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    Thread: Vintage utility trailer project AKA something new to obsess over

    1. Member odj's Avatar
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      05-02-2016 11:55 AM #1
      This weekend I picked up a vintage trailer that used to belong to my wife's grandfather. The plan is to fix it up and use it to transport tires and tools to and from the track.



      It's a 1961 Montgomery Ward Riverside Junior. He was the original owner, and it came with the OG Virginia title:



      It uses a coil spring suspension with trailing arms and a panhard bar, which is kinda weird for a trailer - most use leaf springs these days.









      The panhard bar is loose as sh*t, and it still has the original tires on it. Miraculously this thing made it 30 miles home around the damn beltway.



      My plans for it are as follows:
      * pull off the bed, repaint frame
      * replace panhard bar (found a heim-ended bar at the right length for $47)
      * repack bearings
      * fit larger wheels (possibly the Mustang wheels I had on my old Ranger... bolt pattern is 5x4.5")
      * add shocks (maybe some minibike/atv/scooter shocks)
      * figure out a better way to attach the trailing arms to the frame (flange bearings?)
      * either reconfigure the bed or design a new platform to hold tires, toolbox, and probably some gas cans.
      * rewire, likely with LEDs

      Anyways, thought y'all might dig this. Stay tuned for progress...
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    3. Member G0to60's Avatar
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      05-02-2016 12:08 PM #2
      Cool project and story.

    4. Member odj's Avatar
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      05-28-2016 05:34 PM #3
      Quote Originally Posted by G0to60 View Post
      Cool project and story.
      Thanks man
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    5. Member odj's Avatar
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      05-28-2016 05:42 PM #4
      Got some time to work on the trailer today, and began disassembling it.



      I can't believe the tires made it 30 miles home on the highway.



      Anyways, got the wheels off, disassembled the hubs. The races look good (schmutz is liquid and dust, they're actually really clean and free of scarring).



      Hubs look pretty good. Some surface rusting, but they pass the fingernal test.



      The bearings are in ehhh... ok shape. Quick google search shows that they're still available. I'll buy new ones anyways.





      Slightly bent the rear dust seal jammies up a bit taking them out... not sure if I'll be able to find repalcements for those though.



      My super-duper-overkill replacement panhard bar came in yesterday. Gotta find appropriately sized bolts to mount it with.



      So... gotta order some more parts and wait for a bunch of what I already ordered to show up.
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      05-28-2016 05:49 PM #5
      lower it




      JK, that thing looks cool! Never seen a trailer with coil springs.

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      05-28-2016 06:25 PM #6
      Sure is a very simple setup. Neat!
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    8. Member odj's Avatar
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      05-30-2016 09:12 AM #7
      Quote Originally Posted by StressStrain View Post
      lower it




      JK, that thing looks cool! Never seen a trailer with coil springs.
      Ha! I'm actually going to raise it *gasp*! Somewhat, at least, since I'm upgrading to 12" wheels to keep the speed down on the bearings.

      Aside from a few small boat trailers, there really haven't been many utility-sized trailers made with coil springs.

      Quote Originally Posted by Iroczgirl View Post
      Sure is a very simple setup. Neat!
      Thanks
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      05-30-2016 10:57 AM #8
      Cool little project. You should get the box re-galvanized, then it would look great. Prob a few hundred bux but well worth it.

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      05-30-2016 11:14 AM #9
      Great little trailer!

      Go with small overall diameter but wide tires, looks like the fender is wide enough to accommodate them.

      Like these, galvanized rims too, will match the box nicely:

      https://www.etrailer.com/Tires-and-W...a/AM3H325.html

    11. Member odj's Avatar
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      05-30-2016 12:36 PM #10
      Quote Originally Posted by welderdood View Post
      Cool little project. You should get the box re-galvanized, then it would look great. Prob a few hundred bux but well worth it.
      That's not something I'd considered, but not a bad idea at all. The bed inside has some rust pitting:



      Not sure if it'll look all that good with the pitting in there. My thought was just to Por-15 the bed inside and spray in some bedliner.

      Quote Originally Posted by pefer View Post
      Great little trailer!

      Go with small overall diameter but wide tires, looks like the fender is wide enough to accommodate them.

      Like these, galvanized rims too, will match the box nicely:

      https://www.etrailer.com/Tires-and-W...a/AM3H325.html
      I really really like that look, but decided to go with some 12" wheels in silver to keep the RPMs on the bearings down. These, specifically:

      https://www.etrailer.com/Tires-and-W.../TTWA12SM.html

      I'm on the fence as to how I'm going to paint the trailer right now, but I have three-ish options that I'm finding tempting:
      1. Repaint, stick with current color scheme
      2. Repaint, black frame, silver box, blue fenders (to match the 135)
      3. Go with a period-correct race theme. Currently I'm thinking of doing a homage to Stirling Moss' 1961 RS60/61 in Car #136 guise. Like so:



      So... all silver (I'd probably still paint the frame black) with a 135 (cos I has one) on the side. Just wondering which parts to paint yellow and red. I thought a "Sir ODJ" sticker on the side would be pretty funny too.
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      05-30-2016 12:44 PM #11
      I like the idea of keeping it period correct. Get a quote from a local Galv company. Shouldn't be too pricey and will make it look great. Don't worry about the pitting, get a nice rubber mat for the trailer floor.

      Or....you could go totally "hot rod" with it. All suspension bits and pieces bright red and paint the box black and do some old school flames down the side and some nice white wall tires, red wheels and chrome center caps.....

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      05-30-2016 12:45 PM #12
      That thing is awesome! Nice it's so simple and yet interestingly sophisticated for the period. Also should work well with some shocks on it.

    14. Member odj's Avatar
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      05-31-2016 09:41 AM #13
      Quote Originally Posted by Numbersix View Post
      That thing is awesome! Nice it's so simple and yet interestingly sophisticated for the period. Also should work well with some shocks on it.
      Thanks man. Shocks should arrive today, so I'll be out there after work staring at it for a while

      Quote Originally Posted by welderdood View Post
      I like the idea of keeping it period correct. Get a quote from a local Galv company. Shouldn't be too pricey and will make it look great. Don't worry about the pitting, get a nice rubber mat for the trailer floor.

      Or....you could go totally "hot rod" with it. All suspension bits and pieces bright red and paint the box black and do some old school flames down the side and some nice white wall tires, red wheels and chrome center caps.....
      I think I'm going to paint it... but I'm still open to galvanizing the bed. There's a coating shop not too far from my house so I might swing by for a quote when I've got it all mechanically sorted. Hell, if it's cheap enough I can just get the whole thing either powdercoated or galvanized. Buuuut I'm still leaning toward paint. That way I can touch it up or repaint it if I get tired of it.

      I'm looking at '60s Nascar paint themes right now. Stuff like this:





      I dig the period single stage paint and hand-painted lettering. Paintscratch has a wealth of old-school single-stage rattle cans. There are some great selections in the '61 Ford and Chrysler colors.
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    15. Member odj's Avatar
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      06-04-2016 11:21 PM #14
      My buddy Tim came by today and we got a LOT done on the trailer. Spent about 10 hours cutting, grinding, welding, drilling, and doing other fun stuff. Sorry for the mostly crap potato shots.

      We got the new panhard bar mounted, and then welded on some mounts for the shocks.



      I'd originally planned to mount the shocks as so:



      Using some angle iron for mounts, but we (mostly Tim) decided on mounting the shocks fore of the axle, using the frame and some drop down angle iron pieces welded to the axle. It may not be as physics-optimized in this manner, but it's a lot neater in terms of packaging, especially when the frame is separated from the bed.







      Tim picked up some big ol' weld-on heim joints from Tractor Supply Co. and we welded those on to the leading end of the trailing arms.



      After that was done, we separated the frame from the bed, and temporarily mounted the storage bin in the bed. Mocked up, there's plenty of space for the large bin in the front of the bed, tires in the rear, and my pop-up tent in its bag between them. Thought I took a pic of that, but apparently not.

      We built some frames for securing the tires. I'll have to show the finished version once it's done. It'll be a pain to explain and I'm super tired





      Anyways, that's it for now. I'll try to get some decent photos of the whole thing tomorrow.
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    16. Member odj's Avatar
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      06-04-2016 11:33 PM #15
      Oh yeah, and here's a pic of one of the new wheels with the old ones:

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    17. Member odj's Avatar
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      06-05-2016 10:13 AM #16
      OK, as promised, here are some better photos.

      Frame w/ suspension, removed from bed.





      Trailing arm joint jammy.



      Shock mount detail.



      Bed w/ storage box and mounting bracket joints installed.













      The drain holes are dimpled. I'm planning on adding a few more.



      A plate will go on the outside of each mounting bracket/frame, with a hole for a pipe to pass through. This will enable me to lock the wheels into place so I don't have to worry about securing them when parked.



      The original fenders have a great shape to them. They're staying.



      I've got a bit of grinding and cutting and drilling to do before everything's ready for paint.

      Paint sheme at this point is blue and silver: bed will be matched (as closely as possible) to the 135, the fenders and upper frame will be painted silver to match the wheels, and the lower suspension/axle will be painted black.
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      06-05-2016 10:19 AM #17
      Quote Originally Posted by odj View Post
      Trailing arm joint jammy.

      Cool project.
      It's overkill for your application, but that heim should get a safety washer.

    19. Member odj's Avatar
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      06-05-2016 10:32 AM #18
      Quote Originally Posted by Gitcha Sum View Post
      Cool project.
      It's overkill for your application, but that heim should get a safety washer.
      Thanks!

      Do you think a safety washer is necessary? It's never going to see a larger/smaller angle than it's currently at. With that massive lip on the inner part of the joint, it's well spaced out from anything around it.

      Oh, and overkill is the name of the game here.
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      06-05-2016 04:07 PM #19
      I believe Gitcha Sum is referring to a washer at the head of the bolt that would prevent the trailing arm from falling off should the heim joint fall apart.
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      06-05-2016 04:29 PM #20
      Holy crap, I love everything about this!!!!!!!!!!!!

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      06-05-2016 08:45 PM #21
      Quote Originally Posted by Gitcha Sum View Post
      Cool project.
      It's overkill for your application, but that heim should get a safety washer.
      Quote Originally Posted by odj View Post
      Thanks!

      Do you think a safety washer is necessary? It's never going to see a larger/smaller angle than it's currently at. With that massive lip on the inner part of the joint, it's well spaced out from anything around it.

      Oh, and overkill is the name of the game here.


      I saw this and immediately thought the same thing. What would truly be overkill (and really cool imho) is double shear on the track bar mounts and shock mounts.

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      06-05-2016 09:37 PM #22
      Uh oh is that a BEHE sticker on the Ranger?

      Trailer project is looking great!
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    24. Member odj's Avatar
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      06-06-2016 08:18 AM #23
      Quote Originally Posted by VapedTalon View Post
      I believe Gitcha Sum is referring to a washer at the head of the bolt that would prevent the trailing arm from falling off should the heim joint fall apart.
      Ahhh... good idea. Sounds like something to add to the next McMaster order

      Quote Originally Posted by modular View Post
      Holy crap, I love everything about this!!!!!!!!!!!!
      Thank you

      Quote Originally Posted by Atl-Atl View Post
      I saw this and immediately thought the same thing. What would truly be overkill (and really cool imho) is double shear on the track bar mounts and shock mounts.
      What's funny is that was the original plan, but I had a feeling that would just be unnecessary work. Not like the rest of it is necessary though...

      Quote Originally Posted by IdontOwnAVW View Post
      Uh oh is that a BEHE sticker on the Ranger?

      Trailer project is looking great!
      It is! Behe/ASM is one of the handful of shops I trust to work on my vehicles.

      Thanks man
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    25. Member odj's Avatar
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      06-13-2016 10:07 AM #24
      This Saturday was hot as balls and super humid, but I got about ten sweaty hours of work in.

      I welded on some cross braces on the uprights:





      I had some steel plate my buddy Justin gave me which came in handy. I cut it down to two 6"x7" rectangles, punched/dimpled the center holes, and fastened to the cross braces with rivnuts.



      The pipe is just some random pipe I had in the house. Drilled a hole on one end and welded a stop on the other end.



      I am, admittedly, a giant f*cking child, so I was pretty tempted to cut out the stop in the shape of a dick.



      However, this thing is supposed to be kinda classy, so a plain 'ol circle it is.

      My coworker gave me these awesome e-track clip-in ratchet clamps that are rated for something like five billion pounds, so I figured they'd be perfect for holding the tires in.

      Cutting slots in square tube is a surprising pain in the ass. As such, they're nowhere near perfect.



      But, the e-track jammies clamp in there just fine.





      And they hold the tires in place perfectly.



      I'm tempted to slot the other side of the uprights to double-strap the tires in there, but I think that's just completely unnecessary.

      I do have to weld the end plates on to the cross bars though. I figured I'd bolt them on so that if I got different sized wheels at some point I could fab new plates to align with the new wheels. However, it's possible to wrangle the plates free if you unscrew them. You'd just have to somehow yoga some tires-on-a-stick out of my securing contraption. But... it's doable, so I'm going to weld them on there.

      One thing I found was that when I tightened the ratchet straps that the uprights leaned in a bit, tweaking the bed over slightly. I want to reduce the amount of flex there, so I welded some plate between the lip of the bed and the side of the bed under the end plates. You can kinda sorta see what I'm talking about under the end plates here:



      ... but those are nasty end-of-long-swamp-ass-day welds, and I want to clean them up a bit before snapping pics

      So... not too much left to do before paint. I'm going to:
      * add slots toward the front of the bed to ratchet down the storage bin (to prevent the top flying open)
      * weld another plate on the other side of the bed rail
      * tack weld the end plates on
      * drill some drainage holes in the uprights below the slots I cut, and
      * figure out where/how I'm going to mount the spare.
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    26. Member odj's Avatar
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      06-26-2016 11:27 AM #25
      So this thing's ready for paint.

      I welded up a spare tire mount using some angle iron and some old suspension bolts & nuts. The tire will sit just fore of the bed.









      The tripod stand would fold if you pushed the trailer before, so I picked up a t-handle lock pin to hold it in place.







      I cut two more pairs of slots for the ratchet straps. One to hold down the front of the box, and one to hold in the pop-up tent.













      And added some more dimpled drain holes.





      And the end plates are tack welded in place as well as screwed in.



      I've been doing reading and research on paint. I like the idea suggested about re-galvanizing the bed, and I might even get some quotes. I'm just not very good at painting, so there's that.
      Dirtbox Radio Drum & Bass
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