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    Thread: Custom camper trailer build

    1. Member Rob Cote's Avatar
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      02-03-2017 12:27 PM #1
      Hi. Is there any interest in a build thread for a camper/trailer here? I remember a trailer restoration that was allowed, but I understand it's not a car, so maybe it's not strictly allowed. I'm not sure. Well, anyway I'll give it a shot, and mods can just delete it if it's against the rules. I tried to PM one to ask, but there was no response, so fuggit.

      So it's like a teardrop style camper in that the only "inside" part is the bed. The galley is outside and all that. But it's an off-road trailer. And it's rather a different design than the majority of teardrops. So yea, the design is mine and the fabrication is mine, except as noted.

      I went through several design concepts:

      2017-02-01_11-29-50 by Rob Mandy, on Flickr

      IMG_20161013_142909221 by Rob Mandy, on Flickr

      IMG_20161006_202849992 by Rob Mandy, on Flickr

      2017-02-01_09-49-40 by Rob Mandy, on Flickr

      But this is closest to what I'm working towards:

      IMG_20161028_194439339 by Rob Mandy, on Flickr

      So there was an ad on Craigslist for steel tubing. A crew was tearing down the old horse stalls at Rockingham Park up in Salem, NH. I got a bunch of 1.5" square and 2" square lengths, enough for the frame. Obviously it had been exposed to the weather, so it needed cleaning. I gave each tube a soak in Evapo-Rust, which worked quite well. After a rinse, I taped up the ends and filled it with paint and rolled it all around to coat the inside surfaces and then dumped out the excess and let it dry. Then, with an abrasive wheel in the drill press, I cleaned the rest of the crud off the outsides.

      Evaporust bath:

      2017-02-01_01-50-04 by Rob Mandy, on Flickr

      This part sucked because each tube would sit overnight. It was super slow, and seemed to take forever, with no real progress to show for it.

      Before - after - during:

      2017-02-01_02-34-35 by Rob Mandy, on Flickr

      The tube on the left is pretty representative of the lot of tubing I picked up. The far right is what they looked like coming out of the Evaporust bath, after a rinse. In the middle is one that's been painted inside and abrasive-wheeled on the outside.

      So, I cut them all to length and laid them out on the floor to tack a basic ladder frame together:

      2017-02-01_09-58-56 by Rob Mandy, on Flickr

      We ordered a custom-length 3500lb idler axle from Redneck Trailer. It's got provisions for brakes, but no brakes installed. Future upgrade if it's necessary, but I doubt it. So once that came in, it began to sort of look like something when I mocked up all the suspension parts:

      IMG_20161119_155910026 by Rob Mandy, on Flickr

      2017-02-01_09-57-40 by Rob Mandy, on Flickr

      2000lb. springs for now because they were cheap and available from a friend, but those might go away later on. I don't know what the final weight will be but I suspect it's less than a ton. We'll see.
      Last edited by Rob Cote; 02-03-2017 at 12:29 PM.
      Quote Originally Posted by Hudsone View Post
      No one knows what and where I have to go to them?

    2. Member Crispyfritter's Avatar
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      02-03-2017 12:34 PM #2
      I can't speak for anyone else, but I'm in. Looks awesome!

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      02-03-2017 12:34 PM #3
      Like!

      More, more, more!

    4. Member VW...vw...wv...WV's Avatar
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      02-03-2017 12:40 PM #4
      mucho bueno
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    5. Member Rob Cote's Avatar
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      02-03-2017 12:44 PM #5
      So here's the basic method for brackets to mount stuff to the frame. Take some angle, and cut it to the desired length of your bracket. Generally ~2" for 1 fastener, ~6" for 2 fasteners.

      IMG_20161128_191501302 by Rob Mandy, on Flickr

      Then you want to weld on nuts in the middle of the flange face (right of picture). I'm using 3/8-16 fasteners just about everywhere. Then you want to use the nut as a drill guide to locate the center of your hole (left of picture). You don't have to drill all the way through on this operation, just enough so you can locate the bump on the other side, just before the drill breaks through.

      IMG_20161128_194231374 by Rob Mandy, on Flickr

      Center punch that from the side opposite the nut, and then drill through with a clearance drill (in this case, 3/8" is snug, but clears a 3/8" bolt) just down to the nut. Remember, you don't want to drill into the nut or you'll remove all the threads.

      IMG_20161128_200749181 by Rob Mandy, on Flickr

      Lather rinse repeat ad infinitum. Not really, but it seemed like I made a gajillion of these. Weld them onto your frame any old place:

      2017-02-01_10-20-52 by Rob Mandy, on Flickr

      Note- the above picture was before I learned that it's much easier to make the bracket before it's on the frame. Don't do it this way. This is just to show that they get welded on.

      2017-02-01_10-21-02 by Rob Mandy, on Flickr

      The brackets allowed me to start installing the floor sections and stuff:

      IMG_20161224_154705359 by Rob Mandy, on Flickr

      IMG_20161224_154656565 by Rob Mandy, on Flickr

      And walls:

      IMG_20161224_154716884 by Rob Mandy, on Flickr
      Quote Originally Posted by Hudsone View Post
      No one knows what and where I have to go to them?

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      02-03-2017 12:46 PM #6
      I did a similar build thread when I built my hand-built TearDrop camper...my build thread is over at TnTT http://tnttt.com/

      anyway, great to see another TearDrop camper builder on the 'tex!
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    7. Member gnavs's Avatar
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      02-03-2017 12:49 PM #7
      Cool!
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    8. Member Rob Cote's Avatar
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      02-03-2017 12:56 PM #8
      Sweet well I'm glad there's some positive feedback. Thanks people.

      Quote Originally Posted by DerBaldGuy View Post
      I did a similar build thread when I built my hand-built TearDrop camper...my build thread is over at TnTT http://tnttt.com/

      anyway, great to see another TearDrop camper builder on the 'tex!
      I put it on ExPo but that place doesn't have much traffic.
      Quote Originally Posted by Hudsone View Post
      No one knows what and where I have to go to them?

    9. Member jon_570's Avatar
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      02-03-2017 12:56 PM #9
      I love this. I was wanting to do something similar this summer for camping and this is great inspiration. SUBD

    10. Member Stevo12's Avatar
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      02-03-2017 01:12 PM #10
      Sub'd

      I did an 'expansion' on my 4x8 trailer this fall - it is now a 5.5x8. I'd love to turn it into something else down the road, as well as build some sort of trailer (be it another utility trailer) or a car hauler/flatbed

      Oh and nice welder - I've got a Hobart as well


    11. Senior Member Air and water do mix's Avatar
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      02-03-2017 01:15 PM #11
      In.

      If you could fit a private bathroom in one my wife would actually go camping!
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    12. Member whiteboy1's Avatar
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      02-03-2017 01:25 PM #12
      cool!

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    13. Member Rob Cote's Avatar
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      02-03-2017 01:51 PM #13
      Quote Originally Posted by Stevo12 View Post
      Sub'd

      I did an 'expansion' on my 4x8 trailer this fall - it is now a 5.5x8.

      Nice work!!

      Quote Originally Posted by Air and water do mix View Post
      In.

      If you could fit a private bathroom in one my wife would actually go camping!
      It could be done, but I wouldn't recommend it. That's the sleeping area! How about a shower curtain that attaches to the outside, and a cartridge toilet or something?
      Quote Originally Posted by Hudsone View Post
      No one knows what and where I have to go to them?

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      02-03-2017 02:02 PM #14
      Very cool. Keep us posted on progress.

    15. Member Rob Cote's Avatar
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      02-03-2017 02:36 PM #15
      The trailer gets a 20 gallon water tank for the sink and shower. So we can wash dishes and our dirty-ass-selves. It's not a TON of water (actually only ~160 pounds of it!), but it should be sufficient if we are conservative. The frame was designed around the water tank, actually. It sits down in between two of the frame crossmembers on angles which are welded to the frame. It's a little tricky to explain so hopefully the pictures help. Here you can see how it sits between the frame crossmembers:

      2017-02-01_10-23-21 by Rob Mandy, on Flickr

      Then (I realize this is a little bit out of order) you can see how the support angles are oriented here:

      IMG_20161111_125011885 by Rob Mandy, on Flickr

      Since the water tank vendor stated the entire bottom face of the water tank must be supported I cut the skid plate/support sheet you see above:

      IMG_20161111_114519320 by Rob Mandy, on Flickr

      This part was so tedious with my available tooling:

      IMG_20161111_120259673 by Rob Mandy, on Flickr

      Put some drainage holes in it and stitch-welded it on:

      IMG_20161111_143952650 by Rob Mandy, on Flickr

      Then the top of the tank just gets a simple tie-down frame sort of thing, again made out of angle:

      2017-02-01_10-24-05 by Rob Mandy, on Flickr

      Do work son

      IMG_20161005_180826425_BURST004 by Rob Mandy, on Flickr

      I welded some short sections of tube that fits over 3/8" threaded rod to the base and to the tie-down frame so I can clamp the tank in place:

      IMG_20161009_111212602 by Rob Mandy, on Flickr

      So there you have it.
      Quote Originally Posted by Hudsone View Post
      No one knows what and where I have to go to them?

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      02-03-2017 02:44 PM #16
      Awesome progress so far. Will the TJ be towing this?

    17. Member Rob Cote's Avatar
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      02-03-2017 02:46 PM #17
      Quote Originally Posted by DEZL_DUB View Post
      Awesome progress so far. Will the TJ be towing this?
      Probably, as well as the Taco. Probably both will want a regear, but I'm gonna try it and see. Ideally, they'll both be setup as tow rigs, though.
      Quote Originally Posted by Hudsone View Post
      No one knows what and where I have to go to them?

    18. Member yeayeayea's Avatar
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      02-03-2017 02:55 PM #18
      I like fabrication threads, count me in!

      You using flux core MIG wire I'm guessing?

    19. Member Rob Cote's Avatar
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      02-03-2017 02:56 PM #19
      Quote Originally Posted by yeayeayea View Post
      I like fabrication threads, count me in!

      You using flux core MIG wire I'm guessing?
      Yeah, solid core was too cold I didn't like it.
      Quote Originally Posted by Hudsone View Post
      No one knows what and where I have to go to them?

    20. Member GroovOn-SLC's Avatar
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      02-03-2017 03:00 PM #20
      I work in the RV industry so I'll be following.

      But that fresh tank is overkill. You wouldn't believe how the OEM's do it. But then their tanks have flanges to ride on so simple banding straps are just to "catch" the tank if it should fall.

    21. Member Rob Cote's Avatar
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      02-03-2017 03:02 PM #21
      Quote Originally Posted by GroovOn-SLC View Post
      I work in the RV industry so I'll be following.

      But that fresh tank is overkill. You wouldn't believe how the OEM's do it. But then their tanks have flanges to ride on so simple banding straps are just to "catch" the tank if it should fall.
      Cool! Feel free to offer any guidance if you like. I'm glad that the tank mount is overkill I intend to beat it up a fair amount off road, so I'm trying to go overkill wherever I can. I wasn't originally planning to put the full skid plate in, but they said it has to be fully supported so I just rolled with it.
      Quote Originally Posted by Hudsone View Post
      No one knows what and where I have to go to them?

    22. Senior Member Air and water do mix's Avatar
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      02-03-2017 03:08 PM #22
      Quote Originally Posted by Rob Cote View Post
      I'm glad that the tank mount is overkill.
      I'm with you. Sure, an engineer would come up with the lightest setup, but for a home-built job? Give me overbuilt any day of the week.
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      02-03-2017 04:01 PM #23
      In for this! I love tear drop style trailers. Looking good so far.

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      02-03-2017 04:04 PM #24
      I came in for the VigorousZX content? What's going on?

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      02-03-2017 04:05 PM #25
      I thought this was a Vigorous thread too.

      I think it would be cool to be able to do this kind of ****. I can't do any of this ****.
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