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What is the cheapest way to build a trailer?

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  • What is the cheapest way to build a trailer?

    I'm looking to build a 77" x 14' single axle utility trailer. I'm looking to use a 5200 lb axle since my truck's towing capacity is only 5000 pounds (supposedly). I want it to have rails and use an A-frame tongue. Since I'm still in high school and under a poor family, I'm running off of mine and my parents income taxes. I'd be using a Millermatic 252 mig welder in my shop since that's where I'd be building it. Can anyone tell me what's the cheapest way to build a trailer this size? I have the skill level and I can do the wiring.

  • #2
    I have to be honest here and I think a lot of people might agree but unless you have a trailer to use as a donor (think boat trailer) and a cheap source for steel (I have a scrap yard in the same complex my shop is in I get stuff from at times at about 1/2 the cost of new) you will probably spend more to build it then buy one.

    Also you would be hard pressed to build or buy a 5000# single axle without spending a fortune. Probably be cheaper to do twin axle.

    Look at used ones. You can probably find something close to what you're looking for and just modified to suit your needs and still save a little money
    Last edited by Lostone; 12-22-2016, 12:42 PM.

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    • #3
      Thank you Lostone, I think that helped me. I figured it'd be cheaper, I just wasn't for sure.

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      • #4
        I have built several trailers, mostly small ones, and its would've been cheaper to just buy a used one. Even one that has to be repaired a little bit. If you have the skill and can scrounge up the materials, that would be the route I'd take. If its not something you need immediately, just be patient and keep your eyes open, something will pop up soon enough.

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        • #5
          Great advice from Lostone. I've built a few trailers, including a heavy-duty single-axle trailer. While great for the experience, I also had the sprung axle already available. I sure didn't save any money. And we're not even mentioning fabrication time and the extra paperwork for registration.

          That said, I think this was the place I got my other parts from, I remember them being a really good deal at the time: http://www.championtrailers.com/

          The other reason for a tandem axle trailer is load balance, especially when not on the towing vehicle, and safety, like when you blow a tire on the freeway.

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          • #6
            I've built a couple of trailers and I agree with the others, it's cheaper to buy than to build. Some steel yards where I live in Phoenix have scrap steel as well as new. Sometimes you can get a good deal on scrap, but they don't always have what you're looking for. I'm planning on building a trailer for my Bobcat skid steer, but I already have all the running gear from another trailer. Otherwise, I'd probably buy, then modify.

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            • #7
              I just last month built a 6.5' x 9' 3000# deck over to haul my ATV when it has the plow on it. I used an old pop-up as the base. Used scrap where I could and used deck boards from my inlaws when they replaced the deck. but still had to buy bearing kits, new tires, lights and I made a removable ball hitch and tongue. There's not much to it and not completely done but I still got $450 into it

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              • #8
                Just my 2 cents I agree it's cheaper to buy used and modify than build from scratch. Just the hubs and wheels will cost more than a whole trailer. After you modify it you can still say I DID THAT!

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                • #9
                  Alright thanks y'all! I think I'll try to find a cheap trailer on craigslist, offerup, or something like that and I'll modify it. This helped a lot!

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                  • #10
                    Not sure of your budget, but a trailer like you describe would be $600-1000 around here. Would need some minor repair and tires most likely. We picked up one for $900, didn't track straight, but had brakes, dual axles, and bald tires, weighed right in at 3,050lb. It was an excavator trailer and had ungodly heavy ramps that we 86'd - but it pulled, brakes worked after adjustment and it had a nice 3/32" diamond plate steel bed just a bit longer than you are looking for.

                    As the other said, you will have that just in an axles.
                    J.Caraher
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                    • #11
                      I agree on finding one used. Check craigslist too. Sometimes you can find a double axle boat trailer for less money than what you pay for the axles. I modified a $150.00 boat trailer for a movable chicken coop . The axle and wheels would have cost more.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by BD1 View Post
                        ...movable chicken coop😢....
                        Man that's a good idea. I put the one I made for my dad on skids.

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                        • #13
                          I agree with the others find a good used one and modify it to do what you need. Repurposed this one last summer to haul my garden tractors on. It started out as a tilt deck with a 1/2" plywood floor, two cross braces underneath, and no sides. Trailer was free and a big part of it was built with scrap cutoffs my grandfather had laying around the farm. Floor was old concrete forms we had laying around from another project a few years back. All in all I've got roughly 300 bucks in it for the new material I had to buy, lights, wiring, etc.
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                          • #14
                            I just sold a single axle trailer that needed a spindle replaced for $200 just because I have too many projects and it was in the way ...... keep looking, there are deals out there.
                            Executive Director
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