New build 5' x 12' sleeping 4

...ask your questions in the appropriate forums BUT document your build here...preferably in a single thread...dates for updates, are appreciated....

Finished the roof and trimmed the edges

Postby LMarsh » Fri Jun 23, 2017 2:44 pm

Now that the teardrop is at the new house I finished up the roof and trimmed all the edges with the router. It was messy and I might need to hit some high spots with a sander where the panels meet, but overall its moving along. I've been procrastinating ordering the metal from SAF and I wish I had access to a loading dock. I also will probably coat the plywood in some polyurethane, or "the mix" as I've seen recommended in other threads (although I recently read an article about such mixes being ineffective, I might have to try to find that again) as en extra layer of protection in case water ever does get by the outer skin. I haven't decided on an adhesive for the aluminum and I've scoured the forum. I'm going to start a new thread for that.

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Before:
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After:
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So far so good:
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Tow vehicle:
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Last edited by LMarsh on Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: New build 5' x 12' sleeping 4

Postby LMarsh » Wed Jul 26, 2017 12:37 pm

As always I overdo things. I just epoxied the entire outer wood shell even though it will be completely covered with Anodized aluminum. I basically wanted to seal the wood the best I could just in case water ever got under the skin. I started using "the mix" but I decided polyurethane wouldn't do all that much in the long run against moisture and also the epoxy was actually about the same price, or just slightly more. I've never used epoxy, except gluing stuff, so this as a first. It was a good way to jump in and learn something new because its getting covered up anyway and I don't care what it looks like. Its definitely harder to apply when the plywood is not laying flat, and there are lots of different types of epoxies out there. I just went with an inexpensive type that wasn't too thick. There are also lots of different viscosity types available too. I probably should have used something thinner but a single coat was fine in most places. I tried doing a second coat but then gave up because it wasn't necessary. I'm going to save my left over epoxy and cast stuff in it for the kids or make cool little projects with them. Epoxy is pretty interesting and leaves a super thick smooth glass like surface that's extremely strong. It won't be exposed to UV so it should last pretty much forever and completely waterproof the plywood. I might have to build a woody someday and see if I can make it look really nice. I did get runs and plenty of flaws, but again it doesn't matter. I was surprised how sensitive the epoxy was to mixing ratio, stirring, temperature (even the heat from my hand made it cure quicker in the bottom of the cup, and other factors that made different pots cure at different rates. I did it all on the same day too. Just goes to show how amateur I am at wood working and finishing.

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Last edited by LMarsh on Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: New build 5' x 12' sleeping 4

Postby LMarsh » Thu Jul 27, 2017 9:55 am

Actually I just realized that the reason it went on so thick with one coat was because I had previously put on a single coat of very thin polyurethane. Even though I sanded it off it still kept the epoxy from soaking into the wood. There were a few panels where I didn't apply polyurethane and then I started putting a second coat of epoxy on these spots. Its probably still not completely necessary to do to two coats either way, but it would be easier and cheaper to put that thin coat of polyurethane on first. Unless it effects adhesion.
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Re: New build 5' x 12' sleeping 4

Postby LMarsh » Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:32 pm

Quick update from last fall. I've got the skin on and mostly trimmed off with my router. It's a perfect fit on all the edges now. I've never done it this way before but it was easy and gives super clean edges. I went with Fusor800 as my glue and this stuff remains flexible, is super strong, grabs and holds well to everything, doesn't cost an arm and a leg, and was available locally. It does does skin over a bit quicker than I'd like. After that it appears to cure quickly but actually takes a few days to reach a decent strength. I also used Sikabond from the big box stores anywhere that would also have mechanical fasteners just to save a few bucks and try it out too. The sheets are 5' wide by 12' long and not easy to handle, but not heavy. The remaining ~3" along the bottom of the side walls will be covered with a 4"x1" aluminum angle trim (which was pricey stuff and I probably should have just bought another sheet and cut strips off it).

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After routing:
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Test fitting:
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Routed off edges:
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Crazy hold down technique while adhesives dry:
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Re: New build 5' x 12' sleeping 4

Postby LMarsh » Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:36 pm

I've also done some interior work and wiring, but I'll post those pics later. Ambient air temp was -1 degrees F this morning so I haven't been doing much on the build. :thumbdown:
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Re: New build 5' x 12' sleeping 4

Postby irgod32 » Mon Feb 12, 2018 11:32 pm

LMarsh wrote:I've also done some interior work and wiring, but I'll post those pics later. Ambient air temp was -1 degrees F this morning so I haven't been doing much on the build. :thumbdown:

This is 12' long by 5' wide? What is the height? :thinking:
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Re: New build 5' x 12' sleeping 4

Postby LMarsh » Tue Feb 20, 2018 12:17 pm

The body itself is 12' long by 58" wide on the outside. I haven't decided on the exact tongue length yet because of choosing a tongue box and some other factors. I may just leave it or cut some of the tongue off. I chose the 58" width so that with fenders it will stay under the 80" Federal requirements for additional lighting. It should be just around 79.5" wide when done.

The body height is about 63.5" high from frame to roof edge, then some height for the roof vent. It's currently 13" or so inches from the ground to the frame edge, unloaded. This doesn't include my dropped floor which hangs 6" below the frame.
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Re: New build 5' x 12' sleeping 4

Postby KCStudly » Wed Feb 21, 2018 6:58 am

Be ready to add those extra lights. When I had my 79-3/4 inch wide UT inspected they rounded up and wrote down 80 inches. That was measured at the fender lip. I didn't argue too much because I didn't want any other hassles with them and the tires bulged out quite a bit more anyway. Still, I ended up having to add the three center marker lights.
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Re: New build 5' x 12' sleeping 4

Postby LMarsh » Wed Feb 21, 2018 3:48 pm

Hmm, that's good to know but also not good. I'm too far into my build to add any wiring for upper lights. Position 7 would be trouble if they want them up high instead of down on the frame, but maybe they won't be too picky. Depending on which trailer example you look at, front facing amber lights on the fender might suffice for position 8 to go with the red lights at position 6 the widest point, but I'd like to avoid that too. If needed I'll probably make a stink saying Federal requirements state "(80 in) OR WIDER" and rounding up shouldn't count. I'm hoping the guy doing it will be too distracted by my awesome homemade teardrop to worry about it. :D

If I do run into problems I'll just use a different trailer. In NY if the trailer is under 1000 lbs the DMV doesn't even look at it. Once its over a 1000 lbs it becomes a much bigger pain in the butt. So I'll weight my landscape trailer and say I made it, then use the VIN they give me and slap it on my teardrop. I should have taken care of all this while it was still just a super lightweight frame but I didn't think it was road worthy without the sidewalls stiffening up the frame. Then I got busy and thought it weighed less. As far as annual state inspections go I've never ever bother to do one and I've never had a problem. Even if I did, I don't think at that point the shop tech will care or I'll find a tech who doesn't care.
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Re: New build 5' x 12' sleeping 4

Postby LMarsh » Fri Feb 23, 2018 10:56 am

I just checked my landscape trailer. 2990 lbs GVWR - 2250 load capacity = 740 lbs actual weight (I think that's how it works). So it's well under the 999 lbs max required by the New York DMV for light trailers. This will avoid me the basically non-negotiable scheduled date and time of a "Division of Field Investigation" examination. This branch of the DMV only has a handful of locations across the entire state too.

My landscape trailer is a former nationally sold manufacturer 5'x10' trailer and I just measured the width and found it to be just a hair under 80". It's like 79 7/8" at the fenders but has no additional lighting whatsoever. I would think as long as my teardrop is under 80 actual inches I should have a case to argue with.

What I'm getting at is it would have made acquiring a VIN much easier to weight my custom build as a flat utility trailer, before building the body on it, and then stating my GVWR as my axle capacity. Now that its almost finished and weights something like 1300 lbs I have to go through a lot of red tape and title fees (no title for light trailers). So while not exactly moral, I think I'll just haul my landscape trailer to the gravel yard and weight that instead. I'll be paying for annual registration fees based on my total carrying capacity and the size is legit for the lighting so its not really a big deal. I guess it doesn't matter what you load onto your trailer or if you build a box on it.

I am a bit curious if it would be classified differently for being a camper if the DMV did examine it. The DMV has a "HOU" class for "house coach" but I couldn't get any info about it at the DMV or at an RV dealer. Everyone just tells me a trailer is a trailer and the fees are based on weight.
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Re: New build 5' x 12' sleeping 4

Postby KCStudly » Sat Feb 24, 2018 9:08 pm

Are you sure the 1k lb cutoff isn't gross rating, instead of tare weight?
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Re: New build 5' x 12' sleeping 4

Postby LMarsh » Sun Mar 04, 2018 2:05 pm

I've never registered a home made trailer before, but it seems straight forward if you read up on it. The DMV says "unloaded" on the instructions. For reference to other New Yorkers, everything can be found and/or printed on the DMV website EXCEPT the MV-272.1 form which can only be picked up from a DMV location (its a sheet with a couple carbon copies attached).

This PDF of the instructions is directly from the New York DMV:

https://dmv.ny.gov/forms/vs105.pdf
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Re: New build 5' x 12' sleeping 4

Postby greygoos » Mon Mar 05, 2018 12:47 pm

I have registered several "Homemade trailers" before in NYS. If they are under a thousand pounds no title is issued. I have always gone down to the DMV armed with all my receipts for tubing, axle, tires, lighting etc. and they have never asked to see them. I also registered the trailer when it was a frame, not even a deck on it and went immediately for an inspection. As long as you have tread on the tires and the lights work you pass. I then bolted the camper to the frame. It is not an rv it is a trailer transporting a camper cabin.
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Re: New build 5' x 12' sleeping 4

Postby LMarsh » Tue Mar 06, 2018 1:43 pm

Thanks for the confirmation greygoos, that is how I figured it would go. You summarized it exactly, that home builds are just trailers transporting a camper cabin.

On a separate note, is it just me or in the land of all things excessively controlled by New York State law doesn't it seem that with trailers its uncommonly lax?
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Re: New build 5' x 12' sleeping 4

Postby DaveInConesus » Tue May 22, 2018 10:24 am

I see that you are in the Rochester area. Is there any way that I could come up and take a look at your builds? We are just starting one in Conesus and I am looking for advice on local sources of materials and build ideas.
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