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Trailer Tent for a Small Triumph..


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On 20/07/2021 at 05:37, Mathew said:

I think most here would have thought you would have bought a cheap pop up gazebo from ebay,

I looked at ebay & garden-center gazebos and (without sides) they start from £55. Their nominal sizes didn't quite suit my patio space, but it was their ' small print ' that really put me off . . .

- We will not take responsibility for the frame or covers when they have been snapped due to wrong assembling or assembled in the wind and rain as the rain will just buckle the frame.
- It takes at least 2 people to assemble a pop up gazebo.
- You must use sand bags or sand buckets and tie them down properly.
- Please make sure the gazebo will not be left outside under any bad weathers as rains or wind may buckle the roof to destroy it.

Similar disclaimers say  This item should not be left assembled overnight while others simply say not to be left unattended,

..none of which helps keep things dry when a rain squall comes in.

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9 hours ago, Bfg said:

. . .


^  20:07pm ;  Finished.. 

. . spend all that money and effort yesterday to keep the sun from scorching me bald patch, and what do I get this morning . . .


^ clouds :mrgreen:

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Well done Pete. I suggest that you might want to reinforce the joints at some stage with something like 3" angle brackets (or bigger), and make sure that the structure is easily dismantleable, just incase some jobsworth starts quoting local planning regs for 'permanent constructions'. Looking great, now no excuses to crash on.

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7 minutes ago, Badwolf said:

Well done Pete. I suggest that you might want to reinforce the joints at some stage with something like 3" angle brackets (or bigger), and make sure that the structure is easily dismantleable, just incase some jobsworth starts quoting local planning regs for 'permanent constructions'. Looking great, now no excuses to crash on.

I hate those jobsworths, never see you face to face but are quick to complain to the council cos you have something they never will, a life!

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...and, of course, heavy duty ground anchors. I once left a gazebo out overnight. You know the scene, party, too much to drink, do it in the morning. We found it eventually, in the pond. Amazingly undamaged, but lesson learned.

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^ also utilizing the garden seat I'd made, I erected the cheapo 4 x 5m tarp with its silver side facing outwards to reflect the heat. It's translucent enough underneath to give a soft light, and the breeze comes in from the end.

a garden gazebo that's not even screwed to the ground is hardly a permanent structure, so feel free to invite the council to waste their time. :P

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I think you will find that anything up to a certain area comes under permitted development?. Under local government planning rules it covers the likes of car ports etc 


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Update ..


^ the main body tub's corner fibreglassing was eventually done, inbetween rain showers.  All the small angle brackets were removed and so there's just 4 screws and body washers in each of the four side, and the grp is doing the rest  ..and those screws will most likely be removed once everything has cured for a month.


^ corner detail revealing the construction.


^ the bathroom scales tell me the tub is about 43.5kg.  The seat support is not in yet, nor are the inner wheel arches, but then the round wheel arch cut-outs also have not been cut yet either.  My target for all-up-weight was 100kg, so with 30kg of wheels and suspension, plus the chassis I fear I'm likely to be over the top.  That's just part of the price of using recycled material rather than choosing thinner.


Time to move onto making a lid.  of course I never do things the easy way do I !! :blink2:


^ speaks for itself ..doesn't it ?


^ a leftover sheet of bendy plywood, pulled down over the surrey top roof and battens as I try to created a slightly domed top.


^ a couple of layers of fibreglass over the plywood (bonding to it) to try and hold that shape.   Unfortunately I mucked this up when trying to fibreglass in direct and very hot sunlight, and also running out of resin !  Pete you are a clot sometimes !


^ I made another length of corner radius using the same mould. Ideall that should have been 12 -15mm larger radius but needs what may.


^ I went back to the boat and found some more plywood (1/8" thk) which used to be the headlining in a forward cabin. That's been remodeled for greater headroom and so this plywood is again surplus to requirements.  I cut it into four strips 110mm wide (because that was the size of wood) and using 8mm battens (from the skip) cut to length as spacers I glued those four strips up under the domed lid.


^ corners likewise glued into place with the bridging paste. 


^ working in direct sun and such high temperatures wasn't working so I tried to jury rig something like a tailgate awning. That didn't work as it was too small.  Heat stopped play but you can see the trailer lid's overlapping flanges taking shape. 

More to come.


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part 2. .


^ The trailer's lid with its down-turned flanges lifted off.  Naturally the outside rim will be trimmed off, but the bridging paste isn't stiff enough to hold the shape ..so I'll need to fibreglass the inside first.


^ I cannot work in that heat (he says as it now piddles with rain) so yesterday evening I knocked up an 8ft x 10ft gazebo frame from 4"x2's  (which I did have to buy ! :o)


^ a decent work space ..shaded from the direct heat of the sun ..and/or a rain shower.

Now back to work. . .


^ I want a generous radius on the outside corners ..and so I thought to fillet the inside before fibreglassing it, and then I'd cut the outside corner off.  Blue tape seemed the easiest and cheapest way to achieve that inside radius.  

The glassfibre, chopped strand mat, I've delaminated to make it very thin, which will wet out with the resin so much easier, without having to work the air bubbles out.  Just 2/3rds of the lid's sides were laminated at this stage, simply because those downturns needed holding squarer to shape.  It's all guesswork at this point so I may have to cut and shove things later. 


The glass fibres were laminated into the corners, not layed out as the previous photo implies. This was allowed to mostly cure before the next layers were added..


^ the wheel and two night storage heater bricks are just there to help hold the domed shape, so the fibreglassing I've done is limited to around those. But hopefully the side flanges will be at a sensible angle rather than too flared out.  We'll see !

That's it for today, as said above it's now raining and the gazebo (with a cheap Wilkes 4 x 5m tarp) is presently keeping things dry.  Tomorrow I'd like to at least get the corner radius and first layer of glassfibre along the remaining one and half sides, 

Bidding you a good evening,


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  • 3 weeks later...

update (two weeks later) . . .

As you can see in the last photo of the last post, I was building a biscuit-tin type overlapping flange of the trailer's lid.  I continued fibre-glassing the other side, but mixed too much resin, and then instead of just putting a single light layer of glass into the corner I absent-mindedly added a couple of layers ..and in doing so rolled resin through the thicker glass-fibres, and pushed the marking tape (supposedly forming a generous radius on the inside) tighter into the corner.   This foo-pah in turn lead to more mistakes and a whole lot more work that could easily have been avoided - had my mind been thinking straight. . .

Anyway, after that fibreglass had cured, I chose to re-define the inside fillet with filler paste . .


^ using a large washer as a radius gauge, and as a scraper to try and get a close-to-even radius all around. 


^ using bricks as weights to help keep the lid's bowed shape, I also used battens and clamps to keep the flanges in shape, as i applied a couple of layers of fibreglass inside those corner fillets.

This sequence was in retrospect the - so obviously wrong - way to do things.  I used to know better.!   You know what they say about "forgotten more than he ever knew", well that's one thing ..but it's not very smart when what's been forgotten is important.

In this case., its that polyester resin shrinks as it cures, typically by 2 - 4%, but those figures can be very much more if the catalyst mix is too hot, or else you're working in blistering heat ..so the resin kicks off quickly anyway.  Bottom line is that corners shrink tighter (which is why a wanted a domed lid anyway ..rather than having one which was sunk ..and then is a basin for a puddle to sit on the cover).  In this instance, the corners shrinking tighter had dual effect, one was to pull the flanges in, so they were too tight to the side of the trailer's body ..and the other was to pull the domed shape flatter.

Needless to say I was p......d-off at myself for being so dumb.   Hey ho.,  anyone who does things will at some point make a mistake.. It's the people who learn from those and also can recover from the disaster that move forward..  That's what I needed to do.

Firstly, I flipped the lid and trimmed the outside-top flange.  At least then I could see the shape and take motivation from the shape coming together (almost as designed) . . .


^The domed shape of the top is much flatter near the side flange that I would like, but at least I was beginning to get an indication of the overall size and shape being lifted from the drawing and into 3d. 


^ I faired the top fibreglass with an electric plane, and faired the top's overhanging rim (outside edge to be flush with the flange), and then marked offsets at 10, 15 and 30mm.  Using a router with a 45 degree bit I progressively cut a neat mitre to that corner (bit at a time, rather trying to cut it all off in one attack).   The router bit is too small for the size of mitre I wanted so I cut systematically deeper and then trimmed off the ridge which hadn't been mitred, with a linishing disk.  


^ several cuts later the underside of the blue marking tape was revealed (this was as planned), and I continued cutting more . . .


^ the router was out of it's depth so I completed the cut using the electric planer (at 45 degrees) and the linishing disc, until the mitre was to the 15mm pencil mark.  You can see also that the making tape has mostly been cut away too.   From this mitre, gauged for panel thickness, I could then round the edges . . .


^ looking along the profile the outside radius on those corners is now about 32mm.  The blue masking tape has mostly been cut away, but I then ran a wire brush down it and otherwise pulled out whatever I could. 


with a coat of resin, just to seal the timber (no glass fibres at this stage) ..the shaped of the lid was coming together nicely.



^ as you can see from this straight edge, what should have been a steady bowed shape has been pulled down by the shrinkage of the inside fibreglass.  This wouldn't have happened if I'd just put one layer on as intended (..and as I first started doing - duh !).   Like welding, shrinkage and distortion in fibreglassing can be 'managed' by taking things one step at at time, and where necessary working on alternative sides to build things up.  In this instance I momentarily forgot something I once knew well, but share it here ..so that you might learn from my mistakes.

The lid was domed-shaped enough to prevent a puddle sitting on it, but still I decided to try and fix that shrinkage. . .


^ the way I''ve chosen to do this fix is to adhere another piece (or pieces) of plywood over the top. This piece of wood is 1/4" marine ply (formerly lining the overhead of the forward cabin on my boat).  Weighted just around the edges the middle of the plywood takes on a natural bow, albeit not a truly compound curve.  Filler paste with extra glass-fibres soaked in resin in it is being used for the gluing.  In effect the design was to have 1/4" core, and now it has two 1/4" cores. 

moving on. . .


^ a patchwork of plywood pieces (because they were the off-cuts I happened to have) also adds a little compound curvature into the shape.  And now that needed to be faired. . .


^ First cut with the electric planer.  More sanding to be done but that'll be less brutal from here on. 


^ using a sanding disk pad, adhered to a piece of 1/4" plywood, to hand shape the curvature ..closer to what I originally sought 8)


^ again I've applied a coat of clear resin to seal the surface (too many rain showers to leave the end grain of the plywood exposed overnight). You can see the shape is far from perfect, but it is much better than it was ..and the panel is much stiffer too.  Don't bee too hard on me regarding the shape.. this is still very much work-in-progress, and the gloss reflection is far easier to see the shape than patchwork of plywood pieces was !

My next job is to fill and fair around the edges, before laying fibreglass over the top and down the side flanges. In time, that will be faired and finished for paint.

That's it for now. I bid you a good afternoon



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yesterday's effort  ..started by finishing off the sanding.  It only needed to be of a decent shape, and not scratch-free smooth, because I was yet to fibreglass over it.. and that of course would leave a rough and fibrous surface ..again :(  ..So coarse grit sandpaper on a 1/4" thick flat (but slightly flexible) board was used for most of that shaping.


^ Fibreglassing over the top of all that shaping ..started off with a thin layer of glass 220mm wide (because that's what materials I had left) over the corners and down the flange.. This was a hot mix (twice the usual amount of catalyst added to the resin) so that the resin would gel quickly, rather than draining away off the vertical flanges.  I show this picture because the first dabs of resin on the glass-fibre does look S..T  ..but bare with it, and roll the bubbles out and in due course it comes out looking OK.  If I could learn how do it as a typically dumb n' spotty 15 year old, I'm sure you could !

This is one I prepared earlier . . .P1390105s.thumb.JPG.d89ed5fb27de78885415d3614758473a.JPG

^ hot mix, cured quickly enough. That was the first layer and I sanded the high spots off that fibreglass (even though the not fully cured resin clogged the sandpaper) in preparation of the overall covering..


^ I'm all but out of glass-fibre mat.  This is the last piece of the thicker (600g/sq.m) I had, so although I'd have preferred it to go to the corners and right to the ends, I made do.  The wrinkles are from it being the end of a roll, and having been too tightly wrapped. It's less than desirable but they will smooth when its wetted out with resin.  


Before wetting it out I peeled half the thickness from the first couple of inches, all around the edge. This was to help feathering those edges (prevent such a hard edge).  

Now the work really started.  Although just for two-hours, the top layers had to be done quickly and there's absolutely no break  . .


^ That top layer of thicker glass-fibre was applied and then another light-weight layer (250mm wide) applied over the edge of that and down the sides again (more or less aligned with the bottom of the flange).  The different widths between layers were to help minimise hard edges of the fibreglass being evident through the final finish. 

Those layers each had to be carefully laminated with most all the air bubbles removed, which takes a great deal of care when the amount of resin is being kept to the minimum (which is lighter and yet stronger).  And then over this, while still wet, I stretched- a top layer of finely-woven glass.  If the underlying shape is half decent, this fabric gives a much better finish for finishing than the roughness of the chopped strand mat. 

As you can see from the background by the time I finished this evening, it was quarter-to-nine ..and dark. The finishing touches and cleaning of the brush and roller were literally by torch light.


^ a close up detail of one of the corners (sorry not very clear because of the flash photography), and perhaps further confused because of the colours of filler seen through the semi-translucent (still liquid) resin and the glass.  Perhaps you can make out the fine texture of the woven cloth in the reflections..  

Using glass-cloth has a great advantage, in-so-much as it can be pulled taught across the flat expanses and over the corners, and like stockings over less attractive legs and knobbly knees, that stretch is ultimately flatter and smoother than what's held to shape underneath, especially when that might be hairy ! (glass-fibres)  ;)

That's all for now, but when it's light I'll try to take clearer piccies.



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as promised,  clearer pictures . . .



^ some small air bubbles on a corner or two, where the resin was squeezed out as I pulled the fabric / woven glass down.  That's not a big deal but I'll see if a little fresh resin will rub into them.   The cloth's texture is very apparent, but when compared with the lumpy and fibrous finish of chopped strand mat - it's brilliant 8)


^ different reflectiveness, of where there's slightly more resin (wet) in some patches compared to others, makes it look a bit patchy - but the final shape is now defined. As expected the (0.5mm ?) step of the edges of the grp layer applied to wrap over the sides is apparent, but all-in-all it'll not be too daunting a task to skim a little body filler over this and to fair that ..smooth enough for a box trailer made from mostly scrap !

Does anyone have experience of body wrapping on vehicles.? I'm thinking of having this lid covered ..if that finish is then durable enough to sit outside in all weathers, and of course is cost effective.? 

p.s. This morning it keeps peeing with rain, so I'll take the day off manual work and draw up a cutting list for the (revised yet again) chassis instead.  In the meantime the fibreglass resin (which is still a bit tacky) will have a another day or two to harden. That will be evident by a slight change in colour from the bluish hues to more like Terry Wogan beige.  

Cheers, Pete

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Just a little more progress today ..aside from a major clear-out of the back of my Chrysler (it's been a shed for fibreglass materials and bits of wood, tools & fastenings, etc).. And otherwise inbetween rain showers, telephone calls and very nice people stopping by for a chat . . .


^ Mostly 40 x 2mm shs (square hollow section) for the camping trailer's chassis. But some 25 x 1.5mm shs too (which is all I had otherwise I would have used more of that to save weight).  Also, still in the postal wrapping, is 1190mm (odd length to me but that what was being sold on ebay) of 35 x2mm shs. This will be used inside the 40x40 as its telescopic leg.


^ First six parts tack welded together, using the bigger off-cut piece of 3/4" plywood as a set square and flat surface, as I tacked it together ..because the paving slabs are not at all flat.   As an indication of scale, those paving slabs are 24" square, so this frame / this trailer isn't very big.


^ The 'outriggers' are all welded up and attached to the central spine, and I've just tacked the axle cross-beam in.  I'm pleased to say it's all surprisingly flat and I've managed to avoid twist ..by tacking before welding.   As said, I would have preferred to use lighter-weight steel for the outriggers but that would have meant my spending even more money.. and for what ? ..to save a couple of kilogram in weight.

As it is this weighs 10 kg, so it'll be close to 15kg, when it's done, plus 30kg for the wheels n' suspension and a towing hitch. I also have in the back of my mind - to have the camping box removal, to be replaced with a crude 3/4" plywood open box, for box-trailer-to-the-dump duties. And this chassis is plenty strong enough for that purpose.! :D

Rain stopped play again, and so after just a few hours.. I called it a day.  Still it's nice to be getting close to putting wheels on the chariot. 


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Today's update :

Starting off with.,  cleaning up the new suspension units ..so that I can get bolts through the holes !

P1390132s.JPG.405a245906f133d6277535c964b9883b.JPG    P1390133s.JPG.daca4c11a0631dcbdfe711a8a2a28b22.JPG

^ galvanising part filling some of the holes had to be drilled out, and the blobs on the top face ground away so that bolts and their washers would sit flat.


^ the time consuming part was how to hold the suspension unit and wheel in place, square to the trailer and upright, and of course the right position fore & aft and sideways.. all the made more difficult because I wanted the chassis / trailer low and so the suspension unit both sits on top of the chassis (inside the box, and is mounted at an angle (about 54 degrees according to my drawing..   With the chassis set square to a spirit level, 18mm plywood packing was used between the tyre and the chassis rail for the width, and to keep it (tracking) aligned to the chassis rail.  An 11mm was used under the suspension arm for height and to set the angle. and then the tyre sits on another block and is wedged there to stand upright (again to the spirit level).  

Then I measured the angle with an adjustable set square (a woodworking tool) and transferred that to two posts which are to sit under the pre-drilled mounting plate (kindly supplied in the kit of suspension unit, hubs, wheels, bolts and even a pot of grease). As seen in this photo the two posts are just loosely positioned (not even tack welded in place). 


                       "two wheels on my wagon..,  and I'm just rolling along"    or summit like that ! ?

Tacked in place and free standing. the balance is a just little to the tail end,  which is good at this stage and why I fitted suspension units behind the axle.   You can see that the (leading) arms are almost square to the ground (actually just slightly tilted down a few degrees) and that's because this trailer is intended to be 100-120kg unladen, perhaps 150-170 kg loaded  ..and when horizontal the suspension will be more responsive  In other words.. if the suspension units were at 45 degrees, as quite commonly installed, they would have an effectively shorter lever arm ..and so the suspension would be stiffer. That's not good for this the trailer, because it's too light (and will never be laden to their 350kg capacity).  I'm 110kg (yeah I know ! ) and with me standing on the central-cross-bar the suspension arms are only just about level to the horizontal (it they rotated just a few degrees.

And then the suspension units came off again, so that I could finish welding those posts in  . . .


^ posts welded in and the suspension mounting are securely fixed. This photo shows the chassis inverted as I added another little plate (3mm thick so in tension it would carry over 10 tonne !) which is a brace against the upward twisting forces of the suspension.   The cross beam itself is presently only tacked in place, because I expect to have to move it (..forward a bit) after I trial fit the body - so that I get the nose weight (on the towing-hitch) I'd like. 

The box with its lid is slightly heavier (partly because of using recycled materials, but also because of the flattening-out issues I had with the lid), and then - I've also altered the trailer's design by turning the body around ..and moving the split line / door, oh, and also the hinging of the lid, oh yeah and I've . . . .     ...Nothing too radical then Pete ! ?  :D

Back to work.. next, I moved to the front end of the chassis to make the swan neck, from the low chassis bed up to the height of the towing hitch . . .

P1390149s.JPG.10cb45903677bf8a8447549084e9bd1e.JPG     P1390150s.JPG.9042bf1c0f5c6e0ff7a2a4b26513d294.JPG

^ the bottom corner of the swan-neck is the most stressed part of the whole chassis, and because it will sit tight to the trailer's body - there's no room for a triangular (gusset) plate.  So I'm using hidden reinforcing within.  This little box-section angle is made from 35x35x2 tube and naturally fits inside the corner. Once fitted inside, the outside box section (40x40x2mm) corner is deliberately left a little open, so that the weld penetrates and therefore also joins this inside support.  


^ the outside corner was also ground away to expose the inside support and then I welded up the corner.  You'll also note a couple more welds 45mm down the edge.  I used an angle grinder to cut through the outside box sections and into the inside support angle ..and then plug-welded those holes up again.  That securely ties the inside support to the outside chassis members in four more places.  I reckon you'd need a 40T press to break this corner open !!   ..but once the weld is cleaned up, it will be a neat and compact structure.

Next.. the telescopic extension . . .

P1390153s.thumb.JPG.b4e294d08b6f8a149a5f3946739a3887.JPG    P1390156s.JPG.46648de2e9db21d72584c35ce8ad2d82.JPG

^ first though some more ground holes in the corners ! ?    second photo showing a length of 35x35x2 inserted into the chassis tube ready to be plug welded in place.  six either side using full penetration welding.. to neatly join one tube to the next. 


^ The previous welding was by the right hand clamp, and again with the chassis inverted the swan neck is seen down-turned. The clamps are simply holding another temporary length of box-section-tube flat to the sides of the central spine ..to keep that straight and true, as the first front outrigger with body mount is positioned and welded into place.

So there we have it ..  and the chassis is finally taking shape . . .



^ the telescopic leg (yes I changed the originall design which had two, to now just have one telescopic tube ..which is plenty strong enough for towing, and I hope  will also work well enough for deploying the telescopic camping trailer.  Only testing will prove the design A-OK ..or else crappy !

All up chassis weight so far is 15.5kg.

Btw., the head of the swan neck is not determined yet because I don't know the height of the ball hitch on the car ..and I've not made the towing bracket yet.   Nor do I have the car (Triumph sports car if you recall) back yet from having its chassis swapped, so that detail and the towing hitch will just have to wait.

in the meantime . . .


^ back to having two wheels on my.. chariot.?  I've not added stops or locks yet but the telescopic extension is 700mm. The trailer's chassis is designed to be towed when extended, this is just for when the camper is open.  Drop down support legs will prevent the central tube from bending and twisting when I clamber around inside ! 


^ contracted, the telescopic part will be pinned for towing.  As you can see the present nose weight (without towing hitch or body) is being measured. . .


^ outrageously heavy at 1lb (1/2 kg).  I' pleased with that. 

That's it for today..  I hope to loosely drop the body tub on tomorrow, so that I can assess and perhaps adjust for nose weight. 

Hope this thread is still interesting for y'all to follow. 


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^ exterior colour ?   No the car is signal red ..but I'd like to change that.  This trailer's design is neither traditional nor classic or retro, so I think it best left to fade into the background or else be its own self.  So the body will remain in white, but I'd like to have the lid (body wrapped) to look like beautifully varnished wood with the hues of autumn colours, perhaps like a Chris-Craft, or Riva (elegant small motor-boats) ..after all this lid and the box is of wood, albeit with fiibreglass over it.

Hopefully, brilliant white contrasting with orange-brown ought to be noticeable to other drivers chopping lanes around me, or in a hurry to pull out of a side turning as I drive by. 

- - -

Quick update  before supper..


^ Transferring the designed footprint of the tyre onto the underside of the body tub..  measure and pencil mark,  stand back,  check / measure again before cutting.  The process is like doing rounded-off mental arithmetic in your head to see, if the bottom line figure you see before you is close to being right   ..because in making things, especially things of this scale without clearly definable ends, and which I'm rolling over.. at some time or another - we'll all make a mistake (..well perhaps not you !).  In this case I started off from measuring from the wrong end of the body tub !  No harm done ..but for an extra pencil line :ph34r: 


^ cut to as small a size as might work


Body tub sitting on the chassis for the first time, albeit on blocks 98mm higher than it will be, and also with no clearance between the tyres and the first-cut holes.


^ lid on and then a first check as to balance (nose weight)  . . .


^ in the right ball park ...which is encouraging :)


With the weight of body and lid on, the suspension has moved a couple of degrees. the bottom edge of the arm was set up to be parallel with the chassis rail.  That degree of movement is just fine. 

The body is resting on 4 blocks, and so I need to mark the floor to then cut it so that the suspension also goes inside the body tub. This is all part of my wanting to keep the trailer low down, both for seeing out of the sports-car's rear view mirror and also to keep its centre-of-gravity low down.


* marked and cut, adjusted a few times for clearance and ready to drop back onto the chassis again .. this time without the blocks to hold it up.

Anyone remembering the original design, might recall that the narrow width of the body was to the front.  As I said in my last post, I've now turned the body around so the widest part is forward of the wheels and, like the car itself, the trailer tapers to be narrower at the back. 


^ top as it was originally, below with the trailer body reversed.  The axle moved and the track has also narrowed because I was keen to keep the angle between the towing hitch and the tyre patch much the same. my target was less than 23-degrees to centre-line.  Originally I had 22.4 degrees and the reversed body is 22.8 degrees, so not quite as good as it was, but I don't think such a small difference will be noticeable either in tracking or when reversing.       

Anyway back to the build . . .


^ that works.  Naturally there will be inner mudguards and a low-level boxing-in over the suspension units to thereafter keep the inside of the box dry of road spray.   The load space behind the wheel's axle line / balance axis (..which is in this case further forward than the suspension arm's axis) is still ample to balance the loaded trailer's nose-weight. 


^ looking very low ground clearance, in fact it's 115mm (4-1/2") and the bottom edge is yet to be trimmed off.  The top corner of the lid is presently 745mm (29-3/8") but the lid is sitting low on the body at the moment. The target height was to be less-than-800mm ..which is just a little lower than my cars rear wing line, and so I'm on line to achieve that.

So there we are, the body is now sitting down and in the right place on its chassis frame.


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looks good, well thought out, and using reclaimed parts to very environmental friendly, not having used or seen that type of suspension in action I assume that when jacked up the wheel drops enough to facilitate the wheel removal? I remember playing silly buggers with cars with spats in my youth.

Also out of curiosity how do you anticipate using the trailer for camping, ie stowage only, or is it habitable too ie in wet weather is the lid a poptop on poles and you can sit inside on the front shelf/ledge with a drop in/sliding table in front.

I'm obviously not a camper not since senior scouts here in Oz in the early 60's, I gave it up when we returned to the UK in 62, it was too wet and to cold, Easter with snow on the ground in the Lake District? When at college my mates & girl friends camped in the Lakes, but I retired with my now wife to the local pub, there was no way she'd camp and who was I to argue!

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Thank Peter.  The wheel arches are yet to be cut out, because unlike Citroen 2cv, these suspension units have almost no drop  ..and to get a wheel off I'll need the body out of the way.  I'd like to have wheel-arch spats, so the body remains faired-in, but I'm quite certain that once the sides (wheel arches) are cut then the removed piece of plywood would spring back to being almost flat again.  

Regarding your other queries ..all are answered < here >

Cheers ;)


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  • Bfg changed the title to Trailer Tent for a Small Triumph..

Ok, this camping-trailer's concept and the accommodation is essentially unchanged, but pretty much everything else has  . . .



          ^ The three elevations (profile, plan, and end view) on the right  are what I showed at the beginning of this thread, with the narrower end of the body facing forward, and the suspension units with trailing arm are in front of the axle.  When deployed for camping - the grp lid is opened with a three-sided canopy attached. The tail end of the trailer is pulled / extends out by 750mm, to give ample length to stretch out as I sleep. The extension is facilitated by the chassis-frame having two telescopic legs.  Rear steadying legs are dropped to  

Mostly good, but the two telescopic chassis legs would be a nuisance, insomuch as they are where I want to put my feet down beside the bed. There was lack of load space behind the axle to adjust towing nose weight, and the headroom was a little too claustrophobic.   

          ^ The views on the left   are a recent design evolution, now with the wider end of the body facing forward, and the suspension is configured as leading arm (..those heavy suspension units now sit behind the axle for better weight distribution).  When deployed for camping - the grp lid is opened with a three-sided canopy attached.  Forward / outboard steadying legs are dropped, and the main body of the trailer now rolls on its own wheels to extend the overall length to give ample length to stretch out as I sleep.  The chassis-frame now has a single / central spine telescopic leg, and the camping-trailer's doors have moved to the near the front.

Again mostly good and with improvements.. as the one telescopic chassis leg is no longer a nuisance in the foot well. There is now ample storage / load space behind the axle to balance the towing nose-weight, the top of the hood is shorter (less sag in the rain) and.. not only is the headroom noticeably better but so is the doorway, whose forward position seems somehow more logical.. as they are closer to the car and its boot.

I had originally just drawn an arbitrary towing hitch, and this was revised ..when I got around to measuring their height on other cars. The swan-neck structure of the chassis was revised so that the body tub might easily lift off ..so the chassis might otherwise be used for other duties ie., for taking 'stuff' to the skip.  The new swan-neck runs vertically up the front for additional high up attachment to the body tub.


Moving on  and hopefully another step closer . . .

        The most recent design evolution achieves something that I always wanted for this trailer, but previously couldn't figure out how to make it work , :ssch00101:   ...and that was for the lid of the trailer to hinge ..and be securely enough stayed, to the short part of the body tub,  like this  . . . 


^ the right hand side  profile & plan are the aforementioned ' Mostly good + improvements ' design evolution discussed above.  And the profile drawing on the left  shows the grp lid hinged from the short front-part of the body tub.  This configuration gives headroom where i need it, particularly over the doors. The canopy's door zips are a smoother curve and shorter, which will be more convenient. And the rear canopy over the bed can be low profile (less wind buffeting & better angles for rain-water to run off).  

It seems intuitive to pull up and if possible to park the car facing into the wind.  Then I think this lid configuration will be easier to deploy.  ie. open the lid (possibly on tailgate type gas rams ?) and prop / lock it there.  Then, pull the pin and roll the main body backwards on its own wheels. Lock the single telescopic tube in place, and raise the rear hood stay.  Job done, tent is pitched.. put the kettle on.  :P

However.., up until now, I just couldn't figure out how to make the stays (props holding the grp lid up) either sufficiently angled or strong enough mountings to be solid against gusty winds .?   But I think I've now devised a workable solution.  What if.. the stays (one on either side) of the lid are not small diameter tubes from the body, but were instead sturdy 'door posts' - which would also double-duty as the steadying legs for the front of the trailer.?

Naturally door posts, go from the ground upwards, rather than hood stays - which would be from the top rim of the trailer's box.  So now ..as strong winds buffet against the lid - it's support legs are braced against the ground. The door posts would be fastened both top and bottom of the trailer sides, rather than on simple hinge pins, and so those posts would not only brace in a vertical plane (as compression posts) but their resistance to bending would further help prevent the lid from being blown / hinging backwards. 

I had already tried (in the design drawings) to use braces taken back to the trailer's main body, but those would have been in the way of the doors and otherwise too long to stow inside the closed trailer.  But, as shown in this illustration, the door posts are just 1300mm long, and a couple of those would neatly fit inside the closed box for transit. 

I'll sleep on it tonight and have a fresh look at the drawing again tomorrow ..but I'm encouraged by what I see.

Bidding you a good evening,



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Thanks for the explanation, wondered if it was a sleeper too.

Hope I'm not being to cheeky but in the compressed mode how is the non opening side extension going to clear the wheel and wheel arch, or will it be a removable panel. 

Mum always said to me that she was going to take HOW & WHY out of my vocabulary! 


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No at all Peter,  I very much welcome questions, suggestions, ideas and criticism.. They make me think about things that I might otherwise have missed.   Better to think than to have to remake something I get wrong.  

'the non opening side extension' you talk about is the bottom half of the open doors ?  If so, then fabric side-screens, attached to but also detachable from the canopy, so that the top part of the door can be opened (like a stable door).  As fabric they will just roll up inside the closed trailer.

How and Why are possibly the two most important words in the evolution of mankind.    


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