"Phoenix" 5'x11' Build

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"Phoenix" 5'x11' Build

Postby cjlangellier » Fri Apr 30, 2021 5:32 pm

Hello all! My name is Cody, I'm from the suburbs of Chicago and I'm new to this site. I've enjoyed browsing through a number of builds and thought I might share my own build with the group. My wife and I are building a 5'x11' teardrop that we are currently calling "Phoenix". We aren't set on the name yet but we thought it fitting considering this teardrop will be resurrected from a 1992 Starcraft popup camper that I've owned for the last 20 years. The popup wasn't in great shape when I bought it and slowly deteriorated over time until it was unusable. Surprisingly the frame was in great condition for living within the rust belt for 30 years.

My wife and have enjoyed backpacking for the last several years but as our professional lives have become more demanding, our opportunities to plan long backpacking trips have declined. On a camping trip to Rocky Mountain National Park, my wife spotted a Timberleaf teardrop camper and immediately fell in love. That siting got the gears turning in my head. As an avid DIY house flipper, and former demolition derby participant, I knew I had the skills necessary to build our own trailer. Last fall we started planning for our 2021 build and stripped my old popup camper to the bare frame. I've started the build process the last few weeks with trailer modifications. I've rambled long enough so I'll get to the pics.

Our starting point. A decrepit 1992 Starcraft popup
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Body cleared from the frame
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Bare frame
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2021-04-30 Frame narrowed and cleared of all old hardware
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Axle removed and new parts! Is there anything better than a shipment of new parts!
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We decided on a new straight axle with Timbren silent ride suspension. Surprisingly this was more cost effective than a new torsion axle. Additionally Dexter is currently estimating custom built axles to be delivered in 10-16 weeks! I don't think the axle-less Timbren system was an option with our cabin overhanging the frame by about 2.5" on either side. I believe the spindles would not have been long enough for the tires to clear the cabin. At any rate, we'll have a nice new axle/suspension/brake combo under the trailer soon.
Last edited by cjlangellier on Mon May 03, 2021 8:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
Cody - Westmont, IL

5x11 Teardrop *In Progress*
http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=73740
6x12 Cargo Trailer/Ice Shanty/Toy Hauler (Complete)
http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=73743
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Re: "Phoenix" 5'x11' Build

Postby pchast » Fri Apr 30, 2021 8:35 pm

Welcome. :D
I'm interested to see what you do.
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Re: "Phoenix" 5'x11' Build

Postby cjlangellier » Sat May 01, 2021 6:05 am

pchast wrote:Welcome. :D
I'm interested to see what you do.


Thanks! I hope to post regular updates over the next few months. The timing for the build isn’t great with material prices skyrocketing, but we are hopeful we can make a big national park circuit trip later this summer in our new trailer.

For those interested, you can checkout my ice fishing shanty/cargo trailer conversion I built last winter here: http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=73743
Cody - Westmont, IL

5x11 Teardrop *In Progress*
http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=73740
6x12 Cargo Trailer/Ice Shanty/Toy Hauler (Complete)
http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=73743
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Re: "Phoenix" 5'x11' Build

Postby cjlangellier » Sat May 01, 2021 2:02 pm

2021-05-01

Got a significant amount of work done this morning. Inset mounted an accessory hitch to the back of the trailer. Wanted it as close to flush to the back rail as possible to avoid hitting our legs on in when working in the galley. Will be a slight pain to get the pin in and out from under the trailer but I think it aesthetically looks better and will function better than having it stick a few inches out off the back of the trailer.

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Welded brackets to the frame for the fold up steps and temporarily mocked the steps up.

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Finished all the welding and grinding on the bottom side of the trailer. And cleaned up a bunch of welds on the corners of the trailer where I had to end cap the frame. Finished off with a quick mock up with the new tires and wheels.

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Last edited by cjlangellier on Mon May 03, 2021 8:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
Cody - Westmont, IL

5x11 Teardrop *In Progress*
http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=73740
6x12 Cargo Trailer/Ice Shanty/Toy Hauler (Complete)
http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=73743
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cjlangellier
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Re: "Phoenix" 5'x11' Build

Postby cjlangellier » Sun May 02, 2021 6:45 pm

2021-05-02

Lots of wire wheel, flap disc, grinding, sanding today. Was able to get the first coat of primer on before the rain starts up this week. Really happy with the progress so far. Next step will be to sand the first coat of primer and correct any spots I missed with the grinder, second coat of primer and finish it off with bed liner. Also bought all our skeleton, siding and interior lumber today. :shock: The ole wallet is quite a bit lighter after that trip.

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Cody - Westmont, IL

5x11 Teardrop *In Progress*
http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=73740
6x12 Cargo Trailer/Ice Shanty/Toy Hauler (Complete)
http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=73743
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cjlangellier
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Re: "Phoenix" 5'x11' Build

Postby cjlangellier » Sat May 08, 2021 10:28 pm

2021-05-08

Finished paint prep and sprayed the bed liner on. Got all the marker lights and taillights mounted, as well as the junction box and 7 pin pigtail on the trailer.

Side note: order with caution from etrailer.com. I ordered Timbren suspension from them on the 26th. The parts where “in stock”. When I ordered my estimated date of receipt was May 4th. My order ship date has been delayed 7 times and is currently May 20. When I called to check on the status of the order today, their customer service department told me the parts were in their storage warehouse and they haven’t had time to pull them because they are short handed. I asked if there was anything I could do to expedite the order and she said no. “Your order is already marked “rush”, now mind you at the time of this call my estimated date of receipt was the 18th. I asked why the website says if I was to make an order for the same part the estimated date of receipt is the same as my order which has been sitting stale for 2 weeks. Her exact words were “Oh that shipping estimate won’t be met.” So long story short, they know they can’t meet the estimated ship times in their website, yet they won’t tell you that until after you’ve paid for your items. Waiting a month for “in stock” parts is just not acceptable by today’s standards. After I got off the phone I checked my order tracking info and my order was pushed back another 2 days! Glad she marked my order “rush”, I’d hate to see how long a standard order takes to fill.

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Cody - Westmont, IL

5x11 Teardrop *In Progress*
http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=73740
6x12 Cargo Trailer/Ice Shanty/Toy Hauler (Complete)
http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=73743
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cjlangellier
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Re: "Phoenix" 5'x11' Build

Postby Bezoar » Sun May 09, 2021 5:28 am

frame is looking good! I hear ya on the current price of the wood part of the project! looking forward to watching your build - I can see you have attention to detail.
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Re: "Phoenix" 5'x11' Build

Postby cjlangellier » Tue May 11, 2021 1:13 pm

I finally had it with etrailer today. All day, yesterday, my shipping estimate was bouncing between the 11th and 19th. I woke up this morning and the delivery estimate was the 21st, nearly a full month from the day I ordered the parts. Considering every day the shipping estimate was pushed back at least 1 if not 2-3 days, I finally decided to be proactive and reach out to Timbren directly. The nice folks over there went way out of their way to make sure they could help get their parts in my hands. They allowed me to order by phone (something they claim they don't typically do), in order to get parts out the door and to me by early next week. The customer service team over there acknowledged that etrailer was dropping the ball and they didn't want their name associated with poor service. I truly appreciate the customer service they provided. They were super friendly and more than helpful.

Etrailer on the other hand, they can kick rocks...and I let them know it when I canceled my order. I work in the service industry so I don't usually rant about minute inconveniences or less than great customer service, but I've never seen anything like the service etrailer provides. I'll never order from them again, and I'd caution anyone who does to think twice and try to find another vendor.

All that said, I'll have to move forward with my build without the trailer axle in place for now. Tonight I plan to start framing the floor up. Hopefully there will be some pics coming this evening.
Cody - Westmont, IL

5x11 Teardrop *In Progress*
http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=73740
6x12 Cargo Trailer/Ice Shanty/Toy Hauler (Complete)
http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=73743
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Re: "Phoenix" 5'x11' Build

Postby cjlangellier » Tue May 11, 2021 7:35 pm

2021-05-11

I managed to frame up the floor skeleton tonight. I used 1x6’s for the main rails because the cabin overhangs the frame by 2 1/4” on each side. I’ll be sheeting the bottom and insulating tomorrow.

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Cody - Westmont, IL

5x11 Teardrop *In Progress*
http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=73740
6x12 Cargo Trailer/Ice Shanty/Toy Hauler (Complete)
http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=73743
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cjlangellier
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Re: "Phoenix" 5'x11' Build

Postby cjlangellier » Wed May 12, 2021 8:15 pm

2021-05-12

Managed to get one side of the floor skeleton squared up and glued and stapled the top sheet. Then I flipped the floor over, added center braces and some additional blocking for cabinetry. Lastly, I was able to add the insulation to the main cabin area. The last three open spaces in the skeleton will be filled with 3/4” plywood for the galley and cabinetry at the foot of the bed.

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Cody - Westmont, IL

5x11 Teardrop *In Progress*
http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=73740
6x12 Cargo Trailer/Ice Shanty/Toy Hauler (Complete)
http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=73743
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cjlangellier
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Re: "Phoenix" 5'x11' Build

Postby QueticoBill » Thu May 13, 2021 4:39 am

Very nice work!
QB
A tear with no name: viewtopic.php?f=50&t=67624
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Re: "Phoenix" 5'x11' Build

Postby cjlangellier » Thu May 13, 2021 8:00 pm

QueticoBill wrote:Very nice work!


Thank you! I’m really enjoying the build so far. I think I’m making good progress for only working nights after work.

2021-05-13

Got a shipping update on my Timbren suspension! I should have the trailer rolling by Sunday evening! I’m very excited to check that box off my build sheet.

Tonight I started by fitting the back half of the floor frame with 3/4” plywood. I then lightly sanded the foam board with a random orbital sander and 80 grit sandpaper. The foam board was just a little proud of the 1x4 skeleton. The sander made quick work and a big mess. After cleaning up the foam dust I fitted, glued and stapled the top sheet of the floor. The floor is built and awaiting epoxy next week.

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Cody - Westmont, IL

5x11 Teardrop *In Progress*
http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=73740
6x12 Cargo Trailer/Ice Shanty/Toy Hauler (Complete)
http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=73743
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cjlangellier
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Re: "Phoenix" 5'x11' Build

Postby cjlangellier » Sun May 16, 2021 7:41 pm

2021-05-16

I have a rolling trailer! Got the Timbren suspension installed. I used large nuts and braided fishing line as plumb lines to square the axle. I then tacked the axle brackets to the axle and disassembled the axle and suspension in order to drill the suspension holes and weld up the brackets. I then bolted on the suspension, installed the axle, brakes, hubs and wheels and tires. I installed new safety chains and a new ball coupler mechanism. Once everything was installed I took the trailer for a spin around the block. It seemed to track straight and rode nice a quiet for a trailer with no load on the suspension. I got the floor back on the trailer and the entry steps bolted up. Hopefully I will be cutting the wall template and epoxying the floor this week.

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Cody - Westmont, IL

5x11 Teardrop *In Progress*
http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=73740
6x12 Cargo Trailer/Ice Shanty/Toy Hauler (Complete)
http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=73743
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cjlangellier
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Re: "Phoenix" 5'x11' Build

Postby aggie79 » Tue May 18, 2021 9:28 am

Trailer frame and suspension look fantastic!

I didn't know that Timbren had a suspension to use with a straight axle. Looks like a great set-up. I'm going to file that away in the "future build ideas" folder.
Tom (& Linda)
For build info on our former Silver Beatle teardrop:
Build Thread

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Re: "Phoenix" 5'x11' Build

Postby cjlangellier » Wed May 19, 2021 9:42 am

aggie79 wrote:Trailer frame and suspension look fantastic!

I didn't know that Timbren had a suspension to use with a straight axle. Looks like a great set-up. I'm going to file that away in the "future build ideas" folder.


Thanks! I wasn't either until I started trying to acquire parts for our build. I knew the axle-less suspension wasn't a great option for our build with with the overhang of the cabin. I had planned on a torsion axle, but the best estimate I could get was 10 weeks for delivery and we have a project deadline of mid July we are shooting for so that eliminated that option. Personally, I wanted to avoid leaf springs for the ride quality, noise and longevity issues I've seen on other trailers. I found these on etrailer (though I would recommend ordering elsewhere, see rant above) and figured I'd give them a shot.

I'm really happy with how the trailer rides completely empty and the install was super easy. Bonus: Timbren's customer service is fantastic. I'll report back on the ride quality once the trailer is done and we have a few miles on it.
Cody - Westmont, IL

5x11 Teardrop *In Progress*
http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=73740
6x12 Cargo Trailer/Ice Shanty/Toy Hauler (Complete)
http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=73743
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cjlangellier
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