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Enclosing a utility trailer. Advice?


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Okay.  I lucked out and found a very lightweight 5x10 trailer, fairly new and hardly used, for $700.

It pulls with my 4 cyl. Subaru like it's not even there.  Nice.  What I want to do is put removable

sides and top on it in case I want to haul something I don't want getting wet, spilling out, blowing

around, or something I need to keep secure.

 

The deck is 3/4" boards spaced 3/4" apart.  Stuff will leak out if I haul mulch or dirt so a plywood

deck is going on in their place.  A 2x12 around the edges will keep stuff in and a 2x12 on top of that

will keep more stuff in.  I think stake pockets mounted on the inside of the bottom board will keep the

top 2x12 in place.  I will put a screw through the stake pocket into the wood to keep it from being

lifted off from the outside.  The side rail is 8" off the deck.  I'll secure the bottom 2 x 12 to the rail with

U-bolts.  I don't want to drill holes in the rail.  Hopefully I can find U-bolts that will line up with the stake

pockets mounting holes.  If not, no worries.

 

Now for the top.  I can haul a ton of weight, but all this wood is starting to add up.  I'm thinking of making

a lightweight removable top.  It can be in sections for easier handling but I would like it weather tight.

Actually I would like the option of having a full enclosure, 2/3 enclosure, or 1/3 enclosure, so the top

can be in three sections.  I need ideas on how to make the top as well as any other advice or ideas.

I thought about 2x2 frame work fastened on the top of the 2x12, with wire mesh used to hold the shape

of a homemade fiberglass top.  Aluminum is way too costly and so are filon panels used on the sides

of RV's.  It also has to stand up to cold weather and not shatter like some plastics at freezing tempera-

tures.  The wire mesh would offer a degree of security and the fiberglass would keep the weather out.

It would have to hold up to the pressure of the wind while driving down the freeway.  I've never worked

with fiberglass but I can learn.  YouTube is my friend.

 

Also, how tall?  What is the height at the top of the windshield on a big sport tourer? That will be my

guideline for how high the inside should be in case I want to haul something like that. 

 

Give me ideas.  I would rather not have to redo my work if I can get good ideas as usual from the

idea factory right here.  Thanks guys and gals.

.

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You're adding serious weight. 

I toyed with the idea of making my 4x8 into an enclosed unit that I could take apart and stow, but you're expecting a lot more than I was. 

1/4" plywood weighs 22 lbs. per 4x8 sheet, plus you're building a giant brick.  Air drag at highway speeds will be a lot worse than the weight itself. 

If you're not dissuaded, I think 1/4" ply sides (aluminum angle pieces for the corners add rigidity without adding much weight), and then a truck cap for a topper. That sounds like the most practical option. 

 

In the alternative, building a sloped plywood top wouldn't be that hard. Hinge the hitch-end and prop up the tail while loading and unloading. 

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Subscribed.

I picked up a Cavalier for cheap and I want to turn it into a dump truck.

I also bought a hammer at a garage sale and I want to turn it into a shovel.

Advice wanted.  Plz help.

 

  • Upvote 3
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Fwiw, I scrapped the idea of enclosing my trailer and just wrap the bike in packing plastic when I'm towing through road salt...

i was going to camp in the trailer, but for the cost of the build materials, I can get a decent tent. 

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5 hours ago, Disclaimer said:

Subscribed.

I picked up a Cavalier for cheap and I want to turn it into a dump truck.

I also bought a hammer at a garage sale and I want to turn it into a shovel.

Advice wanted.  Plz help.

 

3X5C68GcAnI7m.gif

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8 hours ago, redkow97 said:

You're adding serious weight. 

I toyed with the idea of making my 4x8 into an enclosed unit that I could take apart and stow, but you're expecting a lot more than I was. 

1/4" plywood weighs 22 lbs. per 4x8 sheet, plus you're building a giant brick.  Air drag at highway speeds will be a lot worse than the weight itself. 

If you're not dissuaded, I think 1/4" ply sides (aluminum angle pieces for the corners add rigidity without adding much weight), and then a truck cap for a topper. That sounds like the most practical option. 

 

In the alternative, building a sloped plywood top wouldn't be that hard. Hinge the hitch-end and prop up the tail while loading and unloading. 

I did some calculations about the weight.  You are right.  The wood comes to 375 lbs alone.  That doesn't count for the hardware or the top.  As for wind drag, I thought I could possibly round off the top by using fiberglass.  I suppose I'll rethink this.  A sloped top didn't come to mind until you mentioned it.  Thanks for the idea.

.

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9 hours ago, Tonik said:

i think this is a really bad idea.

I'll take that as, with a little modification this could work. 

I'll ask you later about adding a bluetooth donut

warmer/coffee maker.  :D

 

9 hours ago, Disclaimer said:

Subscribed.

I picked up a Cavalier for cheap and I want to turn it into a dump truck.

I also bought a hammer at a garage sale and I want to turn it into a shovel.

Advice wanted.  Plz help.

 

I'm glad you weren't here for the discussion about turning

my bike into an office building.

 

4 hours ago, redkow97 said:

Fwiw, I scrapped the idea of enclosing my trailer and just wrap the bike in packing plastic when I'm towing through road salt...

i was going to camp in the trailer, but for the cost of the build materials, I can get a decent tent. 

Just general moving of things I want to keep weather and wind

off of is the reason for wanting an enclosure.  Plus, the

rails only come up 8" on the sides.  That won't keep things in

if they need to be stacked.

.

Edited by JackFlash
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Only thing I can add that might even be remotely of value to your question would be suggest keeping the trailer you bought for just what it's designed to do--hauling materials like mulch/gravel/dirt/straw/etc.  Consider either buying a small single axle box trailer--they can be found fairly inexpensively on CL--for those times you need weather protection for your stuff, or simply rent one from U-Haul.

Edited by Bubba
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And for the third I want to turn my open trailer into an enclosed one I will leave you with this:

My dad turned a jet ski trailer into an enclosed Harley ElectraGlide hauler he took to Florida and back every winter before he bought our 6x12 enclosed trailer. It can be done and quit over engineering it.

Edited by Bad324
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