teardrop, do you mean a rock crawler? I've only ever used ball hitches, but lots of the builds over at Expedition Portal use pintle hitches or articulating couplers like the Lock n' Roll.

Oh, and one solution to a wet mattress is a tatami mat, Froli spring mat, Hypervent or any number of similar products. They allow ventilation under the mattress, and they seem to be big amongst boaters in the Pacific Northwest.
A few of my builds:

ImageImageImageImage


SEE MORE AT: boondockcampers.com
User avatar
Andrew Herrick
The 300 Club
 
Posts: 390
Images: 15
Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2016 5:39 pm
Location: Cedar City, Utah
Top

Re: Off-road Teardrop Design/Build

Postby tony.latham » Thu Nov 10, 2016 10:11 am

The axle will take 3 weeks for delivery. That's plenty of time to get a start on the walls and floor.


I've done it both ways but much prefer building the cabin on a dolly and installing it on the chassis after it's almost completed. No tongue or tires/fenders in the way.

Image

Image

One my building-thing to consider. :thinking:

Tony
User avatar
tony.latham
Gold Donating Member
 
Posts: 3743
Images: 17
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 4:03 pm
Location: Middle of Idaho on the edge of nowhere
Top

Re: Off-road Teardrop Design/Build

Postby kokomoto » Sat Nov 12, 2016 7:28 pm

I ordered the Dexter 3,500 lb axle yesterday. Delivery should be in 2-4 weeks. Yesterday was spent cutting the template for the walls from luan. After visiting the local wood supplier, I'm considering building the wall frame from standard 1" boards for an actual 3/4" thickness. It will mean slightly less insulation than the 1" true thickness, but it's easier to come by when shopping for off-the-shelf material. Went shopping for expanded polystyrene insulation at Lowes. The selection was slim. Have to find another source. Too bad there's no Menards in this part of the country.
User avatar
kokomoto
Teardrop Master
 
Posts: 214
Images: 1
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2016 3:18 pm
Location: SE Tennessee
Top

Re: Off-road Teardrop Design/Build

Postby kokomoto » Sat Nov 12, 2016 7:34 pm

I asked for a quote on tires and wheels from Coker Tire. I really like the set they are using on the "Vintage Overland" TDs. So I'm going with that. They will provide good ground clearance, and should be plenty durable.

Super Traxion 7.00x15 on steel smoothies with chrome baby moons.
User avatar
kokomoto
Teardrop Master
 
Posts: 214
Images: 1
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2016 3:18 pm
Location: SE Tennessee
Top

Re: Off-road Teardrop Design/Build

Postby kokomoto » Sat Nov 12, 2016 7:45 pm

No rock crawling for me. Just want the ability to go anywhere a slightly modified Cherokee would reasonably go without worrying about the trailer on rutted trails, unimproved roads and such.

I have seen the Froli system in a Cirrus truck camper. Considering it. I haven't heard of the other systems, but will check them out as well.
User avatar
kokomoto
Teardrop Master
 
Posts: 214
Images: 1
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2016 3:18 pm
Location: SE Tennessee
Top

Re: Off-road Teardrop Design/Build

Postby kokomoto » Sat Nov 12, 2016 9:26 pm

Andrew Herrick wrote:I'm excited to watch your build play out. Designing an off-road teardrop is a fine dance between weight, strength and cost.

I'm curious to know what coupler you're using. When you say "off-road" teardrop, do you mean a rock crawler? I've only ever used ball hitches, but lots of the builds over at Expedition Portal use pintle hitches or articulating couplers like the Lock n' Roll.

Oh, and one solution to a wet mattress is a tatami mat, Froli spring mat, Hypervent or any number of similar products. They allow ventilation under the mattress, and they seem to be big amongst boaters in the Pacific Northwest.


I'm leaning toward the max coupler based on the reviews I've read. Willing to be educated though.
User avatar
kokomoto
Teardrop Master
 
Posts: 214
Images: 1
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2016 3:18 pm
Location: SE Tennessee
Top

Re: Off-road Teardrop Design/Build

Postby yrock87 » Sun Nov 13, 2016 12:00 am

kokomoto wrote:I ordered the Dexter 3,500 lb axle yesterday. Delivery should be in 2-4 weeks. Yesterday was spent cutting the template for the walls from luan. After visiting the local wood supplier, I'm considering building the wall frame from standard 1" boards for an actual 3/4" thickness. It will mean slightly less insulation than the 1" true thickness, but it's easier to come by when shopping for off-the-shelf material. Went shopping for expanded polystyrene insulation at Lowes. The selection was slim. Have to find another source. Too bad there's no Menards in this part of the country.


I found the same myself at the same point early in my build. I ended up buying 2x6 and ripping five 1x1.5 boards from each 2x6. I went that route because it was more affordable than the hardwood option and there was no xps foam at 3/4 inch thickness available at my local HD. only 1, 1.5, and 2.

Ripping your own is a little more work, but I did all of my framing in less than 20 min with a second set of hands. It was even an excuse for me to buy a cheap table saw.
The SJ Cruiser, my 5x10 Benroy build http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=64944
User avatar
yrock87
Teardrop Master
 
Posts: 286
Images: 97
Joined: Sat Oct 31, 2015 2:32 pm
Top

Re: Off-road Teardrop Design/Build

Postby Andrew Herrick » Wed Nov 16, 2016 2:51 pm

kokomoto wrote:
Andrew Herrick wrote:I'm excited to watch your build play out. Designing an off-road teardrop is a fine dance between weight, strength and cost.

I'm curious to know what coupler you're using. When you say "off-road" teardrop, do you mean a rock crawler? I've only ever used ball hitches, but lots of the builds over at Expedition Portal use pintle hitches or articulating couplers like the Lock n' Roll.

Oh, and one solution to a wet mattress is a tatami mat, Froli spring mat, Hypervent or any number of similar products. They allow ventilation under the mattress, and they seem to be big amongst boaters in the Pacific Northwest.


I'm leaning toward the max coupler based on the reviews I've read. Willing to be educated though.


So am I :p Heard lots of great things about the max coupler. Good luck!
A few of my builds:

ImageImageImageImage


SEE MORE AT: boondockcampers.com
User avatar
Andrew Herrick
The 300 Club
 
Posts: 390
Images: 15
Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2016 5:39 pm
Location: Cedar City, Utah
Top

Re: Off-road Teardrop Design/Build

Postby kokomoto » Thu Nov 17, 2016 1:40 pm

Yesterday I finished cutting the 1" x 2.75" spruce boards for the outside perimeter of one of the walls. I plan to use T-88 epoxy glue and pocket screws to hold it all together. Currently trying to devise the best way to assemble/glue the frame together that will ensure that it comes out perfectly straight with no waviness or bowing.

Researching epoxy to protect all of the wood today. Was leaning toward West Systems, but RAKA seems to work fine and costs less.

Ordered a Milliard tri-fold mattress today. Hoping it will fold up nice to allow comfortable seating on rainy days as well as a good nights sleep.

Trying to figure out the best way to do the wall to floor joint. Lots of options.

Need to contact the local metal shop to check the availability of .040 aluminum sheet at least 9' long for the sides.

Has anyone tried to order the hinge top Windows from Little Guy like the one they use on their T@B camper? Considering custom single door with 16"x24" vertical window with slider on the passenger side, and the 38"x20" hinged window on the other side.
User avatar
kokomoto
Teardrop Master
 
Posts: 214
Images: 1
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2016 3:18 pm
Location: SE Tennessee
Top

Re: Off-road Teardrop Design/Build

Postby kokomoto » Wed Nov 23, 2016 7:50 pm

image.jpeg
image.jpeg (15.25 KiB) Viewed 4623 times


The mattress was delivered today. Testing it out at home for the holiday weekend. It's a Milliard Tri-Fold, just shy of queen size.

Also ordered two 23"x15" Seitz S4 Windows from LG today. It's the same window they install on their T@G TDs. One will be installed on the driver's side wall, and the other on the door. That's the plan anyway.

Bought 6 4'x8'x1/4" birch plywood sheets. That should be enough for the sandwiched walls and floor. The 1/8" is harder to get locally, so I'm utilizing the 1/4" instead. Not sure what the wall thickness for the window frames need to be, and may have to adapt and overcome.

Also awaiting delivery of 6qt RAKA epoxy kit.

Can anyone recommend an adhesive for the insulation to plywood surfaces that will not destroy the EPS insulation? I'll be using T-88 for all wood to wood joints.
User avatar
kokomoto
Teardrop Master
 
Posts: 214
Images: 1
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2016 3:18 pm
Location: SE Tennessee
Top

Next

Return to Build Journals

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests