6x12 Interstate cargo trailer conversion

Converting Cargo Trailers into TTTs

March 11th & 12th

Postby rxberg » Tue Apr 04, 2017 4:14 pm

The first test for the camper went pretty well. The first night we used this little space heater Image and were almost too toasty, even with the sub-freezing temps.

The next day, while we had some help, we decided to install the MaxxFan. With my father providing some expertise and my brother some labor, we got it installed. It's an odd feeling cutting a giant hole in the roof of the trailer you've been working on for a month and a half. Needless to say, we were both a little nervous about it and appreciated the help. I didn't get many pictures of the installation because it was snowing and we were trying to get it done as soon as we could, but here's the finished product:

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It's crazy to me how flimsy the roof is on these things... The one-piece aluminum roof is great, but seems like it should be a little thicker? Anyway...



Night #2, we used the propane heater (Mr. Heater Buddy) Image to simulate boon-docking. I made sure to bring my battery-powered carbon monoxide detector, because I've heard dying sucks. We didn't open the vents enough, and the detector went off around 4am. (I'm glad we used it) We aired out the trailer, ran the fan a bit more, and didn't have any more issues.
Jon (& Lynne)

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Re: 6x12 Interstate cargo trailer conversion

Postby Bearbait in NM » Thu Apr 06, 2017 10:30 am

Jon,

I purchased the same trailer in 6x10 a few weeks ago. I agree, the skin and roof design seems kinda "thin", but seems to be the norm for these type of trailers. What really sold me were the doors, door frames and hinges. That construction on the Loadrunner leaves nothing on the table.

Appreciate the confirmation on the Buddy heater issue. I have one for mine, but do not plan to run it during the night. I am not insulating yet, as I want to use it some, to see where I go with windows. The dealer here in NM has windows for not a lot more than the typical ebay route, and they will sell me the window frame, as well. I priced out two windows, vertical, with frame for about 500 bucks. I think I will probably do windows in the doors first, to get my feet wet at sawing up the outside skin.

I am keeping mine more spartan than yours. All woodwork is fold up, to allow my small bike to fit inside. I did a double fold out bed platform like yours, but mine is a bit larger. I also have one fold out shelf above the bed, and a third for my Buddy Heater.I did the shelf in the front, similar to yours, and spent more time on the cardboard template for the nose, then I did for the shelf installation. I also have a battery box on wheels, so I can roll it to different locations for transport/tongue weight. I installed e-track low on both long sides, for securing everything in travel. I have my solar hooked up, with outlets throughout the trailer with Anderson connectors.

As my trailer is going offroad, I replaced the stock wheels with a pair of 33x9.5 BFG AT's that used to be on my other offroad trailer, for my deceased Jeep. I had to move the fenders up a tad. My loadrunner came with drop axles, and the plan is to give a try or more, off road, and decide on whether to go straight axle. Looks like I could pick up almost a foot of additional height over the drop axle, depending upon going traditional spring under, or spring over.

I received my order from Sailrite yesterday, so this weekend is going to be awnings. Lots of little electrical stuff to piddle around with, on the inside. And with the beefiness of the rear frame for my rear barn doors, I am going to experiment with a hoist to lift my 200 lb motorcycle into the back. I would love to not have to deal with ramps.

Mine is never going to look as finished inside as yours, by plan, but I do hope we both made the correct decision as to brand, and durability. I have pulled a few panels to have a look at most of the design, and so far the only "issue" I have found is missing grommets on the factory trailer wiring, through the metal frame. If that ends up being the most serious of my problems, that one is easy. I have had a few snow storms since purchase, and no signs of leaking :thumbsup:

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Re: 6x12 Interstate cargo trailer conversion

Postby Padilen » Thu Apr 06, 2017 3:39 pm

Someone on the TW200 motorcycle forum had a bus with a hoist for the motorcycle. So it should be very doable
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Re: 6x12 Interstate cargo trailer conversion

Postby Bearbait in NM » Fri Apr 07, 2017 8:24 am

I am not sure what made me think hoist, other than it hit me while I was hanging off the back door frame when I brought it home, to test weight/strength. I have a couple of game hoists, one that is big enough for elk. I'll give it a whirl this weekend.

It would be great to be able to load the bike from where ever the trailer is parked/camped. It is always a drag loading everything up, and the last thing to do is reposition my truck and /or trailer to reasonably level ground to load with ramps (currently using motorcycle hitch haul devices). Besides being pretty light (175 lbs. or so), the handlebars on my CT90 unlock and pivot parallel with the frame. Should be easy with the new trailer....in theory.

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Re: 6x12 Interstate cargo trailer conversion

Postby Bearbait in NM » Mon Apr 10, 2017 7:45 pm

Well the door frame on my Interstate is plenty strong enough to hoist from the center. Loaded my motorcycle a couple of times, testing, with a 4 pulley game hoist. I need to fabricate some straps and other items to speed things up, but it will definitely work. It is easier to hoist the front wheel on, then move the straps to the rear of the bike to lift the back end. Trying to do 4 straps and lifting the entire bike worked, but was way to goofy trying to get the bike inside.

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Re: 6x12 Interstate cargo trailer conversion

Postby rxberg » Mon Apr 10, 2017 9:38 pm

McDave wrote:Missour a, Well you're gonna hafta Showme you're serious bout sellin the King. That don't even sound right. And yea, I'll just bet you are dyin' to get a Ural, but sidehacks are cool. In fact there is a guy here in Tinytown that has one w/hack. He's an odd Duck but has all kinds of cool toys. So listen, gimme the stats on the King, yr, miles,$$$, town etc. and maybe a pic or two. I got lots O'Peeps. Also, if you want to PM me I'll give you my #'s, If you need anything, or roadside assistance etc. your return trip is my stompin grounds. In fact, the third full weekend in May,18,19,20,21, we have the "World Famous Buckin' Horse Sale", AKA "The Cowboy Mardi Gras" in our town. Pretty good Rodeo and One Hell of Party, they just close off Main St. and let em' run amuck for a few (sometimes more) days. Keep that in your back pocket, a little surprize for Mama? But regardless of the date, if you are comin across SE Montana headin for Devil's Tower or Badlands, Let me know, I know of a couple good joints, I'd gladly buy ya a cold one, or two. And if ya need help etc.
If you're going past Billing's MT, you are basically at Beartooth, but you don't want to tow anything up there. Google Beartooth Hwy, you will see what I mean. There will still be 15-20 feet of snow at that time of year. And, Oh ya, I can just about gar-ron-tee you will get snowed on at some point, so prepare accordingly. Here's some Beartooth pics.
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Holla back,
McDave


Those pics are both awesome and terrifying. I'm not quite sure that's for us on this trip...especially with the trailer. That 15-20ft of snow sounds a little daunting. I think the only foray we're making into Montana is our stay in West Yellowstone, but appreciate the offer. The itinerary the day we leave has us hitting up Devil's Tower and driving all the way to Rushmore, so we'll be a little strapped for time I'm afraid. It's also our wedding anniversary, so I'm hoping to find a nice restaurant so we can at least have a nice meal.

Here's my listing for the Road King. I'll be sad to see it go, but happy to have the extra space in my garage/shed.
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Re: 6x12 Interstate cargo trailer conversion

Postby McDave » Tue Apr 11, 2017 12:00 am

Nice Scoot, I'll pass it on. Maybe you'll want to do the Pass when you get the Ural? ... :lol: ;)
At any rate, Happy Anniversary and enjoy Jellystone and the trip. You're gonna see some beautiful country. But seriously, bring some winter gear. I've been trying to think of some nice restaurants between Devils Tower and The Big Heads, I know there are many, but typically we ride the backroads through the Black Hills. You probably won't be going that way. You can find anything you want in Deadwood or Rapid City. My memory is not great, so I'll ask the wife.
Anyways, Enjoy and Be Safe!

McDave

Edit; One more for the road,
147753

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Re: 6x12 Interstate cargo trailer conversion

Postby hankaye » Tue Apr 11, 2017 9:21 am

rxberg, Howdy;

Pay attention to 'local' knowledge'. I was in West Yellowstone in late June a few years ago,
when I bought my ctc. Night time temps dipped into the 20's and we had some flurries as
well. Having lived in central Utah for a few years previously, I was aware of the unusual
weather that occurs in the Rockies. I had an electric heater and some winter clothes to
'just be sure'. Glad I'd brought them along. I had the winter that I'd missed living in Southern
New Mexico where the temps had been in the 90's for a month or 2 prior to my trip North.

hank
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Re: 6x12 Interstate cargo trailer conversion

Postby rxberg » Tue Apr 11, 2017 4:49 pm

Hey Craig,

We originally planned to get a Lark or Covered Wagon mostly because of cost, but we decided to swing by the Interstate lot in town just to compare. We fully planned to leave without buying one because of the price difference, but we just happened to find the LoadRunner they'd had for almost a year and had marked down quite a bit. The rear doors are also what sold us as we're planning to put a fold-down table on one, and after comparing the other trailers we just weren't happy with the small errors in build quality on the cheaper trailer... like taillights installed crooked. Who knows what issues we'd have found after taking off the plywood.

So far there's only been a couple small things here and there on the Interstate trailer like a stripped screw holding down diamond plating, and being a little off square. So I guess all-in-all, we're pretty happy with our decision. Here's hoping we both feel the same way a few years down the road!
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Re: 6x12 Interstate cargo trailer conversion

Postby rxberg » Tue Apr 11, 2017 4:56 pm

Thanks for the advice. We're definitely planning on bringing plenty of winter gear. We looked up average highs and lows before we decided to go off-peak, so we at least had a pretty good idea of what to expect before we planned the trip. I'm not a huge fan of nature-related trips during peak tourist season, so we're pretty used to dealing with some weather woes here and there. It's still tough to imagine twenties in late June though. Crazy weather indeed.
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March 18

Postby rxberg » Tue Apr 11, 2017 5:03 pm

After a long week of work we only had one day to work on the trailer, so we didn't get too much done. We finally got to put in the last piece of insulation (around the fan) and the last sheet of paneling on the ceiling.

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Then we installed the fan shroud and the other light and called it a day. Pretty happy with the way it turned out.

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March 18th (2)

Postby rxberg » Tue Apr 11, 2017 5:07 pm

Oh, I forgot..

We also put some shelves into the cabinets we had already made in the front and side. We also realized that the mattress would be ridiculously difficult to get into the trailer and on the frame with the back cabinets in, so we put it back in before we got any further to avoid several bruised knuckles and curse words.

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March 23rd

Postby rxberg » Tue Apr 11, 2017 5:26 pm

I had another day off, so back to work on the all-consuming trailer build. I decided to tackle the face frames for the lower kitchen cabinet so I could get the counter-top installed. I've never attempted face frames before, so it took me most of the day to get the measurements worked out. My new pocket-hole jig made things a little easier though, so that was appreciated.

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I glued the face frame in, and since I don't have clamps long enough to clamp it in place for the glue to dry, I just nailed it in place with my finish nail gun. We're not going for perfection (thank God) so I'm not overly concerned with the way it turned out.

The back of the cabinet was easier since the measurements were basically the same in reverse, so it went much quicker.

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With that done, the dreaded time to cut the one piece of counter-top we had arrived. I knew I'd mess it up, and told Lynne so on multiple occasions just so she'd know to expect it. To try to avoid a screw-up, I binge watched YouTube videos on cutting and installing laminate counter-top for at least an hour. I was planning to use my Kreg Rip-Cut Guide Image but after watching the videos, I decided that clamping a guide board in place would be a better option.
Alas, my premonition proved all too true when the board slipped after I forgot to tighten the clamp after getting in place. I'm not sure it would have turned out any different with the Kreg guide, but I like to think I'd have cut it perfectly instead of like this: :roll:
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But hey, not going for perfection right?!
It'll at least be salvageable with some creative caulking.

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While we're at it...another example of how my day ended up... Oh well - can't win 'em all.

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Re: 6x12 Interstate cargo trailer conversion

Postby Bearbait in NM » Tue Apr 11, 2017 5:28 pm

Jon,

Yes, my fingers are crossed that I made a sound choice. For me it was my Loadrunner, or one of the built somewhat offroad trailers up in Colorado. I never made the trip to colorado to look them over, as the 5K price tag was just a tad more than I wanted to spend. That, and they are all finished in white on the inside, so I would not have been happy with that.

I like what you did with your inside roof. That is probably the way I will go, down the road. Yours is lookin' good.

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March 26th

Postby rxberg » Tue Apr 11, 2017 8:04 pm

I had some help from the Mrs., so it was a good time to build the upper kitchen cabinet. We built it and screwed it into place...which was easier said than done. It was a super tight fit (by design) so getting it into the trailer and in place was quite the ordeal. She put a coat of primer on it while I worked on cutting out the sink hole in the counter-top. Thankfully, no more mess ups and it turned out pretty well.

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Here's a shot from the inside with the doors closed. We're planning on installing a fold-up table on one door and a magnetic spice rack and knife holder on the other.

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