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Harbor Freight Trailer Build


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#1 FirefyterEmt OFFLINE  

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Posted March 08, 2011 - 09:44 PM

Well, I pulled the trigger on a trailer today... I have been looking for something big enough to carry a tractor on, but small enough that it could be used by the tractor too. For $299 plus tax, I picked up the model 90154 folding deck trailer with the 12" wheels. It's rated for just under 1200lbs and has a 4' x 8' deck. The trailer comes with a title and all the parts needed to build it.

I did research these a bit and they seem to have a very high rating with a few tips given to improve it as you go. I really like the idea of being able to fold the deck and hitch to store it upright. The given weight is manageable 262lbs (not counting wood deck) Another advantage of storing it on the bracket "feet" is that the tires are not in direct contact to the ground.

I figured because I have plenty of time, I will take some photos and review's as I go. I may use something other than plywood for the deck. I was thinking deck boards or 2x6's. These will require me to hand make new hinges where it folds so that the added thickness will still allow it to fold, but I think it will be better that way. There are a few other things that I have learned to be problem areas, like the wire harness. I may add a plug at the hinge point so extra "hanging" wire is needed to allow it to fold.

So anyway, before I get it all pulled apart, I took a few photos of the parts sorted out a little bit. So far, they seem decent enough and better than I thought they would be. I will add the photos tomorrow, I need the camera cable in my company car to download the photos. My boss took my spare cable!

Here is the one I picked up. I also bought the spare tire holder, and will grab a spare tire for it down the road.
1195 Lb. Capacity 48" x 96" Heavy Duty Foldable Utility Trailer with 12" Wheels
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Edited by FirefyterEmt, March 08, 2011 - 10:24 PM.


#2 daytime dave OFFLINE  

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Posted March 08, 2011 - 09:57 PM

Looks like a good deal. Nice price on the spare tire holder. You should always have a spare with a trailer. Folds up pretty small package. Looking forward to the pics

#3 mjodrey OFFLINE  

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Posted March 10, 2011 - 03:20 PM

It does look like a pretty good deal.

#4 NUTNDUN OFFLINE  

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Posted March 10, 2011 - 05:51 PM

I think it is great that you are going to do a write up / review on the trailer. I often wondered how decent they were for the price. You almost can't go wrong, especially if you are planning on using it like you want to.

#5 FirefyterEmt OFFLINE  

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Posted March 11, 2011 - 12:23 AM

Thanks guys... I hope it turns out to be a really nice trailer. From the reviews that I have seen, they are well liked.
For now, here are the photos I took the other day with the parts spread out. I still need to sort out the frame rails and maybe I will start to bolt it up a bit this weekend. No promises though!

Because I plan to weld the frame at the bolted locations, I may re-paint the whole frame... If so, I might just use the MF red, and paint the fenders dark MF gray. Not sure if I would paint the rims silver or not, but I think the fenders in gray would look cool.



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Edited by FirefyterEmt, March 11, 2011 - 12:29 AM.

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#6 tractorgarden OFFLINE  

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Posted March 11, 2011 - 08:14 AM

I think it will make a nice dual function trailer, Function should improve when it becomes Massey colors.

#7 olcowhand ONLINE  

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Posted March 11, 2011 - 11:54 AM

I think it will make a nice dual function trailer, Function should improve when it becomes Massey colors.

Yep, just the MF colrs will be a dramatic increase in performance! lol I would however hate to paint those nice white rims. Welding the joints will greatly stiffen & strengthen the framework!

#8 FirefyterEmt OFFLINE  

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Posted March 12, 2011 - 08:05 AM

I am with you, I am not sure if the rims will get painted either! I am pretty sure they are powder-coated too. I was thinking about it, and really I should paint the frame gray, and fenders red... but that will not look right. I think just the med. gray fenders will help set it off to match the tractors better. The fenders are notched and bend to shape, but the corner's are not welded. I plan to weld these seams to give them a little more strength and then paint them up. That may be done when I get ready to paint my tractor parts.

#9 coldone OFFLINE  

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Posted March 12, 2011 - 09:21 AM

What? No two tone rims :D

#10 FirefyterEmt OFFLINE  

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Posted March 12, 2011 - 11:22 PM

It had passed through my thoughts, but it would not look right. I will see how it looks with the fenders gray, and the white rims. It does not have to be a matching trailer, but I just thought the fenders might look better in Massey Gray. On top of welding the seams where the fenders are bent, I think that I can add some "stand-offs" between the fender and the frame to keep vibration and failure down. There are already two holes on the side and I think they might line up with the frame for that use.

#11 FirefyterEmt OFFLINE  

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Posted March 13, 2011 - 11:14 PM

Tonight, I bolted most of the frame together in the span of about 2 hours. I don't have the axle on yet, but the tongue and two frame sections are done.

My opinion so far? Well, I still think for the money, it can be a great little trailer... Although, I think the failure rate on some of the welded areas could be high due to to poor welding. For example, the bracket that the draw-bar pivots on has one bead on the outside of the frame, but only three tack welds on the inside! Where the draw-bar arm is cut and bent to form the bevel, I can see almost the whole cut in the metal. With this kind of weld, it is hard NOT to achieve penetration through the cut slot. I will be welding up the draw-bar, and it's mounting brackets better. I also plan to weld up the "box" frame in addition to the bolts. I may loose the bolts on the top of the frame corners to make the decking go on better. The welds will hold it just fine with the other two bolts left in place.

The hinges are really thin and I plan to make new ones from a heavy gauge steel. I am sure you can bend them badly when folding the deck if you are not careful.

Now, like I said.... I still think it's a good deal for the money, but to build it "right" you really need a welder to make the frame shine. It may hold up and never fail out of the box, but it's at the fringe edge of staying together.

Here are a few photos of the "problem areas" as I see it.

Ok, here is what the end of the frame looks like where the cross-members bolt in. This "C" is what I plan to bead weld in addition to beads on the side of the rail where it meets the cross-members. You can see that they are not quite an exact fit.

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Here is the point of the frame where the draw-bar pins go. This is not only welded to the bare minimum, but if it were not for the parts being off, it would be very sloppy. I think in time, the "tight" spots will wear and then the over-sized holes will allow for a lot of slop. I think drilling the holes so that they are all lined up, and using larger pins is the way to go.

There are just two small welds on the sides like this. Welds along the front and back would be a huge, and easy, improvement. This will be fixed.
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Here is the pivot point and arms. The first photo is of the inside (back of the weld) where they cut and angled the arms. There is almost no penetration on this one weld. Granted, the others are better, but this one is not even close. What you see through that crack, or cut, is the WELD!

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This is the inside of the bracket where the arms bolt to the frame. (Pivot point) The second photo is of the outside, a much better weld.
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This is where the feet with the wheels bolt on. The one bracket that is tilted "could" be the bench, but every where you look, the welding is just crap and it looks like they were held in place with a stick in order to weld them on.

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So here it sits for now, I still think it's a good trailer, and the welding is a simple thing to fix, but re-painting the trailer is something that should not be needed.

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Oh, and here are the fenders. This "cut & fold" seam design left the fenders un-welded! One catch and they will just bend. I will weld all four seams per fender and paint them in the Massey Ferguson gray. As you can see above, the red is very close!
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#12 wvbuzzmaster OFFLINE  

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Posted March 13, 2011 - 11:39 PM

Looks like a project. I never cared for those trailers, I just think they sit too high for anything I want to haul on them. Just a preference thing though, but id flip the axle and bolt it on undersprung instead of the standard oversprung. I know that means raising the fenders but the tilt angle wont be as steep and the center of gravity of your load lower.

#13 dryrun OFFLINE  

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Posted March 14, 2011 - 10:54 PM

FFEMT, Think you are really going in the right direction. If you totalled up all the parts separately, added labor to cut, drill, square up, weld, then add the cost of obtaining VIN no. and "homebuilt title" I think you are well ahead of the game. You can weld all the problem areas, fenders etc easily, because all dimensions and parts are already there. And believe me, title or cert of origin is worth half of what you paid for trailer.

My opinion, George

#14 trigger OFFLINE  

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Posted March 20, 2011 - 05:43 AM

Ive been thinking about one of there.Thanks for the write up.Look forward to more pics as it progresses.

#15 daytime dave OFFLINE  

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Posted March 20, 2011 - 01:14 PM

Looks like you are making good progress. I like your attention to the detail in the posts. Very informative.




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