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Versatile tandem trailer - many pictures

8343 Views 16 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  APinNY
Ever since I sold the 16' tandem trailer I had I have pretty much regretted it. I sold it because it was just too heavy to haul around with an empty weight of 2,150 lbs.
It was nice though, but being older and also very heavy duty the deck was pretty high off the ground.

When I sold it I bought a 6.5'x12' single axle trailer. I do like it a lot, but I was surprised that it also weighed in at a hefty 1,200 lbs
That left only 1,800 lbs of loading weight which was a not as much as I would like when I get dirt, gravel and lumber for landscaping projects.

So I have been looking for a while for a lighter tandem axle trailer - preferably with brakes as I am towing it with a mid size SUV. I wanted one that was flat so I can load items over the side without having the railing in the way, and since I do not need it for a car I really did not need a dovetail.
I finally found something that was priced reasonably and went for it. It seems that everyone else around here expects near new prices for their used trailers.

It did require a complete rewire job and new lights to meet the new DOT codes, but those are things I am very comfortably with doing. The wood floor and the bones of the trailer were in very good condition.
It was also nice that it had brakes on all 4 wheels.
I did find out that the brakes however had not been hooked up for a while so I had to take them all apart, lube up the moving parts and clean the brakes. Now they are working pretty good.
Sorry that I do not have pictures of this. I was working on the trailer while my wife was sleeping, recovering from surgery.
Between taking care of the kid, the wife and the house hold tasks I was able to still find a little time here and there to work on it.
And now that the kid is in daycare I could do some more work to keep my sanity in all this :trink40:

So anyway here is the final product after I build sides, wood tailgate etc. I also made brackets so I can use the mesh tailgate from the smaller trailer on it if I have to move the tractor or anything else that can drive up the ramp. Be ware - many pictures ahead.

Here is the tractor pulling out the trailer. As it is here it is probably weighing in at around 1,500 lbs. (empty weight without sides and ramps is listed at 1,250 lbs). That leaves a nice 5,500 worth of loading capacity.

Front side view

The other side

Rear side view showing the tailgate from the other trailer

Even though the other trailer is only 77" wide the ramp seems well at home here on the 83" wide trailer.

Ramp down ready to drive on

I of course had to try it out to see if my welds would hold - it all worked out good driving my Legacy with FEL on there. With all the ballast and me on it is in the 2,000 lbs range.

The ramp is just attached with some pins sliding into a tube. I welded up tubes that are bolted onto the trailer (with grade 8 bolts). That way they can be taken off again so you can put the separate ramps on if you ever want to move a car or larger vehicle.

These are the ramps that came with the trailer

As you can see they just sit in the rear channel.

The storage rack is just behind the wheels - double stacked which is a little unusual.

They just slide in and are locked in place with a pin

If I don't need the big heavy ramp I build a smaller wood tailgate to put on.

it doesn't fold down all the way due to the channel for the larger ramps, but it will still work fine

I just welded up a piece of angle with a tube on it so it fits in the brackets for the larger tailgate.

I them made brackets that would lock on to the side similar to the steel tailgate. I had to angle them a little to get them up high enough.

It latches on nicely

Here is an inside view of the tailgate lock I build. I made them out of 2x3 angle as I had to make up for the difference to fit the ramp tailgate from the narrower trailer.

As the bolt holes got kind of close to the edge of the wood sides I made a reinforcing bracket that goes back to the 2x4 in the stake pocket. This way the wind load on the tailgate will not rip the angle out of the wood. You can also see the hitch pin that is holding the 2x4 in the stake pocket.

This is what it looks like - it just slides in and locks with the little ball.

Finally I mounted 6 D-rings on the deck. This is handy for smaller tractors and other lighter items. Here is an example.

Underneath I put washers and then a fender washer on to spread the load out on the wood.

The wood sides can be removed in about 5 min by pulling out the hitch pin and removing the pins holding the sides in the front.

One side removed

The other side remove

The front sits with 3 pins through the bump rail

Everything removed to make it a flatbed trailer

Well, there you have it.
I think this will be a very versatile trailer I will keep for many years.
When summer comes I will give it a paint job although I will likely paint around all the DOT tape the previous owner put on. There must be $ 75 worth of tape on there.

I will follow up with some pictures of the lights at night. I usually go to the letter of the law and make sure I have enough lights on it.
Hope you enjoyed and maybe got some ideas for yourself.
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Update with night time pictures

I was not able to get a good side picture on this one as my other trailer was parked in front. But here are the pictures I could get anyway.

First off to meet the codes with marker lights that can be seen from all angles including front I had to use two lights. Many manufacturers will actually use one light mounted at an angle under the front corner of the trailer. I figured this was easier and better and it only added $ 7 to the cost for the two extra lights.
I also added lights on the fenders. These act as a center marker light although not required. I like them so I can see exactly where the wheels are in the mirrors when towing at night.

Here is the front corner view with the flash on the camera

And here with the lights only. I had to put the camera on the ground to avoid shaking it hence the lower view.

Rear with flash. The DOT tape really lights up.

And with lights only from the ground.

Again hope this helps someone else out there with some ideas on their trailers.
Feel free to let me know if you have questions or suggestions.
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nice trailer like the rear light setup with reflective tape a blind man can c that
Nice trailer! I'm in the market for something like that myself. I have a 5 X 10 enclosed, but I need to haul 4,000 lbs. of siding to my place in SC, and after that, I'll need to haul stuff like tractors around. My little trailer can only carry about 2,000 lbs.

I've made several nice trailers over the years, but after adding up all of the materials, it would cost me over $1000, and there are lots of used trailers around here in that price range. I can even buy a brand new 16' for $1400, but it's pretty flimsy.
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i love the DOT lights for the widest point on the trailer, its nice to see how your trailer is behind you at night, i put them on all my trailers

and the DOT tape is nice to, another must have

I like a well lit trailer also and the extra DOT tape. Looks brighter than your Christmas lights on the house !!

Just a thought , you may want to cover the lights on the very front of your trailer with some sort of expanded metal. You would be surprised what your back tires will throw right into them.

Good looking trailer !!!

:thThumbsU :thThumbsU
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I like a well lit trailer also and the extra DOT tape.
Its the trucker in me but so do I, gotta have "chicken lights" :trink39:
Guess what I am doing this week :dunno:
Sorry - crappy Iphone pictures.

I had a few vacation days I had to use (use it or lose it policy) so I took most of the week off.

I used rust reformer on the rusty parts and sanded the areas that still had good paint to get good adhesion. Then primed the entire thing including the underside and I am now putting the finish coat on.

2 layers of industrial enamel with hardener on the outside and one coat on the underside. This will take a few days as it needs at least 24 hours between coats to cure properly. I will then put on new reflective markers, new brake backing plates with new shoes and repaint the wheel rims.

Should be a busy week.
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I'm sorry to say that I missed this thread the first time around. It was my loss! That is one fantastic looking trailer. Everything that you've added are very well built and well thought out. I really liked the very detailed photography to show how to put it all together.

Very nice Alan and thank you for sharing it with us. :fing32:
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Sorry for more picture overload :sorry1:

I finally finished my trailer restoration and I wanted to share pictures.
What you cannot see on the pictures is that I completely restored the electric brakes as well. I found a great deal on the entire backing plate with the shoes and magnet for $ 25 each shipped. This is about what the magnet alone cost most places.
I also brushed and painted the entire underside of the trailer to protect from rust.

I wire brushed the inside of the drums and got them nice and clean with some emery cloth. Finally I gave them a fresh coat of paint on the outside.

I also repainted the ramps to make them nice. I used the same trick as I had used for the shed ramp and mixed in a little sand into the paint. It gives a nice, gripping surface.

On to the pictures:

Front of the trailer with new DOT tape on

Angle view of the trailer. I also gave the rims a fresh coat of white paint.
Those ran a little so this is a 5 foot paint job (it looks good when you are 5 feet away).

Side view of the trailer.
As you can see on the top of the thread the previous owner had plastered it in DOT tape. Some of it I took off and other I simply painted over.
It was a royal pain to remove the sections I did - that glue is very good. Even a wire wheel was just smearing the glue around and Acetone was barely touching it. Again at 5 ft you can't really see the areas with painted over tape.

Another upgrade that I made to the trailer was to install rear leveling jacks. I bought some nice heavy duty ones on Ebay but it turned out that they were too long to fit in the North-South direction of the trailer. I ended up putting in 2 pieces of 2"x3" angle and mounted them in the East-West direction. This makes them tuck up nice and close to the ramp holder.

Here is one of them lowered to support the rear of the trailer when driving the tractor up on it.

Wider view to show the location of the leveler. There is one on each side but only the left one is lowered for these pictures.

Finally a picture showing the ramps with the new paint job.
The only downside I found is that the ramps are made to slide into the holder face down. The sand is acting as sand paper and scratches the paint in the holder. I plan on mounting some strips of Velcro or similar to prevent it from scratching the paint.

Finally a little information on my paint method. This may not be the correct method, but I want to share as it seemed to work out really good.
I was looking around for more detailed information myself with little success so at least this can work as a suggestion for someone else looking for ideas.
Everything was applied with brush as I do not have spray capability.

The very rusty parts were treated as follows:
(front, underside, brake drums, ramps)

- Wire wheel the loose rust off
- Treat with Rust Reformer
- Prime with Rusty Metal Primer
- Topcoat with Black Enamel paint with Hardener

Areas with light rust was treated as follows:

- Sand loose rust off and sand existing paint to promote adhesion
- Prime with Rusty Metal Primer
- Topcoat with Black Enamel paint with Hardener

Areas with minimal rust was treated as follows:
(outside of the trailer, fenders)

- Sand loose rust off and sand existing paint to promote adhesion
- Prime with Clean Metal Primer
- Topcoat with Black Enamel paint with Hardener

Below are the products that I used. No I do not get a commission from Rustoleum - it just so happens that I can get it at the local Menard's. I can say that the enamel with hardener in is 10 times better than the same product in a spray can. It is a lot more glossy and it is much harder so it doesn't scratch as easily. Even though there is a bigger risk of drips using a brush, this will be my preferred paint from now on. Downside is that is takes about 18 hours to cure before you can handle it

Thanks for reading my rant - hope it will help someone out along the way.

Rust reformer and metal primers

Gloss enamel and hardener
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nice trailer alan you done a great job on it
Nice job Alan, and great write-up too. The trailer looks new again. :thThumbsU
So you've found the Valspar hardener works well with the Rustoleum?
(Did you spray or brush the paint on? I've heard of people who've done it both ways before.)

Paint job (and trailer + mods) looks really nice. To me, there's always something nice about a metal trailer with wood "accents."
The only thing I'd worry about is the paint peeling off the DOT tape.
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So you've found the Valspar hardener works well with the Rustoleum?
(Did you spray or brush the paint on? I've heard of people who've done it both ways before.)

Paint job (and trailer + mods) looks really nice. To me, there's always something nice about a metal trailer with wood "accents."
The only thing I'd worry about is the paint peeling off the DOT tape.
Yes, the Valspar worked great with the Rustoleum. It should work in most any enamel type paint. It appears that Rustoleum does not make a hardener so I had to get the Valspar one from the local Fleet Farm. Paint however was cheaper at Menards. Only thing is to make sure not to mix too much at a time. I mixed up a large plastic cup full at a time - about the amount I could paint in 45 min or so. At the end of that time it started getting noticeably thicker and did not flow quite as well.
I brushed all my paints on. Less mess than spraying and I also do not have the right equipment for spraying.

I agree with the paint on the DOT tape. At first I planned on just taping the existing DOT tape over with new ones. I actually have enough on hand to do that. But as I was painting I got some amount of paint onto the old tape so I decided to just paint it all. It is great if it holds up - if not I will just go with my original plan and put new tape on top.
So far though I cannot chip the paint off the DOT tape - it appears to be on there really good. We will see what a summer outside does to it though.:thThumbsU
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Got to use the trailer for real this weekend helping out a friend.
We got a couple of loads of gravel to fix holes in his driveway.

The trailer worked absolutely perfect. I was able to put the ramp down, set the stabilizer jacks and just drive the tractor right up and scoop it out with the FEL.
I wasn't sure how it would work, but I am very pleased. I could get about 95% of it out with the tractor. The remaining I shoveled into the FEL with the tractor on the trailer.
Sorry that I don't have any pictures of the actual unloading and spreading of the gravel. I will see if I can get some from my friend.

I don't know how much is actually in there since the guy sold it by the "scoop". I am thinking there is close to 2 yards. The new brakes on the trailer made it completely manageable and it behaved nicely.

This is the tractor I used. Old picture from a different project.
I used a landscape rake instead of the box blade to even out the gravel.
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It must have felt good to see all of your hard restoration work pay off. :thThumbsU
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