Our homebuilt trailer has...
Our homebuilt trailer has a 16-foot bed that's 82 inches wide. Paint is black Rust-Oleum hammered finish, and we added Moon discs `cause even trailers should look cool.
If you're a street rodder you've probably needed a car trailer at one time or another. They're undeniably handy and may see regular use hauling your ride to runs, or occasionally carting parts and pieces to a swap meet. You might need one to move a project from place to place, or haul home that latest acquisition. In any case, if you need a trailer frequently or just once in a while, there are few substitutes.
When it comes to selecting a car trailer there are literally hundreds of styles to select from. We're going to show two that are vastly different; one you can build yourself, another from Kendon Industries that folds up for easy storage.
Build It Yourself
There are a number of advantages to building a trailer; the most obvious is that it can be tailored to your specific needs. In this particular case the goal was a relatively light-duty trailer to haul an under 3,000-pound street rod/bracket racer (although it could easily be strengthened to carry more).
For ease of construction we chose angle iron for the trailer's frame and crossmembers, the tongue was made from channel and for decking, wood planks were employed.
To build the basic frame we used:
* Side 'rails, 2, 5x3x5/16-inch angle iron, 16-feet long
* Front and rear crossmembers, 2, 5x3x5/16-inch angle, 82 inches long
* Crossmembers, 10, 2x3x3/16-inch angle iron (8, 82-inches long, 2, 98 inches long)
* Ramp rack/fender brackets/rock guard/tool box brackets, etc. 40-foot, 2x2x1/8-inch angle
* Tongue, 2, 4-inch channel, 8-foot long
While we've seen all sorts of axles, suspensions and wheels used under homemade trailers, purpose-built components are surprisingly affordable. Typically trailer suspension "kits" are available from supply houses or on the Internet for around $1,000 (and often less if no shipping is involved).
We bought the following components from a local dealer for under $900:
* 2, 3,500-pound electric brake axles with hubs, bearings and lug nuts
* 1, four-spring hanger kit (brackets, rockers, shackles and hardware)
* 4, springs, double eye, 1-3/4 inches wide, 25 1/4 inches long, 3-inch arch.
* 2, fenders, 16-gauge steel, 9 inches wide, 72 inches long
* 2, pre-cut inner fender panels
* 1, 2-inch bulldog A-frame coupler
* 1, safety chain kit with hooks
* 1, lighting kit (stop/tail/turn lights, marker lights and brackets, 3-lamp bar)
* 1, trailer wire connector (7-pin)
* 1, wiring kit (26-foot/14-gauge wire)
* 4, Mounted wheels and tires (white spoke wheels, ST205/75D15 C trailer service tires)
A combination of planks were used to deck our trailer:
* 4, 2x12-inch x 16-feet
* 2, 2x8-inch x 16-feet (ripped to fit)
* 2, 2x10 x 10-feet (ripped to fit)
As can be seen in the accompanying photos, building this trailer isn't complicated; it's basically an angle iron tray with a tongue and suspension attached. But like any frame, automotive or otherwise, the critical issues are keeping it square and ensuring the welds are properly executed. Given the thickness of the framerails in our example, a high-capacity machine was required (we used a HTP 200 amp wire feed) and at critical points multiple weld passes were necessary.
Another important consideration when building a trailer is axle placement. Generally 60 percent of the trailer's bed should be ahead of the center of gravity (COG), 40 percent behind. For a tandem axle trailer, the COG is at the rocker pivots between the front and rear springs. On our trailer, that dictated the centerline of the rocker brackets would be 115 inches from the front of the bed.
For convenience we added backup...
For convenience we added backup lights below the taillights, and a set of heavy-duty casters keep the rear of the trailer from dragging when negotiating steep driveways.
With the trailer tilted the...
With the trailer tilted the ramps are flat, which eliminates any hang-ups when loading the lowest of cars.
This is the secret to our...
This is the secret to our tilt trailer. The Tilt-A-Hitch was granted a patent in '07 and won a SEMA New Product award. It's powder coated, has an 8,000-pound rating and can be used as a load leveling or lowering hitch with a total of 12 different towing heights. They're available from Lane Smith and Buyer Products.