New guy. Building my first trailer.

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New guy. Building my first trailer.

Postby wolfcri » Wed Apr 15, 2009 12:42 am

I'm new so I'm sorry if I am posting this in the wrong place.

So... I was surfing the internet and saw one of these:
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This got me thinking... (its always bad when I start thinking)

I have had a Suzuki Samurai sitting around for about 3 years now. It had a blown motor and the trans was stolen (long story) so I decided not to invest anything into it...

After looking around the internet at "Adventure Trailers" I decided that the rear half of the perfectly good Samurai shell is a great candidate for the tub and axle for my off-road camping trailer. Insane, you say? Well, not if you grew up watching as much McGyver, A Team, and Mr Wizzard as I did.

Last thursday, under the cover of darkness, I had my buddy tow the samurai 3 miles from its storage location to the place where it will undergo its transformation.
When I say tow, I mean pull with a 25' tow strap behind his fullsize chevy. I was in the samurai praying that the brakes still worked and hoping there were no other parts that I had loosened or removed. I was also attacked by a small bird who thought it was a good idea to build his summer home in the glove box. Although scary, the trip was uneventfull.

Friday, I took a ride to Fazzio's in Glassboro NJ (metal source).

Here is the rough idea of what I had in mind when I started.(gotta love ms paint).
Thats not my truck. Just a pic I found online.
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I will update this thread with my progress.
I am open to suggestions and feedback.
If anybody is interested in the hacked-off front half of a suzuki samurai or parts of it, let me know before they end up at the dump.

Here is (was) my sami
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Heres where the attack bird was living
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Buzzzzzz
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Fabbed up the crossmember for the tongue
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Got extremely frustrated with a POS welder and modified it with a sledge hammer
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Got what I should have a long time ago
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And heres where I left off saturday night.
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Didn't get to do too much on Easter.

Finished to tongue and coupler.
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Started on boxing in the tub.
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I have to admit that I probably should have just sold the sami shell and started from scratch. But that is in hindsight because I have purchased a second angle grinder, a nice MIG welder, and a chop saw during this project. If I have them when I started, I would have built from scratch. I have gotten a lot of interest over at the suzuki forum so I think I could sell this trailer to a guy with a samurai who wants an identical trailer and then build myself a completely custom one from scratch. We'll see. I am happy with the way it is turning out though.

One important thing to note is that I am playing this entirely by ear. I had no actual PLAN for what this thing would look like when finished. It is becoming a fabrication learning experience as much as it is a purposeful build.


Heres monday's progress.

Finished installing the pannel that will be the front of the main bed.
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I decided to partially enclose the front end of the trailer with box tubing. This is the area that will be used for water and gas contailers.
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Alooominum front pannel for that. Painted the tubing and the pannels.
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Added angle plates to the tub where the rack will mount. I am still not sure how this will work out. I'm trying to decide if the bed will have a tonneau type cover under the rack or if the whole trailer will just be tarped... or ???
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Tuesday I built the rack. I decided to go with an open design that I can tie a canoe/kayak down on, but with no floor so I can still carry larger objects in the bed. I am going to have a snap-on soft cover made for the bed. It will have cutouts to go around the rack posts. I have a lead on a guy who does really nice work. He did my fiance's dad's boat cover (huge).

Here's the rack.
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Naturally, since last night was the first time I left the trailer outside... it rained. Heres the very wet trailer. You can see that I filled the gas filler area with "great stuff" expanding foam from cheapo depot. It will get sanded and body fillled later.
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I had to dry the rain off the trailer to sand/weld etc. so I broke out the Industrial Strength Bastardized Samurai Trailer Dryer.
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Welded the rack on.
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Had to use a tailgate straightenamafier before welding on the rear section of the rack.
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And heres the rack finished ( i think ) and where I left off tuesday.
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I have been thinking about building a platform for one of those cool rooftop safari type tents. I have to find a tent to build it around though. My current tent is 7x8 wich is way too big. I would like to find a 5x7 or even a 4x6 tent for cheap and then go from there.

I have no idea what is on the ajenda for tomorrow (wednesday)...

I will be towing it with one of the following.
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Postby FinsUp » Wed Apr 15, 2009 7:47 am

your build looks really cool. I have been kicking the idea around of building an expedition type trailer vs a td. I know, I know, like I said, just kicking the idea around. :thinking:
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Postby madjack » Wed Apr 15, 2009 7:57 am

SON...I say, I say Son, y'all been busy...huh...interesting project ya got goin' there...welcome to the madness and thanks for sharing the pics with us...keep 'em comin' :thumbsup:
madjack 8)

p.s. I REALLY like your mods on the welder :lol: :lol: :lol: ..................MJ
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Postby schaney » Wed Apr 15, 2009 10:19 am

That is shaping up to be a cool trailer. The ideal tow rig for it would be a Sammy :D

When a "standard" Rooftop tent is closed they are 4'x5'x12" and 8'x5' when opened.

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Check out, Tent Units for additional information.

I also have a new DIY Trailer Top tent in the works that will have a changing room on it. Here is what the main tent body will look like.

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Postby Dewi » Wed Apr 15, 2009 11:04 am

All you're missing is a jewellry-ladened muscle man with a mohican shouting "I ain't gettin' in no Suzuki fool!" :lol:

And I notice you have the desert version of Street Hawk in your build area :o

Nice work though and very much liking the welder modifications... I may well make the same modifications to my air compressor, then beg my other half for a new one :twisted:

Cheers, Dewi
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Postby wolfcri » Wed Apr 15, 2009 11:16 am

Thanks for the responses, guys. I am definitely getting hooked on this little community.

I checked out the link for TENT UNITS. Very cool but way out of my price range unfortunately. I was planning on building something much heavier like a hinged frame with an aluminum or plywood floor that I could set up a regular tent on. Sleeping mats/padding would be needed. That gives me a lot of ideas though.

I am heading out to work on the trailer now. More tonight.
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Re: New guy. Building my first trailer.

Postby starleen2 » Wed Apr 15, 2009 11:30 am

wolfcri wrote:Got extremely frustrated with a POS welder and modified it with a sledge hammer
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That's Taking care of Business :shock:
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Postby dreadcptflint » Wed Apr 15, 2009 2:46 pm

Very cool start. :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
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Postby Levi » Wed Apr 15, 2009 3:23 pm

I think its really cool, now I want want too. Theres plenty of those Suzukis around here
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Postby stomperxj » Wed Apr 15, 2009 4:54 pm

Looks good so far... keep up the good work :thumbsup:
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Postby wolfcri » Thu Apr 16, 2009 1:48 am

It was raining again today so I started off by painting the rack. I went and registered the trailer while the paint was drying.
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By the time I got home, the rain was letting up.
I decided to start tearing more stuff off and fix any rust or rot I found. Then reassemble with only the necessary parts and maybe do a little prep and painting.

I pulled off the fenders and bumper.
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Found some serious rot behind the driver side fender and bumper surround.
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Decided to BUZZZ off what I didnt need and fix what I need.
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Same on the passenger side. (not the rot, but the trim job).
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Trimmed the "bumper supports" and other junk behind the bumper.
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Spare parts (junk)
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These trucks were not really built extremely sturdy. I think the average teenage girl could have bent the rear bumper my kicking it. The bumper supports were a joke.

I fought with the rust for a little while, sanded and cleaned everything up. Then I painted the bare metal. Since I had already scuffed the rest of the body (not much to it) I kept painting. I did the fender flares too while I was at it. I used some rubber trim moulding to finish off the lower portion of the body where I had to cut out the cancer. The fenders are still wet in this pic.
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I will go back and resand the area around the fuel filler when I feel like breaking out the body filler. When I stood back and looked at the way it was coming along, I decided that it was time to make it street-worthey. This way, I can take it to get measured for the soft cover if I need to.

I installed the lights. I purchased these at walmart and I was happy doing so because they are actually made in the US !!!
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I installed my kick-a$$ custom safety chains. I went with a welded chain that is rated to 3900#. I really only picked it because it has an orange coating that I figure will fight back rusty-chain syndrome for a little while at least. I welded a link to the right side of the tongue and compensated by making the length of chain that will go the the left safety-chain attachment point a little longer. I did so because I located the wiring on the left side to line up with the connector on the tow vehicle.
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Here it is hitched up.
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I used wire looms to protect the wiring for the lights and keep everything neat. This may not be the permanent location of the wires... not sure yet.
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I also used another piece of rubber trim moulding to cover the rear of the bed under the tailgate where the bumper was. I will take a better pic of that tomorrow.
I have the ability to open the tailgate 180* so I compensated by leaving enough wire to do so. I am thinking about a fold-down counter or bench type thing on the tailgate (inside) to be used when the tailgate is open.
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I tested out the lights (they worked), bolted on the license plate, and then took it for its maiden voyage.
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90* and no jack-knife contact with the jeep. My poor jeep is wearing its "little tires" today. Cant beat those michelins in snow, rain, and for gas milage.
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And my brain is starting to shut down (tired) so I parked it in the garage again until tomorrow and snapped a few more pics for my friends on the interweb Image
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On my list of 'things to do' ...

Soft cover
Build a hand-brake or disable the brakes all together
Spray bedliner in the front and main compartments
Build a folding counter for the tailgate
Start arranging item-specific storage gizmos, compartments, etc.
Back-up light?
Cargo light?
Guard for differential pinion?
Roof-top tent platform?
???
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Postby Nitetimes » Thu Apr 16, 2009 11:33 pm

Put a seat back in the front of there and you've got a good mother-in-law seat, or even a good wife seat some days!!!! 8) :lol: :lol: :lol:
Rich


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Postby wolfcri » Sat Apr 18, 2009 1:43 pm

I didnt get to post thursday or friday nights because I had a lot going on but heres the progress.

Heres a pic of the gas tank skid plate in its original location (about).
I had a lot of good suggestions about this and a few ideas of my own so I wanted to think about it a little more before I attacked this part of the project.
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Here is a pic of the trim piece I put under the tailgate. Its crooked... I must have been getting tired. So... I redid it.
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Thats better
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Then I got annoyed by the hump in the front storage area. Since this area will be used for gas and water cans and maybe a cooler etc. I needed it to be humpless.
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Then I cut some plywood for the floors. I used 5/8" non-treated plywood and I hit them with a few coats of rubberized bedliner. I fastened them with self-tappers.
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I decided that the area where the gas tank used to be... should indeed be able to carry gas. However I really liked the thought of being able to convert that space to carry a few deep cycle batteries later if I decided to use a pinion mounted alternator set-up. If I used the stock gas tank, it would require too much modification that was devoted to only fuel.

Sooooo...
I built it to carry 2 gas cans, or a few ammo cans, or a few batteries... or whatever else I stick down there. I finished it off with paint on the outside and bedlined the inside.
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I modified the stock spare tire carrier so I could mount it to the tongue.
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Please keep the suggestions coming. Like I said, I never really had a "plan" so I'm still taking this day by day.
I intend to start loading this thing up with the stuff I would use it to transport so that I can find more things that it needs.
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Postby wolfcri » Sat Apr 18, 2009 10:21 pm

I got tied up with a bunch of other stuff today so I really only got to do a little brainstorming and build some front pannels.
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I therw a bunch of water containers in to get an idea of the capacity. Not too bad.
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Postby FinsUp » Mon Apr 20, 2009 6:00 am

Looks great so far.
As a dreamer of dreams and a travelin' man,
I have chalked up many a mile.
Read dozens of books about heroes and crooks,
And I've learned much from both of their styles.
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