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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: 

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I started out with the bottom (main) portion of the trailer. The bottom square and tongue are .120 wall 2.50 square tube. 

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Instead of having to cap the ends, I decided on cutting all ends at 45 degrees so they would meet at the joints. 

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After I welded up the bottom portion, I planned out where the sides, corners, and tailgate would go and prepped the surface. 

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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: 

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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After some primer and gloss black paint, the trailer is really starting to come together: 

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Keeping the light-weight theme, I grabbed some aluminum tread plate for the inner panels. 

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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: 

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For taillights, I purchased a couple LED combo oval lights and mounted them with a bracket that was available. 

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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: 

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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.

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