Wild Yoats Toyota 4x4 Forum Presents...
Johnny’s Off Road Trailer Build – April 2007
For some time now I have always thought it would make a lot of sense to have an off road trailer. Something I could have almost all my trail/camping gear in, something I could just hook up and go.
When I purchased my Moombasa roof top tent last year I quickly installed it on the roof of my Land Cruiser. It’s a great invention but one of the areas of the tent unit that needed a little improvement is the ladder. In fact, the unstable ladder flat out scared me. I had this vision of me getting up in the middle of the night after a night of sitting around the campfire drinking………cool aid, and plummeting to the earth at 3AM. Another concern I had was the weight on top. Sure, it’s only about a 120 lbs, but in a teeter-toter situation on the trail, that weight could really mean a lot.
So, all this thinking led to a thought of building a off road trailer. A trailer I could easily tow down and something I could leave my tent at camp with.
After some internet browsing and idea collecting, and of course late night sitting up in bed thinking, I scratched out a rough-draft on paper (see below).
My first stop was for the axle. I visited Henderson Wheel in Salt Lake and told the helpful clerk of my plan. I had Henderson custom make me an axle that was 1” wider than the track width of my 96’ Land Cruiser. I was informed that the wider the better for trailering (stability), but obviously with an off-road trailer, you don’t want to go too wide if you plan on being on the trail.
I also had Henderson include the hub kit with the proper 6 lug wheel pattern (5.5).
Next was the metal. I stopped by Wasatch Steel for the main portions of metal for the trailer. Later, I picked up the diamond tread-bright plate at Metal Supermarket.
From there, I purchased a new chop saw from Sears, for once the DeWalt brand was actually less money than the Craftsman brand. Once I got home, I dove into the project:
I started out with the bottom (main) portion of the trailer. The bottom square and tongue are .120 wall 2.50 square tube.
Instead of having to cap the ends, I decided on cutting all ends at 45 degrees so they would meet at the joints.
After I welded up the bottom portion, I planned out where the sides, corners, and tailgate would go and prepped the surface.
The top and side rails are made using 2” .060 square tube. It is lightweight and plenty sturdy enough for the minimal weight I will be loading in this trailer (just camping gear).
The spring hangers were carefully measured and welded in place:
For the floor, I used 1”x 2” C-Channel. Once the floor (3 bars across) was completed, I installed the axle and springs after painting them with Hammerite.
I thank my friends Dave H. for the tires and Andre S. for the extra 80 series wheels. Between the two, I was able to keep the wheels and tires (for the most part) the same as my 80 series.
I found some trucker style :-) tread-bright aluminum fenders, and mounted them on the trailer. I later added LED guidance lights to the front and rear of the fenders. I also ended up painting the fenders black because the combination of the side panels and fenders was just too bright.
The tongue was added after carefully being measured to be in the center of the trailer. The tongue was welded and bolted to the first and second floor joists.
After some primer and gloss black paint, the trailer is really starting to come together:
Keeping the light-weight theme, I grabbed some aluminum tread plate for the inner panels.
For the floor, I simply purchased a piece of plywood and cut it to shape. I also coated both sides of the wood with some Behr weatherproofing sealant. I used carriage bolts for the floor:
For taillights, I purchased a couple LED combo oval lights and mounted them with a bracket that was available.
For the Moombasa Tent, I mounted some Yakima bars with low-profile “landing pad” mounts. I found a couple extra Yakima clamps in my junk drawer which came in handy for some back up light mounts:
I used a simple lunette ring and combo pintle mount for the hitch set-up. After I completed all the wiring (which travels in the tongue-tube), safety chains, and tailgate latch, she is done! I mounted the Moombasa tent and took it for a spin! So far so good, it tows very well and straight and it lightweight enough that I really don’t feel it behind the 80 series stock power.
You’ll notice I made the tongue long enough to clear the vehicle in a 90 degree jack-knife turn.