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Uhaul trailer frame tiny house build

 
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So my dad passed away in October 2018, I miss him like crazy. He had an old raggedy cargo trailer he used for his construction work. I was wondering if I stripped the old cargo part off and built using cedar as frameworks would it hold as long as I don't go to big?
 
pollinator
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I have an old horse trailer I'm thinking of making into a micro-camper.  Perhaps these projects are similar?

 
Franak Ostapowicz
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Sounds like it! I hope it goes well! If you get started post some pictures of the process and let me know!
 
Tyler Ludens
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Yes, I will definitely document this project once I begin!

 
Franak Ostapowicz
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I hope to see it!
 
pollinator
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I would check how much weight load the trailer is rated for before I sink money and labor into it. A tiny house may be over the rated limit, especially for the cargo trailer. Something to think about.
 
Franak Ostapowicz
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Where will I find this? I'm not sure if still has the rating.
 
Franak Ostapowicz
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Its on my dads property three hours away. On four flats, so its gonna be a little while before I can take a look.
 
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Franak Ostapowicz wrote:Where will I find this? I'm not sure if still has the rating.



The title would be a good clue.  The weight is usually found on the title.  If not the VIN# might help.
 
gardener & hugelmaster
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The trailer might have a tag that indicates load rating.

 
Franak Ostapowicz
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Thank y'all so much. I'm not sure where and if there is a title. And the tires are flat so its gonna be hard to look underneath. But he had some house jacks inside this trailer and I decided to hold onto them just for the purpose of getting all four tires off. They are small tires but I think that might actually help with the load bearing capability.
 
pollinator
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The tires/wheels may offer some clues; if they are car or light truck tires, they shouldn't really have been on there, and can't tell you anything further.

If they are proper trailer tires the weight rating is a clue... The total weight rating is probably vaguely near the trailer weight rating; for a lightweight tandem trailer this total might be a fair bit higher though.

My understanding is that 5-lug wheels usually indicate 3500lb axles, and very rarely 4000lb axles.

For example I had a lightweight tandem trailer rated for 6000lbs gross... it had 5 lug wheels with tires rated for a total of about 7000lbs, and the axles were rated at 3500lbs each.

On the other end of the spectrum I've got a trailer rated for 15.2K lbs, but it is limited by the tires, which are only good for 14K.


So, clearly not an exact science, but might provide a ballpark idea.
 
Franak Ostapowicz
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Alrighty, I appreciate ya! I'm excited to go and take a look at the tires now. They may illegible, but maybe not. I do know they were pretty small tires. Do you know if that will mean anything?
 
D Nikolls
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Smaller tires are generally smaller ratings but the correlation isn't exact.. if this was a uhaul trailer they may have gone after smaller but still dedently rated tires to lower deck height..
 
Franak Ostapowicz
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Ok I see. I dont think it was a Uhaul, just a plain 15' by 6 or 8' cargo.
 
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I would definitely try to figure out the weight rating of the trailer before anything else.

Some ways of doing this or clues:

Most commercially build trailers have a tag somewhere on the tongue that says when built and weight rating

Check # of lugs on tires/ measure diameter of the axle

Does the trailer have 1 or 2 axles

Do the axles (or just one of them) have brakes?
 
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I live in a 16x8x8 metal enclosed trailer:  if the metal sides and roof on your 'uhaul'ish trailer aren't leaking, you can save a lot of time, money and weight by keeping them and outfitting the interior instead of tearing them off and stick-building.  If its a question of looks, paint is cheaper than cedar shingles.  If the structure leaks bad, then sure, scrap the roof/walls.  

Weight is a big deal, it is easy to get heavy fast because traditional building techniques aren't focused on low weight, and if you are building this to move more than once a year a 1/4 mile you need to worry about shaking and vibration. Cross braces and lockbolts instead of nails, the weight and price ads up quick.  

I second what others say about finding the weight rating: vin tag, tire walls, any identifying model number and a call to the company.

also,  i love my cargo trailer home,  i definately say do this, just be aware of the extra planning it takes to calculate the weight before you buy and build.
 
Franak Ostapowicz
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Ill check the tongue and see if I can jack it up and get the tires off to see what's underneath. Its got two sky light type openings on the roof that are broken out, and the floors on the inside are rotted from the leaking from these holes but I covered them when i was there so they should be good. Hence why I think I should stick build. But I didn't think about the weight because I gathered up all the old cedar 2x6  2x8  4x8s to use to frame. I was thinking they would be stronger and last longer.
 
Franak Ostapowicz
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Thanks for the advice by the way.
 
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