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Mortimerr

Another Trailer Rebuild

10 posts in this topic Last Reply

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Mortimerr

Well I finally finished my winter project - rebuilding a 13 year old trailer.

 

I originally built this trailer with a friend of mine back in '97 for towing behind a Suzuki Cavalcade, then towed it a couple of times behind my Venture. My original reason for the trailer was to haul golf clubs and when touring, camping equipment. I have hauled clubs several times, but after trying to camp once and getting rained on for 12 hours straight, I determined that I'm too old and fat. Motels for me!

Anyway, here is a picture of the original trailer from the rear. I have removed a turn signal, but everything else appears the way it was. You can see that there are a bunch of cracks in the plastic box from shrinkage.

 

TrailerRear.jpg

 

Here's another picture from the front quarter.

 

TrailerFront.jpg

 

After removing and discarding the old box, I took a look at the original coupler. It was a custom made job that was built into the trailer tongue and had a 1" ball. The new hitch I purchased for the Goldwing (Rivco) has a 1-7/8" ball, and I decided to cut off the old coupler and weld on a standard coupler. The only problem is that the smallest standard coupler fits on a 2" tube, and my tube is only 1-1/2". Here's a picture of the modified/slimmed down coupler.

 

ModifiedCoupler.jpg

 

And a picture of the bare frame before modifications.

 

Bareframe.jpg

 

Unfortunately, I don't have any in-between pictures of the rest of the mods made to the frame. They basically consisted of welding the couple to the end of the tongue, extending the inner frame back about 6 inches and adding a bumper/light bar. Once all of the metal work was complete, I had the frame and rims sand blasted, and the frame powder coated white. By this time I was getting more money into this project than I had intended, therefore I decided to paint (rattle can) the rims.

Shot of a bare rim back from being sand blasted.

 

BareRim.jpg

 

 

And another after painting it. I'm pretty impressed with the range and quality of rattle can paints out there...

 

PaintedRim.jpg

 

And finally, a shot of the frame coming back from being powder coated.

 

NewlyPowderCoated.jpg

 

Once I got the frame back, I took it to a local automotive paint store and had them shoot it for color matching the new box. AS you can see from the first picture, the original box was a Thule Weekender cargo carrier. Unfortunately this model is no longer made. I found another box that had about the same width, but was a bit longer (another reason I extended the frame 6"). Now that I had the proper color code, I had another merchant paint the outside of the box to match the frame. This was done for a couple of reasons... 1) Reduce the UV exposure of the plastic/ABS, and 2) Keep the interior of the box cooler. And of course, 3) Match the rest of the frame and bike.

Here is a picture of the bumper with the LED tail lights installed while I was testing the wiring and light installation.

 

WiringLights.jpg

 

If you look closely at the bottom of the extensions that the bumper is mounted to, you'll see that I also installed some rubber bumpers to the bottom/end of the extension tubes. I did this so that I could lift the front of the trailer and lean it against a wall for storage. It takes up less space and the cats can't sleep on it anymore!

 

Finally, I shot of the completed project behind my bike.

 

CompletePackage.jpg

 

The new box doesn't sit on the frame as well as the original, but overall I'm pleased with the end result. For those that are wondering, the frame has an independent trailing arm suspension with small motorcycle shocks supporting each arm. The arms are articulated at the main cross tube at the front of the frame using a 3/4" rod and oiled bronze bushings inside the front tube. The fenders are attached to the trailing arm as well and move with the arms/tires.

I went with this design because when I was looking at other trailers, there were a couple of items that made me nervous. I wanted the center of gravity to be low so that the trailer couldn't flip. I wanted independent suspension with a lot of travel as well as easy movement so that the trailer wouldn't "skip" going around a turn and hitting dips/bumps. While traveling, the box just kinda "floats" along with the suspension absorbing most of the unevenness in the road. The whole rig weighs about 100 - 150 pounds and has very little rolling resistance.

Other observations - No the trailer color doesn't match the bike. Arctic white vice pearl white - cost again. Why I went with blue for the rims? I think that more white would have been too much, and black would show dirt easily. Besides the metallic paint helps cover up defects in the rims (they are old front rims from a junkyard) and I'm a member of the blue knights, and our main colors are white and blue. I've still got to put a Blue Knights sticker on the rear...

If you have reached this part of the narrative and haven't fallen asleep yet - congratulations! I hope that others enjoy this post as much as I have doing it/writing about it.

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beenshot

nice job. great looking trailer:clap:

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Joep

yeah good work there... a close up of the supension below the trailer level would be nice.. I would like to see the floating method.. Possible??

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AspectTwo

:clap::clap::clap::clap:Wow! All I have to say....oh, and also GREAT JOB!!

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AspectOne

VERY VERY nice job... Im impressed. Starting a new little project myself you give me good ideas.

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DigbyODell

:clap::clap::clap: Amazing!!!!

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lucky_x16

Great Job!

It looks awesome.

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Hodgy

.

 

Great outcome after a lot of work.

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Mortimerr

[user=895]Joep[/user] wrote:

yeah good work there... a close up of the supension below the trailer level would be nice.. I would like to see the floating method.. Possible??

I'll try the best I can - I can't really show how it "floats", but I'll do my best to describe it...

 

Here's a shot of the shock tower and shock from the top looking down. The top of the shock mounts to a triangular tower welded to the subframe that the box is mounted to. The bottom of the shock mounts to the trailing arm.

 

SuspensionTop.jpg

 

You can see where the trailing arm mounts to the front cross brace and pivots, and the clearance between the fender/trailing arm and the shock tower.

 

Here's a view from the bottom.

 

SuspensionBottom.jpg

 

And a shot from the side...

 

SuspensionSide.jpg

 

 

The small silver thing sticking out of the main cross brace is a grease zerk. I used the zerks to hold the bushings on the inside of the cross brace in place. There are two bushings per trailing arm, spaced apart. Since I used a front wheel off an old bike, there was a large opening on the backside of the rim where the drum brake went. I used a piece of steel turned round to cover the hole. The other two small arms radiating from the arm go up and are welded to hold the fender in place.

 

Here's a picture of the trailer in its "stored" position alongside the house.

 

TrailerStored.jpg

 

As for the "floating" thing... Because the trailing arms are mounted to the front tube (cross brace), when one or both wheels hit a bump, they will of course travel upwards. In a normal trailer, because the springs/torsion bars are mounted about mid-frame, the whole trailer moves up and down with the suspension.

 

With this design, as the wheel moves up, the trailing arm pivots at the front of the trailer. The box actually moves downward a little bit every time the arm moves up - to a certain point. Obviously, if you lift the arm far enough the entire frame will begin to pivot around the opposite wheel and the coupler - but in general, while you're traveling down the road the trailing arms move up and down and the box and subframe stay relatively level. Also, you'll notice that there is a finite distance between where the arm pivots and where the shock is mounted. This does two things; 1) Acts like a lever on the shock, and 2) multiplies the distance the arm can travel for a given shock travel. Where on a leaf spring you can only get 1 - 2" of travel, and the whole while the spring is getting stiffer, while on mine, for 1 - 2" of wheel movement, the shock only moves a fraction of an inch, and the spring rate doesn't really change. This allows more freedom of movement.

 

I'll try to take another picture or two that demonstrate this principle, however to do so I need to connect the trailer back up to the bike. When I had the frame powder coated, the guy did a great job of making sure that everything was covered - including the interior of the coupler. While the coupler goes on the ball easily, it's a B_TCH to get back off. I was jerking so hard I though I was going to tip the bike over, and finally ended up prying the coupler up. I need to remove some powder coat before I reconnect the trailer to the bike.

 

One more picture. This is the plate I made to connect the wiring plug and safety chains to. I looked around on the 'net, but all I could find was a chrome, thin steel plate for $40. I made this one out of 2" angle iron, then drilled and used a band saw to cut to shape.

 

Hitch.jpg

 

You can't see it from this view, but the wires from the plug run under the fender to another 6-pin plug (plastic - like a standard 4-flat). When I remove the ball, I can unplug the wiring under the fender, then reinstall the reflector. With everything removed you can hardly tell that I have the hitch. I also took another 6-pin plug and cut off all the wires and siliconed the end (for insulation). When this harness is removed, I plug the dummy plug in to keep water and dirt out.

 

Hope that this helps...

 

 

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Joep

yeah now I understand how it "floats" when on an uneven road surface... great engineering principle... like the old lever shocks on early european cars... and the coupler plate looks great.. I like the shape and the wire hookup.. Thank you

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