Frame and tounge build??

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Frame and tounge build??

Postby Justin1983 » Sun Mar 29, 2015 6:04 pm

Hello all, I'm new here. Plan on building an off road camping trailer. The design will be based off of the Panther Trailer Company's design. I'm going to build the body 5'x10'. I'm not sure how long to build the tongue.. I will use 2"x3" 1/8" tubing. The tongue will be A frame design. I measured 42" from hitch ball to edge of bumper on my tow vehicle. Should I go longer?? Or is 42" long enough? Also does 40% 60%rule apply for axle placement. Do I use total trailer length or just body length?
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Re: Frame and tounge build??

Postby mezmo » Mon Mar 30, 2015 2:14 am

Welcome to the forum Justin1983,

Check out the "Design Resources" in the heading. A lot of good info available there.
Check it all out when you can.

In the Drop-Down list for that, clicking on "Design Library" will get you this: ... tear00.htm

[angib is a forum member from the UK who has gone to the trouble
to compile this for all of us.] Scroll down to "Design Tools" and check out the
"Trailer Balance" and the "Tongue Strength" selections. They should get you off
to a good start for answering your questions.

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Re: Frame and tounge build??

Postby Redneck Teepee » Mon Mar 30, 2015 9:10 am

Justin1983 wrote: Also does 40% 60%rule apply for axle placement. Do I use total trailer length or just body length?

Body length only, forget the tongue. And yes 60% in front of the axle will make it pull like a dream, adding enough tongue length (48") for a storage box / batteries will only make it pull better. Good Luck on your build! :thumbsup:
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Re: Frame and tounge build??

Postby KCStudly » Mon Mar 30, 2015 3:16 pm

So the thing is there are two schools of thought... at least I think there are. One side likes to have really lightly built TD's using a single central tongue member that is long enough to put the cabin (and tongue box) past the end of the bumper if you ever have the need to do a full 90 deg jackknife to maneuver out of a tight spot.

Since most (all?) vehicles can't turn this sharply, it is a situation that would only happen when backing up and only works with a draw bar receiver hitch where the ball extends away from the TV (not a bumper mounted ball like on a P/U truck).

The tales of woe that have been posted where tongue members have failed, second xmbr bending down or tongue failing outright, have been single member tongues (as best that I can recall... which admittedly isn't saying much :R :lol: :lol: :lol: ).

While this arrangement does provide a tighter angle when backing, it doesn't really keep you from going too far and pranging something. You still have to watch your mirrors and know the limits.

The other school of thought is that an A-frame tongue is inherently much stronger and therefore better suited for rugged conditions, despite the turning limitations.

My thinking goes along this line. With the added length from my universal joint off road style coupler and draw bar, the standard 50 deg angled A-frame has more clearance than it would with just a typical ball style coupler (i.e. the pivot point is further ahead of the tip of the 'A' than it would be with a weld on ball style coupler, and further away from the TV bumper, too).

Another way to get better turning clearance with an A-frame tongue would be to copy the Australian style, reducing the angle between the 'A' members and making them extend out further from the front of the cabin, but then you won't be able to use a std, 50 deg style coupler. Adding a small spit of straight tubing to the end of an A-frame (a composite tongue) might be a way to get the best of both worlds, but you have to be careful to design properly or you can create a weak spot where the forces are concentrated at the join.

For me, it's not the end of the world if I have to uncouple, turn the jeep around, drive past the TD, turn the TD around, and couple back up again. For me, that can still be done in less width than it would take to maneuver a single tongue at 90 deg. Maybe not easier on less than flat ground, but for my intended purposes I just don't see that as being an issue frequently, even on the Magruder Road.

Something you might want to do is look up or measure the turning radius of your TV. From there you could do some simple scale sketches and paper cut outs (or more sophisticated computer modelling, if that is within your "tool box") and see what things look like with your planned axle placement and tongue configuration (including tongue box).

To be honest with you, this is not something I have done. Kind of taking it on faith that my simple measurements and planning will see me thru. I do have a little trepidation about the first time I hook to the Jeep. Will my bumper crash into the TB? :frightened: :FNP
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Re: Frame and tounge build??

Postby Justin1983 » Mon Mar 30, 2015 9:03 pm

Thanks for the help guys! Picked up steel today and cut it to length. I will start tacking the frame together tomorrow!!
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Re: Frame and tounge build??

Postby javajaws » Wed Apr 08, 2015 9:41 am

Not sure what style you would call this (australian?). But I chose it for strength, functionality, and looks. It's plenty strong but utilizes a narrower angle than 50 so that it doesn't get in the way during sharp turns yet still supports a tongue box. If I recall correctly the total tongue length is 48".

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Re: Frame and tounge build??

Postby skinnedknuckles » Mon Jun 01, 2015 8:03 am

One thing that I do on the trailers that I build here at work that you might think about is to take the angled members back to the front spring hanger. You could do this by keeping the same angle as in the above picture and notching the tongue angled member at the side rail and taking it straight back to the spring hanger. Weld the notch closed and add a small gusset in that area. Adds a little weight, but stiffens up the frame and lets the suspension do its job. That's the way that I also did my on road teardrop ( I also added a lunette eye hitch since everything that I have has a pintle hitch = more flex ).
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