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Rated "I/A" for Immature Adult content! Stop, and close this page if you can't handle Silly, foul, and obnoxious adult content!

Intro:
This is not a common build here on this forum, but this build is part of another long term build, that has been going on for 10 years now. I feel it is fitting to share this build here, since so much of it's companion is documented on EF. This thread is as detailed as my patience has allowed. I want to be able to help others that might be searching for methods/ideas, and "how to" for much of the build. I do belong to other Overland forums, and will link this thread from them, to share with others.

About:
This trailer is a short compact, stout, capable, high clearance, Swiss army knife of a camper. It is not a popup camper, nor is it a sleep in hard shell camper. It will offer all the creature comforts those do, but in a little different fashion. This style trailer, makes you enjoy the outdoors. You cook/dine, lounge & hot shower outside, but you sleep inside a roomy insulated roof top tent, 78" off the ground.

The tow rig:

The Black Hole

The entire build for the tow rig, has always been with this build in mind, and it has been extremely difficult to keep that to myself, and why it was built the way it was. It is a purpose build, with a specific objective.

The Objective:
To be the living quarters and storage, for off the beaten path journeys yet to come.
To have everything needed to sustain myself, and a few others, out in the middle of nowhere, only accessible by unpaved trails, such as old mining roads. Hauling all the boondocking gear behind, instead of overloading the vehicle's suspension. To minimize setup and tear down times for camping, and have camping items readily accessible, whenever needed.

The trailer needs to be capable of following wherever the tow rig goes. Matching tires, axle width, and the same, if not more height clearance as the tow rig. Sleeping & shelter for 4 comfortably, sustainable cold food storage, food prep space, gas powered cooking, AC/DC power supply, and hot showers for days at a time, are all the requirements for this build.

Goal:

This is the other half of that long term build plan. I am slow at the building and fabricating process, and this will take about a year to complete. Updates will happen as the build progresses. I have entered the 7th month of the build, and expect another 3-4 months left to get it road worthy at the least. Just like anything I have done, it never ends, and improvements will happen, as I gain experience & knowledge with what works best for me.

Baby steps:

This is the first time I have ever attempted anything like this. I am bound to make mistakes, and corrections/improvements are all but a guarantee. I do have a final vision for what I want this to be, as it has been a thought process for many many years now. Please bear with me as this thread goes. Some items won't make sense until it comes to be. I am not going to tell you how things should be done. I am just sharing how I did things on this build. Agree/disagree, like it or leave it, it's mostly a learning experience by mixing what I know, and what I had to learn, to get things as I want them. Definitely not for everybody. Heck, I know I will change things down the road, as I find ways to improve on it. That is part of the fun!



Why am I building this?
I'm Tired of ground tent camping all my life. Tired of the time it takes to set up & tear down. Tired of all the tedious packing, unpacking, moving things from place to place after every trip. Plus, I don't want a motor home that can't leave the roads.
I plan on getting lost a few times, venturing out to places unknown and unseen. We live in a large, beautifully gifted geographical location on the planet. Our own back yard is filled with amazing spectacles. Places that can only be seen on dirt trails, off the beaten paths, not by roads covered in pavement, and delivery trucks. Exploring into the dark hours of the night, and setting camp in the middle of nowhere, instead of heading back. We can traverse a lot of ground this way.

Kudos:

A few friends helped with this build, and I couldn't have got as far as it is without them. Special thanks to James, Matt, Kurt, Ryan, & Jacob. You guys rock!

A warning from the author:

This thread contains: Long drawn out boring tedious explanations, Dry humor, embarrassing anecdotes, speech in the 3rd person, countless pictures, and some content is for Mature audiences. There is a little for everybody here, but be warned, this is not your typical build thread, and not from your typical builder. I am not responsible for your emotional mood swings, due to reading this material. ;)

Edit: Progress pics as of 10/15/18. Getting closer every day!

Dr washed.jpg

RTT on front pass side full view.jpg


First real use!

Camp set 1.jpg

Camp set 2.jpg

Bat wing awning up.jpg



Current specs:
Main Frame- 12'.5"L x 48"W
Whopping 25" of ground clearance with 35" tires
Fenders- 72" Long x 14.00" Wide tapered to 0.00" in front
Cabin- 48"W x 72"L x 36"H
Overall Width - 76"
Overall Height - 68" Roof Rack lowered - 78" Roof Rack lifted
Overall Height- 80" With CVT RTT stowed - 140" RTT open & rack lifted
Dry weight- 2300#'s

2"x3"x3/16" Steel Tube Frame, with 1 pc center tongue beam from front to rear.
3500 Lb Timbren Axleless Independent suspension
10" Electric brakes
35"x12.5" Goodyear MTR's w/kevlar & matching spare
15"x10" Mickey Thompson black satin aluminum wheels
Lock N Roll off road articulating Hitch
14 Ga steel cabin walls & roof
3/4" Ply floor, stained, sealed, & 5 topcoats of acrylic gloss clear
Commercial 60 Mil Waterproof TPO membrane under belly skin
12 Ga steel Fenders on Sq frame & 2" x 3/16" Round slider tubes
Spare tire mount on cabin front
16 Ga swing out 4'W x 2'D x 24"H Tapered Tongue box
16 Ga Side boxes with Tapered front compartments
Telescoping Roof rack (12") with scissor jack actuation
Two rear 31" BAL C leveling jacks & swivel plate base
Dual 5K swivel weld ring flat plate base Tongue jacks
ARK dual wheel offroad 750 HD Tongue jack
Slider system for hidden Solar panel storage
Dual 11 lb Propane tank storage mounts
Quick Disconnect Water supply
All Stainless & Aluminum hardware, where applicable

Interior:
Front compartment 48"Wx24"Lx36"H
Two side doors, and upper 12 ga shelf with expanded metal rear wall
Rear Compartment 48"Wx48"Lx36"H
3/4" PT wood flooring, custom finish, clear satin marine topcoats.
Tie downs on frame tubes
1-60W Led rear cabin, 3-10w Led front cabin
Wiring plumbed with flex and hard conduit
Split cabin with full rear cabin deck, tie down racks

Power:
Dual Group 31 MAGM deep cycle 110 AH batteries
110 shore
100W Renogy Solar
Charge:
NOCO Marine 110v 20 amp onboard Dual smart charger
30 amp Renogy Solar charger
140 amp traveling vehicle charge, via smart charge isolater
Soon to come: 40 amp-500 watt DC-DC charger from alternator

Accessories:
4 season Ripstop CVT Mt Shasta Pioneer Stargazer RTT W/ 8'x6' Annex room - Cold weather hood, Secondary rain fly, telescopic ladder Open 56″wide x 132″long x 50″high.
Oversized high density 3" thick 56" x 96" mattress. Cold weather cover, additional secondary rain fly.
Rhino Rack 8.5' Bat Wing 270* Wrap around Awning (2019 version)
5Liter - 1.5 gpm - On demand instant hot water heater
ARB/ViAir 150 psi onboard air system
Ready Welder II
Slide out Kitchen/storage- 1/2" Baltic Birch, sealed/stained/clear coats 350# slides
ICECO VL45 portable fridge/freezer - AC/DC
Custom powder coated locking Fridge slide out.
Wireless controlled winch (upper roof rack storage, rear bumper hitch receiver)
Rear door interior fold down table
Dual 11 lb propane tanks (rear fender mounted)
Marine control panel, rocker switches w/circuit breakers, 12v battery meter, Aux outlets
30 gallon fresh water tank & 3.0 gpm instant on pump w/ inline filter
Trailer Harness Connection lock box
First Aid field kit (large)
Dual Fire Extinguisher's

LED Lighting:
Front- 2-45w dual pods w/amber fogs
Sides- 4-18w pods
Rock- 4-10w blue IP 67
Cabin- 1-60w 3 setting round rear compartment ceiling fixture, 3-10w pods front compartment
Tails/brakes/turns- 30w 6" oval
Reverse- 30w 6" oval
Markers- 3w red & amber
7 pin RV trailer harness & J box

Tongue box build:
Full box tube frame & 16 ga sheet, w/plate and tube gussets
Dual battery mount tray
Red oak Shelf for Noco dual 20 amp charger, 20amp solar charger, 12v systems (3) circuit breakers, fuse panel, main power cutoff switch
3 space divider walls & front storage shelf
Gas lift struts, 2"x 3/16" thick Aluminum lid hinge
Dual SS locking paddle latch handles
Dual 4" SS louvered vents w/bug screens
Pass thru power cord outlet with weatherproof door hatch
NOCO 110v wall power plug w/ weatherproof cover
2k locking latch to frame, & dual 7/16" clevis pins to frame
5/8" spindle for swivel action, for spare tire removal/security

Paint:
Frame- Chassis saver gloss black
Cabin Exterior- Acid etch primer & Single stage Gloss Black automotive 2k urethane
Cabin Interior- SW DTM Gloss White
Side & T boxes, All doors- Urethane Epoxy primer & Single stage Gloss Black 2k Urethane
Roof rack- Chassis saver gloss black
Fenders-Acid etch primer underneath & Urethane base topside, Black Raptor liner w/grip additive

Trim: Aluminum



Lots to add to that list up there, and I will as the build progresses. :)

I hope you enjoy the thread, as much as I have enjoyed the build itself.
 


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Mbrooks420

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gmanpaint

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Side boxes:

These things was the hardest part of the entire build so far, and also took the longest, and they aren't done yet!!

These are going to completely change the look of the entire trailer once they are finished and installed. As of today (5/15/18) they are just as they are shown here, as I still have to prep, prime, and paint them to match the trailer. I still have enough of the jet black single stage to do these and one other item later on. Good thing I have the spray tools, and the know how, just don't have the spray booth for these. lol Oh well, I can make one in the garage.

First I will tell you why I made these. To purchase these already made, they are extremely expensive, and no where as tough as I can make them. I'm talking for a 36" box, made out of thin aluminum, and no interior support at all, $400 each. Go to a 48" and it is even more. There are some cheap versions out there that will fall apart quick, and they are just under $300-$350. PASS!!

I made mine with tube frames or if you will.... Roll cages! :D

Ok, so the framing starts out as 3/4"x3/4" & 1"x1"x .063" steel tube. They have 2 compartments in them. Front angled compartments have doors that open from side to side with hinges forward to the trailer. These front compartments have special components for each box being installed later on. Total length on these are 40" and 18" high. They will mount very close (3/4" short) to flush, with the top of the trailer and flush to the rear. I left just enough room to easily get my feet under them as I stand on the fenders.

Cut to length after hours of scribble drawings getting the measures needed.

Box frame tubes cut.jpg


Frames welded up

1 side box framed.jpg

2 side box framed.jpg


For the mounting of these to the main box vertical tubes, I welded in 3/4" Unistrut to the backsides. These will be bolted threw the Unistrut, and completely threw the vertical frame tubes at 4 locations, using 7/16" hardware. The added bonus of using the Unistrut, is they make tons of cool attachments for these. I used the sliding nut inserts to use for eye bolts. I can move these side to side by simply loosening by hand, reposition, and tighten back up. Why eye bolts? So I can use straps to secure cargo. :) They also got started with skins using primed sheet metal. They are plug welded together.

back skin and unistrut bolts on.jpg


The door openings have 1/8" flat stock going all around for stops and for weather strip. It is important to have the flat stops on the backside of the frames. The edge of the flat is needed for the handle catch, and also to allow for an insulation strip gap. You can see the angle iron welded in for a shelf. I have decided to just use lumber for the shelving. Easily replaceable, and offers a softer surface for quietness, and mounting items simply. Drilling holes into the angle to allow bolts for the shelving, and using cam bolt inserts to the shelf is the mounting plan.

top and bottom skinned.jpg


Door frames made with 1/2"x1/2" tube, and skinned.

doors skinned.jpg


Still have to add the bottom panel and the shelf, than cut the door skins for the handles, and get the mount tabs inside the trailer box welded in.

These will take a lot of man hours to prep for paint, but I am cheap labor at least. lol
 




gmanpaint

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Battery Box mount:

So for the main power supply, I have dual group 31 MAGM 115 AH units. These will reside inside the tongue box. A plethora of other items will be attached to these. They are heavy at 50 lbs each. They need to be secured safely, and this is the mount for them, for now. I might change this up down the road, but this is what I have for the time being. I seen something similar to this going for $250, and thought, ya know, I can build this for way less.

Base is 1" tube

Battery tray frame.jpg


1/8" plate tray with slotted angle sides, and bolt tabs

Battery tray built.jpg

All welded up and painted

Batt tray under.jpg

Rubber pad on the tray, and the top clamp mount.

Batt box tray and lid.jpg


Both batteries in for mock up fitment and some fine tuning

Batt box side.jpg

Batt box front.jpg


More to come soon, that's all for today. :)
 




traveler

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Looks great! Very anxious to see the ongoing story of its completion.
 




CDW6212R

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I love the big batteries, more juice is always good/better. If you have time, I'd spend extra and powder coat the battery tray base. It will corrode after many years, eventually.
 




toypaseo

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Nice work :thumbsup:
 








gmanpaint

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Don, I am most likely going to replace the battery tray at some point, with an aluminum type. There is a big aftermarket for these, and I am taking my time shopping for the right price when it comes along. This one will get me by for now, as the way I am making the tongue box for them, it won't matter to change them up.

Those batteries at full charge will last me for days before they need topped off again. I will have means to recharge them while Boondocking, on the move, and by shore.

Thanks guys! Appreciate the Kudo's! :)
 




Rick

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It looks cool and well made, but is it big enough to sleep in or is it just to haul everything plus the kitchen sink out to the boonies:dunno: Just hard to get a sense of scale from the photos.
 




gmanpaint

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It looks cool and well made, but is it big enough to sleep in or is it just to haul everything plus the kitchen sink out to the boonies:dunno: Just hard to get a sense of scale from the photos.

You don't sleep in it, you sleep on top of it. :thumbsup:

Interior is for gear storage, power, and a full kitchen with fridge/sink/stovetops, etc...

If anybody wants to see what it will look like after it's done, do a search for Turtleback Trailers. It will be very close to that, including ALL the accessories.
 




Rick

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Now I get it :D
 




Mbrooks420

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What kind of water capacity is it gonna have?
 




CDW6212R

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Nice. Funny Rick, I just imagined fitting inside one of those compartments to sleep, LOL.
 




gmanpaint

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What kind of water capacity is it gonna have?

No less than 25 gals. No more than 40 gals. I have to be somewhat mindful, of all the weight going into it, for towing off/on road with it.

There is a ton of RV fresh water tanks to choose from, and I will know better later on in the build.
 




Mbrooks420

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Sounds reasonable.
 




traveler

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A turtleback... you mean like this?
turtleback.jpg

hehehe Sorry, couldn't resist.. :)

Obviously I did look up turtleback trailers. Very nice, though from the ones I've seen that were upside down, (hehe) they aren't built as well as yours is.
 








gmanpaint

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Thanks Mike, just what I needed to see. lol

Yes I am Jack, I'm old now. I'm going exploring as much as I can, before I croak. I'm done with the Off road crawling parks, and the crazy. You younger guys can have it all. :thumbsup:

I need to rephrase that....
Well, maybe not completely done with them, but I'm pretty much done with the small beat your rig up parks around me. I have only been using them for testing grounds after major mods lately, and will still use them for that I guess. National parks are what I am wanting to see these days. Still into wheeling, just not into the hardcore wooded park crawling with mud for a few blocks at a time. Mountain passes and valley's, Desert's and lakes, trails that go for hundreds of miles. Yeah, relaxing stuff with scenery. Tired of taking hours to set up & tear down camp, tired of all the exhausting packing, and do not want a large camper trailer that can't follow me up the rocky passes to get up & over 14,000 ft Mountains. This will take care of all of that for me.
 


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traveler

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Couldn't agree more. When I'm offroad, in 4WD, I want a destination... a goal and place to go. Thats why I'm enoying AZ so much. I can have day trips that actually do have a purpose other than to put the truck in 4WD. I can search for abandoned mines, ghost towns, caves, etc. So getting there is 1/2 (well... 2/3) the fun.

And of course with a small trailer like yours the search could go on for days. I'm working on a drive from my home to my in-laws cabin in the mountains (Overgaard AZ) using only trails, and paths. While its a 2.5 hour drive via highway, it could take a couple days via trails.
 




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