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Open Roads Forum  >  Travel Trailers  >  General Q&A

 > Build Your Own Travel Trailer

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Gdetrailer

PA

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Joined: 01/05/2007

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Posted: 09/05/19 02:46pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

the bear II wrote:

I believe cost wise it may be better to find a good used travel trailer and then remodel it to fit your needs. The travel trailer would already be insulated and wired plus have water and holding tanks located to properly balance the weight. I've seen where folks have removed all of the old cabinetry and then designed the interior and built cabinets, beds and seating to meet their desires. Load balance is important as well as load capacity.

Just my thought based on posts I've read over the years and youtube videos I've seen from folks who have done both.


I have fully rebuilt two RVs, I would not consider rebuilding another, ever.

You spend way too much time demo ing then fixing the rot then finally putting back together.

Skip the heartache and lost time, buy an old trailer and cut all the bolts holding the box on the frame and DEMO the ENTIRE wooden structure down to the steel frame then build a new box from frame up..

JRscooby

Indepmo

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Posted: 09/05/19 03:39pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Gdetrailer wrote:



"Landscape" trailer like this?


Yeah, forget about it.

Take a good hard look at the steel rail above the deck..

THAT is your "frame"..

If you cut it or remove it the entire trailer will sag over time.

Those trailers are built way to skimpy to build a RV on unless you want to spend a considerable amount of time and money revamping it with much heavier steel framing.


Have you ever paid much attention to the frame of a TT? We had a old one, wanted to build something on the frame. Pulled the appliances out, cut the bolts, and strapped the house to frame to haul to the dump. Thought we could just hoe the house off the frame, and take it back to shop. (We did that) When unstrapping we discovered the weight of house, without the stiffness of house bolted to frame was more than frame could handle.
We built the trailer we wanted, but only used the axles, suspension, and coupler...

rbpru

North Central Indiana

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Joined: 12/18/2013

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Posted: 09/05/19 05:26pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Sounds like a fun project. But these are labors of love. As mentioned homemade often means heavy, so plan ahead.


Twenty six foot 2010 Dutchmen Lite pulled with a 2011 EcoBoost F-150 4x4.

Just right for Grandpa, Grandma and the dog.


Gdetrailer

PA

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Joined: 01/05/2007

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Posted: 09/05/19 06:53pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

JRscooby wrote:

Gdetrailer wrote:



"Landscape" trailer like this?


Yeah, forget about it.

Take a good hard look at the steel rail above the deck..

THAT is your "frame"..

If you cut it or remove it the entire trailer will sag over time.

Those trailers are built way to skimpy to build a RV on unless you want to spend a considerable amount of time and money revamping it with much heavier steel framing.


Have you ever paid much attention to the frame of a TT? We had a old one, wanted to build something on the frame. Pulled the appliances out, cut the bolts, and strapped the house to frame to haul to the dump. Thought we could just hoe the house off the frame, and take it back to shop. (We did that) When unstrapping we discovered the weight of house, without the stiffness of house bolted to frame was more than frame could handle.
We built the trailer we wanted, but only used the axles, suspension, and coupler...


[emoticon]

Your sarcasm has been noted..

Actually, YES, I HAVE "paid attention" to the frames of TTs. In fact I have studied a lot of trailer frame designs because my plan for my second TT WAS to build from scratch frame up..

My plans got changed when I happened on a deal of a lifetime on a TT at the length I was shooting for. $700 bought me a good I beam frame (not lighter boxed beam) with a good title, bunch of good windows, good 4 burner stove/oven (yeah just try to find one of those), brand new water heater, working furnace and working A/C, fridge was dead, good full surround bath tub (yeah, those ARE insanely expensive to buy and ship), good axles, brakes, propane tanks, good black, grey and fresh water tanks (yeah, those are insanely expensive and difficult to ship!). All told I gleened nearly $4K of reusable materials for my rebuild.

I however, SHOULD have just removed everything and demoed the box.

Demoing the interior takes considerable amount of time, I spent better than 3 months on that portion and then another 6 months of actual rebuild time, NINE MONTHS TOTAL. Ripping interior paneling out which IS not only GLUED to the studs it is also STAPLED to the studs, literally removed several thousand blasted staples.. Ripped up the vinyl flooring to fix the rot under it, yeah, it was GLUED not at just the perimeter, but the ENTIRE FLOOR!!!! Weeks of scrapping, scrubbing on my hands and knees!

"Hindsight" is 20/20, would of only taken an hr to demo the blasted mess and perhaps a couple of weeks building a new box.

What YOU did was wrong to start with, NEVER unbolt the "house" until you are ready to "scoop" it off the frame. The "house" by design ACTS as one huge truss and adds considerable amount of strength to the steel frame.

YOU should have cut the bolts at the dump, THEN push or better yet LIFT the house off the frame (pushing off can twist or tweak the now weakened frame).

Very few RVrs fully understand that to total strength of BOTH the steel frame AND the wooden house box combine to make a strong yet flexible structure.

Those cheap landscape trailers WILL make a horrible base for any "RV" unless you REWORK the frame CONSIDERABLY which WILL require a lot of heavier steel.. New steel prices are insane..

Now IF the OP is considering a heavy duty flatbed trailer with real I beams and has 2" deck boards then that IS a different critter than the cheap landscape trailers..

I also have a 18' heavy duty 10K GVWR flat bed trailer which CAN and is able to haul a full sized pickup truck up to 7500 lbs.. It IS a beast, weighing in at 2,400 lbs EMPTY.

Compare that to a cheap landscape trailer which might weigh in at 700-800 lbs..

Yeah, my 18ft trailer did cost me $3500 vs a cheap landscape trailer at $1000 but I can assure you a 7500 lb truck would simply squash the cheap landscape trailer..

After fully rebuilding two TTs, I can simply say that you ARE wasting a lot of your time in the demo stage of a used TT, creates a huge pile of junk scrap materials that for some folks may be impossible to get rid of (I was able to burn all of the rotted junk) and if one must pay to have hauled away just adds extra cost to something that was supposed to be done on the cheap.

Just trying to steer the OP away from a potential money pit mistake that they WILL regret down the road.

Don't ignore the foundation, going cheap on that will result in reworking and reworking and reworking..

But, hey carry on folks, MR "Scooby" your shot of sarcasm reminds me of why I rarely post on this forum any more..

JRscooby

Indepmo

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Posted: 09/06/19 05:20am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Gdetrailer wrote:



Your sarcasm has been noted..

Actually, YES, I HAVE "paid attention" to the frames of TTs. In fact I have studied a lot of trailer frame designs because my plan for my second TT WAS to build from scratch frame up..


But you missed the point. The house bolted to the frame is the strength of the trailer. While it is true, remove the top rail from the landscape trailer, and you don't have much strength left. You will need to understand this when designing/building but bolt a house to it and you can replace the lost strength.

Quote:

What YOU did was wrong to start with, NEVER unbolt the "house" until you are ready to "scoop" it off the frame. The "house" by design ACTS as one huge truss and adds considerable amount of strength to the steel frame.


Yes, you understand. Why not the OP?

Quote:

YOU should have cut the bolts at the dump, THEN push or better yet LIFT the house off the frame (pushing off can twist or tweak the now weakened frame).


No. What I learned I should of done was towed to the dump, un-hooked next to the pit, used the loader or excavator to lay the trailer on it's side, cut of the suspension and coupler. Let the big toys smash and put it in pit. The scrap value of the frame was not worth the labor to get it.


Quote:

Those cheap landscape trailers WILL make a horrible base for any "RV" unless you REWORK the frame CONSIDERABLY which WILL require a lot of heavier steel.. New steel prices are insane..

Now IF the OP is considering a heavy duty flatbed trailer with real I beams and has 2" deck boards then that IS a different critter than the cheap landscape trailers..


I have not done a lot of work on RV frames, or for that matter landscape trailer frame. But I have worked on the trailers, and can say that for the same GVWR, the landscape trailer would win. (Most I have worked on lately haul 3 zero turns, a couple of walk behinds, plus fuel tank, tools, and whatever the crew is likely to need.

Quote:

I also have a 18' heavy duty 10K GVWR flat bed trailer which CAN and is able to haul a full sized pickup truck up to 7500 lbs.. It IS a beast, weighing in at 2,400 lbs EMPTY.

Compare that to a cheap landscape trailer which might weigh in at 700-800 lbs..

Yeah, my 18ft trailer did cost me $3500 vs a cheap landscape trailer at $1000 but I can assure you a 7500 lb truck would simply squash the cheap landscape trailer..


I still have some light duty stuff like that, that I built myself


Quote:

Just trying to steer the OP away from a potential money pit mistake that they WILL regret down the road.

Don't ignore the foundation, going cheap on that will result in reworking and reworking and reworking..


I can see no reason why somebody wanting to build should be told it must be on something that much stiffer than what the factory uses. A little stiffer, like the landscape trailer might be better than factory frame...

Quote:

But, hey carry on folks, MR "Scooby" your shot of sarcasm reminds me of why I rarely post on this forum any more..


I'm sorry, I had no intention to wad panties. I saw what I thought, and still think, was false information. If that offends you I think that is on you. Maybe the OP should look under a few TTs before he decides what to start with. I recommend thinking about a water damaged RV as a source of appliances, if not frame, for the build.

Boband4

Wa

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Joined: 02/08/2014

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Posted: 09/06/19 06:34am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Check out the user "Westend" - he did a great documentary thread when he built his "Cowboy Hilton". That thread is what hooked me on this site.

trailer_newbe

Tucson

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Posted: 09/06/19 10:45am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Landscape trailers will likely lack the frame strength you will need. I know someone who built their own and they used a enclosed car hauler. If you can afford this route, you will have the strength and it will last a very long time.


2018 Jayco White Hawk 28RL

APT

SE Michigan

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Joined: 06/09/2010

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Posted: 09/09/19 09:05am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

What are your goals of custom? I expect a lot of time, money in materials, and weight compared to a $15k TT. If you have the tow vehicle, time, and money, it could be fun and built with your pride.


A & A parents of DD 2005, DS1 2007, DS2 2009
2011 Suburban 2500 6.0L 3.73 pulling 2011 Heartland North Trail 28BRS
2017 Subaru Outback 3.6R

rjstractor

Maple Valley, WA

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Posted: 09/09/19 01:19pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Maybe the OP meant equipment trailer rather than landscape trailer. For a builder that wanted to build it literally from the frame up, a flatbed equipment hauler has the frame strength you need, especially the 10K+ GVWR ones.

JRscooby

Indepmo

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Posted: 09/10/19 04:35am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

rjstractor wrote:

For a builder that wanted to build it literally from the frame up, a flatbed equipment hauler has the frame strength you need, especially the 10K+ GVWR ones.


If you or the OP need that kind of strength, how can you get by with a factory built TT, with a frame that has no where near that strength?

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