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does anyone have any experience with making a truck-bed trailer and getting them registered? i have a truck that is available that the front is completely totaled and the bed is almost perfect. i was thinking of using it for a few different reasons. one-it matches the body style of my suburban, two-leave the gas tank on there and instant extra fuel storage, three-it would be cheaper than buying a truck, 4-i could put a camper top on it and use it as a tent when i go on weekend camping trips. also it matches the ride height of my suburban, so i wouldn't have to mess with drop hitches.

if anyone has any experience-good or bad-please let me know. this is my first time i have thought of building one of these, and want to know if it is worth it.
 

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Not sure of rules in your area but you can go to your car tag people and get a license plate for it as a new build. The idea is one I have done here in Texas before more for the wheel configuration. You come out with wheels that will interchange and give you more spare tires. Get a GOOD welder to do the work on the front end. You want it to be level when you hitch up. YOu also may want to extend the front of the "trailer" to allow for a generator and propane tank "nest". These are nice to have. On one we did we put a topper on it to enclose the trailer.

Good luck and good hauling.
 

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does anyone have any experience with making a truck-bed trailer and getting them registered? i have a truck that is available that the front is completely totaled and the bed is almost perfect. i was thinking of using it for a few different reasons. one-it matches the body style of my suburban, two-leave the gas tank on there and instant extra fuel storage, three-it would be cheaper than buying a truck, 4-i could put a camper top on it and use it as a tent when i go on weekend camping trips. also it matches the ride height of my suburban, so i wouldn't have to mess with drop hitches.

if anyone has any experience-good or bad-please let me know. this is my first time i have thought of building one of these, and want to know if it is worth it.
Not all states require plates on trailers under certain sizes, so your best bet is contact the local DMV office and check directly with them.

Drop hitches are not an issue either way, but the permanent fuel tank on the trailer might be, gasoline storage and transport is regulated, if the secondary tank were on your truck, no problem, but being that it is a permanent part of a trailer puts the trailer under regulations governing tankers and the like, and you may end up with a major headache. The highway safety people are funny that way. Better to just build in mounts for two or more Jerry cans and avoid that headache, not to menton eliminating the need for a fuel transfer pump. Don't forget about needing electric brakes, Thats bound to be a heavy trailer, especially if you load it to capacity and you will need brakes on it to keep it under control. Avoid surge brakes, they wont work if the trailer drops off the hitch as well as tend to cause the rear end of the tow vehicle to get squirrelly.
 

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Here in florida ya set up a appointment with a sheriff to come out and inspect the trailer for roadworthyness then he'll sign your paperwork for motor vehicles dept. As for brakes, there is a system you could install with the hitch that can be hooked right to the hydraulic system already there, they do lock on if you loose the trailer. electric brakes would need the wheel cylinders to be replaced if they even make the modifyed parts, don't know ,never did that. Take the fuel tanks out before registering you could always put them back or modify something later like, a toolbox tank. Make sure you get the hitch dead center with criss-cross measurements back to the axle or the trailer will track. I would consider looking for a used already built trailer and modify that to what your looking for, there would be more space and a lower center of gravity. :cool:
 

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Here in florida ya set up a appointment with a sheriff to come out and inspect the trailer for roadworthyness then he'll sign your paperwork for motor vehicles dept. As for brakes, there is a system you could install with the hitch that can be hooked right to the hydraulic system already there, they do lock on if you loose the trailer. electric brakes would need the wheel cylinders to be replaced if they even make the modifyed parts, don't know ,never did that. Take the fuel tanks out before registering you could always put them back or modify something later like, a toolbox tank. Make sure you get the hitch dead center with criss-cross measurements back to the axle or the trailer will track. I would consider looking for a used already built trailer and modify that to what your looking for, there would be more space and a lower center of gravity. :cool:
The hitch operated brakes are surge brakes and are close to worthless, they dont lock up unless there is pressure against the hitch such as the the trailer pushing the tow vehicle, unless you add an electric "master cylinder" to the trailer along with battery to operate it, the conversion is more costly than adding electric brakes to the trailer in the end. They are also not a legal substitute for electric or air brakes on trailers of the weight level that require brakes in every state. Electric brakes on the other hand give you the option of using the trailers brakes to slow the vehicle down, as well as add drag to the trailer to help stop it from fishtailing if the load shifts, wind or road conditions cause problems and the like. I drag a large fleetwood off road pop up into the unforgiving roadless wilderness quite a bit, let me tell ya, being able to apply the trailer brakes while keeping on the throttle of the tow vehicle is a godsend at times especially going down muddy or snowy hills.
 

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Be careful if you keep the old differential axle setup. I was behind one on the freeway and the whole axle wheel tire came out and flipped over the concrete divider. Didn't see where it landed but I am sure the oncoming traffic had more excitement than they wanted.
 

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Check your state's DMV website for registration requirements.

I built my trailer from the back half of a '71 Ford pickup. I don't have to tag the trailer where I am now, but I know when I lived in CA your plan would present a few problems. First, leaving the gas tank on would be a hazard unless you added a beefy impact protection system underneath. Also leaving the tank on presents another problem. If it is full of fuel, hooking on and dropping the trailer becomes more difficult as well as dangerous. Personally, I removed mine. I'll stick with jerrycans for fuel.

I would also recomment you install panels on the inside walls, or use a bed liner. Then shoot expanding foam insulation into the gaps between the panels and the bed walls.
I laid flooring down too and filled that gap as well. With a lid on it, or shell camper (insulate it too if it isn't), you can put in a canister of drying silica and then use the thing to keep you gear stored and ready for urgent movements. Just make sure you devise a locking system at all access points.
 

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New surge coupler are required to have break away cables to apply brakes if the hitch de-couples

http://www.championtrailers.com/brake_coupler_warnings.htm#break_away_cables

The coupler I used on my camp trailer had this feature. The down side is once the break away cables are pulled, the brakes cannot be released without a fair amount of work. There is a VERY heavy spring in the coupler that activates the master cylinder and requires a hydraulic bottle jack to re-compress. It's not easy.

That said- you don't want to use the truck axle, it's just dead weight. Sell the axle and get a trailer axle rated for the load you wish to carry (I'd suggest whatever the truck was rated, i.e. 1/2 truck, 1/2 ton rated axle) This way you can get the far superior electric brakes. When you cut and pie the frame rails, keep tongue weight in mind- if you are towing with a step bumper hitch you need to keep the tongue weight under 200lbs fully loaded. Generally, there should be 2/3 of the total trailer length ahead of the axle centerline, however, adding a toolbox, generator, ice chest, mtorcycle/atv rack, etc. ahead of the truck bed will affect tongue weight.

I've built a few of these, and while they do work, it's far easier to part out the truck and buy or build a real trailer. My in-laws custom build trailers and usually have a good laugh at the 'hillbilly specials'
 

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The hitch operated brakes are surge brakes and are close to worthless, they dont lock up unless there is pressure against the hitch such as the the trailer pushing the tow vehicle, unless you add an electric "master cylinder" to the trailer along with battery to operate it, the conversion is more costly than adding electric brakes to the trailer in the end. They are also not a legal substitute for electric or air brakes on trailers of the weight level that require brakes in every state. Electric brakes on the other hand give you the option of using the trailers brakes to slow the vehicle down, as well as add drag to the trailer to help stop it from fishtailing if the load shifts, wind or road conditions cause problems and the like. I drag a large fleetwood off road pop up into the unforgiving roadless wilderness quite a bit, let me tell ya, being able to apply the trailer brakes while keeping on the throttle of the tow vehicle is a godsend at times especially going down muddy or snowy hills.
I forgot all about this thread. I had surge brakes on a 26ft sea-ray, they worked pretty good and they do have a breakaway lock up, but i do agree electric is far better,I have them on my 13ton trailer that would never stop with just the truck. I was just trying to figure the cheapest way since it is just a truckbed. Mongo has a good idea of scrapping the axle.
 
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