Retro / Vintage Camper Food Truck?

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Retro / Vintage Camper Food Truck?

Postby MJWBuffalo » Wed Oct 23, 2019 9:34 am

Hello All!

I have been stalking around for the past month or so reading as much as I can and filling my head with info for my upcoming project.

My two teenagers and I have a small mobile food business (hot dog cart) that I built 3 years ago. It has served us well during that time but it limits us to fair weather events for the most part as well as limits what we can serve. So I am thinking of building a very small standie, canned- ham type traier to give us protection as well as add extras sinks and refrigeration to make the health dept happy. It will built on a modified sure-trac 4x8 trailer that I bought yesterday stretched to 5.5' x 9.5'. Interior height needs to be a minimum of 7.5' to fit everything in.

My initial question is regarding the walls...

Since I will be having concession type awnings that will fold down to cover the windows when closed or stay up to provide shade when open, what kind of support do I need to have behind the halls to ensure it doesn't crack off in higher winds or just from frequent use?

My first idea was to skin outside with 3/8 or 1/2" ply and inside with 1/4" ply. i could use 2x4's on their side as studs and a header to screw into. That also gives me a chunky 2 1/4"+ thick wall but I'm not concerned about that if the support is there. I would probably use cedar 2x4's to keep the weight down a little.

I'll be sure to post pics, drawings etc once I figure out how... total newbie here.

thanks again for the all the knowledge you provide, it's been a treat reading about your projects.

Matt
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Re: Retro / Vintage Camper Food Truck?

Postby greygoos » Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:02 am

A guy on here recently did a Shasta reproduction for a food or coffee truck. He used 3/4 ply doubled up which I think was overkill. I have built some food trailers and or trucks. I suggest before you do anything is write down every piece of equipment you are going to use as well as making a floor template and do a mockup. 2 X 4 walls will be plenty strong enough. If you are going to use plywood on the inside make a baseboard out of 1x4 PVC lumber and install that before the plywood. Put the plywood up on the top of the base vertically and then cover with a washable surface. Its a good idea to put a drain or two in the floor so cleanup is easy. Check with the local Fire Department to see what their regs are, you might need to install an escape hatch on the roof and have an ansul system. Keep us posted and take pics.
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Re: Retro / Vintage Camper Food Truck?

Postby MJWBuffalo » Fri Oct 25, 2019 7:44 am

Thanks for the tips, I thought I had thought of all the little things ahead of my build but you definitely had some good ideas there!

I had to deal with all the local govt agencies for our first food cart build so that doesn't make me nearly as nervous as the first time. Before I start building, I need to have the health department review and approve my plans. The big question is whether I can skip the very expensive exhaust hood by having my grills on a slide out so they are not inside along with a lot of windows for fresh air. Fingers crossed on that one!

I haven't figured out how to attach pics yet but once I do, I'll post some pics of the used trailer I picked up and the cart I built a few years ago.

Matt
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Re: Retro / Vintage Camper Food Truck?

Postby greygoos » Sun Oct 27, 2019 6:45 am

Follow this link. They are pretty good at compacting food trailers. They also have blueprints and schematics. http://www.hotdogcartcompany.com
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enclosed-hot-dog-cart-grill-weenie-genie-hot-dog-cart-company-4.jpg
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Re: Retro / Vintage Camper Food Truck?

Postby MJWBuffalo » Mon Oct 28, 2019 10:52 am

Thanks for the link! Obviously not the look I'm going for but the floorplans will help!

In order to get it approved here in NY, I first need to submit plans to the health department for their approval. These plans will be a good starting point on what to show and what to include. When I did it with the cart I built, the plans were over detailed and complicated... it still got approved but this will definitely help put me on the right track

Matt
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Re: Retro / Vintage Camper Food Truck?

Postby MJWBuffalo » Wed Nov 20, 2019 9:02 am

retro camper food truck 1.jpg
retro camper food truck 1.jpg (106.45 KiB) Viewed 497 times


So this is close to what I am planning on building.

Due to the weight and forces at play (wind, gravity, etc) on the awning windows, I was planning on using skeletonized construction with 2x4's laid flat (3.5" across") in the middle and 1/4" skins before aluminum on the outside (2" thick wall). I figured this would give me enough "meat" for my awnings to hang off of.

After continuing to read thread after thread, it seems the general consensus is that 3/4" ply construction is easier (my preference for first build) and up to the job for most small campers.

Here's the question du jour: Any suggestions on beefing up the 3/4" ply construction? Is it needed? Lag bolt the awning hinges through the ply? Maybe attach a long strip of metal or additional ply on the inside so I can use longer screws/lags and spread out the support?

Appreciate the help from the masters!

Matt
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Re: Retro / Vintage Camper Food Truck?

Postby working on it » Wed Nov 20, 2019 11:09 am

MJWBuffalo wrote:... it seems the general consensus is that 3/4" ply construction is easier....Here's the question du jour: Any suggestions on beefing up the 3/4" ply construction? Is it needed? Lag bolt the awning hinges through the ply? Maybe attach a long strip of metal or additional ply on the inside so I can use longer screws/lags and spread out the support?....


* I wouldn't recommend using lag bolts thru 3/4" plywood, unless a thick backer is used. If the backing material isn't thick enough, then the lag bolts can pull-thru if enough force is applied. I only used lag bolts on one specialized piece in my trailer, a retrofitted interior cross-beam used as a lift-bar, to help me up and out of a reclining position (old man, bad back, yada yada...).
from another thread....
working on it wrote:I'm also looking to add extra bracing to my 3/4" walls, both for making a roof rack support, later on, and an inner brace/weight support for the interior (I need to make an overhead lift "trapeze", since I have trouble getting out of bed- can't roll out!) My roof is bolted/glued directly on top of the walls, and needed no spars to support it, as it is well-supported all-around, and is of small overall size. I want to retrofit a 4x4 spar/beam , glued to the roof with PL Premium, and using long lag bolts to affix it to the walls. I'll cut it to 46.5" long (wall-to-wall dimensions), carving out a 2" wide center space (so it will fit over my central light bar on the ceiling), and using eye-bolts to tie my lift rope to (soft, braided 3/8" marine rope). Of course, painted to match the decor! You might consider something similar, though it might be better to lower the beam's height (as low as you could), to make a stronger bracing structure.
  • Image
  • Image

* I made this as I planned, (but with a 1" space left between the beam and the roof, so I didn't glue it at all), and used two steel handles (same as my door & hatch handles) as grab-handles (instead of eyebolts), with the rope strung between them (in the form of a hangman's noose!). Using it, I can now easily lift myself up & out of my trailer. The 4" long 3/8 lag bolts, through the 3/4" walls, were supplemented with interior brackets in the interior, mainly to eliminate rotation of the 4x4 beam.

* Instead of using lag bolts in other configurations, I used 1/4" stainless carriage bolts, with stainless fender washers (1" or 1.5" OD) on both sides of the plywood, and either stainless nylock or acorn nuts to bolt my trailer together. Simpson Strong Ties angle braces and heavy steel corner braces were the structural reinforcements thru which the stainless bolts were attached. For extra strength, 1/2" x 3" red oak boards were used as framework around the doors. When bolted together, the drilled holes were sealed with PL Premium poly adhesive (with extra under each washer), so there's no possibility of water penetration. I assure you that the clamping force of this method will hold anything in position, without fear of lag bolt pull-through.
2013 HHRv "squareback/squaredrop", rugged, 4x8 TTT, 2150+ lbs
  • *3500 lb Dexter EZ-Lube braked axle, 3000 lb.springs, active-progressive bumpstop suspension
  • *27 x 8.5-14LT AT tires (x 3) *Weight Distribution system for single-beam tongue
  • *100% LED's & GFCI outlets, 3x fans, AM/FM/CD/Aux. *A/C & heat, Optima AGM, inverter & charger(s)
  • *extended-run, on-board, 2500w generator *Coleman dual-fuel stove & lantern, Ikea grill, vintage skillet
  • *zinc/stainless front & side racks *98"L x 6" diameter rod & reel carrier tube on roof
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Re: Retro / Vintage Camper Food Truck?

Postby MJWBuffalo » Wed Nov 20, 2019 11:58 am

Thanks for your reply. It gives me a lot to think about.

Maybe I can glue/lam and screw a 2x4 above the awning windows and then bolt the hinges through that with the large fender washers.that would help spread the forces out along the entire length.

I might have a couple of spots where I could work a beam across the trailer to connect to the other side without getting in the way... just for extra support.

Thanks again,

Matt
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Re: Retro / Vintage Camper Food Truck?

Postby Pmullen503 » Wed Nov 20, 2019 3:08 pm

Look at how galley hatches are done. These are probably heavier than your awnings will be and they're subjected to the same forces. Also Think about how you can make those awnings as light as possible. Foam core rimmed with an aluminum extrusion and aluminum skin.
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Re: Retro / Vintage Camper Food Truck?

Postby MJWBuffalo » Thu Nov 21, 2019 9:46 am

Pmullen503 wrote:Look at how galley hatches are done. These are probably heavier than your awnings will be and they're subjected to the same forces. Also Think about how you can make those awnings as light as possible. Foam core rimmed with an aluminum extrusion and aluminum skin.



Good Idea! I hadn't been thinking of making them light, only secure. I've actually broken signage, etc on my hot dog cart from wind so I am especially sensitive to this now. The window will be around 6' Long at its longest.

I was considering 1"square aluminum tubing covered in the same metal skin as the trailer but maybe I can come up with something else that would be strong and light.

Thanks

Matt
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Re: Retro / Vintage Camper Food Truck?

Postby mallymal » Thu Nov 28, 2019 6:35 am

Are you considering insulation?
I’m assuming you won’t be sleeping in it, but it might help avoid consdensation.....

Also in the retro pic you posted, the lift up servery hatch is on gas struts.... defo the way to go, as they will obviously prevent it dropping down, but also prevent it being blown upwards and straining the fixings.

Good luck...,, look forward to seeing it progress...
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Re: Retro / Vintage Camper Food Truck?

Postby MJWBuffalo » Tue Dec 03, 2019 9:35 am

mallymal wrote:Are you considering insulation?
I’m assuming you won’t be sleeping in it, but it might help avoid consdensation.....

Also in the retro pic you posted, the lift up servery hatch is on gas struts.... defo the way to go, as they will obviously prevent it dropping down, but also prevent it being blown upwards and straining the fixings.

Good luck...,, look forward to seeing it progress...


Thanks for the suggestion. Part of the reason to build this is to work in it throughout the winter. Even with windows open, having some insulation in the walls and ceiling will definitely help.

As for the struts, that is a definite.

I may be switching up the trailer as I found a deal on a slightly larger one for a great price. Still hoping to get moving in the new year!

Matt
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