Building a trailer

Been thinking of building my own trailer because I need one and enjoy
building.
One question by the way, would it be stupid to put a dovetail and a
fold down gate on a 10 foot trailer? And if I did have a dovetail,
when calculating the axle placement using the 60/40 rule, do you
consider the dovetail in terms of the total length?
Reply to
stryped
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Most 10' trailers tilt instead of dovetail. It'll eat into your flat bed surface.
As far as axle placement, you want 10-15% of the total weight of the trailer on the tongue. If it's too light, it will tow like crap. Use that rule for load placement, too.
John
Reply to
johnnytorch
Only if it's made of mahogany. For a trailer, I'd use teak.
Steve
Reply to
SteveB
What is a good way to tilt it? Most of the time I will just be hauling gravel and things, but one in a blue moon I might have to haul my 8N for repair or something.Not sure how well a tilt bed will work in that cause.
I would like to make it longer but dont think I have scrounged enough medal to make it any longer than 10 feet 6 inches.
By the way, what is the best way to determine that tongue weight? I wont know how heavy it is until it is built. How do I determin tongue weight on it? Is it possible to have too much tongue weight?
Reply to
stryped
I was under the impression that you were building a utility trailer. It sounds like you need an equipment trailer. I wouldn't suggest building an equipment trailer as your first trailer. The stresses are much larger in critical areas. Better to make a design mistake hauling a lawn mower than a 5000# load.
As far as tongue weight, you can tell by looking at it with experience. Here's a guide:
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When I built my trailer, I took numerous photos and measurements on existing trailers & built mine to meet my size needs.
The dexter website is helpful with running gear info.
Reply to
John L. Weatherly
What is a good way to tilt it? Most of the time I will just be hauling gravel and things, but one in a blue moon I might have to haul my 8N for repair or something.Not sure how well a tilt bed will work in that cause.
I would like to make it longer but dont think I have scrounged enough medal to make it any longer than 10 feet 6 inches.
By the way, what is the best way to determine that tongue weight? I wont know how heavy it is until it is built. How do I determin tongue weight on it? Is it possible to have too much tongue weight?
I would recommend tilting the tongue. Let the bed of the trailer tilt on the axle. Attach the tongue on a pivot as near the axle as practical, and have a very sturdy attach method (releasable) at the front of the trailer bed. Tongue works best when built as a large "V" or wishbone.
Reply to
Maxwell
.
I am needing a utility trailer mostly. However it would be nice to "once a year" or less haul my 1943 Ford 8N tractor if I ever needed to. (probably never will). It weights 2, 500 lbs.
I have available some metal at work I can buy at scrap price. However, it is beffy 4x4 1/4 inch square tubing. Is this too heavy to build a 6 fott by 10 foot trailer? Can I weld it with my Lincoln AC welder 225 amps?
I really appreciate your help and sorry for the questions. I just have so many even after I have looked at hundreds of trailers and read a few books.
Reply to
stryped
guide:
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What sort of lengths can you get?
4x4 x1/4 is going to be very beefy. But from your post on RCM you can get a heck of good price on it.
For the length, I don't think a dove tail makes much sense. But fold down ramps, or a gate might be handy.
Your welder should be more than adequate for the job. But are you?
What are you planning on for a deck surface? Diamond plate, or wood, or?
Any way to source something lighter (say 1x3x1/8) for cross stringers? And then sheet the whole thing with steel diamond plate. Or lay planking the length. I wouldn't worry too much about building a tilt bed. Depending on your axles, you should be able to build the deck pretty close the ground. Adding the tilt can be a lot of work. And given this is your first trailer, try to keep it simple.
A low deck car trailer I built years ago is low enough that I rarely use ramps to load onto it. Usually I can find enough of a rise in the area to just drive onto the trailer. I think the deck is around 12" off the ground. No beavertail.
JW
Reply to
jw
e:
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I was thinking of wood to cut down on weight. I think I have second guessed the dovetail.
Maybe no back but portable ramps.
Would a 3500 lb axle be heavy enough or should it be more since this thing will weight alot because of the steel?
Admittantly, the most thing this will be used for is hauling river gravel to mulch around my house. Maybe trees. But I would like to be able to put my tractor on it in case I ever needed to.
There are 8 10 foot sections I believe. I think I can get it all for 80 bucks.
Reply to
stryped
guide:
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The steel you have is pretty close to 10 lb/ft. (pull out a book to get the exact number).
If you used three full lengths, and used the same for cross stringers you would need 30 ft for rails + 36 ft for the cross stringers.(2ft centers) The 14 ft you have left would be pretty good for a decent A frame tongue. That gives you 800lb in frame. The deck shouldn't be too bad. 2x planking it will weigh around 175 lbs.
So say your total trailer weight is 1000#. Since you carry some of your load on the tongue... A 3500# axle should be good for ~2900 lbs of payload capacity in this configuration.
Certainly meets your needs. And a 6x10 trailer built completely out of 4x4x1/4 is going to be stiffer than heck. You won't have to worry about bending it.
Disclaiimer: This is all napkin math, and not just a heck of a lot of thought put into it. 2 ft centers is probably overkill. You can probably get away with a wider spacing given your materials. Wider spacing would reduce weight. Also, much lighter material could be used for your cross stringers. Further dropping weight. I would venture it should be possible to drop the trailer weight to 750# pretty easily without giving up any capacity. 2x3x3/16 is 5.59lb/ft. That would drop 160#. Better spacing might drop 1 or 2 stringers so there's another 70# maybe.
JW
Reply to
jw
Thanks, this helps alot! Would you use angle 2x2 x 1/4 as cross stingers instead? (I would have to buy it and it is about 66 bucks a stick.
What about the weight of the axle, etc?
Would I have to have electric brakes?
My main concern is getting a trailer as cheaply as I can that will service my needs for many years. (I tend to keep stuff).
Part of me wondered about going ahead and building a 16 foot dual axle, but I would have to weld two of the 10 foot pieces togther.
Reply to
stryped
guide:
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2x2x1/4 Angle is 3.19 lb/ft so that would be good. Correction on the 4x4x1/4. Its 12.5 lb/ft. (I have my handbook with me now)
Recalculating some then. 375# for the rails. Another 175# for the tongue. 150# for the end stringers. The remaining stringers at 76# (using angle). Total = 776 (pretty close to where we were).
Do you have a drop axle or a straight axle? Are you planning on suspension? (I didn't on my car trailer and it saves you several inches of height).
You wouldn't have to have brakes, but it depends on what you are towing with. Having brakes and not wiring them isn't a bad idea. If you need them later, you can hook them up.
Honestly, what I would do? Buy 2x4x1/8 for the side rails and 1x3x1/8 for the cross stringers. The heavy wall 4x4 weighs a lot, and the extra thickness really does little for you. For such a short trailer, 2x3 might even be enough for the side rails.
The idea of making it a 16' is a good one. Welding two pieces together is not a big deal. And you could buy some of the 2x2 angle to build a cradle at the joint and join the axles to it. It would be a very strong joint. The heavy wall will do you some good on the length, but it's still going to be a stiff trailer. My 16' doesn't flex a lot over it's length, even end loading the trailer with the Bobcat.
I hesitate to give you much more advice as I'm getting close to designing this thing for you, not that I can't I just don't want the responsibility of my suggestions becoming something more than that. As Iggy suggested, put up some drawings and allow comment. Plenty of knowledgeable people here.
JW
Reply to
jw

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