View Full Version : My Camper Trailer Build up

10-07-2012, 07:46 PM
It all started several years back after an expensive holiday to Tasmania the wife and I decided that we needed to camp more on longer ttrips instead of motelling it but it had to be comfy.
So we set out and looked at camper trailers but at up to $20,000 for a soft floor we had to have a re-think.
We found a trailer that was set up as a camping trailer, came with tents, stove, gas fidge, chemical toilet and even the kitchen sink.


It came fitted with 31s on Landcruiser 6 stud hubs so they had to go, so I fitted Ford Falcon hubs which would allow the fitment of some stock Xj rims and tyres...


This then meant that the guards were too wide considering I was fitting 225/75/15's...


So off came the excess...


And then welded it back on again...



And then off camping we went...

10-07-2012, 09:51 PM
All finished with a little bit of grinding and some bog just to smooth things out...


Ready for its first trip, 1500km (just shy of 1000 miles) round trip to see how it goes....




The downside was the tents and also the wind drag on the fron of the canopy...

10-07-2012, 09:59 PM
We used it for a couple of trips but it was starting to prove to be not quite what we wanted, we started the think a camper top would be the go but I noticed that some rust was starting to appear as it was a secondhand box trailer, who knows how it was treated before we got it...



So I took it to a workshop that I used to work in and started to remove the rust sections with the idea of fitting rust repair sections.....


It soon started to show the true amount of rust....


So I cut and folded replacement panels to replace the rusted sections....



Essentially every piece of sheet metal was removed, so I made all the new panels in the shape I wanted using zinc sheet for rust resistance....

10-07-2012, 10:09 PM
To try and save weight I decided to use a lighter floor 1.5mm instead of 3mm as it won't be carrying much weight but I added some 25x25x3mm angle to support the floor and also added a 50x50x5mm angle for the front and rear of the water tank.
The whole chassis was then treated with killrust primer, the floor wasn't going to be welded in, it was glued in with Sikaflex to prevent moisture getting in between the chassis and the floor creating a haven for rust.
I then fabricated 4 jerry can holders to hold a total of 80 litres of petrol for extra range, these were welded in place along with some gussets it key places to supprot the gas bottle etc...





Ready for a hit with charcoal hammer tone paint....



Lockable stainless steel drop latches where used on the tailgate which now swings out instead of dropping down.
All finished ready for the camper top...



10-07-2012, 10:17 PM
Camper top was collected and fitted using all stainless steel bolts and hinges etc....


To keep with the ease of use idea I went back to the workshop and using some 1.2mm stainless sheet I cut, folded and TIG welded a complete kitchen unit to be mounted on the tailgate along with an add-on extension bench....



Then to help with the harsh conditions that this unit will be used I gutted the tail light assy's and made up LED modules to fit inside, for the stop, tail and indicator lights...


Tail light....


Stop light...


They light up nicely at night....

10-07-2012, 10:26 PM
Ok so for the test run...

Initial test at a friends place...


Then off for a 4500km (2500mile) test run...

Brisbane- Cairns and return via Undarra lava tubes.....

With a stop at Airlie Beach, gateway to the beautiful Whitsundays.... gotta love Queensland touring....



And just for those in Texas, not everything is bigger in Teaxs, try and count the wheels, bit more then an 18 wheeler!!!





And that was only a 3 trailer roadtrain, further out west they get up to 5 trailers!!!!

10-07-2012, 11:30 PM
So it was time to get it ready for its big test, Cape York, approx 4000km (2500miles) of tarmac then around 2000km (1200miles) or so of corrugated dirt roads including the Old Telegraph Track (OTT) which is around 110km long and has some very interesting creek crossings for which I fitted a snorkel, luckily as we had water over the bonnet on several occassions...

Getting ready, testing out the new Treg hitch and checking for clearances....




Also a test for the airbags plus the full width mudflap...


10-07-2012, 11:34 PM
Some of this sort of action...




And around 1000km of this sort of roads


Visiting places like...



Led to.....

10-07-2012, 11:42 PM



A broken main leaf which snapped in front of the axle allowing the axle to move backwards and in turn allowing the tyre to rub on the trailer body.
Some other travellers gave me a clamp which I was able to use in conjunction with a block of wood to hold the leaf pack together to limp into town, some 200km away on corrugated roads which meant continually stopping and refixing the clamp and block into place but it made it.
On the way back the other spring did the same so at the next town I was able to source a pair of springs, I also found that the 4 leaf springs that were on it were rated at 1100kg, the trailer weighs 1000kg loaded, the 5 leaf springs that I was able to get at Weipa are rated at 1300kg so they should be better....

I am planning on making some trailing arms to prevent this sort of thing happening again as when the second spring broke it caused an almost brand new Pirelli Scorion to shred!!!

Oh well 1 tyre lost in those condtions for that distance is not too bad....

Cheers, JJ

10-08-2012, 11:55 AM
Very nice work JJ. I find I need to try something once and then redo it to make it do just what I want. I think you are right, trailing arms and coils are the ticket on the washboards, especially at that distance. Most trailer springs are not meant to flex very much. Steel is too thick for that. Nice trip too.

XJ Wheeler
10-08-2012, 01:20 PM
Some great travels there, mate. You've got a ton of work into the trailer, looks really good.

10-08-2012, 06:17 PM
Very nice work JJ. I find I need to try something once and then redo it to make it do just what I want. I think you are right, trailing arms and coils are the ticket on the washboards, especially at that distance. Most trailer springs are not meant to flex very much. Steel is too thick for that. Nice trip too.

Thanks for the compliment but I am going to stay with leaf springs just going to add a trailing arm for locating the axle.
The problem is the trailer was secondhand, I have no idea what it was used for in the past, it could have been used for dragging home a cubic metre of sand or gravel on a regular basis, who knows plus I was right near the weight rating of the springs.
Next time it heads anywhere like Cape York again I will be taking a spare main leaf for just-in-case, but most likely with the new, heavier rated springs and trailing arms along with spare main leaves, probably nothing will happen.
I intend to make a mounting up under the rear of the trailer for the leafs to bolt into so they are there for whenever will be required.
I would also carry less water next time which will save some weight.

Ideally I would like to build another one and use Xj leaf springs in it but we seldom use it now so the wife has said no....

Oh well....


10-09-2012, 01:09 AM
Nice trailer!
I love the work you've put in to it :thumbsup:
I'm about as addicted to trailers as the Jeeps that pull em!

10-23-2012, 05:21 AM
Nice trailer!
I love the work you've put in to it :thumbsup:
I'm about as addicted to trailers as the Jeeps that pull em!

Thanks buddy, the next thing on the list after making up a set of trailing arms is to remove the water tank as it sits too low and find a slimmer unit and then make some extended shackles to lift it some to get it back closer to where it needs to be cause when I fitted the new higher rated springs it lifted it too much which meant that the tent wouldn't reach the ground anymore so I swapped the axle over so it sits over the leafs but now it is too low.
Then I will be mounting a SLA battery in an eclosure on it somewhere, not too sure where yet, needs to be protected from the stone damage as well...


10-28-2012, 09:32 PM
Nice work on the trailer
Nice life with all that camping

11-06-2012, 10:34 AM
Awesome build on the trailer... I wouldn't mind picking up a decent trailer to build something like this... Man I need to get into welding classes so bad... Awesome pics of your adventures as well..

12-06-2012, 10:39 PM
Looks really really good!

12-10-2012, 11:45 PM
I'm thinking that I am just going to pick up a standard pop up trailer for my camping needs... maybe after I learn some fabrication and welding skills I'll be able to build something half as decent as this!!

12-11-2012, 04:05 PM
Thanks for the positive comments guys...

A lot of time went into the sheet metal work on this build, it was just lucky I had access to a brake press, guilotine, hole punch machine, MIG & TIG welders as well as the materials required to build this.
It was also lucky despite being a sparky I was actually used to using this equipment as part of my job, albeit from a dozen years ago....

I am about to do some mods to it, I am going to mount a battery on it somewhere and I have just made up a trio of LED light bars to use with it which will get tested over Xmas....


01-15-2013, 10:04 PM
Awesome build!! Excellent craftsmanship!

01-21-2013, 05:46 PM
Yeah you can feel free to come over here and put some of that craftsmanship to work helping me rebuild the sides of a popup camper I found, that might need some work as the current owner said the metal sides are separating from the wood underneath.. going to try and go take a look at it to see what shape it looks like the wood is in.. and then go from there... but still very interested in seeing how your build goes... might make me want to demolish the trailer after I get it, and build a custom setup like how yours has gone..

05-17-2015, 10:24 PM
Nice build Sir