HOwdy from Illinois

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HOwdy from Illinois

Postby duckman1993 » Sun Nov 26, 2006 7:30 pm

Hi-

I am a high school senior in Illinois. I will be making the trek to Alaska this summer with a friend. I was going to build a camper for my truck but began researching and saw the teardrop design. I just finished my last project (World Champion Youth Punkin Chunkin catapult) and am looking to turn my attention in this direction. Know-how and hard work are not a problem, but I want to keep this thing under $1000. I was wondering if anyone has used a minivan axle before. Any other ideas to do things inexpensively would be appreciated. But it has to be strong and be able to follow my 4x4 truck.
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Postby Ira » Sun Nov 26, 2006 7:39 pm

Hi, Duck.

Yep--a few guys here have built 'em for under a grand.

But if you do the math, for around $220, you can get a bolt-together frame (frame, axle and wheels) from Harbor Freight.

This will save you a lot time since you can assemble the frame in an afternoon, it will more than handle the job, and when you do the math for the costs of taking an axle you already have and building a frame around it, cost-wise, the Harbor Freight frame is about as cheap as you can get.

Mine is built on that frame, and I tow with an 8 cyl Silverado. Believe me, that frame can take it. Not for OFF-ROAD, but I don't think you can do that for under a grand anyway.
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Postby duckman1993 » Sun Nov 26, 2006 7:55 pm

It has to take an absolute beating. And I have alot of scrap steel and a welder, so I'm not worried about that. But do you think the minivan axle will take the abuse, or could it transmit too much shock. Oh, and I wont be adding a galley or fancy tanks. Just a good place to crash.
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Postby mikeschn » Sun Nov 26, 2006 8:15 pm

If you have access to a mini van axle at a good price, and have lots of scrap steel, you can build a teardrop that can take on the Baja. Oh you're going to Alaska? Yea it can do that too.

Check out Larry's Outback build for ideas here...

http://www.outbackteardrop.com

And welcome to the forum.

Mike...
The quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten, so build your teardrop with the best materials...
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Postby Ira » Sun Nov 26, 2006 8:23 pm

There are guys that will come along soon here to give you all of the RIGHT answers, but if you're going to weld from scratch, I don't see why the heck not.

And although you said you just want a place to crash, with no galley, I still recommend that you choose a design with the lifting hatch and a rear galley AREA. At the very least, this will give you a place to store stuff, and in the future, you can convert it to a REAL galley.
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Postby asianflava » Sun Nov 26, 2006 11:18 pm

If you are going to do the welding yourself. Please make shure you know what you are doing! I have done some welding (mostly gas) but I had someone weld my frame up.

There are stories about broken welds, broken frames from folks who thought they knew how to weld. A broken trailer would really put a damper on your trip.
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Postby doug hodder » Sun Nov 26, 2006 11:59 pm

Duckman...the axle will more than handle the situation....it all sort of comes down to what you do on top of it...Hey...it was enough axle for a vehicle...I'm sure it'll handle a tear....just make sure that you have a good structural frame on top of it, and you'll do fine...It'll all work out...PS I drove the Alcan at your age, and it was the best adventure I've ever had....Doug
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Postby Miriam C. » Mon Nov 27, 2006 12:05 pm

Welcome Duckman,
I have taken my Chry. Town and Country to places you don't usually take cars, but only for 1 hour stretches. :lol: I wouldn't hesitate to take it to Alaska. The problems with most minivans is the front suspension junk.

Try this for something really lasting.
http://www.mikenchell.com/forums/viewforum.php?f=39&sid=913e38fb4fb955fa026f195eee49fde5

And remember to take lots of pictures. 8) ;)
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Postby Jst83 » Mon Nov 27, 2006 4:18 pm

Welcome Duckman,

I'll can't wait to follow your build and don't forget the trip pictures.
My father (RIP) drove to Alaska in 1959 just after it became a state and married my mother there. He brought back some wonderful pictures. He tent camped the whole trip. Enjoy it, it will be a memory for life :applause: :applause:
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Postby duckman1993 » Mon Nov 27, 2006 8:57 pm

Thanks for the feedback. I will not be hiring any one to do work on this trailer as that costs $$$. If there is a possibility of failed welds than would a bolt together with lock-tite be better? I have friends at a steel supply company that are very interested in my endeavors (try telling someone you are building a 20 ft. tall catapult and not have them be interested) and will supply me with shapes I need. (I-beam,C-channel, etc.) The catapult I built was on a trailer that had many bolted pieces, and I towed that to Delaware from Illinois and back without a problem.

Thanks again,

Mitch J

PS-Doug, How long did it takeyou to drive the Alcan?
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Postby Claw » Tue Nov 28, 2006 10:34 pm

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Mitch
The pic above shows roughly how I did my frame. My torsion axle bolts through the 3x3 angle and through the cabin floor. I ran 1 1/2 angle x 1/4"cross members every 2 feet with the axle being the third cross member back. Make sure you have enough tongue weight. You want a strong tow bar and pay attention to how you attach it as this is the greatest stress point. I have a 7' 2x2 x1/8wall square tube as a tow bar, bolted to two cross members and two supports running at an angle from the 3x3 frame to keep it staight. Use quality heat treated bolts, mine are 3/8", I painted mine tight but you could also use lock tight or nylon lock nuts

It has performed well running the gravel roads that follow the levees along the Mississippi. I would trust it anywhere.

You can do this!! what a great adventure! :applause:
JIM

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