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WOOD TRAILER PROJECT... NEED SUGGESTIONS! PIC INSIDE!

Post in 'The Gear' started by WoodButcher80, Feb 16, 2009.

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  1. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    I don't claim to be an expert on the subject, indeed I wish others would chime in a bit more, but the more I look at the pictures, the less I like the $200 trailer - blowing them up to 500%, they get really grainy, but it looks like the center beam is wood, not metal (I see what looks like knots and grain patterns) and that connection between the tongue and the rest of the trailer starts looking really funky... I'm not seeing anything absolutely wrong, but I don't see anything that makes me feel "warm and fuzzy" about it either - I think it would probably carry 3,000 lbs, but I'm not sure I'd want to be following you when you did it...

    OTOH, the $450 trailer makes me feel a lot better - it looks like it's in good shape, has all the right lights, etc. on it, and they don't look beat. The metal rails look like they are a permanent part of the trailer, which means they will add considerable strength to it. (but have the downside of being non-removable, IMHO something that could be lived with) Can't really see what the frame is made from, but it looks pretty stout. I can't see into the shadow under the trailer, but it looks like there is some sort of suspension from the way the thing sits, and the fender clearance, probably some small leaf springs... I didn't see ANYTHING that made me feel nervous about it, which isn't saying it's perfect, but....

    I would say that I'd feel a lot more comfortable following the $450 trailer, especially if it was loaded more than it should be... As you said, you get what you pay for, and IMHO it looks to me like the $450 unit is giving you a whole lot more...

    Gooserider

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  2. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    Of the three you've shown us, I'd go for the third one for $450 or whatever deal you can strike with the guy, hands down. Both of the other two trailers just have some real problems. Rick

    EDIT: The first one's a kludge of unknown ancestry/load rating, the second one looks home-built (and not particularly well home- built), the third one was built by a trailer manufacturer. I'd start by taking a good close look at that one, and if I liked what I saw, strike my best deal and then make it into what I wanted for a safe and capable wood hauler.
  3. WoodButcher80

    WoodButcher80 Feeling the Heat

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    got another prospect! you guys love this ! its 5x10 well to well , board to board, he said its channel frame, meaning the frame is in a U shape , with the open end facing in . seems pretty beefy. he said he thinks there is leaf springs but isnt 100% sure . i like the way the lights and wells are designed. .. usually a good sign. i can get him to 250$ .. hes only 15 min away... what ya think?


    man this is fun having experts!

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  4. WoodButcher80

    WoodButcher80 Feeling the Heat

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    last pic. . . .

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  5. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    I think it's another home-built...which doesn't automatically rule it out...but you gotta know the axle rating and what sort of suspension it's got (if any), and how the platform is supported. It's what underneath that really counts. Rick
  6. WoodButcher80

    WoodButcher80 Feeling the Heat

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    thanks rick. . . ill have to look at it, see the suspension. i figured if i had really good tires ( 15"ers) ide be ok! guess i need suspension too! anyways, i just got off the phone with the guy for the 450$ trailer... heres a pic below to remind you since weve all seen too many trailers. . he said its a 3x3 box tongue from the front to about a foot or so short of the axle down the middle.

    he said the sides are angle iron, and its A TILT TRAILER 5x8 wood to wood. tilt makes it nice i guess. he said there are leaf springs on each side of the 14" tires , three leafs on each tire (6 total) . 450lb trailer . he has the manuf paperwork for it (some three letter acronym) LMO .. or something . so it is legit.

    oh , and he said he probably sell it for 400$ , but he has to ask the owner, his uncle.
    ill tell you what, if that last one i can get for 250$ has leaf springs, thatll be the deal. . . if not, it seems like this would be a good bet.
    good thing is, these last two are only about 10 min away from each other :)

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  7. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Looks better than the first two, that's for certain... Beefy C channel is reasonable stuff to make a trailer out of, it's very common in boat trailers especially as it is less prone to trapping moisture than square tube or pipe. What I can see looks reasonably well made, I agree it's a nice beefy setup on the lights and fenders, and so is the front jack (though with that nice jack, I wonder why he has it propped up on a bucket?)

    I would say the big question is what's underneath? What is the suspension (if any)? What sort of axle, and it's rating? What are there for cross members supporting that substantial looking floor?

    This one doesn't make me go urghh! the way the first two did, which is an improvement. I still like the commercial trailer, but if this one has some substial cross members under the platform (I'd look for at least 2-3 strong metal cross members welded to the frame on both sides) and a decent suspension, axle, etc. I would think you'd be OK with it, which is more than I'd say about the first two...

    Gooserider
  8. WoodButcher80

    WoodButcher80 Feeling the Heat

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    quick question.... how can i tell offhand if its a 3500lb axle or not? is there a certain diameter? cus i can get underneath the beefy fender one and find out. if it has leaf springs and 3500lb im taking it. . . but i dont mind spending 150$ extra for peace of mind for the factory built one... ya know?
  9. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Not sure on how to ID the axle rating... Certainly you don't want anything where the bearings are part of the trailer wheel, as that is far less... If it's a commercial axle that was purchased, it may have a label on it, or the owner might have some documentation... The other thing to watch out for I've heard is the cut down mobile home axles - they apparently take weird tires that are only intended for one trip use...

    I think there may be a way to tell based on the wheel bolt pattern (number of lugs, and their spacing) but I'm not sure just what it is...

    Gooserider
  10. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Also, saw your addition a few moments ago about the commercial trailer being a tilt model - that can be a really major advantage! It can mean not needing ramps or at least not as much of a set of ramps to get things like OPE or splitters onto it, or even big rounds / logs - probably less of an advantage for loading firewood, but still it can be useful, not as good as a true dumper, but still a tilt can make unloading a pile of whatever easier...

    Gooserider
  11. WoodButcher80

    WoodButcher80 Feeling the Heat

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    you know what? look at this pic below... blow it up and zoom in ... i think i can see leaf springs! ya theres definitely a bolt of some sort just behind the light mount. . and when i zoom in , i can see the ground and then what looks like springs and small clamps that hold the springs together. . . see what you think.

    heres a photobucket link of the trailer . . . just click on the link, then save as is to your desktop, then zoom away!

    TRAILER for 250$ springs?
  12. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Maybe... At 600% its pretty grainy, but I can see the possible spring mount bolt, not at all sure about anything else... I certainly wouldn't put bets on there being springs based just on that pic, but it does look OK... The other thing that I tried looking for, and wasn't seeing is strong evidence of adequate cross members supporting the deck - I can see bolt heads at the very back of the trailer, and possibly some at the front, but nothing in between... Of course that doesn't mean the cross members aren't there, it could just be that the bolts aren't showing, or that they didn't put any in the middle supports - I would but I tend to go heavy on fasteners...

    Gooserider
  13. wolfkiller

    wolfkiller Burning Hunk

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    I put a 5000lb axle under my wood hauling trailer. It was $265 new. A 3500 lb with a 1000 - 1500 lb trailer on it does not give you much useful load. Go with a commercial trailer axle at least. Other axles will be harder to get bearing's for. You should replace the bearings on any used trailer you buy. A couple hundred dollar's will not sound like much when you are beside the road with broken springs, bearings,ect.
    There was a survey here in Alaska that showed 64% of Alaskan families own a trailer of some sort but only 13% own a grease gun. I see a lot of trailers beside the road every year.
  14. GKG-MO

    GKG-MO New Member

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    I would ask them to check the title. Around here you can't haul more than the trailer is TITLED for. I have a 4X8 with a 3000lb axle under it but its only titled for 2000lbs. I got pulled over last year and the cops had me go weigh it. Sure enough 2 on it. Luckily they only gave me a warning and sent me on my way since it was only 350lbs over. I'm not sure how homemade trailers get their rating but Id check into it.
  15. moosetrek

    moosetrek New Member

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    That last one, with the fenders, looks like the best choice to me. Generally, 3500# axles have a 5-on-4.5 or 5-on-5.5 bolt pattern, and 1.25" outer bearings with (I think?) 1.75" inner bearing. 205/75/15 tires in load range C give you 1800# per tire x 2 = 3600# so that's what generally comes on them. I would also check for brakes, at 3500# you want electric brakes behind a Cherokee as your tow vehicle. As mentioned, pull, inspect, and grease/replace all your bearings immediately, and check the tires for cracks and rims for dents (you probably already know all this!).
  16. WoodButcher80

    WoodButcher80 Feeling the Heat

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    good stuff , thx guys ! im gonna check em all out friday afternoon. theres 3 within 30 miles of me. if i have to ill get the one made by a trailer company. another one popped up and he said it has 15" tires and has 7 leaf springs on each side but 2 of the leafs on the one side are broke. hey, its worth a peek for 150$ . thanks again guys.
  17. WoodButcher80

    WoodButcher80 Feeling the Heat

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    ok guys... i got the pics. i froze my butt off and didnt buy to see what you guys thought of these to final candidates.

    i put all pics on photobucket links to make it easier on the sites bandwidth :)


    1. trailer one is the pro built one .
    its a tilt trailer.
    its pro built.
    i was very pleased with the design of it. i liked the tilt feature though it didnt work when i went there, im thinking it was stuck. no biggie. i didnt really feel like jumping on the thing while the owner wasnt there just to make the bed pop up !
    downside is its 400$ and only 5x8. i have the money, just dont want to spend it if i dont have to . i also plan on getting another quad for the lady and this one will only fit 1 , unlike trailer 2 .

    HERES THE LINK TO TRAILER 1

    trailer 1 5x8 for 400bucks


    2. TRAILER 2 IS HOME MADE, ITS JUST OVER 4' WIDE AND 12' OF WOOD EXPOSED. its 200$
    i was surprised on how well built it was. the wood seemed heavy duty, maybe treated. i couldnt tell cus it was covered in snow(-10 out) .
    there were 7 leaf springs rather than 3 like the pro built one, though i dont know if that matters or not.
    i measured the axle cap and looks like its 200$ so im assuming its a 3500lb axle. tires looked ok too.

    THE WEIRD thing i noticed was the receiver hitch. it has a lever you pull up and this horse shoe clamp comes up to release the ball from the hitch. the thing is the lever you pull up just kind of flapped there, and i know the standard style lock with the small tooth and has a pin you can put through a hole to be safe. this didnt . see for yourself.
    the tongue looked beefed up good, and mounted ok to the frame. there were about 4 rows of angle iron connecting the channel iron frame. it looks well built. it would be nice to have the shorter one for stackin wood high up and not have the trailer be so long, but ill tell you what... it seems like more trailers are for sale because the owners want wider/longer beds. . . so i know ill use this thing somehow. i can weld 2x4 stakes to teh sides of the channel iron to hold sides up too.

    I CALLED A LOCAL WELDER AND HE SAID I CAN GET 10 FEET OF 2"X2"X 3/16" THICK ANGLE IRON FOR 33$ OR 1/8" THICK FOR 15$ . REGARDLESS OF TRAILER PURCHASED, ILL AD TWO MORE CROSS MEMBERS TO MAKE SURE THE WOOD IS SUPPORTED.

    HERES THE LINK TO TRAILER 2

    trailer 2 for 200bucks 4x12
  18. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Trailer #1, the commercial job looked pretty good, standard construction, looked pretty clean, pretty much hook up and go, other than the wiring harness being a bit sloppy... Only real downside is that it didn't appear to have brakes - that size it's marginal as to whether or not they are essential, but definitely a "good to have" It did appear that it has the mounts that would let you retrofit brakes fairly easily.

    Trailer #2, the homebuilt, also looked pretty substantial, I would say it should be at least as capable as the commercial unit - I haven't seen a coupler setup like that, but it's pretty clearly a commercial unit, so I'd expect it to be OK. I suspect that if you got all the snow off it, you'd find a hole somewheres in the mechanism to lock it down, or that it would latch more solidly if it actually was sitting on a ball.

    I saw a lot of rust and / or road crud on the underside and suspension, but that isn't a big deal as long as it's just surface dirt, but it should be checked (wire brush a spot or two, see what's under it...)

    The wiring harness definitely falls in the "ugly" class - and I didn't like how it was routed between the boards and the frame in a couple places.

    The decking looked pretty solid, and if you have 4 cross members in 10 feet, that should be plenty if it's 2 x ? planks.

    The jack should be fixable, or if it's totally messed up, it could be replaced, though it might be a minor challenge to find one with the same mounting configuration. You definitely want something to help raise and lower the tongue, picking up a high tongue-weight trailer is NOT fun...

    I couldn't really see whether or not it had brakes, and if you are talking something big enough to haul two ATV's you are starting to get into the territory where they are worth while.

    Neither trailer looked to have "bearing buddies" or other provision for adding grease to the hubs, which increases the previous reccomendations to check, repack, and possibly replace the bearings, and add bearing buddies.

    My bottom line, going by the pictures, is that either trailer would do, but going by the pictures, and your stated preference for a longer bed, I think number 2 is worth going for.

    Gooserider
  19. WoodButcher80

    WoodButcher80 Feeling the Heat

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    the platform boards looked like they were 2x6's or larger. i just need to think of a design for the sides.

    i need them to be removable and strong. ill use those pockets for the 2x4 stakes and weld the pockets on . kind of like this one. its someones on this forum.though he has the aide of a reinforced steel rail. BIG N BEEFY SIDES !

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  20. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos Minister of Fire

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    I think you both need a cold shower.
  21. WoodButcher80

    WoodButcher80 Feeling the Heat

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    no comprende
  22. WoodButcher80

    WoodButcher80 Feeling the Heat

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    ok guys. i got him down to 200$ for the 12' long one! Goose, the jack was pretty messed up , but i got a bulldog at my local store for 30$ , 5 ton. got a big castor wheel too for 12$ . the brakes didnt work when i hooked them up, but im kinda glad since i plan on rewiring the whole trailer anyhoo. kind of like the lateral light design though....


    i was just looking at designs for sidewalls.... i went here http://shop.easternmarine.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=catalog.prodInfo&productID=6814&categoryID=369

    i know ill get stake pockets, but i was planning on doing 4 side pieces total : one real long one from the back all the way past the fender to just before the bend in the channel frame, then buy one of those stake rack connectors to tie it in to a small 3 foot sidewall where it bends to the tongue. so 2 pieces on each side, then of course the front sidewall and back sidewall. kind of like this guy http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php?ACT=24&fid=27&aid=18295_6f4iQCAEbMVKO8A0FNiO&board_id=1 . any ideas at all on what to do? if you look at the pic on the link, its not the same as mine because i cant put a stake pocket mid-trailer cus the fender is in the way. thats why i thought to make it one piece going from one side of the fender to the other.
    this is when i wish i was an engineer! :)
  23. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Well glad to hear it has brakes, the question to figure out now is why they aren't working, is it a mechanical problem with the brake itself, or a wiring problem? (could also be both...) I'd probably try isolating each brake and feeding it with a jumper to test... ) The light design in the fenders was one of the things I liked about that unit, presumably when rewiring you can either keep the fixtures or replace them with something the same size / shape... If you do replace fixtures, I'd strongly advise spending the extra money to get LED fixtures as opposed to incandescents - I think they look better, but more importantly, they draw a fraction of the juice, and will last longer than anything else on the trailer - long as you don't smash them, you'll *never* have to change a bulb again - they are also waterproof, and in the unlikely event of a failure will fail in a safer way - with an incandescent the one bulb goes and you are totally dark, with an LED fixture, you'll have multiple LED's, and if one goes the rest stay lit and you just end up with slightly reduced light output...

    Well being cheap, I'd probably make my own boards from scratch, but something like you describe would work... I might be tempted to extend the deck all the way forward (or maybe put a storage box in that forward triangle of space) and just have the two angled sideboards meet at the nose of the trailer... (Just keep the load in that area light...)

    I'd also consider how high I really wanted the boards to be - higher boards = more air drag, and worse gas milage, plus they will tempt you to put more stuff on the trailer, possibly overloading it (but you CAN put more stuff on with higher boards...) If I was using boards that were more than two or three feet tall, I'd consider making some sort of provision for putting a couple of lateral braces across the tops (could just be eyes for cargo straps) to provide some support to keep the boards from spreading to much under taller loads.

    The other thing I would try to do is design any rear boards to do double duty as loading ramps - i.e. hinge them rather than use pockets (or put on hooks to allow the removable boards to be used as a ramp, lots of alternatives) - it might be worth hinging them carefully in the middle to keep the height down (again in the interest of reducing drag)

    Gooserider
  24. WoodButcher80

    WoodButcher80 Feeling the Heat

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    well if you look at the pics on photobucket the left light has a bulb exposed thats supposed to be inside of a white house... that could be the issue. i didnt know that if one bulb on one side goes they all go? im good at wiring , used to work installing car stereos, so i can figure it out, just waiting for the thaw!

    in regards to the hinge idea. good thinking! i can just weld 3 steel hinges to the bed and bolt em up to the boards. i would have to support the door from falling back down, maybe with steel cables to eye hooks by the wheel fenders? or some type of latch tying in the hinged wall to the side walls. i dunno

    im not buying any sides from anyone... i was just showing you tha link for reference btw. i think its fun building stuff.
  25. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    OK, On trailers, there are either 3 or 4 functions that have to be done by the lights, you will have either 4 or 6 wires that are light related at the connector...

    1. Tail Light - always on (with vehicle lights), one wire feeds tail lights, and any marker lights

    2. Plate light - always on, white, runs off tail light circuit, may be a seperate bulb, or is often just a clear plastic section on one of the regular tail lights designed so the regular tail light bulb also shines white light on the plate - NOTE, must be designed / mounted in such a way that it doesn't show significant white light directly to the rear.

    3. Brake lights - comes on w/ vehicle brakes

    4. Turn signals - work w/ car signals.

    5. Ground... Mostly carried by the vehicle frame, BUT.... Your connector harness SHOULD have a ground wire on each end, that should be attached to a frame ground on each vehicle, this ensures a reliable ground connection. Some people skip hooking up the ground wire on one or both ends, figuring to ground through the ball and hitch, but this can cause flaky grounding, leading to odd light behaviour, including lights that flicker as you go down the road.

    What gets fun is the brake light and turn signal circuits - on old traditional american cars, they used a combined stop / turn light, that used the same light for both brake light and turn signal (in the traditional double filament lamp (i.e. 1157 or 1034 bulbs) the tail light was the dim filament, the stop / turn was the bright one) This worked by having a separate left and right wire, and putting power to one side from the turn signal switch, and both sides from the brake switch. Downside was you often lost the turn signal when stepping on the brakes. This setup uses 4 wires in the harness for lights, tail, left and right stop/turn, and ground.

    European cars, and some newer US cars have now gone to the IMHO better system of discrete lights, where they have one line for brakes and one for each side's turn signal (usually a seperate bulb, often yellow) - this gives six wires in the harness, tail, brake, left and right turn, and ground, plus a spare (some folks wire it so that the 4 wire system is used in addition to the discrete turn signals, this makes it easier to change tow vehicles.

    You can get various adapter boxes to let you use different combinations of trailer and tow vehicle, but generally, the cheapest / easiest way to wire it up if you only have one tow vehicle is to match whatever that vehicle uses. It is also worth noting that some of the newer cars have more sophisticated electronics that get upset by the old traditional splice-in harness - if you have a newer vehicle it's worth checking with the experts to see if there are any special adapters needed to connect the trailer...

    On the tailgate, using hinges works, but it might be worth considering whether you would ever also want to be able to remove the gate entirely. I would tend to use "half hinges" or possibly something that used a readily removable tractor pin. When holding it up, I'd be inclined to lock it into the side rails - that way it will act to keep the sides from spreading when it's latched.

    Gooserider
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