All-Season Off-Road Tiny Trailer

Design & Construction of anything that's not a teardrop e.g. Grasshoppers or Sunspots

Re: All-Season Off-Road Tiny Trailer

Postby 3GKnight » Wed Jul 06, 2016 12:06 pm

Used RV stuff place!?!? Wish I had one of those...

Nice progress!
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Re: All-Season Off-Road Tiny Trailer

Postby artquixotic » Wed Jul 06, 2016 10:05 pm

3GKnight, Yeah, I'm pretty sure "used RV stuff place" is the most eloquent and accepted name for such a place. I was really excited when I heard about it (on Nomadic Fanatic's YouTube channel). http://www.yelp.com/biz/west-coast-rv-r ... -centralia

I really didn't feel like it, so I used beer to bribe myself out for a couple of hours again tonight. I welded, smoothed, cleaned, primed, and painted. The trailer now has a solid tow point that sticks out beyond where the diamond plate will be. I decided not to integrate rear leveling jacks/supports for now, and I'll probably just use a bottle jack or something. There are lift points everywhere back there, and I really didn't want to clutter up the area that will potentially get a lot of contact with rocks and, when I'm backing up, all kinds of other crap that I have a history of backing trailers into (e.g., my garage. twice.). I also re-welded the brake lights on, this time much higher and out of the way on the corners. I'll need to drive bolts right through the enclosures to support the wall studs, but I think there's plenty of room. And the walls will have a funny shape now.

I think I'm about an hour away from finishing the chassis. Then I can cut out all of the diamond plate. After that, It's really time for the lug nuts to arrive so I can use the trailer to carry a vast quantity of cash to the big box store. The dude in the brown truck and the dude in the white truck came today, but neither thought to bring the lug nuts. It's going to rain here for a few days, but I don't know how I'm going to roll the trailer into the garage with one trailer wheel and one threadlocked hub. Maybe I'll use the tiny rolling jack. That should be entertaining.
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Re: All-Season Off-Road Tiny Trailer

Postby artquixotic » Wed Jul 06, 2016 10:16 pm

Here's today's photo.
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Re: All-Season Off-Road Tiny Trailer

Postby artquixotic » Sat Jul 09, 2016 8:45 pm

I bought windows and other parts at the RV parts/salvage place. It was a productive visit - $55 for four good (I hope) windows. I highly recommend the place (link in a previous post). But the drive was long, and they didn't have any doors for small trailers, so I've been perusing tnttt.com for ideas. My tentative plan is to buy two new.

I finally finished making ugly welds on structural steel, so the chassis is done. I started temporarily wiring up the brake lights so I can take the trailer to the big box store for more raw supplies. The requisite lug nuts finally arrived. If anyone reads this and needs M12x1.5 or M12x1.25 lug nuts, let me know and I'll send them for the cost of postage. I've got 10 of the former and 20 of the latter and don't need them. The wheel adapters are threadlocked on, and the old trailer wheels are semi-permanently stored under the deck with the last lonely Jeep wheel.

I'm thinking of naming the trailer the Seattle Sleeper. Better ideas?
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Re: All-Season Off-Road Tiny Trailer

Postby artquixotic » Sat Jul 16, 2016 8:59 pm

I did some trailer supply shopping and work today. I bought all sorts of building materials. I also diagnosed a faulty brake light that'll need to be replaced.

I dug out some old plasticky conduit that happens to be just under 1.5", the thickness of the insulation. So I ran some wiring through that from the front of the trailer where the battery box will be to the galley. And then I sandwiched the conduit between 1.5" furring strips that I had laying around. I also ran some wiring to the area that will hold the furnace and other equipment and to each side where bed-side LED lights will be. The idea was to run the wiring enough that I can build the floor. Additional wiring can be pulled through the conduit later.

I've also picked out some doors and will order them ASAP. And the plexiglass for the front ceiling will be in next week. In the meantime, I think I can start on the walls after the floor. I'll just need to know the rough dimensions around the doors so I can frame them in. But I'm pretty excited about getting some structure up, and the windows have been begging to be installed. Also, the hitch on the Jeep needs to go up two inches - and wouldn't you know it, I neglected to buy the perfect hitch in Centralia last weekend. These big purchases are the last major hurdle, given that my paychecks officially dried up yesterday, and I don't know if/when they'll start up again :o
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Re: All-Season Off-Road Tiny Trailer

Postby artquixotic » Sun Jul 17, 2016 7:16 pm

Most of the floor is in now. I don't want to finalize it because once I start on a can of expanding foam, I need to use it all. So I've started on the walls too. I clamped all four wall skins together and started drawing the cuts. Unfortunately, the mock-up of the shape of the wheel well (on drywall!) shown in the photo isn't to my liking. It's fortunate that I did the mock-up before cutting.

Now if I could just get those doors!
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Re: All-Season Off-Road Tiny Trailer

Postby artquixotic » Tue Jul 19, 2016 7:51 pm

I'm not very excited about how things went today. I started out by cutting all four wall skins, including cutting around the new window. Then I cleaned all the old goo off the windows. There were at least five different types of sealant. While doing that, I realized that the windows have tops and bottoms, and that I had cut the holes upside-down. On all four skins. Having given the last of my f##cks shortly before starting on the trailer, I decided to just expand the holes and try to patch it later.

So then I ripped a bunch of 2x4s in half and started cutting the framing. The lack of doors is an impediment because I'd like to continue some supports in that direction. Plus I was making more stupid mistakes. So I quit early. Next time I can start on the inner fenders - it's going to be a headache digging the stainless steel sheets out from behind my shelves and then trying to work with it.

I'm guessing that, having to choose, I should choose longer horizontal wall supports over vertical supports - the continuousness might give the box more rigidity? That's assuming the duct tape shown in the photo won't be enough. And how could it not be?
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Re: All-Season Off-Road Tiny Trailer

Postby artquixotic » Wed Jul 20, 2016 9:04 pm

I dug out that sheet of stainless steel today and made an inner fender. It looks deflated in the photo, but that's just because I jammed it in there for the pic.

I was pretty stoked how easily it came together. It's pretty sturdy too, despite my putting it together with rivets instead of welds. I'm interested in finding some seam sealer or something that will stick well to both waterproof the fenders and keep them rigid.
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Re: All-Season Off-Road Tiny Trailer

Postby 39Ratrod » Thu Jul 21, 2016 7:43 am

Moving right along! :thumbsup:
The biggest difference between a dreamer and a doer is the follow through.
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Re: All-Season Off-Road Tiny Trailer

Postby artquixotic » Thu Jul 21, 2016 9:23 pm

I built another inner fender today. As expected, it went much faster than the first. I also cleaned up the front window, and that took a couple of hours with a razor blade. And I'm about halfway done with the front wall.

Once the front wall is done, I can start on the front battery/electrical box and maybe the motorcycle rack that also go up there. I could also cut out more diamond plate pieces for the lower sides. Oh, and I need to run some shore power wiring (my girlfriend insists on the possibility of using a microwave if, for some reason, we're at a campground with AC power). So the doors taking a while probably won't be too much of a problem.

No photos because I'm a slacker. And there wasn't much to look at.
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Re: All-Season Off-Road Tiny Trailer

Postby artquixotic » Thu Jul 21, 2016 9:29 pm

Ooh, one more thing in case anyone finds this useful in the future. Like the other windows I've cleaned up, this one had many different kinds of sealant stuck all over. I'm no expert, but it all seemed to be in the wrong places. And inside the seal where I'd expect the best sealing to happen, there was only a little white powdery stuff, almost like drywall mud, that easily flaked right off. So two thoughts. First, if your window is leaking, consider removing it and re-sealing on the inside of the seal rather than just gob more sealant on top of where you think water might be getting in (and sometimes probably making the problem worse). Second, if you're on the fence about new vs. used windows, remember the time it'll take to clean used windows up. Keeping in mind that mine were super cheap ($45 for four), that I'm semi-unemployed, that I like re-using stuff, and that I think this is fun, I definitely don't regret getting used windows.
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Re: All-Season Off-Road Tiny Trailer

Postby artquixotic » Fri Jul 29, 2016 5:49 pm

I've had some more time free from my now non-paying job, so I've made some progress on the trailer. The front wall and the two sides are almost done, and the front wall is mounted on the chassis.

The framing of the side walls was pretty complicated, so I framed one and then cut and stacked the framing pieces for the second wall on top of the finished wall. That allowed me to get everything shaped up and covered in glue before I laid the outer skin on top and glued it all together. That saved some time.

Once I had all of the walls finished and insulated, I spray-foamed all of the gaps.

Unfortunately, I ran out of screws, emptied two large bottles of wood glue, and gashed open my thumb, dripping blood all over. So progress was cut short. Maybe tomorrow I can get the sides finished and mounted up.

Oh crap. I just remembered that I forgot to install wiring in the walls for the lights. Brilliant. So there's that to figure out now.
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Re: All-Season Off-Road Tiny Trailer

Postby artquixotic » Sat Jul 30, 2016 10:15 pm

I managed to put in a lot of time today despite my left thumb being pretty useless. I started by running 12v wiring through the front wall before I had skinned it. There will be little LED sconces up there. I don't know if they're permanent.

Things were going fine until I realized that I had made both side walls 5" too long. That was really stupid, but, as I wrote before, I'm here for your entertainment. The bloopers continue. I planned to extend the frame out a little, but then decided to cut the 5" out of the walls. The lost rigidity is a bummer, but at least it's at the spot where the kitchen counter and storage will be adding extra support. For the second wall, I cut the outer skin in one place and will cut the wall in another place, so the overlap should add a little strength.

I cut some corners for the front window with a jigsaw and then used the Dremel to widen out the opening a little. I then put that window in with lots of black silicone. I'm not totally sure it'll be waterproof. The water paranoia has begun.

So then I put the left wall on - at least all but the back 10" or so. I used a ton of glue and then drove some deck screws way in, pulling it nice and tight. The steel frame and wall didn't line up very well. There was a gap of maybe 5/8" in one spot. If I could do it over, I'd make a much fancier jig for the frame side supports to make sure they were all more precise. Anyway, the bolts going up from the frame side supports into the wall closed that gap well. Needless to say, I used plenty of glue. Everything seemed very solid, and I still had 1/2 tube of silicone, so I decided to test my luck with the left side window. That one fit fine on the outside, but I had to widen the inside opening a bit with the old Dremel again. After the second test fit, I took it off and siliconed the hell out of it. I hope I do a better job cleaning up the silicone than I did with the kitchen sink in my house.

I also put some wood filler over screw holes and other imperfections. We've started talking about color choices.

The lines where the roof will rest aren't perfect, and so I plan to use my powered hand wood planer to get everything smoothed out when it's time.

The left door can go in now, but I'm a little worried about it getting stolen. Also, it's nice to have a bigger opening to use during construction. So I suppose the right wall is next. The only part I don't have a plan for is the back hatch. I know what I'm going to try for a hinge, but the construction of the hatch itself and the seal in particular have me worried, so I'm saving that for last.

I also sold the three wheels that went with this trailer before the transformation. That $60 is the only addition to the budget.

So yeah, the circus continues. Maybe we can post this up in the future as a "what not to do." But I'm still stoked.
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Re: All-Season Off-Road Tiny Trailer

Postby artquixotic » Mon Aug 01, 2016 10:52 pm

I had less than an hour to work on the trailer today. I crammed it into the garage ahead of some upcoming rain. I bought some wood sealer (after reading TNTTT for hours last night, I settled on the somewhat risky topside paint from Rustoleum), but didn't manage to get any on. Instead, I cleaned up some silicone around the windows and sanded most of my wood filler spots. I'm on the site now for information about where to buy fiberglass filler, and that reminded me to post this quick update. I'm hoping to get more time on the trailer when the universe stops conspiring against me (Wednesday?).
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Re: All-Season Off-Road Tiny Trailer

Postby 39Ratrod » Tue Aug 02, 2016 7:35 am

I am digging it!
The biggest difference between a dreamer and a doer is the follow through.
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