6x14 Build Log

Converting Cargo Trailers into TTTs

6x14 Build Log

Postby tylerjd » Wed Jul 26, 2017 5:38 pm

Hi guys,

The Trailer
I purchased a used, 2014, 6x14 (inner dimensions: 5'8" wide, 12'7" long, 6'2" tall) CargoMate cargo trailer.

Max trailer weight: 3000 lbs.
Empty weight: 1300 lbs.
Gives me 1600 lbs to play with (I understand I want to keep that as low as possible!).

I intend on swapping in a straight axle with brakes to give me better ground clearance.

The Vision
In December my girlfriend and I are going to go full-time in the trailer. (We both work from "home", and don't need 24/7 high-bandwidth internet.) Right now we're thinking we'll spend anywhere from 3-9 months living in it, depending on how long we can stand the close quarters and how long it takes us to find where we want to settle next.

After that, it'll likely be used as my office and our weekend/week-long "camping" trip rig. The final thought is that if (when) the next recession hits, and it's real bad, or if I get bored of my job, we've got a Plan B that doesn't involve spending lots of money on rent. In other words, once we have the trailer done, our potential minimum cost of living will be quite low indeed.

We plan to do a fair amount of boondocking in the Southwest and potentially Baja. Stealth isn't a priority.

The Plan
Floor plan rendering:
Image

From the rear:
Image

Rigid insulation in floor, ceiling, and wall cavities, with 1" continuous insulation on inside of walls.
Floor surface = doug fir tongue and groove.
Wall and ceiling surfaces = white painted 1/4 or 1/8" birch plywood paneling.

For the systems, I'm going as minimal and simple as possible. So:
Composting toilet.
Marine grade foot pump for the sink.
Jerry can for greywater tank under the sink.
No fridge (yeti cooler instead).
Propane 2-burner stove.
Basic LED lights.
2 AC outlets.
Fantastic fan (over the toilet).

Still trying to decide if I want to purchase windows or attempt to DIY. I don't really like the windows I found on the internet, but I know attempting to DIY is a pretty big risk that I'll screw it up and invite leaks etc. Still doing a lot of reading and research around all that.

I am going to attempt a DIY lexan skylight over the bed.


Current State:
I'm just about done stripping the old paint off the frame, and will be POR-15'ing it.
Here's where I'm at today:
Image

So, a ways to go yet.

This is my first build, so I am very, very open and appreciative to all opinions, advice, and questions.
Currently renovating a 14' Cargo Trailer.
Build Log: http://tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=68975
Off-site Build Log: http://tylerjdisney.com/trailerblog/
If it's worth doing, it's worth overdoing.
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Re: 6x14 Build Log

Postby Padilen » Wed Jul 26, 2017 6:44 pm

Instead of a new axle have you considered an axle flip? Dexter makes such a kit, that's what I used on mine.

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Re: 6x14 Build Log

Postby tylerjd » Wed Jul 26, 2017 9:15 pm

Padilen wrote:Instead of a new axle have you considered an axle flip? Dexter makes such a kit, that's what I used on mine.

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I did consider it, but I think I've talked myself out of it because I think the spring-over conversion will require some welding work ("highly recommended" to tack weld the perches) that I'm not equipped to do (my axle is a cambered drop axle, so I can't just flip it and reuse the existing perches).

And my tow vehicle is a v6 tacoma, which means to my mind adding trailer brakes is a necessity for safety, so I figured I could just get a new straight axle, with brakes already mounted, and while I'm at it just get an axle rated for the next weight category up, and swap it out.

I may be way overthinking and way overdoing this, however. Did you do any welding or no when you used the Dexter kit? I'm still very open minded about what to do with the axle.
Currently renovating a 14' Cargo Trailer.
Build Log: http://tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=68975
Off-site Build Log: http://tylerjdisney.com/trailerblog/
If it's worth doing, it's worth overdoing.
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Re: 6x14 Build Log

Postby Padilen » Wed Jul 26, 2017 9:40 pm

Yes to welding, on the Dexter kit.I don't think it would cost much to have a welder do it.
Your weight limit is a little odd as axles are normally 2500 and 3500. 3500 in many states are required to have brakes. So you may actually have 3500 that they down rate because it lacks brakes. My axle is a 4" drop going straight gains 4" a flip about 2-1/2-3" ( height of axle tube. But costs about 1/10 th of an axle. Yet if it was me I'd do brakes. Which you maybe able to add.

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Re: 6x14 Build Log

Postby fourbtgait » Wed Jul 26, 2017 10:22 pm

I like the concept of the drop down ramp as a back porch. Even more so if you could enclose it securely with the right shelter. I thought of it but enjoy the aspect of a rear kitchen.
Skylights are easy to build except for temperature differiantations between materials and the need to account for expansion and contractions. I have built some for a shop roof.
Windows... I have only built wood framed in the past. Lot of work but satisfying. I bought rv windows....
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Re: 6x14 Build Log

Postby tylerjd » Wed Jul 26, 2017 10:51 pm

Padilen wrote:Yes to welding, on the Dexter kit.I don't think it would cost much to have a welder do it.
Your weight limit is a little odd as axles are normally 2500 and 3500. 3500 in many states are required to have brakes. So you may actually have 3500 that they down rate because it lacks brakes. My axle is a 4" drop going straight gains 4" a flip about 2-1/2-3" ( height of axle tube. But costs about 1/10 th of an axle. Yet if it was me I'd do brakes. Which you maybe able to add.

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Hmm interesting. I was thinking of going up to a 5000# axle. Again, I'm afraid I'm just trying to make this thing unnecessarily nuke-proof.

Yes my current axle has flanges to mount brakes to, I watched a couple youtube videos on it and it doesn't seem that difficult. Good point about the height difference - I assume I'm going to be taking this thing on somewhat rough roads (BLM, National Forest, Baja's highways...), so the more inches I can gain the better. It currently sits 12" of the ground.

Honestly, if it means peace of mind and a bomber rig, I'm willing to invest in it now, so I don't have to deal with headaches/breakdowns/repairs/etc later. I just don't want to be dumb about it.
Currently renovating a 14' Cargo Trailer.
Build Log: http://tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=68975
Off-site Build Log: http://tylerjdisney.com/trailerblog/
If it's worth doing, it's worth overdoing.
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Re: 6x14 Build Log

Postby tylerjd » Wed Jul 26, 2017 11:25 pm

fourbtgait wrote:I like the concept of the drop down ramp as a back porch. Even more so if you could enclose it securely with the right shelter. I thought of it but enjoy the aspect of a rear kitchen.
Skylights are easy to build except for temperature differiantations between materials and the need to account for expansion and contractions. I have built some for a shop roof.
Windows... I have only built wood framed in the past. Lot of work but satisfying. I bought rv windows....


Yeah we went back and forth on rear kitchen, but the idea that we can just drop the rear door and stare at the mountains/ocean/etc from bed was pretty compelling! At minimum I want to have a rain/shade canopy awning go over it. Bug curtains will go inside for now.

I'm following your build closely and getting lots of ideas, very nice work.
Currently renovating a 14' Cargo Trailer.
Build Log: http://tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=68975
Off-site Build Log: http://tylerjdisney.com/trailerblog/
If it's worth doing, it's worth overdoing.
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Re: 6x14 Build Log

Postby mallymal » Thu Jul 27, 2017 5:07 am

What beautiful renderings :applause:
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Re: 6x14 Build Log

Postby M C Toyer » Thu Jul 27, 2017 6:06 am

What are your plans for bathing / showering during the initial full time use (3-9 months)?

Have you considered a side entry door in addition to the rear ramp? Seems like opening and closing the ramp would become quite a chore. In lieu of that perhaps at least replace two of the small windows with a large "safety hatch" window for emergencies.

Since your sink will be gravity fed why not use some of the 5 - 7 gallon jugs for your fresh water supply? You could place the one in use on a shelf or rack above the sink. That would simplify resupply - you would not have to break camp and haul the trailer to a water point.

I like having the ramp as a deck for additional space and a simple screen tent on it would double your floor space and provide a bug free area with full ventilation.
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Re: 6x14 Build Log

Postby Padilen » Thu Jul 27, 2017 6:35 am

Since mine is a toy hauler CTC I need my ramp as a ramp. Since the flip increased the ramp angle. I had to add more traction (anti slip tape), than the anti slip additive in paint. For me and my use a straight axle would have been to much added to the ramp angle. If you go straight ground clearance for axle will increase. Not with flip, only the springs would change. Raising only what's above them. So if you go straight how high do you want to go? Over sprung or under sprung. Take into consideration, entry heights. Carrying a step stool takes space. But installing an RV style step takes away some ground clearance.

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Re: 6x14 Build Log

Postby hankaye » Thu Jul 27, 2017 7:51 am

tylerjd, Howdy;

Welcome to the forum ...

Good idea about ensuring you have brakes for the trailer. Word of caution, if you just have the flat
4 pin connector plug you'll need to also up grade it to the 7 pin plug and adjust the wiring harness
to enable them to function.

hank
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Re: 6x14 Build Log

Postby tylerjd » Thu Jul 27, 2017 8:07 am

mallymal wrote:What beautiful renderings :applause:


Thank you!

M C Toyer wrote:What are your plans for bathing / showering during the initial full time use (3-9 months)?

Have you considered a side entry door in addition to the rear ramp? Seems like opening and closing the ramp would become quite a chore. In lieu of that perhaps at least replace two of the small windows with a large "safety hatch" window for emergencies.

Since your sink will be gravity fed why not use some of the 5 - 7 gallon jugs for your fresh water supply? You could place the one in use on a shelf or rack above the sink. That would simplify resupply - you would not have to break camp and haul the trailer to a water point.

I like having the ramp as a deck for additional space and a simple screen tent on it would double your floor space and provide a bug free area with full ventilation.


Plans for bathing/showering are to have an exterior mounted solar shower setup. Haven't settled on anything more specific than that: I've seen systems as elaborate as a pressurized black-painted pipe mounted to the roof with a sprinkler valve, to the off-the-shelf black bag we could just hang off the roof rack. I do plan on investigating if I could fit a small shower system in the bathroom, but I suspect there isn't enough space.

It's hard to see, but there is a side door, front and starboard. And the rear door will only open from the outside, so I am thinking that a second window exit is a good idea for safety.

Padilen wrote:Since mine is a toy hauler CTC I need my ramp as a ramp. Since the flip increased the ramp angle. I had to add more traction (anti slip tape), than the anti slip additive in paint. For me and my use a straight axle would have been to much added to the ramp angle. If you go straight ground clearance for axle will increase. Not with flip, only the springs would change. Raising only what's above them. So if you go straight how high do you want to go? Over sprung or under sprung. Take into consideration, entry heights. Carrying a step stool takes space. But installing an RV style step takes away some ground clearance.

Sent from my XT1635-01 using Tapatalk


Ah that makes sense (toy hauler). And thank you for the point about the axle clearance, not sure why that didn't occur to me. I am concerned about scraping the rear of the trailer and causing damage that way, but obviously I need to worry about banging the axle on rocks etc as well.

After doing a little more research on other folks' builds who take their rigs off pavement often, I'm more sure that going straight axle with brakes, rated for 5000#, is the way to go. I can also upgrade to 31" tires to match my truck to get more clearance if needed. Hopefully on-highway performance doesn't get too screwy...
Currently renovating a 14' Cargo Trailer.
Build Log: http://tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=68975
Off-site Build Log: http://tylerjdisney.com/trailerblog/
If it's worth doing, it's worth overdoing.
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Re: 6x14 Build Log

Postby tylerjd » Thu Jul 27, 2017 8:11 am

hankaye wrote:tylerjd, Howdy;

Welcome to the forum ...

Good idea about ensuring you have brakes for the trailer. Word of caution, if you just have the flat
4 pin connector plug you'll need to also up grade it to the 7 pin plug and adjust the wiring harness
to enable them to function.

hank


Ah of course, thank you Hank. It is currently just a 4-flat, I'll add to the list.

I read that it can be a good idea to get a brake controller where you can manually activate the trailer's brakes, in case it gets squirrely on the highway. Activating just the trailer brakes will cause the trailer to straighten out.
Currently renovating a 14' Cargo Trailer.
Build Log: http://tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=68975
Off-site Build Log: http://tylerjdisney.com/trailerblog/
If it's worth doing, it's worth overdoing.
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Re: 6x14 Build Log

Postby fourbtgait » Thu Jul 27, 2017 9:46 am

I think a 14' is the perfect size. I went with 12' simply for ease of travel on forest service roads. I would have preferred more that the wheels were same width of the trailer to better match the tow vehicle. I have pulled various trailers from gooseneck stock trailers to bumper pull campers on BLM and FS roads. I dont worry so much of the road roughness as the ability to turn around or meeting another vehicle coming the opposite direction. Your axle is more than likely 3,500# capacity like others have said. They simply derate it on paper to get away with having to install brakes. It truly is a piece of cake to bolt in, wire brakes onto the axle.
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Re: 6x14 Build Log

Postby hankaye » Fri Jul 28, 2017 8:03 am

tylerjd, Howdy;

tylerjd wrote:
hankaye wrote:tylerjd, Howdy;

Welcome to the forum ...

Good idea about ensuring you have brakes for the trailer. Word of caution, if you just have the flat
4 pin connector plug you'll need to also up grade it to the 7 pin plug and adjust the wiring harness
to enable them to function.

hank


Ah of course, thank you Hank. It is currently just a 4-flat, I'll add to the list.

I read that it can be a good idea to get a brake controller where you can manually activate the trailer's brakes, in case it gets squirrely on the highway. Activating just the trailer brakes will cause the trailer to straighten out.


Controllers are important and necessary. most newer tow vehicles are equipped with a plug-n-play
set-up tucked up under the dash. Even my old 2004 F-250 had one when I went lookin' for it.

hank
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