Building a Truck Bed Trailer

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by SikDMAX, Jan 26, 2013.

  1. SikDMAX

    SikDMAX Been here awhile

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    Well, I made a booboo a while back and dented up the side of my 08 Chevy Silverados truckbed. Yesterday I located a new bed for it and bought it - and now have an extra!

    Id like to turn that truck bed into a trailer for hauling motorcycles, similar to the ole hack-off-the-back-of-the-truck style trailer, but a bit nicer.

    I will utilize the original tail lights as, well, tail lights, as well as leave the bumper and tailgate on. 2 roll-in chocks will be installed in the bed along with LED white lighting. 110v, 12v and USB power ports in the bed. 4-6 foot tongue length from front wall of bed to hitch, decked with diamondplate or similar. Weatherguard toolbox chest installed on the decking closest to the bed which will house 2 Optima Red Top batteries along with a 110v inverter. In front of the toolbox will be a spot for 4 5 gallon "utility" jugs, capable of being locked in place.

    Id like to install a set of airbags to help get the bed lower to the ground for loading/unloading. Not sure if I can utilize a helper-bag type setup or will need to get more custom here. If I run air I will also have a 12v compressor and holding tank in the front toolbox.

    As far as the frame, I'm thinking 2x4 box tubing, double height on the tongue area and the necessary bracing. After the frame is done it will be powdercoated.

    Im wanting to run 8 lug wheels, matching the Duramax, so Im not sure if a trailer specific axle with 8 lug outers is the best way, or if I should find a Silverado axle and leafs to run.


    Sooo..... what am I forgetting, what tips can you offer, etc etc. Im going to start building this in a week or so, and Ill start a build thread here to document the progress. Thanks!
    #1
  2. Sasquatch2112

    Sasquatch2112 scatology expert

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    My initial thought is that you are going to spend a ton of $$ compared to buying a big tex trailer that is already low and has other characteristics that you want then you can farkle it.

    Don't mean to rain on your parade. If you are not really caring about the costs then ignore what I said above.
    #2
  3. SikDMAX

    SikDMAX Been here awhile

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    Hows that exactly? I don't see having more than about $500 into it. I have the bed, I have the wheels and tires, I have all lighting/electrical.

    I basically need to buy raw material and weld it together, and purchase/attach an axle/leafs. Ill also need to purchase a hitch coupler to weld to the tongue, tongue jack, and 7 way electrical pigtail.

    Powdercoating the frame would be a couple hundred dollar "extra" expense, along with an airbag system. Im thinking pulling all but 1 or 2 leafs and replacing the rest with an airbag. These will be used to haul at max 2 sportbikes, or 1 full dress motorcycle, so weight wont be huge.
    #3
  4. Sasquatch2112

    Sasquatch2112 scatology expert

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    I was figuring a buck + for the axle, I figured that it would cost you 4 - 5 for the materials to get the tube frame plus the welding time. The tires/wheels will be another buck. The electricals would run you close to a buck by time you add it all up.

    The small big tex type trailers can be had for <$8.

    It sounds like you have most of the goodies to do this. I look forward to seeing how this looks.
    #4
  5. muddywater

    muddywater Been here awhile

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    A rear frame clip of a chevy truck would be a good start, everything would bolt up. Work out the tounge and axle.
    You are basically building a trailer to mount your bed on.
    #5
  6. SikDMAX

    SikDMAX Been here awhile

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    True, but going to be a bit difficult to find a rear frame of a 2008+ 2500HD. Plus it would have just regular frame rails with holes in them, etc - trying to make this look cleaner than that.
    #6
  7. GP640

    GP640 Long timer

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    I like the idea but I see a cuople of things that could use some thought.
    All that stuff you want to carry up front is weight/ space that will have to be figured into tongue weight.
    If you want to drop it on the ground for loading, you'll be needing a fairly complex link set up and real
    bags,not overloads. Your leaf springs won't let you get where you want to go with the drop.

    I wouldn't use a truck axle. Look around, I'm sure you could find an axle or spacers that will let you
    use your wheels.
    #7
  8. HapHazard

    HapHazard Waiting for Gudenov

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    A long time ago, I was given a trailer made out of the back half of a 60's C10. It was very heavy, the bed was very high and tough to load. It didn't tow particularly well, either - but that could of been how the tongue was made. The double snowmobile trailer I use now is worlds better.

    I agree with those (and you) if you want to do this, build your own lighter weight frame and use a trailer axle and springs. But unless you really need some sort of box (or even if you do), using the truck body just seems heavy and limiting (for instance, a double snowmobile trailer is 8x10 with a tilt bed and no GD wheelwells).

    And in case you think this would just HAVE to look classy::lol3

    [​IMG]
    #8
  9. 9Dave

    9Dave Bazinga!

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    Northern Tool and eTrailer.com are both good sources of axles and pieces parts for trailer builds.
    #9
  10. sailah

    sailah Lampin' it

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    I think the other guys nailed it with the cost. I think even having the parts you do it's going to be more expensive than buying a used trailer. Putting full sized 265 truck tires is going to lift the trailer way higher than you want to go, esp if this is being built as a dedicated moto trailer.

    I just bought a new Tundra and loaded into the bed last weekend. Crap those are high. My trailer is literally walk up the ramp hell my wife could do it.

    If you are going for the "look" of a truck bed, although not sure why that would be desirable personally:wink:, I would buy a trailer axle, link it, and run air bags to drop the bed down to reasonable height. Of course thats a shitload of money and effort to get the desired result that a regular utility trailer has wich will probably pull nicer being lower CG etc.

    I would really consider this if this is designed to be truly used and functional because I think the height reality is going to get old quick unless you play for a basketball team.
    #10
  11. Maggot12

    Maggot12 U'mmmm yeaah!!

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    Devils advocate here..... Sell all the parts you have, including the truck box, and buy yourself an enclosed 6x10 cargo trailer. If you want it pretty, put aluminum wheels on it and paint the trailer to match your truck.

    your welcome.. :D
    #11
  12. SikDMAX

    SikDMAX Been here awhile

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    The box is slightly damaged. Not worth anything selling.

    I wont do a build here then... too much negativity. Ill post completed pics when its done.
    #12
  13. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Transient

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    #13
  14. Hetzel88

    Hetzel88 cycles is a mean toy

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    If you want to do a build, more power to you. But you won't save much money, and you won't have a trailer with much value when you're done.
    #14
  15. EvanADV

    EvanADV Big Bearded Boy

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    Forget the naysayers. If you want to do it, do it. Who cares if it's not the most economical option. An off the shelf trailer won't be half as cool, so why does it matter if it's half the price?

    Let us know how it goes. :freaky
    #15
  16. Sasquatch2112

    Sasquatch2112 scatology expert

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    I think most of the folks here were trying to keep you from spend hard earned $$ there are less expensive ways of doing the trailer. Please do post up your build so that we can learn from it.
    #16
  17. Maggot12

    Maggot12 U'mmmm yeaah!!

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    +1... I didnt want to offend and I'm all for home made projects. If the op can take it on and is ok with the time-cost over something prebuilt, by all means, go for it.
    #17
  18. HaChayalBoded

    HaChayalBoded Brooklyn Bored

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    Can't wait to see the outcome, here is my old rig, a passerby yelled out of his window saying it was "ghetto fabulous" . :lol3


    [​IMG]
    #18
  19. MrPulldown

    MrPulldown Long timer

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    I love truck bed trailers. The reason I think people make them is because it is easy and cheap. They have a busted up truck and chop the front off, and fab a tounge. I agree that your way is going to be tougher, but I also think that you should go forward with it.

    However instead of building a frame, I am sure it would be much cheaper and easier to buy a rear clip of a truck. It does not need to be a checy 2500 HD blah blah blah. I am sure any full size truck would do. Last time I was at the junk yard there was miles of old full size american trucks. You don't need the bed to bolt up exactly, you were going to be fabbing the entire thing from scratch, I am sure welding up a couple of mounts would be a piece of cake in comparision. The leaf spring, shock mount, axle and brakes would be the real time and money saver.

    since you are not using any of the running gears, you can put smaller tires/wheel on it to keep the overall hieght lower as well. Since you are making mounts you can also mount the bed lower than stock. Most trucks have pretty tall stand offs to mount the bed.
    #19
  20. EvanADV

    EvanADV Big Bearded Boy

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    Good idea. A scrap frame would solve a lot of problems.

    If you find something with coil springs setting up a couple air bags to slam it for loading would be really easy. Not sure how easy it'd be on a leafed frame.

    Like he said, smaller wheel and/or tire could help with height too, but it'd look sweet if everything matched the truck.
    #20