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Travel trailer repurpose


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#1 js5020 ONLINE  

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Posted October 10, 2016 - 04:57 PM

I have a 70's coachman camper that needs scrapped or used for another purpose.  The obvious, or so I think is to remove the camper part and repurpose the trailer frame.  Said trailer looks to be in the area of an 8x18, tandem axle with brakes.  Frame is 2x3 or 2x4 steel tube with a few thin formed crossmembers and a formed C channel tongue, tires are 15" and has electric brakes.  The frame is totally solid, tires would need replaced, no clue what the brakes look like. I'm not looking to make a dozer trailer here just haul around 3 or 4 ATVs. I have read a few places that these trailers once the camper part is removed are pretty weak and flimsy?  I'm no engineering expert but I would think with the addition of more crossmembers and a 2x deck, this thing would be more than adequate to haul a few ATVs?  Opinions?


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#2 Username OFFLINE  

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Posted October 10, 2016 - 05:36 PM

My friend has one that he has been using to haul cars and trucks around for years with no problems.You might run into issues trying to get it weight certified.


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#3 MiCarl ONLINE  

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Posted October 10, 2016 - 05:37 PM

I don't know anything about the frame but I did some repairs on a 1985 travel trailer.  I can tell you that there is no way that the structure was giving any reinforcement to the frame.


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#4 adamjd200 OFFLINE  

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Posted October 10, 2016 - 06:00 PM

They build them into flatbeds all the time up here, not for me, but to each there own.


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#5 petrj6 ONLINE  

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Posted October 10, 2016 - 06:04 PM

   depending on the age of the trailer some of the frames are really great!!!  I have made two or three awesome trailers that way, a few pics would help.  a word to the wise those campers are not that easy to take apart and it makes a huge mess!!! 

                                                                                                                     Pete


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#6 js5020 ONLINE  

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Posted October 10, 2016 - 07:15 PM

My friend has one that he has been using to haul cars and trucks around for years with no problems.You might run into issues trying to get it weight certified.

I have the cert handled, up to 3000lb anyways.  So the goal would be to make a light chassis, under 1000lb leaving 2000lb or so for cargo.  Now I don't know if that's possible with the tandem or with a full 2x bed?  Just doing some checking on lumber weights per ft and a full bed looks out of the picture.  Aluminum is more than I want to spend, expanded steel might be the only course for cost and weight, unless I go with a partial floor.



#7 js5020 ONLINE  

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Posted October 10, 2016 - 07:24 PM

   depending on the age of the trailer some of the frames are really great!!!  I have made two or three awesome trailers that way, a few pics would help.  a word to the wise those campers are not that easy to take apart and it makes a huge mess!!! 

                                                                                                                     Pete

 

Yes there will be some demolition and things can get messy but I have several sawsalls,  many big hammers, and a fire starter.  Oh and the important part,,,, young bucks that like to smash sxxt!


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#8 JBRamsey OFFLINE  

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Posted October 10, 2016 - 09:46 PM

My trailer has a wood floor, but look into a steel diamond plate floor. Often it's lighter than using 8/4 oak. I don't like steel floors for several reasons but it will last you forever. If you can afford it.
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#9 Jazz ONLINE  

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Posted October 10, 2016 - 11:08 PM

My neighbour transformed camper trailer into car hauler. He welded in 1100 pounds of steel to reinforce trailer to carry a 7000 pound payload. This included boxing the frame rails. He did a great job but told me it was not worth all the work. Boxing those frame rails and adding croosmembers is a pile of work. If he were to do it again he would have used only the axles and built the complete frame including purchasing the proper channel for frame rails
Oh ya,, he went through 3 bottles of shielding gas!

Edited by Jazz, October 10, 2016 - 11:09 PM.

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#10 Alc ONLINE  

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Posted October 11, 2016 - 05:45 AM

Are you trying to keep it under 3000 lb so it doesn't need Pa state inspection ?   I think even under 3000 lb  if it has trailer brakes it's supposed to get inspected . I think theres a lot on the road that aren't inspected . Does the title and registration have a weight on it ? Can't remember if my camper does the registration on my little flat bed has  GROSS WT.2995 on it


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#11 nitro OFFLINE  

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Posted October 11, 2016 - 06:59 AM

PA law says a trailer needs inspected and needs to have brakes at 3000# and heavier.  They do not need inspected under 3000#, everything goes by weight regardless of equipment.  I'm in inspection mechanic. 


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#12 Alc ONLINE  

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Posted October 11, 2016 - 08:07 AM

Thanks nitro for the clarification on the 3000lb and under not needing inspections .



#13 js5020 ONLINE  

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Posted October 11, 2016 - 08:22 AM

I am not trying to avoid the required inspection for trailers over 3000lb, I don't mind inspections I have no problems having a second set of eyes to make sure things are safe for myself and others on the road.  I wouldn't mind a 5000lb rating but from looking over the frame it appears to be constructed from thinner materials than a trailer purposed to be rated that heavy and adding enough structure to make everyone happy would likely exceed my costs (time+materials) and I would just be better off buying a new one purposed for handling that kind of weight.  Actually I have a trailer here that I just cut apart because it has become unsafe junk that has a 3000lb weight capacity on the documents, so that's the reason for holding the 3000lb and the fact I'm only wanting to haul atv's on it.


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#14 toppop52 ONLINE  

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Posted October 11, 2016 - 10:58 AM

4 ATV's and gas and ropes and chains and such, can get you past 3000# in a hurry. But, I think you'd be fine, how thick is the frame?


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#15 glgrumpy ONLINE  

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Posted October 11, 2016 - 04:35 PM

Camper frames pretty thin light stuff. Maybe a real old one is better?  I think a smaller trailer for say two ATV's might work, but thinking kind of light for four and that length. I think the camper structure itself was part of the strength factor when these were built. To keep lighter, use good outdoor 3/4" plywood, tongue and groove, like the lawn sheds made now days use for floors. Won't last forever, but should last long time and be lighter than any 2 x ? material.


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