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building dump trailer

Discussion in '<a href=http://www.lawnsite.com/buttons/jump.php?i' started by cat320, Apr 28, 2001.

  1. cat320

    cat320 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 823

    How much harder is it to weld up a dump trailer or make a frame to accept a dump bodie.The price of a dump trailer around here is $6,000 if you go with a foster they want around $9-10,000.Has any one ever made a one before also those are made to carry bobcats etc. which is why they are a little more.
  2. 75

    75 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 992

    Hi Cat - just rolled in!

    I don't know what pricing is like in your area regarding material/shop rates/running gear/etc but building your own trailer is possible - a LOT of work though! Especially when it comes time to move the assembled frame around during construction. Most fabrication shops which take on these projects have an overhead crane in the shop, allowing them to set the frame up in any position required for welding in the flat position - easier, faster & most efficient welding position.

    By the time you figure out costs for material, axles, wheels & tires, lights, hitch, flooring (if you're going with wood) and everything else you need, plus the time it will take to build a trailer, that $6,000 + doesn't look so bad!

    A frame to accept a dump body is a simpler undertaking, one piece of advice I would like to offer is, whether you're building a trailer or a dump body frame, avoid using tube.

    Reason? Tube will hold moisture & salt and rust from the inside out - even if the assembly is sealed right up, there is still going to be condensation resulting from temperature changes. I know, I have had to fix trailers with this problem :mad: and it is not fun! Better to use channel, angle and/or beams as required so there are no closed areas to hold the moisture in.

    Keep us posted on what you decide to do and I'm sure there will be lots of good advice here!
  3. Catcher

    Catcher LawnSite Member
    Messages: 166

    Hmm, a friend of mine built a trailer that he hauls his Bobcat with, it's heavy duty U-channel construction and he built it by himself in his garage. The dumptrailers I've seen for $6000 all have hydraulic dump mechanisms, hence explaining the elevated price. To build one yourself it should be MUCH less. I'm going to build another one myself also, it won't be a dump, just have a fold-down gate. I'm guessing it'll cost me ~$800.- by the time it's roadworthy.
    You can buy a new one for the same money but I enjoy doing it and it'll be a little heavier duty than the store-bought ones.
    If you are not sure as to how to build one, there are several plans/ prints available for various styles of trailers. They outline material specs, cutlength and offer some tips as well. Places like Northern Hydraulics, Farm supplies or the likes sell them for about $20 - $35; they also offer all the goodies to go on them.
    You can look up the cost for axles, lights etc. and guesstimate the steel weight (here it goes for ~ 30cents a pound) to come up with a cost.
    Unless you're building some utopic monster it shouldn't be a problem building one by yourself, just make sure that you're putting down some good beads.
    Good luck.

  4. Deere John

    Deere John LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 327

    After using my dump trailer for 3 years, and working on the hoist and tailgate this past weekend, I can offer the following advice:

    Hoist - use a telescopic front-mount. Mine is a scissor lift and I had to cut it all apart and re-glue and re-inforce it on account of poor initial constuction and (just maybe) some overloading on my part.

    Tailgate - I have a tailgate on mine - build the barndoor style, so you can use it with ramps for loads heavier than what the tailgate will bear.

    Hitch - I wanted a pintle hitch to dissuade others from wanting to borrow it. Works great, but the slop in the joint makes it seem rough to tow. I recommend a side-lock 2 5/16" ball coupler for better ride and control. If you move the trailer around with your backhoe/skidsteer, the pintle ring may be better. I have a ring on my backhoe.

    Brakes - on both axles

    Wear points - build in grease fittings if you are building a keeper.

    Most people over-engineer their projects because they are not sure of the strength of the steel and their welding ability. Try to not make this mistake, or you will have a trailer that, empty, weighs 3,500 lb, making it heavy and cutting your capacity if you have to go over a scale with it as we do here in Ontario.

    Have fun, - take the time to line things up properly.
  5. stslawncare

    stslawncare LawnSite Bronze Member
    from DE
    Messages: 1,484

    hey, i have never built a trailer, pulled one either, BUT i have researched them greatly. i agree on building ur own trailer, great thing, nothing like custom making ur own. are u choosing dump trailer cause u need the dump ability? if the trailers main purpose is to carry skid steer then why not a heavy duty trailer with expanded metal floor, i say expanded metal floor cause a lot easier to clean up, hose off skid steer then floor and all done. i agree with the plans from northern, they are the best, do ur shopping well and can save a lot of money, i found that out myself.
  6. 75

    75 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 992

    Good points everybody - I didn't mean to say "don't do it", just be sure of what you're getting into. Building a trailer doesn't really fall into the "rocket science" category but it does get pretty involved.

    John - I know what you mean about discouraging the "mooch factor". I have to admit I'm still partial to a pintle hitch, although you're right that a ball hitch steers & rides nicer. 2-5/16" is good & heavy and not as many people run that size on their trucks.

    In addition to the suggestions posted already, may I add the following?

    Fabbing: Make sure your work area is good & level. If not, level the trailer frame up with blocks/shims as required during the intital fabbing so you have a good foundation to build from. Only tack-weld the parts in to begin with, making sure everything stays square & level. Then, to keep things from twisting out of shape while welding, tack-weld temporary bracing in the corners. Every trailer is different, so just how many braces you need will depend on how solid the assembly feels once it's all together.

    Welding: As much as possible, do your welding in the flat position. Again, every project is different but generally, a good way to help minimize distortion is to do the same thing you do when tightening down lug nuts or cylinder head bolts: divide the project up into a number of different areas and avoid welding any 2 adjacent areas in a row.

    Lighting: I like the sealed-beam lights that pop into rubber mounting grommets - Truk-Lite is a common name, although there are others too. These lights are designed for easy replacement: they snap into the grommet & the wiring plugs into the light. Cost is reasonable - if you want to go really deluxe you can get LED lights for the same mounts, but they are $$$.

    Trailer wiring plug: As I mentioned over in the Lawn Care forum, I like using a 6-pin big-truck style connector. (You can use the "real" big truck (7-pin) plugs if you like, but they are about twice the size) I have a plug on the truck AND on the trailer, that way there isn't a cord with a male plug end hanging out in the weather when the trailer is parked. Just remember to keep track of the "pigtail"!

    Good luck with the project - it's a nice feeling to be able to say "I built it" when asked where you bought your trailer!
  7. Highpoint

    Highpoint LawnSite Member
    Messages: 153

    I'm starting on my second personal build trailer. It will have a bed of 18' and a 4' tounge. The back ten feet will dump. There will not be a ramp in the back but on the curb side. This trailer will be built specifically to haul our two Walkers with GHS. The dump box will be lined with plastic sheeting similar to the snow plow moldboard covers to let the grass floooowwww. Two 5000 lb axles with brakes. The lift will be a 4000 lb sizzor lift that I salvaged. Electric hydraulics. Should turn out quite well. The main frame will be 4" channel with the top frame 3" channel. I'll put up some pics eventually. I use a Lincoln 255 Mig welder and crank it up for good penetration. 1st trailer was a simple 16 foot to haul my bobcat. No problems. Good Luck
  8. 75

    75 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 992

    Lookin' forward to the pics Highpoint!

    I would imagine your electric hydraulic unit is similar to a snowplow powerpack, will you have a battery on the trailer or run off the truck's electrical system? I was just thinking that a good way to get power to it from the truck would be to use (fairly small) welding cable for your ground and power leads, and use welding cable quick-disconnects. Simply have 1 male & 1 female end on the trailer so you can't mix them up. Powerpacks like their juice, this will ensure that plenty of current gets back to the trailer.

    I've never had to run anything like a powerpack on a trailer, has anyone out there used this approach? Just wondering if it would be practical - it seems like it would work, but maybe I'm overlooking something!
  9. Highpoint

    Highpoint LawnSite Member
    Messages: 153

    use truck battery. Welding cable with quick disconnects. Same thing I useed on my large goose neck to run the winch. Works great!
  10. Deere John

    Deere John LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 327

    I use the same system to power my Warn winch. Welding leads to the square holes in the front bumper. I have the winch mounted on a 2x2" tube that either fits the rear hitch or a front hitch that adapts onto my Boss RT III hookup. If I want to use the winch on the rear, I simply add in more cable from the welder. This seems to be a case of "great minds think alike" (as opposed to "fools seldom differ"). :D

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