Trailer Suggestions to Start With

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xGw2psrp

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Chicago
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Mike
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I'm interested to get started with the first steps of building a trailer, but I'm looking for ideas for a good foundation....a 'starter trailer' that I can build up. I get the feeling that the utility trailers commonly found online, at harbor freight, and northern tool are all the same generic ones. When looking at them, I get the impression that the wheels and axles need to be replaced for highway and offroad driving. I don't want to make my own because I have a cheap 110v flux core welder and just about zero experience. I also don't want to have to deal with any issues trying to get a plate for it.

I get the feeling that many people buy one of these utility trailers and end up replacing the axle with something else. Does anybody have an idea if something better exists that can be purchased and is of decent quality?
 

Gr8 Hortoni

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154
Whitehall, Michigan, USA
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Horton
The Carry-on trailers Lowe’s sells seem to be very popular. You may need some frame reinforcement, but they seem to be a good base to work from. The 3.5’x5’ and 4’x6’ both come with a 2k dexter idler axle on leaf springs. Do an axle flip for extra height to start, upgrade to a torsion or Timbren down the lone and build it how you want as you go. Those are the options I’m debating as well.
 
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xGw2psrp

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Chicago
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Mike
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Thanks for the information. I did see these but wrote them off as they looked like the HF ones at first glance. I didn't know they came with 2k axles and leaf springs. I suppose it's something to keep my eyes on.
 

old_man

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Congrats on starting your build. I recommend at least a 2k axle. Check what bolt pattern it is. Small tires are not feasible for a true offroad trailer. Try and get one that matches your vehicle to allow you to share a spare.
 

Gr8 Hortoni

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Traveler I

154
Whitehall, Michigan, USA
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Michael
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Horton
Thanks for the information. I did see these but wrote them off as they looked like the HF ones at first glance. I didn't know they came with 2k axles and leaf springs. I suppose it's something to keep my eyes on.
They are a welded frame vs the HF being bolt together. They do only have an angular frame vs a boxed frame, but that should be easily strengthened. Definitely a step above the northern and HF trailer.
 
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TahoePPV

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I built a teardrop on a bolt together trailer kit. I modified the length which gave me ideal axle placement for it. But I’m paying for it now. I can’t upgrade to a timbren setup due to the way I made the frame mod. It’s entirely adequate for the slipper leaf springs and very light dirt use. overall I have 25,000 or so highway miles on it in 13 years.

if I were doing it again, I’d have a custom trailer built to order then go from there. Get brakes or at least the backing plates on the axle while you’re at it.
 
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socal geek guy

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researching teardrops and enclosed trailers, it seems like you'd want to go bigger than the 2000 lbs dexter axle. sound like they're not very durable for off road type stuff. here's an example, skip to 11:43 for the part about the axle.


good luck with your search, hopefully you find something that fits what your needs are.
 
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xGw2psrp

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60
Chicago
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Mike
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While I am a seasoned fabricator, I could have done everything with a 120v HF welder and a cut off wheel.

old_man's Offroad Teardrop Trailer Build Thread | OVERLAND BOUND COMMUNITY
That's the welder I have, but I am by far a seasoned fabricator with metal. I've worked with wood plenty of times, but I would rather have a company build it than me. Especially if it's something that's going to be on the road and away from home, where I could repair it. BTW, I stumbled upon your thread yesterday and great work!
 

xGw2psrp

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Traveler I

60
Chicago
First Name
Mike
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W
researching teardrops and enclosed trailers, it seems like you'd want to go bigger than the 2000 lbs dexter axle. sound like they're not very durable for off road type stuff. here's an example, skip to 11:43 for the part about the axle.


good luck with your search, hopefully you find something that fits what your needs are.
Thanks for the video. This is the exact reason why I'm looking and asking. This is the last thing I want to happen to me. I think teardrops come in around 2k pounds, even built. It looks like whatever you buy, you're going to have to upgrade the axle to something heavier.

It looks like that Lowes trailer may be the best thing that's widely available and easy to pickup and register. I was hoping for something a bit beefier but I'm not sure you're going to find it.
 

TahoePPV

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I would upgrade away from a 2000# axle just to get the bigger bearings. Timbren will do a “2,000#” axle which actually uses the 3,500# stubs including bigger bearings and brakes. The rubber cushion is the lighter unit in case your trailer really is not 3,500#. You get the softer ride but the benefits of the better axle.
 

smritte

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I hit a "surprise" rut and bent the spindle on my #3500 axle. I'm chocking it up as a fluke. Most of the "of-road" trailer builds in my opinion are not done correctly. You shouldn't build a street trailer, throw off road tires on it and call it off road. Smooth dirt and paved wont be an issue. Normal, rarely graded dirt roads, vibrate the crap out of things.

First ask yourself what you plan on doing and where. Out here the ground is mostly volcanic. Think sharp rocks. Street tires don't do well even on dirt roads here.

There's a company (Dinoot?) that makes fiberglass tubs to bolt on a HF frame. If the Lows is the same dimensions and better then there you go. Over all the weight is low enough to handle most situations. If you wanted a starter trailer and found a good frame/axle, that's a bolt together. Upgrade the tires and there you go. Personally, I wont have a trailer of any weight without brakes so now your upgrading the axle.
 

TahoePPV

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Buda, TX, USA
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Rex
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Drake
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I hit a "surprise" rut and bent the spindle on my #3500 axle. I'm chocking it up as a fluke. Most of the "of-road" trailer builds in my opinion are not done correctly. You shouldn't build a street trailer, throw off road tires on it and call it off road. Smooth dirt and paved wont be an issue. Normal, rarely graded dirt roads, vibrate the crap out of things.

First ask yourself what you plan on doing and where. Out here the ground is mostly volcanic. Think sharp rocks. Street tires don't do well even on dirt roads here.

There's a company (Dinoot?) that makes fiberglass tubs to bolt on a HF frame. If the Lows is the same dimensions and better then there you go. Over all the weight is low enough to handle most situations. If you wanted a starter trailer and found a good frame/axle, that's a bolt together. Upgrade the tires and there you go. Personally, I wont have a trailer of any weight without brakes so now your upgrading the axle.
What you said about tires not making it “off road”!

Dinoot will also make a frame for you. I was almost ready to pull a trigger on that, when I had a 95# overland hound join the family. No way I can lift her into a rtt. Lol.
 

xGw2psrp

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Chicago
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Mike
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I was almost ready to pull a trigger on that, when I had a 95# overland hound join the family. No way I can lift her into a rtt. Lol.
Well------that's another problem for me too. It's been a year since we've been to the vet, but my guess is she's at least 100#. It's a chore to get her into the car...I can't imagine figuring some way to get her into a RTT. Elevator?
 
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TahoePPV

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Well------that's another problem for me too. It's been a year since we've been to the vet, but my guess is she's at least 100#. It's a chore to get her into the car...I can't imagine figuring some way to get her into a RTT. Elevator?
Lol

ive seen a few that had a tent on the rig itself use a ramp to get the hound up to the hood, then they just walk up the windshield to a window on the side of the tent. That doesn’t lend itself to a trailer as well.
 
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Billiebob

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I'm interested to get started with the first steps of building a trailer, but I'm looking for ideas for a good foundation....a 'starter trailer' that I can build up. I get the feeling that the utility trailers commonly found online, at harbor freight, and northern tool are all the same generic ones. When looking at them, I get the impression that the wheels and axles need to be replaced for highway and offroad driving. I don't want to make my own because I have a cheap 110v flux core welder and just about zero experience. I also don't want to have to deal with any issues trying to get a plate for it.

I get the feeling that many people buy one of these utility trailers and end up replacing the axle with something else. Does anybody have an idea if something better exists that can be purchased and is of decent quality?
Forget the generic bolt together Lowes, Harbour Freight style. Go to a trailer manufacturer, retail sales outlet and get a welded fully built trailer. I started with a Mirage I used for work. And specced it with a 3500# axle and 15" wheels. With 100K work miles on it it is still like new. All I did was an axle flip.

This is a 5x10, they make a 4x6 too,

DSC_0138.jpeg
 
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wigsajumper

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Enthusiast I

874
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If you can find one in decent shape the old m416 and Bantam t3c trailers make for a rugged camping trailer. Depending on your Tow Vehicle you might be able to use one of the new military trailers designed to be pulled by the HUMVEE the m1101 or 1102

IMG_20200523_180838_1.jpg