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Halfling

Mounting Aspen Classic To 16' Trailer Project

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Halfling

Spent some time working on the reflective tape today, got about 8" of tape installed plus a couple of reflective motorcycle decals. I also installed two 4" fiberglass reflective rods on the rear corners of the trailer. The pictures pretty much explain it!

 

Click on pics to enlarge...

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Halfling

I did a little cleaning and odds & ends the past few days. On Monday I took two old canopy frames I had and used one to modify the other and added 2 feet to the legs. This allows a canopy to be used over the "deck" even when the camper is on the trailer. It also allows for normal height operation (best of both worlds). Not sure I will use it often enough to bother with but it was a simple (no cost) modification.

 

Yesterday I folded up the camper and got it all secured for our trip to Clinton Lake IL next week. Will be gone for this weekend visiting my sister in their SOLD home in Banner Elk, NC. I'm gonna miss visiting them as they are moving back to Port St. Lucie FL.

 

On Monday I'll load up the trike and get some permanent tie down points installed. Then we will be doing the final packing and leave first thing Thursday morning!

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Halfling

Yesterday I got the trike mounted in position but the tongue "looked" a bit heavy to me so I got the scale out again and checked. Sure enough, it was a bit heavier than I felt comfortable with so I moved the wheel chock back 7 inches towards the rear (a bit of a PITA but worth it). This puts the trike's trailer hitch ball about 2-3 inches from the rear edge of the trailer. It also reduced the tongue weight to around 375 - 400 lbs. I still have to install some tie down points for the trike to make sure that she is secured well. Final loading for the trip and another test pull will take place tomorrow (Wednesday) and we are "trying" to get on the road for Clinton Lake IL as early as possible on Thursday morning. The trip is about 450 miles. I would like to get in and setup camp before dark if possible!

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Monkeytrucker

Better to be a little heavy instead of a little light.  Light tongue weight will cause your trailer to wag like the tail on a happy dog.  We put the 1200 on our trailer years ago and towed it to Rockford.  Was a nasty trip.  On the way home I got hit between the eyes why it was doing that.  Light tongue weight.  Stopped in Mendota, IL and bought 5 forty lb. bags of potting soil (which Estella wanted anyway) and put them on the front of the trailer and it towed like a dream.

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Halfling
51 minutes ago, Monkeytrucker said:

Better to be a little heavy instead of a little light.  Light tongue weight will cause your trailer to wag like the tail on a happy dog.  We put the 1200 on our trailer years ago and towed it to Rockford.  Was a nasty trip.  On the way home I got hit between the eyes why it was doing that.  Light tongue weight.  Stopped in Mendota, IL and bought 5 forty lb. bags of potting soil (which Estella wanted anyway) and put them on the front of the trailer and it towed like a dream.

I really don't think I will have a problem with too light a tongue weight, 375 - 400 lbs was my target. BUT, I'll do a road test again tomorrow to be sure that my tail doesn't wag!!!

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Galaxyhunter

As long as the tail doesn't wag the dog.  Not that much of a problem using 4 wheels,  but on a bike = not good.  Been there & done it.

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Monkeytrucker
10 hours ago, Halfling said:

I really don't think I will have a problem with too light a tongue weight, 375 - 400 lbs was my target. BUT, I'll do a road test again tomorrow to be sure that my tail doesn't wag!!!

 

Being you have a 2 axle trailer wagging should not be pronounced.  10-15% of trailer weight is what is desired.  Like with 200 lbs of potting soil on the front on our trailer, if you are having a problem, a couple of sand bags could adjust the weight easily by moving them forward and backwards on the trailer.  Semi trucks have movable trailer axles and simply moving the sliders 2 pin holes will add a couple thousand lbs or remove the same to make the axle weights lawful.  Of course many semi trucks also have sliding 5th wheels that can put more or less weight on the steer axle.

 

You could put Nancy back there for weight shift.  Upside is you would have peace and quiet on the road, downside would be you would be chained up at night with only Kibbles and Bits in a bowl to eat.

 

Gave some thought about talking Estella into driving to Clinton and making it a 4 night vacation.  But not in the cards.  See you there at the greatest Gold Wing event of the year.

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Halfling

My best estimate on total loaded trailer weight is around 3500 lbs (Trike 1300 + Aspen 600 + Trailer 1600). That's how I came up with the 350 - 400 lb tongue weight. My intent is to get it weighed at some point if/when I find a scale.

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Monkeytrucker

You can use a set of bathroom scales to weight it.  No kidding, you use a board, the inside end on the ground, the trailer on the board at a set distance and the other end on the scale.  It is then just a ratio calculation using the scale weight to determine.  We used to do that when adjusting spring pressure on the wheels of the Formula Vee.  Got it out of some racing magazine.  Weigh one side, then the other and the tongue weight and you should have the total weight.  

 

Or find someplace like a garden center that sells bulk mulch the should have a truck scale.  Weigh your truck, then weigh the whole rig, subtract the truck weight and you have it.  We weighed the 1800 with the Aspen on it loaded for camping and got 2,200 lbs. with us on the bike.  

 

If there is anything we can help to get you set up, we will try.  Or I will stand by and clap in applause at your every step.  

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youngnbald
23 hours ago, Galaxyhunter said:

As long as the tail doesn't wag the dog.  Not that much of a problem using 4 wheels,  but on a bike = not good.  Been there & done it.

Ask Michele about tail wagging the dog with 4 wheels!  "Not that much of a problem"?  She hyperventilated and was a nervous wreck when my Envoy broke lose on an on ramp.  Hit 45 mph and the truck broke into snapping back and forth.  How we didn't roll it I don't know.  Too light of tongue weight and using some ones home made trailer almost killed us.  Who puts the axle at dead center of a trailer????  Thinking back, the axle may have been more forward.  It was a 200 mile trip from hell, just to save money.  Ended up ditching half the cargo.  Got a hotel to calm Michele's nerves, found a rental truck ate all the savings so we ditched the cargo instead.  Did the sandbags in the front of trailer to get what we could home. 

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Monkeytrucker

Hey John, Let Nancy drive and you can ride on the trailer to adjust the weights fore and aft, port and starboard (Navy terms so you can understand better).   Looking forward to seeing you today.  Do not forget to take it easy getting to Clinton Lake.

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Halfling
(edited)

Trip up to Clinton Lake (450 miles of mostly interstate driving) was a success. Trailer pulled great and Xterra handled the load easily. I kept the overdrive off and got a pretty consistent 15 mpg. The camper took about 1.5 hours to set up (Monkeytrucker says it was more like 2 hours!) but it was my first time and I insisted on no help. The more times I do it the quicker it will go but it will always take a good bit of time. I'm also taking notes for improvements. I think it can be classified as a success for the purposes I had envisioned! I know I'm happy with it!!!

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Edited by Halfling
Updated time to set up!
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Halfling

Update: Having the camper up on the utility trailer was a big plus! Very stable and the front porch was a big success! It didn't rain but being on the trailer off the ground will also be great.

 

Successes:

  • The overall concept met all of my expectations and has given us several different options depending upon the situation
    • Ride in AC comfort while pulling both the Aspen and the trike
    • Can offload the Aspen and just use the trike and camper
    • Can pull just the camper with the truck
    • Can load up just the trike and trailer it to an event, etc
    • Take just the trike (nothing new here)
  • Having a solid floor under the changing room is great and the spaces between the planks will let water drain through keeping it clean and dry
  • The front wooden deck up off the ground it great!
  • Less dirt tracked into the camper
  • Top of the wheel wells made good tables
  • Extended height canopy was good to have (but not required)
  • Towing with our 6 cylinder Xterra was not an issue (just had to remember to disable the overdrive) and the gas mileage was at 15 mpg

Concerns

  • Time of setup and take-down is excessive, I will be looking for ways to improve this.
  • Need to expend more effort in getting the utility trailer in the right spot (as level as possible and under as much shade as possible)
  • Having to move the camper to 2 positions (travel and setup) is very time consuming. If I can work out the issue with the "A" frame part of the tongue then it can be fixed into 1 position.
  • Need to have stabilizers on all four corners of the utility trailer (I only did the rear 2 corners)
  • Not enough brake lights on the rear of the utility trailer

Improvements (Potential and/or Required)

  • Stabilizers for all 4 corners of utility trailer (scissors jacks would be nice at some  point)
  • Make "A" frame portion of Aspen tongue removable, this will have big benefits for transport and setup
  • Consider having Aspen set in its setup position to eliminate separate leveling (very time consuming)
  • Outdoor carpet for deck area
  • Add additional brake lights on rear of utility trailer
  • Add 30 amp junction box to utility trailer (I have an old one that I am removing from my old camper)
  • Make and install tables/shelves that fit over or attach to the top of the wheel wells (good place for coffee pot, stove, cutting board, that sort of thing)
  • Add small, light weight tongue box to hold various tools, wheel chocks, extension cords, etc, etc, etc (keep it light)
  • Fix ramp pinning issue (wood on trailer swells and/or moves slightly making the pins hard to install
  • Work out an installation plan for the AC unit
  • Firm up step stool (safety issue)
  • Finish making the 2 white canopies that attach to the sides of the Aspen giving me even more covered space if needed

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