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My Offroad trailer build.


NAXJA Forum User
Atlanta, Georgia
My Offroad trailer build. A picture story (LOTS of pics)

This is pretty much copy and pasted from Expedtion portal, but figured I would show it off here.

There will be lots of pics, so give me a few minutes to upload.


Alrighty. This started about 4 months ago when we moved back to the states. I have been wanting to build a trailer for camping/expo travel/and untility service for quite a while. I had a 1999 5x8 enclosed trailer that I used for my old R/C boat business a few years ago. It was no longber being used for the boat business, so I decided to use it as a base since I already owned, had a title for it, and a tag/registration for it.

I could have probably sold the little trailer for 600-800 bucks, and started to build a trailer from scratch, but then I would have had to deal with titleing, registering etc, not to mention I saved a lot of time and effort by having the main frame already tried and tru and ready.

It currently has 3500lb torsion suspenion, and 15 inch wheels, but that will all get scrapped. I am going to run a leaf spring suspension, probably something like a Samurai spring for a better ride than the typical stiff and short trailer springs. Just a normal front hanger and rear shackle set-up with decent shocks. 31x10.50 r15 Cooper STT's (since I already have one that is new), and some cragar soft 8's to match my Jeep.

I wont try to describe the whole 'plan' thing at this point, but will update along with the pictures as I go.










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I left the rear stock post on the trailer as they are a very stout piece and will tie in nicely with my plan. I will tie in the framing with these post, and will have a tailgate that will go where the old rear doors would have normally gone. It will be recessed nicely. this material is 3/16 thick, so its quite strong with this shape.
So, I picked up all the steel sheeting I needed to complete the trailer this week, and already have the floor welded in. I also picked up 95% of the tubing I needed to complete it as well. I am actually using the trailer tomorrow to deliver a couch to my wifes sister in Birmingham, and on the way back I am picking up my axle.

I found a Dexter 3500 pound solid axle with 10inch electric brakes on the same bolt pattern as my Jeep, 5 x 4.5. Its never been mounted. It also comes with leaf springs, but I dont think I will be using them as they are too short for anything but a seriously bouncy ride. I still havent decided on suspension setup for it, so I need to figure that out.

Got the new axle from him for $100 bucks, with electric brakes, thats a STEAL!

Stock photo of basically what I am getting.


I need to unbolt this torsion axle and try to sell it, anybody need one? I thinking craigslist should do the trick. Maybe with that sale I can get my wheels and tire.

I basically have a lot of work to do in the next few weeks! Thats a good thing, because I was running out of stuff to do....

Just a few pics from when I put the floor down. I had to do it in a hurry since I needed the trailer. I need to flip the trailer and weld the underside, but its solid. The 14 guage is quite tough.

Now that I have a couple other project finished up around the house, I will do some more work on this over the next couple days.

You can see the axle I picked up. Unfortunately the old man I got it from doesnt know how to operate a tape measure, so I will need to narrow it three inches on each side. Not a huge deal, just kind of a pain.

Lastly, I am making a two link trailing arm setup with a panhard/trackbar. It will be used in conjuction with airbags, and shocks. Should work quite nicely. I have the arms already done, but I am waiting on the bushings. Just cant bring myself to put leaf springs on this thing since the loads carried will vary greatly... the airbags will be nice to adjust.





So this is my progress today. Got outside at about 8:30, and came inside about 4pm. Got quite a bit accomplished today for someone who doesnt know what they are doing.









Got the main frame built for the lid, ground it down smooth, and will throw the sheet on it tomorrow and build a couple hinges.




I am pretty sure this is how it will open. I want my tent to open with the ladder side right over the toungue area of the trailer, and if I measured right, it should work. This will have my tent slid all the way to the front of the lid, and I will make a small roof rack/basket area on the rear for hauling things (bulky stuff, firewood etc). I am going to make two Jerry can holders for each of the rear quarter sections, and one mount for a propane tank on the front quarter. Ill get there eventually!

Got a little more work done today, and need to update from last thursday with the lid. I got the lid mounted, and made the rear cargo basket area. I also got the rails on for the RTT. I just threw the RTT on top to see how it all lines up, and so far so good. I wanted the RTT a little higher than normal since I have big hands and it helps to have room under the perimeter of the tent when trying to zip on the cover. Shouldnt be a problem anymore. I need to get a new cover from Fernando, as this one (the old thin style) is trashed.

RTT is just sitting there, not bolted down. It will open over the tongue of the trailer.

Need to get the gas lift struts for the lid. Got it all figured out, just need to find a few bucks.

Today, I spent about 4 hours making a couple loackable Jerry can holders. I am happy with them, and they will certainly do the job. For not having a sheetmetal break (brake?), it turned out pretty sweet.

I will probably make the spare holder, and a propane tank on the other side.








Got a little more work done. Most of this 'little' stuff takes more time thatn anything else... but anyway.

I mentioned in an earlier post that the axle I picked up was too wide. I didnt know this until I got home. I took the sellers word for the measurement he gave me before picking it up, but apparently he is not familiar with how a tape measure works. So, I cut everything loose today and narrowed it 2.5" from each side. I couldnt just cut and sleeve it in the middle since it has the built in camber/bend in the middle and I would like to keep that feature, so I took it off of each end. The spindles are machined to fit snuggly inside of the axle tube then welded, and the brake flange is just welded to the spindle. So, I used the chop saw to get the inside cut square, then I managed to chuck the spindle up in my little lathe and turn down the remaining stub of the axle tubing. so it fits back inside the axle tube. Was a LOT of work for my little lathe, but it got it done. Would have taken 10 minutes in a full size lathe, I spent an hour on each spindle....

Got it all welded back up nice a solid, and repositioned the springs pads where they were supposed to be for my build.

Re-greased all of the wheel bearings and seals, adjusted the brakes, and torqued everything down. Its ready to be bolted on, but I am still waiting on the bushings for the control arms.








Next up, I fabbed up a mount for my propane bottle, and added a simple little spare tire holder.

The propane mount holds a full size 16.6 pound (everyone calls them 20 pounders) propane bottle that you can swap out/find just about anywhere without worrying about trying to find a place to fill the fancy little 5 pounders. That, and it lasts a long time...

Just got to mount the securing turbuckles, and its done.









Lastly, I whipped up a simple little sprae tire holder for the front side of the trailer. I had a section of 1.5 x 1.5 x .25wall left over from my suspension arms, and just decided to weld it strait to the front frame area of the trailer. I cut apart an old Unit Bearing/Hub from my Jeep and used the mount flange as the spare holder. Just welded it straight to the tubing and its ridiculously strig at this point, so I think itll be fine. I can cut it off and re-do if I need to later, but for now the KISS method seems like it will work.

This is about the only place I have that will hold the tire (31x10.50) and not get in the way of anything.



Got quite a bit of work done over the past couple weeks. Thecamera batteries were dead for while, so I didnt get many of the suspension and water tank install while it was upside down, but you should be able to get the gist of it with the below pictures.

I decided to go ahead and build a custom suspension for it. I used my solid axle that I narrowed, and made a trailing arm set-up with a panhard bar. I used 1.5 (.25 wall) square tubing for the arms, and 1.5 round DOM for the panhard bar. Greaseable poly joints on the arms, and the trackbar/panhard, and everything is in double shear. I used firestone airbags that I had left over from my tacoma. Between making all of the various brackets, machining a few parts, and making/installing the water tank, tank skid, water pump and plumbing, this took an enture weeks worth of work. I still have to bolt on shocks, and should get those finished this week. I also have to track down an airleak in the airbags plumbing since it looses a few pounds overnight. Other than those few things, the bottom is finished, and I have already painted it with rubberized underbody coating.






I decided to also make my own tounge box, since I couldnt find the perfect size I needed. This was a fairly easy job, although it took the best part of a day. I have plenty of room for my electrical stuff, including a battery or two. There is a rubber seal that goes around the lid after its all painted.







I also oredered, recieved and installed two 250lb gas struts for the lid.

Got it figured out on the 3rd try, and it works like a champ!





I was also playing around with the tent deployment, and I think it should work perfectly once I get the old standard ball hitch off of the tongue, and my receiver installed. I will be moving the screw jack back a little as well to clear the ladder.
Got some more work done today on the trailer. I made up the rear tailgate using 1 inch square tubing, and sheeted the front side and backside. I will be using this as a table space when camping, so I needed a nice flat surface on both side. I got the hinges on, and latch pins in place, but still need to install the hardware that will hold the tailgate up. I am just using some support cables from a tacoma pickup truck tailgate. Simple, effective, and free. They are also easily removable for if/when I need to take the gate off. I just have to un-clip the two support cables, and pull the hinge pins.




I also installed the two latch pins for the lid, and will use hitch pins to hold the tailgate and lid shut. There will be a locking twist latch that connects both the lid, and the tailgate in the center to deter theives. I will only use the lock when I am on the road or have to stay over night where the trailer will be un-attended.

Lastly, I got the driver side fender framed out and skinned. I still have to do a little caulk work, and add the clearance lights on top, but its finished on the left side. I am picking up my other tire tomorrow, so I will be able to turn the trailer around and do the other fender hopefully tomorrow. After I finish the other fender, and do a few little odds and ends stuff, the bulk of the fabrication will be done! However, I still need to cut off the standard hitch, and install a receiver, and add an adjustable height awning mount. I will do the awning mount soon, but the hitch will wait until after its first shakedown run next weekend.


Getting it framed out






Persuading the sheetmetal to do what I want it to do.


Got it all sewn up.





Got a few more things done on the trailer, and managed to hook it up to my Jeep and drag it outside so I could clean up the shop.

Looks great to me!!!!!! Nice to see all of the hard work and effort turn into something I will hopefully use for years.

Still have quite a long checklist of things to do before its 'finished', but its getting there.










Got the awning system mounted, and it actually works really well so far. Pretty simple but sturdy.

Also found a place to mount my extra shovel and Hi-lift



Rises up to a normal height of 6'3", but has one more notch to take it up to 6'6" for when Bill is around.



Just a little picture show of my first shakedown run with the trailer this past weekend.

everything worked very well, and I am very happy with how it pulls. no swaying, bouncing or anything crazy. Handles the big bumps better than my Jeep!

I have a few things to change, but its all minor stuff like tie down placement, and a few things with the tounge, and rear jack/stabilizer system. Overall, I was VERY happy to have this thing. SOOOO nice not to have to break down camp to go trail riding and exploring, and even nicer to be able to throw EVERYTHING into the back of the trailer when it was time to go home. Plenty of room and then some!









Chips95's conqueror


Hilldwellers conqueror:

Forgot to post these pics here... I finally got around to putting some paint on this thing about a month ago. Used Dupont epoxy primer, single stage dupont Acrylic Enamel for the white, and Herculiner on all the black stuff including the fenders, tongue/box, and inside the tub. I think it turned out pretty sweet for a 'driveway' paint job over a couple days...

Still finishing up the wiring between trips, but its almost 100%. I have camped in it 4 times now, and everything works like a dream. One of the best things I have ever built for sure.



Just wanted to update my build thread, got the trailer 98% wired up over the past 3 days. Took longer than I anticipated, but everything turned out nice and neat, and I am happy with it.

Ultimately, I had to wire in my 12volt DC aux circuits, 110 volt AC circuits, finish the trailer lights, and everything involved with doing that.

I have (5) 110volts duplex outlets, two on the front tongue box, two on the rear of the trailer, and one inside the RTT, all powered by an 800 watt inverter located in the tongue box.

I have (3) 12 volt cigarette lighter type outlets, one on the tongue box (full time hot, 15 amp) one in the rear of the trailer, and one in the RTT.

I am using a Schumacher Smart Charger for the shore power duties.

On to the pics:

These are just a few poser shots in the driveway, figured I would take a few since the jeep was clean. :)




The weather proof box on the rear of the trailer, housing two duplex outlets, and a 12 volt socket (you cant see the 12v socket, but its below the box.


This is the business side of the tongue box.

Upper left: Just fabbed up a little toggle switch/fuse holder/12 volt socket plate, and screwed it to the box using stainless self tapping screws. I also put a bead of silicone around the plate to ensure no water can get in behind it. I am in the process of making labels for the switches. From left to right the switches are for, tongue box lights (LED's), RTT power (LED lights, and 12 volt socket), 12 volt aux plug/kitchen lights, and finally, main power to the shurflo pump.

Bottom left: Another weather proof box that houses two duplex outlets for 110volt power.

Right: Shore power power-cord housing, weather proof box.


Inside the box.

Pretty self explanatory, junction blocks, wires, battery, inverter, and charger. The battery is a Optima Yellow Top, and when the trailer is hooked to the jeep with the 7 pin plug, I have two batteries to use for the trailer accessories since I have a dual battery set-up on the jeep, all while keeping my starter battery separate from the whole system.

Everything is sealed with silicone, or uses a water proof type rubber fitting. Its fairly water tight, but probably not 100%. Long-term submersion is all I would have to worry about.




This is my water station, the blue thing is the fill hole for the 16 gallon water tank located underneath, right in front of the axle. I have a quick disconnect coily water hose that I put together from parts from Home Depot, and another power switch for the pump. Its kind of redundant with two switches, but I figure its a little bit of a safety factor, so I went with it.


Here it is in action, I decided to scrap my old recirculation pump idea, and just buy a new ShurFlo pump. It is SOOO much easier, and seems to be a great little set-up. Puts out a surprising amount of pressure also.


Here is the Kitchen lights/auxilliary plug I wired in. It uses a Deans style plug, rated at 40 amps (although the circuit is wired for 10amps), and I use it primarily for my LED strip that I incorporated into my kitchen set-up. makes cooking a breeze in the dark! I can also use this plug for virtually any other 12 volt accessory I choose, fans, lights, etc etc.

You can also see where the wiring for everything else goes into the RTT.


I say 98% wired because I still have to wire up the electric brakes in the jeep, and on the trailer.

the trailer is pretty much done with major work, except for re-doing the tongue area to accept a receiver style MAX coupler, and moving the jack back a little to allow a proper angle on the RTT ladder. Few little things here and there, but she is basically finished!

~ Stump