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Building a Car Trailer; looking for ideas (or don't do's)

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by '52 F-3, Nov 26, 2009.

  1. '52 F-3
    Joined: Sep 30, 2007
    Posts: 913

    '52 F-3
    Member

    I know you can buy a trailer for less than it costs to build one, but then i'd just have to modify for my needs anyway..........

    so the plan is to use it to carry my car (or truck) and stuff to sell at "vendor spots". It's currently 18 ft. including beaver tail, and 8 ft overall wide.

    I'm planning to install a small car battery, little winch maybe, and a 12 volt aircompressor in tongue box..........

    other than that i'm looking for some ideas; maybe things that don't work or cool items you've seen or have. also i don't have the ramps designed or storage location figured out yet.

    fyi, i'm covering the deck with 6, 16 ft. 2 x 12's.

    theres acouple more pics in my photo album.
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  2. BenW455
    Joined: Feb 9, 2007
    Posts: 417

    BenW455
    Member

    Looks good I like the extra detail around the rear lites. I would upgrade all of the lights to leds.
     
  3. carcrazyjohn
    Joined: Apr 16, 2008
    Posts: 4,844

    carcrazyjohn
    Member
    from trevose pa

    Looks good .Just remember after the winch is installed ,Provisions for ratchet straps or cumalongs to hold car from moving forward and back.Don't just rely on winch. That's all I got ,Real nice job .You also might want to leave center open for access for underside of car.
     
  4. v8 garage
    Joined: May 18, 2006
    Posts: 276

    v8 garage
    Member

    Great looking trailer and it will work great for small cars and traditional rods. If you are going to haul larger vehicles such as full size 60's and 70's cars, full size pickups etc. you will need an 8' 6' overall width trailer. I got by with an 8' wide trailer for years but had trouble with larger vehicles hitting the inside of the fenders on the trailer. Finally broke down and got a wider car hauler and I wish I had done it years ago.
    V/8
     

  5. little d
    Joined: Jan 5, 2008
    Posts: 15

    little d
    Member
    from sedalia mo

    looks good, my only concern is the axles position. from the pics i see, it looks like they are centered on the trailer. this will give you the freeway boogie, going down the road. the more weight you have behind the rear axle, the more weave your going to have. if you can, i would suggest that you move the axles back as far as possible in keeping with the tong weight recommend with what your going to haul it with. if ya got any questions please feel free to pm me, little d
     
  6. chaddilac
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 13,869

    chaddilac
    Member

    I rebuilt my buddy's trailer last summer... it was a wood deck, we ripped all that out and put in a diamond plate deck in it. I told them to get 2"x2" medium thickness square tubing, to use as runners down the trailer where the wheels would be on car being hauled. we put them about 18" apart. That's the only thing I could see you should do on your trailer, otherwise the car you're haulin will be setting just on diamond plate floating between rails.

    Here's how I'd do yours...
     

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  7. It looks very low, may just be the angle in photos. You`ll be dragging that dovetail on every driveway.
    Also looks like the fenders will be very tall --- not good for opening doors. You can put your axles UNDER the springs and get fenders lower that way.

    The width was already mentioned. You won`t be able to haul any cars that are full-size.

    Slide the ramps underneath from the side. Build guides from angle iron.
     
  8. Your pick-up doesn't need a trailer....:D
     
  9. Crestliner
    Joined: Dec 31, 2002
    Posts: 3,011

    Crestliner
    Member

    Lot of old cars have flat tires, so I put 2 truck air tanks and plumbed them to a quick connect. We put a tray in the front and a cheap engine hoist on the side. Can sit engines or whatever in the tray. Have a stationary post on the side, just slip the hoist on. Had to put a tongue jack by the hoist mount, keeps the frame from flexing.
     
  10. I Drag
    Joined: Apr 11, 2007
    Posts: 884

    I Drag
    Member

    A little more bracing where the car wheels will sit, as others have mentioned.

    It's not too low, it's way easier to load a car on a low trailer than one that's too high.

    Hard to tell about axle placement. Front axle should be about halfway back. If you have any questions about design measurements, go to a trailer dealer and measure some of theirs.

    A removeable left fender will give a few more inches to open car doors.

    Make a big storage box and mount it on the tongue ahead of your rails.
     
  11. SDFastOne
    Joined: Feb 8, 2009
    Posts: 33

    SDFastOne
    Member
    from Pierre,SD

    Make the fender with a hinge or one that can be removed. Uhaul has one like that. A few years back I rented a Uhaul to pick up a 56'.
     
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  12. v8 garage
    Joined: May 18, 2006
    Posts: 276

    v8 garage
    Member

    Little d is correct. A good friend of mine that builds trailers for a living told me that the rule of thumb he uses is to measure the entire length of the trailer from the tongue to the end and place the axle/axles 2/3 of the way back. I your trailer is 18' long with a 4' tongue that would give you a total length of 22'. The centerline of your axles (the centerline between the 2 axles on a 2 axle trailer) should be 7' 4" from the rear of the dovetail.
    V/8
     
  13. onlychevrolets
    Joined: Jan 23, 2006
    Posts: 2,307

    onlychevrolets
    Member

    [​IMG]nice job so far, but I think it's a bit "light" to haul a car or truck. If that size tubing is to carry a total weight of a load it needs more support. Even a short rail above the deck would help. That way the rail under load would be in compression and help keep the deck from bending. I know this because I build trailers. I agree the axles should not be centered they should be three quarters the way back. that keeps the tail from swinging at highway speeds. But that's just what I think. You've done a good job so far.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2009
  14. HemiRambler
    Joined: Aug 26, 2005
    Posts: 4,207

    HemiRambler
    Member

    I like the suggestion to add the cross members under where the tires (load) will be. That's what I did with mine as well as adding in the mounting tabs for the flush hold downs to them as well.

    My trailer is purpose built (for my digger) so I incorporated a few other features as well. Built in chassis saver, on board air tanks, automatic lock for the tilt - the trailer tilts to unload the car (not much ground clearance).

    I think in one of the pics you can see some of the trailer wiring - it's entirely modular - the round junction boxes are weather tight - no worry about upgrades or trouble shooting. The wire from the truck to the trailer is off a semi - should outlast me and if it doesn't you can get them cheap at any truckstop in the country - over kill? - yep!!!!

    The tongue collapses to fit in my short garage. The winch is removeable - it is mounted to a long peg with a squared off end & matchng sleeve welded into the trailer. It takes literally 5 or 10 seconds to install the winch. When not needed I store it away.

    My axles are also moveable - for future upgrades (I plan to eventually enclose this)

    I realize most of my "features" won't be of interest to you, but a couple might be.

    EDIT: after seeing your overall pic - I too think it appears a little lightweight - the advice given about adding a rail above your main rails from front to back sure would help stiffen things up a bunch.

    BTW - I love the rear lights those are WAY COOL. I contemplated using vintage tail lights for mine, but decided that with all the nit wit drivers out there I be better off adding ALOT of rear lights - especially since my deck is rather low to begin with I figured the more the merrier.

    One feature I have yet to add - I am gonna put a hidden LED strip in the chute pack of my digger to which I will wire the trailer stop lights. The idea being to get the tail lights up in the air where a not paying attention driver behind me might see them better. I will add a RCA type jack into the deck of the trailer and a similar one to the car - proabbly be contained in the trailer so I don't loose it. I did search HIGH and LOW for the vintage side marker lights. I can't remember the exact codes/laws - but at a certain length you are required to have running lights visible from the sides - yellow in front - red in the rear. Alot of new trailers have dual visibility lights that are easily seen from the side as well as the rear so they "get away" with only one set of lights. You may want to add some side lights if you haven't already. At very least check with your state's requirements or better yet a trailer builder who would know the laws state to state.

    I also have a hinged license plate - it's center mounted on the rear deck and flips down to unload the car. Kinda handy.

    My next upgrade is to add a small compressor - origionally the air tanks was all I thought I would need, but I didn't account for a leaky air line depleting my air. It happens more than I'd like to admit.

    It's not obvious from my pictures, but I also have a battery mounted for the winch - the plug is built into the trailer - you just plug the winch directly to the trailer.
     

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  15. '52 F-3
    Joined: Sep 30, 2007
    Posts: 913

    '52 F-3
    Member

    thanks for the inputs..........

    i agree the axles could be alittle further back, i originally wasn't doing a beaver tail, and it was only going to have a a 16'6" deck length. anyway including the tongue, it's 21'6" long and the center of the axles is 13'6" from front and 7'6" from back......... that close to 2/3rd's I added another picture from a different angle.
    also this is the tongue box i'm using, (a friend with a Tig is modifying to fit tongue better.)
    I think i will add somemore supports left to right, but i do still wanna deck it with 2 x 12's.......


    HemiRambler; nice trailer, thanks for posting the pics. i've also thought about adding an airtank below, but am not sure due to it's low ride height.

    fyi, I designed to be as low a possible and assumed i would be dragging the rear, thats why the lights have 3/8" plating around them and i built it like a skid plate from underneath (if it's too low, i'll raise it)

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    Last edited: Nov 26, 2009
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  16. '52 F-3
    Joined: Sep 30, 2007
    Posts: 913

    '52 F-3
    Member

    i measured to ensure i "could" put from truck on it, but i'm thinking i'd like to try to pull this (with my 39 RPU on it) behind my 52 F-3 flatbed....... we'll see
     
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  17. Berzerk
    Joined: May 23, 2007
    Posts: 567

    Berzerk
    Member

    One of the magazines (Streetrodder?) had a good article on building a trailer last month or the month before...
     
  18. ryno
    Joined: Oct 6, 2005
    Posts: 3,471

    ryno
    Member

    i built mine last winter, also to suit my needs, 60's cars. its total lenghth is 32 ft. as mentioned id run some more runners on yours from the front to the rear, think ramp style, to help support the weight, also to help aid you in fasting the wood deck. you could use some angle instead of box if prefered. get your self some steel motorhome wheels and run them under the ass.

    good job so far.
     

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  19. GTS225
    Joined: Jul 2, 2006
    Posts: 1,184

    GTS225
    Member

    Tuck a couple casters under the rear corners to keep from dragging that dovetail on steeper drives. As far as axle placement....When I built mine, everything I found strongly suggested an axle location at 60% of deck length. (I actually put my axles at 57% to lighten the overall tongue weight.) Adding the tongue after axle placement gets you a bit more tongue weight, but reduces that trailer sway bit. I've had no probs with mine, and it's been used for more than local hauls.

    Roger
     
  20. Racewriter
    Joined: Nov 14, 2008
    Posts: 780

    Racewriter
    Member

    Just curious - I see you're using a Hobart welder to stick it together. What model do you have? I have a 135 Handler and I've been wondering if it's enough welder to build a trailer.
     
  21. Glen
    Joined: Mar 21, 2001
    Posts: 1,789

    Glen
    Member

    Ryno, that is kick ass......I have been working on drawings for a new trailer also. I borrowed a Jim-glo tilt trailer last week and i was spoiled. I have my haulmark enclosed trailer but its too heavy for my 71 chevy pickup and too big for local runs to the track.

    here is a jim glo link that shows it in action. http://www.jimglo.com/gallery.php
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2009
  22. Racewriter
    Joined: Nov 14, 2008
    Posts: 780

    Racewriter
    Member

    Ryno, that is one hell of a trailer. It resembles some trailers I've seen built by a company in Missouri that specialize in building trailers for dirt late model race cars. You wouldn't be connected with them, by any chance? And do you have any more details on your trailer build?
     
  23. collector
    Joined: May 18, 2006
    Posts: 77

    collector
    Member
    from madera,ca

    Your trailer looks good. Nice job. I have seen a few with lights mounted in the floor of the trailer under the front and rear of car or truck . Great for hooking up at night.Good luck
     
  24. '52 F-3
    Joined: Sep 30, 2007
    Posts: 913

    '52 F-3
    Member

    I'd like to runs some old wheels but want to ensure a safe payload, i'm using E tires on actual trailer wheels, BUT> i do plan to paint the wheels and add some vintage hub caps or something...

    I have a 187, and like it.... never exceeded the duty cycle,
     
  25. BBYBMR
    Joined: Apr 27, 2007
    Posts: 613

    BBYBMR
    Member

    Nice - great job.
     
  26. bobw
    Joined: Mar 24, 2006
    Posts: 2,368

    bobw
    Member

    [​IMG]
    I built this single axle, unsprung tilt trailer. Used heavy pallet racking for the bed and heavy wall 2" by 4" rectangular tubing for the subframe/tongue. Pulls very well even with my S-10.
     
  27. A buddy and I built my trailer from my design. He built them for a living at the time (2001), so it's some homebuilt hackjob (like far too many!), nor some factory-built budget POS. You are building a real nice rig there. You have some interesting design elements in your trailer. Some of the suggestions to move the axles way back are "sort-of" a good idea. If you see the axles on mine, they are NOT way back...in fact, there is about a 65/35 split in where the axles are, versus a 75/25 like you see on many trailers. The 65/35 helps in several ways. First, it makes your overall turn radius for the trailer smaller, so you do not need a huge turning circle, just a large one. I've never, ever had a weight and balance problem with mine, and I've hauled everything from a Triumph Spitfire, to a '50 Dodge HHA 2-ton truck, to 6K# of flagstone. I've pulled this trailer over the Rockies to Utah. It's been nearly everywhere in the Midwest from Canada to Mexico, and all the way East to the Pittsburgh area, so it's got some miles on it! Of course, the trailer needs a new paint job!

    I intentionally went with a steel dovetail and a wood deck. The wood deck allows greater flexibility of hauling. Ever had to load a farm tractor on a wet steel deck??? My original wood deck lasted EIGHT years, with proper care and bi-annual treatment with a moisture barrier product. Next time I redeck, I'm going to place runners under the wood deck, where the tires of the loaded vehicle roll, for greater overall strength.

    I strongly urge the use of trailer-specific tires, with a T-rating, if you plan to put this trailer to any kind of use! Light truck tires and passenger car radials should NEVER be used, period! Yeah, I know people use them, but they are tempting fate unnecessarily. Way too much sidewall flexing in a passenger car tire!
     

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  28. denis4x4
    Joined: Apr 23, 2005
    Posts: 3,726

    denis4x4
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Colorado

    I prefer wood decking to diamond plate as it isn't as slippery and is easy to replace. Also absorbs grease and oil. I put Thompson Water Seal on the deck of my 20' dovetail twice a year as it sits out in the weather
     
  29. Glen
    Joined: Mar 21, 2001
    Posts: 1,789

    Glen
    Member

  30. Scott K
    Joined: Oct 17, 2005
    Posts: 824

    Scott K
    Member


    Ryno was talking about the heavy duty steel casters that some motor homes and travel trailers have under the rear bumper to prevent dragging / getting hung up on driveway approaches, not the wheels and tires themselves.
     
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