Trailer build (or stuff I do in my spare time)


Information, ideas, experiences and help with camping, pulling a trailer and roughing it on your Goldwing
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millerized
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Trailer build (or stuff I do in my spare time)

Postby millerized » Tue Nov 17, 2015 11:15 am



Hello all, millerized here.
Short history, riding since age 7, now 49.95yrs old, just picked up a 99 SE (40K on it...barely broken in) a few weeks ago when I figure my current project wouldn't pull very well behind my 05 Concours. Been through all the different iterations of riding, dirt, enduro, street, sport and sport touring, until the big bike bug bit me. First wing purchase, but not first wing ride.

Anyway, I'm a tinkerer. From aircraft maintenance to building firearms, from satellite communication electronics to pellet stoves, to a current foray into building a trailer or 2 to pull behind the bikes...wide and varied 'history' so far. This project though, went a bit further overboard than I'd originally intended. What started out to be a simple pull behind trailer, morphed into something a bit more than 'just a trailer'. Even had to build a new hitch for the bike, since it didn't come with one.

I'd intended to build a trailer around a 3 man tent, getting me off the ground (old age/bones and all that) to make sleeping a bit easier. Started out with some parts I had lying around the house (tires/wheels and springs) and purchased some 1x2" aluminum to weld together. Taught myself to weld (TIG) aluminum since I was pretty decent at it on steel. Trailer frame is very well supported, with the only steel on it being the axle, springs and two 30" pieces of 1x2" steel tube to attach it to the frame. Top platform ended up at 89" x 72" when flipped out...perfect space for an 88x70" tent to set on. Queen sized air bed inside, makes for a very comfortable sleeping space.

After welding up what I thought would be a decent and supportive frame, I started skinning it. Top is .064 aluminum sheet, sides are fiberglass reinforced plastic from Home Depot. Over 3000 1/8" rivets, over 1000 3/16" white rivets, several pounds of welding rod. 140' of aluminum tubing and a whole lot of time in the shop. Whole lot of time relatively speaking...it took less than 90 days from concept to completion.

Stopping takes place easily, wiring up a Hayes Blackbird brake controller IN the trailer, fed from the internal battery. A pair of 10" electric brakes on 12" rims keep it rolling, and stopping it's near 400lb fully loaded bulk. Stopping, well, you barely know the trailer is back there other than decreased stopping distances. Only really noticeable events are slow speed turns and stops, but only because it's a trailer and it's behind you. I noticed the same thing behind the Concours when I used to pull the smaller trailer. Manageable if you know what to feel for.

First test ride was last Wednesday, first 'trip' was Friday through Sunday. A 300mi round trip to Natural Bridge, VA and back, with a mix of 1.5 through 4 lane roads, Interstate speeds to 95mph with a hands off cruise test that the trailer seemed transparent to the bike. No wobbling, trailer was stable and planted, even through lane changes and around semi trucks. Something is working right. I've got a few small items left (wheel well/fender trim for one) but I'm going to use what I learned with the next trailer build...something akin to a miniature airstream that'll sleep 2.

Electrical, well, we went a bit crazy with that. Everything from a 500VA battery powered UPS to battery charger. When on shore power (plugged into an outlet) the UPS is straight through, including charging the battery. When you pull the plug, the battery takes over. An onboard battery will give me a bit over 8hrs using the little 200 watt space heater, or running every piece of 12V electrics I'd want to hook up. Department of Redundancy Department. Everything from a 12V 'porch' light so you can see to get out of the tent at night, to an LED strip light inside the belly of the beast so you don't need a flashlight to find your gear.

Lots to say about it, but photo's tell most of the story. If you have questions, I've got answers.










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minimac
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Re: Trailer build (or stuff I do in my spare time)

Postby minimac » Tue Nov 17, 2015 1:00 pm

Very nice work! (the board won't let me post unless I have at least 20 characters, so I'll say it again.) Very nice work!

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Re: Trailer build (or stuff I do in my spare time)

Postby Uncle Fester » Tue Nov 17, 2015 2:02 pm

I agree, VERY NICE WORK !
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Re: Trailer build (or stuff I do in my spare time)

Postby WingAdmin » Tue Nov 17, 2015 2:06 pm

It's a very nice piece of work! But 4,000 rivets?!?!? Wow...I think faced with that, I would find a different method of fastening panels to frames. :)

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Re: Trailer build (or stuff I do in my spare time)

Postby millerized » Tue Nov 17, 2015 2:35 pm

WingAdmin wrote:It's a very nice piece of work! But 4,000 rivets?!?!? Wow...I think faced with that, I would find a different method of fastening panels to frames. :)


It's not the riveting that is the hard part. I have a pneumatic riveter that makes short work of pulling the rivets. (a trick I learned working on aircraft and a 3x4x7' powder coating oven I built years ago).
What becomes the real pain in the asterisk....I mean hand... is drilling all of those holes for the rivets. Every 2 inches across each panel and underlying support.

Thanks for the kind words.

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Re: Trailer build (or stuff I do in my spare time)

Postby themainviking » Tue Nov 17, 2015 2:45 pm

millerized wrote:What becomes the real pain in the asterisk....I mean hand... is drilling all of those holes for the rivets. Every 2 inches across each panel and underlying support.


What - you have not yet built a pneumatic punch with automatic carriage?
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Re: Trailer build (or stuff I do in my spare time)

Postby WingAdmin » Tue Nov 17, 2015 2:52 pm

millerized wrote:
WingAdmin wrote:It's a very nice piece of work! But 4,000 rivets?!?!? Wow...I think faced with that, I would find a different method of fastening panels to frames. :)


It's not the riveting that is the hard part. I have a pneumatic riveter that makes short work of pulling the rivets. (a trick I learned working on aircraft and a 3x4x7' powder coating oven I built years ago).
What becomes the real pain in the asterisk....I mean hand... is drilling all of those holes for the rivets. Every 2 inches across each panel and underlying support.

Thanks for the kind words.


I was thinking just that..."aluminum frame, aluminum skin riveted to frame...this guy must have experience building airplanes."

Did you have a good supply of Clecos on hand as well? :)

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Re: Trailer build (or stuff I do in my spare time)

Postby MikeB » Tue Nov 17, 2015 3:14 pm

WingAdmin wrote:Did you have a good supply of Clecos on hand as well? :)


He must have, its the only way to go.
Great job on that project. Real professional job.
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Tacoma, WA, USA

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Re: Trailer build (or stuff I do in my spare time)

Postby millerized » Tue Nov 17, 2015 3:15 pm

WingAdmin wrote:I was thinking just that..."aluminum frame, aluminum skin riveted to frame...this guy must have experience building airplanes."

Did you have a good supply of Clecos on hand as well? :)

I've got a few left ;)

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Re: Trailer build (or stuff I do in my spare time)

Postby millerized » Tue Nov 17, 2015 3:20 pm

themainviking wrote:
millerized wrote:What becomes the real pain in the asterisk....I mean hand... is drilling all of those holes for the rivets. Every 2 inches across each panel and underlying support.


What - you have not yet built a pneumatic punch with automatic carriage?

Maybe next time ;)

And I think the next project might require one. Ever see how many rivets on an Airstream?! :o
I will give props to a Dewalt 1/8" drill bit. I'd have to say that more than 1/2 of the 1/8" holes were done with one bit without resharpening it. The other bits were destroyed by drilling to welds....just don't last long doing that.

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Re: Trailer build (or stuff I do in my spare time)

Postby cbx4evr » Tue Nov 17, 2015 5:39 pm

Is there an on-line order from somewhere?? Nice work.
"It´s a friggen motorcycle, it´s not supposed to be comfortable, quiet or safe. The wind noise is supposed to hurt your ears, the seat should be hard and riding it should make you s**t your pants every now and then. "

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Re: Trailer build (or stuff I do in my spare time)

Postby millerized » Tue Nov 17, 2015 5:52 pm

cbx4evr wrote:Is there an on-line order from somewhere?? Nice work.

Guessing you mean order form?
No. I've gotten enough letters from lawyers over the years that I don't make anything for sale outright.
(imagine getting a note from a lawyer because someone fell asleep riding a bike equipped with your highway pegs...suing you because your pegs were too comfortable....yeah, it happened and why I don't make Concours highway pegs anymore...and the idiocy surrounding my pellet stoves...you'd think I was cursed)

That said, this one will probably be for sale as a one off, maybe, once the other one gets done.

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Re: Trailer build (or stuff I do in my spare time)

Postby crock4 » Tue Nov 17, 2015 9:18 pm

WOW. ..keep us informed about your next project as well. You certainly are very talented, and creative. Thanks for sharing.

Bob
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Re: Trailer build (or stuff I do in my spare time)

Postby millerized » Tue Nov 17, 2015 9:42 pm

crock4 wrote:WOW. ..keep us informed about your next project as well. You certainly are very talented, and creative. Thanks for sharing.

Bob

Well, if anyone needs a pellet stove, I might be able to help them out a bit later in the year ;)
You just can't sue me because I didn't want to pay you to use your concept of gravity to feed them :roll:


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Re: Trailer build (or stuff I do in my spare time)

Postby Pam » Thu Nov 19, 2015 10:19 am

Very nice, :) If this is spare time projects I can only imagine your full time projects. You must have a good source of material close by

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Re: Trailer build (or stuff I do in my spare time)

Postby millerized » Thu Nov 19, 2015 11:45 am

Pam wrote:Very nice, :) If this is spare time projects I can only imagine your full time projects. You must have a good source of material close by

Anything I need is within 30-40 miles. Unfortunately though, very little is within the first 20mi. Whole lot is mail order though. Steel/aluminum is 15mi, but specialty shops for most of what I need are closer towards DC or Baltimore....and I don't do big cities. (I also refuse to do any business whatsoever within the state of Maryland, to include mail order)
I get a whole lot of 'those' looks when asking for items in my local AO. That blank stare when asking for something that no one has ever asked for before....'a what'?..."what's it used for?' 'never heard of such a thing. The internet is my friend with some of that stuff. (like a 6" stick of 3" dia Simpson DuraVent pellet stove piping or 2ea 45degree pieces in 3"....'they don't make them' is what I got at our biggest pellet stove seller locally Monday. Came home and ordered them Tuesday, they'll be here tomorrow.)

Still mentally 'designing' my mini-Airstream. Luckily, a guy overseas made a pretty dandy copy of one. The ground 'rules' are set for me, I just need to work on the specifics of my version.

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Re: Trailer build (or stuff I do in my spare time)

Postby miken6qzt » Tue Dec 01, 2015 9:58 am

Very nice Design. It looks like you have enough room on the tongue in front of the box to mount a "Honda" generator. You know, for those times when shore power isn't available. :D :lol: 8-)
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Re: Trailer build (or stuff I do in my spare time)

Postby millerized » Tue Dec 01, 2015 10:09 am

miken6qzt wrote:Very nice Design. It looks like you have enough room on the tongue in front of the box to mount a "Honda" generator. You know, for those times when shore power isn't available. :D :lol: 8-)

Well, now that you mention it ;)

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Re: Trailer build (or stuff I do in my spare time)

Postby miken6qzt » Tue Dec 01, 2015 10:20 am

I was thinking more along the lines of something you didn't have to tow "behind" the trailer. :D
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Re: Trailer build (or stuff I do in my spare time)

Postby uttrainman » Sun Dec 06, 2015 5:10 pm

I'm not seeing any vertical supports on the flip out. What holds it up?
UTTrainman

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Re: Trailer build (or stuff I do in my spare time)

Postby millerized » Sun Dec 06, 2015 5:18 pm

uttrainman wrote:I'm not seeing any vertical supports on the flip out. What holds it up?

There are 2 under there. Pieces of 1/2" aluminum IMT conduit. I haven't put the centers in them yet for adjustment...give you about a foot of up/down just in case you park it on a hill or in a ditch. Little things that will get done this winter.

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Re: Trailer build (or stuff I do in my spare time)

Postby marvincshepard » Fri Dec 11, 2015 3:37 pm

That is awesome. I'm an A&P mechanic. Sheet metal is what I do best. I believe I could totally build that one. We just changed nine belly skins on a C-130 talk about thousands of rivets. I would like to see the pictures or the plans for that Airstream. Looks like a good project for the winter I live in South Carolina and the weather is good for riding just about all year long. Maybe with an Airstream style camper the wife would ride more. Looks like you do quality work. You still in aviation? And again awesome job.
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Re: Trailer build (or stuff I do in my spare time)

Postby millerized » Fri Dec 11, 2015 4:34 pm

marvincshepard wrote:That is awesome. I'm an A&P mechanic. Sheet metal is what I do best. I believe I could totally build that one. We just changed nine belly skins on a C-130 talk about thousands of rivets. I would like to see the pictures or the plans for that Airstream. Looks like a good project for the winter I live in South Carolina and the weather is good for riding just about all year long. Maybe with an Airstream style camper the wife would ride more. Looks like you do quality work. You still in aviation? And again awesome job.

Thanks!

Took my written in Savannah and O&P near Statesville in early 87...never worked in aviation again. :cry: (Uncle Sam turned the birds 'back' over to Beech Aerospace to work on, and I was 'reassigned' to communication electronics...needs of the Army and all that jazz). Been IN enough 130's over the years to know that 'that's a job'...sheet metal wise. I learned aluminum welding to complete this task, but the industry has been riveting and bolting spars for a good long time and it's rare a wing just falls off. :lol:

http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=54344#p988905 what where I found the mini-stream. Enough thought process for me to see it being done, and a good starting point for thinking about 'my' version. His is stainless...not going 'that' far unless I come up with a whole lot of cheap sheet. And, of course, I'd have it filled with gadgets and LED lighting and...well...lets leave that to the imagination. One thing that I'm going to have to get used to with a 44" wide trailer is getting to snuggle with your partner since it's no longer 'roomy'. Even at 48" (wider than I want to build) that's only 24" per person. But, if you're riding together, sleeping that close together might not be out of the question.

I really think that it comes down to using your imagination on what you want to build, and how you want to build it. Heck, it could look like a space shuttle when I'm done with the 'bay' as the sleeping quarters :lol:

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Re: Trailer build (or stuff I do in my spare time)

Postby Wilcoy02 » Thu Jan 07, 2016 12:23 am

VERY NICE !!!!

It is always nice to think about building something like this and actually getting it done.

I likewise thought about how to build a tent trailer. I thought and looked but only one posting on the web had some of the things I wanted.

My trailer took about 3 months and it made it to Alaska and back to Ohio.

I ran a wire from the bike to the trailer to charge my battery in the back while riding.

You do very nice work/
Thanks for sharing.

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Re: Trailer build (or stuff I do in my spare time)

Postby millerized » Sun May 08, 2016 6:57 pm

Finally got around to uncovering this and doing some more work.
Added the radio I'd originally bought for the bike. Installed it, wired it and was listening to it while I finished other things. Speakers store inside, but are on a long leash, and can be brought out the bottom of the trailer to sit underneath it. 60W 'stereo, like $20 shipped from Everbuying.com. Antenna is below the radio, and works just fine inverted.




Stuck on the 30W solar panel while I was out in the sun. Mounted it on 'flipper' hinges/slides. (flipper for the upper cabinet on most office furniture...right out of the dumpster at work) It sits nicely while the top is closed, but when open slides out to be supported and pointed whereever the sun shines. Wired in the controller (in the belly, left side towards the bottom of the picture, and into the battery. Charge controller was hovering the battery around 13.5 in sunlight with the radio cranking at 3/4 volume. So far, so good! Time to take it camping in a few weeks.




Also took off the friction stabilizer jacks for a weight savings of about 20# or more. They had a tendency to fall 'off' and not hold up the thing. Just not enough weight to hold them in position. The screw jacks weigh in at 7# and won't pop off in the middle of the night. Good riddance! Time to find some fender welt as well. Clean up the fender area a bit and finish it off. Next week.




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