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Tilt Deck Trailer Question

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  • Tilt Deck Trailer Question

    Hi everyone well ive got another trailer question. Ive got a long weekend coming up and i think its time i built a trailer for my snowmobile as i got really sick last year of loading and unloading it into the back of my truck... (kind of a tight fit)
    SO anyways the question i have is i bought some trailer plans and the deck frame and tongue assembly is made of 4x2x 1/8 aluminum rectangular tubing. Now im ok with the size of the tube its just the wall thickness im concerned about. REading other posts on the site people have said to use no less than 3/16" wall when using steel. So i got out my reference book and did some figuring out... with the aluminum set up the trailer weighs around 300 pounds... If i decided to use 1/8" wall mild steel tubeing the weight shoots up to around 650 pounds, and if i used 3/16" wall steek tube the weight skyrockets to around 850 pounds!!!
    SO my question is what do you guys think??? I have a synchrowave 200 and i am capable of tig welding aluminum (a little rusty but capable) and if i go this route should i use 1/8" wall aluminum or upgrade to 3/16.... or should i sacrifice weight and use just good ole mild steel due to availability and because i have more experience welding steel (i do structural steel welding/erecting for a living)... Im kinda leaning towards aluminum because of the weight factor but im just not 100% sure

    Thanks for your time and your opinions are greatly appreciated.
    Oh and heres a picture of the sled inside the truck, and what the trailer should look like although im gonna modify it so the deck has a complete floor
    Attached Files

  • #2
    So what's the reason you are so concerned with the trailer weight? Fuel mileage? Do you haul it really long distances? Aluminum is going to cost a lot more and take longer to fabricate. Is it worth the extra expense to you to make it from aluminum?

    I guess on other advantage to making it from AL is that you have to worry less about corrosion and wouldn't have to paint it.

    Comment


    • #3
      This is whats awesome about forums its like a brainstorming sessions. Nocheepgas you made some valide points i overlooked. Weight is kind of an issue because whenever ive went snowmobiling its usually been a minumum hour drive to get out of the city to where the snow is. I also drive a chevy colorado so i dont have a whole lot of towing power. Im thinking that aluminum may be the way to go because they do salt the sh*t out of the roads here, plus spending the extra on aluminum may save me on the gas milage in the long run. Im still kind of leary about using 1/8" wall tubing, would this be sufficient or should i go up to 3/16??? All i'll be using this for is hauling the sled and maybe a quad in the future so the max load on this thing will be around 500-600 pounds.

      What grade of aluminum/ type of filler would yous recommend as well? The prints reccomend 6061-t6 but im unsure of what type of filler to use?
      Last edited by swamp donkey; 06-27-2009, 06:14 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        IMHO, you should be okay with the 1/8" wall rectangular tubing. If, conceptually converted to C-Channel, you would have 1/4" in the web portion - which should be more than adequate. There are a lot of trailers running around with lighter weight construction than that. Also, 4", say vs. 3" tube will be a lot stronger, and equivalent to a heavier wall in terms of deflection of a beam.

        What is the trailer rating of the prints you have, and did you get them from a reliable source? If so, I would trust them.

        I used 4056 when I did my trailer, simply because 1) that is what I started with and 2) I get better welds with it than 5036.


        Have fun, and keep us posted with the pics. BTW, I've always wondered how people wrestle a snowmobile into the back of a pickup. Just seems like too much work to me.

        Comment


        • #5
          I am assuming you know that almost NO ONE (volume trailer mfg.) makes a WELDED aluminum trailer tongue??
          Bolted yes.
          Anywhere you weld it you have just eliminated ALL TEMPER...and exactly where all the stress is!! I have fixed many homemade aluminum trailers that people did not know this. No doubt about it, a welded aluminum trailer tongue is an accident waiting to happen. Unless you have access to heat treatment you may wish to rethink this a bit.
          If you made the bottom/tongue assembly out of steel, 1/8" would be great. And 3" square would be plenty fine btw... then the rest of the trailer out of aluminum, you would have a very good and awsum trailer.
          Just remember if it flexes continuously, aluminum is a poor choice for a welded structural member, because it has a short cycle life. And I would consider a trailer tongue a critical application.
          As for the salt corrosion part goes..design would play a factor in that as well.
          Just start checking out big trucks...if it holds the crud it will pit and corrode just like anything.
          Last edited by FusionKing; 06-28-2009, 02:24 PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Once again thank you everyone for the imput. Personally i find it a SOB of a time trying to lug a sled into the back of the truck and it usually takes two people. I had a set of ramps but one falso move or two have left my tailgate dented and scratched so just to ease everything im building a trailer.
            I personally find the resource of the prints reliable as they are from a company that fabricates off road buggys, and soo far they are the only design of trailer i like. Fusion king thank you for your info. THe plans say the whole tongue assembly is welded aluminum... so from what your telling me this is a major no no. And im thinkin that for ease of everything im gonna build the whole dang thing out of mild steel. saves me from buying stuff to cut and work aluminum and will be cheaper. Plus im more confortable welding steel. Soo with all this said im hopin to buy all the material on friday and start fabricating and will definatly keep you all updated.

            Comment


            • #7
              Well lets put it this way...I live in an area where boat trailers are simply everywhere.
              My dad made his living making trailers a lot.
              I make mine welding and fabricating things almost exclusively out of aluminum.
              I wouldn't build a welded aluminum trailer where the frame was welded unless I was working for someone else who was responsible and it was engineered professionally.
              Some folks are braver than me...I have seen a lot of trailers busted that were built right to begin with.
              Steel will spring back to shape when overloaded where aluminum has a tendency to simply yield.

              Comment


              • #8
                SwampDonkey,
                Since it looks like steel is going to be the material of choice you may want to look into having the whole trailer galvanized when you are done welding it up. Depending on where you live it may be a good alternative to paint for corrosion resistance and by dipping the entire trailer you're sure to get everywhere that salt is going to find.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Here it would be made out of steel but I wouldn't have a problem with alum in that design. The flex should be occurring across the member and not on the weldments anyway. Most good trailer designs do not really carry the weight on most of the welding anyway, the weight bears on most of the structural members and welds keep it from tearing apart.
                  This trailer is designed to carry a sled and not to be tongue loaded with tons of rocks.
                  Last edited by Sberry; 06-29-2009, 06:21 AM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I repair one a while back where the builder did a beautiful job with the 135 feeder but missed a critical design component, weld didn't fail, wasn't even a factor and would have went no matter how good or how much weld he had on it. Even heavier material wouldnt have helped.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      you could also get the steel powder coated

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I have been toying with the idea of building a small aluminum utillity trailer for some time. Being retired its just a hobby with me and I like working with aluminum. Fusion King comments are worthy of consideration.
                        I do know Triton trailers build small aluminum utility trailers and they bolt on the coupler and axles. I called their tech deptment and they informed me they reenforce the tongue and other stress areas with .250 aluminum plate over the 2x4x.120 6061 T6. They run a third member down the middle and bring the two side portions of the tongue out and angled back into the third member. Look them up, they may give you some ideas, but having said all that, I like the idea of galvanize or powder coat. Most of the boat lifts where I am at are hot dipped galvanized after assembly. They are doing fine. Fusion King knows all about that.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          i like the idea of galvanizing much more than powder coating. im not sure of the cost diference but i have, and many of my close frinds have had, poor results with powdercoated objects.(such as bumper gards and fences) the powdercoat will chip and cant be sanded back and touched up.

                          you could also consider having the entire thing sprayed with a truck bed liner.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Sberry View Post
                            Here it would be made out of steel but I wouldn't have a problem with alum in that design. The flex should be occurring across the member and not on the weldments anyway. Most good trailer designs do not really carry the weight on most of the welding anyway, the weight bears on most of the structural members and welds keep it from tearing apart.
                            This trailer is designed to carry a sled and not to be tongue loaded with tons of rocks.
                            I know what you are saying.
                            But using 1/8th inch and TIGGING would not be wise IMO. Tig leaves a huge HAZ compared to mig. I liked the design myself. I am guessing it was going to use a tor-flex type axle?



                            Originally posted by Geezer View Post
                            I have been toying with the idea of building a small aluminum utillity trailer for some time. Being retired its just a hobby with me and I like working with aluminum. Fusion King comments are worthy of consideration.
                            I do know Triton trailers build small aluminum utility trailers and they bolt on the coupler and axles. I called their tech deptment and they informed me they reenforce the tongue and other stress areas with .250 aluminum plate over the 2x4x.120 6061 T6. They run a third member down the middle and bring the two side portions of the tongue out and angled back into the third member. Look them up, they may give you some ideas, but having said all that, I like the idea of galvanize or powder coat. Most of the boat lifts where I am at are hot dipped galvanized after assembly. They are doing fine. Fusion King knows all about that.
                            I agree you need to reinforce a bunch.
                            In my simple way of looking at aluminum compared to steel, it should be twice as thick, and it will weigh half as much, and be half as strong.
                            Not a totally true statement as we all know... but a good rule of thumb to keep in mind when making stuff out of it. If you do something along those guidelines when making your aluminum structures and choose the correct alloys, plus weld in the best places, aluminum can prove to be extremely tough and durable. Copy a steel design and sooner or later you will not be strong enuff.
                            Steel has a cycle life of about forever at its rated load.
                            Aluminum has a much shorter cycle life at it's rating. Just the nature of the beast. Think of all the things that are not made of aluminum, like springs and chains. There may be exceptions but if so they are few.
                            Who knows where a trailer would end up doing after 10 years and a couple of owners. Just look at what people on here are doing with them.
                            BTW, I don't make any claims as to being an authority, (I have learned plenty on this forum myself) just trying to lay out what I have noticed and maybe help a few folks make a better informed decision.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by FusionKing View Post
                              I agree you need to reinforce a bunch.
                              In my simple way of looking at aluminum compared to steel, it should be twice as thick, and it will weigh half as much, and be half as strong.
                              Not a totally true statement as we all know... but a good rule of thumb to keep in mind when making stuff out of it. If you do something along those guidelines when making your aluminum structures and choose the correct alloys, plus weld in the best places, aluminum can prove to be extremely tough and durable. Copy a steel design and sooner or later you will not be strong enuff.
                              Steel has a cycle life of about forever at its rated load.
                              Aluminum has a much shorter cycle life at it's rating. Just the nature of the beast. Think of all the things that are not made of aluminum, like springs and chains. There may be exceptions but if so they are few.
                              Who knows where a trailer would end up doing after 10 years and a couple of owners. Just look at what people on here are doing with them.
                              BTW, I don't make any claims as to being an authority, (I have learned plenty on this forum myself) just trying to lay out what I have noticed and maybe help a few folks make a better informed decision.
                              FushionKing: Well said. Practical experience should never be taken lightly and cross feed on this site and others like it are extremely valuable. My first aluminum trailer project will be more like a small cart with a coupler to carry my generator when I need emergency power. We will see where that leads. I also was advised reenforcement and location of welds is especially key with aluminum....understandable. And that stuff is too expensive to waste. I think most of this craze I have was justification to buy a spool gun.

                              I certainly understand why swamp donkey wants a trailer, I would not want to load a sled on the back of a truck. Personally, I would consider steel tube. It makes a clean build, plenty strong and it should service him well. My 14ft enclosed is all tube sprayed with a good epoxy primer, quality top coat, then undercoat. In the area he lives a steel tube sled trailer should be marketable if he then opts for an aluminum build. Good feedback!

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