Tag: Trailer

Trailer Restoration 2017

Trailer Restoration 2017

So after 4 years of hard work and little care and attention my trailer finally began to feel the strain, the biggest problem was that the plywood base had begun to rot / de-laminate / generally collapse. Not a difficult job I hear you cry, undo the screws, pop the sides out and lift the base. New sheet of plywood and a couple of coats of wood preservative and bobs your uncle.

So I lifted the trailer to remove the electrics and noticed a rather worrying 2″ wobble side to side on the offside wheel, the bearing had obviously seen better days. With a bit of encouragement and the now infamous “They’re only a couple of quid on eBay” quote I proceeded to take the hub off. The wheel nuts were a bit stiff but to be expected, the dust cap came off without too much trouble and the bent nail that held the castle nut came out with ease.

Then the fun began, half a dozen ball bearings and a couple of pieces of broken brass drop out, then when I finally get to the hub the cases are well and truly stuck in the hub. So look for new bearings but they are minimum £20 for a pair and I’d still have to get the cases out without damage, what about new hubs, they come with bearings and I can get them for £15, bargain! Trouble is the new hubs are 25mm ID and the old arms are 22mm. So it’s new suspension arms, hubs & bearings, well that’s £60 but not the end of the world.

In the end once I’d decided to replace the whole suspension I decided to go out and vent my frustration on the stuck bearing shells, with brute force and no concern for damaging the hub I managed to free them. Happy days, trip to the local trailer merchant for new bearings and job done.

Now just to Hammerite the metalwork and wood preserve the new base. Oh and new end panels, the old ones had started to break up and 2 coats of wood preserve on each side, because, it couldn’t be simple, but other than that jobs a good-un.

 

 

Filling in the frame

Filling in the frame

Once the frame was built then came the task of filling the gaps, the tubeclamp used for the frame is designed to be filled with wire mesh to prevent small children falling through the railings. This would be an easy solution but would be slow to remove if using the frame as a display stand. My favoured solution was 4 panels for the sides and another for the top. These could then be fitted and removed quickly as required.
The final design evolved as we built each panel, the panels themselves are made from 25x25mm steel angle making the outer frame and 1″ mesh to fill the middle. The side panels sit on the support arms for the tubeclamp but this left the ends with no support at the bottom. To support the ends we welded a short length (3″ or so) of the angle the the bottom edge of the side frames, the ends will then sit on these. This has 2 benefits, it gives support to the ends but also locks the sides in place when the ends are on giving some extra security. The panels are held in place with anti-luse fittings and the top with hasp & staples.

Building the Hightop Frame

Building the Hightop Frame

 

So to the main topic of the post, to increase the volume of storage in the trailer I wanted to fit a high top, something along the lines of this model.

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The first challenge though was the frame, I wanted flexibility to fit the frame when needed and remove it when not, to change the height, shape or design as required. I spent too many hours considering the design for this, the main limitation being my manufacturing skills and resources. The professional versions tend to use box section bent and crimped at the end to slot together, this I’m afraid was beyond me. The next option was welding smaller box section as inserts onto the larger lengths so that they would slot inside each other, this was more achievable but as I didn’t have access to a welder at the time was ruled out. The final option was a’system of poles and junction fittings, these can be easily assembled with limited “manufacturing” on my part.

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Several versions were considered with the plastic tube connectors a close runner but in the end I opted for the Tube clamp system. These are often used for handrails and barriers so are mass produced and supplied by many manufacturers so priced competitively and readily available.

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The final design used 2 supports for each vertical pole with a base plate (132) and a wall mount bracket (143), the top was then attached with the 3way 90degree (128) on each corner. This gave a frame a solid frame that would take a canvas cover but for security I wanted a wire mesh frame, but the details of that will have to wait until next time…

Trailer project plan

Trailer project plan

Following on from buying the trailer I had to begin the task of upgrading and modifying it to make it both more suitable for the jobs we had planned but also to make it easier to quickly hitch and go. My main issues with the current design were,

  • No Lights – this meant a light board, not a problem in itself but the lack of attachment points combined to mean a questionable chain of cable ties and having to remove and reattach whenever the tailgate is used.
  • No Jockey Wheel or rear supports – again no great problem for a small trailer but when loading while not attached to the car it did tip sharply if something was placed onto the back before being slid further in. For the minimal cost these were an obvious addition.20130528-225001 20130528-224921
  • No high top cover / cage – from a storage point of view a high top more than doubles the volume of the trailer and from a security view mesh sides at least act as a deterrent to thieves.

I’ll probably write something about the lights and the high top but I think the jockey wheel is self explanatory.

Buying a trailer

Buying a trailer

I organised an event, it would be great, lots of people coming, the sun would shine but my most pressing issue was the large amount of equipment required and my lack of transportation for it. I have a big car but when loaded it filled every inch plus some, so the search began for a trailer.

I never knew that the world of trailers could be so extensive, we considered buying new or second hand (in a couple of cases second generation!), we looked at every possible length, width, height and weight but mainly looked at price.

Eventually we found a reasonable sized trailer at a great price, it was old and battered but the seller assured me it was road worthy apart from a slow puncture but it came with a spare.

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It wasn’t local but the price was good enough to justify the drive, we arrived and looked round the trailer, the wheel with a slow puncture was a 1inch rip, the spare was flat with a not so slow leak but with regular stops we could get away with it. We hitched it to the car, checked that the fitted lights were as faulty as they looked and attached our light board. All was well until we attempted to drive away, as we went over a curb at the entrance the axle parted company with the trailer. We briefly debated the options for a temporary fix but in the end had to abandon that plan.20130526-195209
Having driven some distance we decided that the best plan was a break for lunch and rethink. Thanks to the wonders of technology we were able to scour eBay for alternatives and found another trailer ending imminently close by. This was perfect we could bid on it over our dessert and collect on our way home.

 

So with a winning bid we headed off to collect and hope for better luck with this one.

 

20130526-212132All good, loaded and even did a deal on an old barrel the guy had!