This is the inexpensive folding 4'x8' HaulMaster 1200 lb flatbed trailer
(deck not included) that goes for about $300 at Harbor Freight.
I put this together earlier this year but just now getting around to posting about it. I've seen this one posted here before but not with as many pictures and, hey, who doesn't like more pictures?
Assembly took maybe 15 hours given all the futzing around I did with the added deck, painting, and anchors. Plus having to redo a few steps of the process due to (in my opinion) ambiguous and in some cases missing assembly documentation.
One thing I'm wondering from any of you with this kit trailier is if there's a right way to tilt the trailer for drive-on loading. I don't think it's actually designed for that but it seems to be close to being able to handle it. However there seems to be a few problems...
1- the caster wheels prevent tilting the back end all the way to the ground, 2- the license plate also gets in the way of a full tilt, and 3- there is no good way to keep the trailer tilted while you're lining up the tractor (hitching to the vehicle and chocking the wheels works ok, but once tractor is on, it's an accident waiting to happen when you unchuck and it wants to slam down like a big pair of shears).
So any suggestions on making it a better tilt trailer are welcome. For instance I like the pneumatic shock idea.. others?
The trailer is packed in just 2 cardboard boxes - small but deceptively heavy. One is about 150 lbs, the other 100 lbs...
Cover of the manual and a couple diagrams of the trailer:
Label from box B (axle/wheel parts):
Contents of box B as packed:
Contents of box B laid out:
Label from box A (frame parts):
Contents of box A as packed:
Contents of box A laid out:
Fasteners I purchased separately for attaching a plywood deck (plywood and fasteners not included in kit). I think they were 1"x1/4" bolts, galvanized. I used flat washers between the bolt head and deck material, and lock washers on the nut side.
Decking material (2 4x4 sheets of treated 3/4" plywood):
Front frame section being assembled. All frame members were assembled with 3/8" diameter bolts and nylock nuts. Note to self.. remember to go back and retighten all frame bolts periodically (there are a lot of them).
This is a view of one of the attachment hinge points for the front v-shaped tongue (which also folds). Note how it's bent sideways slightly. This was enough to prevent proper alignment of the hinge bolt so I had a fun time bashing it back into proper alignment. A bit of quality control there.
Attaching the v-shaped tongue to the front frame assembly:
Here's a closeup of the receiver bracket for the coupler. I later found out I had the v-frame rails upside down (VIN and warning labels were upside down) and had to unassemble and reverse this. But I hadn't figured that out yet at this point...
Wide shot with front frame and tongue:
Starting to assemble the rear half of the folding frame:
Hinges where front and rear attach:
Front and rear halves assembled:
Here is how they fold:
Flipped over and with the tongue folded now also:
Here the fixed caster wheel assemblies are attached to the frame. These are designed with protruding "feet" that grab the ground as the folded trailer is tilted up to a standing orientation so that the caster wheels don't become mobile until the trailer is almost fully vertical.
Fenders and leaf springs being attached (the trailer is in an upside-down orientation at this stage of assembly):
Closeup of where the axle attaches to the leaf springs with U-bolts:
Shot with the axle assembled. Notice anything funny? I didn't at first:
Here's another angle. See the problem yet?
How about that the axle is now trapping the folding tongue so it can't unfold? Duh.
Ok, took the axle off, lifted the tongue, then reassembled the axle. That's better:
The hubs come with bearings installed and pre-greased, but I have heard horror stories about there not being enough grease, so I took them apart so I could do my own packing:
Wheel lugged onto hub, no bearing yet:
Bearing inserted, (re)packed with grease, castle nut added and retaining key inserted:
With the wheels installed I'm now noticing that the fender bolts don't have a lot of clearance from the tire tread, (maybe an inch) and when the trailer is loaded and the leaf springs compressed, there's a possibility the sharp bolt ends could rub on the tread (not good).
So I decided to grind the bolts down so they'd be flush with the nuts. Here's the before and after bolts:
And some final grinding once in place:
There.. not ideal but the chance of premature tire tread wear and/or tire puncture has been reduced:
Trailer standing upright, sitting on it's casters, ready for wheels to be re-attached:
And with frame unfolded:
Installed (but not yet wired) the forward marker lamps and rear park/turn lamps:
Started running the wiring in the frame, beginning at the tongue. Noticed the next issue.. can you spot it?
Decals are upside-down. Arrrgh:
So to rectify that problem I had to basically unassemble the entire tongue assembly (including the coupler bracket) and swap the two members that make up the V, put it all back together again and remount the tongue. That looks better:
Well I've reached the limit of text allowed in a single posting so I'll post the remaining 30 or so steps in a 2nd posting below...