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Here is the finished tear sitting proudly in the Sierra's on her maiden voyage. At 740lbs. it pulled so smooth and easy with no bounce that I had to keep checking the mirror to make sure it was still following and went straight arrow through heavy desert wind gusts. Keep clicking the center photo to watch it being built.
September 23rd 2003 - This was where it starts. The axle and suspension finally arrived from R.W. Johnson.  It's a 4 drop with 1-1/2 springs on 39 centers. The hubs are 5 on 4-1/2 which is Ford's pattern.
September 30th 2003 - I chose channel over square tubing for several reasons. There is no place for moisture/water to settle and with tubing there is no way to seal the inside. Might be one of the reasons that almost all boat trailers are made from channel. In any event it's just a matter of preference and channel will be very strong in this application. Here the two inch channel is cut to length and is being clamped and squared up prior to welding. I clamped quarter inch steel plates at joints to line up rails prior to welding.
September 30th 2003 - A 25 degree notch was cut at the places on the outside rails where it will be bent to form the tongue.  A 50 degree coupling will then be welded on that will also accomodate the tongue jack.
October 2nd 2003 - After welding all but the front cross members the rails were bent to form a vee and then the front cross member was cut and welded in place.
  maiden_voyage Download sound annotation file  
  axle  
  frame01  
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October 2nd 2003 - The rails were welded together where the notches had been cut out for bending the tongue.  Also after squaring the frame a few gussets were installed to keep things from racking.
October 2nd 2003 - 1/4 X 2 angles were welded on as a base to mount the spring hangers.
October 2nd 2003 - Six pieces of angle with 3/8 holes were welded in place as mounting brackets to attach the floor. Carriage bolts with fender washers will be used and two nuts locked together on the bottom.
October 3rd 2003 - Alright!!! Some hardware arrived from Champion trailer.
October 3rd 2003 - Frame completed with several coats of of paint. The exposed front part of the frame will be painted white as will be the connector.
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October 3rd 2003 - Although torsion axles install easier and are a little less expensive I chose leafs. Both suspensions can break but the springs are available most everywhere, very easy to replace and you can limp into a town for parts. Torsion's are made to order and if one fails the tear is stranded for as long as it takes to make a new one - sometimes weeks.  If towed it must be put on a flatbed which depending on mileage could exceed the cost of the original build.
October 3rd 2003 - Trial fit to make sure the axle and suppension fit correctly. It's a 2000/lb 4 drop axle with 1000/lb springs on 39 centers.
Note: This combination worked perfect with no bounce or sway in heavy cross winds.
October 5th 2003 - Underside of the connector is welded in place. The chains will also be welded to the frame.
October 16th 2003 - Just trying an idea to mount some swivel casters up underneath in back to help me out of my steep driveway.  Won't install unless needed on the first trip out the drive.
Note: They were never needed.
October 16th 2003 - Some 5/16 flat steel was bent and scabbed onto the rails where the bends were made for extra strength.
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October 16th 2003 - OK . . . frame's finished so it's time to put away the welder and dust off the woodworking tools. The Toyota truck (same bolt pattern as Ford) wheels came from a wrecking yard with these old tires installed which will be replaced on completion.
Note: when finished the tires were replaced with P205/R75-14's
October 23rd 2003 - Floor is 3/4 birch plywood with 1-5/8 X 2-1/4 frame rails glued and two inch screws every three inches.
October 23rd 2003 - Took lots of pains to get the floor and frame to size which makes the rest of the building go so much easier. The six carriage bolts mounting floor to frame have double nuts locked together which should stay tight.
November 14th 2003 - Several coats of marine spar varnish before bolting to frame.  After priming the frame received three coats of gloss black Rust-O-Lium.
November 16th 2003 - After the floor was built it got three coats of marine spar varnish on the underside before bolting to chassis.
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Album last updated on Jul 28, 2008 - 12:43 PM
© 2000 - 2012 Dennis Unfried
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