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View Full Version : Adding receiver hitch to popup camper for motorcycle hauling


nakman
05-09-2012, 03:51 PM
Thread title pretty much says it all.. the wheels are turning regarding adding a receiver hitch to my camper. It's a 2006 Coleman Santa Fe... so not exactly Jayco Baja or Fleetwood E-2 in terms of frame size. The frame is 2 pieces of 2x3 rectangle, probably .125" in thickness, running lengthwise about 5' apart. Between the frame rails is some C-channel stretched across every 4' or so, probably helps keep the frame from twisting, supports the plywood above it, then not much else.

The existing back bumper isn't much stouter - another C channel, 3" tall, feels like .080" thick but it may be .100" on a good day with a dirty caliper. It's obviously not a part of the long-term solution.

My biggest worry is I create something that totally supports the bike, but just rips apart the rest of the camper frame. Though I'm trying to picture a catastrophic failure and maybe it's nbd.. I will post some pictures later, but curious if anyone's done this? :weld:

corsair23
05-09-2012, 03:55 PM
Didn't Red Chili say that he added a receiver to his popup? In the diesel thread? I think he did so he might be a good source for info although I'm not sure what the difference is in structure between a Coleman and a Starcraft camper...

nakman
05-09-2012, 04:03 PM
Yeah I saw that, thanks Jeff... what are you doing over here, anyway? :p:


difference is his Starcraft is more like a Cruiser frame. The Coleman is more like a HF utility trailer. :o

corsair23
05-09-2012, 04:07 PM
Yeah I saw that, thanks Jeff... what are you doing over here, anyway? :p:

Daydreaming :D

Red_Chili
05-09-2012, 04:37 PM
Bad idea Nak. You will develop a sway that will terrify you. The whole thing will become ungodly unstable.

DAMHIK ...
Even a bike rack exposed some impending sway due to a large drop ball mount in my case. I got quite an education!

You can cut and lengthen your frame and create a rail mount... :thumb:

wesintl
05-09-2012, 04:44 PM
I was going to say you will not have enough tongue weight with motorcycles on it and you'll get ridiculous sway that could cause a serious accident. you would need to cut and add a deck. Even so you still need to figure out if you will have enough tongue weight without it being too much and out of balance. You'd probably be better off finding a camper with a deck on it, JMHO.

nakman
05-09-2012, 04:48 PM
I already added a rail mount up front for Gavin's bike. seems like with that, and a second propane, I keep adding tongue weight. I could see shifting the small bike to the back, then the big bike up front, but still feel I have more tongue weight than anything.

I've also got a receiver tray that could be used to move some concrete around, for testing purposes.. :hill:

Red_Chili
05-09-2012, 04:50 PM
Here's a thought... take the box off the frame... build a proper tube or box frame of your desired length... with deck... and place a heavier duty axle and leaves under it after determining oh, say, 60/40 front-rear load bias, laden. Just temp mount the axle till you have the sweet spot nailed.

And there you have it. Nakspedition style.

nakman
05-09-2012, 04:57 PM
Here's a thought... take the box off the frame... build a proper tube or box frame of your desired length... with deck... and place a heavier duty axle and leaves under it after determining oh, say, 60/40 front-rear load bias, laden. Just temp mount the axle till you have the sweet spot nailed.

And there you have it. Nakspedition style.

I have considered that, really. I get the 60/40 split on load ahead of the axle, but there's a hard limit on tongue weight of say, 500 pounds? Which includes everything else up there. I think 2 guys should be able to lift the trailer off the ball...

I find it curious though how much these types of toy haulers vary. Here's one with the camper in front of both axles. How is that even maintaining close to 60/40 with and without 3 ATV's?
http://denver.craigslist.org/rvs/3001371439.html
http://images.craigslist.org/5Gd5H25M13E13Ff3mfc572da6d91b80dc1ca3.jpg


Here's the other extreme: no tongue weight at all until you add the bikes:
http://denver.craigslist.org/rvs/2996807292.html
http://images.craigslist.org/5Id5Gd5Je3Ke3oc3pac54b79491c3d0641fd9.jpg

maybe 2 axles allows you more flexibility there. :confused:

wesintl
05-09-2012, 05:00 PM
I already added a rail mount up front for Gavin's bike. seems like with that, and a second propane, I keep adding tongue weight. I could see shifting the small bike to the back, then the big bike up front, but still feel I have more tongue weight than anything.

I've also got a receiver tray that could be used to move some concrete around, for testing purposes.. :hill:

even with the big bike in the rear and the small bike in the front and a propane can I think it'd be sketchy. you can measure the tongue weight fairly easily. You don't want too much or too little is all, although too little usually bites you first.

nakman
05-09-2012, 05:00 PM
Here you go Bill, I bet you could get the Chili in there http://denver.craigslist.org/bfd/3003806658.html

nakman
05-09-2012, 05:35 PM
I bought some steel at lunch today. Little bike weighs 110 pounds. Big bike weighs 230 pounds. I'm guessing my new bumper/receiver will add 50-75 pounds behind the axle.

So for 2 bikes, thinking big bike up front, moving the little bike to the back. When it's just the little bike put it up front (already works fine), and when it's just the big bike then use the receiver carrier in back to offset some tongue weight with propane or something, or leave the camper at home and just sleep in the truck. Or just have it heavier up front. In my head all of these puts me within 100 pounds of a tongue weight I've already proven works without issue.

Red_Chili
05-09-2012, 07:10 PM
There's theory and there's reality...
In theory, your plan will work. In reality....

I would be concerned about the frame strength, and flex. Really, take a look at some of the fab some folks have done with box frames and used camper boxes. I've seen some really cool ones, done on the cheap, stable as a stone. Your pix notwithstanding, though the truck camper on the dual axle actually has more tongue weight than you might think due to the overhang.

Longer length betwixt tongue and axle buys some stability. Rearward axle does too. But loading does make a difference, my generator is a sensible difference depending on where I put it. Now, ALWAYS as far forward as I can, and add air to the air bags, and stabilize the ridiculous drop ball mount, I am good to 75.

I sure found out when my RS shocks had a slight leak and had an air bubble, let me tell ya!!!!!! :eek:

Jenny Cruiser
05-09-2012, 07:14 PM
Sounds like you need a quad cab Tundra with a tow pkg. Both bikes will fit fine in the bed and the little camper will thank you for it. :drink:

Red_Chili
05-09-2012, 07:25 PM
That, however sensible, is not the naksterergonomic solution.




:lmao:
Can't wait for the build up thread!

wesintl
05-09-2012, 08:12 PM
wonder what unclenakdude would suggest :)

nakman
05-09-2012, 08:36 PM
Sounds like you need a quad cab Tundra with a tow pkg. Both bikes will fit fine in the bed and the little camper will thank you for it. :drink:

Out of the question. I don't want another truck, not this year, unless it's a really pretty FJ40 or early Bronco I just can't resist. Not in the market for a tow vehicle... and speaking of constraints, I can't do a larger trailer either, I've got a 7' wide opening between my garage and my neighbor's fence, so anything wider than this camper or my utility trailer won't fit in the back yard, without some serious landscaping and adding a gate to the other side of the yard. which also isn't happening.

nakman
05-09-2012, 09:26 PM
wonder what unclenakdude would suggest :)

that's a great question. Can you summon him? I thought you guys were roommates or something..

Until then, let's have a closer look at the trailer in question. One correction from above, it's a "Sedona" model, not a Santa Fe. the Santa Fe is the smaller 8' box, what I had before this one.

nakman
05-09-2012, 09:27 PM
the extension cords are for additional electrical, all 12v. The PVC is a Ham antenna mast, also an Estes Rocket tree recovery tool. Two more...

Jenny Cruiser
05-09-2012, 09:52 PM
unless it's a really pretty FJ40 or early Bronco I just can't resist.

I thought you had Romer's 40. :confused:

Jacket
05-09-2012, 10:10 PM
Damn that's a challenge - this is why so many folks have F250's though...

What happens if you carry both bikes off your back bumper, and then extend that carrier to attach the camper to it?

Someone here at work recently had an E3 up for sale at $9500 - I think it was a 2006. I should see if he ever sold it.

rover67
05-09-2012, 10:15 PM
why not just bolt it to one of these:

http://boulder.craigslist.org/pts/2949700229.html

nakman
05-09-2012, 10:23 PM
Chad: I did have Romer's 40, but sold it a few years back.. it lives in Texas now.

Matt: an E-3 is pretty big, and heavy. the 100 isn't that much better than the 80 at towing. It's better, but not like a big pickup truck or anything. And a double carrier extendo deal before the camper just sounds sketchy, that's a lot of weight hanging off of there. I also like to still get into the back of the truck, even with the camper hooked up- something you lose when you do a receiver thing. Would like to stay at 3500 pounds, total, when loaded. Otherwise feel I'd just wear out the 100 needlessly, and get even worse mileage.

Marco: have seen lots of those, but too wide to fit in the back yard. Any 'real' trailer is going to be wider than what I can reasonably back into the gate- want to keep it at 7'.

Beater
05-10-2012, 07:38 AM
what is that 14ga at best? looks twisty. but that's me... You know I am all for thin gauge, but closed/boxed and with gussets.

I think your looking at purpose built not "lets hope this works"..

j

Red_Chili
05-10-2012, 09:08 AM
I'm with Beater. That frame won't take it.

nakman
05-10-2012, 10:05 AM
Alright, alright, I'm coming around.. dang it. :( maybe I should just sell out and get this thing: http://denver.craigslist.org/rvd/2966538732.html

rover67
05-10-2012, 11:41 AM
you could flip it upside down and beef it all up....

nakman
05-10-2012, 11:53 AM
I showed that take-it-ez to the :Princess: and the response was "I don't want to be in a box!" :lmao: So as I see it I've got three options now.

1. Build a new trailer frame, new axle, slap my existing camper on top of it, build in a large bike platform in front, maybe a smaller one in back. Could probably do this for $1500 and a bunch of garage time.

2. Sell my current camper, then get a Fleetwood E-2, or similar. 9000-1500= $7500 to flip that, plus a mess of CL transaction time.

3. Build something totally different, similar vein to what Josh did: http://forum.ih8mud.com/trailer-tech/561416-utility-trailer-project.html
sky's the limit on budget, but realistically $3k even with a new RTT.

I am leaning towards door #3. Will likely run what we got for the summer though, so this could be next winter's project... or at least after my basement is done :o.

corsair23
05-10-2012, 12:18 PM
My :twocents: worth :hill:

Knowing you, you don't want too much bigger because then you'll start limiting yourself on where you can go with it. Remember me at Area BFE with my popup? Sure, doing a SOA on it would have alleviated many of the concerns and probably saved the landing leg that I ripped off on the way out, but still IMO you couldn't get much bigger down where we were.

You are going to have to compromise because you want to bring a lot of toys (don't we all?).

I know the tops of the popup can't support much weight, not much more than an air conditioner or a bicycle rack but could you build something that would allow your motorcycle to ride up top, more centered over the axle, that would still allow you to raise the popup, and not be a complete cluster? :hill:

I was thinking something like those racks they make for Jeeps that you can use with a soft top or not top. Might add an unacceptable amount of width though trying to tie it in to the frame...

60wag
05-10-2012, 12:46 PM
I saw one of these trailers and thought it was a nice design. Not quite as cushy as a pop up but smaller, lighter and can carry some weight.

http://www.jumpingjacktrailers.com/features.html

nakman
05-10-2012, 01:20 PM
Yeah they sell those Jumping Jacks at JAX in Lafayette if you ever want to go see one. Cool concept, but worst of both worlds, IMO... the utility trailer is small, and not that beefy. The tent is, well, just a tent. there's a fold-up table inside, then 2 beds. So big clunky utility trailer with your weight way up high, converting to a big airy tent with no popup amenities. And what about the rest of your gear- under the quads is where the tent and poles go, but your action packer of motorcycle gear, tote of pots & pans, stove, grill, sleeping bags, pillow, clothes, shoes.. all need to ride inside the truck, in the half of the back not already consumed by the fridge. not happening! :)

If I were a two guys going hunting with a quad it would be a different story, perhaps.



Jeff I've thought of a rack for above the camper, but can't see it happening in a way strong enough to support a bike, yet removable enough to get out of the way to let the camper rise. Cool thought though, other than I don't really want the bikes way up high like that for wind drag, side hill, tree branch, and pain to push them up there reasons.

subzali
05-10-2012, 01:44 PM
Why not build your utility trailer with some removable stuff that can be used to tie down the bikes? And then drag two trailers? That's not a big deal.

What's the size of the deck on your utility trailer? It's gotta be able to fit two bikes, facing opposite...

Or go Woody style w/ a twist - Diesel tow rig - gooseneck - slide-in popup - 100 series - dirtbikes :D

nakman
05-10-2012, 02:01 PM
You saying put a receiver on the utility trailer, then pull the popup behind it? or the other way around? That sounds dicey either way.. :eek: or by pull two trailers are you saying just take 2 cars. That's more realistic.. and for that one trip this summer where we need all the bikes and the camper, probably most practical.

The utility trailer is 5x10, yes it can easily do 2 bikes in front facing forward, and third in the middle facing back.

subzali
05-10-2012, 02:54 PM
I'm thinking pull the utility trailer with the popup, both behind your 100. Seen it done before, not sure if that was on a Coleman or something more sturdy...

subzali
05-10-2012, 03:07 PM
Check this out: doing a search for people pulling two trailers:
http://www.cumminsforum.com/forum/attachments/towing-hauling/37197d1315276577-anybody-tow-two-trailers-tandem-2011-toyota-jam-134.jpg

Red_Chili
05-10-2012, 04:35 PM
Yabut, that is a 5th wheel pulling the car trailer. It's a nifty advertisement for a diesel pickup, but... I bet Johnny Law would be your new best friend in most states.

wesintl
05-10-2012, 04:50 PM
http://news.pickuptrucks.com/2009/02/state-laws-can-pull-you-in-many-directions-if-you-double-tow.html

nakman
05-10-2012, 05:18 PM
Yeah that's just not going to happen. Plus, I don't even own a green 80.



However, here's a camper no beefier than mine, with hitch, promoting pulling a double http://denver.craigslist.org/rvs/3005562019.html

nakman
05-11-2012, 11:10 AM
I'm going to look at a Jayco Baja 10y tomorrow.

JXD106y-8a4

Jenny Cruiser
05-11-2012, 10:31 PM
Jayco gets my vote. :thumb: My Grandpa used to pull a 16' boat behind his 35' 5th wheel here in CO and never had any problems. He could back them both up too.

nakman
05-14-2012, 10:09 AM
Saying no to the Jayco.. just can't do it. Particularly the 10y, as with the 8' box it's just too small. Plus, that's a lot of money to drop on another camper, and once I had the bikes unloaded I'd just be bummed I had a smaller camper. There are others on the market as well, but all pushing the $10k mark, which is way more than I want to spend.

But here's an E-2: http://denver.craigslist.org/rvs/2960228907.html

Here's a gazunga huge Starcraft: http://denver.craigslist.org/rvs/2988939921.html

A Forest River http://denver.craigslist.org/rvs/2994176538.html

another ridiculously huge one http://denver.craigslist.org/rvs/3014262399.html

If money, space, and practicality weren't constraints, I'd like to go this route though for $15k. http://denver.craigslist.org/rvd/2988471040.html this could be the next phase, presuming the whole family is into bikes in 4-5 years.


For now, I'm going to stick with what we got, and work on getting a new axle with 5x150mm hubs and M14 studs. Then build up a new frame & do a box swap.. plan 1 above.

60wag
05-14-2012, 12:14 PM
On all of those models it looks like the axle is in the middle of the box and the hitch end of the frame is extended for the cargo platform. That looks to make for a lot of tongue weight. Am I missing something? I would expect the axle to move forward as the trailer gets longer.

Red_Chili
05-14-2012, 12:29 PM
It still has to tow right unladen, though. Nak, you may be in the market for airbags.

nakman
05-14-2012, 02:52 PM
Help me with the math here... What multiplier would I use against bike weights, to calculate that bike's change in tongue weight? What's the TWM (tongue weight multiple?). I realize the bike's position on the tongue is also a factor, so presuming I could potentially do 4 bikes that's a separate variable for each; TWMa, TWMb, TWMc, and TWMd.

Bike*TWM = change in tongue weight, resulting from the bike.

So what I need to do is predetermine what I want my tongue weight to be unloaded (or with 1 propane and 1 battery), then estimate my TWM variables for each bike. Then I can work through scenarios loading from 1 to 4 bikes and calculate their net effect on tongue weight. Seems simple enough, right?

nakman
05-14-2012, 03:08 PM
A, B, C, and D are in order of how I'd load them. Not sure if I'd get to 4, but this exercise will help answer if that's even attainable. Also I am guessing 150 as my starting tongue weight, assuming 1 propane tank and 1 battery on the tongue (which could change, if necessary) I'm going to start with the following guesses:

TWMa = .61
TWMb = .72
TWMc = -.35
TWMd = .80

I could also estimate some bike weight variables..

Bike A = 240 my 250 XCF-w
Bike B = 110 Gavin's 50
Bike C = 185 Gavin's 80, when Violet gets his 50
Bike D = 250 My 450, when MIchele gets my 250 :)

Putting all of that into a calculator, it seems very possible to stay within my receiver hitch's limit of 650 pounds tongue weight. My current slide-in ball thing says 500 pounds though, that's a better target anyway. Here's a calculator to see how this works out.

nakman
05-14-2012, 03:14 PM
So far my first thought is move the 50 pound battery to under the bench seat in the camper, behind the axle. Or, under the trailer somehow (Red Chili style!). As I add bikes, the tongue starts to look pretty heavy and I'm guessing that 100 pounds is still enough weight to safely pull it empty?

60wag
05-14-2012, 03:56 PM
Your TWM should be based on the distance from the axle. A bike over the axle will not affect tongue weight. As the bike moves away from the axle it creates a moment about the axle which can be resolved into a force at the hitch.

nakman
05-14-2012, 05:08 PM
Your TWM should be based on the distance from the axle. A bike over the axle will not affect tongue weight. As the bike moves away from the axle it creates a moment about the axle which can be resolved into a force at the hitch.

Agreed, so do you have a way to more accurately calculate that? Or better guesses than

TWMa = .61
TWMb = .72
TWMc = -.35
TWMd = .80

??

60wag
05-15-2012, 10:15 AM
If you are carrying two bikes, this setup might be the most simple with the existing trailer:

http://denver.craigslist.org/mcd/2990474425.html

Maybe adding just the 50 or 80cc bikes to the trailer would be much easier due to their low weights?

Jacket
05-15-2012, 11:13 AM
^That's pretty cool, and a good price. I might pick one up.

Red_Chili
05-15-2012, 11:55 AM
I can't imagine the tongue weight would work out well with towing too! Maybe with a load equalizing hitch arrangement, dunno. And of course ANY play WHATSOEVER will result in some hair-raising sway.

DAMHIK...

Pretty cool by itself though. I wouldn't put two bikes on it...

nakman
05-15-2012, 12:07 PM
I agree Bill, I could see doing 1 bike on there, then one on the trailer, but 2 bikes trailer is well in excess of my 500 pound load limit.

Plus, it looks really busy back there- any sharp turn and you'd crush the bikes with the camper.. as it is already I have to watch one of my tail lights when backing up, or it'll hit a tie down bar for the bike mount on the trailer. One of my motives for just modding the camper is getting the bikes back and out of harm's way when towing, plus allowing for access to the rear hatch even when it's all hooked up.

Jacket
05-15-2012, 12:45 PM
I was thinking one adult bike and one pint size bike (for me).

corsair23
05-15-2012, 12:52 PM
How about using ^that^ on the back of the popup, assuming you can add the receiver hitch to the popup in a way that is structurally safe?

I agree that using one of these right off the back of the rig would add more tongue weight than something further back toward the axle of the popup.

What tongue weight is typical for you now and how does the popup tow? If it tows great now then I would do what you can to keep the tongue weight as close to what it is today. Heck, you could do some tongue weight tests before you get too far down the road and see what is acceptable to you.

I know for me with the 80, the tongue weight I end up with when I have just a full propane tank on the front of the trailer is about perfect. A little less than perfect with a battery in the battery box. With a battery, and two full propane tanks up front like I had for the trip to Area BFE for CM10, the popup towed like poo. On the trip home with 1 empty and a 1/2 full propane tank and the batteries moved inside closer to being over the axle it towed great again.

I guess what I'm saying is that even though per Toyota you can have say a max of 500lbs of tongue weight doesn't mean you are going to be pleased with how the camper tows...find the sweet spot and try to stay as close to that as possible.

Here is a fun read (start at page 12) --> http://www.faa.gov/library/manuals/aircraft/media/faa-h-8083-1a.pdf

If you could find some of the inputs needed then you could use the same formulas used to determine CG on aircraft for your popup :D

60wag
05-15-2012, 01:50 PM
My old pop up had a tounge weight around 100lbs and towed beautifully. What I liked about it was that I could hitch and unhitch the thing by myself. I had only to get the ball close to the trailer socket and I could pop the thing in place. Once the tongue weight exceeds 250lbs, it becomes a bit more difficult to get things lined up - especially if you are on uneven ground. I thought that putting some of the moto weight on the truck (rear carrier) and less on the trailer would keep the trailer in a manageable range. Also as the trailer gets longer, backing it up to manuever gets harder.

Also, it might be worth investigating a class 4 receiver to increase the weight limit.

nakman
05-15-2012, 03:16 PM
Well I think it's fair to say I'll most likely transition from a Class III receiver to a completely unrated, untested, you'll die if you even use it, integrated receiver hitch- like you have.

"they" say that ideal tongue weight is 9-15% the total trailer weight. I think I will be in the 2200-2800 pound range depending on load and quantity of bikes. So while attractive, I think 100 pounds is going to be on the light side..

corsair23
05-15-2012, 03:52 PM
Also as the trailer gets longer, backing it up to manuever gets harder.

I'm the opposite...

IMO longer = easier

Shorty trailers are squirrely IMO...Although you need more room to manuever the longer trailers so there is a tradeoff

MountainGoat
05-15-2012, 04:13 PM
I'm the opposite...

IMO longer = easier

Shorty trailers are squirrely IMO...Although you need more room to manuever the longer trailers so there is a tradeoff

Ditto. Give me a 45 foot flatbed tractor trailer rig any day over those twitchy little stubby adventure trailers. You can drive backwards for days no sweat. :hill:

Red_Chili
05-16-2012, 08:00 AM
Long trailer short truck = happiness.

Short trailer long truck = need to become very adept at planning. :lmao:

Of course... I now have a short trailer and long truck. :gaah:

Beater
05-16-2012, 08:00 AM
seriously dude. go write the flipping check and be done with this nonsense.

http://www.campingworld.com/rvsales/travel-trailer-toyhauler/7/

every time I have tried to make the best of both worlds, I end up with the mediocre of one. just food for thought.

j

nakman
05-16-2012, 10:01 AM
Have some faith John, it can be done! look at this bad boy: http://denver.craigslist.org/rvs/3018080158.html

Red_Chili
05-16-2012, 10:06 AM
And there ya go. I bet a boat trailer can be had cheep.

60wag
05-16-2012, 12:18 PM
Now that looks like a much better solution than fabbing your own trailer frame.

Beater
05-16-2012, 01:21 PM
So why not buy that? A whole lot less effort and if it sucks, sell it off.

nakman
05-16-2012, 01:41 PM
So why not buy that? A whole lot less effort and if it sucks, sell it off.

to quote directly...

Too gross. Please take our current pop up to a shop that enhances campers for a living.



:lmao:

Red_Chili
05-16-2012, 03:43 PM
to quote directly...
Quote:
Too gross. Please take our current pop up to a shop that enhances campers for a living.
:lmao:

Yeah... good luck with that. They will enhance it with anything from the catalog and sorta install it. You better get nose surgery to pay a fabricator to build it for you.

Just because the example is... um... inexpertly executed, doesn't mean the basic idea is worthless...

subzali
05-16-2012, 03:58 PM
to quote directly...



:lmao:

Is that from Michele? :lmao:

wesintl
05-16-2012, 04:55 PM
to quote directly...



:lmao:

yeah... but isn't yours going to look pretty much the same? :eek:

nakman
05-16-2012, 05:02 PM
But in our case we have history with the older, gross camper. And therein lies the difference, I suspect.

rover67
05-16-2012, 05:13 PM
that's a funny quote :)

Beater
05-17-2012, 08:01 AM
back away tim, back away.




lol

nakman
05-17-2012, 09:06 AM
I just had a repeater trailer flashback. :)

Corbet
05-17-2012, 10:44 AM
Build a new frame for your existing camper. Build a receiver into the back of it for a two bike mount. Then place a water or fuel storage system on the tongue for an adjustable weight bias to keep your tongue weight in line. Something as simple as 6 or 8 scepter/jerry can holder. Fill what you need when you need it. You can remove them to lift it off the ball when solo.

Red_Chili
05-17-2012, 11:00 AM
NakBallast system!

DaveInDenver
05-17-2012, 11:13 AM
Two water tanks, fore and aft of the axle with a pump. So obvious. :-/

Corbet
05-17-2012, 11:23 AM
Two water tanks, fore and aft of the axle with a pump. So obvious. :-/

Depending on the location of the tanks it could remove itself from the ball:hill:

nakman
05-17-2012, 12:21 PM
I like the thought. Was thinking more along the lines of what Corbet said- have a small shelf and receiver in back, then just shift cargo accordingly. But the dual water tank with self-adjusting pump does sound like a trick mod though. Though how much water do I really need to carry? 1 7 gallon jug seems to last us the weekend.

nakman
05-17-2012, 12:26 PM
What would be even cooler would be more essential cargo attached to a movable tray, beneath the camper. 2 batteries, 2 propanes, jack, the spare tire, generator.. all on a movable slide supported by two tracks inside the frame rails, and a big lead screw that moves it as far forward as under the tongue deck (also for access), and as far back as right next to the axle. Probably 200 pounds of stuff you wanted to carry anyway. So instead of a pump with 2 tanks of water, it's just a motor turning a threaded shaft.. and you could have some type of auto/manual/off switch to control the thing.

edit: you could also do a second tray behind the axle, tied into the same motion. it hits the forward limit with the forward tray is under the deck, and its rear limit is against the back bumper, when the forward tray hits the axle. I wonder if 3' of movement is enough to get the adjustment you want, that's likely the limit here. :confused:

wesintl
05-17-2012, 12:26 PM
water is heavy.. why would you want to always haul it around?

Corbet
05-17-2012, 12:31 PM
Though how much water do I really need to carry? 1 7 gallon jug seems to last us the weekend.

Water weighs 8 lbs per gallon or 64 lbs per cubic foot from memory. So you'll need to do the math on how much depending on distance from the axle to counter balance the bikes. If you drink all your ballast I'll refer you to this thread for the solution: http://www.risingsun4x4club.org/forum2/showthread.php?t=17825&page=4

Dave will know where I'm going with this and can adjust his idea accordingly :p:

corsair23
05-17-2012, 12:34 PM
water is heavy.. why would you want to always haul it around?

Because it is no longer water, it is ballast :hill:

Not unlike a plane that transfers fuel from tank to tank to maintain CG...Although fuel for a plane is much more critical than water for a trailer :D

Tim, I'm liking the idea more and more of making your own frame and swapping the camper body over to it...I even know a guy that could fab that up for you if you don't have the time or energy to do it yourself :thumb:

Heck, go double axle on it with brakes and the whole nine yards. You might need Dave's help though once you figure out the frame length to determine where the axles and camper need to sit so it all balances out. But, starting from scratch you can set it up for whatever weight you plan to put up front, or out back :)

Corbet
05-17-2012, 12:35 PM
What would be even cooler would be more essential cargo attached to a movable tray, beneath the camper. 2 batteries, 2 propanes, jack, the spare tire, generator.. all on a movable slide supported by two tracks inside the frame rails, and a big lead screw that moves it as far forward as under the tongue deck (also for access), and as far back as right next to the axle. Probably 200 pounds of stuff you wanted to carry anyway. So instead of a pump with 2 tanks of water, it's just a motor turning a threaded shaft.. and you could have some type of auto/manual/off switch to control the thing.


Another good idea if space is available. Just moving a pair of big batteries is a lot of weight. But if they or it is already located on the tongue you'd have to find something else heavy to have on an adjustable system.

60wag
05-17-2012, 12:58 PM
Wouldn't it be easier to just mount the axle on some slides - something like the semi trailers. Then you could load the trailer, measure tongue weight and move the axle as needed. Now strain gauges in the coupler, a controller and an electric actuator are a given. Also you'd need enough body lift so that the fenders wouldn't limit axle movement.

Beater
05-17-2012, 01:37 PM
tim, take this as a complement.

your brain is a dangerous place.

nakman
05-17-2012, 01:45 PM
Ha! thanks, John. I think we could knock this out in a Saturday, just need some angle and a mess of old roller blade wheels. :lmao:


but yeah Bruce, maybe moving the axle is simpler, and it gets to the same point. How would one secure it in place, the spring hangers attached to a movable channel, with pins or something that slipped through the frame every 3" or so? How much travel would you actually need anyway, on say, a 14' long trailer body (excluding tongue, 10' camper + 4' deck).

Red_Chili
05-17-2012, 02:02 PM
You'd want to move the axle two feet or more. Might be involved but if you jack up the trailer it would be easier. Or use electric camper jack motors maybe... dunno.

It would be cool to be able to do it when underway, such as when you discover maybe your seat-of-the-pants guesstimate was off a bit... right after you clean your shorts due to an unanticipated sway event.

subzali
05-17-2012, 02:04 PM
You'd want to move the axle two feet or more. Might be involved but if you jack up the trailer it would be easier. Or use electric camper jack motors maybe... dunno.

It would be cool to be able to do it when underway, such as when you discover maybe your seat-of-the-pants guesstimate was off a bit... right after you clean your shorts due to an unanticipated sway event.

Is a 100 series going to do the tail-wagging dance as bad as a lifted 4runner?

60wag
05-17-2012, 02:16 PM
I'll bet some of the solid modeler whizzes here could whip up a model with mass built into the components and design the adjustable axle assembly. I just got through the first lesson in Creo (ProE), so I'm still on the basics. BTW, SolidWorks and Inventor are WAY better than Creo ...... if you have a choice.

Corbet
05-17-2012, 02:18 PM
Does the axle need to be centered in the wheel wells of the trailer. They don't look very big from you picture but I'm not there.

If the axle is set on a "slider" you simply lock the trailer brake and use the tow rig to move the camper on top of it. Then lock it in place with what ever system you choose.

Red_Chili
05-18-2012, 09:07 AM
Is a 100 series going to do the tail-wagging dance as bad as a lifted 4runner?
No, the 4Runner with the drop hitch from hell will expose any trailer loading mis-steps in a millisecond... :lmao:

But... any misloaded trailer can be a safety hazard.

nakman
05-29-2012, 12:15 PM
Hold everything, the search is over! http://denver.craigslist.org/cto/3044196252.html

60wag
05-29-2012, 01:08 PM
I was a bit skeptical until I saw the roof mounted spoiler. Go for it!

Corbet
05-29-2012, 01:40 PM
Pictures for the record:

nakman
05-29-2012, 01:57 PM
:lmao: "Just walk away...."

rover67
05-29-2012, 02:05 PM
no way, I could dig a cheap diesel.....

rover67
05-29-2012, 02:20 PM
i guess the 8.2 diesels don't have such a great rep.

nakman
07-31-2012, 11:36 AM
No way, the business exists!! http://denver.craigslist.org/rvs/3173765625.html

I hate it when she's right... :banghead:

nakman
10-02-2012, 09:32 PM
so only took 2 months, but got it done. the guy was a pleasure to deal with, let me customize it however I wanted. I ultimately went for a new axle, new rims, rear receiver, 42" deck, and the Lock & Roll hitch. Pretty happy with it, and the test run this past weekend went well. those trailer tires are 30x9.50 r15.

nakman
10-02-2012, 09:34 PM
I did notice the added weight going over the passes though, and got about 10mpg all weekend. Guess that's the tradeoff with bringing a lot of stuff with you. It's a little low on the tongue side, but a new rear bumper on the 100 should raise that an inch or two, if that's not enough I can always lift a little more, or go air bags or something. Or just not worry about it.

Air Randy
10-03-2012, 12:31 PM
Flip your receiver hitch tongue over so instead of dropping down it goes up. That is usually good for moving the tongue up a couple of inches.

wesintl
10-03-2012, 12:39 PM
He's got a lock-n-roll now so it's going to be however high the receiver is...

MountainGoat
10-03-2012, 12:51 PM
That looks awesome Tim. If it tows well I wouldn't worry too much about the levelness of the trailer.

corsair23
10-03-2012, 01:33 PM
He's got a lock-n-roll now so it's going to be however high the receiver is...

Looking at the lock-n-roll site it appears they sell different models, including ones that mount to a receiver hitch. I don't know what model Tim got. My max coupler mounts to a receiver so I was able to get the tongue height of the trailer about perfectly level by flipping my receiver from a drop to a slight rise.

Personally I would do whatever is feasible to get the trailer level when towing, especially one of that size and weight...the trailer will tow better and be safer to tow overall. Towing the popup to BFE with the tongue pointing down made for a sometimes scary drive...I could feel the trailer trying to push the ass end of the LX around much more than when the popup is level.

corsair23
10-03-2012, 01:38 PM
Tim,

I'm curious what the approximate cost was to do this? I assume that you have new stabilizing legs etc. as well for when you are camped? I love our popup for the creature comforts but being a lowrider makes it impractical for anything but improved campgrounds :( - heck, I ripped off another stabilizing jack just backing the stupid thing up the hill to where it gets parked at the in-laws' place...I'm down to one working sabilizing leg :doh: - Time to buy some that can be tucked up higher and have Timztoy weld 'em up to the frame for me :)

nakman
10-03-2012, 01:59 PM
I can actually pick high or low on the locknroll receiver side, by rotating it 180, but I'm already flipped so the tongue is as high as it gets. I still think it'll go up a couple inches once I get a new bumper, so could be a moot point.

My total cost was about $2200. Few hundred bucks more for the LockNRoll hitch, also getting a new axle was more too. Other upsells included having him paint the whole thing, also the rear receiver, and the little railing around the deck. dave @ toyhaulerconversions.com if you want to get more specific, but figure $1500-$2500 from low to high end.

Stabilizers? I'm still using jack stands. I have a milk crate inside that I just toss them in, along with a set of 3-6" pieces of 4x4's for added height. I picked up a set of RV jack stands at a garage sale this summer to upgrade some of the HF 2 tonners, they have threaded rods but the procedure is the same- get the camper level side to side (usually by digging a hole for the tire on the high side) then lower the tongue so the back is about 3" too high, then position rear jack stands. Crank up the tongue until it's an inch or two too high, then position front jack stands. Lower tongue and the camper is supported 7 ways- 2 wheels, 4 jack stands, and the tongue jack (usually left with little load)

I had to remove my ladder to compensate for the bigger tires, also my wiring is is a mess in front- a flat 4 extension cord from the Depot got me by, but I need to clean it up and actually install the battery. I'm keeping the propane inside as well, just putting it on the deck once I unload the bike, not sure if I'll do a permanent mount for that or not. My best estimate is tongue weight is around 250 pounds, unloaded, so any battery, propane, motorcycle, or piece of firewood just adds to that.

corsair23
10-03-2012, 03:05 PM
Good info Tim :thumb:

I'll have to give your way of stabilizing the trailer a try :) - I have some stands with threaded rods in them that I've been using on the one side that had the stabilizers ripped off and that worked ok...Now that I'm missing 3 stabilizers though, the jack stand method sounds like a good approach.

Jenny Cruiser
10-06-2012, 12:18 PM
Saw one of these the other day. Kinda :cool:

http://www.sylvansport.com/camper/motorcycle-tent-trailer/

Red_Chili
10-06-2012, 07:58 PM
Very sweet build Tim. Well done.

nakman
07-11-2013, 11:22 PM
Spent a little over-due time this week with the camper. Got a few things knocked out that were on the list:

1. Relocated the propane hookup from the front to the back. This not only frees up valuable front deck space, but also takes a little more weight off the tongue. I had been tossing the propane inside the door until this. I used a HF receiver hitch that I welded on top of the new frame. Cut out the back side so the crank of the camper is now accessed through the receiver :cool: This serves as a place to mount a tank today, but ultimately will be just center support for a big piece of diamond plate over the top, which will become my new back bumper. But yes, I have 2 receiver hitches now.

2. Cleaned up most of the wiring, put it inside looms, etc., and mounted the battery. I'm still not convinced I want the battery in the center of the deck and not off to one side, but I did this in a way that's easily movable. I have quite a few attachment points that I've removed from trucks over the years, so was able to re-purpose a few of them for this. Made some backing plates from Simpson ties... :hill:


3. Added a few tie-down points to the front deck, including two on the old frame that now hold 2 bolts to secure my new ramp. HF had 2 ramps for $60 on sale so I snagged them, this is great as not only does it upgrade both of my trailers, but I'm able to use the ramp on the camper as my new access to the camper itself, since the stairs had been rendered useless. Once you get over the chicken house feeling, it's actually really stable and easy to use, took it to Argentine a couple weeks ago and the kids adapted easily. I shove the lip of the ramp between the old frame and new frame underneath, literally have to wiggle it for a couple minutes to get it out again... pretty slick.

nakman
07-11-2013, 11:26 PM
Will be using the camper again soon so I'll get a pic of the ramp in action. Also I have one more mod in the works which should be complete by this weekend... will post a pic when done.

And I ordered up a brake controller and wiring kit from etrailer, based on info found in this thread http://www.risingsun4x4club.org/forum2/showthread.php?t=17839 I think I messed something up when I installed the ARB bumper as I have no trailer lights anymore... so I'm scrapping all the old stuff and starting over. Those parts don't get in until Monday though. But long term plan is to get the round 7 plug and actually have brakes, which will be a nice upgrade particularly the next time I'm moving motobikes.

Jacket
07-12-2013, 12:05 PM
Lookin' good Tim - it's a great setup for a dual purpose toy/camper trailer. That new frame you had built is BEEF for sure.

Just don't get rear-ended with that tank hanging off the back....

nakman
07-12-2013, 01:32 PM
Lookin' good Tim - it's a great setup for a dual purpose toy/camper trailer. That new frame you had built is BEEF for sure.

Just don't get rear-ended with that tank hanging off the back....

Yeah, a good argument for getting my brake lights hooked up . Though half the time you'd need to plow through a bike before you get to the tank, so it'll be a mixture of propane and gasoline in your crumple zone... don't follow too close! :eek:

nakman
07-17-2013, 09:36 AM
Got my new tires. 30 x 9.50 x 15" Maxxis Big Horns. I'll be strapping the spare to the front deck for the short term, eventually will make a carrier for the rear bumper.

farnhamstj
07-18-2013, 10:17 PM
That looks good Tim

nakman
09-03-2013, 10:21 AM
...eventually will make a carrier for the rear bumper.

Got around to making my carrier. Also the first official 80 series parts have made it... the pulley came all the way from northern CA for the privilege here (thanks again BrentBA!)

Started with a piece of angle, chopped it up and 6 sticks later had it zapped to the frame.. :weld: Added in a couple tie plates for good measure, but at least half those welds have decent penetration so am not too worried about it. I also cut the long side a little long, needed a MSFH to get it in position, so that interference fit makes the welds almost cosmetic. The short one is on the back bumper so will be easy to monitor.

nakman
09-03-2013, 10:25 AM
The obvious comment is about how low the tire is... yeah it's lower than I wanted but it's underneath the lifter access, so couldn't be tucked up any higher. I thought of putting this on the front of the camper, but then it kinda blows my less tongue weight crusade... but considering how long and low the rest of the setup is, I'm thinking it'd be some freaky series of events to smack that spare on something the truck's rear axle, hitch, front of camper, and camper axle miraculously cleared. It's not like we're running Cliffhanger with a camper here.

Overall pretty happy with it, and lots more room on the deck up front for cargo.

rover67
09-03-2013, 10:35 AM
It looks like your swing-out on the 100 works with the trailer hitched, that's nice.

nakman
09-03-2013, 10:37 AM
It looks like your swing-out on the 100 works with the trailer hitched, that's nice.

Indeed, thanks for noticing! there's 14 hours I'll never get back.. :rant: