"TrailTop" modular trailer topper building components


Expedition Leader
I popped the molds off the TrailTop master parts first thing this morning, here's what they look like right after demolding. They still need to have the ragged edges trimmed and the mold release washed off.


One more bit of work needs to be done before I can mold parts - these molds only have a flange on one side for the plywood. In the case of the curved molds, the flange is in place for the side panels, but there's no flange for the roof yet. The form to make this flange needs to be removable, otherwise the parts will get locked into the mold due to the recesses on both flanges.


Expedition Leader
A lot of the concepts I've been posting are based on a Jeep-tub trailer, because that's what I have handy here to work with. My Jeep-tub trailer is 7'5", which is about the shortest that would make sense for someone my size (6'6") to sleep in. A Dinoot Extended tub (6'6") might work as a camper for people who aren't so tall. And a Double Dinoot (8'3") would make a great size camper for almost anyone.

With a little digital doodling, here's how a TrailTop Teardrop might look on my 7'5" Jeep-tub trailer...


A few more color schemes...

Color matched?


Aluminum-clad sheet?


Stick-on photo/mural?


A Double Dinoot version (8'3" tub) would look like this (compared to my 10" shorter tub):


And of course the Jeep-tub trailer isn't required, it's just easy for me to do mockups on it and concept drawings using it because it's here.
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Expedition Leader
If you were going to build a TrailTop camper without using a Jeep tub trailer kit as a base, you could use a welded frame, or, you could use a 4x8 Harbor Freight 94564 1720-lb. capacity heavy duty frame, which can be bought for between $260-280 on sale/with a 20 or 25% off coupon:


Or for a little more room inside, you could use something like this 5x8 Northern Tool trailer frame kit:


The 5x8 NT frame would give you enough room for a queen-sized bed inside.


Expedition Leader
To prove the TrailTop concept, I'm thinking I'll probably assemble a Teardrop top to fit my yellow trailer. I'd like to do the work in the comfort of my workshop, where it's warm and all the tools are rather than in the garage in the winter, but I can't get my trailer down into the basement workshop. I do have a Dinoot Extended kit here, and I could set that up in the workshop, athough it's not quite long enough:


So yesterday I molded some 11" extension side panels to extend the Dinoot kit to the same length as my yellow trailer.


Here's the "Extended Dinoot Extended" set up in my workshop, it's now the same length as my yellow trailer, so whatever I build on top of this in the comfort of my workshop will also bolt right on to my yellow trailer.


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So that righteous workshop is in a basement? Man, makes me wish I had a walk-out for mine.

Oh, and what's that Jeep cowl sitting there for?


Expedition Leader
So that righteous workshop is in a basement? Man, makes me wish I had a walk-out for mine.
The house was built in the late 30's and didn't have the space I needed for my hobbies, so I added a 3-car garage. Rather than building the garage on a concrete slab, I had a basement excavated under it and had the garage floor poured on corrugated steel over i-beams, like commercial construction. So as a result, the workshop is 24x36 (the same size as the garage), and there are no posts getting in the way, the i-beams span the entire workshop. It's not a walk-out though, there are stairs up to the house, and stairs to the outside.

Oh, and what's that Jeep cowl sitting there for?

I've used the cowl in several recent projects...

These photos show my "CJ Grille Kit for the TJ" and my "Commando Kit for the TJ"; both of which allow the installation of a factory CJ or Commando grille on a TJ/LJ and the custom hood, fenders and cowl panel integrates the grille with the TJ's styling so the whole thing looks like it could have come from the factory that way.



And last month, I finished up a fiberglass flat fender design, also for the TJ/LJ. Unlike most tube fender kits on the market, they're completely bolt-on, and include factory-style inner fenders.


Also if you look at the cowl closely in the original photo and the fender photos, it's got another one of my designs on it, I call it the "Cool Cowl", it's a cold-air intake cowl replacement cowl panel that supports snorkels and Hummer-style air intake caps.


Expedition Leader
If you're building a TrailTop to go on a bare trailer frame, you'd probably build it to fit between the wheels of that frame, like this concept I showed the other day:


But on a Jeep or Jeep-tub trailer, wheels are "inside the tub" and the Dinoot trailer tub kit is designed the same way. The Dinoot kit includes a set of inner fenders. There's about 44" between the inner fenders, which is slightly more width than between the Jeep's fenders (this photo is a Dinoot Compact model, obviously too small for a camper, but the longer Dinoots have the same inner fenders).


If you want to maximize the room inside the tub for a camper, the inner fenders are a problem - they take up a lot of space inside the camper. One solution would be to use a wider axle like I did on my yellow Jeep-tub trailer, and modify the Dinoot fiberglass inner fenders to be narrower like these steel ones I made for my trailer. There's 49" between these inner fenders:


Or, if you really want to maximize interior space, you could go with an even wider axle and put the tires completely outboard of the tub. Depending on the look you're going for, there are lots of different fender styles you could pick. Clockwise from upper left: 30's style fiberglass fenders from a Hot Rod shop, "Jeep-style" fenders, M100-style round fenders, M416 fenders:



Expedition Leader
I've finished up the molds for the TrailTop straight rails, the 12" radius corner and the 36" radius corner. Each of the molds has a removable form to make one of the bolt flanges, without these being removable the parts would be locked into the molds by the recess of the flanges.

The curved sections have a provision for weatherstripping and a drip channel, so getting weathertight seals on teardrop hatches shouldn't be a problem.



The molds are now ready to begin making TrailTop parts. I've now got molds to make any of these TrailTop configurations:


I'm considering making molds for a few other parts, I'll be asking your opinions of those parts soon.

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