Too narrow?

michalakmj

New member
B2BDC2A6-DEA4-4F12-8AFE-618C4AF09F6B.jpeg
Looking for some honest opinions. I picked this up on CL for $65. Frame is 2x2, welded, and strong. It’s 39” x 60”. I’d like to turn it into an off-road trailer to pull behind my FJ. The thought would be lengthen the tongue, use an articulating coupler, extend the cargo area to 72” or use a tongue box, and add new suspension with 3500# axle and wheels to match the FJ. I’d add a RTT and awning.

According to Dexter, the widest axle I can throw in there is 55” without widening the trailer. It’s 2” narrower than an M416 at 57”. I don’t plan on rock crawling with it. Do you guys think this thing is too narrow to bother with, or worth the effort?
 
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IdaSHO

IDACAMPER
There isnt much trailer there....

If you are planning on changing it that much, you are far better off just starting with a clean slat and building from scratch.
 

billiebob

My Uncle drove a government issued Jeep in Europe
An axle/spring shop will build you a 3500# tube axle to fit those springs at any width you want.... for $200.00. I just did this.
The ideal width is the same track as the tow vehicle, excellent tracking and perfect for reversing.
Nice to use the same rims and tires too so 1 spare will do it all.

As long as you plan to only load it to the weight it is originally designed for it is a great little trailer. But a 3500# axle and springs does not mean the trailer can haul 3500#.

Not sure why you want to extend the tongue, it looks about perfect. As already stated, at some point you should just start over.

That axle/spring look like a 1000# rating meaning the rest of the frame is likely engineered for only 1000# too. If you can work with that I'd say you have a good base. But if you add a few hundred pounds of steel to extend the hitch and build the box, you are likely overloaded before you load it.
 
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NatersXJ6

Explorer
I assume your trailer frame is 39” outside to outside? My Chaser is only 40” outside to outside. Why would there be a limit on a wider axle? If you have the capability to weld on a longer cargo area, you can certainly set some spring perches on a tube. Nothing wrong with using it in my opinion.
 

old_CWO

Active member
I think I would use that as a chassis under a step side pickup box. They are actually pretty good trailer tubs, often available cheap and you can usually buy parts and accessories to fit. The key to not looking unsophisticated is ditching the truck fenders and steps for proper trailer fenders then set it so the axle is at the 60/40 mark. After that it looks and performs like any other similar off road trailer. There's already a sturdy, well engineered tailgate on them which is a big plus in my mind. I know when folks hear "truck bed trailer" they think hokey farm hauler made from a cut in half pickup. If you do it right, that's not at all what you end up with. I've built two and sold both for a tidy sum when I was ready to do something different.

The trailer axle manufacturers do spec out the maximum overhang from spring perch to spindle. I have no data to back it up, but I suspect strongly if your axle greatly over rates the actual load you could cheat that a good bit. The M101 straight axle military trailers are like that; narrow chassis and wide hub face. I doubt anyone has bent one of those axles in civilian use.

You would obviously have to weld the perches yourself, but that's no big deal.
 

mudraider

Adventurer
Or, for that price, build a trailer to sell. Put it together with the right stuff, use it to finance a trailer more to your liking.

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
 

jwiereng

Active member
I had a custom axle made. It was beyond the permissible overhang. I had to waive my warrantee and no returns allowed. If you over spec your axle a little, you can safely cheat on the overhang.
 

77TLCFJ40

Member
Great point made by NatersXJ6. My M416 is right around 41”-42” in the lower section where it sits on the frame.

Any idea on the steel thickness of the square tube frame? That may help others guide you on potential weight capacity.

So far ilooks like a well engineered and built frame.
 

michalakmj

New member
Thanks for all the replies guys. Good information. I don’t know the thickness of the steel because it’s fully boxed. I’ll be able to tell once I remove the tongue. Fully built and fully loaded, I can’t ever see this trailer getting past 1300 lbs. I did plan on a 3500# axle, so perhaps it’ll be beefy enough to cheat on the axle width a bit. My main reason for lengthening the tongue is needing to clear the FJ’s massive rear door.


Those of you with M416s or Chasers, how does it pull off road behind your wider tow vehicle? With all my reading on the subject, most people seem to say having the track match the tow vehicle is important, but then there are an awful lot of M416s ot there with 57” axles. If I widened the axle to match the FJ, I probably wouldn’t widen the whole box. I’d weld in some running boards between the wheels and box for Jerry cans, etc and then put truck boxes over the wheels for extra storage.

I know it’s important to get long leaf springs on it. The longest I can fit on there is probably going to be 32” because of the way the A-frame is attached to the box frame. I found some 32” trailer springs for a 1600lb axle. I’m hoping that’s the right combo of not too stiff and still up to the job.
 

NatersXJ6

Explorer
I would say the Chaser tows really well on and off road. Getting used to the movement of the air suspension and articulating hitch takes a bit of adjustment. The trailer is much more lively than a typical cargo trailer. I suspect it is just excited to go camping. Pay attention to weight balance when loading it and you’re good to go.

I think, but have no real evidence for the idea, that matching track width is much more important when dealing with deep ruts. In mud or snow if your trailer wheels are trying to drag along their own path, you add a lot of resistance. However, you also have to match the turning radius, and to get that perfect takes a lot of playing with the tongue length and probably isn’t worth the work.
 

CampStewart

Observer
OP that looks to me like a well built trailer for its size. I think with 3500lb axle, long soft springs, and an extended tongue you will be just fine. If adding a box over the A frame section in a perfect world I would like to move the axle forward but see the limitation due to the extended A. Longer wheelbase will back up easier I would think excessive tongue weight would not be a factor with your rig.
 

jwiereng

Active member
However, you also have to match the turning radius, and to get that perfect takes a lot of playing with the tongue length and probably isn’t worth the work
Agreed. Matching the turning radius is not easy, or practical. In theory I think the hitch has to be exactly centered between the rear axle of tow vehicle and axle of trailer.
 

old_CWO

Active member
My current trailer is pretty much track width matched to my truck. I think the best benefit gained from that is on road, not off. I can now see both trailer fenders in the side mirrors. After adding the lid I it's also visible from the rearview without blocking the full view behind me. Big truck + small trailer = what the heck is it doing back there? It makes me more comfortable to know it isn't swaying or has a tire problem or something.
 

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