Adventure trailer build thread. | Page 27 | Ford Explorer - Ford Ranger Forums - Serious Explorations

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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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gmanpaint

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Quarantine Week #167
Mood level:
Semi tolerable. Health level: Depends on mood. Social level: Depends on mood & health levels. Mental level: Somewhere between Mad hatter nut job & National Media spin, AKA Lost its marbles.


So hey there boys and germs, today is, Guess what mod Gman has come up with now?

What can we do with this stuff?

SS Panel swivel hardware.jpg
Thumb screws and 6mm rivnuts loose.jpg

Chamfer tool and rod cleaned.jpg


Winner gets a coupon for a free roll of TP! *












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gmanpaint

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Isolation with the children of the Quarn, must have others hands full today. Not much interest in my shenanigans, so the game is cancelled, much like everything else in the country.

So with that said, and before I have to get decontaminated again, on with the latest Mod.

After many different thoughts, and not many put into the "Like" column, I decided on this method to angle the slide out solar panel. It works, and works well. I call that a Win with a side of forward chooch. Another detailed post sharing how it's done, with the hopes to help others wanting to do a mod like this. If you just like looking at pictures, then skip all the text! lol

If you have been following this build, you seen how the solar panel is on slides, and tucks under the Roof top tent for storage. It pulls forward and is exposed when in use. The frame I built for it worked great for that purpose, but needed some extra goodness for this mod to work. A rear section of alum angle was added to box it fully, and offer the strength it now needs for this mod to work for use.

The panel itself is attached to the slides by way of aluminum angles. Renogy Z mounting brackets are bolted to the angles, and then to underside the panel. I removed the panel bolts, and installed 6mm Rivnuts into the panel itself. The panel still sits on the Z brackets as before, but is now held on firmly with four 6mm x 20mm Thumb screws, with lock washers. They remove/install in seconds.

Thumb screws installed securing the panel in stowed position.

Thumb screws installed.jpg


SS hinges was installed onto the front of the panel & frame.

SS panel hinge on 1.jpg


The hinges allow the rear of the panel to be lifted. To hold the panel up, I made prop rods out of 1/4" rod used for door handle locks. I had 4 of them, and they are 4 foot long, with a flat end, that has a 1/4" bolt hole at the tip. Cut 2 of them to hold the panel at 60*, and still deciding at what angle I want for the other 2. Thinking 35* or 40*.

The 60* prop rods. 90* ends fit into 3/8" holes drilled on the panel sides.

Prop rods loose.jpg


Shown raw in the previous post, are the brackets made to hold the prop rods onto the slide angle frame. I used 1.5" sq tube, and notched the ends to leave bolting flanges. Here they are painted, and the SS Bimini Boat canopy pole mounts bolted on. These canopy mounts have spring loaded slide pins for easy removal and a slick shoulder for the rod ends to swivel on.

Bimini on lift brackets.jpg


Reason for the sq tube is to lift the Bimini mounts high enough to clear the slide pins over the top of the panel for access.

hinge bracket front view.jpg


Here they are in use, with the prop rods installed.

Bimini bracket installed.jpg


The panel still secured with the thumb screws, slid out from under the tent.

slid out closed.jpg


Front view with the panel angled at 60*.

Open front view.jpg


Side view.

open dr side view.jpg


I am now working on making the wind deflector hinged, to drop down when the panel is in use. It sits a little high, and will cast a shadow onto the panel if left in the upright position. I have a couple ideas on how to do this, and trial and error is in the works.
 




Dono

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This is easily one of my favorite threads. A+++ on innovation and fabrication.
 








gmanpaint

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Shakedown run happened over the weekend. 300 miles on it, and it pulled nicely.

No hopping, no swaying, no leaning, and no noise on the road.

Will take it to the scales soon, and get a dry weight. Tongue box filled, and spare tire are right at 300 lbs, so that will be accounted for then.

Reverse lights aren't working, and are about the only thing I have to fix before it's inauguration trip to CO in a few weeks.
 








gmanpaint

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Awesome. There better be pics from the Colorado trip.
There will be. I'm needing pictures of it actually being used. These shop, and driveway pics are not doing this thing any justice.

Didn't cross my mind to take any of it last weekend either. Doh!!
 




CDW6212R

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I think you need a couple of cameras in the main rig, which video constantly, both directions. Lots of people put those in their cars for "security" these days, one at the mirror for example. I'm sure there would be some great footage, just make sure to edit it first(language etc).;)
 




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I have a go pro with many mounts so there will be video as well. That's about as much as I'm willing to deal with, as I never learned how to really make and edit video well. Lol
 




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It is hard to edit and make an interesting video. I have spent hours trying to edit a video and it still is crap.
 












CDW6212R

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How about that trail that the TV show Top Gear took with three trucks and trailers. That was the more recent US version with Tanner the race car driver, and two other schmucks.

I recall the first trailer, a pop up, got tossed away on purpose, the other two didn't last long, and the truck I liked was the full sized Bronco. It broke a rear axle, after losing the front drive, and they drug it on its side across a road etc. That show was very interesting, but a lot of it was BS and hard to watch.
 




gmanpaint

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How about that trail that the TV show Top Gear took with three trucks and trailers. That was the more recent US version with Tanner the race car driver, and two other schmucks.

I recall the first trailer, a pop up, got tossed away on purpose, the other two didn't last long, and the truck I liked was the full sized Bronco. It broke a rear axle, after losing the front drive, and they drug it on its side across a road etc. That show was very interesting, but a lot of it was BS and hard to watch.


That was the Rubicon trail in California. That episode had it's good, and it's bad, like very bad. lol I couldn't get into the US version at all. Way to cheesy for me after watching the UK show.

RockRanger has invited me to do that trail (and others) with him someday, but I don't think it would be in the current rig with the IFS. It is on my bucket list of trails to do tho.

Without the trailer, the tow rig would have a very hard time on that trail. The tow rig is more Overlanding than rock crawling. Overlanding is basically a glorified term for boondock glamping, via an off road trail. This setup can take some hard trails, but nothing extreme. If you rated trails #1 easy to #5 Extreme, this setup with the current tow rig, could take on level 3's, and maybe an easy 4. Now a more modified good articulating front equipped trail rig might be able to pull it thru harder trails. If I ever save the $5k to convert the front on the tow rig with either a long travel IFS set up, or a straight axle, I would attempt the Rubicon and trails like it, and pull this trailer too.
 




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I agree on all of that. When I watched that I recall thinking pulling a trailer up those rock covered steep paths, wasn't going to work out.

Funny, that episode is on right now as I shut off the TV, called "Death Valley." Night,
 








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I am planning an off road trailer build this winter. Much simpler and lighter then this one. I need it to be able to take the family on camping trips on the harder trails.
 


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I am planning an off road trailer build this winter. Much simpler and lighter then this one. I need it to be able to take the family on camping trips on the harder trails.


That's awesome! 2 of us with trailers, can cover some serious ground on an off grid overland expedition. lol

I installed some shims to the Timbren Axles. Changed the camber from -5* to -1.5*. I could add more, but I will need longer bolts (8/ea). right now, there is only about 1/4" of thread past the nuts. If I can get to it before the upcoming trip, I will give it another go.

Axle shim.jpg
 




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