Building the trailer wasn’t hard even if I didn’t know what I was doing. I think it turned out pretty well, even though I could have spent much less or added other features that I thought about afterward. I guess my best advice is to go slow and take the time to write down your ideas before you start.
After reading a number of articles about building a trailer online and decided my first purchase would be the trailer itself. I could have started acquiring the other items but I felt that I needed to see the actual base I was going to be using. The trailer came from Northern Tool and cost slightly over $500.00. I bought it online, had it delivered to the store where I later picked it up. One point, the trailer at that point has not yet been titled and you need to have Northern provide you with a bill of sale so you can get the proper title sent to you by the state you live in. Without too much fanfare, the trailer went together pretty easily with a couple of wrenches. A this point you may want to sit back and think about how you are planning to use your trailer. The wheels are not large, there are no “shocks” and the internal spring is minimal for the trailer’s listed carrying weight. I say this for anyone that wants to take it off road. You probably will need to either have a trailer built for you or at least get a new axle and wheel set. The ground clearance is plenty for road use, but might bottom out off road. Here is a picture of the trailer without the tongue attached. You will need something to support the frame while you are putting it together. .
At this time you will need to create the bottom of your trailer. There are some folks that build a frame and attach it in total to the trailer. I decided to build the trailer bottom in pieces. Here is some pictures of the framing material and how it was attached.
I built two storage compartments and dry fitted them before installing.
I attached the storage containers with screws and sealed the bottoms with metal. I wasn’t sure about the depth at the time, but figure since the compartment bottoms were higher than the axle, I shouldn’t bottom out. So, far so good, no problems on roads or in camping areas. The containers were also caulked with silicone at areas they may be exposed to the elements.
As you are putting together your trailer frame make sure you tighten the bolts slowly and work your way around. Use only self locking nuts, I used nylon centers. There is a lot of vibration on the road and you don’t want these to get lose. Once you have your frame tight and on the trailer- drilling through the trailer frame will take some time. As to the storage compartments, you can see that I basically made a box, then covered the bottom in some inexpensive roofing metal. I cut the metal with metal scissors bought from Harbor Freight. Get them, they are inexpensive and you will need them when you put on the skin.
When you are ready to install the floor, use exterior grade plywood. No sense in getting a non treated board that cannot stand up to moisture. Ask anyone at a RV center and they will tell you moisture is a huge problem with trailers. When you install your floor, make sure you also use enough screws to truly adhere the floor to the frame. As an added precaution, I painted all the wood with water proof stain on the top and covered the exposed areas with elastic coating. It can be found at pretty much any supply house and you will only need a gallon. It adheres well and forms a waterproof membrane under the trailer.
This is the first installment of the camper build. The second part of the build is sides and rear kitchen build. You can see it here: Trailer Build Two
Watch your six.