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Cargo Trailer 5x8 Overland Conversion - Cherokee XJ Content

thatsagiven

Member
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
Lol, I might re-upload them. I thought they were sized alright, but they all all full size when uploaded. I work for an isp/telecom and have gigabit internet and unlimited phone data so I didn't even clue in.
 
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thatsagiven

Member
Decided I would take a stab at the cabinet today. This will house all the electrical and have some storage. I will also have all the switches and controls on this cabinet.

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Framed out a center set of drawers, and this allows me to take most of the rounded corners of the trailer away inside and finish it the way I want with minimal round janky cuts. Center will be storage and finished, the sides will be electrical and less finished lol. We will see.

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First time mounting cabinet doors, I got some compact cabinet hinges and in hindsight should have gone a different route. After some trial an error they open and are fairly well aligned.
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I have some airflow from a vent I found at a thrift shop and I think it will make sure all the electrical isn't sealed. PVC molding on the bottom. and Ill have something to cover up the spray foam along the back behind the vent eventually.

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I mocked up the side doors but didn't get hinges yet. I was debating only going with the center that opens as cabinets and the sides would be false covers that can be detached. Thinking I am going to get some more hinges though and make them all functional and easy to access.

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I got a pocket Jig from Kreg, This thing is awesome. I got a small single one and in hindsight I should have bought the double one since every time I have to mount and clamp it then drill. The 2 hole jig would have made life so much easier. Literally half the time lol. Still amazing tool and I would recomend it if you have never used one before for joints. got some MDF along the backing for the cabinet and the sides to close this one in.

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I am going to make this side cabinet open to the outside so its easier to get at things. I maybe should have made them all open that way. Oh well. I think Ill be happier having the center with larger shelves for things.

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Here I squared the back plywood and attached some panel MDF to 1X2s. to make it so its no longer a rounded surface. Haven't got a countertop yet. I can essentially mount a 4 foot 10, by 8 or 9 inch counter top here with a slight angle on the ends. Looking for something here and might just go with butcher block or maple.
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Got some high powered magnets for the cabinet doors, they are a fair bit of work to open. Ill have to see how it is with stuff in it. Might have to go with locks, I have seen a few good options around. There is a false floor in this cabinet to get at the wiring between the two sides. I will have the shore plug coming into the left side and the majority of the electrical panel on the right for easy access. I might be able to use the left as storage as well and finish it if its only the shore plug. but if I run out of room I may put the inverter on the left, and the rest of the wiring on the right.


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The rubber I have between the panels has started to bulge in places I'm noticing here, I am going to try some glue as well as the adhesive it came with and once Im happy with everything Ill use some dap caulking to clean all the seams and gaps up. Should turn out pretty good.
 
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thatsagiven

Member
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.


I ended up getting a 105AH Deep Cycle from Walmart for $169 CAD. I compared that to a few other places around me and it was $220 for the closest 105AH battery with a 12 mo warranty. Walmart actually has an insane 5 year warranty with free replacement in 3 years and the a prorated amount for the following 2 years. Ill take that. And for the price vs AGM I will buy two over 10 years if there are issues. I have had experience maintaining batteries in the past for golf carts (used to work at a golf course).

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Going to hold on the solar for now and see how long I can make this battery last with minimal lighting and occasional inverter use. I am also planning on wiring an isolator and wiring from my jeep to the trailer for additional battery top up as needed. Jeep will be a super inefficient 4.0l generator if needed lol. Solar is awesome and I dream of having a self sufficient unit that never needs to charge but there is alot of trees and cloud cover where I live so Ive heard I would need like 3 100w panels to be able to keep things charged unless its an ideal situation.

Found a decent deal on a 1000w inverter that has a remote for power, I am thinking it might be overkill but having it for the time I need it will be good. Its not a pure sine wave but its quoted to work with mechanical devices. The wiring fuse block etc. And it comes with a mountable remote. Anything with a remote that I can relocate to control it makes me happy!
 
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andytruck

Observer
If you can figure out the html codes, then just put width=500 at the end of your pic code. 300 to 600 is usually a good forum width.
you will need a space between the last word in the string and the new "width=400", but no space bewteen it and the last paranthesis, which I can't type in a forum message...
 

thatsagiven

Member
If you can figure out the html codes, then just put width=500 at the end of your pic code. 300 to 600 is usually a good forum width.
you will need a space between the last word in the string and the new "width=400", but no space bewteen it and the last paranthesis, which I can't type in a forum message...
Thanks, I think they should all be around 600 now. Should be easier to read through!
 

thatsagiven

Member
Looking to install the shore plug this week for wiring to the trailer. I was going to drill in front of the trailer. Anyone that has installed things on the front of their trailer, any worries with water dirt etc. Or is it not that bad?

Placement was originally going to be on the side but the cabinet doesn't overlap and I don't want to have wiring in the main cab if I can avoid it. (Would be on the rounded corner.. and that's not ideal)
 

andytruck

Observer
pic size looks good.
Solar is easy. I highly recommend solar. You might can get away with only 100watts. It will help make your battery last longer since in the day time you will not be depleating it. Fewer cycles means longer life. (It is a deep cycle, not a marine batt?)

I am really more interested to see you tow it off road on some rugged trails. I can only find the speciality build army trailers or Austrailian trailers going on real trails, never have I seen a regular cargo trailer with leaf springs go down a trail. I wonder what the limits will be.
 

thatsagiven

Member
pic size looks good.
Solar is easy. I highly recommend solar. You might can get away with only 100watts. It will help make your battery last longer since in the day time you will not be depleating it. Fewer cycles means longer life. (It is a deep cycle, not a marine batt?)

I am really more interested to see you tow it off road on some rugged trails. I can only find the speciality build army trailers or Austrailian trailers going on real trails, never have I seen a regular cargo trailer with leaf springs go down a trail. I wonder what the limits will be.

Yeah the 100 watts is what I am thinking, Thanks for the tip on the photo size, much better now. My battery is a marine/rv deep cycle. Not a cranking marine or marine only. Hope that's the better one. It has 105 Amp hours posted and a lot of the marine ones don't.
 

thatsagiven

Member
Got the lower part of the cabinet almost finished. Was looking for a butcher block countertop but since I needed such a small cut I opted for some Oak I found for a fraction of the cost. I think it looks pretty good. I still need to do some cabinet door alignment. I have two different types of hinges and one is far superior. Looking to pick up a few of the more adjustable soft close ones. Might order some from amazon today.

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Still figuring out what to do with the top and the round roof. I am thinking I could tack up some plywood to the ceiling with some black fabric. That might make a better looking finish above a shelf for blankets and pillows. The two sides where the blue and red tape are I am thinking I might cut some opaque plexiglass and use the MDF trim to frame it in. And put some LED strip lights behind there. Still deciding on that.

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Cut some holes for two of my control panel items along the door side. I figured less chance of issues than cutting into the cabinet door. I can always replace this piece of trim. Pretty happy with the end result though. It makes it easy to plug something in from outside. Sits back enough that it shouldn't get in the way of going in and out the door. The second square panel is a remote for my inverter. I still have switches for my lights and some 12 volt plugs to find a home for. Those are next.

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Bit the bullet and cut a hole for my shore plug. The older hole saw I had around finally gave out during this. Ended up ok and Ill reseal the insulation from the inside. The front had two bonuses for the shore plug. 1 its behind my cabinet and hidden for the wires. Two the front has a aluminum skin on wood the whole panel so its better to mount to.

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Aimed to keep it higher up off the ground and not drill into the diamondplate.

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Pretty happy with the end result outside. Might put some lap sealant along the top and silicone behind the seal to make sure its water tight. I think it will hold up to rocks etc. If I use a small generator on the front I can attach it here. This gives me options for an RV power or just connecting the batteries at home to keep them charged.

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Got the battery connected to the inverter and charger to test things out. Did a few tests with power usage. Ran a small TV for a few hours to see where it hit for watts/amps and am pretty happy to see that I should be able to run a TV for about 10 hours before hitting 12.4 volts.

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This was the Tv at normal volume and turns into roughly 5 amps draw including the inverter.

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After about 5 hours of working with the TV on in the background (watching some YouTube build video's) charged some drill batteries. It was still humming away at 12.6 (started at 12.8). And speaking of noise the inverter was dead quiet during this. I got this model because it was on sale, had the remote and only uses .5 amps when not connected to anything. Its got some built in protections for battery power and will auto shut off before any battery damage. Learning alot about batteries and I don't think I have a TV installed in the trailer you never know...

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Next is installing the power and more 12 volt wiring. Still need to decide how to bring wires from the battery into the trailer (more holes) Might buy something with terminals so I can mount the battery box on the front. Its coming along.
 
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228B

Observer
I love these little cargo trailer conversions. Yours is coming together really well. Glad to see you went with the bigger, 105 Ah battery. Only be sure you're charging it correctly and it will last years.

I'll be checking your thread here from time to time as I've started my own project using a 5 X 10 like yours but newer. Same stuff, different day is all.

Thanks for taking the time to post for the rest of us! Again, looking good!
 

TaTaco

New member
Installing some pot lights! These are super low draw 12v pot lights from Amazon.

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Got them all installed and wired and guess what ?!? They don't work. Not even one of them. Lol, should have tested them before and looked into getting replacements, apparently they were supposed to ship an LED controller that connects as well. Got some replacements from a local RV shop that I dont like as much, but they work. Might combine these housings with the new LED lights. We will see.

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Cut four of these for all corners.

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Like how these lights look installed.
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These RV lights have a power switch on them so that could be handy for nights. I might consider this instead of the pot lights and send them back. I don't like the look as much.

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Powered and lots of light, but those pot lights though. Form over function? lol the pot lights were only $25 shipped CDN.

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If you have made it this far, let me know which you like better. Still on the fence. If I get a partial refund I might keep the housings and use them. A little choked overall.

Awesome build. Haven't made it to the end, so I could attempt to give my opinion. Go with the pot lights and install a dimmer. You won't be disappointed with dimmable lights when it's sleepy time.
 

thatsagiven

Member
Decided to try out an experiment with the sides that I was thinking about and it turned out fairly good. I had some 12 volt LED strips around but when powered off they loose state and they are off and need a remote to turn them on, then they are red by default and need to be set to white. Oh well, The effect is still there when I need it. (Might change these out later).

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Started into mounting some of the electrical. Battery lines come in from a battery box on the tongue. I have a small hole in the floor that I will be sealing up. I decided to run the charger direct to the battery posts. I was reading up on having everything to a positive and negative post for the bank. Is this recommended or chargers and inverters direct to the batteries? I think it would be the same. I might change this up based on research. I love this electrical stuff but parts are so expensive locally. (Amazon is way cheaper)

Ended up making a shelf at the top we can use for blankets and pillows. The black fabric idea worked pretty well I think Ill have to see how it holds up. I rolled it around a thin piece of MDF and stuck that under the cedar then pulled it tight behind the white panel mdf board and I think it works well to cover it and looks good even close up.
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And got the pot lights all swapped and lit up.
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thatsagiven

Member
Built a bed, went back and fourth on a few designs I found online, Ended up combining two to make something that could close up into a couch and a bed lengthwise to maximize the living space and storage in the camper.
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Ended up with slides for 2/3rds and a plywood framed backrest for the last end. Makes for a really solid couch frame and a really comfortable bed with the most support where you need it. Keeps it fairly light as a mix of 2X4's 1x3's and 1x2's. The feet are 2x4's supported by a frame of 2x4's. And the feet slide on the vinyl floor with soft pads for furniture. Cut up some Piano hinges to support the backrest and rear legs.

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Attached the rear legs more centrally, and will be supporting the rear of the backrest with a 2x2 piece to keep it as rigid as possible behind the legs. the 1x3 frame is good, but likely wont hold too much weight or 2 people sitting on it out the back doors. (holds me at 165lbs fine, but there is some flex)

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This evolved as I went and was originally going to put less supports and cover it in plywood, pretty happy how it is and lying on it feels really supportive and comfortable with 4 inch foam.
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Ended up getting a tri fold mattress from Amazon. It was 59x80x4 for the size when fully expanded. I ended up cutting off 3 inches of one side to fit the 56 inch width of the trailer. The cover fits back pretty well and you actually don't really notice the excess from the cut mattress. This stuff cuts really easily with a serrated steak knife, not the cleanest cut but it works and is hidden in the cover. The original mattress edges are not perfect anyway.
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Here is a shot of the back, I will be finishing the wood with a mix of fabric and aluminum edging. The legs on the back just hang for now. Might strap these in or use Velcro if they make any noise or anything when driving.
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Inside we are left with a decent amount of living space. and this this is comfy as a sofa. Might get something to use as an ottoman/storage/table later on.
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We don't have much room to spare when its folded out as a bed. But I am really happy with the design. I can pull it out in a few seconds to make an almost full queen bed. Its a little tight but setting it up inside with the doors closed is easy. Back to couch mode is a little harder without opening any doors. There is about a foot or room to put on your shoes and Ill make sure the dog has a bed at the foot that is part way under the bed to sleep (she is a little french bulldog and doesn't take up much space.)

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So it's 4 inches shy of a full size queen bed at the end. I had a nap on it already and its comfortable! I might see about cutting out a little 3x3 square off the ends of the mattress and bedframe to more to make up for the sides and slide it right back to the door edge. This would free up another 3 inches at the front cabinet end. But I'm still deciding if this is needed and I dont want to lose any length if possible, we are both ~5'11.

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Still have lots of storage space below the bed and lots of headroom, Thinking I might put some drawers underneath to keep things organized. Next is finishing the bed frame and cleaning up some of the rough work.

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