Upgrade recommendations for Tear Drop & TV

SoCal Tom

Explorer
I've been a long time lurker, I bought/built a tear drop about 2 years ago. Now I'm looking at what the upgrade path should look like. I'm more interested in exploring the west coast/southwest US, not any major international expedition, but I would like to take it through Panamint and Mojave road and the like. I'd like advice from the group on where I should plan on improvements to prep it. I'm planning on taking a few years to complete the upgrades, but I would like to start planning ( half the fun is the planning right?)

Here are the specs on the TD and the Tow Vehicle,

The TD is 5x8, sides are 3/4 plywood. Top is 1/8 inch luan supported by 1 x 3 pine? about every foot. Cabinets are made from 3/4 plywood.
The frame was custom made by a welding shop in GA, designed by the PO. 3500lb axles with leaf springs, the main frame is made from 2x2x1/4 angle iron. Overall length is 12ft. Tires are 175x80x13 (24" tall). Frame is roughly 15 inches off the ground.
TDside.jpgIMG_0550.jpgIMG_0551.jpgIMG_0552.jpg

I'm not a fab master as you will see from the pics, but stuff I build usually stays in one piece, even if its not pretty.

Some direct questions...
1) How big should I go on the tires? I like the idea of matching them with the jeep, but I think that would be over kill for what I want to do. Would 30inch tall tires be enough? I could match the jeep bolt pattern and use a common spare ( even if it leaned a little until I got the flat fixed)
2)I think the overall build is pretty sturdy, but anyone have any experience to make me rethink that?
3) I'm thinking that I'll store most my stuff inside the TD when traveling ( with tiedowns) and I just roll up the 4inch mattress. any reason to rethink this?
4) How much water ( not for drinking) should I plan on taking for a week long backcountry trip? Do I need a sink, or will a wash basin do?

Any recommendations on better equipment to reduce the weight or to make things fit better in my small galley? It may not show in the photo, but there is an A/C unit in the bulk head, and I carry a honda 1K generator in the tongue box to power it on hot trips.



Tow vehicle is a 2007 Jeep JKU, Sahara (4x4, LS rear axle), with "performance leveling kit" from Teraflex ~1inch lift, with Bilstien shocks. Tires are 33inch Bridgstone Dueler A/T Revo 2. I think its adequate for the trips I'm planning, any differing opinion?

If it matters, my last 4x4 was a 1967 Bronco, with a 5.0HO engine, 4 speed automatic 35s and no rocker panels. I ran the Rubicon trail in it, and all over the Anza Borrego desert, as well as the Imperial Sand Dunes. So I have a little bit of driving experience.:)
Thanks
Tom
 

SWbySWesty

Fauxverland Extraodinaire
1. I'd repost this in the trailer section of the site
2. That should pull through Mojave just fine as is.

Matching tires are always a plus - no need to carry a spare on the trailer. I wouldn't store stuff inside the TD. The whole point is to roll up and just crawl in with minimal setup. As for a weeklong trip - are you camping near water sources? Get a water filter and you're set with one water can. If there's no water - then it also really depends on where you are. A wash basin is just fine for an extended stay.

Good luck!
 

4x4x4doors

Explorer
I ran my Little Guy through Nevada this past spring. Two things I found were:
- clearance under the axle is generally your lowest and where you should be concerned. How does that compare to under the diff clearance on your TV?
- the heavy duty axle is quite a lot for the weight of the trailer. Mine is 2000# torsion and I basically have found the suspension doesn't move. I had to drop tire pressure waaay down to let the sidewalls be my suspension to avoid the trailer body feeling every ripple in the road.

Agree with the recommendation to move to the trailer section.
 

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SoCal Tom

Explorer
I think the Mods must have moved its in the trailer section now.
The TD has about 12 inches of clearance at the axle, based on tire size ( slightly less at the spring mounts). According to the internet the TV has about 11 at the Diff. So , maybe ok for now.
Shocks are on my todo list. I think the springs are rated less than 3500lbs, it seems to ride ok, though it hasn't seen a lot of washboard road yet. If necessary I can swap them out fairly cheap.
When I first got it, the ride was awful, but I found the shackles were too tight and the springs were bound up. Tires were at 50psi, now I run them about 30 and it's much better.

I like the concept of nothing inside, but right now that's out of my budget. My awning is an EZ up, it can fit in the TV, but I store it in the TD. I also have a couple of action Packers, that carry my cooking supplies. They also,fit in the TV, but it's easier to keep,them in the TD. If I'm on an extended road trip where I'm not sure I can unload the TD upon arrival, then I load the TV, and prep the bed, but for normal camping weekends, I just shove it under the TD when we arrive, and the bed is ready in under 5 minutes of parking. I do limit the stuff inside to a few large item that are easy to unload. I intended to create some tie downs to keep it under control when the roads aren't smooth.

I spent today creating a pull out drawer for a Waeco CF 35. I had to remove the A/C unit to do it. It's something that had to have a built in location, I don't want it walking away in the middle of the night.
Thanks,
Please keep the,suggestion coming
Thanks
Tom
TD = Tear Drop


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

silvrzuki77

explorer
Looks good, I would put the 30's on it give it a little more lift. Shocks for sure. Guess for the water situation what are you planning on using it for? I have 21 on my TD I use it showering, washing pans, our hands, and what not and have to had an issue. I run a 1.2 gpm on demand pump. Let me know when youbhead out west, Im in vegas.
 

SoCal Tom

Explorer
The water would be for cleaning, showering etc. I usually grab the 2.5 gallon bottles for cooking , coffee etc. I was hoping To get by with 10 gallons or so. Though, I not sure where I would put it right now. Once it's lifted I might be able to squeeze some underneath. I just redid the galley here is a pic.



Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk there is room for a 6 gallon tank under the fridge but I think I'll need more than that for a week long trip.
Tom
 
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SoCal Tom

Explorer
So, I think I've worked out a solution for water. Given my limited budgets for time, and money, I'm going to take the cheapest and easiest route. I'd rather spend a weekend in the back country vs a weekend under the trailer. I've decided I can move my existing tongue box forward about 9 inches. That leaves me room for a small storage box that can carry 2 to 3 water cans. I've already got a couple of the 6g "desert cans" from walmart. Once the budget can fit it in, I will plan to pick up a Zodi water tap. It can pump cold or hot water for dishwashing, showers and what not without using up any of my time. It looks fairly compact, so I think I can fit it in my tongue box.

The current water jugs don't seem extremely durable, so when they let go I'll replace them with something more durable.
Tom
 

SWbySWesty

Fauxverland Extraodinaire
Water jugs are the way to go. I'll be adding an underside 12 gallon tank soon, but that's because I got a screamin' deal for it. Another idea is what I did. I mounted a Shurflo pump under the trailer. Everything is modular so when I arrive, I just hook up hoses and voila. Running water.
 

SoCal Tom

Explorer
I actually have a shurflo water pump laying on my work bench. ( left overs from when I used to be an RV owner). I'm tempted to do the shurflo thing. Do you have a write up or some pics?
Tom
 

luk4mud

Explorer
I am in the process of having an offroad trailer built. I looked pretty hard at running water systems, fixed gravity fed tanks etc. in the end I have opted for the KISS system- Reliance 6g container that is secured upright for travel (get an extra cap and 1/2 plug from the hw store to havea solid cap) then tipped on its side with spigot installed in camp. 1 or 2 extra 5g easy flow containers on the storage rack in the front should hold us for most trips.

I have done alot of remote camping and have found that the more complex I make any system the more time I spend fussing with field repairs, driveway repairs etc. Just my 2 cents.
 

SoCal Tom

Explorer
I am in the process of having an offroad trailer built. I looked pretty hard at running water systems, fixed gravity fed tanks etc. in the end I have opted for the KISS system- Reliance 6g container that is secured upright for travel (get an extra cap and 1/2 plug from the hw store to havea solid cap) then tipped on its side with spigot installed in camp. 1 or 2 extra 5g easy flow containers on the storage rack in the front should hold us for most trips.

I have done alot of remote camping and have found that the more complex I make any system the more time I spend fussing with field repairs, driveway repairs etc. Just my 2 cents.
Agreed, That's part of why I want an "off the shelf" system. I don't have a good place to put one of those square tanks, or that's what I would be doing ( at least until I get a shower system)..
Maybe I should look for a spigot that will fit the cans I have?
Tom
 

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luk4mud

Explorer
Agreed, That's part of why I want an "off the shelf" system. I don't have a good place to put one of those square tanks, or that's what I would be doing ( at least until I get a shower system)..
Maybe I should look for a spigot that will fit the cans I have?
Tom
Fashioning spigots for some of the popular cans has been challenging I think, based upon reading some of the posts here. So I finally just settled on the 6g Reliance blue jug. The spigot that comes with it is pretty decent, but I wanted a "solid" cap for travel. So I bought an extra cap and added a threaded plug fro Osh plus some teflon tape. I will tip in up and secure it for travel with the solid plug and attach the spigot and tip it over for camp use. Advantages: 1. whole system costs less than $25, 2. can be easily removed and thoroughly cleaned, 3. simple gravity fed system with no wires, plumping etc that if it breaks(not likely) is easily replaced, 4. I can see how much water I have at all times.

The only down side is that it only hold 6 gallons, which means that most of the time for a weekend trip I might need another few gallons from another can. I view the small downside as a small price to pay to pay for the upsides listed above.

Now, all that being said, as soon as my wife says "I want a sink if you want me to go camping in this thing" it will be getting a sink and 20g tank and plumbing.
 

SoCal Tom

Explorer
Now, all that being said, as soon as my wife says "I want a sink if you want me to go camping in this thing" it will be getting a sink and 20g tank and plumbing.
Don't forget the water heater/shower :sombrero: My wife and I have an understanding. She doesn't camp, and I don't get upset about it. Now when our 8 year old son starts asking her to come along, that could change things... Then I'll be looking for the 20g tank...
 
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