Squareback #1

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Squareback #1

Postby knova » Sat Jun 22, 2019 12:06 pm

Hi all,

I'm making a go at building a squareback camping trailer. Plenty of questions will be asked along the way so chime in if you feel like it. I think this project is going to be sort of slow going, but as of this post we (me, my wife, and my Uncle who is giving us critical help) have the metal frame built, welded, and painted. I'll probably end up posting more photos on my website, I'd like to keep this build journal as clean as possible. http://novaks.us/archives/116

We are starting with a Harbor freight 4x8 trailer. I built it mostly according to the instructions, left off the side brackets for 2x4 mounting. We kept it foldable at first but have since removed some of the other pieces that enable it to fold.

Welding prep:


Welding complete, painting it black. notice the 'storage caster' pieces were removed.


Painted, drying.



Here come some questions. I mocked up how I may be able to build out over the wheels easily (the goal is to turn the 4x8 frame into a 5x8 trailer). If I add 6" on either side, I was going to stack two 2x4s across to get me clearance above the wheels (fenders would be removed). Any concerns with this? I am going to sketch up a drawing of how this would work but here are some mockups with scrap 2x4s I did:


Side view of my framing mockup:
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Re: Squareback #1

Postby knova » Sat Jun 22, 2019 12:26 pm

Here is what I am thinking regarding the framing.



Put a 4x8 piece of 1/2" plywood down as a bed to build off of. Two stacked 2x4s going across the metal frame "short ways", basically rebuilding the crossmembers of the metal harbor freight frame. Insulate between those cross members. On top of the 2x4 frame, I will run two 8 ft 2x4s 'long ways' for support for the actual trailer bed.

There will be a 6" x 8ft gap on either side which will be missing a plywood bed, so I figured at that point I can flip the whole trailer over, cut some plywood to size to seal that, and seal the bottom with roofing tar or something similar.I'd probably have to work around the wheels and won't be able to insulate fully near the wheels. But I figure that's such a small portion of the overall bed that I won't lose too much temp that way.

Sorry if this is confusing, it makes sense in my head but kind of hard to draw / put into words. It may make more sense when I actually do it and show it through photos.

I know the consensus is using 2x4s is overkill, I just wanted to clarify i am only doing that to get clearance above the wheels without sacrificing interior space. The walls will be 1/4" plywood exterior with 1x4 stick framing, most likely. Not sure what I want to do for the interior wall yet but leaning towards 1/8" plywood.
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Re: Squareback #1

Postby greygoos » Sat Jun 22, 2019 2:41 pm

Ditch the 2 x 4's and turn some 1 by on their side. Less weight and if you want you can can cover with ply on both sides and insulate. You are making a sandwich and or torsion box.
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Re: Squareback #1

Postby EZ » Sat Jun 22, 2019 3:47 pm

Built a 8' X 5 1/2' base on a Harbor Freight trailer. I used 1 X 3's on their side and it allowed enough clearance over the tire to not require wheel wells. Ditch the HF fenders. Use 5/8" ply for the floor, paint the bottom (and top) with a couple coats of good 100% latex house paint for protection. You can add insulation to the bottom (glued with Locktite PL300 foamboard glue in caulk tubes - strong stuff!) and just leave it open on the bottom; they have been building campers that way for decades with insulation not nearly as tough as the pink stuff we have access to (3/4"). A 1 X 3 frame with plywood is supper strong and rigid, especially when bolted to a steel trailer frame.

Just my suggestion.......

Image

Floor for new standie build in progress:
Image

Good idea painting the trailer. I have one that I use to haul stuff and it is pink after less than 2 years.......

Ed
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Re: Squareback #1

Postby knova » Sun Jun 23, 2019 12:01 am

Dig it. Thanks for the suggestions. Any concern with splitting the 1x3 when bolting to the trailer? Seems like a thin piece of wood to be bolting down.

And I forgot to mention, but yes the fenders are coming off. Kept them on for the ride between my uncle's house and my place.

RE: paint... I've seen the pics and was not interested in a pink frame, even if it is mostly going to be covered by wood walls in the end.
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Re: Squareback #1

Postby swoody126 » Sun Jun 23, 2019 8:44 am

already a coupla good suggestions above

i might consider a full width deck made of 2-sheets of 1/2" exterior plywood(not OSB in any form or fashion)

situate the sheets transversely w/ the seam across the center(no need for post fitting the pieces in front and behind the tires later which would mean more seams to seal and would IMHO weaken the structure)

this method will require 2 full sheets to begin with butt IMHO the increased integrity wil be worth the $$

make your perimeter frame w/ at least a 2x(standing on edge) across the center that you can screw/glue the center seam under easily

personally i make boats by framing/mocking everything up dry screwing only the edge joints (not snug just to locate) to the sides

once all the pieces are fitted and everything squared up n clamped in place i trace around ALL of the framing pieces on the inside of the bottom

next step is to remove the framing and pre-drill pilot holes everywhere i want a fastener coming up thru the bottom into the framing better insuring(i still miss sometimes) i hit the frame when the time comes for gluing n screwing the frame together permanently

w/ this method YOU would have the double thick cross member in the center for ease of screwing and hitting solid wood w/ those screws prior to securing the wooden floor to the metal trailer frame

how tall you choose to make your floor box is up to you

how much insulation you put in it is also up to you

my comments are primarily aimed at strengthining and simplifying the bottom outer layer of your floor structure

hope this makes sense

sw
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Re: Squareback #1

Postby knova » Sun Jun 23, 2019 9:46 pm

Thanks swoody126, I think that makes plenty of sense and seems to be an easier way to tackle the 'true floor' of the trailer.
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Re: Squareback #1

Postby knova » Sun Nov 10, 2019 1:43 am

Image

After months of 'analysis paralysis' i've started up work again. I cut out the plywood floor which will bolt directly to the metal frame. From there, I will build up using 2x4s for a subfloor which I can fill with insulation, and on top of that, another piece of plywood for the 'cabin floor'.

Next step is to use some spray on Bed liner for the plywood, just to give the bottom some extra water protection (even though it is marine grade plywood).

Edit - forgot to add. Question: should the metal wheel wells come off? I’m afraid of a rock kicking up and blowing through my plywood floor. Otherwise, the metal stays on, and I can build over it with the 2x4 frame / cabin floor.
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Re: Squareback #1

Postby txcamper » Mon Dec 02, 2019 5:37 pm

I used a similar solution on a 4' wide trailer to get a 5' base, page 2 shows it flipped over and the framing is a little more visible when I was adding insulation.

viewtopic.php?f=50&t=49566
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