Building your own trailer

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by knox gsl, Aug 10, 2010.

  1. knox gsl

    knox gsl LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,255

    I've been looking at my trailer after having it for 2 years now. I have considered what it would require to bring the level of quality that it needs to be to stand up to daily use. I've also called several trailer manufactors and got quotes to build a trailer with my specs on it. What I'm thinking is maybe building one over the winter and have it ready by next spring. I believe I can build a better trailer than alot of these that I have seen on lots around here. The only trailers I really like that are factory built are Big Tex and Corn Pro trailers (I've been to the Corn Pro factory very impressed and they are Amish built). The reason I would like to build my own is to ensure better welds, less money and better fit and finish. If you have any input give it to me.
  2. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,943

    Personally, I would never take on this kind of project. The manufacturers have jigs and fixtures to ensure proper alignments. If there is a quality control problem, then you may have a point about doing the welding better. But, I have never read any threads about weld control on trailer manufacturing. They have far too much liability not to do the job properly.

    A trailer that comes loose, breaks while in transit, or otherwise becomes a projectile is a major hazard. I'm not suggesting anything you build would become a problem, but the track record of established manufacturers is too sound to try to justify your own efforts. Sure, it sounds like a fun project if you are into metal fabrication. But, for me, the risk of failure, over against a piece that is coming from a well-known manufacturer. A trailer is not like a sulky, for example. The liability at failure is much higher.
  3. knox gsl

    knox gsl LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,255

    I see what you mean about the liabilty of it, I'm just not really wanting to drop $4K to have a trailer that I'll need to do another $1,500 of extras. I just don't really get why the off the shelf trailers are such junk compaired to what you could do in your own shop.
  4. hornett22

    hornett22 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 396

    I could easily build a trailer or a log splitter in my sleep

    .I have crunched the numbers and after time,materials,parts,electricity and welding consumables,you will not save any will actually cost you more.

    If you were modifying an already existing trailer,that is another story.
  5. knox gsl

    knox gsl LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,255

    I have thought about redoing the sides on my my current trailer and replacing the fenders. I just can't find a good heavy duty trailer around here for less than $4K and have it exactly how I want it. When you did the math on it did you take into account of using angle iron or square tube and was that with 3500lb or 5200lb axles. The trailer I plan on building would last me 10 Years easy, but I wouldn't expect to see an angle iron trailer last more than 3 or 4 years of daily use.
  6. Texas Lawn

    Texas Lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 262

    its all about time and money. I think you would be better off expanding your business and picking up extra work and letting someone else build the trailer. Yeah it may be cheaper to do it yourself, but that is if your time is worth nothing.
  7. knox gsl

    knox gsl LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,255

    I have alot of fee time around here in the winter, to cold to work but no snow, so I'm trying to make best use of that time. If I can save a good chunk of money building my own I may do it. Like I said before noone really has what I'm looking for and would be a custom build to begin with. If I keep mine I want to lower it with 4" drop axles and raise the sides up 2 feet and put a sheet metal skin around the outside. I would also like to have a hydraulic brake system on the trailer and quit fooling with the electric. The hydraulic brakes are nice they are proportionate to the load and work with any tow vehical just by hooking up the trailer. I've also considered selling my trailer and using the cash to finance the materials for the next one and that way I can have 5200lb axles under it. Either way I go will be winter time.
  8. hornett22

    hornett22 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 396

    I'm actually moving back this fall.

    I believe it was andgle and C channel and a3500# axle.This was a few years ago when steel was quite a bit less than it is now.And I got a discount through work.

    Labor and materials are a lot cheaper down there than here in Connecticut.that helps.My buddy down there had a trailer made in Alabama and saved a lot.even after driving down there to get it.

    you might want to draw up your plans and get some measurements and go price steel.

    I would look for a used one on Craigslist or Ebay.Even if you have to go to GA,KY,or VA.

    I see them pretty cheap here all the time.
  9. bc3xx0

    bc3xx0 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 304

    Unless you have a back door connection, it would probably be cheaper to just buy one. Steel is way over priced if you just want a little bit. Bulk pricing on everything down to the nitty is how the manufacturers get it done.

    The best way to build one is to find an old beat up one cheap and restore it.

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