Inaugural Rockin' Tear

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Inaugural Rockin' Tear

Postby clear82star » Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:20 pm

Hello all Teardroppers and Tiny Travel Trailer Enthusiasts!

I've been scouring these forums for over 3 years now, have watched countless YouTube videos related to teardrops and woodworking in general, and purchased several plans (Frederick, Kuffel Creek, etc), to prepare myself for my own build. So thank you so very much to all the contributors and comments, to help me gain the necessary knowledge. Admittedly, because I ultimately didn't know what I was doing, I think anxiety has kept me from delaying my build for so long. But I now am moving confidently forward!

I started my build with an aluminum utility trailer, trying to keep the weight light. I was initially hoping that I could keep it light enough to tow with my 1984 Jeep CJ-7, but I think the short wheel base would make towing (and truly the braking aspect) somewhat dangerous.

My utility trailer mostly stripped:

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My CJ that I wanted to tow with:

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To get started, I had to remove all the utility hooks, etc from the inside of the bed:

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I then cleaned, degreased, lightly sanded, and cleaned again the surface to prepare for sealing. I started by filling the gaps with silicone caulking, which I chose because I knew I was using silicone to seal the trailer floor. Painted the trailer bed with Henry 887 Tropi-Cool 100% Silicone White Roof Coating.

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The backed up picture doesn't show it well, but this is after one coat:

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So I applied 2 coats.

Next up was the stick floor frame, complete with holes drilled for the wires to pass through:

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Fit into place, with 4 scrap pieces of 3/4" ply to verify fit:

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I ended up shaving off a bit from the edges of the frame, because I thought at the time I would want the aluminum siding to drop down passed the lip of the utility trailer.
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Re: Inaugural Rockin' Tear

Postby saywhatthat » Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:32 pm

Great start
Il suffit de le faire
D.I.Y Light weight sleeper using D.I.Y rail top components.
viewtopic.php?f=50&t=66751
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Re: Inaugural Rockin' Tear

Postby clear82star » Tue Feb 12, 2019 11:26 am

Next up was picking up the 3/4" plywood for the walls. Since this would never show, I was ok with CDX grade ply. (you'll see my old F-150 that I traded in for the truck below):

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I wanted a 5'x10' profile, so I cut the plywood into (per side) 2-4'x5' sections, and 1-2'x5' section for towards the front. This worked out best so the door (my largest cut-out) was on a larger 4'x5' section. I originally planned to just splice these joints with wood glue and pocket holes, for a butt joint, but I mis-calculated the drill bit length when drilling for the pocket holes and the screws didn't reach. I freaked out while the glue was drying, so I placed 4" sections of ply over the joint to act as a sort-of "overlap" joint. This has worked out fairly well, IMHO, and I am quite content with the "mistake"/"redesign", you'll see more why later.

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The door cut out, using the trim piece as a template:

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The rest of the cut-outs were made just to save weight (no windows or anything, will be filled with 3/4" sheet foam cut to size later). You can see my rough lines on the inside of the ply, to mark where I thought cabinets, etc, would go. Notice I left a 1.5" relief at the bottom of my overlap joint, to account for the floor framing:

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The outside of the first wall:

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Tracing outline onto other wall, to cut same reliefs. The dumbbell on top was to account for some bowing of the top piece of plywood.

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The 2 finished walls. Here you can see my Honda Ridgeline in the background. This is what I'll likely be towing with:

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Walls and floor frame connected (with the stellar help of my friends Aaron & Brooke!). In a couple of the photos, you can see the factory cut-off of the rear hatch, installed in place to ensure square. And yes, I double-checked the factory edge with my square before installing. You'll also see some temporary roof spars in place. I had planned to pocket hole those in place, but the CDX plywood I used to make my "2x2's" were splitting when driving the pocket hole screws. So I picked up some right angle brackets to hold them in place (I ended up removing these later):

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And gently put in place on the trailer:

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And tucked away in the garage for the rest of the build:

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Re: Inaugural Rockin' Tear

Postby clear82star » Tue Feb 12, 2019 11:54 am

Once I checked and adjusted for square, I bolted the floor frame to the trailer bed with stainless steel carriage bolts, fender washers, and nylock nuts. For sealing the bottom, I used Henry's white silicone sealant in a caulking tube, the brother to the floor coating:

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Next up was running the wires through the floor frame to their respective location, filling the floor frame with 1.5" sheet insulation, and then the voids around the wires with spray insulation:

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Then flush cut with the flush-cut saw you see in the second photo:

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I think I originally sprayed the insulation too fast, because there were a lot of voids left, similar to this, that I had to come back and fill-in and then re-flush-cut. I would also recommend putting some (evenly-distributed) weight down near the edge of the sheet insulation. The spray foam wanted to creep under the edge and lift the sheet insulation to where it was no longer flush with the top edge of the floor framing. I then had to fix that, which took some time.

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Then covered the floor in 3/8" CDX:

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Finished installing the roof spars. Pre-drilled for 2.5" Spax construction screws from the outside of the walls, using construction adhesive to also secure the joint:

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Dry fit my nerf bars for the roof rack (these were originally going to be used on my old F-150 as side bed rails). This way I can ensure proper placement of roof reinforcement for the added weight:

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Re: Inaugural Rockin' Tear

Postby Mr. Lahey » Sun Feb 17, 2019 11:21 am

Really love the aluminum trailer frame. Wish mine was the same.

You've really made great progress and have a nice shape to the camper too. It will be very good looking when your done.

I do see one possible area for a problem I thought I should mention. That is that the camper body sits inside the trailer frame rail.
That leaves a seam between trailer frame rail and camper body down the whole side of the trailer. That seam will be impossible to water seal for the long term.
No matter what you try to seal it with. It will eventually leak and allow water to collect.I don't know how you plane to skin the trailer.
Or if you plan some type of flashing to cover that seam and then skin over it.
My teardrop camper build journal: viewtopic.php?f=50&t=64721

My tool box teardrop build journal: viewtopic.php?f=50&t=70817
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