Oz Hopper - an Australian build

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Oz Hopper - an Australian build

Postby Westy » Fri Aug 19, 2016 12:57 am

After several years of being a member of TnTTT, I finally decided to take the plunge an build a hopper type trailer. I am retired and live in the South West of Western Australia, not far from the City of Bunbury.

I have previously owned 4 caravan (still have an old 20' that I am renovating) and the wife and I have spent 2 years travelling around Australia taking in the sights and sounds. Towing a full size caravan (travel trailer, to some) can become somewhat tiresome and as our holidays are now more destination based rather than touring, I sold the latest van and commenced a hopper build.

The hopper is based on one by a fellow member rmclarke (see his immaculate trailer here viewtopic.php?f=5&t=22856 ). I really liked his concept and decided to follow it as close as I could but with using some of my own touches.

Pre-fabricated trailers are, generally, not available in Australia as they do not comply with Australian Design Rules so I contracted a local engineering company in the area to construct a trailer to my design.

Trailer2.pdf
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The measurements are in Metric but easily converted for those interested. The bed of the trailer at 2500mm is 8'2" and the drawbar at 1600mm is 5'3".

The trailer has been grit blasted to Class 2.5 and primed with an epoxy primer. I then top coated it with an oil based enamel.

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I placed Denso tape over the trailer bearers and then laid a 0.42bmt galvanised sheet on top of the Denso. This is to provide a waterproof barrier to the underside of the trailer.

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To be continued in subsequent post

Westy
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Re: Oz Hopper - an Australian build

Postby Westy » Fri Aug 19, 2016 1:12 am

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A photo of the galvanised sheet.

Next was a 35mm sub frame from CCA treated pine with polystyrene foam infill over the galvanised sheeting. Should be OK for insulation.

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The floor is made from 17mm Formply (used for concrete formwork and has an impregnated paper surface to protect the ply). A bit heavy but it suited my purpose.

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I then set about fabricating the walls from 42mm x 19mm timber. It was a mixture of pine and meranti, basically whatever I had lying around my shed. The profile has evolved over a few weeks. At first I thought it looked "squat" so I raised the height slightly and am now pleased with the overall look. I have purchased several sheets of "caravan ply" which has a veneer similar to birch and was quite cheap at a salvage yard (AUD$12 per sheet). I am using it for the interior lining. The exterior will be clad with 6mm marine ply.

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Re: Oz Hopper - an Australian build

Postby Westy » Fri Aug 19, 2016 1:22 am

The side profile after a few modifications

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Interior lining commenced

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The bulkhead wall has been installed and the front window placed for a photo.

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I haven't progressed much further than that, although the last photo was taken some time ago. I came down with a condition called polymyalgia rheumatica and it has knocked me around a bit. I haven't been able to get down to the shed to do any work for about 6 weeks, however I'm on steroids and slowly coming good. I reckon I will be able to recommence sometime in the next few weeks. At least I have slowed down a bit and have been giving the build a lot of thought and, luckily, it will pay off. I was headed down the wrong track with my hatch and have had time to rethink it.

I'll post more when I'm back under way again

Westy
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Re: Oz Hopper - an Australian build

Postby Camp4Life » Fri Aug 19, 2016 1:00 pm

Looks good Westy! And good luck on the recovery! Don't overdo it and don't start working at it again until you're all better :thumbsup:
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Re: Oz Hopper - an Australian build

Postby noseoil » Sat Aug 20, 2016 8:25 am

Very nicely done. Are you using wood dowels for the frame joints (wooden pegs, glue & holes)?
Build log: viewtopic.php?f=50&t=60248
The time you spend planning is more important than the time you spend building.........

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Re: Oz Hopper - an Australian build

Postby Westy » Sat Aug 20, 2016 4:10 pm

I bought a pocket hole jig and have been using that.

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Re: Oz Hopper - an Australian build

Postby Truant » Sun Jan 07, 2018 8:00 am

HI Westy. I was just wondering if you finished your build (or are still working on it)? I am also in WA and am contemplating making a Teardrop so would be intrigued to find out more about yours. Cheers
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Re: Oz Hopper - an Australian build

Postby Westy » Sun Jan 14, 2018 3:54 am

Truant wrote:HI Westy. I was just wondering if you finished your build (or are still working on it)? I am also in WA and am contemplating making a Teardrop so would be intrigued to find out more about yours. Cheers

G'day Truant
I have recently had a new house built and have moved in and busy downsizing. Hence the hopper has been on the back burner a bit of late.

I'm still doing bits and pieces as and when I can and hope to get it road licensed by the end of January. Then I just have the finishing work to do, electrics, dust sealing, etc.

My wife and i are hoping to hit the Great Central Road to Alice Springs, sometime late April, then heading back across the Tanami to Halls Creek then to Wyndham and back down the Gibb River Road to Barn Hill for a couple of weeks then back home.

Hopefully it will be all done by then.

If you go onto the https://caravanersforum.com/ and then look for this viewtopic.php?f=103&t=63054&hilit=teardrop#p896184 you will find quite a few photos of my build. I no longer am a member of that Forum as I got banned for arguing with a moronic Moderator but you can see quite a bit of the build.

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Re: Oz Hopper - an Australian build

Postby Truant » Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:02 pm

HI Westy,
Thanks for your reply. I had a read through your posts on the other site and it looks like it is coming on really well. Can i just ask who you got to build your trailer frame (and were you happy with the job they did)?

Cheers!
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Re: Oz Hopper - an Australian build

Postby Westy » Fri Jan 26, 2018 6:37 am

G'day Truant, happy Oz Day.

I had a company called Rick Tucker Welding (RTW), from Capel, fabricate the trailer. It cost around $2700 complete with hitch, axles, leaf spring suspension and wheels. They did a really good job.

If I was to do another, I would go to BozBuilt in Australind. Scott Bozanich has been doing some aluminium checker plate trims for me and I've had a look at his workshop and some of the work he has turned out. Excellent stuff. Not the cheapest around but his trailer and body building work is absolutely 1st Class.

My trailer is just about ready for licensing. I only have some minor trim to finish and to wire up the front marker lights and I'm right to go. After that, some dust sealing, interior lighting wiring, fitting an 80 amp hour deep cell battery and it will be ready to go. I'm thinking of doing a shakedown trip to Boranup Karri Forest for a couple of days to check it all out.

Cheers Westy
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Re: Oz Hopper - an Australian build

Postby Truant » Mon Jan 29, 2018 4:15 am

HI Westy,
Thanks for the tips - I will definitely check both these builders out. I must admit to feeling most daunted about ordering the trailer (as I basically have no clue what to ask for!). The actual building of the teardrop seems less scary as i have done quite a few campervan conversions in the past.

I notice a lot of the American builds go with torsion axles. I don't know much about these but did you consider them for your build?
Hope you are going to paste a few update pics on this site now that you cant on the other one!! Have fun in Boranup - it is a beautiful part of the world.

Cheers
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Re: Oz Hopper - an Australian build

Postby Westy » Mon Jan 29, 2018 6:25 am

Truant, I designed my trailer and took it to the fabricator for a quote.

I worked out a floor plan for my requirements and then designed a trailer to suit the floor plan. You can't go wrong using 50 x 3mm SHS for the frame and then a 75 x 50 x 4mm SHS for the drawbar. That will give you plenty of strength. Also talk to the fabricator as they have plenty of experience as well as engineering expertise to keep you on the right track.

I will put together some photos and post them up in the coming week.

Westy

PS I thought about the torsion axles but decided to stick with the tried and true leaf springs. It is my intention to do a lot of dirt road travel and a combination of low tyre pressures and driving to the conditions (ie slow speed- I'm retired and in no hurry) should prove to be OK.
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Re: Oz Hopper - an Australian build

Postby Westy » Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:57 pm

I have put together a series of photos taken during the construction of my trailer.
Hopefully, it is of some interest to those viewing.
I have tried to set them out in chronological order with a brief explanation for each one. It may take several posts to get them all on here.
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Trailer, as fabricated
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Underside sheet metal skin, floor frame and 40mm polystyrene insulation
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Floor made from 17mm form ply
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Westy
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Re: Oz Hopper - an Australian build

Postby Westy » Mon Feb 05, 2018 11:00 pm

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Wheel arches
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Commencing the wall frames
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Laying out wall frames
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Westy
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Re: Oz Hopper - an Australian build

Postby Westy » Mon Feb 05, 2018 11:03 pm

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Install the wall frames
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Wall frames set
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The trailer appeared to be too "squat" so I added 90mm to the top of the walls
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