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unevolved
unevolved Reader
2/1/10 7:16 a.m.

So our organization has a problem. We need a trailer of our own. We have to borrow one every time we need to move a car, and that gets tedious and just really isn't a way to conduct business. So I got to thinking. We have an organization with lots of volunteer labor, some skill, and a need for a trailer. Most of us are Mechanical or Manufacturing Engineers, or some combination of the two.

How unreasonable is it to think we might build our own car trailer? It seems like if we can use off-the-shelf components for the obvious parts (hitch, axles, fenders, etc.) and build the rest of it using square tubing with a wooden deck, we might be able to wind up with a pretty nice unit. We could either A. buy plans for one, or B. reverse engineer an existing trailer, making our own plans and performing our own analysis.

So, how about it? Anyone ever built/designed their own trailer? What kind of a budget would we be looking at? Anything over about $1K and it would no longer be cost-effective for us. I (obviously) haven't done any serious analysis beyond this yet, just kicking around a proposal.

Streetwiseguy
Streetwiseguy New Reader
2/1/10 7:28 a.m.

Engineers building something.........Scared now.

Price all your material, then start looking at manufactured trailers, and you may find less difference than you would expect.

Don49
Don49 New Reader
2/1/10 7:34 a.m.

Don't overlook taking an older travel trailer and stripping it. Then re-deck it, add tie downs and ramps and you're good to go.

RossD
RossD Dork
2/1/10 7:36 a.m.

Tractor Supply Company has lots of trailer parts normally in stock at the local store. I'm sure other types of store will have them, too (Fleet Farm or Farm'n Fleet....)

mw
mw Reader
2/1/10 8:12 a.m.

It's almost always cheaper to buy a used trailer than build your own. Unless you somehow have access to free materials.

joepaluch
joepaluch Reader
2/1/10 8:37 a.m.

There is a place on the internet that will sell the axles and components to make a trailer. You just source the tubing and weld the frame. Place is http://www.utilitytrailerkit.com/ . I even think they have plans.

However unless you have a supply of adequate tubing laying around and already know how to weld quickly and efficently it is probably better to get a trailer. Either new or used. Then refurb and out fit to your needs. There is a guy on Improved toruing forums that outffited his own open trailer to the point is just about an enclosed trailer. Very cool and fit his unique needs perfectly.

The way would be to buy and old used steel frame trailer. Then refurb and outfit so that it is ultra useful. Until last summer I used an old 87 or 88 utility trailer. 16ft deck with wood boards. My father bought it new 87 or 88 and starting tin 2000 we converted it tow my 944. We have done couple minor refurbs on it consisting mostly of wheel bearings, paint and new deck boards. Then added in a tire rack and ramp holders.

Point is old steel trailers can be had for very little and with some DIY work can be made very pratical for not much cash. Buiding one from nothing is just much harder.

unevolved
unevolved Reader
2/1/10 10:53 a.m.

Alright, thanks for the opinions. I'll keep my eyes open for a cheap used trailer to refurbish. Do you think it'd be feasible to get a lowboy for cheap and remove the side rails? In central Texas, those things are everywhere.

Given that we're an engineering society, there's some merit in DIYing more than usual, but we're also not made of money.

sachilles
sachilles HalfDork
2/1/10 11:00 a.m.

Perhaps it would be best to watch craigslist for a trailer in need of TLC. I'm sure your group could refurb it in a weekend. I see several in my area in your $1000 ball park, that don't appear to need a ton work, other than a fresh coat of paint.

joepaluch
joepaluch Reader
2/1/10 11:10 a.m.

Heck if you were close to me (Arizona) I would sell you my old trailer in the neighborhood of a grand. Works great for hauling 944's and the "refurb" would be just modding to your desires.

However since you gys are Texas it does not make any sense to drive to Az for cheap trailer. You will spend alot in gas and should be able to get cheap one local.

Racingjunk.com, ebay and craigslist are good.

914Driver
914Driver SuperDork
2/1/10 11:37 a.m.

I've built two; the first one was someone's 28 ft. camper that dove into a ditch, I bought it for $200 from the insurance company. One year old with brakes on both axles, I cut it down to 18 ft.

The one I have now is only 6 X 10ft., just big enough for the current car. No brakes but not hard to look at for the $300 invested. 3" channel and 3" square tube frame with 1/2" aluminum diamond plate deck.

I would seriously look at a tried and proven rig, then paint it, massage it into something of your own. DILYSI Dave has a good one for sale. A bucket of paint adds personality. I think he's near Atlanta.

http://atlanta.craigslist.org/nat/cto/1573110224.html

Dan

unevolved
unevolved Reader
2/1/10 11:56 a.m.

I just found one listed for $700 OBO very similar to Dave's just a few miles away. Looks like it's in need of some TLC, but if we can get it for $500 or so, that'd leave us plenty of money to refurbish it to fit our needs.

cwh
cwh SuperDork
2/1/10 11:57 a.m.

You will be amazed at how expensive steel stock is, and you will need a bunch of it. +3 for get an old one, fix it up to meet your needs. New brakes, bearings, put on D rings for tie downs, make sure all the welds are solid, new floor, gallon of Rustoleum, good to go. Unless you are entering a beauty contest, or "Best Trailer in Show", no need for anything else.

Raze
Raze Reader
2/1/10 12:02 p.m.

http://atlanta.craigslist.org/atl/cto/1578487645.html $800, new decking/tandem axle...

914Driver
914Driver SuperDork
2/1/10 12:17 p.m.
Raze wrote: http://atlanta.craigslist.org/atl/cto/1578487645.html $800, new decking/tandem axle...

That upright rail around the outside is tough on doors, tough to get out of the car. If you cut them off the trailer becomes very flexible.

Dan

sachilles
sachilles HalfDork
2/1/10 12:21 p.m.
914Driver wrote:
Raze wrote: http://atlanta.craigslist.org/atl/cto/1578487645.html $800, new decking/tandem axle...
That upright rail around the outside is tough on doors, tough to get out of the car. If you cut them off the trailer becomes very flexible. Dan

That sounds like a problem a budding young engineer type might be able to fix.

cwh
cwh SuperDork
2/1/10 1:19 p.m.

An engineer would not want to compromise the rigidity of the trailer and would cut off the bottom 6" of the door.

sachilles
sachilles HalfDork
2/1/10 1:22 p.m.

Probably true.

914Driver
914Driver SuperDork
2/1/10 1:44 p.m.

I thought about triangulating that set up under the trailer but decided I had better things to wrack my brain on.

joepaluch
joepaluch Reader
2/1/10 1:49 p.m.

Here is my open trailer.

It was a utilty trailer and I cut the side to gain door access.

Here is the tire rack up front.

unevolved
unevolved Reader
2/1/10 1:53 p.m.

Just offered 500 cash money dollars for this one I found, we'll see what happens. He said he had to call his wife, and I'd want to take a look at it before I secure funding, but it's been for sale since 6 Jan.

http://collegestation.craigslist.org/cto/1539787581.html

sachilles
sachilles HalfDork
2/1/10 1:56 p.m.

Looks like it has surge brakes, rather than electric. Might be a good fit, cause i'm guessing the tow vehicle may be ever changing, and may not have a brake controller. I bet that'll work well for you.

Bobzilla
Bobzilla Dork
2/1/10 2:02 p.m.

Wife bought mine for $900, fresh paint, wiring and has brakes on both axles. I have to say look hard enough and a used one will pop up for a good price.

mad_machine
mad_machine SuperDork
2/1/10 2:04 p.m.

you know Joe.. you could save yourself some weight by converting your trailer to the 5x130 pattern that porsche uses amd not bothering to carry a trailer spare

willy19592
willy19592 Reader
2/1/10 2:26 p.m.

In reply to unevolved:

A society of Engineers. hmm how many meetings would take place before actually doing something?

Sorry, just had too (some one who deals with Architect's regular)

good luck !

willy19592
willy19592 Reader
2/1/10 2:35 p.m.

but to be serious the one you have linked to looks like it may be a converted boat trailer. the Tongue looks really long. maybe its just the angle of the picture, but I think you should be able to do a little better than that one for 700. at 5 hmm maybe not so bad.

good luck

and that was an excellent point on the surge brakes!

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