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Rock Spyder 4x4
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  1. #1
    Active Member PCO6's Avatar
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    PCO6's Trailer Build

    About a year ago I started to make some rough sketches of what I wanted to build as an expedition style trailer. I built a utility trailer 3 or 4 years ago. It was a fun project and I wanted to build another one.

    I bought some metal for the frame and started to cut it to size. I was literally about to start welding when I found a trailer for sale on a local Jeep forum. It was very close to what I planned to build and the price was more than right. I couldn’t have bought the materials for what I paid for the trailer.

    It was only a little more than an hour away. I drove down thinking I would have to repack the bearings, reconstruct the coupler, etc. but it was in perfect condition. I drove it away and was fully confident with it within 10 miles or so. Thanks “Just-lift-it” – good deal!

    The overall specs are …
    - length 12’
    - width 5’ 10”
    - height 3’ 5” (without lid)
    - clearance 19.75 ” to frame
    - clearance 15” to axle
    - tongue platform 46” tapering to 32”
    - weight not sure yet !!!
    - axle 3,500 lb. (brakes to come)
    - wheels 16” Jeep Moab
    - tires 245 75R 16 – Goodyear Duratrac
    - box length 60”
    - box width 48”
    - box height 19.25”
    - box cubic ft. 32 ft(3)
    - tongue jack 1,500 lbs. – 8”x4” wheel

    Here’s what I started with. This pic from the ad for it was either taken on the day it was painted or it was more likely raining. It looked shinier that it was.






    The trailer was well constructed. I understand it was used by a welding company to trailer a mobile welder to job sites. The round fenders were well built and nicely tied to the frame with deck plate running boards. It had 14” wheels and tires that were in pretty good shape. I wanted square fenders though and 16” wheels and tires to match my Jeep TJ & XJ so I decided to tear everything off.





    I sanded down a pair of 16” Jeep Moab wheels and painted them with Duplicolor wheel paint. I’ll eventually get them powder coated. I went with “graphite” to distinguish them from the silver wheels on the tow vehicles. I found an almost new set of 245/75R/16 Goodyear Duratracs on Kijiji to match what I have on my TJ. I also needed a set of spacers to mount the wheels to the hubs. I may replace the axle so I can add brakes. Unlike a lot of axles the current one does not have the flanges to bolt the brake backing plates to. If I can fabricate something suitable I’ll go that route. If not I’ll build a new axle.





    I cut off the trailer jack that came with the trailer and welded on brackets to attach a 1,500 lb. marine jack. I like the 8”x4” wheel/tire and hope it handles dirt surfaces better than the more common narrow tires.



    The trailer bed was pretty rusty and had about 30 bolt, rivet and rust holes that needed to be filled.





    Scraps from the old running boards came in handy.



    The chassis was built by a company called “EZ Tow Trailers”. I like the curved side rails which is something I didn’t plan for in my original sketches.



    I spent a lot of time underneath it getting rid of the rust.



    I eventually flipped it over and that seemed like the right time to add a 2”x2” receiver to the rear bumper for a bike rack, etc.



    With a lot of the rust gone I painted the frame with POR15 and later with a few different types of cheap aerosol bed liners. I thought I’d try a different ones out and recoat everything with the one I finally like (no decision yet).


  2. #2
    Active Member PCO6's Avatar
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    I finally started to build the box which is 5’ long by 4’ wide and 19.25” high. In this pic you can see the front gable in place.



    Next up was the rear tailgate gable and this where the fun started. I had some 2”x6’ tubing left over from when I fabricated new sills for my Jeep XJ. I had planned ahead and figured it would be a nice “visual” tie in to one of my tow vehicles (ha ha). To tie it in to my Jeep TJ I decided to use TJ hinges for the tail gate (thanks to “Moose” for the donated hinges!). I painted them graphite to match the wheels.

    First I had to drill holes for the 4” LED lights. With the tail lights removed I can access most of the interior of the rear posts to get to any fasteners and run wiring.





    I then capped the tops. I added an internal tapping plate for some thumb screws that will be added later.







    The back end is starting to take shape in this pic. I store a lot of my small camping gear in a couple of 91 litre Action Packers and they kind of dictated the height of the box. In this pic you can see the removable rear cross brace. It will eventually be the surface on which the hinged top will rest. With the cross brace in place the Action Packers can slide out underneath it.



    Here are some of the details on the removable cross brace. You can also see in these pics that I decide to use Uni-strut for the side rails. I wasn’t sure about their strength at first but it will not be a problem. They are light weight, galvanized and I happened to have them in my metal scrap pile. The rails will allow me to attach various items to the box while camping.







    I built a temporary tail gate out of scrap plywood just to get a sense of the size and how I might use it. I initially thought this would be the home for my kitchen but I’ve abandoned that idea and will use the side of the trailer instead. Alternate ideas are welcome!



    I’ve had a few diversions along the way. I built these bike racks for my TJ out of a pair of roof top carriers. I wanted to be able to open my tail gate with the rack on and bikes off. The bikes come off in less than 10 seconds. I also wanted to be able to do that with the trailer. One rack slides into the other so I can go with one bike only which is what I often do.





    Here the box is starting to take shape. You can see that there is a lot of tongue area for a utility box, a cooler, water cans, etc.



    Last edited by PCO6; 09-14-2015 at 09:18 AM.

  3. #3
    Active Member PCO6's Avatar
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    The box is skinned with 14 gauge aluminum. Here are the front and 2 sides. The 2 small pieces are for the license plate / mud guards. I’ll be skinning the tail gate in the same material.



    The box panels are just sitting in place while I construct other parts of the trailer but theses pics give you an idea of how it will look.





    The running boards and fenders came next. I decided to make all parts (3 per side) independent of each other so in the future I will be able to modify, replace, repair, paint, etc. any of the pieces without having to take everything off.

    The running board frames are 1”x1” thin wall tubing that I salvaged from an old BBQ stand. The round leading edge seemed appropriate.



    The rear one was pretty straight forward to build. This pic shows where the propane tank might go (not decided yet).



    I didn’t want to get into heavy frames for the fenders so I bought ones from Princess Auto and changed the angle to get the wheel clearance I wanted. I made a couple of slits with a grinder & cut off disc. That made the fenders quite flexible. Welding them to close the slits will be pretty straight forward and will be the final step when everything else is in place.







    I fabricated 4 tabs to attach each fender to the running boards. Each one has rubber washers to provide a bit of cushion. The fenders will be tied back into the box eventually. They will also be painted black and will have black hardware.



    This pic shows an attachment to the Uni-strut … an aerial / flag pole for when traveling!


  4. #4
    Active Member PCO6's Avatar
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    Here I am sizing up part of where the kitchen will be. Another portable counter will be at a right angle along the top of the fender. The kitchen canopy is a Coleman 5’x7’ and will be independent of the trailer.



    I built the tailgate “in situ” vs. on my welding table as it was a lot easier to get the correct gaps this way. It’s often said that there are 3 things in life that you just can’t get enough of … and 1 of them is clamps.









    The tailgate latch / lock is a simple one that’s used for utility boxes. Next up is to make the pin for the latch to lock to and to install the rubber weather sealer When this is complete I will purchase the aluminum sheets to skin both sides of the tailgate.






    I’m about to start on the tongue box and racks for water tanks, coolers, etc. and do the electrical connections.

    This is a driveway project and I’m just trying to get as much done on this job and others as I can before the snow flies. I won’t likely get into building the top until the spring. I guess the good thing is that will give me more time to design it. I don’t currently plan to put a roof top tent on it as I prefer a larger tent that I can stand up in. That could change though. I’ll more likely use the top for bike and kayak storage.

    There will be minor updates over the next month or so and I’ll get back at it full tilt in the spring. I should be able to put it to use next summer!

  5. #5
    JeepCentral Sponsor adrian@4lojeeps's Avatar
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    Looking awesome. Will be following this closely!

  6. #6
    Moderator Bullwinkle's Avatar
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    Very sharp lookin

  7. #7
    Resident Moose Supporter Moose's Avatar
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    I love it...nice clean work
    OF4WD member 7468

    What we have here , is a failure to communicate

  8. #8
    "Employee #584" True's Avatar
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    Nice work! That looks great
    His - NO | Hers - NO | Ours - 2014 JK
    OF4WD # 6788

  9. #9
    Moderator jeepnut's Avatar
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    Looks great. Nice job
    OF4WD #6663
    2007 JK DECEPTICON
    Rock buggy

  10. #10
    Wrangler Venom caged's Avatar
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    cool build. gonna watch this one.
    great attention to detail.

    on a side note, you probably have as many bessie clamps as i do. lol can never have too many of those. haha
    OF4WD #3875

    Remembering our Fallen Heros

 

 

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