CTC Build Thread - Mid-life crisis-mobile

Converting Cargo Trailers into TTTs

CTC Build Thread - Mid-life crisis-mobile

Postby sodatrain » Fri Dec 22, 2017 7:41 pm

Hey Folks-

I'm new to the site and have been reading/lurking for a couple weeks now. I've waffled between buying a cargo van and as someone pointed out with a cargo trailer and the F-150 I drive, I can disconnect the trailer and drive around w/o it as desired. It also solves the problem of storing/paying for/insuring my truck while in the van.

Backing up a bit...I'm keenly interested in trying out a different way of life that sheds the rat race - but need to co-exist with it for a while (kids, alimony etc).

I'm in the planning phase and am currently thinking of taking next summer (2018) off and spending a few months giving it a try. I'm strongly leaning Cargo Trailer Conversion and am working on dialing in the trailer size, features etc. based on price/quality etc.

Current thought is 7x12 Single Axle with 7' interior height (I'm 6'6" 300lbs) with v-nose.

Couple questions I'd love opinions on!

  • Rear ramp or barn doors. I think I like the idea of doors but almost everyone seems to have the ramp. I have no "toys" per se to haul. Seems easier to have the doors and maybe a smaller footprint to open/operate the doors?
  • 7' wide or 6' wide. If I go 6' wide I can get a Wells Cargo locally in Single Axel but if I want 7' I'll probably end up getting it somewhere (Continental Cargo) else as it seems there aren't a lot of 7' wide in single axle - and I'm trying to keep the cost down. Looking at 7' wide to have a decent size murphy bed on it's side near the back. I also want to be able to fold the bed up and slide my fat bike in. Probably a fold-down table on the back/underside of the Murphy. Would love a bench sort of design opposite it to use in tandem with the fold down table... and accommodate #3 below Example of a murphy bed / bench setup that seems pretty close
  • I'd like to have some form of bunks (perhaps fold up and opposite the murphy bed for my two kids to join me at times. This wouldn't get used a ton but having a space for them is important. Any ideas on how to accommodate this?
  • If I'm going to try it out for 3-4 month (summer) is it worth getting solar now or should I see how it goes? I don't see shore power as part of the plan.
  • I def want some comfortable sitting/desk area.
  • Are electric brakes enough or do you really want self-adjusting brakes? I've seen reference to self-adjusting several times. Asked two people about em and they scratched their heads.
  • Thinking the usall spring axel w/drop is fine - maybe get a kit to lift it up.

Other bits:
  • Plan to be generally in the western US. Hope to mountain bike. Hike. sit in the woods. read. maybe finally start meditating regularly. I don't expect to be trying to sleep in the city much but surely some.
    Deff will remove the plywood and insulate the walls, ceiling, and floor. TBD On how much. At least 1" everywhere if not more.
  • Trying to keep it pretty basic overall. Bed, storage, water jug mounted above a bowl for a sink, some sort of cooking surface (propane camp stove?), some sort of toilet. Laptop for entertainment and possibly work.
  • Probably will order it with two roof vents (let them cut thru the ceiling) and put an AC on one (I don't like hot)
  • Extended tongue, side door with RV handle
  • A few windows - maybe even a concessions window.
  • Stabilizers

Enough for now! :shock:

Thanks in advance for any ideas! :beer:
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My 7x7x14 Tandem Axel build thread: viewtopic.php?f=42&t=69731
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Re: CTC Build Thread - Mid-life crisis-mobile

Postby CoventryKid » Fri Dec 22, 2017 11:55 pm

Welcome!

I'm sure a lot of guys will jump in with their ideas/opinions - it's a good group here.
Rear ramp or barn doors. I think I like the idea of doors but almost everyone seems to have the ramp. I have no "toys" per se to haul. Seems easier to have the doors and maybe a smaller footprint to open/operate the doors?

I have a ramp mainly for my wife's power wheelchair but we do occasionally use it as a "patio" (ramp level supported with a couple of jack stands). Kinda cool to be off the ground.
7' wide or 6' wide. If I go 6' wide I can get a Wells Cargo locally in Single Axel but if I want 7' I'll probably end up getting it somewhere (Continental Cargo) else as it seems there aren't a lot of 7' wide in single axle - and I'm trying to keep the cost down. Looking at 7' wide to have a decent size murphy bed on it's side near the back. I also want to be able to fold the bed up and slide my fat bike in. Probably a fold-down table on the back/underside of the Murphy. Would love a bench sort of design opposite it to use in tandem with the fold down table... and accommodate #3 below Example of a murphy bed / bench setup that seems pretty close

I have a friend who had a 6' wide single axle CT. He sold it and has a 7x14 dual axle mainly because he wants to be able to have his bed across the trailer.
Are electric brakes enough or do you really want self-adjusting brakes? I've seen reference to self-adjusting several times. Asked two people about em and they scratched their heads.

The brakes on my Dexter axles are "Nev R Adjust". I didn't know there was any other kind.

Hope some of this helps.
Doug
Vancouver Island, BC

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NEO NAVR 7x16 V-nose aluminum trailer now a comfortable travel trailer

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Re: CTC Build Thread - Mid-life crisis-mobile

Postby Iconfabul8 » Sat Dec 23, 2017 4:25 pm

I think If I were to do it over I might be tempted to do like Hader (http://tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=67319) did and forgo the rear doors all together. I would definitely go 7' wide so the bed would fit crossways. I would probably go 14' long for just a little more room than my 12' has. All that said, I am still pretty tickled with my 6X12 and the ramp door was really nice during the build.
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Re: CTC Build Thread - Mid-life crisis-mobile

Postby sodatrain » Sat Dec 23, 2017 5:38 pm

Iconfabul8 wrote:I think If I were to do it over I might be tempted to do like Hader (http://tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=67319) did and forgo the rear doors all together. I would definitely go 7' wide so the bed would fit crossways. I would probably go 14' long for just a little more room than my 12' has. All that said, I am still pretty tickled with my 6X12 and the ramp door was really nice during the build.


Thanks! I'll def read that thread. I really like open spaces so I want the back open - altho I can see the huge utility of the outdoor/backside kitchen and storage.

I'll give that thread a read - thanks!
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Re: CTC Build Thread - Mid-life crisis-mobile

Postby sodatrain » Sat Dec 23, 2017 5:43 pm

@CoventryKid - thank you!

It seems common that the next size up from a 6x12, especially if you want 7x, is a 7x14 and those are all dual axel. I don't need the weight so I'm trying to avoid it and the extra $1k for that axle! Continental Cargo will make a 7x12 single axle so I'm trying to talk myself into that. Plus I *really* like the way you can see all the options modifications on [url]trailershowroom.com[/url] The closest location is 8 hours away but I can easily order exactly what I want! The local guy I'm working with doesn't seem to care too much and isn't real forthcoming on information... which makes that website (as old school as it is) awesome!

The "patio" use of the door seems nice too... so torn. Still leaning barn doors tho. If I have barn doors then I don't have to decide if I want the spring-loaded assist on the beaver tail! :thumbsup:
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Re: CTC Build Thread - Mid-life crisis-mobile

Postby low277 » Sat Dec 23, 2017 6:47 pm

I chose barn doors as I occasionally use the trailer for some contracting work and I sometimes open the doors and back the trailer close to a building or a building door.

I have been using a hammock for sleeping in mine, Its comfortable and takes up almost no room when not in use. There is lots of great people here and lots of builds with pictures for ideas!!
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Re: CTC Build Thread - Mid-life crisis-mobile

Postby hankaye » Sat Dec 23, 2017 7:05 pm

sodatrain, Howdy;

The next step up can be a 6X14 single, ... I know as I have one. Ya need to ask the folks
at the dealers or call the manufacturers. Some dealers don't like the 'hassle' of a custom
order. Don't be afraid to ask the next level up.
I also have barn doors, figure if I ever get something to tote that needs to be wheeled in
& out I'll buy a set of ramps.

hank
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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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Re: CTC Build Thread - Mid-life crisis-mobile

Postby Gonefishin » Sun Dec 24, 2017 10:48 am

I often think to myself I don't even need the rear barn doors I have, but they were very handy when putting in the bed. These days though, I never open it except to clean out the dust that accumulates because I can't quite get it totally sealed. I have them completely covered from the inside so the dust doesn't get into the living space, but I'd consider no rear door at all on my next one. However, it is there should I need to do some hauling or loading, which I did do in the first couple years I had the trailer. The barn doors are easy to open and close, so I'd go that route again. If I want to go "outside", there's plenty of ground around my trailer so that I don't really need a "patio."

The beauty of these conversions is that everyone can customize for their own needs and wants. I like your idea of a 7X12. If I ever get another one, yep!
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Re: CTC Build Thread - Mid-life crisis-mobile

Postby Padilen » Sun Dec 24, 2017 4:05 pm

I have an American Hauler 7x12-7 high single axle, rear ramp, 3500 axle with brakes. It's a standard model not special order. Very happy with it.

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Re: CTC Build Thread - Mid-life crisis-mobile

Postby McDave » Sun Dec 24, 2017 7:53 pm

Gonefishin wrote:I often think to myself I don't even need the rear barn doors I have, but they were very handy when putting in the bed. These days though, I never open it except to clean out the dust that accumulates because I can't quite get it totally sealed. I have them completely covered from the inside so the dust doesn't get into the living space, but I'd consider no rear door at all on my next one. However, it is there should I need to do some hauling or loading, which I did do in the first couple years I had the trailer. The barn doors are easy to open and close, so I'd go that route again. If I want to go "outside", there's plenty of ground around my trailer so that I don't really need a "patio."

The beauty of these conversions is that everyone can customize for their own needs and wants. I like your idea of a 7X12. If I ever get another one, yep!


I thought you hauled a little 1 man boat in there? Hmmmm... must have been thinking of somebody else.
Anyway, Ramps are really quite handy even if you don't plan on having toys to haul. You can roll any cargo that is on a dolly or gurney? up that ramp with relative ease. On the other hand I love the idea of a nice galley that is not smoking and greasing up the cabin, or a utility room with easy access to the works. For me, Gotta have the Harley, Gotta have the ramp.
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Re: CTC Build Thread - Mid-life crisis-mobile

Postby Gonefishin » Sun Dec 24, 2017 7:58 pm

McDave wrote:
Gonefishin wrote:I often think to myself I don't even need the rear barn doors I have, but they were very handy when putting in the bed. These days though, I never open it except to clean out the dust that accumulates because I can't quite get it totally sealed. I have them completely covered from the inside so the dust doesn't get into the living space, but I'd consider no rear door at all on my next one. However, it is there should I need to do some hauling or loading, which I did do in the first couple years I had the trailer. The barn doors are easy to open and close, so I'd go that route again. If I want to go "outside", there's plenty of ground around my trailer so that I don't really need a "patio."

The beauty of these conversions is that everyone can customize for their own needs and wants. I like your idea of a 7X12. If I ever get another one, yep!


I thought you hauled a little 1 man boat in there? Hmmmm... must have been thinking of somebody else.
Anyway, Ramps are really quite handy even if you don't plan on having toys to haul. You can roll any cargo that is on a dolly or gurney? up that ramp with relative ease. On the other hand I love the idea of a nice galley that is not smoking and greasing up the cabin, or a utility room with easy access to the works. For me, Gotta have the Harley, Gotta have the ramp.


I do have a one man raft, but that goes in the back of the truck. The trailer is clean living space only. No weeds, moss, or mud. Waders and rain gear have a home hanging in a corner with a drip pan.
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Re: CTC Build Thread - Mid-life crisis-mobile

Postby Rainier70 » Sun Dec 24, 2017 8:42 pm

Since we seldom haul anything, I like having the barn doors. I have one door latched on the inside so that it stays in place while I open the other. Just one door being open is easy to use bug screen on even in a wind. I've found that both doors open is hard to screen off successfully. The little buggers seem to find a crack somewhere! :thumbdown: Anyway the barn doors can provide a lot of light and ventilation. Plus with one door latched shut the other door can be latched on the inside with just a sliding bolt to provide an extra exit.
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Re: CTC Build Thread - Mid-life crisis-mobile

Postby sodatrain » Fri Dec 29, 2017 4:04 pm

Rainier70 wrote:Since we seldom haul anything, I like having the barn doors. I have one door latched on the inside so that it stays in place while I open the other. Just one door being open is easy to use bug screen on even in a wind. I've found that both doors open is hard to screen off successfully. The little buggers seem to find a crack somewhere! :thumbdown: Anyway the barn doors can provide a lot of light and ventilation. Plus with one door latched shut the other door can be latched on the inside with just a sliding bolt to provide an extra exit.


Thanks! Pretty sure I'm going to go with the barn doors at this point! I deff want lots of light when I can!
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Re: CTC Build Thread - Mid-life crisis-mobile

Postby sodatrain » Fri Dec 29, 2017 4:06 pm

Padilen wrote:I have an American Hauler 7x12-7 high single axle, rear ramp, 3500 axle with brakes. It's a standard model not special order. Very happy with it.

Sent from my XT1635-01 using Tapatalk


So no regrets over dual axel? I don't plan on hauling heavy gear so I don't need it for that? I hear dual is also better for stability and easier driving. I'm leaning towards single simply to keep cost down because I don't plan on hauling anything heavy.
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Re: CTC Build Thread - Mid-life crisis-mobile

Postby sodatrain » Fri Dec 29, 2017 4:20 pm

I've made a few drawings and think I'm dialing in my design so I started making a digital version - sticking with Visio! It's pretty precice but not exact. Need to validate the bed measurements more. It's a 2' thick by 5' high by 7' long box so far (Queen bed)

I'd love your feedback!

Key design considerations:

1) I want a place to store my mountain bike (Inbetween bed and bench when I'm on the road, hanging near the front, perhaps, when I'm using the bed or bench.
2) It will mostly be me but I want to accommodate my kids for periods of time - thus the fold-down bunk. One queen murphy bed (on its side) and one bunk. Details on bunk TBD.
3) Potential for lots of light - thus the 3x4 concessions window. Figure it's a bit stealthier than lots of windows
4) Want to be comfortable - standing and sitting. I'm 6'6". 7' interior trailer. Bench with a fold-down table on the underside of the murphy bed.
5) keep it simple where possible. Planning on a water jug over a bowl for a sink. maybe a little fancier with a sink with a pump.

THANK YOU IN ADVANCE!! :thumbsup: :beer:

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