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Cargo Trailer 5x8 Overland Conversion - Cherokee XJ Content

thatsagiven

Member
I would have welded in a new steel frame around the window opening where you cut the ribs. I guess with plywood on such a small trailer it will not matter. Nice job. Are you going to put the leafs on top of the axle?
Thanks and the steel frame is a good call, and something I might do in future. I have a small wooden frame top and bottom to spread the load as well as the plywood. It is a small trailer though so I am not too worried. The axle is a torsion one so I am going to put in a steel spacer and remount the axle three inches lower. Hoping this gives me the height I am looking for. I may change out the axle in future for something else as spring setups are so much easier to work with, I can add shocks etc.

Not mine, but something like this:
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andytruck

Observer
If springs are in the plan then I would go ahead and install leaf spring axle now. When torsion axles fail there is no trail fix that is easy. Better is the off-road axles, but that will cost more than your whole build
 

thatsagiven

Member
March 13th On to the flooring! This stuff is pretty easy to cut and work with. A little fragile but not too bad once you get the hang of it. No gaps or spaces and happy with the end result.

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This bottom trim will be covered up so not worried how it looks.
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Flooring went in pretty well, only chipped a few pieces and had more left over than I thought I would.

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Found some kick plate for carpet trim at a local habitat for humanity Re-store, (Used construction materials) cut and slotted it for the transition between the door and flooring.

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Havent cleaned up the spray foam yet at the front, but that will all be covered by some cabinets and storage with the electrical.
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Cut some Aluminum 2 inch x 2inch angle for the rear. I am likely going to be covering it with bedliner this or just giving it a brushed look so it wont show scratches.

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Also got the doors installed with painted hardware, more to come on those. (Gotta clean that garage, too much stuff, but lots is going into this trailer.)
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Lit up from the pot lights, still haven't done anything with the back/front of the trailer. The plan is a cabinet with some storage and cupboards (got some doors from that same store).

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thatsagiven

Member
If springs are in the plan then I would go ahead and install leaf spring axle now. When torsion axles fail there is no trail fix that is easy. Better is the off-road axles, but that will cost more than your whole build
That's a good call. Yeah I was looking into the off road ones. I think I would be going leaf spring and these are near the end of their expected life. I can go this route pretty easy down the line.
 

thatsagiven

Member
Ended up grinding up the original drawers from the RV and used the tops for a steel casing for this. Still planning on taking it all apart for additional paint or coating. I was able to cut out 5 inches from my original design. the aluminum trim covered a 1 inch gap I had left over after cutting the top of the original sink drawer.

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Currently running off a 20lbs tank I am going to mount on the trailer. But going to get a smaller 5lbs tank for the jeep incase of a day trip or if the trailer is not with us. Plan is to have a water job sitting on top of the case for filling the sink. The sink doesn't have a drain, might be something I add later with some clear tubing that drains off under the bbq.

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Got a premade drawer slide for a garbage can from craigslist for super cheap. Not meant to carry huge loads but thinking it could work for my 12 volt cooler giving easy access.

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Its really sturdy and the BBQ locks, the sink and cutting board don't lock. but its a snug fit and the weight keeps it pretty solid.

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Jmanscotch

is a Texan
Loving the build man! It’s coming together very nice, I’m looking forward to following along! That kitchen setup was a nice find too.

On the axle debate, I’ll share my experience in hope it helps confirm/deny your choice to change to a regular leaf sprung axle with shocks.

We have a 5x8 cargo trailer conversion that we haul all over Colorado. More overlanding type travels than the hardcore 4x4 trail stuff, but still get into plenty of difficult terrain, washboards, etc.

Our axle is a standard 3,500 lb Dexter with Jeep CJ-7 rear leaf springs and shocks with a 2” shackle lift (all mounted with stock CJ-7 mounts) and it does wonderfully. Zero complaints and zero issues with its ability. Easy to source parts at a fair price, sticks with your XJ/Jeep setup and goes anywhere your XJ would care to try to drag it. I see no need to get complicated and expensive on the suspension. The right sized, rated and quality leaf springs will do what the overwhelming majority of off-roaders ask of them, are reliable and if they did fail, are pretty simple to trail rig and help you get to a shop.

My recommendation on the axle is a Dexter brand (common as hell, so part availability), with the EZ-Lube hubs.

Here’s a few photos of our suspension setup for reference, tows like a dream off-road:

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thatsagiven

Member
Loving the build man! It’s coming together very nice, I’m looking forward to following along! That kitchen setup was a nice find too.

On the axle debate, I’ll share my experience in hope it helps confirm/deny your choice to change to a regular leaf sprung axle with shocks.

We have a 5x8 cargo trailer conversion that we haul all over Colorado. More overlanding type travels than the hardcore 4x4 trail stuff, but still get into plenty of difficult terrain, washboards, etc.

Our axle is a standard 3,500 lb Dexter with Jeep CJ-7 rear leaf springs and shocks with a 2” shackle lift (all mounted with stock CJ-7 mounts) and it does wonderfully. Zero complaints and zero issues with its ability. Easy to source parts at a fair price, sticks with your XJ/Jeep setup and goes anywhere your XJ would care to try to drag it. I see no need to get complicated and expensive on the suspension. The right sized, rated and quality leaf springs will do what the overwhelming majority of off-roaders ask of them, are reliable and if they did fail, are pretty simple to trail rig and help you get to a shop.

My recommendation on the axle is a Dexter brand (common as hell, so part availability), with the EZ-Lube hubs.

Here’s a few photos of our suspension setup for reference, tows like a dream off-road:

View attachment 649149View attachment 649150View attachment 649151

Love your build @Jmanscotch, pictures of your trailer with no fenders was 100% the reason I went this route lol. Thanks for the pictures and Ideas this is exactly what I am thinking. Looks like your height is good but is there a reason you went spring under? And what did you end up attaching the shocks to at the axle?
 

Jmanscotch

is a Texan
Went spring under simply based on height. Spring over was going to be 5-6” taller (if I recall correct) than spring under. Eventually we added the 2” shackle lift and got it kinda in the middle of the two, which works for us well.

For suspension, I basically pieced together this suspension mounting kit from a base model 1978 CJ-7 and sourced CJ-7 leaf springs locally. The leaf spring mounting plates have a built in lower shock mount. The only thing I changed were the axle mounting u-bolts (to match my trailer axle diameter) and the upper shock mount (to better fit where I needed to mount mine on the trailer frame). The rest is this kit essentially:


edit: link doesn’t seem to take you to the kit, so search this on the 4WP website: “1978 Jeep CJ7 Crown Automotive Leaf Spring Mounting Kit - 5359011K”

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If you look at post #8 of my build thread, there’s some more detail there, including how the weight of the trailer (1,500ish pounds these days) is close to the weight the rear axle of the CJ-7 base model has on it (I think about 2,000 pounds or so) so it’s a well matched setup.

Additionally, it just keeps the suspension simple and parts easy to source. If you need new bushings, lifts shackles, new shocks, etc for repairs, you go to the store and find CJ-7 stuff.
 
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old_CWO

Well-known member
Our axle is a standard 3,500 lb Dexter with Jeep CJ-7 rear leaf springs and shocks with a 2” shackle lift (all mounted with stock CJ-7 mounts) and it does wonderfully. Zero complaints and zero issues with its ability.
I have precisely the same thing under my 4x6 civilian Jeep trailer - down to the extended shackles. I will echo the above -it's a great set up that tows really well both on and off road. It's never done any extended washboard so I can't speak to that however. When I first put it together I purposefully installed a very well loved pair of springs towards maintaining a softer ride. Unfortunately it dropped nearly 2" with a quarter cord of seasoned soft wood (around 600 lbs.) loaded up. A full length add-a-leaf made it so the same load dropped not quite an inch and didn't seem to impact the "flexiness" at all.

I think if I were to do it over again I would copy the military quarter tons and use the early Jeep 1.75" wide 10 leaf front springs. They're just a little shorter and a little narrower than the CJ7 rears so should have a higher spring rate but still function well for an overlanding type trailer.

Jmanscotch's trailer is well thought out and I like it very much. I have been strongly considering ripping off his build concept virtually whole cloth. It's 100% in the spirit of a teardrop but somewhat simpler to execute. Looks cool too.
 

rebar

Adventurer
I really like what you've built there Jmanscotch!

Id love to find a 7x14 cargo but I wont settle for open wheel fenders which makes what I'm looking for very rare.. Almost all trailers under 8' wide have external fenders, making them 8' wide lol.
 

thatsagiven

Member
Went spring under simply based on height. Spring over was going to be 5-6” taller (if I recall correct) than spring under. Eventually we added the 2” shackle lift and got it kinda in the middle of the two, which works for us well.

For suspension, I basically pieced together this suspension mounting kit from a base model 1978 CJ-7 and sourced CJ-7 leaf springs locally. The leaf spring mounting plates have a built in lower shock mount. The only thing I changed were the axle mounting u-bolts (to match my trailer axle diameter) and the upper shock mount (to better fit where I needed to mount mine on the trailer frame). The rest is this kit essentially:


edit: link doesn’t seem to take you to the kit, so search this on the 4WP website: “1978 Jeep CJ7 Crown Automotive Leaf Spring Mounting Kit - 5359011K”

View attachment 649329

If you look at post #8 of my build thread, there’s some more detail there, including how the weight of the trailer (1,500ish pounds these days) is close to the weight the rear axle of the CJ-7 base model has on it (I think about 2,000 pounds or so) so it’s a well matched setup.

Additionally, it just keeps the suspension simple and parts easy to source. If you need new bushings, lifts shackles, new shocks, etc for repairs, you go to the store and find CJ-7 stuff.
This is great, thanks. It's available in Canada from these guys and not a bad price either. I think I will go this route as it just makes things so simple and parts easy to find.
 

thatsagiven

Member
Electrical planning

Update on the pot lights, the Amazon seller is going to send me a new set, says they will be better and I can keep the housings I have. Im going to move over the internals from the new lights into these and get them all wired up tomorrow.

I was looking at batteries and solar setups today. I have a few options and I think I am going to keep it pretty straight forward for the wiring setup. More on that tomorrow.

This is what I have for a charger that will be connected to my shore power plug from NOCO https://no.co/gcp1.

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From here I am going to be wiring everything else to the battery with a marine blade fuse box, switches and relays. I am going to try and do a mounted clean wiring install that is easy to access in the front cabinet. Then wired to a battery box on the front tongue. Tomorrow I will be drilling a hole for the shore power and connecting the battery charger/maintainer to a small powerbar that will stay inside.


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Just got this from amazon too that I will have in the cabinet. I can swap this between an inverter and a small power bar to get quick access to power for cell phones etc. The inverter I have right now is a small 300w unit. I may upgrade this in future.


This keeps all the full power electrical really plug and play and upgradable in future. The 12 volt for lights sockets etc. will all be wired up and grounded to the battery.

It keeps it pretty easy to change anything and limited need for anything more than 12 volt for the solar in future.

I also have my eye on this kit for solar.


Anyone have any experience with Renogy or this kit by chance? and Specifically the 20A Rover MPPT Charge Controller?

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Last the battery, I am debating cutting corners now and going with a cheaper deep cycle with 80+ Amp hours. Walmart has a 105AH for $169, but I am not sure how reliable that will be. Looking to keep costs down here and its something I can always upgrade in the future.
 
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Jmanscotch

is a Texan
If you’re not living out of the camper and aren’t running crazy amounts of things, I think the smaller aH battery and a cheaper Walmart one would probably serve you well enough. Plus, Walmart is pretty good about their warranty. Use it, abuse it and if it doesn’t work great, I bet they’d work with you on replacing it.

We’re about to dive into a simple solar setup for ours, just planning on a $80 Rich Solar 100 watt panel (going with it over Renogy only due to its size/dimensions and where we want to put it) and a very basic charge controller for $16. We’ll have to see if being cheap on this one is ok or bad.

 

andytruck

Observer
Nice, but these pictures ARE HUGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We are interested, but not that interested. Put some smaller pics so the page will load within a day, huge pictures are not needed, just keep them smaller than the width of the forum.400-600 width is plenty. On here of your many pics 4 loaded, and the page gave up and stopped loading
 
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