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Old 05-02-2014, 10:27 PM   #43
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With sliding dooe you loose wall thickness but maybe not too much.

You woukd need to create a trackless design where the bottom if the door is floating and only the weaterstrip touches.

Imagine a domino on its side.

Now take the center off one end leaving just the frame then take off the end.

Those 2 long rails are what make the door work be having long tracks for the door.

The edge of the door slides into a recess so it cannot twist when closed.

Can be done with little wasted space but some amount of engineering.

Some pullies and cabling would insure exact sliding with little added weight or friction.
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Old 05-02-2014, 10:56 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by ronspradley View Post
Love the idea of building your own trailer. Personally, I would probably buy an old RV trailer and gut and build that back up to my personal specs. Because that has the RV guts like holding tanks, furnace, plumbing, 12v and 110v electrical, battery storage, et al. Either would be fun.

Have two questions. Really like the basement storage you have designed, but do not understand what you are planning for access. Not much outside access with the two outside doors? You said you would access from inside but I do not know how you intend to do that.

And the bed, with the large cushions on back to make bed into couch. That store on shelf above bed when not being used for couch. In any space that I use, that shelf above bed would be full of my junk at all times. Anyway, I have built two couches that convert to beds in two different RV's I have renovated. I wish I could do Sketchup to show you. They are a rectangular box around 16" high, and 28" deep. Access to storage from above and two doors below. On top of this box, a piece of plywood deep enough to be pulled out when using as bed. Three 2x2 legs on front of this plywood, one on each side and one in middle. When it is a couch, it is pushed back over top of box. When a bed, it is pulled out. Cushions are 4" thick quality foam, made for bedding. One piece 24" for permanent bottom. And two more 4" foams, with covers made so they will fold up, one of these 4" shorter that the other. The long side goes behind the bottom foam and is the backrest for the couch. It folds out flat when using as bed. Dimension this foam to make bed to the width you want.

Apologize for the length. Sketchup would be so much more efficient. So far, my brain and that CAD have not made friends.

Again, love your designs and will be following your progress.

ronspradley

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Thank you for a great post. I really appreciate the feedback.

While I did briefly consider modifying a trailer on a sales lot, I never considered gutting anything old. While I would get “the guts” in doing a modification it would require me to make so many design concessions to my desired result I wouldn’t want to build it even if it would save me $10k-15k. However, the good news is that my design calls for building a real solid vehicle structure that would allow me to update or renovate it in the future without gutting.

As for the “basement” I should be able to access most of it via 2 or 3 exterior side access doors. I will need some of the basement area for running heating ducts, water lines and cables from one side of the vehicle to the other under the floor. There is no access to the basement from the interior as I am going to insulate under the flooring. I consider any basement storage space to be a bonus since I’m really only raising the floor to get a flat surface over those darn wheel wells. After reading your post I did some research and came across this real good example of a cargo trailer basement. See pic here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4w...it?usp=sharing

This picture made me discover that I can have some good storage space in the rear with an access door in back. I wrote that area off as dead space. So a BIG THANKS FOR MAKING ME THINK!

I got a little lost in trying to visualize the beds you made. Do you have a picture? However, a key design requirement of my bed-sofa was that it had to be a easy to go to bed. Meaning, I’ve seen complicated fold out sofa-beds, mattresses that get puzzled together, things that slide into place after breaking down a dinette and my thinking was that I always want to be able to go to bed quickly if I chose. So if I was to get tired driving and pulled off the road to take a nap or I come back at 2am after a night on the town I just want to be able to jump into bed instead of assembling furniture. And I don’t want to sleep in lofts, climb ladders, sleep over cabs with 2' heights or sleep on odd shaped mattresses where finding sheets would be a hard find or have to climb over anything to get into bed. A good nights sleep is a great start to the new day!
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Old 05-02-2014, 11:07 PM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TQ60 View Post
With sliding dooe you loose wall thickness but maybe not too much.

You woukd need to create a trackless design where the bottom if the door is floating and only the weaterstrip touches.

Imagine a domino on its side.

Now take the center off one end leaving just the frame then take off the end.

Those 2 long rails are what make the door work be having long tracks for the door.

The edge of the door slides into a recess so it cannot twist when closed.

Can be done with little wasted space but some amount of engineering.

Some pullies and cabling would insure exact sliding with little added weight or friction.

Thanks for your feedback. Yeah, I really gave this concept a lot of though...even thinking I could have a typical patio sliding glass door modified in it's frame, but you are right that any sliding door solution would take some engineering. Even though a trackless bottom idea sounds interesting I think it presents voids in climate control and a place for water and bugs to creep in.... I saw one of those "stink bugs" crawl in under my patio screen door the other day.
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Old 05-03-2014, 10:22 AM   #46
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Good question, and yes I'm looking for a 84" interior height. So if the interior is 7 feet, add 1 foot to get over the wheel wells, add 2 feet for the wheels on the ground, add maybe 6" for the ceiling area to run the a/c ducts and then another 1 foot for the air conditioner on top.... I would think I would be in the 11' 6" total height give or take a few. Is that how you would figure it? Thanks for your input!
I think you should see if it's possible to redesign things a little so that you reduce your overhaul height. Height on an enclosed trailer is a really big deal. A matter of only a few inches can make the difference between uncomfortable, even unsafe, towing, or not even knowing the trailer is behind you. Generally I try to have the roof of the trailer no taller than the roof of the vehicle I'm using to tow it.

The wheels could sit outside the box (a very popular design with trailers), which would let you lower your upstairs floor down between the wheels at least several inches. I believe the wheels are allowed to be 8 1/2' wide, I'm not sure if that gives you a true inside 8' for the floor.

Pros: This would lower the overall height. It would lower the hitch. It would reduce the length of the stairs. With the lowered height, and the widened wheel stance, the towing stability of the trailer would be greatly increased. It would look cool.

Cons: This would reduce the basement storage space a little. It might reduce the width of the upstairs floor a little.

It might also be very helpful to you to consider beginning the project with the purchase of a flat deck trailer, or even considering having a trailer manufacturer build the flat deck trailer to your specifications. That would assure that the bones are good.

Jim
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Old 05-04-2014, 10:46 AM   #47
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Interesting design but I agree with others that the hight will affect the handling of the trailer. If you don't want the wheel wells in the way than use a wider axle and put the wheels outside or partially outside with less deep storage in front of them inside. Get the center of gravity as low as possible low especially since you plan on moving constantly.

Door should open out. Less steps required on the outside and it's easy to have the screen door on the inside and in use without the solid door inside and taking up floorspace. That's why manufacturers do it that way. A pocket door on a track will be harder to seal. If a branch falls and blocks the door use an emergency window.

Also, have you considered the hitch weight (500 Lbs. max)?. Looks like it may be a problem with the axles that far back.
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Old 05-05-2014, 09:44 PM   #48
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Interesting design but I agree with others that the hight will affect the handling of the trailer. If you don't want the wheel wells in the way than use a wider axle and put the wheels outside or partially outside with less deep storage in front of them inside. Get the center of gravity as low as possible low especially since you plan on moving constantly.

Door should open out. Less steps required on the outside and it's easy to have the screen door on the inside and in use without the solid door inside and taking up floorspace. That's why manufacturers do it that way. A pocket door on a track will be harder to seal. If a branch falls and blocks the door use an emergency window.

Also, have you considered the hitch weight (500 Lbs. max)?. Looks like it may be a problem with the axles that far back.
Thank you very much for your feedback. I do appreciate it. I'm hoping the height won't be an issue. I am sure it won't come in higher than most 5th wheels. I can't put the wheel wells outside the trailer as my floor plan is at 8' wide and 8.5' is the maximum road legal width.

I hear ya on the door, but as I stated in a previous post I see many advantages to having the door open inward. Working a screen into the door area does become tricky, but I've got a few ideas.

I'm not sure I understand the "hitch weight" and "axle" issues you raise. Could you please explain. Thanks again!
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Old 05-05-2014, 09:56 PM   #49
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I think you should see if it's possible to redesign things a little so that you reduce your overhaul height. Height on an enclosed trailer is a really big deal. A matter of only a few inches can make the difference between uncomfortable, even unsafe, towing, or not even knowing the trailer is behind you. Generally I try to have the roof of the trailer no taller than the roof of the vehicle I'm using to tow it.

The wheels could sit outside the box (a very popular design with trailers), which would let you lower your upstairs floor down between the wheels at least several inches. I believe the wheels are allowed to be 8 1/2' wide, I'm not sure if that gives you a true inside 8' for the floor.

Pros: This would lower the overall height. It would lower the hitch. It would reduce the length of the stairs. With the lowered height, and the widened wheel stance, the towing stability of the trailer would be greatly increased. It would look cool.

Cons: This would reduce the basement storage space a little. It might reduce the width of the upstairs floor a little.

It might also be very helpful to you to consider beginning the project with the purchase of a flat deck trailer, or even considering having a trailer manufacturer build the flat deck trailer to your specifications. That would assure that the bones are good.

Jim
Thanks again for your follow up.

With a trailer roof no higher than the roof of my tow vehicle I might wind up with a living space that I would have to crawl in :--)

The "flat deck trailer" is an interesting note. I'm gonna take a peak at that today.... just to see if it's an option.
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Old 05-05-2014, 11:07 PM   #50
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I'm not sure I understand the "hitch weight" and "axle" issues you raise. Could you please explain. Thanks again!
In some of your drawings the axles look like they are almost at the rear of the trailer. Many hitches on tow vehicle are rated at 500 pounds maximum tongue weight. That's not pulling weight but the amount of downward weight on the hitch itself. If your axles are too far back there will be too much weight on the hitch. If the axles are further forward this will help "balance" the trailer weight better on the axles and reduce the amount of downward weight at the hitch.
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Old 05-06-2014, 11:13 PM   #51
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In some of your drawings the axles look like they are almost at the rear of the trailer. Many hitches on tow vehicle are rated at 500 pounds maximum tongue weight. That's not pulling weight but the amount of downward weight on the hitch itself. If your axles are too far back there will be too much weight on the hitch. If the axles are further forward this will help "balance" the trailer weight better on the axles and reduce the amount of downward weight at the hitch.
Thanks again for your feedback. Does the 500lbs include things like the batteries and propane tanks? And if the axles do come forward more wont the trailer front be inclined to go up (like popping a wheely) as the weight seesaws?
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Old 05-07-2014, 09:37 AM   #52
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You need to be close with the company that is building the "blank" as the frame and everything else needs to be engineered to fit.

Otherwise you may have very bad outcome...
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Old 05-07-2014, 02:34 PM   #53
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Thanks again for your feedback. Does the 500lbs include things like the batteries and propane tanks? And if the axles do come forward more wont the trailer front be inclined to go up (like popping a wheely) as the weight seesaws?
That's total weight. You don't need to have the trailer be balanced but it should have some weight on the hitch, just not 500 Lbs to start with. Remember you still have to load it and if everything is stored forward of the axles then you may have a problem.

The problem will not necessarily that the hitch can't hold more than 500 Lbs but the more weight on the hitch the less weight on the tow vehicles front wheels where the steering and most of the breaking is done. Two or three hundred pounds on the hitch usually won't make much of a difference unless it's an RV with a really long overhang doing the towing. Then you want as little weight as possible on the hitch.
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Old 05-07-2014, 02:42 PM   #54
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You need to be close with the company that is building the "blank" as the frame and everything else needs to be engineered to fit.

Otherwise you may have very bad outcome...
Thanks for your comment. I absolutely agree. I intended to make it a 3-way working business relationship between me-the cargo trailer company-and the custom RV finisher. Although my floor plan is somewhat unique, what I am proposing to do has been done a 1000+ times before. The internet has plenty of pictures of them from many custom RV builders all over the USA.
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Old 05-07-2014, 02:45 PM   #55
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That's total weight. You don't need to have the trailer be balanced but it should have some weight on the hitch, just not 500 Lbs to start with. Remember you still have to load it and if everything is stored forward of the axles then you may have a problem.

The problem will not necessarily that the hitch can't hold more than 500 Lbs but the more weight on the hitch the less weight on the tow vehicles front wheels where the steering and most of the breaking is done. Two or three hundred pounds on the hitch usually won't make much of a difference unless it's an RV with a really long overhang doing the towing. Then you want as little weight as possible on the hitch.
Great info! Thanks.
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Old 05-07-2014, 03:21 PM   #56
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Tongue weight

The tongue weight should be around 10 and 12% of the total weight of the trailer. Trailer tends to sway when tongue weight goes much below 10%. So if your new trailer has a loaded weight of 5000 pounds, you would move your load around so that tongue weight would be 500 pounds at least. You would also balance the load side to side.

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