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post #1 of 118 (permalink) Old 07-31-2009, 01:03 AM Thread Starter
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Trailer Build

This will be a long, drawn out process, but I'll attempt a trailer build thread for my current project. We have a number of other trailers at home and up at the ranch for various duties ranging in size from a 30' gooseneck to a 14K tandem, some stock trailers, and my little 5x10 I regularly pull behind the Jeep. The 5x10 handles most chores well, but lacks in a few areas that I'd like to address with this new trailer. If all our trailers saw was highway use, we'd be fine, but our property is 45 minutes off paved roads up in the mountains over rough road. Some gravel, some dirt and some classified as "improved" to say the least. When it's washed out, it's rough at best. Our trailers take a beating, as does our equipment or gear. When it's dry, everything gets covered in dirt and filth, as it also does when it's raining or snowing. I'm going to attempt to build this new trailer with full sides and a removeable locking top as well as tailgate to help keep things clean inside. It will be dual-purpose for camping, but also utility work as well. Rough dimensions will be around 4'x6' and around 30" deep or thereabouts. Haven't finalized any of this yet except that I want a full 48" INSIDE box width for sure. Track width will be pretty close to the Jeep and I intend to run matching tires/rims as the Jeep so I can swap the spare from Jeep to trailer as need be and cut down on weight/bulk by only carrying one spare instead of one on the Jeep and one on the trailer both. It will be built with off-road use in mind and intended to take the beating we dish out and HOPEFULLY hold up better than our other trailers, yet still weigh in light enough that I can pull it easy enough with the Jeep when fully loaded. I HOPE I can accomplish that when it's all said and done.

Let start with the parts list:

Here is the axle setup. It's a 3500# Dexter with 10" electric brakes. The Jeep track width is roughly 60" but I'm running Spydertrax spacers so I had the axle cut to 63" WMS to be close to the Jeep with the spacers included. Part of this also deals with measuring for springs centers and the fact that I want a full 48" INSIDE box width, and taking into account the measurements needed for tire buldge measured at the fenders and distance needed to the frame. For springs, I was worried standard trailer springs would be too stiff, so I went with the longest I could get at 27" and had them remove a leaf. These are "softride" spring packs 3 pack leafs 27" instead of the standard 24/25" 4 leaf pack you normally get with this setup. Also have a trailer break-away box, bearings, etc. The builder upgraded me to EZ-Lube spindles as well, where the entire spindle has been outfitted with a zerk, drilled and tapped with a grease channel feeding the inner bearing first, then grease flows through the inner bearing, fills the cavity and works it's way to the outter bearing. These are NOT your typical "bearing buddy" setup, this is the actual Dexter EZ-Lube spindles.



Here you can see the grease port in the spindle. Pump the grease through the zerk on the outside, it flows through the spindle, out the port here to lube the inner bearing first, then makes it's way through the hub to the outter bearing.



Next, for the hitch, I went with the Lock-N-Roll setup. This is the 6,000# rated hitch as I felt the 2,000# would not be adequate and obviously the 15,000# was a bit overkill. Obviously it's the 2" slip-in style and will have the ability to mount forward or rear of the trailer as I'll have a receiver front and rear both. It's the 3-axis design and should work great for both on and off-road use. Very well built. Very nice setup. I got it from the Lock-N-Roll site direct here:
http://www.locknroll.com/
and used the #303 adjustable drop/rise bar hitch here:
http://www.locknroll.com/products_sub.aspx?cid=2&id=26
and the #212 2" slide in coupler here:
http://www.locknroll.com/products_sub.aspx?cid=1&id=28



For tires and rims, I'll be running the matching Jeep Moab rims and matching tires. Thanks to MJM, I got a contact to a seller here in Washington who had a great deal on some Moab's in great shape. The tires are shot, but I'll use them for now to take measurements from to get the trailer started and get a roller going, then buy tires later when I'm further along. Final tire size will be 255/85/16. Here's the factory Moabs with the stock 245/75/16 MT/R's:



more to come...

Best of Luck,

Mike
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post #2 of 118 (permalink) Old 07-31-2009, 02:18 AM
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Re: Trailer Build

Quote:
Originally Posted by '05TJLWBRUBY
This will be a long, drawn out process, but I'll attempt a trailer build thread for my current project.

Best of Luck,

Mike
It begins! Never stops either! Good luck and God bless. I'd race ya, but I'm to dang old. Bob

Got a web link for that hitch?

BE HAPPY. AND GO TO CHURCH!
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post #3 of 118 (permalink) Old 07-31-2009, 12:32 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Trailer Build

Thanks Bob! Ha, yeah, I could race you, but I'm afraid it would have to be a race for the slowest build on my end and I'm not sure how one would win that type of race! Since moving to grave shift, I'm all but totally wiped out and pratically a walking zombie, don't know whether I'm coming or going anymore. Making any type of progress on the trailer will be difficult to say the least.

I edited the post above to add the links for the hitch. Hopefully I did it right with the URL tabs so it should go direct to the site.

Best of Luck,

Mike
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post #4 of 118 (permalink) Old 07-31-2009, 01:20 PM Thread Starter
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Lights

As far as lighting goes, I really had a tough decision with lights for this trailer. I am CONSTANTLY replacing lights on our other trailers for various reasons. We are always breaking taillights somehow, someway whether it be a tree falling on them, cattle chewing on them and ripping them off, hay bales falling over and smashing them or various other things going wrong, or just not paying attention and backing into things and breaking them, we are constantly replacing lights. I replace a lot of bulbs due to vibration on the gravel roads that just beat the tar out of the filaments and shake them loose too. As much money as I have in full replacement housings and replacement bulbs, it just made me sick, so I thought long and hard about this trailer and how I wanted to go about handling the task of illuminating it to meet WA laws and safety standards to be legal for road use yet somehow possibly save some money in the long run by not replacing so many bulbs or housings down the road.

Thankfully, our very own desertfox1 here on ROF happens to know a little something about trailer lights. Doug runs two on-line internet businesses specializing in LED lights and does an excellent job at it as well. I ordered all of my stuff through http://www.ledtrailerlights.com but you can also check out http://www.4x4led.com for a few different items for your truck. Doug is GREAT to work with and really knows his lights. I had a TON of questions for him as I knew NOTHING about LED lights in general. I fired a bunch of emails and PM's back and forth and he was lightning fast in his response and very thorough and detailed and more than happy to help out. He even listed various WAC codes and pointed me in the direction of the right legal descriptions I needed for some various things I had concerns about as well. He even helped with some wiring questions I had. After talking with Doug, the choice was clear. It might mean a little more money up front, but in the long run, I think it will be a sound investment for this trailer and will cut my costs down the road in replacement housings and bulbs as LED's last longer and are vibration proof as well as water and dust proof also. I ordered up the following for this trailer as a start:

For brake lights/STT's I went with 42 LED Maxxima's as seen here along with grommets and harness: http://www.ledtrailerlights.com/stt/stt_M63420R.htm



For backup lights I went with these 27 LED units along with grommets and harness:
http://www.ledtrailerlights.com/other/H60027WSD.htm



For marker lights, I went with 10 LED 2" round Amber and Red units as seen here-both with amber and red lens: http://www.ledtrailerlights.com/cm/cm_HD20010-2inch.htm



Here's the harness and grommets, both very nice units and well made:







As you can tell from the thread so far, it will be a long while before I get to install the lights and try them out. When I get to that point though, I'll post back with some shots of them actually lit up and in use. Doug was a HUGE help and I'd highly recommend anyone looking into lighting for a future trailer build to consider LED's and give Doug a shout and discuss your options. I think it will be well worth your while in the long run. I haven't even got this one built yet and I'm already planning on swapping the lights out to LED's on a couple of our other trailers that we use the most.

Thanks Doug for all the help and for the Great Service!

more to come...

Best of Luck,

Mike
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post #5 of 118 (permalink) Old 07-31-2009, 02:32 PM
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Re: Trailer Build

Mike,

Is that some Upol Raptor in the background of your first pic? Now I'm getting envious!

My little trailer is ready for its road trip. Just replaced and packed the bearings, and installed / wired the trailer battery. Still have some things to do on the Jeep, but getting real antsy for the road trip.

Binski

'06 Rubicon - GONE (sniff,tear), 6spd; TbT Oil Skid; Kilby Steering Skid; AtoZ Rear bumper & Rockers; T-Max Winch; Rokmen Mercenary, OME Suspension, JKS Quicker Discos, JKS Adj. Trackbars, 1.25"BL, MM; Goodyear Duratrac 285/75R16s; Rockhard Sport Cage
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post #6 of 118 (permalink) Old 08-01-2009, 01:53 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Trailer Build

Binski-

No, actually I think what you're looking at is the Costco pack of regular compressed air in the can. I use it to clean out the dyson vac for the house as well as the spark plugs and other various things on the Jeep from time to time. Bob mentioned that Upol raptor stuff and I may look into that to help cut some costs in a few areas on this trailer as I've gone over in a couple other areas already. I love Line-X and intend to use that, but if that stuff works well, I'm sure it's cheaper, it might be worth looking into. I've used Herculiner on my other trailers and have been happy with it, but think with the quality parts I'm putting in this trailer, I might as well keep the theme going and be consistant with that-within reason of course. Line-X is the best as far as I'm concerned, but it's costly. I'll cross that bridge when the time comes.

Glad to hear you're ready for your trip. Can't wait to see pics! Should be a good one.

Best of Luck,

Mike
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post #7 of 118 (permalink) Old 08-01-2009, 02:01 AM Thread Starter
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Spacers

I wanted to run matching tires/wheels on the trailer so that I could only carry one spare between the Jeep and trailer both and swap between either rig in an emergency if need be. With a good tire repair kit, one spare is all that is really needed anyway, so no need carrying two. It's a good place to save weight and space for other stuff. After getting my 3500# axle with electric brakes and EZ-lube spindles, and finally locating my pair of Moab rims, I came to the realization that the Moab rims would NOT bolt onto the 3500# brake drums/hubs as a direct bolt-on like I'd hoped. This meant a wheel spacer or adapter would be required to make it work. Great. I'd had the axle cut to the Jeep track width already with the Jeep spacers in mind, so my axle for the trailer is already at 63", which means my spacers or adapters for the trailer will be even wider than I wanted. Oh well, it has to be done in order to work. In the pic below, you an see why. Basically what is happening is the center bore of the 3500# brake drum hub is roughly 2 1/2" outside diameter and sticks up 1 3/4" from the WMS. The lug studs are only about 1 1/2" tall if I remember right. What happens is the center cap on the Moab rim is only 1 7/8" and the hub for the brake drum comes into contact with the narrower center cap and won't fit through the smaller hole. You can see that in the pic below-obviously the shorter wheel studs won't fit through the hole either and the WMS won't even contact:



I searched for a while trying to find an adapter or spacer that would work in order to mate the Moab rim to the 3500# brake drum. As we all know, the Moabs are 16x8 rims with 5x4.5 bolt pattern and 5" BS. It goes without saying the brake drum is also 5x4.5 bolt pattern which is a common off-the-shelf trailer axle part size, but the hard part is finding a spacer that has a center bore large enough to clear the hub on the drum. I run Spydertrax on my Jeep and have for well over 30,000 miles now, but after talking with Spydertrax direct and explaining the problem, it was determined by the Spydertrax rep that they would NOT work and they recommended I find a different manufacturer for my trailer. I could have ordered them, then taken them to a machine shop and had the centers machined out to the larger diameter and had the hub-centric ring removed and made them work, which then would have weakened the spacer and made them questionable from a safety standpoint, but why? It didn't make sense to go to the trouble and hassle of ruining and weakening a spacer making it questionable and unsafe, so the search continued. I only mention this here simply because I've seen it mentioned in other threads on other boards as a solution. It is not safe and I do not recommend it. There are other solutions that are much easier and much safer, so please, use some common sense and just buy one that fits right off the shelf.

Where do I do that you ask? Well after some searching I learned most folks are ordering custom spacers made to fit their needs. That is all fine and dandy, but is rather expensive and takes a few days to order, make and ship so it could be a while. I needed spacers now and didn't want to spend a fortune getting them. I thought I'd check one last place before going custom at a place here relatively local out in Cashmere Washington at JT's Differentials here: http://www.justdifferentials.com/ I noticed they sold wheel spacers so I called up and explained my situation, then asked if they knew the center bore diameter. Jeremy had answered the phone and said he didn't remember the exact dimensions but could I please hold and he'd go measure real quick and be right back. He was back in a matter of seconds stating that the center bore was right about 2.8". Great! the hub diameter was about 2 1/2" so this was a little more than I needed. He said I've got 1.25", 1.5" and 2" in stock, come on out if you think they'll work, I'm here till 5:00. I asked if he'd mind if I brought a rim and the drum to do some test fitting to make sure I got the right one. Jeremy said sure, no problem, bring them out with you, I'll have one of each on the counter waiting and we can test fit each to find the one that works best so you know they'll fit. Awesome, I'll be right out.

When I got to the shop, I test fit the first spacer in the 1.25" size as I wanted to keep the track width as narrow as possible. The spacer worked great! It bolted right on, everything worked fine, or at least it seemed to. No need to test the 1.5" or 2" spacers, so I just paid Jeremy for the 1.25" then was on my way back home to fit everything together, excited I finally had what I needed. The next day I got to putting the axle together, fit the spacers up then found when I put the center cap on, the wheel wouldn't fit-I was at least 1/2" too short!!! After inspecting things further, the dust cap for the axle made contact with the center cap on the rim. Crap! I didn't take that into account when I got the spacers from JT's the day before. After examining things I needed another 1/2" minimum of clearance to make this all work. JT's had a 1.5" spacer which would get me another 1/4" and I THOUGHT I could cheat another 1/4" pretty easy in another area so the simple answer was to call JT's back and explain my screw up, and ask if I could exchange my 1.25" spacer for a 1.5". Luckily I got Jeremy on the phone again who already knew my situation. I explained what happened and asked if it would be at all possible to make the swap. Sure, no problem, bring them on in, I'll have the 1.5's sitting here ready for you when you get here. Great! I was in a rush and sure enough, they were on the desk waiting when I got there so I was able to just drop them off, make the trade and go. The customer service at JT's was excellent, I was impressed with the help I got with these spacers!

The spacers themselves that you'll need are regular Jeep 5x4.5 bolt patter in the 1.5" thickness. They are made from 6061 T-6 aluminum using grade 8 hardware. JT's has these made to their specs for them. The center bore is about 2.8" so it will bolt directly on to the 3500# brake drum making it a safe, smart and easy way to make the Moab rims work on the trailer. You can get them in 1.25", 1.5" and 2" for the Jeep, but they sell other spacers for other rigs as well, and I think even for 8 lug rigs as well. Here's what I got for the trailer that was a direct bolt-on:
http://www.justdifferentials.com/ind...oducts_id=2163
You'll notice the cost was right on these, which was about half or less than going custom so that was nice. I bolted them on using red loctite like I did with the Spydertrax spacers on my Jeep as I haven't had any trouble with them in over 30,000 miles now, so I expect these will perform just as well on the trailer.





more to come...

Best of Luck,

Mike
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post #8 of 118 (permalink) Old 08-01-2009, 08:08 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Trailer Build

In the post above, I mentioned an issue with the dust caps sticking out too far and making contact with the center caps and preventing the wheel from bolting on. The dust cap on the axle is also too large a diameter to fit through the center cap hole in the rim so that leaves me with either finding a way to make it all fit together, or boring out the center of the rim a little so the dust cap would fit through. If I did that, the center caps would not fit any longer and it would create an aesthetic issue when I rotate the wheels/tires to the Jeep. If I never do that, then it won't be an issue, but I'd like the option so I want to keep things clean and functioning as they should. I'll find a way to make things fit. Here's the problem:



Here's two possible areas to buy clearance:



I started with the center caps and used a dremel to cut the teeth and remove about half the material back to where it just begins to engage on the inner lip of the Moab rim. This effectively removed about 1/4" of material. Remember I got the other 1/4" by moving to the 1.5" spacers. Granted, my track width on the axle has now moved from 63" to 66", but it had to be done. My inside box width will easily be 48", likely much more now, so that goal was accomplished, may as well take advantage of that extra width. Anyway, with a simple cutting disc on the dremel, the plastic teeth came right off:



Here they are all cut down:



Here is the unmodded cap and the clearance issue it created:



Here is the rough cut cap prior to smoothing out and the clearance gains I needed to make it work:



Here you can see the dust cap and how it didn't fit prior to the mod, where it sticks out beyond the WMS-this would NOT allow the wheel to mount to the hub-keep in mind the dust cap would NOT fit through the center cap hole even with the center cap removed:



And here is the clearance gained after trimming the dust cap-roughly 1/4" was gained here and you can see the dust cap just BARELY fits inside the Moab WMS:



more to come...

Best of Luck,

Mike
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post #9 of 118 (permalink) Old 08-01-2009, 10:28 PM
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Re: Trailer Build

Mike,

Keep up the great work! I like your work fitting the Moabs.

Mike

05 Khaki 6spd Rubicon...the seats are still stock.
M416 trailer to match
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post #10 of 118 (permalink) Old 08-02-2009, 02:08 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Trailer Build

Thanks guys! It's definitely work doing the trailer and figuring all this out. I'm definitely open to suggestions along the way, there's always room for improvement! This build thread is no easy task either actually!

As to the dust cap issue-I had the exact same thought, and was thinking I could just swap caps for a smaller/shorter one to make it work and bolt on without issue. Unfortunately when I test fit the brake drum to the axle and fit everything together, that silly dust cap is almost an exact fit to the spindle and just BARELY clears the grease zerk and the end of the spindle! With the cap in place and the rubber plug snapped in, the zerk is just barely under the surface of the rubber plug. I think it was done this way for ease of maintenance and greasing chores so you just pull the plug and the zerk is literally RIGHT THERE for you to access. There is literally no room for a smaller cap.

There is room in that cap though for clearance, and that is with that outter lip that is raised on the outside edge. It just BARELY contacts the inner portion of the center cap teeth so I'm working on flattening that outter lip down just a touch. I need less than 1/16"-actually I don't know just how much I need as I can't measure it with a tape. I'm thinking once I fit this together and tap the dust caps in place that just by hammering them in, that will be all it takes and it will clear perfectly. Trouble is, once I do that, I'll ruin them taking them back off as I need to tear everything back down to weld in the spring perches on the axle tube. I'm going to massage the dust caps a bit as it won't need much at all and hope for the best, then get to work on the spring perches next.

Best of Luck,

Mike
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