Hello from the East Mountains NM

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Hello from the East Mountains NM

Postby Tom&Shelly » Thu Sep 07, 2017 8:31 pm

Hi everyone,

Shelly and I are in our extremely late 30's (I was born in 1962), live in New Mexico, and enjoy tent camping; but we're thinking a teardrop will be more convenient, let us get out more often, and be a little more comfortable for extended trips. Shelly's a teacher, and so, after I semi-retire, we'll have Summers to take longish trips, for example to Upstate NY where I have family, as well as to explore the Rocky Mountains and the rest of the West.

Plus it looks like a fun project. I've been lurking on here for over a year, purchased Steve Fredrick's manual and read through it a few times, and have a few ideas (comments please!):

We have a Jeep Wrangler for a tow vehicle, so are looking at something the size of a smaller teardrop in the 1000 pound class. The Benroy shape looks good and seems like an efficent use of space. Shelly says it needs to be 5 feet wide, which seems to be the overwhelming concensous of the forum members as well.

We're thinking about spending a little more than we would for a Harbor Freight or Northern Tool trailer, and having a custom trailer frame welded for us. We plan to cost it at a popular trailer fabricator near Albuquerque, although we have friends who weld, so we may go that direction. With a custom build, I plan to do a fairly careful weight and balance analysis and position the axle accordingly. (I are an engineer! :D ) I'm hoping a welded trailer will allow us to go over reasonable forest roads with more confidence, as well as perform well cross continent.

We're thinking of a 4 foot tall by 8 foot long camper body, but with an extra large tongue box to make up for the lack of storage (relative to a ten foot long camper). So instead of putting the box on the tongue, how about a ten foot long trailer frame and use the first two feet for the box? Has anyone done this? Any glaring problems with the idea?

For the basic construction, from the comments on this forum, it sounds like Steve Fredrick's methods are sound and what I should stick to, unless there is a compelling reason to deviate. I will probably skeletonize 3/4" ply rather than use one-by pine for the cores of the walls. I've never worked with fiber glass, but it looks like something to learn--perhaps by building the tongue box first, for practice. Not sure why, but I like the idea of painting the camper with automotive paint, perhaps to match the silver and black color scheme of the Jeep.

Learned about the PD4000 power converter/fuse box on this forum and that seems like a good idea. We'll probably use all LED lamps, and mostly stick with 12 volt stuff. Charging the battery will be via the TV, and the converter when shore power is available. We can save the solar panels for a future upgrade, and see no need for a generator for now. To get from New Mexico to New York in the Summer we may want air conditioning (for use when shore power is available). I like the ideas of the folks who modified window shaker air conditioners to use the flexible intake and outlet tubes, and might try and copy those, or may spend the money for a Cimate Right or similar.

I was all for buying doors, based on some comments by folks who built theirs, but looking at the cost, we may go the other way.

The tentative plan right now is to design the camper this Winter, and have the trailer frame fabricated, and then build the camper next Spring/Summer. I'll post pictures and will, no doubt, be asking for advice!

Thanks :)

Tom & Shelly
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Re: Hello from the East Mountains NM

Postby lrrowe » Thu Sep 07, 2017 8:42 pm

Welcome. I really enjoy hearing from younger campers/camper builders. It can only help promote and keep going the great liking for the outdoors and things related. It provides hope that these interests will be with us and our children/grandchildren for many years to come. And you will find a ton of knowledge here from others with great knowledge and extensive personal experience that they are willing to share.
Bob

First Post on Purchase of Trailer: http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=60722
Hot water infloor and radiator heating project:[url]http://www.tnttt.com/posting.php?mode=reply&f=54&t=62327[/

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Re: Hello from the East Mountains NM

Postby bc toys » Sun Sep 10, 2017 8:53 am

Welcome to this great site. You can pull up to 3k with a JK jeep wouldn't recommend it my self I pull a 6x10 cargo.
There are lots of 5x10s out there and with boxes on the front. I have seen 5x12 with a closet/storage area in the middle between
the sleeping area and the galley loved that ideal. make sure your welder puts in good welds and lots of them. the more
welds tighter the fit less cracks down the road. well good luck with your build and post pics for us to see.
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Re: Hello from the East Mountains NM

Postby tony.latham » Sun Sep 10, 2017 9:56 am

It sounds to me that you and your thoughts have a foundation for a fine teardrop.

I think you'd end up with more useable space in a 10' long teardrop than an eight-footer with two more feet of tongue box. We've got a foot of storage space at the head of our bed with a shelf above it that we put all sorts of stuff on it. An extra foot in the galley fills up fast.

Something to think about anywho.... and welcome aboard.

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Re: Hello from the East Mountains NM

Postby Tom&Shelly » Sun Sep 10, 2017 1:19 pm

Hi all, and thank you for the comments.

Good advice--yes, we will make sure our welds are professional. We crew for friends with balloons (there's a lot of that in Albuquerque) and one has welded a metal gondola (inspected by the FAA) so we know he'll do a good job, if he's willing to build it for us. Otherwise, there is a company in Rio Rancho that builds custom trailers as their main line of work. Either way, we will be careful to make sure the frame is well built and the welds are good.

Thank you for the comments about the ten foot camper, Tony. My original thinking was that an eight foot long camper is easier because I wouldn't have to stretch the plywood. Steve Fredrick talks about scarf joints and lap joints, but I saw a recent post of yours and it looks like you built walls by butt joining the plywood and putting the seams for the skeleton and skins in different places? I particularly admire your builds with their quality and workmanship.

We have a particular list of things we want to take with us: Easy-up, two folding chairs, a table, propane stove, stacking pots, etc. and I plan to sit down this Fall/Winter at the drawing board and see how we can make them best fit, as well as calculate overall weight and weight and balance. I'll try both an eight foot and ten foot version and see how they stack up. One other concern with the eight foot (and large tongue box) is that the axle might have to come too far forward and interfere with the doors, but the calculations will tell us if that is a problem.

I will certainly post pictures. I'll probably start a build thread once the design is more mature.

Tom
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Re: Hello from the East Mountains NM

Postby tony.latham » Sun Sep 10, 2017 8:08 pm

:thumbsup:

Tony :beer:
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Re: Hello from the East Mountains NM

Postby lee senn » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:15 pm

Hello Tom and Shelly My wife, Norma , and I lived in Cedar Crest for 28 years before retiring so are very familiar with you home base. I built our tear with 5/8 ths Baltic Birch ( handy in that it comes in 5 foot widths to give our tear a little extra height ) as to scarfing I have found that a dovetail type joint and then fiberglass tape it is easy ( at least easier than you might think once the pins are cut just lay one sheet over the other and mark for the other cut ) and a very solid way to get the length you want. Look forward to following your build. Lee and Norma
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Re: Hello from the East Mountains NM

Postby Tom&Shelly » Sat Sep 16, 2017 1:04 pm

Hi Lee and Norma,

Thank you for the idea for joining the plywood.

I moved to Cedar Crest ten years ago, and Shelly (from the Taylor Ranch part of Albuquerque) joined me three years ago. We tried spending Winter in town right after we were married, but she decided she likes it up here year round. My exercise is cutting our firewood. We had a good monsoon season and are out of drought. Hope you get the same in Idaho soon!

Tom
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Re: Hello from the East Mountains NM

Postby drhill » Sat Sep 16, 2017 8:55 pm

Welcome to the teardrop addiction Tom. I am an Engineer too and realized that there are too many variables and not enough equations for the placement of the axle. I knew I wouldn't get it right so went with a moveable axle. Have a look at my album, or look at how many boat trailers are built with movable axles. Have fun with your build.
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Re: Hello from the East Mountains NM

Postby Tom&Shelly » Mon Sep 18, 2017 7:49 pm

Hi drhill,

Good idea! Thank you.

Tom
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Re: Hello from the East Mountains NM

Postby razorback » Tue Sep 19, 2017 7:33 am

I too used a company in the biz to make my 5 x 10 trailer. He left off his usual side rails, tail gate, and floor. Just had metal cross members. I used the Kuffel Creek Comet plans. I found them before I found this forum. I modified the Comet to 5 wide instead of 4 wide. I did not do the fancy cabinets or drawers. The plans are very good.
I found a cabinet shop that had 5 X 10 X 3/4 cabinet grade ply, no splicing. You will never regret having two doors. I too built mine. On the inside walls I used 1 X 4 framing with 3/4 foam insulation. Way overkill on the framing but weight was not a problem with my tow vehicle. I found a salvage yard that had FRP 6 1/2 feet wide on large rolls. I bought enough to do the outside, no seams, the inside walls and floors. All for 108.00. Ten years and over 34,000 miles of comfortable camping. Good Luck.
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Re: Hello from the East Mountains NM

Postby Tom&Shelly » Sat Sep 23, 2017 3:24 pm

Hi Larry,

Yes, we will definitely have two doors. Juries still out on build or buy. I see folks saying that it costs as much to build as to buy, which, I suppose is largely the cost of the windows if one builds the door itself.

Tom
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Re: Hello from the East Mountains NM

Postby tony.latham » Sat Sep 23, 2017 4:21 pm

I see folks saying that it costs as much to build as to buy...


You can build a Camp-Inn/Cozy Cruiser quality teardrop for $4,000-5,000. Minus the labor... And of course, those fine 'drops are north or south of $12,000.

Tony
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Re: Hello from the East Mountains NM

Postby Tom&Shelly » Sat Sep 23, 2017 6:33 pm

Oh, Tony, I only meant we haven't decided yet whether to build or buy doors. We're definitely building the teardrop. Can't miss out on that much fun! :D
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Re: Hello from the East Mountains NM

Postby tony.latham » Sat Sep 23, 2017 9:47 pm

Tom&Shelly wrote:Oh, Tony, I only meant we haven't decided yet whether to build or buy doors. We're definitely building the teardrop. Can't miss out on that much fun! :D


Gotcha. For what it's worth, I like my commercial doors. They work well. There's enough window that you do need drapes unless you don't mind the bears creeping up and doing the peeping-tom routine.


Tony :thumbsup:
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