Jeep Wrangler Forum banner
1 - 20 of 81 Posts

·
Premium Member
2005 limited edition Willy's Jeep, 4.5" Rubicon Express lift, 33in tires on 15in steel wheels.
Joined
·
75 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Howdy everyone! Well I'm getting ready to start a new trailer build. I planned on building this trailer 10 years ago, but as fate would have it, I stumbled across an old MBT Willy's military trailer that someone was selling, and I decided to take the easy way out and turn that into an adventure trailer. I guess I'm not able to post a picture of it at this time, maybe later. At any rate. 10 years later, after modifying and using my current trailer, I have decided to get back on the ground up build. I am modeling my new trailer after the Patriot X camper. It will be approximately 11 feet, tongue to tale, and the width of my TJ. It's gonna have independent airbag suspension, using an axle from a local trailer dealer, with electric brakes, and 5 on 4 1/2 hubs, and tires and wheels to match the Jeep. I've got the axle, and I have purchased all the steel to get started. Which will be soon I hope. I plan on posting pictures of my progress, that is when I figure out how. I hope to get started in about a week or two.
Until then, happy trails everyone!!!
 

·
Premium Member
2005 limited edition Willy's Jeep, 4.5" Rubicon Express lift, 33in tires on 15in steel wheels.
Joined
·
75 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
4502650
4502652
 

·
Premium Member
2005 limited edition Willy's Jeep, 4.5" Rubicon Express lift, 33in tires on 15in steel wheels.
Joined
·
75 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I figured out how to post pictures. top pic is close to a before, and the bottom is more or less where it is currently.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
13,673 Posts
Car, truck and Jeep tires don't do too well on trailers. At least that's my experience. Maybe a tire guy can tell us why.
I ran BFG KO2 31X10.5X15 tires on my teardrop with wheels that matched my Cherokee. I liked the look but they wore quickly. When I sold the Cherokee and got my F-150 I bought wheels for the teardrop to match the wheels on the truck and I put dedicated trailer tires on those wheels. With about the same amount of use as the BFGs over the past few years, the trailer tires show very little wear. Since I had the two BFGs already mounted on aftermarket steel wheels, I bought 3 more wheels and two more tires for my YJ. The used BFGs held up well on the Jeep. I finally replaced them this past fall just because winter was coming and I wanted 2 new tires to match the almost new front tires. YMMV.

Good Luck, L.M.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
374 Posts
Car, truck and Jeep tires don't do too well on trailers. At least that's my experience. Maybe a tire guy can tell us why.
I ran BFG KO2 31X10.5X15 tires on my teardrop with wheels that matched my Cherokee. I liked the look but they wore quickly. When I sold the Cherokee and got my F-150 I bought wheels for the teardrop to match the wheels on the truck and I put dedicated trailer tires on those wheels. With about the same amount of use as the BFGs over the past few years, the trailer tires show very little wear. Since I had the two BFGs already mounted on aftermarket steel wheels, I bought 3 more wheels and two more tires for my YJ. The used BFGs held up well on the Jeep. I finally replaced them this past fall just because winter was coming and I wanted 2 new tires to match the almost new front tires. YMMV.

Good Luck, L.M.
Good evening L.M.,
Were the dedicated trailer tires a different rating i.e. mileage rating etc.? I am curious about the wear... and did tire rotation, highway, and/or off-road factor in? I am looking to go the trailer route, but different wheel/tire combo than the Jeep means carrying a spare for the trailer and the Jeep totalling eight instead of seven tires when overlanding, where one spare would likely do the trick for both.

I've seen pics of your teardrop btw--work of art!
(blood and sweat went into it, I'm sure.)

John D
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
13,673 Posts
Good evening L.M.,
Were the dedicated trailer tires a different rating i.e. mileage rating etc.? I am curious about the wear... and did tire rotation, highway, and/or off-road factor in? I am looking to go the trailer route, but different wheel/tire combo than the Jeep means carrying a spare for the trailer and the Jeep totalling eight instead of seven tires when overlanding, where one spare would likely do the trick for both.

I've seen pics of your teardrop btw--work of art!
(blood and sweat went into it, I'm sure.)

John D

That was my idea too. When I built the trailer I had a Cherokee and the trailer is a complete frame up custom build. I had an axle made (Dexter Axle) with the same width as the Cherokee axle and 5 on 4 1/2 lug spacing. I figured that if I got a flat I could use the Cherokee spare for either rig. I never made a provision for the teardrop to carry a spare.

I have a flat utility trailer with the same lug setup that needed new tires about the same time as when I bought my F150. I bought 5 trailer tires so that I can switch the spare between whichever trailer I'm pulling. It's not ideal now because now when I pull the teardrop with the Jeep I have to carry the teardrop spare inside the Jeep along with all the other stuff a person tales camping. It gets a bit crowded in the Jeep. I don't run a back seat but there still is only a limited amount of available room for "stuff". If I had been thinking I would have bought all 5 trailer tires with the same height as the tires on the Wrangler. Then I could be back to seven tires rather than eight.

My solution is to build another trailer. I like the teardrop concept with an outdoor galley but want an inside toilet and shower. Right now we have a cabana for the toilet, showering and changing. but it'd be so much more convenient to not have to get dressed when I get up to pee in the middle of the night. My plan is to build a "standie" teardrop with a rear outdoor galley and an inside bathroom. There are a couple commercial model trailers like that but they don't have the cool factor of a retro style build. I bought a wrecked pop-up trailer at the local salvage distribution pool and parted out the stuff that I didn't want on Craigslist. All I need now is the time to build it. I plan to copy the layout of one of the commercial trailers but modify it to fit my wants and needs. I'll make a provision to carry a spare on the next build.

I don't remember if there was any mileage rating for the trailer tires. My concern was weight rating. The teardrop is pretty heavy as teardrops go (1500# wet). The tires are rated at 1000# each so I'm good to go there. I have the same tires on my utility trailer and recently I had 3000# worth of topsoil on it. It's about 15 miles from where I bought the dirt to my house so I drove slow and the tires seemed to survive unharmed.
I haven't measured the tread depth on the teardrop tires nor kept track of the mileage. The tires will be out of date before I ever wear them out. Upon casual observation they still look new after 3 years of use. I typically buy better tires for all my vehicles rather than the economy brand. I don't remember what I paid for the trailer tires.

Good Luck, L.M.
 

·
Premium Member
2005 limited edition Willy's Jeep, 4.5" Rubicon Express lift, 33in tires on 15in steel wheels.
Joined
·
75 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Car, truck and Jeep tires don't do too well on trailers. At least that's my experience. Maybe a tire guy can tell us why.
I ran BFG KO2 31X10.5X15 tires on my teardrop with wheels that matched my Cherokee. I liked the look but they wore quickly. When I sold the Cherokee and got my F-150 I bought wheels for the teardrop to match the wheels on the truck and I put dedicated trailer tires on those wheels. With about the same amount of use as the BFGs over the past few years, the trailer tires show very little wear. Since I had the two BFGs already mounted on aftermarket steel wheels, I bought 3 more wheels and two more tires for my YJ. The used BFGs held up well on the Jeep. I finally replaced them this past fall just because winter was coming and I wanted 2 new tires to match the almost new front tires. YMMV.

Good Luck, L.M.
The tires I currently am running on the trailer are the best two BFG KM2's that came off the jeep when I did new tires. And after thousands of miles over the past 8 years or so, they don't show any more ware than when they came off the jeep. The only exception to that being a few more pieces of tread missing on the corners. The axle on this trailer is "0" toe in. My new trailer will have maybe a degree or two of toe in for tracking. Although my current trailer has rock solid tracking. I did switch over to BFG All terrains on the jeep because they ware twice as long than the KM2's, and with no major difference in traction loss with the type of wheeling I do.

Happy Trails!
 

·
Premium Member
2005 limited edition Willy's Jeep, 4.5" Rubicon Express lift, 33in tires on 15in steel wheels.
Joined
·
75 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I purchased a cold cut chop saw last week, and it came yesterday. I can't wait to start cutting the steel for my trailer. the only thing I am lacking to start, is being able to pull the trailer wheels and tires off and put them on the new trailer axle so I can measure the wheel offset. I need that measurement to determine the width of the main frame to start the project. I'm so close though, I can feel the heat of the welder. More later.

Happy Trails!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
374 Posts
I purchased a cold cut chop saw last week, ...

Happy Trails!
I don't know why! But I crave a "deli" sandwich now.
Good luck with your project--Please link us to your trailer build thread when you get into your project🙏
John D
 
  • Like
Reactions: Slimtwo

·
Registered
Joined
·
462 Posts
When my son and I started, we tried to consider all the trouble he might get into towing in the woods. Turning around is often a problem in tight spaces, so what we did was to start with a center spine. We went from the hitch back to a point half the width of the jeep and started there. So now we have a tongue that's a single piece of box steel and he can back up and turn a full 90 degrees to the trailer. Gives him some options for getting out of tight spaces. So far it's worked well. Had it not, modifying it back to a 'braced' type of tongue would be easy enough.
We too elected to go your route for the tires. They match the jeep, so only one spare, keeping that much more off the trailer.
We had a great time building it, you will too.
 

·
Premium Member
2005 limited edition Willy's Jeep, 4.5" Rubicon Express lift, 33in tires on 15in steel wheels.
Joined
·
75 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
So yesterday I put the axle on jack stands so I could mount one of my wheel/tires on it to find the offset measurement for the frame width. I'm gonna have 2 inches of clearance between the inside of the tire and the frame. So the frame width between the tires will be 45 inches. The length of the frame rails will be 72 inches. That will be the box length. The overall width of the trailer will be approx. 72". That will be just inside the width at the tire face. There will be open box on the front of the trailer, the width of the box, and about 16" or so. just so I can carry a couple extra jerry cans and fire wood. I also tested the new chop saw... cuts like butter. In the next day or so, I hope to start cutting steel, and welding the main frame.

This is a sketch of what I am planning to do for the frame.

4507024


All for now.

Happy Trails!
 

·
Premium Member
2005 limited edition Willy's Jeep, 4.5" Rubicon Express lift, 33in tires on 15in steel wheels.
Joined
·
75 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I am officially in construction. I got the basic frame tack welded together. I placed the axle on the frame to start thinking about placement. I'm gonna start the suspension arms next week.



4514984


Bicycle tire Tire Automotive tire Motor vehicle Wheel


4514986


4514987


4514988


More later.

Happy Trails!
 

·
Premium Member
2005 limited edition Willy's Jeep, 4.5" Rubicon Express lift, 33in tires on 15in steel wheels.
Joined
·
75 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Day three:

So today I placed the axle in the location on the frame that made the most sense at this point. I have been thinking about the tongue weight, and based on the placement of the items that will affect it the most i.e., batteries, water tank, fridge, firewood, and cooking gear, I think it’s close. The box area of the frame is 72 inches, making the center 36 inches. So, I set up the axle at 40 inches, behind center measuring from the front. The other factor I need to consider, is that the fridge is located in front of the axle, and there needs to be room for it and the slide out, so it has to be at least that far back anyway.

The next thing I am working on are the suspension arm lengths, and the pivot points. I decided to go 24 inches long, for the brace that runs down the frame on the outside, and 27 inches for the inside. Now before I cut them out, I set the axle on blocks to give me a static ride height to simulate under a load, and give me a rough idea for the angle of the arms (remember, I’m doing this upside down).

For the pivot bushing placement, I am using a threaded rod, which is running through all four inner bushings, tabs, and one washer as a spacer, and nuts on each side. This is to ensure that the pivot bushings are straight, and exactly where they need to be. Once the tabs are welded, I can remove the rod and cut the arms. There will be a cross tube inline with the frame under the pivot brace, the pivot brace will be in two pieces, to allow the tongue to pass through. Everything will be welded in place.

4515177


4515178


All for now.

Happy Trails!
 

·
Premium Member
2005 limited edition Willy's Jeep, 4.5" Rubicon Express lift, 33in tires on 15in steel wheels.
Joined
·
75 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
So continuing, I welded the frame cross brace, and I cut the bushing cross tube in half so the tongue can pass through. That way it will be integrated with the cross brace. I tacked the bushing cross brace, and tack welded the bushing tabs in place and removed the threaded rod. I then I measured and cut the outside and inside suspension arms. Before I did any more with the suspension arms, I went ahead and welded the four corners of the frame to make sure it did not move when I welded the arms in place.


4515438



Next, my goal is to notch the ends of the suspension arms (2 inch for the bushings and 2 1/2 inch for the axle end. Unfortunately, I did not get pictures of that. I set up a jig on the drill press, and used a hole saw. The outside arms were a straight cut, but the inside arms had a miter cut on the ends, then the radius. The test fit showed I needed to make some adjustments, but they were pretty close.

The biggest challenge I had, was not having enough hands. Trying to weld the arms in place, took a little creativity. Clamps and jigs are your friends when you’re alone.

4515441
4515442


Well, I ran out of steam, so I will finish welding the axle end of the arms first, then the bushing side next time.
 

Attachments

·
Premium Member
2005 limited edition Willy's Jeep, 4.5" Rubicon Express lift, 33in tires on 15in steel wheels.
Joined
·
75 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
When my son and I started, we tried to consider all the trouble he might get into towing in the woods. Turning around is often a problem in tight spaces, so what we did was to start with a center spine. We went from the hitch back to a point half the width of the jeep and started there. So now we have a tongue that's a single piece of box steel and he can back up and turn a full 90 degrees to the trailer. Gives him some options for getting out of tight spaces. So far it's worked well. Had it not, modifying it back to a 'braced' type of tongue would be easy enough.
We too elected to go your route for the tires. They match the jeep, so only one spare, keeping that much more off the trailer.
We had a great time building it, you will too.
On the old trailer, I made sure the new tongue was long enough, that I could do a 90 degree turn with out hitting the jeep. And the new trailer will be the same. I use the "max coupler" full axis hitch, and so from the pivot point on the hitch, the tongue is 36 inches to the front of the trailer. Actually goes a little over 90.
 

·
Premium Member
2005 limited edition Willy's Jeep, 4.5" Rubicon Express lift, 33in tires on 15in steel wheels.
Joined
·
75 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Today I welded the axle side of the suspension arms on the inside, then I cut out the stiffeners for the suspension arms. After test fitting and cleaning everything, I clamped them in place and tack welded them.

4516095
4516097


Once the bracing was tacked in place really good, I removed the clamps and took the bushings out, so I could weld the ends in place. Taking the bushings out turned out to being a major production. My tacks apparently were slightly more than just tacks. The bushings were partly welded together. So, I had to use some persuasion to get them out.

I welded the bushing ends, welded the stiffeners, and I also finished welding the bushing tabs (I was waiting to do that once the A arms were removed). Now I am ready to cut the center section of the axle out, and then, I will have my independent suspension.

4516096
4516098
4516099


Of course, now, I have to take the grinder to some of the welds that didn’t come out as well as I would have liked, but that won’t take long.

The next thing I will start working on are the airbag mounting brackets, and the shock mounts. I know there are several companies that so airbag brackets, I just haven’t found one that will work with my set up. I more than likely will have too fab my own.
 

·
Premium Member
2005 limited edition Willy's Jeep, 4.5" Rubicon Express lift, 33in tires on 15in steel wheels.
Joined
·
75 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Sorry for the delay in posting, my Son and grandson and I, went up to Big Bear to camp at Big Pine Flats this past weekend, so I'm playing catch up.

More progress on the trailer today. I had to clean up some welds that I didn’t like, so I got out the grinder, and did some clean up. Once I got the touch up done, I continued with my progress.

Time to bite the bullet! Marked on the axle where I plan to make the cut… and I cut it.

4516100
4516101


I used my friend’s new plasma cutter.

4516102


The plasma cutter worked great! It’s easy to use. The problem was all on the operator. That thing cuts in fine detail. All my little movements, shakes, and tremors, were nicely transferred to the axle I was trying to cut. I had envisioned nice straight lines, and even spacing. Nope, not even close. A gator would be happy as “all get out” to have teeth like that. Got it done though, but had some grinding to do, to even it up.

So, a big grinding job, calls for braking out the “big boy” grinder. Makes quick work of any rough spots.

4516103


Well, once all that was done, what is left, is independent suspension!!! Yah buddy! I started working on the caps that will cover the holes where I cut the tube section out. Once done, I will weld them in place.

4516104
4516105


I put the bushings back in, and reinstalled the “axles” to ensure they fit, and we’re golden.

That’s all for today. The temp crept up a little faster today, so I knocked off at noon (I’m retired, so I can leave any time I want too). Back at the shop tomorrow. I’m gonna get the tongue cut to size, and mounted, and work on the mounting placements for the airbags.



Happy Trails!
 

·
Premium Member
2005 limited edition Willy's Jeep, 4.5" Rubicon Express lift, 33in tires on 15in steel wheels.
Joined
·
75 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Looks great so far. Nice work.
Thank you! I'm having a lot of fun with this build, and I'm learning allot too. I'm really close to being able to flip the trailer over and address ride height, and tongue weight.
 

·
Premium Member
2005 limited edition Willy's Jeep, 4.5" Rubicon Express lift, 33in tires on 15in steel wheels.
Joined
·
75 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Today, I made up some caps to cover the holes where I cut the center section of the axle tube. I started off with some scrap ¼-inch plate, but that was just too thick to work with, and it doesn’t need to be bullet proof anyway. I found some 1/8-inch scrap (much easier to work with), cut them to size, and welded them in place. After cleaning the welds up, it almost looks like a professional did it.

4516194
4516195


Next, I removed the swing arms, so I could stand the frame up to weld the tops and bottoms where the frame pieces connect, and the bushing pivot supports (I don’t like welding on my back).

4516196
4516197


While I had it lite, I cleaned up the top welds where the box will eventually sit. (no Picture)

I have said the same thing over the past few days, that I was going to set the ride height for the airbags, and yet I haven't. So, tomorrow, I am going to be looking at that, and putting together the mounting brackets for the bags.

Back in the shop tomorrow.

Happy Trails!
 
1 - 20 of 81 Posts
Top