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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Hanover, VA
    Posts
    9

    Default service body as a tool trailer...

    Hey guys,
    I am thinking of taking the service body off of a truck and making it into a trailer for my equipment. I dont want another truck, and I have already found a service body for a good price. I like the idea of having all my equipment in one organized, and mobile spot. I will even make it a self sufficent unit, with the generator.

    Im not a weldor by trade, Im a firefighter and a farmer. I need my tools weather Im at my house, my dads, at the barn or in a field. Its a pain in the butt to load all the tools into a truck and haul them around.

    Anyways, My plan is to build a frame to mount the body to. The tong of the trailer will be extended to allow mounting the generator to. In the bed I will mount my air compressor, weldor, O&A torch set, and saw horses. Then use the boxes to hold all the mic. hand tools and power tools, etc. I would like to have an air reel and power cord reel mounted ontop of the boxes for quick and easy use too. I can also use the rear bumper as a small work surface with a vice mount.

    I have seen one other trailer like this and realy liked the concept, I have not been able find others on the net, If yall have seen any and will post a link so I can get some more ideas it would be greatly appreciated. This is also the first trailer I will be constructing and I have been realy impressed by what I have seen on this board and hope some of you will be so kind as to give me some pointers and tips as I build this.

    Thanks in advance for any help I may recive on my project. I will take pics and keep all posted as I complete this.
    Thanks Robbie

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    35

    Default My version

    Robbie -

    There are a thousand ways to build one. I used an old 1 ton chevy chassis and mounted a steel flat-bed on it. I use it for firewood and anything else that will fit in it. I used a 3" chanel for the 'draw-tube'. I even mounted a hydraulic surge brake on it. One tip - cut the axle shafts off so the rear end isn't working all the time. It's a bit easier to pull. Good luck.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    20

    Default

    Neat project Robbie, one idea that crosses my mind I guess would be what about using an old truck frame to build a trailer with? Your service body should fit perfectly to a truck frame similar to the truck it was originally mounted on.

    It seems as though it used to be very common to see a trailer made out of an old pickup box around here. Seems to be fewer all the time. One guess of mine would be the issue of brakes, but I would think you could either use a surge brake setup to activate the existing hydraulic brake of the truck or replace the actual truck axle with a trailer type axle with electric brakes.

    I know there is an outfit near here that will build an axle to your specifications and put the pring pads etc where you require.

    Just a thought, might be worth looking into.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    San Diego
    Posts
    180

    Default Service truck

    check out my service truck!!
    Quote Originally Posted by FF1809 View Post
    Hey guys,
    I am thinking of taking the service body off of a truck and making it into a trailer for my equipment. I dont want another truck, and I have already found a service body for a good price. I like the idea of having all my equipment in one organized, and mobile spot. I will even make it a self sufficent unit, with the generator.

    Im not a weldor by trade, Im a firefighter and a farmer. I need my tools weather Im at my house, my dads, at the barn or in a field. Its a pain in the butt to load all the tools into a truck and haul them around.

    Anyways, My plan is to build a frame to mount the body to. The tong of the trailer will be extended to allow mounting the generator to. In the bed I will mount my air compressor, weldor, O&A torch set, and saw horses. Then use the boxes to hold all the mic. hand tools and power tools, etc. I would like to have an air reel and power cord reel mounted ontop of the boxes for quick and easy use too. I can also use the rear bumper as a small work surface with a vice mount.

    I have seen one other trailer like this and realy liked the concept, I have not been able find others on the net, If yall have seen any and will post a link so I can get some more ideas it would be greatly appreciated. This is also the first trailer I will be constructing and I have been realy impressed by what I have seen on this board and hope some of you will be so kind as to give me some pointers and tips as I build this.

    Thanks in advance for any help I may recive on my project. I will take pics and keep all posted as I complete this.
    Thanks Robbie
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Hanover, VA
    Posts
    9

    Default

    Thanks for your reaponces so far. Yall have some good ideas and that is a realy good lookin service truck.

    I have not decided if I will modify a truck frame or build my own frame from scratch. What advantages vs. disadvantages do yall see?

    I will be taking my time building this, replacing the lights with LEDs and rewiring the lights. I would like to under coat the bed and frame with roll on bed liner paint, and repaint the outside of the box and inside the compartments.

    I will post before and after pics as I work on this, and if yall dont mind I will be asking for input as well. Thanks Robbie

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Corona, CA
    Posts
    213

    Default

    Well, what did that service bed come off of? If you could find that truck in the bone yard, and you were to just cut the frame off at the cab, and pull that section of frame out, you wouldnt have to fabricate any of that. If its feasible, that would be much faster. Then just swap axles to a trailer straight axle, and some brakes (my preference is electric over hydraulic...much nicer to tow).

    If you were to make the frame, it would obviously still fit correctly, BUT youd need to make spring mounts, and make sure it was square with the frame...not impossible, but can be a pain to do. Plus youd have to buy the steel, which would probably be 3/16th C chanel, maybe 4" tall. I dont know what price is...but its a touch more expensive.

    Personally, I would probably also make the frame, because Im obsessive that way...but it would be quicker, and probably easier to pull from a bone yard, and modify that into a trailer.

    As a note on the bedliner stuff, coat the inside of the boxes with it too...youre going to have tools flying around in there, and paint will get scratched, and chip, and eventually not look nice. If you put bedliner in there, it will stay the same black bedliner-ish color and texture for the life of it probably.

    Good luck to you!
    Precision is only as important as the project...if you're building a rocket ship...1/64" would matter. If you're building a sledgehammer...an 1/8" probably wont.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Lake of the Ozarks MO
    Posts
    3,583

    Default

    I know a lot of you guys have responded to use the truck frame. But when you really look how those service bodies are made it really isn't any easier.
    When you make a service body it needs to fit just about anything. They are universal. The only other way to do it is to have made it only to fit a specific application. Then you would have many more models.
    The main rails are just straight under/on the service body and then you use/rig up spacers and whatever else to fit the particular truck you have. It is usually a comprimise. Anybody who has made a truck bed knows this for sure.
    By using normal structural steel all this spacing and fitting can be eliminated and a perfect fit can be had...something you seldom get with a truck.
    The service body is also more than likely heavy built and braced well.
    A truck frame would be overbuilt for this(a trailer) because the mfg has to take into account using just a pickup box so they add heavy crossmembers and gussett etc. plus at the back end there are things like extra beef for bumpers and hitches and gas tanks and all that jaz.
    With a custom frame you could make it whatever height you wanted and possibly be a good bit lighter as well. You could have disc brakes even.
    Another thing is a homemade trailer using a sevice body is very easily made to look like the Beverly Hillbillies coming and a truck frame if not done very well could add to this effect very easily.
    Being raised in a junyard I watched my dad cut up more than one perfectly good truck up and make a trailer out of it. He made dozens of them and was known for years as the guy to do this. He made so many I can spot his work driving by and still see them around. In fact right now in my shop driveway is one that was the last project dad did, a 1958 Chevy shortbed stepside. I am sure the bed is worth more to someone than the trailer is altogether.
    A few good reasons why you seldom see this done is a service bed can be a real handful as a trailer pkg. because they tend to be short with a high center of gravity...certainly something that would suck pretty fast if you had to haul it around very much. You would be surprised when you weigh one to find out just heavy they are.
    I am in no way trying to talk you out of this but rather simply trying to highlite the pitfalls I have seen done many times over on homemade trailers.
    There are way more bad ones than good ones IMO.

    One thing I would re-consider is doing my dead level best to get everything INSIDE. The genny would be adding to the tounge weight as well, which may or may not be a problem, but the main reason is THIEVES. You may as well put a sign on it. I would make a top over the bed area and get 'er all inside. You could even put a door to the front side now that the cab is not in the way(?) I have more than one buddy and even me, who have had equipment STOLEN... and it will drive you to laying up at night imagining scenerios like shooting people and could'a would'a should'a and all that.
    HTH...Garry

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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Benton, Pa
    Posts
    68

    Default I would not do it again.

    I did that once.

    If I ever do it again, I would build a flat bed and buy boxes from Tractor Supply or the like.
    A utility box is not really a welding rig. The first encounter is your gas bottles and getting them secured to the frame, Not sure of your state, PA likes to have the DOT check them to make sure its done correctly.
    The next thing is your welder is in the box, you need to climb into the box to start, adjust and shut off.
    I built mine with a detachable towing tongue with a 10" caster wheel, so i can push it into a corner of the garage to store it.
    Just my thoughts.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Gulfport, Florida
    Posts
    440

    Default



    Hey there Robbie: The disadvantages of going the truck frame is the bed will be high off the ground, but on the other side of the coin it's basically all ready built. But I do not think you should use a dual wheel axle, or the wheels buy a set of super singles tires and wheels and switch them over to single.. See Ya Bob

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    42

    Default

    sounds like you are going to put a lot of weight there. You would probably be better off building the frame rather than utilizing a chassis..To fit some of the various body styles the installers would have to remove cross members weakening the frames. Dodge had a problem with the 3500's cracking on wreckers and coffee trucks because of the missing crossmembers..

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