So what frame should I go with. Do I go with a inexpensive poorly made Harbor Freight frame. Would it last? I decided to go the custom route This way I could get it exactly built how I wanted without any constraints. So I sat down and ended up drawing out my frame. I came up with a few different disigns.
One of the first basic frames I thought of. How to make it light and strong.
Here is a design of how it could be laid out with the water tank, axle, leaf springs, tire carrier.
There where a few more designs before I came up with the end results. But this is what I ended up turning into my Welder.
The whole frame would be made out of 2″x3″ 1/8″ wall steel tube. Yes this would be over kill but it would support and hold up to anything I through at it through this journey and in the future.
I also Designed it to have the 2″ receiver have a straight pull through to the rear. Was this necessary? No. But it did ensure the strength required to winch from the rear of the trailer or even use a recovery strap on someone from back there without the need to unhitch the trailer.
So after I gave these plans to my welder. Who only worked on small projects for me before, lets see how good he actually is.
When I got my frame from the welder it looked a little something like this.
The 2″ receiver up front is reinforced.
The fenders are removable by sliding towards the outside. But they do not lift off. his will help in the construction of the TD camper to accesses this area. They hold in place by 3 bolts front and rear of the wheel well.
Had step plates installed in front and behind the fenders to have mount accessories to the trailer and to have a place to stop onto to access the roof basket.
The rear two inch receiver is fastened through the entire frame for strength. Also it does not sit out too far so it will not drag to much.
Jack points installed on the rear corners. This will allow me to level the tailer or even to change a tire without using a different jack.
Metal tabs where installed around the trailer for a point to bolt the wood frame down too. These will allow me not to have to cut holes into the tubing and prevent it from rusting.
The tongue was welded under the frame to act as a skid plate. so everything can be dragged over a rock front to rear easily.
A 2″ receiver was installed in the front for the use of a Max Couple. This is also a great theft deterrent as most people only have a ball hitch available.
The front tongue jack is removable so in necessary situations it will not be damaged.
When I got this frame back to the shop. I started taking measurements of it to ensure it was true. I have to say the guy did an amazing job with it. Pulls 75+mph easily and true.
Since I live in the hot humid southern climit. I needed to paint this frame as soon as possible before it rusted away. I cleaned the frame as much as possible with a wire brush and some acetone to remove the oil. Then I used a good enamel primer for the first coat as you can see in the below pictures. I ended up putting 3 coats of primer on.
After I got the primer all on and dried. I painted everything with a flat black enamel.
The suspension I have is some stock length but after market leaf springs. These will help absorb the bumps on the road better. Combined with these I installed some shocks. These will help come down the trailer after the bumps. I went with stock length trailer leaf springs since I can get a set almost anywhere. We will see how it rides after it is all complete. Along with this is a custom built Dexter axle with electronic breaks. The width is customized to be able to use wheel adapters from the the hub 6 on 5.5 bolt pattern to the Nissans 6 on 4.5 bolt pattern. Further down the road I can replace the wheel adapters to match any tow vehicle needed. Along with this are 315/75/16 tires to match the tow vehicle. I ran into a issue of one of the shock mount stud that broke off so I just drilled it out and installed a grade 8 bolt.
I then had to figure out where to install my license plate. I could put it on the trailer but why add more holes. So I decided to put it on the frame but it would drag. So I installed a hinge to help protect it from damage.
I also decided to install a back side on the fenders to prevent rocks, dirt and water from spraying up the side of the teardrop.
After I got this all put together. I installed all the required lights onto the trailer. I also installed some extra side markers to warn people of all the edges. These extra side markets also allow me to see the sides when backing up and trail riding at dusk or night.
After the whole body was built. I finally remounted the fenders.