Quantcast

Bruiser the Adventure Cruiser Cargo Trailer Build

Westy

the teste
Nov 22, 2002
37,071
3,945
Sleazattle
Using nuts and bolts to install those brackets would be a bitch, specifically drilling holes in the frame members.
Sub optimal but do-able. Previous comment was a rule of thumb application anyhow.

Low profile drills are cheap and make such work easier. I've also found dremel tools to be very handy to drill pilot holes in tight spaces.
 

Adventurous

Starshine Bro
Mar 19, 2014
4,390
1,998
Crawlorado
I understand the desire to use a new welder when you get one. Experience tells me to use nuts and bolts whenever possible. Makes things much easier to repair or modify in the field.
I certainly could have done nuts and bolts. Of course these will be tucked behind walls and inaccessible in the field, so it would be a PITA either way, but that was an option I considered.

I always try and use new projects like this as an opportunity to grow and challenge myself. Not just for the sake of it, but because I have further aspirations when it comes to making things. There's something very satisfying to me about learning new skills and executing the ideas in my head vs. buying someone else's solution. I won't blather on about the subject, but the words from Tony Robbins are stuck in my head, "If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten."
 

Adventurous

Starshine Bro
Mar 19, 2014
4,390
1,998
Crawlorado
Progress has been slower than I hoped for. Who would have thought building a trailer in the middle of winter might pose some challenges.

Awning is on and it's going nowhere! Given that I'm a stubborn SOB, I managed to install it by myself (just had to prove my wife wrong) using a couple of ratchet straps looped over the trailer and secured so I could lift it into place. Originally I had bolts that were just about spot on the right length, but it proved too difficult trying to line up 16 bolts along an 8' span and get them all through their respective holes. So I switched gears and bought longer bolts that allowed me to get the top row through and with a nut on the back side, but still have enough slack to get some slightly shorter bolts into the track and in the right spot. Afterwards I coated the bolt hole area on the back side of the awning with non-self leveling lap joint sealant, put blue loctite on the nuts, and snugged everything up. Bolts were cut to length afterwards.

Untitled by Tim Souza, on Flickr

Like it was meant to be that way.

Untitled by Tim Souza, on Flickr

Also got into the ceiling vent. That's probably fine for a cargo trailer, but since we'll be living in there, I wanted a multi-speed vent fan. I tried to be nice when removing it, I swear, but there were enough screws hidden under the lap sealant that I got frustrated. And then it was hammer time.

Untitled by Tim Souza, on Flickr

Would you look at that, I can see sky now!

Untitled by Tim Souza, on Flickr

The other thing I've been working on is installing some small, single row LED light bars along the roof of the trailer. They'll all be independently wired and switched, but having exterior lights will be awfully nice. Now when it came to mounting them, it was either use self tapping screws or bolts. I opted for bolts to ensure that the threads made it into the steel tubing instead of having them grab primarily on the exterior skin. Rather than drill and tap each hole, I grabbed some DeWalt impact driver drill taps that made quick work of it.

Untitled by Tim Souza, on Flickr

Highly recommended, they made quick work of it. Lights tuck up nicely!

Untitled by Tim Souza, on Flickr

From there I had to get the cables into the interior of the trailer. I was hoping for a cleaner solution than a grommet and lap sealant, and purchased some Heyco cord grips, which I must say are slick little pieces. They use a buna-N washer to provide a seal against the roof, and have a segmented seal that snugs against the cable as the nut is tightened. Several snow storms so far and the subsequent melting has demonstrated that these things are indeed water tight and I have nothing to worry about.

Untitled by Tim Souza, on Flickr

It was a little bit nerve wracking popping 5/8" holes in the roof of my brand new trailer, but I'll have to look at it as good practice for when I have to start making really big holes. This is what it looks like all put together.

Untitled by Tim Souza, on Flickr

I have 11" light bars along each side and 6" bars along the front and back. Now to dive into wiring everything...
 

profro

Turbo Monkey
Feb 25, 2002
5,604
281
Walden Ridge
Don't mean to side track your thread, but can some one school me on vent covers and fans?

I have a 6x10 cargo that we camp out of. It has to roof vents, one has a really noisy fan that pulls in. I'd like to add vent covers so we can keep them open during the rain. what's the best option?
 

Adventurous

Starshine Bro
Mar 19, 2014
4,390
1,998
Crawlorado
Don't mean to side track your thread, but can some one school me on vent covers and fans?

I have a 6x10 cargo that we camp out of. It has to roof vents, one has a really noisy fan that pulls in. I'd like to add vent covers so we can keep them open during the rain. what's the best option?
Ours originally came with this: https://www.etrailer.com/RV-Vents-and-Fans/MaxxAir/MA00-933069.html?feed=npn&gclid=Cj0KCQiAieTUBRCaARIsAHeLDCTFG72q2M2ktn7mejS2elsovzkZc9j7ul-sL71yeLuvHO3X_S2ZCTgaAoxAEALw_wcB

If you were closer, I'd give you ours since I'm not using it.

If you want to get something fancier, they offer vent fans with rain sensors that will automatically close the lid for you.
 

Adventurous

Starshine Bro
Mar 19, 2014
4,390
1,998
Crawlorado
The highlight of this trailer was always going to be the skylight above the bed. One of the best parts of camping to me is getting out far enough away from light pollution that you can see the countless number of stars and the Milky Way overhead. The prospect of falling asleep to that sounds quite nice.

When the trailer was built, they put a 1.5' wide strip of plywood down the center of the trailer, presumably to add camber to the roof for drainage. Given that this wouldn't provide support around the entire perimeter of our 14" x 30" (inner dimension) skylight, I had to remove the wood and put a wider piece in. Busted out the track saw for its maiden voyage and had myself a 36" piece that tucked up there nicely.

Untitled by Tim Souza, on Flickr

With that in place I set about reinforcing the structure to handle the skylight. My worry was that flexing of the structure would transfer some load to the skylight and either break it, or the repeated cycling would create weak points that would leak. Additionally, with only a few cross members supporting the roof, I didn't have a whole lot of confidence in its strength.

Untitled by Tim Souza, on Flickr

Then came the big moment, time to cut a hole in the roof. I drilled the perimeter of the opening with a 3/8" bit to give myself a guide, hopped up on the roof with my jig saw and metal cutting blade, and made a big hole.

Untitled by Tim Souza, on Flickr

The steel frame did a good job at keeping the jig saw blade on track, but I cut it a smidge smaller than the final dimension. This was followed up with a flap disk in the angle grinder to bring things to the final dimension and make the edges smooth and burr free. Daylight!

Untitled by Tim Souza, on Flickr

Then came time to mount it for good. I'm a bit averse to water leaks, so I went 110% when it came to getting the butyl tape on there. I put a 2" wide strip along the entire flange and followed this up with another 1" strip underneath the screw holes. Once the skylight was in place, I took some more of the butyl tape, folded it to make a rope, and crammed this under the perimeter so I could have a protruding bead. Screws were snugged down, I was happy to see the butyl squeeze out uniformly, then I took a heat gun and softened it up a little so I could cram it under the perimeter again. This will at some point be covered in self-leveling lap sealant, but the temperature and wind picked up yesterday afternoon and I didn't have a chance to do pt. 2 of the waterproofing.

Untitled by Tim Souza, on Flickr

:)
 
Last edited:

KenW449

Thanos did nothing wrong
Jun 13, 2017
2,471
270
Floating down the whiskey river...
One of the best parts of camping to me is getting out far enough away from light pollution that you can see the countless number of stars and the Milky Way overhead. The prospect of falling asleep to that sounds quite nice.
That is one of the parts of camping. Went kayaking a few months ago under a new moon, and you could see everything. Shooting stars and all.
 

Adventurous

Starshine Bro
Mar 19, 2014
4,390
1,998
Crawlorado
Do you mean to tell me that your trailer hasn't blown away in the last 24 hours? Must be pretty stout... :D
I was sitting up on the roof yesterday afternoon when the winds came roaring in. I'd be lying if I said I didn't have visions of it unchocking itself and taking me for a ride...
 

Adventurous

Starshine Bro
Mar 19, 2014
4,390
1,998
Crawlorado
Sadly no updates as the next step is wiring, and the first item I will start with is the solar panels. Kit #1 from Amazon was missing the solar charge controller, kit #2 was a wheelbarrow. Yes, a literal wheelbarrow. Let's hope #3 is right!
 

stevew

unique white person
Sep 21, 2001
32,282
3,108
The highlight of this trailer was always going to be the skylight above the bed. One of the best parts of camping to me is getting out far enough away from light pollution that you can see the countless number of stars and the Milky Way overhead. The prospect of falling asleep to that sounds quite nice.
first time i ever saw the milky way was half asleep on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere in idaho taking a piss.