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First CT Build 6X12

PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 5:40 pm
by Tipperary
Hi everyone,

I'm new to the forum after lurking for a few months and being convinced to build my own CT conversion. After mulling over options, price and various other things for the last few months I've decided to take the plunge and I bought a 6x12 v nose (single axle) from a dealer in southern Alberta. I pick it up at the start of April and that's where the fun will begin!

The reason I wanted one is to have a custom camper of sorts that won't cost an arm and a leg, can haul my mountain bikes and kayak, and sleep my wife and I and 2 little kids. Also, my tow vehicle is a Nissan Frontier, so the max tow rating is around 6000 lbs.

I plan on keeping it simple, and model it fairly closely to what tsyj did with his 5x10 build. I plan on putting counters in the front, a removable bed that will sit at the rear for the kids to sleep on, and my wife and I will sleep on a folding mattress below that bed. Those will be easy enough for me to put together, the more challenging task will be windows and wiring as I have no real experience with those.

I plan on possibly getting spray foam insulation installed by a company, but I was wondering what people's thoughts were on that, is it worth the money for it? Or am I better off just doing panel insulation myself?

I plan on putting in wiring to add power later on (solar and generator), but mainly get the windows, counters and bed in and I will take it out for the trial run.

I will post photos once I pick up the trailer, have to get a hitch installed before hand as well.

I am a little apprehensive on towing as the trailer doesn't have electric brakes (weighs about 1100 lbs) and the stuff I will put in will add another 1000 at most (counting gear). My apprehension is more due to lack of towing experience, but a little reassurance that my truck can handle the trailer would help as well!

Re: First CT Build 6X12

PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:00 pm
by CoventryKid
Welcome to the forum!
I plan on possibly getting spray foam insulation installed by a company, but I was wondering what people's thoughts were on that, is it worth the money for it? Or am I better off just doing panel insulation myself?

I checked out this option when I was building my CT. I was told that the company could not guarantee there would not be "oil-canning" - definition: Oil Canning can be defined as visible waviness in the flat areas of metal roofing and metal wall panels. In technical terms, oil canning is referred to as elastic buckling (more commonly known as “stress wrinkling”). It can occur in any type of metal panels: steel, aluminum, zinc, or copper. I decided I didn't want to take the chance. I installed rigid insulation - see my build link below.

My only other point I would make is trailer brakes. While you can get away without brakes if the trailer is under a certain weight:, I would strongly suggest adding brakes. While you can safely tow and stop a trailer under ideal conditions, it's when you have to make a panic stop that you will appreciate the trailer having brakes. Ask me how I know!! JMHO.

Look forward to seeing pictures of your build!

Hope this helps!

Re: First CT Build 6X12

PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:31 pm
by Tipperary
Thanks Doug,

That gives me something to consider for the trailer. Checking the weight of the trailer and vehicle, I would be slightly under the 50% rule but close enough to it that for peace of mind I would probably want the brakes. I will start checking prices.

And I will probably just go with panel insulation for this trailer. This build is more my experiment build, if it gets lots of use and we like it, in about 5 years after upgrading our truck I will see about getting a bigger one.

Re: First CT Build 6X12

PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:50 pm
by jwhite
For electric I bought it from lowes for around 50.00 it has a really heavy cord about 15 foot I ran it through the floor and out on to the front V frame.
it has 2 lighted switches so you can use them like a breaker, I haven't had it trip yet.
I have all my electric in one spot works great for me.

Re: First CT Build 6X12

PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:57 pm
by John61CT
insulation: DIY XPS panels with spray foam between, fill gaps, try for sealed envelope all 'round. Thick enough no layers, airgaps needed, KISS.

Re: First CT Build 6X12

PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 11:35 am
by Tipperary
So I picked up my trailer this weekend. The empty weight is 1300 lbs, and I used my Frontier to tow it the 400 km home. It was an interesting drive, I used about twice as much gas for the return trip. Of course the weather didn't cooperate, so it was a trial by fire as far as my first tow experience with my truck went. When the wind was blowing it felt like I was pulling a parachute and during the worst parts my truck was at about 4000 RPM. When the wind wasn't blowing hard I could barely even notice the trailer. I eventually found the optimum RPM range for towing which was around 2800 RPM, and my speed would vary between 95 km/h (60 m/h) and 115 km/h (70 m/h) depending on winds.

As far as the build goes, as this is my first one and weight is a huge issue, I will be keeping it as simple and light as possible.

-I am planning on putting in laminate flooring (I know, not exactly light), and using utility blankets on top during towing to put the kayak and mountain bikes on it to prevent scratching.
-I will use panel insulation for the walls and ceiling.
-I was thinking about putting a runner carpet on the bottom 2 feet of the wall and use vinyl for the top portion, but considering weight, cost and simplicity I will probably just use paint for the walls.

As far as wiring goes, I don't think I will worry about that right now. I am thinking of buying the Motomaster Eliminator Powerbox just for simplicity of a little bit of power. It's also on sale for $100 off right now. ... p.html#srp

The nice thing about it is I can connect it to another 12V battery for additional juice, and add a solar panel later on. It's similar to the Goalzero Yeti 400 but one third the price. My only need for the power really would be charging phones, a small fan, and lights. I have my eyes on the MaxxAir ceiling fan, but right now there's no vent in the roof so I'd have to cut that out. I don't know how sturdy the roof is for me to stand on it, and brace the fan and so on. There is an intake vent on the top front and another vent on the bottom rear.

I'm trying to find RV windows that are a decent price in Canada but it seems everywhere gets their supplies from the USA. Ebay has good stuff but I'd be looking at $100+ shipping for a $60 window. I think I will look for a screen to use on the doors for now until I can find a window for a reasonable price.

I'm trying to design the kid's bed as well, to keep it nice and light, as well as the front counter/storage.

I will be buying supplies throughout the week and will post pictures of some progress (hopefully) this weekend.

Re: First CT Build 6X12

PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 1:30 pm
by CoventryKid
When I did my conversion, I wanted windows to match my van's. I found in Summerland, BC.

My 3 windows weren't cheap, but I'd suggest checking out their site. They'll send you a quote if you tell them what you're after.

Hope this helps.

Re: First CT Build 6X12

PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2017 7:48 am
by McDave
It's a long, long way to Tipperary,
But, trailer brakes are a good way to ensure you make it. ...just sayin'
I haul my 900lb Harley in my conversion and total weight is right about max 2990lbs. I tow with a 3/4 ton GMC van, but I'm ready to go for brakes myself. Looks like about 400-500 USD should get it done. It's gotta be a safer way to control all that weight. I checked prices at e-trailer, good info there as well.


Re: First CT Build 6X12

PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2017 6:21 pm
by Tipperary
"It's a long way to goooo" :M

I am planning on putting electric brakes on for sure, just a matter of when.

I sent Sunview an email, just waiting to hear back about a rough cost. I'd get away with one, as the trailer will be mainly for sleeping.

Re: First CT Build 6X12

PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 1:01 pm
by Tipperary
I've managed to make some progress on my build.

This is the Trailer Exterior:


This is the clean interior:


Bare interior: It wasn't too bad taking the plywood off but there was no chance at salvaging the trim while removing it.


I noticed some minor water damage to the floor next to one of the wall studs and it appears there's a gap between the aluminum. I put some spray foam on the inside, and plan on putting silicone on the exterior to patch that up. Overall the bare portions appeared fairly well sealed and put together.

Re: First CT Build 6X12

PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 1:07 pm
by Tipperary
The insulating was a bit of a pain. I started off with spray foam on the sides of the panel, but that was way too messy and time consuming. Considering it will be a three season trailer at best, I gave that up.

This is after I finished the insulating and got back to installing the panels again. I simply re-used the same screws and holes, it went back together fairly smooth.


I decided to simply paint the plywood rather than do anything else fancy to the walls, to save cost and keep the weight down. Not super happy with the colour but we will really only be sleeping in it. I have trim that I will be using to cover the gaps, and I painted that a dark green/turquoise colour for contrast.


I decided to lay a somewhat insulated underlayment under the laminate flooring. Not a perfect job by any stretch but considering it was my first time I thought it went in okay.


Re: First CT Build 6X12

PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 1:21 pm
by Tipperary
The weather was not cooperating one bit, and it was below 0 and snowing while installing the laminate. I know the temperature isn't ideal for installation, but I am going on a work trip and will be very busy the next few weeks so I had to get that done. Once I figured out how to install the laminate properly it went fairly smooth.

I also found a neat item to use for the ceiling of the trailer, which turned out to look okay. I had to do a bit of a hack job to get the pieces to fit together and actually mount to the ceiling beams. I'm not a craftsman by any stretch, so I'm somewhat happy with how that went together.


It was tough to get the ceiling boards to fit under the lights, so I had to get creative with that. I didn't worry about the wiring or lights. I'm not going to bother trying to put together a light switch connected to an internal battery source. Too much time, effort and lack of knowledge on my part. My plan is to have power at the front eventually and I can string lights across or something to get the job done (or even mount battery powered lights).

My next step is to put in a counter at the front of the trailer for storage. I do want to put in a window, but again, to save time and effort I am looking at just mounting a window in the side door. Once the counter is built I will install all the trim, baseboards, and maybe put a clothes hanger pole across the top of the walls. I am thinking of that so that I can use hanging cloth closet organizers to store items during transport.

I was going to build a bed platform for the kids to sleep on, and my wife and I would sleep underneath it. Too much effort, and I don't like the amount of weight that would add. So I'm keeping it simple and using cots for my wife and I, and the kids will have a mattress on the floor. They are both under 6 so for now it will be manageable.

Once those things are done it will be liveable. I would like to put a ceiling fan in, but there isn't one there currently and I don't want to go cutting into the roof and try to figure out mounting when the roof beams are 24 inches apart. There are vents in the trailer, would those be adequate to keep the carbon dioxide from building up while we are sleeping with the doors closed? There's an intake vent on the top front and an exhaust one on the bottom at the rear (opposite wall).

Re: First CT Build 6X12

PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2017 3:05 am
by McDave
You're not gonna have any problem with CO2,but you could get some moisture issues. People put a lot of moisture out through breathing, especially when sleeping. you'll probably see some condensation on windows, around doors and on screw heads on those brisk mornings.
Looks like you are on your way, Good Luck.


Re: First CT Build 6X12

PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2017 6:26 am
by Vspec
Did you push the foam against the outer skin or did you made it flush with the wall studs?

Re: First CT Build 6X12

PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2017 5:44 pm
by Tipperary
Vspec, I'm guessing your question was related to the spray foam, I placed the insulation panel between the beams and used the can spray stuff to try and fill in the gaps between the beam and the insulation. I wasn't aiming for the outer skin, but I'm sure some of it hit it when it expanded. I didn't see any pushing outward when I looked at it from the outside.

Thanks McDave, I will keep an eye on the moisture, but it's at least reassuring about the C02.

I've been busy the past couple weeks but managed to get the counter in the front built and will hopefully be able to make it travel worthy in the next week or two.