Sunday, September 13, 2009

A View from the Rear.

Another adventure in design and modification, I've seen many trailers with generators and boxes and platforms on the rear. After looking at many, I decided I would like to have some more storage for my junk.

I began planning to add storage to the rear bumper, I looked at many boxes, rubber maid and other various plastic boxes. They seemed pretty cheap and I could carry a lot but all of them were at least 25 inches at the bottom.

I looked at many truck boxes from various manufacturers. Most of these run 17 to 19 inches on the bottom, but 20-24 inches across the top. I decided with a tire carrier on one side and a truck box on the other, the trailer would look lopsided, plus I wasn't happy with adding 22 inches to the rear of the trailer, that would be 10 or more inches beyond the spare tire.
I began looking at tongue boxes, I could put one on each side of the tire and it would look balanced. A bit triangle shaped, I looked at Harbor Freight and many others, even on eBay. I found a person on eBay making tongue boxes, and custom Diamond Plate items. EVEN CUSTOM BOXES.... MAP Welding and Fabrication . I emailed and called Mark Proul to discuss what I needed, he quickly gave me a quote, I checked 4 places on the west coast that make custom boxes and a local person, the price quoted was less than most could buy the metal for.
I paid for the boxes quickly, these are nice custom boxes, My dimensions were 30 inches wide, 12 inches front to back and 16 inches high. The rear bumper is 92 inches, the spare is about 27 inches, but If I got larger tires in the future they would not be over 32 inches. So each box became 30 inches. 16 inches high does not cover the license plate from the rear. And the 12 inches is very close to the amount the spare tire sticks out.

All photos are on Webshots and will open much larger when clicked

Original rear bumper with spare tire attached.

Underneath old bumper-right side.

Bumper and area that will be modified.

Cutting the old bumper off.

Bareback trailer.

Positioning receiver hitch for measurement and testing.

Test fitting receiver and bumper. (Measure many times, cut/weld once)

Left side test fit.

Getting set up for welding, protecting trailer from splatter with cardboard and metal license plates.

Tack weld and measure again. Carefully considering all ramifications of adding metal. Weight, strength, looks were all mulled over and discussed at length.

Full vertical weld left side, I had to practice on some scrap for a while first. It turned out easy with the Millermatic MIG welder.

The bumper welded back on, with receiver hitches underneath.

Bumper raised about 2.25 inches, one of the reasons I didn't use hanging receiver hitches on the bumper, also I wasn't sure of the bumper strength.

Getting ready to build a removeable base for the boxes, 2 inch tube at 21 inches each.

Angle iron, and safety equipment with the obligatory Owners Group hat.

Cutting and grinding my metal for the base.

Tack welding the iron together, to test fit on the trailer.

Delivery of the boxes.

First test fit of the new boxes.

Welded base, the boxes were test fit and holes drilled, I welded the nuts on prior to priming and painting.

Primed box base.

Final coat-Rustoleum semi-gloss black.

Getting ready to place the base in the receivers and pin/bolt them down.

Finished boxes, I used pieces of angle iron and a couple of fender washers to fasten the boxes down to the bases. Each box can be individually removed in a matter of minutes. Something else can be placed in the hitch receiver such as a bike rack or platform.

Outside shower access. (I have never used it)

Underneath left side showing base and bottom of box. I used 3/8 bolts to fasten. (Overbuilt everything)

Right side underneath showing pin, base and welds.

Rusty spare tire carrier, wire brushed.

Spare and carrier, primed, painted and pretty.

Initially I had planned to surround the bottom of the diamond plate boxes with the angle iron, I decided I was over building and that it would detract from the look. So I went with just building a strong base. I had over 350 pounds standing on the bases and they didn't even flex.
The total weight of the boxes, base and receivers is 78 pounds. The last time I weighed the trailer, the front tires were 100 pounds heavier than the rear. This modification allows me to move weight to the rear. and lighten my 1050 pound tongue weight. Total weight is well under the posted limits of the tires, when I hit Oregon in a couple of months I'll check each tire/axle again and reposition weight as necessary.

Thanks to, the Arctic Fox, Nash, Desert Fox, Northwood RV Owners Association for ideas, information and compliments.

Thanks go to Mark Proul at MAP Fabrication and Welding for the wonderful custom inexpensive Diamond Plate boxes. Call 203.228.2164, he can do anything diamond plate, from tongue boxes to toothbrush holders, you give him a design and he can do it. Mention where you saw them.

Thanks to the Burkes in Rock Springs Wyoming, for the use of the shop, welders and space for the project.

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