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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Winnipeg, MB CANADA
    Posts
    41

    Default 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 Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    812

    Default

    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.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Winnipeg, MB CANADA
    Posts
    41

    Default

    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 at 06:14 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    101

    Default

    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.
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Lake of the Ozarks MO
    Posts
    3,547

    Default

    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 at 02:24 PM.

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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Winnipeg, MB CANADA
    Posts
    41

    Default

    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.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Lake of the Ozarks MO
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    Default

    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.

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    Miller 30-A Spoolgun
    Miller WC-115-A
    Miller Spectrum 300
    Miller 225 Thunderbolt (my first machine bought new 1980)
    SPEEDGLAS 9100XX

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    812

    Default

    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.
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    16919 Pole Rd. Brethren, MI 49619
    Posts
    4,376

    Default

    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 at 06:21 AM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    16919 Pole Rd. Brethren, MI 49619
    Posts
    4,376

    Default

    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.

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