How to Build a Trailer

Learning how to build a trailer can save you a lot of money, but you have to know the steps to building a safe carrying platform and hitch. Trailers are a practical way to transport many heavy objects, from bricks to speedboats to hay to pumpkins. You’ll need to build a trailer which can carry loads over long distances, so you’ll want a sturdy construction.

Building a home-made trailer can take some time and effort, but it can result in a durable, handy apparatus for practical use. Common trailers include conventional travel trailers, fifth-wheel trailers and cargo trailers. A few things to consider when building a trailer are choosing the right axle set, frame, suspension, weight capacity and general dimensions for your trailer.

Brainstorming What to Build

Think about the following questions before you begin to learn how to build a trailer:

  1. What kind of trailer do you desire?
  2. Would you use your trailer for work or recreation?
  3. What will it primarily transport?
  4. Does the build need to be resilient enough to withstand long-distance highway driving?
  5. Does your automobile have enough power to haul the weight of your trailer in addition to the heavy objects you wish to transport on long distances?

Before you start building a trailer, remember that your automobile needs to be able to climb hills and mountains in order to handle dragging a trailer around.

Building a Trailer Tips

Materials you may need when building a trailer include:

How to Build a Trailer

How to Build a Trailer

Drawing out a plan for your trailer is often necessary to build a sturdy trailer.

Saw your wooden boards for the main body of the trailer. Make sure that your cuts are precise and squared so that when you lay your boards side-by-side, there are no gaps or severe inconsistencies in your sawing. Wield the various parts of your main frame before you attach the axle or hitch.

Also, make sure you use some type of protecting agent on the main body if it is built of wood in order to shield it from weather damage during use.

Iron Angle Boards

When building pieces for the back of your trailer, you may want to use iron angle boards for a sturdy build. Wield the iron pieces together.

You may choose to create a trailer out of an old Ford or Chevy vehicle. You may also choose to buy the main body of a trailer and install the axle and other accessory parts by yourself. In that case, you would be investing anywhere between $400 to $1500.

If you plan on transporting a boat around, a galvanized or aluminum trailer may be your best bet, especially if you want to store your boat and/or trailer by salt water.

Installing the Axle to the Trailer

It is fundamental that you measure and position the axle on your trailer, double-checking your measurements. Your axles will be positioned on different spots on your trailer, depending on the type of trailer you wish to build. For example, a tilting trailer would require that you position the axle so it is near the gravity center of the apparatus.

The most important thing about axle installation is that you need to center it in relation to the frame of your trailer. Make sure you align your axle with the center of the frame; otherwise, your trailer will drag slightly sideways on the road, which puts unnecessary stress on your towing automobile and can damage the tires on your trailer.

Do not neglect the fact that the axle must be squared and centered on the main frame of your trailer. The distance of the wheels to the hitch must also be equal for the trailer to maintain proper balance.

Ensuring the Safety of Your Trailer

Your main concern with building a trailer should be that it follows safety guidelines on the road. The California Department of Motor Vehicles offers a few tips on towing your trailer safely on the road.

Before you use your trailer, make sure that your ball mount and receiver mechanism is stable and intact, your spring bar hinges are stable, your hitch coupler is locked down, your safety chains are attached and secured and your electrical plug is working properly (if applicable).

How to Build Your Own Trailer

Building a trailer can be an exciting venture that will serve very practical uses for a long time. A quality trailer can last more than 15 years if built appropriately. You may need to replace the hinges and axles occasionally, but a quality main frame and body will last for much longer.

Homemade trailers take some time, money and effort to build, but it’s possible that long term use outweighs the costs and learning how to build a trailer can offset the costs of purchasing a new one.

Further Reading on How to Build a Trailer

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