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Old 04-16-2015, 12:13 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Location: Warren, MI
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Boo Radley - '65 Ford F100
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Turns out I haven't updated this in forever. The wood trailer didn't really work out. It was too heavy to carry up and down stairs and didn't offer the smoothest ride in the world.

After that I tried to make a trailer out of a 66" (1.67m) long plastic toboggan that was on sale. I figured that it was long enough to fit big items, but perfectly fit my plastic bins side to side. Mounting some angle iron underneath it, I put the allthread axle through and bolted my white 20" wheels on. I had a friend weld up a hitch arm and bolted in the hitch from the blue trailer. It didn't work very well. The whole thing twisted really badly and it was too long to carry up the stairs to my apartment.

I salvaged the good parts off of it and took a look at my friend's trailer. He used a Kmart In-Step kid-hauling trailer as a basis for a big flatbed. Removing the fabric canopy, he added an X-frame over it with a piece of plywood on top. It was tall enough to clear the top of the tires, acting as both fenders and a way to carry really wide items without hitting the tires. Buying a ready-made trailer took over the work of building a sturdy frame- all he had to do was adapt it to his liking.

Picking up his new bike at the UPS center

I decided I liked the basic premise, but wanted to undersling the cargo bay and make use of the trailer's design. I bought an almost identical In-Step trailer for about $125 (I thought it was going to be on sale), obnoxiously hauled it home by bike and promptly stripped it down. After a bit of work and some eye rolling from the girlfriend, I ended up with this.

Supported by 2x4's scavenged from a discarded pallet, and topped with a sheet of luan plywood. I positioned it to balance fairly well over the axle and screwed it on through the metal frame.

It got a coat of primer, then Rustoleum to protect against bad weather, since I am quite hardcore about this and will not bat an eye at cargo biking in the rain or snow. I noticed, though, that my cargo kept sliding over and rubbing the wheels. This was especially problematic when hauling bikes. I was just barely able to carry a Schwinn Varsity to a flea market.

I was also having a hard time finding places to strap things down, and, worshiping the Bungee Gods, needed to add some hook points.

Some side plates just barely fit on the inside of the frame rails, so I drilled some 1" holes and bolted them on. They're not yet fully painted.

The local bike junk shop (I say that lovingly) had a random axle block sitting around, so I picked that up and mounted it on the front. I can now haul most bikes upright on the trailer with no issues at all. The whole thing is about the length of a bicycle wheelbase, so they barely fit. I picked up my fatbike in December by towing the trailer to the bike shop, attaching it to the new fatbike, and towing home my "old" commuter. It worked alright.

I made some small aluminum L-brackets and attached coroplast fenders with splash guards to keep my cargo dry. Then I added a few reflectors for visibility and continued to beat the crap out of it. I actually used this trailer and my fatbike to move a good deal of stuff from my old apartment to my new house. It performed quite well. Six paper boxes full of random junk did not stress the trailer, but they were a bit heavy for my taste.

It even takes longer things, if I'm very careful.

That's about where I'm at with this whole trailer thing today, but I'm not done. A few things that need fixing are:

-Hitch is too high, so I'm planning on transplanting the 20" wheels onto this to level it out.

-Trailer is too short on the front, and I can't balance really long items on it without hitting the bike tire. I am planning on building a longer hitch arm and extending the cargo area.

-2x4 structure is heavier duty than the luan, so I want to build a new top using 2x2's topped by 1/2" OSB.

-The side plates are great, but a little weak at the frame attachment point, and I wish there were more of them. I'll figure something out...

And so continues the DIY bike trailer saga; I am forever building the perfect trailer. It should be said that all the above was done with hand tools and a DeWalt corded drill in a second floor apartment. Nothing fancy (you can do it)! If anyone has questions about trailer construction or whatnot, feel free to PM me. I've got ten years and five trailers of experience!
He gave me a dollar. A blood-soaked dollar.
I cannot get the spot out but it's okay; It still works in the store

Last edited by Sven7; 04-16-2015 at 12:29 PM..
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