Early-stage trailer build planning

Spvrtan

Member
Messed around with SketchUp for the first time today and came up with the idea below. This is something the girlfriend and I want to create this year. I'm new to all of this so I would also be learning a lot as I go.

Trailer.jpg

Trailer (1).jpg

Trailer (2).jpg

  • Front kick-out sliders
  • Rear low-profile sliders
  • Slide-out foot ramp
  • Independent arm suspension
  • 40" tires (to match what I'm running on my Tundra)
  • C-channel steel main/sub-frames; 2" x 3" x 3/16"
  • Angle-bar steel crossmembers; 1" x 2" x 1/8"
  • Aluminum and plastic body
  • Folding tables
  • Folding seats
  • Removable bed panels
  • Interior sink
  • Interior shower area
  • Fresh and grey water tanks
  • Electric: Battery and solar
  • Windows
  • Under-bed storage area
  • 5' x 10' enclosed box overall
  • 1 door
  • Roof rack

There's one more feature we came up with that think is very doable yet we've never seen any offroad trailer on the market attempt it for some reason; we're keeping it under wraps until its solidified.

Our Tundra..

 

ottsville

Observer
I've seen you around tundratalk, so I know what you are capable of building; I'm interested to see what you have in mind.

You moving the RTT to the trailer?
 

ottsville

Observer
C-channel steel main/sub-frames; 2" x 3" x 3/16"
Angle-bar steel crossmembers; 1" x 2" x 1/8".
I'm reading my way through many of the older threads here and wondered why more trailers aren't built with channel and angle. A tongue calculator that was posted seemed to indicate that c-channel strength was greater for a relative size and weight per foot, plus c channel can easily be coated with paint on all sides unlike tubing where rusting from the inside out is a concern.
 

honda250xtitan

Active member
I'm reading my way through many of the older threads here and wondered why more trailers aren't built with channel and angle. A tongue calculator that was posted seemed to indicate that c-channel strength was greater for a relative size and weight per foot, plus c channel can easily be coated with paint on all sides unlike tubing where rusting from the inside out is a concern.
IMO working with square tube is easier. My trailer is all 2x2 .120 wall except for the pull bar and the gusset plate. Took me three afternoons to knock out 90% of the tubing work. The rust issue is a good call, thankfully i'm in Arizona where bare exposed metal outside takes decades to rust lol.
 
I'm reading my way through many of the older threads here and wondered why more trailers aren't built with channel and angle. A tongue calculator that was posted seemed to indicate that c-channel strength was greater for a relative size and weight per foot, plus c channel can easily be coated with paint on all sides unlike tubing where rusting from the inside out is a concern.
First of all, lets say if you take 1/8" rectangular/square tubing and compare it too 1/8" C-channel or angle iron, its easier to bend the Channel or Angle... My point is, most people use Tubing because you can go with a thinner wall thickness which reduces weight but it can withstand more abuse... Hence why, most truck manufacturers switched to boxed frames rather than C-channel frames. You can save money and weight...Just my 2 cents!!
 
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ottsville

Observer
Your explanation is over-simplified and possibly wrong. Comparing 1/8 wall square tubing to 1/8 wall c channel - what size are you talking? 2x2 tubing to 2 inch channel? You have to compare apples to apples. Also, most heavy duty trailers are made of channel and not tubing so your reasoning doesn't hold there.

2x2x3/16 square tubing weighs 4.3 lbs per foot so lets compare it to something similar
(link: http://www.saginawpipe.com/square_rectangular_tube.htm)

A36 3x4.1 channel is 4.1 lbs per foot
(link: https://www.metalsdepot.com/steel-products/steel-channel)

I haven't verified the information, but the thread I posted above (https://www.arboristsite.com/community/threads/info-on-steel-for-trailers.167226/) seems to indicate that the 3x4.1 c channel is twice as strong as the tubing.


Yes channel is more difficult to work with in some ways, yet it is easier in others.

Also, not trying to hijack Spvrtan's thread, but this has been a question I've wondered on for a while.
 
Your explanation is over-simplified and possibly wrong. Comparing 1/8 wall square tubing to 1/8 wall c channel - what size are you talking? 2x2 tubing to 2 inch channel? You have to compare apples to apples. Also, most heavy duty trailers are made of channel and not tubing so your reasoning doesn't hold there.

2x2x3/16 square tubing weighs 4.3 lbs per foot so lets compare it to something similar
(link: http://www.saginawpipe.com/square_rectangular_tube.htm)

A36 3x4.1 channel is 4.1 lbs per foot
(link: https://www.metalsdepot.com/steel-products/steel-channel)

I haven't verified the information, but the thread I posted above (https://www.arboristsite.com/community/threads/info-on-steel-for-trailers.167226/) seems to indicate that the 3x4.1 c channel is twice as strong as the tubing.


Yes channel is more difficult to work with in some ways, yet it is easier in others.

Also, not trying to hijack Spvrtan's thread, but this has been a question I've wondered on for a while.
It's always great to read thoughtful explanations like the above.

I'm also researching options for a trailer frame I'm building. My prototypes are the M416 and newer M101A1/2/3 which use 3"x1.5" u-channel that appears to be .120". I'd guess the choice of u-channel over structural steel comes down to cost and ease of manufacturing. U-channel can be easily and cheaply produced using cold forming which also makes it up to 20% stronger. U-channel is also relatively flat which makes fitment easier, as opposed to structural steel becoming thicker as you near the web.

Rectangular tubing is slightly more expensive, but has other good structural qualities. Both the M416 and M101s using boxed tubing for the drawbars; the M101s is 3"x1.75"x3/16 while the M416 uses a u-channel insert to achieve 1/4" thickness for about half of the drawbar length.

The downside of u-channel is you need to find a metal supplier and have it manufactured. If you are Harbor Freight, you can order 1000 trailer kits and have the work farmed out to China. But for the rest of us, we need to draft up some specs and find a metal supplier to do a short run for us.
 

ottsville

Observer
mikeprince, I wouldn't use anything that is not readily available off the shelf in case you wanted to repair or modify later down the road.

I haven't checked my local supplier, but here's a screenshot of prices for 2x2x3/16 square tubing and 3x4.1 channel from an online supplier(note length is in inches and tube is 48" longer than channel):


Obviously, square or rectangular tubing looks a lot better on a finished trailer.
 
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