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Camper Trailer Part 3

Retro Trailer Re-build – Part Three

June 24, 2015 Comments (0) DIY Advice, Projects

Retro Trailer Re-build – Part Two

Need to see where it all started? Click here to read the beginning!

The fibreglass shell lifted easily off the chassis and was placed upon stacks of bricks in the shed. Thankfully, the plywood floor of the camper is in good condition. Not having to replace that is extremely handy as everything is attached to it!

Camper Trailer Part 2

But you’ve gotta take the good with the bad; and in this case the bad was revealed in the chassis. If you thought it looked bad before, it was a mess with no body to hide the scars. We had a play with the measuring tape over a few drinks, scribbling notes and measurements as we went. A couple of weeks prior to this, John had the fortune of running into a vehicle engineer during a lengthy campground conversation. You know the type, where you wander off to check out the amenities and your wife sends out a search party two hours later?

The engineer friend was happy to give a few pointers while showing off his own trailer, such as using taller rather than thicker steel for the chassis rails. Direction was also given to the West Australian Department Of Transport’s excellent PDF for building small trailers. You can find that document here.

Camper Trailer Part 2

Our final ideas for the new chassis design included the following points:

  • The draw bar would be lengthened to allow the camper to be fully set up while still attached to the vehicle.
  • At some point the water tank has disappeared without a trace. We would like to work a new mount for the tank into our chassis, as close to the axle as possible.
  • Suspension components have a lifespan, and the gear under this trailer has well surpassed that. We have already purchased new springs, shackles and mounts to change from the original slipper spring design, to a much better eye-to-eye design.
  • The tiny 10 inch boat wheels just aren’t going to do the job any longer. But the original chassis didn’t allow for much bigger. We have adjusted the spacing of some chassis support beams to allow for some taller and wider wheels to be fitted.
  • STRENGTH! If there was a point where metal meets, it had to be welded all around. By the end of the chassis build, I estimate more welding wire than actual steel will make up this trailer.

Camper Trailer Part 2

Of the entire undercarriage, the only part being re-used is the axle and hub setup. This will cop a good clean up with a fresh coat of paint, and of course a set of new Holden Wheel Bearings and she’ll be good to go!

The trickiest bit initially was getting the outer square of the frame welded up. Once we had that together, we literally threw it on top of the old chassis and used that as a working base. Most of the chassis is being built form 50x50x3mm square tubing, with the ‘chassis rails’ being built from 100x50x3mm. I’ve gotta say, I have never been much chop on a welder. But when I picked up the gun for a quick go I somehow laid a brilliant weld on my first go! That was awesome, but I gotta get the photos and document the process right? That meant John and younger (and more experienced welder) brother Jake did most of the welding.

Camper Trailer Part 2

So there you have it! Our hope and dreams for the backbone of our trailer rebuild. We’re off to a good start so far, but make sure you check in next time and see if it all comes out as good in the pictures as it did in our heads!

Thanks for following!Check out what happens next in part three!

Alex Garner Sign Off

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