Monday, August 31, 2015

Step 1: Getting the trailer in good shape.

So the old trailer was never going to make for a trip to Brisbane with the cherub on top at the end of the year.  The rust holes were getting bigger and patch jobs weren't cutting it anymore.

My old man first built the trailer nearly 30 years ago, which it has served our family well.  So i also wanted to make something that would last as long.  I looked at some of the cheap trailers on ebay, which were mostly just painted steel.  These cant be expected to last much more than 10 years left outside in the weather think my one was.  The galvanized versions of these, still had the thin tie down rails or low sides or short draw bars.  So i decided to build my own.

Building it myself allowed me to make a nice long draw bar which allows the cherub to fit forward over the draw bar, reducing the amount of overhang out the back.  I also drive a 4WD with bard doors at the back so i need as much room between the bowsprite and the door as possible.  (plus long draw bars make a trailer easier to reverse)

I made the frame 50x50x3mm steel box section, with 2mm steel chequerplate sides and floor.  Everything was TIG welded as its the only welder I own.

I used a drill press to put 15mm holes through all the ends of each section to allow for the trailer to be hot dipped galvanized.  I learnt a handy trick afterwards which was to cut a "V" out of the end of each bit of box section with a angle grinder, instead of drilling holes as it is far easier and quicker.  It also allows for a bigger opening to allow liquid zinc to flow in and out.

I used the same axle from the old trailer which I cleaned up, reinforced some old welds and repainted.

The tie rails were 20x20x2mm so that ratchet strap hooks would still fit around them, while the rest of the frame work was 25x25x2mm.  The whole trailer took me about 6 months to weld together, which was a lot longer than i expected it would take.

I got the trailer galvanized through a local trailer builder.  All up the trailer weighed 280 kg after galvansing and cost me $700 for the galvanizing and about $200 in labour at the trailer place to strip the axles off, then re-fit them when it returned.  So all up i spent about $450 on steel and $900 on galvanizing.

Another handy trick i had seen was to use an old hub as a spare wheel mount.  Even better was to weld on a stub axle and use a complete working hub with bearings to mount the spare wheel.  You then have a spare hub and bearings that goes with the trailer as well.  There have been a few times on trips with various trailers that we have lost a wheel, which has chewed out the studs when it came off, always handy to have some spare studs.

 Shortly after i started on a lid for the trailer.  I wanted to be able to get to the stuff underneath while the boat was ontop.  So i decided to hinge it from the side and use gas struts to hold it up.  The LED tail lights were $20 each from whitworths and was pretty happy with the quality.

In the bottom of the image below you can see the hinges that i have used have a clevis pin as the hinge.  This means they can be easily removed without tools to allow the trailer to be used for other things.  Although having a flat surface on the top is super handy for transporting sheets of material or anything large.  The plastic strip is just a trimmed down trailer slid from whitworths for about $10 and makes it a lot easier to slide the cherub on its aluminium dolly up onto the trailer by yourself.

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