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Old 06-08-2011, 08:49 PM   #1
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My overpriced cheap trailer build

I happened to get my hands on an enclosed trailer cheap. Really cheap.
REALLY cheap = needs work:
New wood. All of the wood was rotting.
New trailer tongue (it looks like it was welded on in the 40's by a toddler)
New axle - antique. It had backwards-threads on one side. Apparently an old Chrysler thing?
New springs - rusted through & broken springs
New lights & wiring

I didn't realize how bad off it was when I bought it. Initially I thought I could just slap new lumber & paint on it, and be good. But every time I looked at it, I found something else wrong, lol!
Here's what I started with:


Here’s a look at it partially disassembled.


The tires that came with it were cracked and probably WWII era tires. I planned to use my Jeep tires on it anyway- I run 1 set for summer, 1 set for winter, so I always have 5 sitting around.
I found that the axle & springs were pretty done in, so I ordered up a new axle & springs.


And the tongue was plain ugly. Crappy welds – everything was welded- a funky antique looking hitch, and a nut welded to the frame with threaded stock running thru that for a jack. The rebar welded to the end for a handle bent when I tried to raise the jack. Here’s a pic of the original tongue


My trailer was initially expected to be a simple rebuild: New wood, tires, fresh paint, then get rollin’. WRONG.


Once I got near the “rebuilding” stage, I started to rethink the idea of building it back into what it was before. I started thinking about tonneau covers, rather than a fully enclosed box.
My original thought was to build an open utility trailer, then build an enclosure that I could bolt into it fairly easily. This meant much more lumber and hardware. Build an open-topped box, then build another enclosed box. Then attach the two. I don’t know what I was thinking!
My biggest reasons for doing this were:
1) I wanted the option of having an open trailer for hauling junk, bikes, etc.
2) I wanted an enclosed trailer for keeping my camping gear relatively clean & dry
3) I wanted to build a mounting system, so I could store my doors inside the trailer, and still tow it without worrying about my doors getting scratched up.

I decided the “box-in-a-box” idea was a bit overboard for my needs.
The metal rails are about 22” tall. I figured I needed 36” to be able to stand up my Jeep doors inside if I put any kind of a top on it.
If I made it tall enough to protect my half doors when they’re off, I wouldn’t be able to reach over the sides to retrieve anything. So, the door mount thing is on hold. I may build a platform to stow them in the trailer laying flat & stacked, but I dunno yet.
I decided to buy a tonneau cover for a full size pickup (my trailer is 4x8) and just slap that on, build a simple fold-down tailgate, and call it good. I found a nice tonneau cover (nice = CHEAP) called black magic, made by Extang. Easy assembly, the top snaps to a rail, which would be great for my trailer – I could open any corner I wanted, without having to open the whole thing.

From start to finish, I changed my trailer design about 5 times. Remaking it into what it was originally would have been hard on my Jeep. Towing a brick with a brick would probably take my gas mileage down to single digits!
I settled on a simple 4x8 open trailer, sides are about 24”. As a bonus, it seems that (in Oregon) light, open trailers don’t need to be licensed.
Here is the new tongue being welded in.



Here it is with the axle in, and the frame all painted up. I went with Rustoleum Bedliner for the frame & fenders.



Once I got the frame painted I started obsessing on the trailer, and neglected to take pictures until it was pretty much finished.
I decided to rattle can the whole thing, that way touch-ups would be easy. I went with camouflage colors, tan & OD Green.


I used the OEM spare tire mount from my Jeep, and 2 of the 5 rubber bumper thingys for the spare as well.
Inside I thought it would be nice to have a clean smooth floor now & then. We had some plastic paneling left over from a bathroom remodel, so I cut one of those to size. I can slide it out when I haul anything messy. The front edge slides under a 2x4, and the tailgate has a 2x4 that closes in over it, so it won’t ever fly out while driving.


I’m actually very close to finishing it up now. I’m just waiting for some paint to dry so I can put on my tailgate lock and the fenders.
I bought a bar lock setup from realworktrucks.com I know it’s overkill, but I’ll never worry about it coming open!



I was able to use quite a bit of lumber that I already had: oak planks for the sub-floor, ¾” particle board over that, the plastic panel over that, I had ½” plywood for the sides, and nearly ½ of the 2x4’s that I needed. This was very fortunate, since my “cheap & easy trailer build” still came to a price tag of $825, including the initial cost. And with that, I still need to pick up a tonneau cover. They start at just over $200.

I figure it’s worth it though. At this point it’s a practically brand new trailer-and built REDNECK tough!

I'll post up pics of the tailgate when I get that finished up. Let me know what y'all think!

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Old 06-08-2011, 08:56 PM   #2
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awesome work! looks like a brand new trailer lol i love those wheels are they American racing?

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Old 06-08-2011, 09:04 PM   #3
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awesome work! looks like a brand new trailer lol i love those wheels are they American racing?
Thanks! They're Ultra wheels, I think they're called 050/051's. They're taking the summer off, while the Jeep is sportin' soft 8's
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Old 06-08-2011, 09:07 PM   #4
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id ask how much you wanted for them if you didnt live across the entire country lol
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Old 06-08-2011, 10:49 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Wrangler06 View Post
id ask how much you wanted for them if you didnt live across the entire country lol
Heh, funny you say that.
I wasn't planning on selling it, but I'm thinking of building one or two more next summer, and seeing what I can get out of them.
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Old 06-09-2011, 01:09 AM   #6
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not the trailer..the wheels hahaha but the trailer is nice too ;] just doubt my 4 banger would enjoy pullin it around lol
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Old 06-11-2011, 10:59 PM   #7
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nice write up!!!

With that kind of experience you'll be ready to buff out one of my Bantams soon!!!
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Old 06-11-2011, 11:02 PM   #8
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looks real good man.
you did a good job

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