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Open Roads Forum  >  Do It Yourself Modifications and Upgrades (DIY)

 > Stripping down a rotten camper

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JaxDad

Greater Toronto Area

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Posted: 10/20/20 06:47am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

swimmer_spe wrote:

I have a 45 year old trailer that is rotten. My thinking is to strip it down and then make a flatbed out of it.


An RV frame depends on the ‘box’ for rigidity. If all you use it for light or well spread out loads you might be ok.

A friend made one he uses to haul ATV’s he says it does the job but there’s a LOT of flex, twisting and sway.

noteven

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Posted: 10/20/20 06:52am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

What Bobs said ^

His method is more controlled than the people who blew by us one day on I5 towin' about a 30 footer at 75mph - a chip truck ahead blocked the side wind momentarily and when they emerged ahead of it a little sway this way a little sway that way then a couple more whoop de do's and inta the center median into 2 complete barrel rolls back on the wheels. No one hurt in the truck.

Nothing to weigh here folks. The only thing left above floor level in the trailer was the chitter.

swimmer_spe

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Posted: 10/20/20 08:03am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

JaxDad wrote:

swimmer_spe wrote:

I have a 45 year old trailer that is rotten. My thinking is to strip it down and then make a flatbed out of it.


An RV frame depends on the ‘box’ for rigidity. If all you use it for light or well spread out loads you might be ok.

A friend made one he uses to haul ATV’s he says it does the job but there’s a LOT of flex, twisting and sway.


My plan once I have ripped off all the RV stuff is to then tackle the frame. There will be rotten pieces. So, they will need to be cut away. Then, I will be adding more structure to it to make it strong enough to haul a car.

KMLsquared

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Posted: 10/20/20 08:31am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

BobsYourUncle wrote:

Tow it to the dump first. Unhitch.

Push it over onto its side. Cut all the bolts holding the floor to the frame outriggers.

Cut away any wiring, gas lines water lines, tanks etc that are attached to the frame.
Pull the frame off the rotten hulk and tip it back onto its wheels.

Hook it back up drive away!

No fuss, no long cleanup mess, fast and easy. You don't have to bother with a huge pile of work taking it all apart. Just leave it at the dump in one big chunk. They have big machines to bust it up and squish it!

You'll have to prefab some temporary tail lights to legally get it home.

When I was about 20 I bought a bare TT frame from a friend who rolled it. He stripped what was left of it. Think i paid 20 or 25 bucks for it.

I made a flat deck trailer out of the frame. It was super simple. You don't want to try reusing the old bare floor for a flat deck. It's likely all rotten anyways.

What I did was bought a bunch of 8 foot 2X6's and a bag of carriage bolts, lockwashers and nuts. I started at the back, put on the first board, drilled down from the top through the 2X6 and the main frame rail on each side, and ran the carriage bolts down from the top, did the washers and nuts underneath. Repeat until you reach the front. I cut around the wheels to suit.

When I was done I had a marvelous little utility flat deck trailer that I hauled all kinds of things on, including small cars. I put a hitch on my 72 MG Midget and towed it with that. I rigged up proper lights for it and tapped into the MG wiring. I put four holes in the deck with chain ties to the frame for holding stuff in place.

I used that trailer for everything. Moving myself and friends, transporting engines and transmissions, hauling firewood etc.

I towed lots of small cars with it, including my father's broken down Mazda GLC from Cranbrook to Penticton BC. No trailer brakes.....
I lived! Yes, I towed cars on it with a dinky little MG Midget.

[emoticon]


This Is how I did mine. But it was at a ranch with a skidloader. then we crushed up the body and loaded it on another trailer and hauled it to the dump.


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BurbMan

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Posted: 10/20/20 06:43pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Swimmer, you're not clear on what the end game is here. If you are only trying to save the frame to make a car trailer out of it, then @bobsyouruncle has the best idea. Leave the junk at the dump and bring home the part you're working on.

IF you want to surgically disassemble the trailer and save the salvageable components you will need to build a shelter to keep it dry in the process.

This is what I built to keep the camper dry ofr the 4 months it took to rebuild it. Before you laugh at the design, it survived Isaias....

[image]
[image]
[image]


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BobsYourUncle

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Posted: 10/20/20 07:34pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

BurbMan wrote:

Before you laugh at the design, it survived Isaias....
That's very clever!!
I should have thought of something like that when I rebuilt my old Citation in my driveway. I had a tarp over mine but had to wait until no rain to work on it, and cover it up every day when done.
Nice!


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swimmer_spe

Sudbury, Ontario, Canada

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Posted: 10/20/20 08:08pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

BurbMan wrote:

Swimmer, you're not clear on what the end game is here. If you are only trying to save the frame to make a car trailer out of it, then @bobsyouruncle has the best idea. Leave the junk at the dump and bring home the part you're working on.

IF you want to surgically disassemble the trailer and save the salvageable components you will need to build a shelter to keep it dry in the process.

This is what I built to keep the camper dry ofr the 4 months it took to rebuild it. Before you laugh at the design, it survived Isaias....



I cannot afford to just rip it apart at the dump. Locally, that would cost more than the frame is worth.

My goal is to build a flatbed out of the frame and to salvage whatever I can from it. I won't have a large area to work on it, so just dropping it is not the answer.

bucky

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Posted: 10/21/20 03:30am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I did what the Op wants to do once. Admittedly I had a little help from a tornado. The tornado picked it up in the storage yard behind the shop and dropped it about 30 feet on it's side.
We pulled it upright with the wrecker and I started with the demo after work. We had a giant dumpster at the shop and the owner was cool with me using it for the debris. I salvaged the AC, water heater, fridge {still worked}, fresh water tank, furnace, and a few misc things.
I was surprised how well built it was. A Jayco 16 footer about a 95 model. I cut and sawed, banged and twisted, and otherwise made everything but the frame and axles go away. I floored it, put lights on it and sold it to a farmer for $600 in 2004 money.
I still have the fresh water tank and use it occasionally. I learned a lot about how they are made in the process, sadly they don't build them like that anymore.


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bpounds

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Posted: 10/23/20 11:24am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I also built a utility trailer out of an old travel trailer. In my case it was a tent trailer. I was barely out of short pants at the time.

A trailer, especially one 45 years old, was built piece by piece, and you can take it apart in the same way. In my case I took it apart, piled it up, and used my "new" utility trailer to haul the pile to the dump.

I pulled that thing thousands of miles on dozens of hunting trips over the years. I did a lot of changes to it over the years.

If I knew then what I know now, I might pull the axles and springs out and just build a new frame from scratch. But at the time it was what I had to work with and for decades that trailer was a useful thing to have around.


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pauldub

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Posted: 11/01/20 09:52am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You're going to have to add a lot of steel and a lot of labor to make a travel trailer frame into a car hauler. If you really want to build a car hauling trailer, it would be much easier to reuse only the axles and springs from the travel trailer.

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