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build a small trailer for garden tractor?

Post in 'The Gear' started by OhioBurner©, Apr 12, 2011.

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  1. OhioBurner©

    OhioBurner© Minister of Fire

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    Well my craftsman dump cart bit the dust with this past weekends trip to the woods. It was a pretty nice 12.5 cuft poly dump cart, lasted only a year but atleast I bought it used for a bit less than half price. The last couple trips it developed two cracks which can be seen in pic, on front near center other on the front corner on right hand side of pic. But what killed it is when I was going up a pretty steep incline and the whimpy dump latch gave way and the thing dumped - I had several large cherry rounds in it and when they slammed against the plastic when it hit the ground it shattered. Made for a really long day loading the last half of the truck - driving it all through the woods being very careful with only a partial load at a time.

    Now I know they sell some nice carts but I really dont want to spend $500, thats more than I spent on the tractor! I could just get a pretty standard 17cuft metal cart and it might suffice but I'm thinking a little bigger. Here is my idea...

    Make a DIY trailer using a boat trailer. I can often find lots of old boat trailers on craigslist and if I could get it for say $100-200 I think I could build a really nice trailer. I have a 14' boat and the trailer for it could handle up to a 16'. Using mine for an example, I could cut the main beam right after they all come together and relocate the hitch there since I dont want it that long. That would take it down to about 7' long, still just a tad long but ok. I think its about 3.5' between the wheel wells, that should be ok I dont want it too much bigger than the track width of the tractor. About all I would need to buy is some angle iron or C-channel to put a few verticle risers on the frame and then around the top. I'd use PT decking or similar cut to the shape of the frame for a deck. The back would take a little more work but I should be able to fab something, maybe even a small ramp gate - that would surely help get the bigger rounds loaded up. Downsides I see to using a boat trailer is they have skinny tires, I could probably get some wider rims and tires but thats going to cost. Also I dont know if having the axle sprung would be good or bad. Dont want to hit a big bump and have it eject a round lol.

    I am open to other ideas as well. Some design considerations are:
    -will be pulled behind a garden tractor, currently my cub cadet 1000, I might attach a pic for reference
    -dont want it much wider than the track width of the cub, although I might put duals on it so a little wider than it is now is ok
    -want a ball hitch, even the 12.5cuft cart's pin hitch was egging out the pin hole with all the weight of wood bouncing around
    -decent height for ground clearance
    -preferably wide tires for light snow/mud
    -removable tail gate or ramp gate, dont want to have to lift rounds up over railing to get inside
    -lots of hitch weight, my small tractor is only 2wd, and that craftsman dump cart when going up hill would actually take some weight off the hitch
    -$$$$ would like to spend no more than $300 give or take
    -possibility of mounting a winch to it

    TIA for any advice

    I attached a pic of the trailer and my little tractor that can do quite alot for only 10hp!

    Attached Files:

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  2. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    My homemade trailer that I use around the farm. It will handle all that you can put in it for firewood. It is often loaded with a loader tractor, so it isn't babied. Other than the tongue, axle and side supports it is all made from wood. It is on year number 7 and I wouldn't even want to guess at how many tons that things has hauled.

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  3. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Here is another with a more close up shot.

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  4. Delta-T

    Delta-T Minister of Fire

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    for some reason, I half expected your trailer to have a beer tap on it...sure that's your trailer?
  5. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Its on the tractor. I'm not always pulling the trailer. ;-)
  6. Delta-T

    Delta-T Minister of Fire

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    true brilliance knows no boundaries
  7. Exmasonite

    Exmasonite Feeling the Heat

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    Couple thoughts:

    Could you use the frame of the current card as the base for your rebuild? It would seem to be the right width, has the hitch attachment already integrated. Are the wheels salvageable? If so, great. Otherwise you may be able to put on a larger set of wheels and lift the box to accomodate the larger wheels.

    As far as the body goes, i'd look to purchase a wheelbarrow body and use that.

    Does the current cart allow for a "dump"? I think that'd be a pretty easy add on: Build a hinged wood or metal framed base (with the hinge at the back of the cart) with a lynch pin at the front to lock it down. If you remove the linch pin, you can lift the body and dump the contents of the bin. Save the back a little work.

    Not sure about incorporating a winch into the cart... i think you'd have to over-engineer the cart to accommodate the force of the winch. I think you're better off incorporating winch onto the front of the tractor or use a hitch mount and just disconnect the cart when needed.
  8. holland_patrick

    holland_patrick Member

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  9. festerw

    festerw Burning Hunk

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  10. xman23

    xman23 Minister of Fire

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    Ohio, is your poly trailer this one below from Ohio steel? I took a look at it and it didn't seam bad. I reinforce the weak parts before it gets torn up. I had plans to add gussets from the box to the frame of the wheels. Maybe I would add a floor liner. You can never tell with plastics they become UV damaged and get brittle. I don't store plastics where they are exposed to sunlight

    http://www.tractorsupply.com/ohio-steel-professional-grade-12-5-cu-ft-swivel-dump-cart-1027885
  11. mayhem

    mayhem Minister of Fire

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    Check your local craigslist, I see garden tracot carts on there all the time, might find exactly what you need for a good price.
  12. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    Might think about a plastic welder there pretty cheep. Its strong enough to hold kayaks together should work.
  13. OhioBurner©

    OhioBurner© Minister of Fire

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    Wow lots of responses. I'll try to respond to most of them below...

    That looks like a nice homebuilt trailer. What did you use for an axle? Thats one key piece I dont have laying around (except on the broken cart).

    Ex... lots of good ideas... yeah I could reuse the broken cart and build a new bed for it. But I was thinking about reusing it for a light duty yard cart anyhow. Iys only rated at 750# and that might be ok but I'd rather have something more heavy duty. A wheelbarrow body is much to small for what I want but would be great for yard work. Yeah the current cart dumps, thats how it broke. I dont need the dump feature on the log hauler since I use it to go from woods to truck and no sense of lowering the pieces to the ground before putting them up higher in the truck. But there is some times when I just dump in in a pile so perhaps... The winch wouldnt be hard to incorperate if I was using the boat trailer idea since they already have a winch on em usually. Just might not be heavy duty enough for what I need. And yeah I am thinking of incorperating a winch onto the tractor as well, designing a kind of boom and winch setup - maybe something to actually haul logs (thats for later).

    The problem with that one is it does not put any weight on a the hitch, it would never work for me. Tires are a tad small and the walls are to low to haul much too. I do have the slightly smaller 1,000# steel mesh 4-wheeled carts (actually 2 of them).

    Thats not bad but I think I could get a similar setup for cheaper with an old boat trailer. I think for that HF one I would still have to make some mods, move the wheel back a bit for more weight on the hitch plus those tires are so skinny... and only 1,000# seems awfully lite for that.

    Similar looking plastic body but everything metal is different. Mine is craftsman and lighter duty, only 750# that ohio steel is nicer. It is a very nice trailer and at 1250# thats double the weight capacity of mine. But its still too small. Maybe if they made a 20cuft one but it would probably be $500+

    Also if anyone uses a cart like that I'd make an actual lock for the dump and not rely on the cheap lever. If the thing dumps by accident with a heavy load of rounds in it, well you can see from my first picture...
  14. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    The axle I used was from an old Cushman three wheeler that has been LOOOONG gone. Full bearings at the wheels.
  15. gpcollen1

    gpcollen1 Minister of Fire

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    I have had that same cart you cracked for about 4 years now. Still going strong. i just pulled an old metal one out of the dump pile and put 2 urethane tires on it for $70. This will be my rock hauler.
  16. JeffRey30747

    JeffRey30747 Member

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    I have the HF trailer and use it occasionally for firewood. It has an old plastic pallet sheet for the bed and leftover 1x6 pine flooring for side boards. It would be difficult to overload it with wood. It will haul fairly easily anything that I'm comfortable pulling with a 246cc 4WD ATV in my hilly terrain. As for axle placement, I just deal with that by loading the trailer out for proper tongue weight just as I would with any other (especially single axle trailer).
  17. golfandwoodnut

    golfandwoodnut Minister of Fire

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    I bought the Ohio Steel trailer in the fall. I have not hauled alot yet but it appears really rugged, I like that it has ATV Style Tires on it. I actually got it new on Ebay for $100 because a dealer in PA gets alot of the Northern Steel UPS shipping damages for a fraction of the money. Squireltreasures is their name on ebay, it is worth looking once in awhile, the even sell some Chainsaws really cheap (Poulan mostley). The only thing wrong with it was the box.
  18. OhioBurner©

    OhioBurner© Minister of Fire

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    Just assuming for a second I am going to build a custom wood hauler trailer... would leaf springs be beneficial or unnecessary? I'm just not sure. Might abosrb some of the uneven ground but might make it bouncy?
  19. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Unless this is gonna be a road/high speed trailer, I would forget the springs. Unless you plan on jumping logs and rocks with it, a rigid frame with the largest tires you can get underneath it should work out well for a yard/wood trailer. Just one dudes opinion.
  20. xman23

    xman23 Minister of Fire

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    This may not be yard trailer for everyone here, but I think it will work for me. After building it yesterday and using it today here's some pros and cons. I took a look at a few lighter duty ones and decided this was worth the extra bucks since I will be occasionally be used to scrounge wood from the woods behind my house. The sides must be 18 inches high, great for giving the kids rides in the woods. It's rated at 1200 LBS, but that's is a stretch. The square steal frame and tow bar is heavy gauge. The hitch will work on a ball or pin type. The wheels are 16 inch balloon type with needle bearings. Ground clearance is 12 inches. It looks like it will dump well because of it's height off the ground and the angled rear. The box almost stands straight up when dumped. It's light and easy to move. Weight would be an issue because my ATV is only 300 CC's. So you could spend more and build something more heavy duty but for the money this will work for me.

    http://www.tractorsupply.com/ohio-steel-professional-grade-12-5-cu-ft-swivel-dump-cart-1027885

    Tom

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  21. OhioBurner©

    OhioBurner© Minister of Fire

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    Yep that is a nice one... I think it was previously linked to on the first page, and my friend has one. Same exact (as far as I can tell) polly bed as mine, so be careful you might want to reinforce it if you plan on using it hard. That one has a different style latch for the dump, you might want to make sure it latches securely as mine pulled through the latch. But the main problems with mine is that it didnt put weight on the hitch, shouldnt be much a problem for you if your machine is 4x4. Also, I just couldnt fit as much as I'd like in it, I would spend a good half day just carting rounds from the back of the woods to my truck. Literally hours to haul and load up my truck and trailer even though only 1.2-1.5 cords or so. About double the capacity would be good I think.

    My project might go in a different direction though, as I am now reconsidering making my little tractor into a log skidder of sorts, with a boom on the back and winch. I might start a new thread for that when I get some more info together.
  22. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    WARNING: Opinion to follow....
    I am not a big fan of skidding firewood. Dirt, mud, rocks, snow...blah,blah,blah. Skidding a given log with a garden tractor will take more traction and HP than cutting the same log and throwing it into a trailer and hauling it out. Build yourself the proper sized trailer and beef it up for abuse. You will love it.
  23. xman23

    xman23 Minister of Fire

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    I agree with Jags, turning a small garden tractor into a skidder will have very limited results. Better to pull a trailer but trying to pull a big heavily loaded trailer out of the woods is limited by the tractor HP, weight and traction. ATV are expensive, and are not in the same league as a good size tractor. If I had enough land I would buy a old 4 wheel drive jeep.
  24. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    I agree . . . partly due to the mud and dirt . . . partly because I figure it's a little less messy when I buck the wood up in the woods and haul it out . . . figure I'll have to buck up the wood sooner or later . . . so I just do it in the woods and haul out with the trailer . . . it's not the only way to get the wood out, and it may not be the best way for everyone . . . but it's my way and it works for me.
  25. OhioBurner©

    OhioBurner© Minister of Fire

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    Well as far as mud/dirt you could always put a mini log arch on the tail end to get the whole log up. But that could get me in trouble going uphill if the tractor slips... In any case I'll probably do both. There will be times I will need to take out in rounds, like a really big tree. I know the old cubs can do a lot, but it aint going to drag a big tree up hill. But for the smaller stuff it could save some time I think, and there are other things I have in mind - I mean it wont be just for hauling logs it could haul other things around and the winch could come in handy for many things including if it got stuck. If I had a camera I'd draw out the plans so you guys could better see what I have in mind but right now no camera.
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