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Small cargo trailer design/issues?

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  • #575840
    Jpg-woodworking
    Pro
    Tallahassee, FL

    As the wife and I have been discussing having a kid lately, my current “tools in the back of my Land Rover + open utility trailer for materials” is no longer going to work. I want to keep it as compact/lightweight as possible, so I have been working on layouts and measurements. The trailer will be somewhere between a 5×8 and a 6×10, I’m not going any bigger at this point in time. It is also blazing hot here 90% of the year, so I have no desire to have a “mobile workshop” or have to climb in and out of the thing all day as is commonly done.

    The majority of my tools are in L-Boxxes, I have around 15 of them right now. I saw a setup on another site where shelves/racks were built behind the side door, which would let me grab everything without being inside the trailer while taking advantage of vertical space for a compact footprint. This would leave the rear half of the right side of the trailer for bulky tools like my table saw, miter saw, and compressor.

    The left side would be open along its full length for materials, hauling debris, or delivering furniture in bad weather. I’m thinking about using something like a lawn/garden cart with an A-Frame on top of it like the glass trucks use. This would allow me to roll the cart out, load materials, and roll it back in, then reverse on the job site if I am unable to park the trailer right in my work area.

    The biggest concern with this setup is that the majority of the weight will be on the right side of the trailer. Is this as simple as adding a stiffer leaf spring on that side, or it is going to be dangerous to drive? I plan on having electric brakes on the axle.

    The second issue is whether or not a 5×8 will be enough space, or if I have to go bigger. Obviously only I can determine that, but I am big on minimalism and maximizing space with a good layout. Everything I normally deal with would fit inside the 8′ length, and I would have a roof or side rack for the rare times where I haul 12′ or 16′ material.

    Finally, I’m not sure whether to stick with the L-Boxxes or get rid of them for something else. They do keep me organized, and my only complaint with them currently is getting to something on the bottom or behind in the stack for a quick job. With a shelf/rack system that would be alleviated. I’m thinking about getting an L-Cart to hang on the inside of the door that I could grab the boxes I need and roll them up to my work space, if I am unable to park right there.

    I appreciate any advice or experiences you guys have. A van isn’t an option at this point as it wouldn’t solve the kid issue.

    #575857

    Trying to encolse your trailer for tools my not be the best option . If I was you I would look into a used Mini van . If your looking for child seat space and tool / material storage . The back seat fold Down into the car . The rear seats come out super easy . You can then fit 4×8 sheet goods or tools .

    Also you can just leave the cars seats in when driving them around with your tools stored in one place for easy parking and storage over night .

    Always willing to learn .

    #575908

    Can you keep your tools as they are and just use the trailer for storage and carrying materials, you may not need to take it out as often as if your tools are in it. Also, locating tools where they are easy to get at while carrying anything else may be difficult in a small trailer

    #575913
    JimDaddyO
    Pro
    Wawa, ON

    This may be a crazy idea and I don’t know if it will fit your needs. I am assuming an enclosed trailer.

    Raise the floor of the trailer and get (or build) a set of those truck bed drawers. They come in various depths, so that would determine how high you raise the floor. Most of your tools would fit in the drawer system, accessible without having to actually enter the trailer. This would also keep the permanent weight as low as possible. Anything else stored could be far enough off the new floor so sheet goods can lay flat on the floor, eliminating one side being heavy.

    Just a “first blush” idea off the top of my head. Could probably use a lot of refining.

    http://diyprojects.ideas2live4.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2015/10/TruckBedSystem1.jpg

    My You Tube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCA5AretE3xPoVDV61AxUdUA

    I don't do a fast job. I don't do a slow job. I do a half fast job.

    #575923

    This may be a crazy idea and I don’t know if it will fit your needs. I am assuming an enclosed trailer.

    Raise the floor of the trailer and get (or build) a set of those truck bed drawers. They come in various depths, so that would determine how high you raise the floor. Most of your tools would fit in the drawer system, accessible without having to actually enter the trailer. This would also keep the permanent weight as low as possible. Anything else stored could be far enough off the new floor so sheet goods can lay flat on the floor, eliminating one side being heavy.

    Just a “first blush” idea off the top of my head. Could probably use a lot of refining.

    http://diyprojects.ideas2live4.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2015/10/TruckBedSystem1.jpg

    I was thinking that for me at one time, I didn’t have the number of boxes he has, and maybe should have put more thought into it. Just didn’t like the idea of a pull out in a trailer. Also thought about making it like a concession trailer so I could open from the sides for the tools.

    #575937
    Jpg-woodworking
    Pro
    Tallahassee, FL

    The pull out drawers are a decent idea, I had thought of doing them in my Land Rover but it still won’t give me enough space. FWIW I already have the rear seats out of it, and have a 4’x6′ cargo area 4′ high full of tools. The only thing that would give me the space I need without a trailer would be a crew cab long bed truck. I had one in the past and don’t miss parking it.

    On top of the crazy prices people want for trucks these days, I would need to add a topper, bed slide, and rack, which adds even more $. The other advantage to the trailer is that as my company is growing, I’m doing more and more running around and bidding during the day. With a trailer I could drop it at the job, get my guys set up, and then do what I need while leaving them fully equipped.

    I have some time to work on this, so I’ve been paying attention and making notes about what works and doesn’t work daily, and specific situations where the trailer would be a pain. I may just pull my trailer around for a couple weeks whether I need it or not to see if it drives me crazy.

    The downside to the drawers would be losing the ability to roll stuff in and out of it, which would be a nice change coming from lifting things into my SUV currently. I’ve made a list of everything I carry and have been doing sketches on a layout, it looks like with 2′ of the L-Boxxes and larger tools on the right side, and 1′ of 5 gallon buckets, tool bags, ladders, levels, etc, on the left side, I would have a full 2’x8′ in the middle for materials. That should be sufficient for what I generally do, as if I have a lot more I have my open trailer, and if it is a deck or something larger I can have them delivered.

    #575952

    sounds like you know where you are headed, and doesn’t sound bad for you

    #576129
    kurt@welkerhomes.com
    Moderator
    Owatonna, MN - Minnesota

    the one thing you will find with trailers is that no matter what size trailer you have, it will never be big enough. I have a 16′ set up for thr framing crew and a 12′ set up for trim work. I really should go to a 20 or better for the framers and put the trim stuff in the 16′. O would never try to fit into antthing smaller than a 12′

    you should also consider the length of the materials you haul. sometimes it is nice to be able to haul them inside instead of outside and exposed to the weather.

    #576179
    JimDaddyO
    Pro
    Wawa, ON

    the one thing you will find with trailers is that no matter what size trailer you have, it will never be big enough. I have a 16′ set up for thr framing crew and a 12′ set up for trim work. I really should go to a 20 or better for the framers and put the trim stuff in the 16′. O would never try to fit into antthing smaller than a 12′

    you should also consider the length of the materials you haul. sometimes it is nice to be able to haul them inside instead of outside and exposed to the weather.

    Obviously trailers are along the same line as shops when it comes to size then. Whatever you have, you will fill and need more room.

    My You Tube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCA5AretE3xPoVDV61AxUdUA

    I don't do a fast job. I don't do a slow job. I do a half fast job.

    #576192

    If your business is growing like you said . Adding a van or truck makes more since to me then a short fixed up trailer . Don’t be scaried to add value to your company and yourself .

    Always willing to learn .

    #576298
    Jpg-woodworking
    Pro
    Tallahassee, FL

    I appreciate the input. I do also have a Chevy 1500 but it is the crew cab with a 5.5′ bed so it’s not great for hauling materials.

    Unfortunately my work vehicle will also have to be my daily driver, as my shop is across town from my house. Having to do things like take a kid to daycare, then go back to the house or shop to get the other vehicle and again at the end of the day isn’t efficient.

    Adding another insurance payment isn’t the biggest deal in the world, but it is a factor. While I may dedicate one of my vehicles as a “company truck” for an employee to drive in the future, I’m not quite there yet. A smaller trailer can easily be pulled by anyone with a hitch.

    I will make sure of it before I purchase anything, but it looks like I may be able to cram everything into a 5×8 with an unconventional layout. I’m sure a larger trailer will also come down the line, along with a heavier duty vehicle to pull it, but it could be an addition rather than a replacement.

    I’m still open to other options, but haven’t found something that seems better yet.

    #576301

    I appreciate the input. I do also have a Chevy 1500 but it is the crew cab with a 5.5′ bed so it’s not great for hauling materials.

    Unfortunately my work vehicle will also have to be my daily driver, as my shop is across town from my house. Having to do things like take a kid to daycare, then go back to the house or shop to get the other vehicle and again at the end of the day isn’t efficient.

    Adding another insurance payment isn’t the biggest deal in the world, but it is a factor. While I may dedicate one of my vehicles as a “company truck” for an employee to drive in the future, I’m not quite there yet. A smaller trailer can easily be pulled by anyone with a hitch.

    I will make sure of it before I purchase anything, but it looks like I may be able to cram everything into a 5×8 with an unconventional layout. I’m sure a larger trailer will also come down the line, along with a heavier duty vehicle to pull it, but it could be an addition rather than a replacement.

    I’m still open to other options, but haven’t found something that seems better yet.

    Can you sell the chevy truck . Then buy a better hauler . What year is it .

    Always willing to learn .

    #576326

    Have the previous threads on trailers been helpful?

    #576347
    Jpg-woodworking
    Pro
    Tallahassee, FL

    Truck is a 2006, I could sell it but as I said, all that I can see working well is a crew cab long bed, which is a pain as a daily driver, I’ve had them in the past.

    I have read the previous trailer threads, and borrowed several great ideas from them. Unfortunately, most people set them up the same way, as “mobile workshops” with shelves and small bins down either side and a center aisle, which isn’t the best setup for me. I’m looking for an efficient/lean system that duplicates my current setup with just a little more room, plus a bit of space for materials.

    What I’ve come up with so far is a 5’x8′ trailer with a side door and ramp. All of my power and smaller hand tools will fit in L-Boxxes in a shelf system behind the side door, without being clicked together. I can hang a dolly on the inside of the door so I can open it, grab what I need, and roll it all in with one trip.

    Down the left side of the trailer I will have a full length slot 1′ wide and 4′ high for sheet goods, studs, etc. On the right side I will be able to roll my miter and table saws in on stands and lie them down flat on the floor. Above that, I will build something similar to the Bedslide, where I will have a 4’x6’6″ platform that completely extends out the rear of the trailer for other tools and supplies. I will be able to reach anything on it from both sides without having to step inside the trailer. It will also allow me to build different shelf systems that sit on the platform, so I won’t have to rebuild the entire trailer of my setup changes.

    Ideally, I would be able to order a V-nose trailer with a separate door into the nose compartment for rarely used supplies or things for a specific job like hardware, grout, etc.

    The only downside to this setup so far is not having a large open area to haul demo debris or deliver furniture, but I will still have my open 4’x8′ trailer which has worked well for those tasks so far.

    I appreciate all the input and am glad to learn from others experiences.

    #576549
    bethepro
    Keymaster
    Mt Prospect, IL

    Where’s @dabbs. I thought he had a thread just on modifying his trailer.

    Email us at bethepro@bethepro.com

    #576584
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Where’s @dabbs. I thought he had a thread just on modifying his trailer.

    I’m here and Yes I do, It’s mostly about adding cabinets but also on how I wired it with both 12v and 120v adding a breaker box and using an RV converter. Yous may find it interesting and helpful with some of my ideas and methods 🙂 http://bethepro.com/forums/topic/aluminum-race-trailer-cabinets/

    #576588

    Truck is a 2006, I could sell it but as I said, all that I can see working well is a crew cab long bed, which is a pain as a daily driver, I’ve had them in the past.

    I have read the previous trailer threads, and borrowed several great ideas from them. Unfortunately, most people set them up the same way, as “mobile workshops” with shelves and small bins down either side and a center aisle, which isn’t the best setup for me. I’m looking for an efficient/lean system that duplicates my current setup with just a little more room, plus a bit of space for materials.

    What I’ve come up with so far is a 5’x8′ trailer with a side door and ramp. All of my power and smaller hand tools will fit in L-Boxxes in a shelf system behind the side door, without being clicked together. I can hang a dolly on the inside of the door so I can open it, grab what I need, and roll it all in with one trip.

    Down the left side of the trailer I will have a full length slot 1′ wide and 4′ high for sheet goods, studs, etc. On the right side I will be able to roll my miter and table saws in on stands and lie them down flat on the floor. Above that, I will build something similar to the Bedslide, where I will have a 4’x6’6″ platform that completely extends out the rear of the trailer for other tools and supplies. I will be able to reach anything on it from both sides without having to step inside the trailer. It will also allow me to build different shelf systems that sit on the platform, so I won’t have to rebuild the entire trailer of my setup changes.

    Ideally, I would be able to order a V-nose trailer with a separate door into the nose compartment for rarely used supplies or things for a specific job like hardware, grout, etc.

    The only downside to this setup so far is not having a large open area to haul demo debris or deliver furniture, but I will still have my open 4’x8′ trailer which has worked well for those tasks so far.

    I appreciate all the input and am glad to learn from others experiences.

    What are used V-nose trailers going for around your area . I like what you talked about at the end of your post . Have a open trailer and a closed is the best of both worlds .

    Always willing to learn .

    #577951
    Toolbox
    Pro
    London, Ontario

    You can add a leaf to the “heavy” side of the trailer or add an air bag system to the axle. The heavy side could cause issues during turns so I would also suggest a sway bar system, try local salvage yards for parts to keep the cost down.

    #578372
    Jpg-woodworking
    Pro
    Tallahassee, FL

    Well, it was an interesting week and I learned a few things about this potential setup 🙂

    My work truck overheated on Monday, the coolant reservoir cracked. Easy fix but had to have one shipped, and it will end up being over a week with the hurricane. Moving a bunch of tools from my work truck to another SUV that wasn’t set up to haul them was a huge pain, if I had my enclosed trailer it would be as easy as swapping trucks out. This is pretty important if you look at break downs, accidents, etc and want to keep working efficiently.

    The other thing to take into account is that I may need a slightly larger trailer than I had hoped. While I could get all of my current tools into a 5×8, I may have to add more duplicate tools in the near future. Running 3 larger jobs simultaneously this week, my 2 shop vacs and 6 extension cords weren’t quite enough.

    I bought the Ridgid 7 1/4″ 18v miter saw a couple of weeks ago, and will be picking up their brad nailer soon too. With a very streamlined tool kit that can fit in the back cargo area of an SUV, I could drop the enclosed trailer at larger jobs and then run the smaller punch out tasks by myself without needing to pull tools out of it.

    I will also be incorporating some large Rubbermaid totes with complete painting tools, dropcloths, etc in them that I can give to one of my guys so they will have everything they need for basic tasks if the trailer is somewhere else.

    There aren’t a lot of smaller used trailers for sale in my area, and the ones that are don’t seem like great deals. $1,500 vs $2,000 isn’t a big deal if you look at putting a set offers and bearings in it, and re-wiring it.

    I may go look at some today if I can find a dealer here.

    #578374

    When I bought my trailer, the dealer showed me E-track as an option. I liked what I saw and bought track & fasteners to add to the trailer. It was a great move for me because it hauls different size items that all need to be tied down before moving. Check into this to see if would be of help to you. Here is a link:

    http://www.uscargocontrol.com/Van-Trailer-Products/E-Track-Straps-Tie-Downs?utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=e-track&utm_content=770397139&utm_campaign={BING-USCC%20E%20Track%20Tie%20Downs}

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