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Widening the rails on my trailer

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

  1. Likestomow

    Likestomow LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 997

    I have a problem and want to get some advise on how I plan to solve it.

    I have a 6’-1” wide trailer. I was supposed to be 6’-6” wide but the guy who made it goofed. It was delivered to me so late last year that I just accepted it as is and have lived with it ever since. But now I really need the extra width and don’t have time to have a new trailer made.

    It is a tubing trailer with a 2” top rail about 14” off the bed. The top rail is mounted directly above the frame, and I am wanting to move it to the outside of the frame to gain the needed width (6 more inches). Here is what I had in mind….

    I am planning to cut off the top rail about seven feet from the rear. I then want to lengthen the 12” upright support tubes by 4”. I am thinking of then welding on some pieces of channel to the outside of the frame and finally welding the upright supports (along with the top rail) on to them. If I make the pieces of channel stick out by say 1”, I will gain an additional 2” in overall width, so that is my thinking.

    I then plan to also lengthen the top rail about 6” and tie it into the original part of the top rail section where it was cut, using gussets made from ¼” steel plate.

    I am hoping I won’t compromise the strength and payload of my trailer by doing this. Any useful comments would be appreciated. Thanks.
  2. 75

    75 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 992

    One thing I've learned from doing is, you'll be further ahead in the long run to replace the top rail & uprights with new tube than cutting and splicing 4" onto the uprights and 6" on the top rail. It will be both easier & make for a nicer looking job when finished.

    If you DO prefer to splice them, a good way to do this is to find another size tube that will slide inside the rails & uprights and use pieces of that to "sleeve" the connection. It will be stronger and make welding the joint easier since I would imagine the tube your trailer is built from is fairly light wall - around .125" (1/8") or possibly .188" (3/16")

    From what you describe, it sounds like the outside of the top tube is in line with the outside of the frame. You mention needing to gain 2" per side, if you were to simply attach new (longer) uprights to the outside of the frame you could gain 2" per side and not require the channels. Joining the new top rail to the existing narrower section will work and not compromise the strength of your trailer, but I'm thinking it might be just as easy to widen the top rail from front to back. Then it would look "factory".

    Just a couple thoughts to ponder! (And of course, I'm making these suggestions without being able to see the actual trailer!)
  3. Likestomow

    Likestomow LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 997

    Rob, thanks for your reply. First the thickness seems to be about 14 ga., so it is thin. Your suggestions of using a smaller tube inside to form a splice is a good one and I'll definitly consider doing it that way.

    I wish I could just go from front to rear with the modification, but I have a trimmer rack welded on the right side (two posts). I really don't need the added width in the front because I only use that area for accessories. I do, however, have a long spring mounted to the right side to assist in lifting the tailgate, so that will also have to be moved out to accomodate the wider top rail.

    I know it's going to look somewhat "hacked", but at least it will be functional, and right now that is what I need most.
  4. 75

    75 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 992

    Hadn't thought about a trimmer rack when I suggested going full-length with the new top rail.

    Actually, if you do a nice job of joining the rails it shouldn't look "hacked" at all. Same with the spring mount on the right side. Nice clean connections give a good professional appearance, so does capping the ends of the top rails at the joint. I would leave the uprights open at the bottom however, so they don't trap moisture. (I know you don't get the winters like we do up here, but even condensation can build up inside a closed tube and eventually rust it)

    Going by your description, sounds like you're on the right track with your modification idea. And if the tube is that light I don't think it was carrying much of the load to start with, so IMO you won't be making your trailer weaker as a result.

    Good luck with the project!

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