6x14 Build Log

Converting Cargo Trailers into TTTs

Re: 6x14 Build Log

Postby tylerjd » Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:24 pm

Ottsville wrote:Nice build. Like the way you hang the bike.

Also, those cams have way too much anodizing on them...less sport more trad. :lol:


Haha I took that pic the day I bought my rack. They're nicely scratched now - Donner Summit, Lovers Leap, Bowman, and soon to be Tuolumne/Valley this weekend. Haven't sport climbed in months! :thumbsup:

beachguy005 wrote:Re: Wiring your batts....here's an interesting article on charging your batts properly.

https://www.impactbattery.com/blog/tuto ... -parallel/


Nice! Mine is now "balanced" - didn't know about "perfect balance". But I'm thinking I'm good for now.
6x14 CTC Build Log: http://tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=68975
Off-site Build Summary: http://tylerjdisney.com/serenity
If it's worth doing, it's worth overdoing.
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Re: 6x14 Build Log

Postby Mark959 » Sat Dec 01, 2018 9:18 pm

Looks great, you've made a ton of progress!

Check to see if you can get a car charger for your laptop, if you don't have any other AC-mandatory items then you can save power by not running the inverter. But you have tons of extra power with those solar panels so it might not be a concern to you. Mine was from Pwr+, and should be about 87.5% efficient if not more.

Those panels should be just fine as is, it took me driving into 80+ mph head winds with the folding arms unlocked to wreck anything the first time. If you are paranoid I would just cover the bottom with plastic so there is less wind resistance to the solar panel framing.


If you haven't vented the compost bathroom yet, I might recommend trying a "Reverse flow" setup, where you have a fan above pulling in fresh air, and vents down low for the air to exit. Keeps the fumes out of your face that way :thumbsup:. Just make sure the venting is capable, otherwise you might pump some smell into the living quarters
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Re: 6x14 Build Log

Postby fourbtgait » Wed Dec 12, 2018 9:11 pm

I installed Firestone air bags on the 4Runner, they keep the TV level, can actually raise it some. Tongue weight I keep about 325-350 fully loaded, 4Runner hitch weight maximum 500. I see no need for WD hitch with such low numbers. I run a 6” drop hitch on the road to keep trailer level, if a FS road is bad, I would stop and change the hitch to a higher one, but then the ass might drag.
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Re: 6x14 Build Log

Postby tylerjd » Mon Feb 22, 2021 9:16 am

It's been a while. I got so much value out of this forum during my build, it's bothered me that I haven't reported back at all. Well I finally got a little time and wanted to post an update and some lessons learned. Also I finished her up a little bit, so there's pictures of that sprinkled throughout.

Image

I've been living in Serenity almost full time since June 2018. There were ~two three-month stints in rental apartments for various reasons. Here's the story for anyone interested, with pictures and commentary of the continued work on the trailer. Lessons learned at the bottom.

A quick summary of my build, so you don't have to dig through my whole thread:
  • 6x14, bought used, a bit of frame rust that I cleaned up with POR15.
  • I pulled off the drop axle, no brakes, and put in a straight axle for added clearance, with brakes.
  • 2" insulation everywhere - 1" cavity, then another 1" continuous on the walls and ceiling. 2" under the subfloor in between the joists.
  • (2) 250W solar panels, 360Ah AGM batteries, 1kw inverter. My electric loads are very light, except for my computer since I do 3d work with lots of rendering.
  • Composting toilet (I built a box around a bucket, and have a small vent to outside).
  • Whale foot pump for my kitchen sink.
  • 14gallon stainless steel fusti freshwater tank, sink drains to a 5 gallon water jug. I refill my water by using a (different) 5gal jug, refilling from any spigot, and dumping it in to the fusti tank. Kind of dirtbag, but I like having all my tanks inside the insulation and not worrying about freezing or puncturing.
  • Tow Vehicle: 2000 Tacoma v6 (helper springs, new Bilstein 5100's, brake controller). (I wouldn't even consider towing my trailer without trailer brakes and properly calibrated controller, it's not enough truck. But I can get up and over the passes okay, although I tuck in behind the slow moving semi's on the steepest ones. Headwinds absolutely kill me.) I'd guess I've put 15-25k miles towing on that truck since I finished my build. It's at 220k now and still trooping. What a truck!

The Three Year Trip Report
In June 2018 I hit the road full time. I spent that entire summer in the Sierras, boondocking the entire time.

Image

When I built Serenity I had no intention whatsoever of spending time in "actual" winter - I'd just snowbird it on south. Well, that first summer I met a girl in Truckee, and one thing led to another, and...

Image

All the boondocking is too deep in the woods to winter in (this is where the Donner Party overwintered, mind), so I parked Serenity on an old barn foundation slab for $200 on a guy's property near town. It had an electric hookup and I showered in the house.

That winter was a big one, and the snow just dumped and dumped. I lived and worked out of Serenity full time. The outdoor temps regularly got in to the single digits F. I didn't ventilate the space very well, because my heater was so small I had to either be ventilated and cold or sealed up and warm. You can probably see where I'm going with this.

Yep, mold. I have pics, but I'll spare you. I fought it as well I could, but in the end I peered behind some sheet goods I had leaned up against a wall by my toilet and found a massive bloom of mold. Remember, I didn't design Serenity for winter, so I wasn't as heedful of condensation and mold issues as I should have been - I just didn't do my homework, because I had planned on only being in relatively mild or hot, but dry either way, weather. What I learned from that winter: my solar panels can take at least 4' of wet snow without cracking, and when it's cold out you need to ventilate adequately and have a serious heat source - wood head preferred.

I dug Serenity out, put her in dry dock at my parents, and rented an apartment with my new girlfriend for three months to ride out the rest of winter.

In May 2019 we left the apartment and took back to the road. We spent time living out of our rigs in Tahoe (after the snow melted), roamed up and down the Eastern Sierras, and eventually struck East, landing in New Mexico again. We rented a room in a house on a small "ranch" on the outskirts of town with a number of interesting roommates. I used the room as an office, and we cooked inside, but slept in Serenity. I got my first motorcycle, a little Honda CRF250L, and we took a couple trips in Serenity out to Utah.

After a few months of that, and an event in my personal life, we decided to head back West. The girlfriend missed her Truckee friends, so I agreed to get an apartment there again for the Winter and put Serenity in dry dock.

By January 2020, I wasn't liking how expensive life there was, and we were starting to hear rumors of some strange virus making its way towards us. We managed to negotiate a win-win early departure from our lease in February and we returned to my parents land, where we lived in our rigs. A week or so after we got there the state shut down. We sheltered in place from March through June.

Things seemed to be easing up a bit and we were going stir crazy by the beginning of summer, so we broke out and camped, boondocked, and climbed our way north all through the Sierras and getting as far as Bend, Oregon. We spent about a month or maybe two wandering around the mountains.

In July we dry docked Serenity again and drove out to the Midwest to spend the rest of the summer with the gf's family.

While there, a friend with a couple acres back west mentioned he had a spare 40' shipping container, and if I wanted to build it out I was welcome to it. I'm skipping some adventures, but by December I was on my friend's land, living in Serenity and working on the container. I'd learned my lesson, however, and installed a Cubic Mini stove in the container and Serenity. They work great, I'm happy to report.

Image

Okay that's the trip report up to the present. Here's a summary of lessons learned (most will be old hat and obvious).

  • Ventilate! Keep it dry in there. I know this is a big "duh!" If temps are cold, you have to ventilate it adequately to keep moisture/condensation from forming. If you're in any kind of real winter, and you live in there full time, I don't know any way besides putting in a wood stove (unless you'll be on shore power and can run an electric heater and/or a serious dehumidifier).
  • My fantastic fan is noisy and pulls a lot of air, so I only use it when cooking. But if two people are in the rig and there's no other ventilation, the CO2 rises up in to the 1,000's. I stuck a 120mm case fan up against my fantastic fan and just leave it running all the time. It pulls enough to keep the CO2 down in the three digits, and doesn't pull so much as to freeze us out.
  • The rear door that drops down to be the "patio deck" is awesome, maybe the best feature. I use it for yoga, hanging out with friends, working on gear when its nice out, a workshop table when buildin' stuff, etc. It really makes the space feel, well, 50% bigger than it really is.
    Image
  • 68sf is not enough space for two people to live in long-term. Trips? Fantastic for two. Life, when both people are trying to work from home? Ha! (Hence the container build).
  • 6x14 with the straight axle can handle some serious Forest Service roads. I've gotten Serenity in to some tight spots and she handled it no problem. Actually, four-wheelin' with my trailer has become a bit of an activity in and of itself for me.
    This was me *backing down* a steeper-than-it-looks rocky 90* turn between two trees: Image
    Worth it!:
    Image
  • With the rear door down, a table fan, and even the slightest breeze, I can handle *dry* summer temps up to the high 90's. Once it breaks 100, it's just hot and I need to seek cooler temps or stay out of the rig during the middle of the day.
  • I used a Yeti cooler for the first 18 months. No problem in winter, but ice management was a pain in summer. I wound up getting a Iceco fridge. The JP50 works great (the VL45 is fine, but it's quite loud so not appropriate for a tiny space that you sleep in).
    Image
  • The backup cam installed just over the trailer ball hitch was worth five times what I paid for it. I often pull right up under the hitch in one shot, two at most.
  • I still don't have a window. I go back and forth on it - windows are nice, obviously, but I kind of like how stealth and difficult to break in to my rig is. I'll honestly probably never put a window in, now that I've gotten this far without one.
  • I put 2" polyiso foil-faced insulation under my floor, and didn't put any kind of sheathing to protect it from rocks. I've driven 10-20k, and spent a lot of time on forest road and "high speed" gravel. It's a little pitted, but is basically totally fine. In my opinion, sheathing is unnecessary. I check on it here and there, and if I find a big gouge I'll just patch it with tape or something. Haven't needed to yet.
  • My floor is 5/8" tongue and groove beetle-killed pine. I couldn't find any other builds with "real" wood floors, so I was a little apprehensive that I was making a mistake. I'm quite happy with it. No functional problems. The only thing I'd do different is a different finish, I had the finish applied by the supplier before I picked it up and I don't love it.
  • A smaller stove. What was I thinking! That stove is huge! And it's only one burner! It's totally overkill and is the least efficient use of space I have going on. Getting a reasonable-sized two-burner is on my list of upgrades.

Well that's my story. Hope my dumb mistakes made for a minute or two of amusement for some folks. Thanks again to everyone who contributed to my build, and the community here as a whole. I've recommended this forum a number of times over the years.
6x14 CTC Build Log: http://tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=68975
Off-site Build Summary: http://tylerjdisney.com/serenity
If it's worth doing, it's worth overdoing.
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Re: 6x14 Build Log

Postby hankaye » Mon Feb 22, 2021 10:29 am

tylerjd, Howdy;

From what you've said, you have and still are getting all of the BANG out of the
bucks you invested.
:thumbsup: :thumbsup: , :applause: :applause: :applause:

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Every day I beat my own previous record for number of consecutive days I've stayed alive.
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