All-Season Off-Road Tiny Trailer

Design & Construction of anything that's not a teardrop e.g. Grasshoppers or Sunspots

Re: All-Season Off-Road Tiny Trailer

Postby artquixotic » Fri Sep 23, 2016 9:35 pm

I think I was on the project for 3-4 hours today. It was raining at first, so I worked on the motorcycle ramp in the garage. I started with the 1.5x1.5" square tube running down the center. I cut ~2.5" smaller diameter square tube, welded them out from the middle at four points, cleaned and painted it all, and then riveted the fresh-cut diamond plate over that. The top hooks over the tray in the middle. If you're interested, I can take better photos. That must be really unclear. But it worked great.

I wanted to get the under-tray ready so I could make drawers under the kitchen counter, and that needed supporting, so I ended up making the lower rear cabinet. The squares I cut out will be the doors, just like the upper cabinets. I'm not sure if I'll divide the inside into separate compartments or leave it open. I actually don't know what I'd keep in there. Usually all my crap fits in a backpack. Maybe lots of beer.

Some mail came. Included was some some wire for the shore AC electrical system. I straightened that up and stuffed it down the under-floor tube and pulled it up under the counter. I wired an outlet into the front of the new lower cabinet. It's still not hooked up to the shore inlet in the front box.

Also in the mail were a bunch of low-voltage switches. I carved into the little USB box that I made for the front wall last week and installed a switch there. I tried testing it, but then realized that the DC power is only connected by one main line, and that the smaller branches aren't connected yet. More work is required.
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Re: All-Season Off-Road Tiny Trailer

Postby artquixotic » Wed Sep 28, 2016 10:26 pm

I probably put in less than two hours today. A bunch of good stuff came in the mail, so I got to work sticking those in the right places. First, I put a nice, sturdy cover over the water inlet. It looks fine. Then I dug into the battery box. I installed the new terminals and connected the negative and positive leads. I put a 15A fuse in - final amperage to be determined later. I wired that to all of the 12v sub-branches in a slightly more kosher but still temporary manner. All of that works fine now. I also connected the AC shore inlet to the wires to the outlet in the back of the trailer and a three-outlet connection in the battery box to power the battery charger and whatever else in the future. The charger works fine. (I checked the outlet and got a missing ground signal. I checked the outlet in the garage and got the same thing. I'm proud to note that this is one of the few outlets in the house that I didn't wire myself.) I also installed the battery monitor, which didn't go so well. I think it's only for AC systems, which doesn't make sense, so I have to look into that.

In the cabin, I installed a voltage meter flush in the back cabinet. I also wired in a cigarette lighter plug and stuck that to the fridge. I ran the fridge for a while and then checked the temperature. It was really warm, and I discovered that I had put the connection on backward. It's nice to know that works.

Unfortunately, I didn't install all of the new stuff, and I went to the store to get more. I think it'll take a while to catch up.

No photos. Because, you know, I suck.
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Re: All-Season Off-Road Tiny Trailer

Postby artquixotic » Thu Sep 29, 2016 10:29 pm

I worked on the trailer for about 5.5 hours today, plus another 1.5 hours driving around to get supplies.

I painted the cabinetry, which was necessary before installing hardware. Unfortunately, another coat will be needed. I installed all of the hinges and pulls on the rear-facing cabinets and then put wood filler over some spots. I put wood filler on other parts of the cabinets too. Eventually, I ran out of hinges and moved on to electrical work.

I ran the wiring through conduit and a little box for the connections as shown in the photo. I'll need to paint the conduit, and I haven't sealed the connections due to one unconnected wire (the furnace power wire) that may need connecting later. This made the AC wire too short to reach the shore inlet, so I wired up a temporary solution until I get more wire. I also wired in some nice, legit connections for the battery terminals.

I removed the motorcycle tray and planned how I'm going to reinforce the front part of the tongue following advice from here. I'm also working out the propane stuff.

I don't know what else I did today, but there must be something - that's just too little for all day.
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Re: All-Season Off-Road Tiny Trailer

Postby artquixotic » Fri Sep 30, 2016 10:33 pm

I spent about 4.5 hours on the trailer today.

I replaced the blown hatch lift strut with the new strut. I weighed the hatch before and after. Unfortunately, the strut only made the hatch 14 pounds lighter, and the total weight is 32+ pounds. So I need to research struts and look for a stronger one for the other side.

I moved the door pulls for the outer/upper cabinets in to clear the strut attachment point on the hatch. I have a similar problem with one of the new drawers getting hit by the center latching mechanism. The only solution I can think of is to push the drawer in when closing the hatch. It'll probably be worse when the drawer handle is installed. The latches on the sides also interfered, and I had to adjust the cabinet facing accordingly. The whole thing looks crappy for a few reasons. First, you can see through it gaps like those letting the latches pass through. Second, none of the lines line up correctly or are straight. Unlike with the cabinet doors, which I could cheat and hide with flush trim, the drawers can't be faked. They pull into the cabin and out the back, so I don't think there's a way to dress them up. Plus the shelf under the counter isn't exactly parallel to the counter, and the center of the counter is a little thicker (hangs down more) than the sides. And if the middle drawer has to be pushed into the cabin when the hatch is closed, I don't know how to temporarily latch it to prevent the drawer falling out when I hit the brakes.

You know, someone with superior planning skills could have foreseen all of this, having a much easier time and ending up with a much better product. Let that be a lesson to the slackers like me out there.

I also tucked away some wiring here and there. And did some wood filling. And I added some more insulation and skin to the inside of the hatch. There's only one small piece of trim missing now.
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Re: All-Season Off-Road Tiny Trailer

Postby MatthewWorks » Fri Sep 30, 2016 10:44 pm

I actually think you project looks pretty damn fine. Wish I were that far along.

As far as the drawers, in my limited remodeling/woodworking time/skills, most drawers I've dealt with have false fronts. There's the drawer, and then a piece attached to the front. Wouldn't be hard to do that, which would hide any undesired spaces, and even out things.
(also just spent some time doing the same thing in our bathroom. Worst 1920's bathroom ever, but can't really afford to re-do it. Put new fronts on the drawers and new cabinet doors. It's sort of polishing a turd... but it's better.)
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lost, but enjoying it so far.

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total days in camper 92 (since Apr 2017)
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Re: All-Season Off-Road Tiny Trailer

Postby artquixotic » Sat Oct 01, 2016 3:30 pm

Polishing a turd. Funny, that's exactly the term that was in my mind yesterday. Thanks for the support though.

I did some research online and spent $23 at an auto parts store this morning for a super strong lift support. I installed that, and now the lift raises itself into position! Unfortunately, I had to close it when it started raining pretty hard - I had spot-painted parts of the exterior, so the hatch couldn't be catching all the rain. So I finished painting the interior (minus the cabinets, which are a different color). Then I cleaned up some garage clutter. But it was still raining, so I'm trying to wait it out.

As far as the latch handle hitting the drawer, I'm thinking about cutting a nice notch out of the drawer. Maybe it would look alright as a handle. I think that's the last of the interference issues.
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Re: All-Season Off-Road Tiny Trailer

Postby artquixotic » Sat Oct 01, 2016 8:02 pm

To my surprise, the rain stopped. So I was on the project for about 5.5 hours today. I managed to trim the cabinets in ways that make the gaps smaller and more symmetrical. The middle compartment (to access the stove controls) gets serious interference from the interior latch handle, but it works if I lift it up before closing the hatch. I think I'm going to try to cut the handle down so that everything clears. Otherwise, I'm still waiting for hinges for the other cabinets.

I also glued that little wood-block switched USB unit to the wall above the bed. I still need to make another. They'll control bendy lights from IKEA for reading in bed.

I have a hunch that there are only about 16-24 hours left to make the trailer "done." Of course, it will never really be done - much like the Jeep that will tow it.
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Re: All-Season Off-Road Tiny Trailer

Postby artquixotic » Sun Oct 02, 2016 7:15 pm

More time on the trailer today. Maybe 4 hours. I started by sanding the countertop and all of the cabinet wood filler spots. Then I put Australian tree oil on the counter. It looked pretty good. Then I painted the cabinets. It was the second coat for most of them. I also finessed the openings for the side parts of the hatch latch a little. Then I installed a bunch of drawer and cupboard handles. I'm going to run out soon. Then I put some water-based finish on the interior/front shelves. I think I'm going to forego the epoxy on the counter and go with a bunch of coats of varnish or something. I can never seem to get epoxy to look smooth around the edges, and I need to coat the sides of the counter too.

I also changed the central hatch latch a little. It stuck out a lot because it was meant as an inside handle, which I don't need. So I cut off the base, flipped the handle, added a few washers so the handle clears the screws on the hatch, and then cut the shaft thing down significantly. I welded a little bolt to the end of the shaft and then turned some small nuts against each other to hold the handle on. Even with those two nuts and not trimming down the handle itself, there are no clearance issues now. Never mind the burned spots in the photo. You're imagining those.

While I was playing with the latch, I put my hand on the counter. The dirty welding/grinding glove left a permanent impression in the finish. Oops - back to sanding on that next time.
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Re: All-Season Off-Road Tiny Trailer

Postby artquixotic » Mon Oct 03, 2016 9:34 pm

Not much time on the trailer today. Maybe 2 hours. I started sanding out the handprint in the countertop, but the finish was all boogery. I think the Australian timber oil had gone bad. So I sanded back down to the raw wood. I'm hoping to get a similar finish tomorrow.

I also shot a tube of construction adhesive all over the place. I used it to seal up a little gap in the undercarriage and reinforce the connection between the walls and floor of the rear cabinets. I think that will give the trailer more rigidity. I did a tiny bit of painting too, but the countertop mess-up led to nearby surfaces needing paint. I also glued (with construction adhesive) down the rubber hinge cover for the electrical box. I had done that with wood glue, but the glue didn't harden. Maybe it had a hard time with the aluminum.

To do soon is the reinforcement of the tongue, and I didn't feel like it today, so I did some long-delayed yard work instead.
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Re: All-Season Off-Road Tiny Trailer

Postby artquixotic » Tue Oct 04, 2016 4:34 pm

All I did today was go on a supply run and look disappointedly at the rain.
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Re: All-Season Off-Road Tiny Trailer

Postby 39Ratrod » Wed Oct 05, 2016 7:24 am

artquixotic wrote:All I did today was go on a supply run and look disappointedly at the rain.


Too bad you didn't have it in the garage to work on. At least you will find out if it has any leaks. :thumbsup:
The biggest difference between a dreamer and a doer is the follow through.
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Re: All-Season Off-Road Tiny Trailer

Postby PKCSPT » Wed Oct 05, 2016 9:31 am

Just love the windows and color. It is so open and airy feeling
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Re: All-Season Off-Road Tiny Trailer

Postby artquixotic » Wed Oct 05, 2016 10:01 am

Thanks, you two! I think the trailer will still fit in the garage, but I'm leaving it outside to check waterproofing. In the long term, I think I'll use a cover.
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Re: All-Season Off-Road Tiny Trailer

Postby artquixotic » Wed Oct 05, 2016 7:45 pm

I had about 4 hours for the trailer today.

I finally finished skinning the inside of the back hatch. To seal the deal, I added extra skin to hopefully stiffen the joint where the door is bent/contoured.

More hinges came in, so I made a run to the store for more screws and then installed the last three cupboard doors. Then I painted them and spot-painted elsewhere. More drawer pulls are on order. I ordered some make-shift little latches for the drawers too. They've got style - that's all I'm going to say.

I stained the countertop. I'll do at least one more coat later. And then several coats of thick polyurethane.

I finally cut the steel for reinforcing the tongue. I added the two square tube pieces on the sides and some flat bar on the bottom (so as not to interfere with the motorcycle tray). It's all about half welded now. This video about weight distribution and unstable trailers raised my eyebrows: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXQt-8SZYT8

I also finally carved out the wood piece that will house the other USB ports and light switch on the interior of the front wall. That's about 3/4 done now.

I'm getting pretty close to making the bed - I think we're going to take it out on an easy trip in the next week - up a few miles of potholed road.
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Re: All-Season Off-Road Tiny Trailer

Postby alaska teardrop » Wed Oct 05, 2016 8:51 pm

:roll: I'm sorry, but I have to be blunt & say that is one of the worst trailer tongues that I've ever seen on this forum. Please do yourself & the motoring public a service. Go back, read & study those links that I posted for you.
Northern Lite Traveler design: viewtopic.php?f=27&t=51991
Minimalist torsion axle frame: viewtopic.php?f=35&t=12220
Alaska Teardrop photo gallery: http://tnttt.com/gallery/album.php?album_id=2014
Glampette photo gallery; gallery/album.php?album_id=2983&sk=t&sd=d&st=0
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