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Adjustable Tow Bar plus Rolling Shell= cheap trailer?

 
gardener
Posts: 2737
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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I have no real experience with trailers, though I have towed some cars.
A small truck,stripped of engine and transmission, strikes me as a potentially great rolling tool box/cargo hauler.
A minivan,  similarly de-equipped, could be an aerodynamic enclosed trailer, and stealth camper.

What y'all think?
 
pollinator
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Location: Victoria BC
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Mostly people making trailers from trucks take the front half off. I can see several upsides; weight savings, maneuverability, and to get some tongue weight onto the tow vehicle for better handling.

I am not sure how various officialdumbs would react to licensing a 'trailer' like this...

Another obstacle to this use is mandatory brakes; laws vary, my area you need brakes over a certain weight rating. Using a whole vehicle will likely put your curb weight above that limit, so you can't do the common shady tactic of licensing your trailer only for very light loads.

Actuators to operate hydraulic vehicle brakes electrically are somewhat expensive..


On the other hand if you're not travelling by road these upsides are maybe less important... lots of farm/hay wagons built on old vehicle chassis, they usually rig up a tongue attached to the steering gear to make the wagon track/tow nicely. I hope at some point to do this with a box van or grumman to build a mobile shop..
 
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Location: Philippines
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Two wheeled trailers have their wheels almost at the center to divide the weight evenly. If you tow a re purpose truck with two wheels on the rear, your towing truck will bear most of the weight. You have two options, cut the front half as mentioned above or move the wheels near the center.
 
pollinator
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Old cars and trucks can work, but they kind of suck too for making trailers. That is because if a person is stripping the unit down to the frame, they are left with a frame that is not straight, but is rounded and formed for the particular vehicle they were to hold up. That makes attaching a body to them pretty hard. I got an old frame and configured the hitch to turn the front wheels, but never did more than that because the frame was not straight or flat. It sits down in my gravel pit now, awaiting some future use, but I am not sure what.

I honestly think a used trailer is the way to go. I bartered with a guy to do some welding on his 5th wheel equipment trailer for a 8 by 16 foot homemade trailer with 2 axles and built out of 8 inch channel iron. He figured the trailer was worth $400, and it will take me a day to weld up his trailer, so it was a pretty even trade. I am in hopes to build another Tiny House on it.

Used trailers are everywhere, so I would think you could find a cheap trailer with no work for very litle money.
 
Posts: 874
Location: Bendigo , Australia
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I am with Travis on this issue.
I think a bigger isue maybe that you need to work out what you want to do with a trailer, and will it work for you.
I use 8 trailers at my property, each for a different job, and while one may do multiple tasks, specific trailers may work better.
IE
carting gravel I use a tipping trailer
Carrying a racing sidecar i use an enclosed trailer which also double for things `i dont want to get wet.
A car trailer is good for longer timber or metal roofing
Animals are moved in a caged unit
 
William Bronson
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I've been looking at craigslist trailers.
The cheapest ones are the ones that come with a boat, and they INSIST you take the boat!
Flat 4x8 utility trailers come next in price.
By the time you get to an enclosed trailer, you are looking at about $1000.00 for a horse trailer.
Not bad.
The small pick up I was thinking of converting weighs 3000 plus pounds(!).
Apparently engines and transmissions are not very heavy, though I can't nail down a specific number.
A dodge caravan weighs about 3,800, and I would want to keep the seats, so, no better luck there.
Mind you a small horse trailer could easily weigh 2,400 lbs.
New 4x8 trailers can be 330 Lbs.
A DIY  teardrop trailer could weigh  900 lb.
A DIY foam trailer could weigh 5-600 pounds.

My conclusion-this idea is very appealing, but doesn't pan out.
 
John C Daley
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Again what do you want the trailer for?
Horse floats are cumberson.
If you are planning to build, the 8x4 is probally the best and you can orgnise deliveries for really big items.
 
William Bronson
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Mostly, I want it for bulk materials.
Manure, sand , road base, slab wood, blue barrels,totes, greywater, cardboard, leaves, logs, pallets, scrap lumber, sawdust, spent brewers grain, coffee bean husks, etc.
Things that are cheap, or free, for the taking, but hard to move without a pick up truck or trailer.

Once I master that use of a trailer, a tool trailer of sort would be the next thing I'd want, followed by a sleeping trailer.
The reason a pickup truck as a trailer is so appealing is the idea of the cab and under the hood as tool storage, and the bed being available for cargo or a sleeping pod...the dream dies hard!

I'm looking at popups with crappy canvas as donors for a utility trailer, though getting the boat/ trailer deal is tempting.
I figure I could use the boat as a raised bed over at my yarden, or flip it over onto a post and henge structure for a shed that would really piss off the neighbors!
Or maybe I could launch it and let it sink..just kidding!
A trailer/ boat combo actually seems better for a tool/ sleep pod.
Not much to some boat trailers without the boat, and closing in the boat with light frame work and poor-mans fiberglass would be cool.



Boat and trailer $50.00...

Seriously though, I got plenty of ideas, but no ready cash, which isn't the worst situation for forcing better choices.
For example, a maybe a beat down but running pick up truck would be the better place to start.

 
John C Daley
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A boat trailer will not have wheels capable of carting soil and rock.
I suggest buy the boat and trailer for $50 , improve it if possible and sell it at a higher price
You my get more for the trailer alone and use the bot s a chook house.
 
Travis Johnson
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For $50 you could buy a new axle from Harbor Freight and then find a frame of some sort in order to make a nice trailer that would be capable of hauling something. A boat trailer is specifically made for a boat, has no real framework, and really does not give you much to work with.

I love trailers, but a trip down the interstate typically shows one off in the breakdown lane for this reason or that, which is why it really behooves someone to have a stout trailer before they go pulling it on public roads with high liability.
 
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