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Detail K2 Mighty Open Rail 4' x 6' Utility Trailer

511 Views 10 Replies 1 Participant Last post by  LLigetfa
I have been considering a small trailer that is just large enough to haul a lawn tractor but small enough for the lawn tractor to tow it while loaded. I had my heart set on an aluminum trailer but the price of metal has gone through the roof. Second choice was galvanized steel but those too, have really shot up in price so I settled on powder coated steel and purchased this "trailer in a box" from CTC.

The assembly instructions aren't great and so I had to use deductive reasoning to figure out which bolts go where. Some of the bolts are not meant to be tightened to the max as they will collapse the U-channel or HSS tubing and so rely on nylock nuts.

Two of the bolts for the rear of the leaf springs double as the anchor point for the fenders so I cut 1/2" iron pipe to fit inside the channel and ran the bolts through them so I could fully tighten them.

The tailgate purports to also fold inward and lay flat on the bed but to do so requires that the two brackets be loose enough to swivel out of the way. This again relies on nylock nuts holding the brackets. The holes in the brackets are both oblong and oversized so if the bolts are left loose enough for them to swivel, they slop around. I ended up making up bushings with an ID to fit the bolts and an OD to fit the bracket so that I could fully tighten the bolts yet allow the bracket to swivel and not slop. The heads of the bolts stand proud of the HSS tubing that makes up the frame of the tailgate and prevent it from laying flat inside the box. I had to bend the HSS over some wood blocking just enough to allow clearance for the bolt heads.

The tailgate purports to serve as a ramp but it does not appear to be strong enough to take the weight of my tractor. The bed tilts so the tailgate could actually lay flat on the ground during loading but doing so would bend the license plate that hangs down. I could opt to not use the mounting bracket under the combination tail/license plate lamp and simply mount the plate to the tailgate. I could use my loading ramps rather than tilt the bed.

The wheels are narrow "pizza cutters" that while adequate for paved roads, would rut up the yard so I am contemplating buying wider wheels and keep the narrow ones as spares.

The bed width measures out at 47.5 inches and so it won't carry 4' x 8' sheets of plywood or drywall laying flat. I plan to make 16 inch high (four) sides from 3/4" PWF which will reduce the inside dimension to 46 inches. I also plan to cap the top edge of the plywood to protect it which further reduces the inside dimension at the top but that would allow 4 foot wide sheets (or long loads*) to sit entirely on the top rail.

* I realize that adding the plywood sides would prevent the tailgate from folding flat in the bed and so I am contemplating how I could make the sides (or tailgate) easily removable. I am also contemplating cutting and hinging the tailgate to make it foldable so it won't stand proud of the 16 inch tall (plus top rail) plywood sides.

Pics to follow...
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Today I picked up a 4 x 8 sheet of 3/4" pressure treated plywood and had the lumber yard cut it into 16 inch wide strips so I could load it in the SUV. I also picked up a half dozen 2" x 2" pickets into which I rabbeted a 3/4 slot to use as a top cap over the plywood.

The front and two sides are joined at the corners with metal angle brackets. The plywood has a groove rabbeted where it would otherwise be impeded by the curved corner of the metal rail. The curved rail slots into the rabbets which holds down the front and two sides. I left the rear panel loose so it can be removed when the tailgate is dropped. The tailgate when raised, holds the panel in place.

I purchased a 4' x 6' x 1/2" thick recycled rubber mat that I trimmed to fit between and hold, the four sides against the metal rails and tailgate.
Here is a pic of it before I paint it.
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Here are some detail shots after I gave it a coat of paint.
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High res versions on google photos.

To make the rear panel removable, I joined it at the corners with mortise door hinges that I cut down. Mostly the tailgate holds it in place. The hinges are so the two sides don't splay out with a load pushing on the sides.

For the two front corners, I put the lower brackets on the inside so the unit can slide past the rails to drop in.
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I had a trailer hitch installed on my Santa Fe yesterday. I still need to get a license plate for it before I can tow this on the highway.

It still needs D-ring tie-off points installed for a tarp.
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I ran into a problem with the grease fittings on the hubs so I sent the following email to support.

The grease fittings that came installed on the hubs are sub-standard. The threads don't appear to be properly sized and tapered and as such are a loose fit. They don't provide a friction fit but rather bottom out against the shoulder resulting in them have an angle pointing towards the wheel rim so that the wheel has to be removed to fit a grease gun. I tried to tighten them a quarter turn and being made of soft brass, the threads stripped.

Please provide quality steel grease fittings with tapered threads that don't bottom out.

I would also like to provide some feedback.
1. When a trailer purports to be 4 feet wide, it should not measure up a half inch short at just 47.5 inches.

2. The tailgate purports to fold inward and lay flat but the heads of the two bolts that hold what I assume to be item 40 (D lock) stand proud and prevent the gate from laying flat. The bolt holes on the D lock brackets are oversize for the bolts meant to hold them in place. There should be bushings with a shoulder or heavy flat washers to take out the slop and allow for the bolt to be securely tightened.

3. Some crimps on the wire harness are poorly done. The wire was not fully inserted so the conductor did not engage the deeper crimp but rather just engaged the second (larger) portion meant for the insulation. The connectors have no clips to secure them and as such dangle where they are likely to collect a heavy clump of mud.

4. The tilt bed feature is not compatible with the license plate holder as tilting the bed drives the plate into the ground.

5. The two bolts to secure the rear of the leaf spring should be like the two for the front with double nuts that allow for proper tightening rather than rely solely on the nylock nuts tightened "just so". Alternately, a bushing that fits inside the channel would allow for proper tightening without crushing the channel.
They made no mention of my feedback points 1 - 5 but they did offer to sell me new hubs since they don't have the grease fittings separately. LOL

They were generous enough to provide me with the dimensions and specs for the grease fittings so I dropped by a local industrial supply and picked up two steel metric fittings. I've yet to try installing them so I don't know if the poor thread tolerance is the hub or the fitting. I could probably wrap some Teflon tape on the threads if they prove to be loose.
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Yesterday I went about trying to replace the fittings but it did not go well. The specs that were provided to me are wrong so the fittings I picked up are too small. Here is what they sent me.
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The fitting I removed took a 3/8" spanner so had I done the metric conversion (3/8" converts to 9.525 mm) or brought along the old fitting, I would not have to make another trip to get the right ones. The shop is not open on weekends so I have to wait until Tuesday which is my next day off.
They were generous enough to provide me with the dimensions and specs for the grease fittings so I dropped by a local industrial supply and picked up two steel metric fittings. I've yet to try installing them...
I could not match it up exactly. The original brass ones have a straight thread and larger hex flats than the steel tapered thread ones I picked up. At least being steel, they should have enough strength to give it that extra half turn it took to point the nipple in the right direction. Well... at least one of the two...

The other one was pointing in the right direction when only finger tight and so was not going to try giving a full turn to tighten. I tried Teflon tape but since it is tapered thread going onto a straight thread hole, it didn't work. I ended up taking a wad of rag and screwed it into the hole to keep metal filings out. After cutting the rag flush with a razor blade, I took a file to the cast iron hub to remove just enough material to be able to "index" the fitting so it wouldn't be pointing the wrong way.

Now all I have left to do is mount the license plate holder so that it is easily removed for when I want to tilt the bed. When installed as designed, the bottom of the holder hits the ground so if a plate was installed, it would bend or break it. I removed the holder (13) from between the light (12) and light bracket (10) and bent the holder so I can mount behind the light bracket with double nuts. Alternately, I could mount the plate holder to the tailgate or to the back of the fender but it would not be illuminated at night which probably would not be a problem as I see a lot of that on the road.
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The shop is not open on weekends so I have to wait until Tuesday which is my next day off.
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I did just that. Found a pair of 20.5 x 8.00-10 on sale online with free shipping that cost just a little more than what I could find locally for just one of the original size. I could have ordered just one of the original size online for the same price as the wider one but would have had to pay shipping.

I ran out of adjustment on moving the fenders out wider so it doesn't quite catch all of the wheel wash.

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The wheels are narrow "pizza cutters" that while adequate for paved roads, would rut up the yard so I am contemplating buying wider wheels and keep the narrow ones as spares.
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I installed D-ring tie-off points and then made a dump run with it. The trailer hitch rattled like crazy so I added an Anti-Rattle Hitch Receiver Immobilizer.
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Being as the trailer has a dump feature, the tongue of the trailer has a 1/2 inch hitch pin but the holes for it are 5/8ths so it too rattles. I guess they figured it would be easier to fit a 1/2 inch pin into a 5/8ths hole.

I thought I would store the trailer with the tarp on it to keep the weather off but wouldn't you know it, ants wasted no time setting up a colony under the tarp. I can't turn over a rock without finding ants and find new anthills every time I mow.
I had a trailer hitch installed on my Santa Fe...
. . .
It still needs D-ring tie-off points installed for a tarp.
Wanting to put a ball hitch on the Swedish Rider, I loaded it onto the trailer to take it a short distance down the road. The R322TX just barely fits, overhanging the open frame with the mower deck removed. The tailgate was strong enough to use it as a loading ramp (not tilting the bed). There was just barely enough clearance for the low-hanging hydraulic lines.
I have been considering a small trailer that is just large enough to haul a lawn tractor...
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