Tilt trailer build

duramaxman05

Feeling the Heat
Aug 17, 2014
466
Perryville, Mo
I am wanting to build a 6.5x10 tilt trailer for hauling mowers and atvs around. I have access to a bunch of 2"x2"x1/4" angle iron. I also have 4 pieces of either 3" or 4" c channel 8-9 ft long. All metal I have is all free. I have looked at hundreds of pictures if different trailers. I would like some insite and opinions from y'all. Thanks
 

GadDummit

Burning Hunk
May 27, 2017
230
Oklahoma
I don't have any super trailer experience, but I will tell you that the most common failure point is just ahead of the axles where the trailer tongue supports end and the axles begin. Be sure to tie those areas together well. Also, I'm subscribed for updates. Post pics of the build as you go please!
 
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duramaxman05

Feeling the Heat
Aug 17, 2014
466
Perryville, Mo
I will be a while before I get it done. I am in the planning stage of design and figuring out what I need. I will definitely take pictures and post updates
 

GadDummit

Burning Hunk
May 27, 2017
230
Oklahoma
Good deal. Can't wait to see how it turns out. The 7000 lb bulldog hitches on Amazon are the cheapest I could fine at about 100 bucks (they call them reese, but they're bulldog). You can use mobile home axles and usually get them cheaper than buying trailer axles, I've heard.
 
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duramaxman05

Feeling the Heat
Aug 17, 2014
466
Perryville, Mo
Good deal. Can't wait to see how it turns out. The 7000 lb bulldog hitches on Amazon are the cheapest I could fine at about 100 bucks (they call them reese, but they're bulldog). You can use mobile home axles and usually get them cheaper than buying trailer axles, I've heard.
Thanks. I have a used axle out of a trailer that we used at work to haul skidsteer around. I think it's either a 5200lb or 6000lb axle. The trailer broke the front axle and the trailer broke in half. I'm gonna try to scrounge as many parts as I can off of it. We got a new trailer last year.
 

ABMax24

Minister of Fire
So far I've built 2 trailers, a flat deck 8'x12' snowmobile trailer, and a small boat trailer for my 13' jet boat.

The first thing that you need to do is look at requirements for your area for homebuilt trailers, a lot of jurisdictions have funky rules put in place for public safety. Some require a safety inspections, others might require an engineered design and to have the trailer built by a certified welder and mechanical components by a certified mechanic. My area is easy, I just need to have receipts for all my parts to prove they are not stolen and they stamp a vin into the frame with which I can get registration. The safety of the trailer is totally my responsibility from design to construction, to ensuring all lighting complies with regulation. I work in an industrial fab shop so design and construction were easy, ensuring lighting was right only took a few hours researching motor vehicle regulations.

For your design the first thing I'd change is the tilt deck. I don't like them at all, in my opinion they are a huge safety hazard for loading and unloading and possibly having the deck tilt at the wrong time pinching or crushing body parts. They are also significantly more complex from a construction point of view and in a sense require 2 frames to be built, one for the deck and another for the trailer frame itself. I like fixed decks as the entire assembly works together as a completely welded and stiff frame. It would be easy to have the deck sit low to the ground between the tires and have a long folding ramp at the end that just folds up for transport.

Construction wise I'd consider 3" channel the bare minimum for a frame for the trailer. 2" angle doesn't belong as the main frame, as cross members to support the deck it would probably suffice though. I'm assuming you intend on welding it together, but what kind of machine do you own, and what's your ability?

Here are my trailers, I don't have a good one of the sled trailer. Both are built from 2"x4"x1/8" rectangular tubing frames sitting on 3500lb axles.
 

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duramaxman05

Feeling the Heat
Aug 17, 2014
466
Perryville, Mo
So far I've built 2 trailers, a flat deck 8'x12' snowmobile trailer, and a small boat trailer for my 13' jet boat.

The first thing that you need to do is look at requirements for your area for homebuilt trailers, a lot of jurisdictions have funky rules put in place for public safety. Some require a safety inspections, others might require an engineered design and to have the trailer built by a certified welder and mechanical components by a certified mechanic. My area is easy, I just need to have receipts for all my parts to prove they are not stolen and they stamp a vin into the frame with which I can get registration. The safety of the trailer is totally my responsibility from design to construction, to ensuring all lighting complies with regulation. I work in an industrial fab shop so design and construction were easy, ensuring lighting was right only took a few hours researching motor vehicle regulations.

For your design the first thing I'd change is the tilt deck. I don't like them at all, in my opinion they are a huge safety hazard for loading and unloading and possibly having the deck tilt at the wrong time pinching or crushing body parts. They are also significantly more complex from a construction point of view and in a sense require 2 frames to be built, one for the deck and another for the trailer frame itself. I like fixed decks as the entire assembly works together as a completely welded and stiff frame. It would be easy to have the deck sit low to the ground between the tires and have a long folding ramp at the end that just folds up for transport.

Construction wise I'd consider 3" channel the bare minimum for a frame for the trailer. 2" angle doesn't belong as the main frame, as cross members to support the deck it would probably suffice though. I'm assuming you intend on welding it together, but what kind of machine do you own, and what's your ability?

Here are my trailers, I don't have a good one of the sled trailer. Both are built from 2"x4"x1/8" rectangular tubing frames sitting on 3500lb axles.
I appreciate your honesty. For my welder, I have a esab migmaster 250. It's more than capable and I'm a good welder my self. I have rebuilt excavator buckets and built "the shank" as I call it. I will post some pictures. I come from working on heavy equipment. prefer to have a tilt deck because it's easier to winch stuff on it. I have a 16+2 trailer also and it has ramps and if you try to drag anything on it, the ramps will come off. That's the main reason for building this trailer. I work on a lot of atv, utv, and mowers. This trailer would suit me well for what I do. I may end up putting a shock of some sort on it as well to hold it up. As far as metal goes, this what I can get ahold of for free.
 

duramaxman05

Feeling the Heat
Aug 17, 2014
466
Perryville, Mo
So far I've built 2 trailers, a flat deck 8'x12' snowmobile trailer, and a small boat trailer for my 13' jet boat.

The first thing that you need to do is look at requirements for your area for homebuilt trailers, a lot of jurisdictions have funky rules put in place for public safety. Some require a safety inspections, others might require an engineered design and to have the trailer built by a certified welder and mechanical components by a certified mechanic. My area is easy, I just need to have receipts for all my parts to prove they are not stolen and they stamp a vin into the frame with which I can get registration. The safety of the trailer is totally my responsibility from design to construction, to ensuring all lighting complies with regulation. I work in an industrial fab shop so design and construction were easy, ensuring lighting was right only took a few hours researching motor vehicle regulations.

For your design the first thing I'd change is the tilt deck. I don't like them at all, in my opinion they are a huge safety hazard for loading and unloading and possibly having the deck tilt at the wrong time pinching or crushing body parts. They are also significantly more complex from a construction point of view and in a sense require 2 frames to be built, one for the deck and another for the trailer frame itself. I like fixed decks as the entire assembly works together as a completely welded and stiff frame. It would be easy to have the deck sit low to the ground between the tires and have a long folding ramp at the end that just folds up for transport.

Construction wise I'd consider 3" channel the bare minimum for a frame for the trailer. 2" angle doesn't belong as the main frame, as cross members to support the deck it would probably suffice though. I'm assuming you intend on welding it together, but what kind of machine do you own, and what's your ability?

Here are my trailers, I don't have a good one of the sled trailer. Both are built from 2"x4"x1/8" rectangular tubing frames sitting on 3500lb axles.
 

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ABMax24

Minister of Fire
Perfect, welding won't be an issue for you. I ask because there are people out there that figure if they have an arc and a spark they must be making a sound weld.

As for design the best would be to have a look at commercially sold trailers of the type you want and start from there. I did this with mine and then made a bunch of tweeks to suit exactly what I was after. It also helps that I come from a family of engineers and had my dad review the design for critical flaws before I started.

You will also need more material than what you have listed, the channel would probably be enough to make either the deck or the frame but not both. In both trailers I built all components were bought new, the raw steel for them was only about 1/3 of the total cost, for me it was easiest to purchase what I needed instead of trying to just make something else work. Trying to use used parts with tracability of ownership so I could get a VIN was just too much hassle in my case.

I'm not in anyway trying to discourage you from this, I'm just trying to give you the information I wish I had before I built my first trailer. At the end of the day a trailer can easily be lethal if something goes wrong.
 
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Osage

Burning Hunk
Nov 3, 2011
242
kansas
I have a tilt bed 5x10 and wish I didn't. You have to be careful how you load them or they will put you in the ditch. Always have to make sure you have it loaded heavier in front of the axles.
 
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salecker

Minister of Fire
Aug 22, 2010
1,197
Northern Canada
I have a tilt bed 5x10 and wish I didn't. You have to be careful how you load them or they will put you in the ditch. Always have to make sure you have it loaded heavier in front of the axles.
It dosn't matter what kind of trailer,you always have to have more weight on the tongue or the trailer can own the pulling vehicle.
 

duramaxman05

Feeling the Heat
Aug 17, 2014
466
Perryville, Mo
It dosn't matter what kind of trailer,you always have to have more weight on the tongue or the trailer can own the pulling vehicle.
Yes I definitely agree. Learned that the hard way. I was thinking about putting the axle a little farther back than a normal tilt trailer and put a shock or two to help raise it and keep it up
 

firefighterjake

Minister of Fire
Jul 22, 2008
19,222
Unity/Bangor, Maine
I'm no expert at building trailers . . . but my cousin is really good at building them. Our ATV Club has bought two work trailers which are fantastic for use on the trails as they have narrow widths, walking beam suspensions and a bunch of other convenient features.

For hauling ATVs, garden tractors, etc. I personally would stick with a traditional trailer vs. tilt trailer for a few personal reasons:

1) Added complexity of building such a trailer

2) While important to get the geometry of a trailer right so it tracks and doesn't fish tail down the road at higher speeds, it is crucially important to get the angle right with a tilt trailer

3) Loading more than one ATV, tractor or snowmobile on a tilt trailer can be a pain

Now, all that said, I get the point about having a ramp move if having to winch a dead ATV up to a traditional trailer. Have you considered making a trailer with built in pockets for a home-made ramp.

Here's a picture of a sled I sold last winter . . . and more importantly for the purpose of this thread my trailer which happened to be in the picture. You can see there are pockets on the side which allow me to put in a stake sided body or I can use a ramp which has two fingers which drop down into the pockets to hold the ramp in place.

Incidentally, I have since had my cousin modify this trailer. He added another foot to the back end as my new sled has a longer track, added LED lights, beefier electrical cord, replaced the decking, etc.

And in case anyone is wondering . . . yes . . . that is stainless steel piping. He gets it at a good deal from where he works after the processing plant discards the old piping.

Bonus: Photo of my woodshed in the background.

1598969049695.png
 

duramaxman05

Feeling the Heat
Aug 17, 2014
466
Perryville, Mo
I'm no expert at building trailers . . . but my cousin is really good at building them. Our ATV Club has bought two work trailers which are fantastic for use on the trails as they have narrow widths, walking beam suspensions and a bunch of other convenient features.

For hauling ATVs, garden tractors, etc. I personally would stick with a traditional trailer vs. tilt trailer for a few personal reasons:

1) Added complexity of building such a trailer

2) While important to get the geometry of a trailer right so it tracks and doesn't fish tail down the road at higher speeds, it is crucially important to get the angle right with a tilt trailer

3) Loading more than one ATV, tractor or snowmobile on a tilt trailer can be a pain

Now, all that said, I get the point about having a ramp move if having to winch a dead ATV up to a traditional trailer. Have you considered making a trailer with built in pockets for a home-made ramp.

Here's a picture of a sled I sold last winter . . . and more importantly for the purpose of this thread my trailer which happened to be in the picture. You can see there are pockets on the side which allow me to put in a stake sided body or I can use a ramp which has two fingers which drop down into the pockets to hold the ramp in place.

Incidentally, I have since had my cousin modify this trailer. He added another foot to the back end as my new sled has a longer track, added LED lights, beefier electrical cord, replaced the decking, etc.

And in case anyone is wondering . . . yes . . . that is stainless steel piping. He gets it at a good deal from where he works after the processing plant discards the old piping.

Bonus: Photo of my woodshed in the background.

View attachment 262699
I am only going to be hauling one thing at a time. If I need to haul more than one thing I have a bigger to use. My dad has a 6.5x12 with a gate. While it's a nice trailer, it doesnt pull very well. With the gate on the back I still get mowers that the deck gets hung up on. Also with the gate, it catches a lot of air and actually picks up on the back of the truck a little so it's a tad squirrelly pulling down the highway empty.
 

firefighterjake

Minister of Fire
Jul 22, 2008
19,222
Unity/Bangor, Maine
I am only going to be hauling one thing at a time. If I need to haul more than one thing I have a bigger to use. My dad has a 6.5x12 with a gate. While it's a nice trailer, it doesnt pull very well. With the gate on the back I still get mowers that the deck gets hung up on. Also with the gate, it catches a lot of air and actually picks up on the back of the truck a little so it's a tad squirrelly pulling down the highway empty.
Makes sense about the deck getting hung up on the gate/ramp and if you are only loading one item at a time it makes things much easier.

I will mention however that my ramp is detachable and slides into grooves under the back side of the trailer so aerodynamics is a non issue.
 
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duramaxman05

Feeling the Heat
Aug 17, 2014
466
Perryville, Mo
I am beginning to design and and figure out a material list for the trailer. I priced a big tex 70st 13ft and they want $4200 plus tax. We also acquired this brooks brothers equipment for free. The guy broke the tongue out of it and asked if we could just scrap it for him. We said, yeah we will take care of. So my plan is to fix the Brooks brothers trailer and sell my 16+2 trailer and take the money from it and buy what materials I need. I think I can build it for what I get out of my trailer.
 

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salecker

Minister of Fire
Aug 22, 2010
1,197
Northern Canada
Nice free trailer i would be all over that and fix it.
I am toying with the idea of building a tridem dump trailer for firewood delivery.
i should just buy one, i have a project list that will keep me alive for the next 50 years.
 

duramaxman05

Feeling the Heat
Aug 17, 2014
466
Perryville, Mo
Nice free trailer i would be all over that and fix it.
I am toying with the idea of building a tridem dump trailer for firewood delivery.
i should just buy one, i have a project list that will keep me alive for the next 50 years.
I know how the list goes. I never get bored. Lol.
 
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salecker

Minister of Fire
Aug 22, 2010
1,197
Northern Canada
I know how the list goes. I never get bored. Lol.
i have a big shop that i don't share much...
i usually have half a dozen projects on the go...
then if i forget what i was working on,or lose a tool,or waiting for parts, i just look around and start working on something.
 
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duramaxman05

Feeling the Heat
Aug 17, 2014
466
Perryville, Mo
i have a big shop that i don't share much...
i usually have half a dozen projects on the go...
then if i forget what i was working on,or lose a tool,or waiting for parts, i just look around and start working on something.
I do mechanic work and it's good and bad having so many projects. The good thing is while you are waiting on parts you have something else to work on. Bad thing is remembering everything. The last time I had a shop full, I had a chainsaw and demo saw tore down on the work bench, a tractor split, an engine tore apart in a 4wheeler, a polaris ranger tore apart, rebuilding a john deere lawn mower for my dad and 2 generators. I often got asked, how the hell do you keep track and remember all of this. I just say, lol, it's a gift that I have. Lol.
 
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mcdougy

Feeling the Heat
Apr 15, 2014
481
ontario
Small enclosed trailer for your needs would be the cats meow...imo. wondering about hoods,seats,etc etc Blowing away as you travel is a real deal. I doubt many mowers will get hung up while loading with the fold down door. Build a nice big trailer with what you have acquired and your skills....a 7×12 enclosed would be a handy as heck trailer imo
 
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