Trailer Selection Help

Ask questions about Harbor Freight trailers, or questions about building your own...

Trailer Selection Help

Postby Peacester » Tue Jul 11, 2017 2:35 pm

SO Looked around on here to no avail. I am currently planning and pricing a Box type teardrop. My now arising question is what is the best cheaper trailer to buy/make? I see the Norther Tool and Harbor Freight mentioned a lot but I also hear they aren't meant to go over 50 MPH. Whats my cheapest and best option? (FYI I have a MIG Welder but have little welding experience)
Peacester
Teardrop Inspector
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Jun 27, 2017 4:40 pm

Re: Trailer Selection Help

Postby QueticoBill » Tue Jul 11, 2017 2:50 pm

Having just modified and assembled the NT (steel) 5 x 8 - couldn't be easier. Too many folks here say they go faster than the 50 or 55 listed and no problems. I plan too, but you could upgrade the axle and tires and be fine, a popular route. But if I were doing it over, I might go a different route. I like the ultra light frame in the design resources here, or similar lightweight designs and home built, but then you face a title and registration issue depending on where you live. That was enough for me to go to the NT. Given other circumstances, and being a junk lover, I would prowl for a used trailer and hope the frame was salvageable and add all new parts but use the original title/serial number/etc. to get it registered. No one clear answer IMHO.
QB
A tear with no name: viewtopic.php?f=50&t=67624
QueticoBill
Silver Donating Member
 
Posts: 522
Images: 22
Joined: Sun Apr 14, 2013 7:22 am
Location: Oak Park Illinois

Re: Trailer Selection Help

Postby Tigris99 » Tue Jul 11, 2017 4:41 pm

The trailer speed issue is a liability for the bearings because of the small tires. Repacking with good grease helps alot. Better bearings with bigger tires goes a long way with that too


Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
Tigris99
Teardrop Master
 
Posts: 146
Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2017 4:42 pm
Top

Re: Trailer Selection Help

Postby ae6black » Tue Jul 11, 2017 8:20 pm

If the trailer won't do a consistent 70 MPH I wouldn't have it. There are enough upgrades out there to suit your needs. Dexter axle makes really good replacement axles that can come with the brake option.

Art
User avatar
ae6black
Silver Donating Member
 
Posts: 247
Images: 19
Joined: Sat Jul 19, 2014 4:13 am
Location: Western Pennsylvania
Top

Re: Trailer Selection Help

Postby aggie79 » Wed Jul 12, 2017 8:08 am

I didn't use it for my teardrop, but I had a Harbor Freight trailer for 5-6 years that was used to haul light loads of materials. I consistently drove/hauled at 65-70 mph and had absolutely no issues with stock tires, axle, bearings, seals, etc. Be sure to remove and clean the Cosmoline (rust preventative that looks like grease but is not) that comes on the bearings and pack the bearings with a high-quality grease. I did change bearings and seals every two years.
Tom (& Linda)
For more on our Silver Beatle teardrop:
Build Thread

93503
User avatar
aggie79
Super Duper Lifetime Member
 
Posts: 4851
Images: 666
Joined: Tue Aug 07, 2007 5:42 pm
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
Top

Re: Trailer Selection Help

Postby Peacester » Wed Jul 12, 2017 10:48 am

Thanks for the replies! I will probably end up going with the Harbor Freight Trailer then and just watch the bearings til new axle/hubs and tires are in the budget!
Peacester
Teardrop Inspector
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Jun 27, 2017 4:40 pm
Top

Re: Trailer Selection Help

Postby Andrew Herrick » Wed Jul 12, 2017 11:13 am

Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be any middle ground between the cheap kit trailers from Northern Tool and Harbor Freight and high-quality custom trailers. One costs $250-$400; the other $800+. Hard to find anything in the middle.

Kit trailers require bearings to be repacked every 2,000 miles. Bearings usually fail faster. Axles are often U-channel, which will bend easily if you hit a boulder or big pot hole. Harbor Freight enamel fades to pink; Northern tool enamel flakes off. The wiring harnesses come with nut connectors, which are prone to unscrewing over time. Also - this one is a biggie for me - standard jacks and bolt-on couplers DON'T usually fit the 2.5-inch tongue rails or 2.5-inch channel coupler mounts on either of the kit trailers! This makes it difficult to upgrade components unless you want to drill some extra holes. Most kit trailers also use incandescent lights rather than LED lights. The axle location on most kit trailers is terrible for teardrop trailers; you don't get enough weight on the tongue, and therefore the camper will fishtail more. And it's not always wise to attempt to modify a Harbor Freight frame, because the rails and cross members are just bent mild steel sheet metal, and you won't get a strong weld on material that thin.

Not trying to rant on kit trailers; just that you get what you pay for. Obviously, lots of people use them without hassle. Personally, I've had more hassle than I care to explain :p f you can find a welder to fabricate a simple ladder-style frame and add leaf spring hangers, you could paint the frame and source and install all the components yourself. It'll cost a few hundred extra dollars, but you wouldn't believe the differences in quality. The first time you tackle a rougher road and watch your beloved teardrop bouncing around like a jack-in-the-box, you'll be thankful it's built on a quality frame.

*end of sermon*

Good luck!
User avatar
Andrew Herrick
Teardrop Master
 
Posts: 219
Images: 11
Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2016 5:39 pm
Location: Cedar City, Utah
Top

Re: Trailer Selection Help

Postby working on it » Wed Jul 12, 2017 11:37 am

Tigris99 wrote:The trailer speed issue is a liability for the bearings because of the small tires. Repacking with good grease helps a lot. Better bearings with bigger tires goes a long way with that too...
  • If there's any question in your mind of having future problems using the stock HF axle/bearings/wheels/tires, especially trailering at high speeds (I tow at 75 mph), or going off-road, or building a trailer near or over the axle's rated capacity, then just go ahead and upgrade now, if your budget affords it. Retro-fitting later, as in my case, limits choices and is harder to do than at the early build stages. I knew I would need better running gear, eventually, but I piece-mealed the improvements over time, due to having a low-or-no budget situation, at the start. You have the opportunity to upgrade now, before problems arise later.
  • The "junk" trailer I started with had 8" wheels on a 1.25" square-tubed axle, of unknown weight capacity, so I put larger bearings and 5 on 4.5 hubs (replacing the 4 lug originals) so I could use 14" tires on it. I chose 14" tires because they are the same size that my wife's business trailer has (so I could get a free spare, to share), and a friend had two extra 14" tires on hand. There was no way I would've trusted my trailer build to using the smaller tires and bearings on highways, especially since I had burnt up one of the original bearings, just bringing the "junk" trailer back from a swap-meet 20 years before. I also had to use 1.25" wheel spacer/adapters to make the larger tires clear the frame.
  • I always intended to make my trailer a "heavy-duty" off-road type, just in case I or my wife would ever need it to go to out-of-the-way campsites, so larger tires were a better choice, though I wanted to eventually replace the light-duty axle before any excursion on rougher roads, in the future. As it turned out, I had the opportunity to upgrade my axle after a spring hanger tore loose, so I bought a 3500 lb Dexter (wider than the original, thus eliminating the spacers), adding brakes and better springs, and reinforced the frame at that time. Still on a limited budget, though I had improved the axle situation, I still used my aged and patched ST tires for two more years (they were at least 12 years old by then), before replacing them with good LT tires.
  • Now, after upgrading all the suspension and rolling stock, I have no worries travelling at high speeds, or over rough terrain. But, to do it again, I would've built it from the ground up, rather than correcting mistakes or bad choices, later on.
  • 86927 starting point; needs a lot of work, obviously
  • 86933 enlarged frame, same axle (with larger bearings/wheels)
  • 118140 original spindly axle (unknown capacity)
  • 119025 Dexter 3500 lb axle & better springs
  • 2013 HHRv,"squareback/simple" TTT, semi-offroad? 4x8, 2000+ lbs travel weight
  • featuring: 3500 lb Dexter axle w/brakes & HD leaf spring system > riding on General Grabber 27x8.5-14LT tires, LED lighting inside, A/C & heat, AGM battery 12vdc, 110vac from extended run generator onboard or park power, Coleman dual-fuel stove & Northstar lantern
  • 147697148333
  • 148599125895148106
User avatar
working on it
1000 Club
1000 Club
 
Posts: 1508
Images: 427
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2011 9:05 pm
Location: DFW Texas
Top

Re: Trailer Selection Help

Postby mcubberley » Thu Jul 13, 2017 6:11 am

I used this trailer as my base and have the same concerns you do. I will be adding UltraTow hubs and Kendra LoadStar (tires) of the same size over the next few days. I will be keeping the original hubs and tires on hand as backups if something goes wrong on the road. Some day I will have a better axle and larger tires but for now, I am well below the tire and trailer's ratings, my tongue weight seems good and it pulls ok so far.

I think I could drive myself insane considering all the horror stories, all the options, all the costs, and all the variables. I think I have given it a decent amount of time so here's to hoping....
Some day I will figure out something to put here. But for now....
Image
_____________________________________________________________
I made my own image hosting, feel free to create a free account: http://shoppics.org
I made my own blog, feel free to browse: http://themodernshopteacher.com
User avatar
mcubberley
Teardrop Master
 
Posts: 117
Joined: Thu Mar 16, 2017 5:08 pm
Location: Roanoke, VA
Top

Re: Trailer Selection Help

Postby QueticoBill » Thu Jul 13, 2017 6:46 am

mcubberley wrote:I used this trailer as my base and have the same concerns you do. I will be adding UltraTow hubs and Kendra LoadStar (tires) of the same size over the next few days. I will be keeping the original hubs and tires on hand as backups if something goes wrong on the road. Some day I will have a better axle and larger tires but for now, I am well below the tire and trailer's ratings, my tongue weight seems good and it pulls ok so far.

I think I could drive myself insane considering all the horror stories, all the options, all the costs, and all the variables. I think I have given it a decent amount of time so here's to hoping....


Sorry - which trailer is "this trailer" you used?
QB
A tear with no name: viewtopic.php?f=50&t=67624
QueticoBill
Silver Donating Member
 
Posts: 522
Images: 22
Joined: Sun Apr 14, 2013 7:22 am
Location: Oak Park Illinois
Top

Re: Trailer Selection Help

Postby swoody126 » Thu Jul 13, 2017 6:49 am

peacester, have you perused CraigsList?

i frequently find good used boat trailers and utility trailers there in the $250 - $500 range

they can be a fine platform for trailer based projects such as a Tear Drop

typically designed for highway speeds w/ a 2k# - 3.5k# capacity

just look for one w/ the desired width and massage the length to suit your wants

btw, your info doesn't list the area where you live which could be really helpful to those wishing to aid you in your quest

sw
"we are the people our parents warned us about" jb
swoody126
Teardrop Master
 
Posts: 208
Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2016 6:11 pm
Location: north of Ft Worth
Top

Re: Trailer Selection Help

Postby mcubberley » Thu Jul 13, 2017 6:50 am

Coffee is just now kicking in. I used the NT 5x8 bolt together kit. Its the one that has the C shaped steel frame.
Some day I will figure out something to put here. But for now....
Image
_____________________________________________________________
I made my own image hosting, feel free to create a free account: http://shoppics.org
I made my own blog, feel free to browse: http://themodernshopteacher.com
User avatar
mcubberley
Teardrop Master
 
Posts: 117
Joined: Thu Mar 16, 2017 5:08 pm
Location: Roanoke, VA
Top


Return to Trailer and Chassis Secrets

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests