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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Default Aluminum trailer questions

    I'm wanting to build myself a small utility trailer and have quite abit of 2"x2" and 1"x1" aluminum square tubing. I want to use a torsion bar axle so I can have the trailer sit pretty low to the ground in case I ever need to haul my motorcycle , lawnmower, etc.. I think 4'x6' or maybe 4'x8' would be plenty. This will be a fairly limited use trailer but I want it to be sturdy and well built. Anyone have experience building aluminum trailers and if so anything in particular to keep in mind when fabbing one ? What about the axle to frame connection ? Bolt together at the steel to aluminum points ? Any other issues come to mind ? Thanks

    One more thing I plan on decking with sheet and stitch weld to the frame so that should help stiffen it up and add some strength but want to keep it as light as possible.
    Last edited by Showdog75; 10-04-2010 at 08:36 PM.
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  2. #2
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    Default wrong material....

    First for a light duty aluminum trailer I would use 2x3 material .18 wall or .25wall. 2x2 will be very light, and make bolting the torison axle difficult. only thing you might be able to do is to use the 2x2 material and double the rail making the sides and frame one. Aluminum trailer are tricky to make. What wall is the tubing, if it is .125 I think you find it will be to flimsy. Also I almost always see the tonque of the trailer steel, or if it is alumnium it is always an A frame trailer. And yes all steel components must be bolted on.
    Kevin
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
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    Default M/c

    Check your bike size, most full size bikes are about 8' long or more. I had a 250 dirt bike that was to big for 5'X8' enclosed trailer.
    If the trailer is open the fender could hang over the end of the trailer. The front wheel can go on the tongue in the vee.
    To stiffen up the frame, ladder the frame with risers and another frame rail on top of the risers, like side racks only welded not removeable.
    Good Luck,
    Bob
    Last edited by Bob Miller; 10-04-2010 at 11:36 PM. Reason: Should read M/C
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  4. #4
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    Default

    i see lots of small aluminum trailers on the market now, but havent looked at them very close. At work we have had several aluminum trailers and have had to add material to all of them. So, brace it up alot. The small steel trailers are pretty light, but nothing beats free material, if it will work.
    Also, like one of the other guys said, we added a rail on one of ours to stiffen it up and that helped.
    Scott
    HMW [Heavy Metal welding]

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Colorado Springs
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    276

    Default

    Attach the torsion axle by bolting it. Use some thin plastic or thin rubber between the frame the the mount to limit the BiMetal corrosion.

    I did this years ago. I found that cross pieces right under the tires of my bike, even if they are extras, was big on "piece of mind" that the bike wouldn't go thru on a rough road.

    Should be a fun project.
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  6. #6
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    Default

    I will tell you my opinion
    Come up with a way to attach the axle to the tongue....the STEEL one!!!
    Otherwise pretty much forget it, unless you bolt everything together.
    Any load bearing section that is welded will be tempered to T-0 condition and will be weaker.Even the Mico trailers (big Bucks) I see that are welded are falling apart at the seams. Everyone goes on about welding on truck frames but this is every bit as critical.

    Lawn and garden trailers are fine for aluminum but I have yet to see an aluminum trailer WELDED together that I felt was done correctly.
    A trailer frame can twist as much as 6" or more under a load. It essentially becomes a spring.
    I know my opinion is a bit biased and I only see the ones that are in need of repair....but....it isn't like everyone was abusive.
    I do think if you was to make a basic wishbone frame from steel and then all the rest from aluminum you would have the best of both.
    This is simply my opinion as you well know and I am basing it on what I have had to fix over the years.

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  7. #7
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    Default Fusionking...look at the featherlights...

    Quote Originally Posted by FusionKing View Post
    I will tell you my opinion
    Come up with a way to attach the axle to the tongue....the STEEL one!!!
    Otherwise pretty much forget it, unless you bolt everything together.
    Any load bearing section that is welded will be tempered to T-0 condition and will be weaker.Even the Mico trailers (big Bucks) I see that are welded are falling apart at the seams. Everyone goes on about welding on truck frames but this is every bit as critical.

    Lawn and garden trailers are fine for aluminum but I have yet to see an aluminum trailer WELDED together that I felt was done correctly.
    A trailer frame can twist as much as 6" or more under a load. It essentially becomes a spring.
    I know my opinion is a bit biased and I only see the ones that are in need of repair....but....it isn't like everyone was abusive.
    I do think if you was to make a basic wishbone frame from steel and then all the rest from aluminum you would have the best of both.
    This is simply my opinion as you well know and I am basing it on what I have had to fix over the years.
    Only car aluminum trailer I have ever seen which has lasted and not cracked apart was the featherlights. Very well made, designed to with stand flex....biggest thing I have found with aluminum trailers is they can not be left loaded for long periods of time. Personally a well made steel trailer is far superior in my humble opinion...
    Kevin
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  8. #8
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    Mar 2006
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    Default

    I would have to agree wth fusionking on his reply. Seems aluminum trailers always need work. Cracks etc. Where the steel one's seldom need repair.
    How about sell all the aluminum and buy a small steel trailer??
    but that would take all the fun out of making one
    Scott
    HMW [Heavy Metal welding]

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Tryagn5 View Post
    Only car aluminum trailer I have ever seen which has lasted and not cracked apart was the featherlights. Very well made, designed to with stand flex....biggest thing I have found with aluminum trailers is they can not be left loaded for long periods of time. Personally a well made steel trailer is far superior in my humble opinion...
    Kevin
    I am not certain they have a dealer around here. I would have to ask tho....are they welded in the critical load bearing areas or bolted together??
    Last edited by FusionKing; 10-06-2010 at 07:11 AM.

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