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Cargo Trailer Conversion Build - 7x12?
#1
Hey Folks-

I'm new to the site and have been reading/lurking for a couple weeks now. I've waffled between buying a cargo van and as someone pointed out with a cargo trailer and the F-150 I drive, I can disconnect the trailer and drive around w/o it as desired. It also solves the problem of storing/paying for/insuring my truck while in the van.

Backing up a bit...I'm keenly interested in trying out a different way of life that sheds the rat race - but need to co-exist with it for a while (kids, alimony etc).

I'm in the planning phase and am currently thinking of taking next summer (2018) off and spending a few months giving it a try.  I'm strongly leaning Cargo Trailer Conversion and am working on dialing in the trailer size, features etc. based on price/quality etc.

Current thought is 7x12 Single Axle with 7' interior height (I'm 6'6" 300lbs) with v-nose.

Couple questions I'd love opinions on!

  1. Rear ramp or barn doors. I think I like the idea of doors but almost everyone seems to have the ramp. I have no "toys" per se to haul.  Seems easier to have the doors and maybe a smaller footprint to open/operate the doors?
  2. 7' wide or 6' wide. If I go 6' wide I can get a Wells Cargo locally in Single Axel but if I want 7'  I'll probably end up getting it somewhere (Continental Cargo) else as it seems there aren't a lot of 7' wide in single axle - and I'm trying to keep the cost down.  Looking at 7' wide to have a decent size murphy bed on it's side near the back. I also want to be able to fold the bed up and slide my fat bike in.  Probably a fold-down table on the back/underside of the Murphy.  Would love a bench sort of design opposite it to use in tandem with the fold down table... and accommodate #3 below 
  3. I'd like to have some form of bunks (perhaps fold up and opposite the murphy bed for my two kids to join me at times. This wouldn't get used a ton but having a space for them is important.  Any ideas on how to accommodate this?
  4. If I'm going to try it out for 3-4 month (summer) is it worth getting solar now or should I see how it goes?  I don't see shore power as part of the plan. 
  5. I def want some comfortable sitting/desk area. 
  6. Are electric brakes enough or do you really want self-adjusting brakes? I've seen reference to self-adjusting several times. Asked two people about em and they scratched their heads.
  7. Thinking the usall spring axel w/drop is fine - maybe get a kit to lift it up.

Other bits:
  • Plan to be generally in the western US. Hope to mountain bike. Hike.  sit in the woods. read. maybe finally start meditating regularly.  I don't expect to be trying to sleep in the city much but surely some. 
  • Deff will remove the plywood and insulate the walls, ceiling, and floor.  TBD On how much. At least 1" everywhere if not more.
  • Trying to keep it pretty basic overall. Bed, storage, water jug mounted above a bowl for a sink, some sort of cooking surface (propane camp stove?), some sort of toilet.  Laptop for entertainment and possibly work.
  • Probably will order it with two roof vents (let them cut thru the ceiling) and put an AC on one (I don't like hot)
  • Extended tongue, side door with RV handle
  • A few windows - maybe even a concessions window. 
  • Stabilizers
 
Enough for now! Big Grin

Thanks in advance for any ideas!
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#2
I'd do the rear doors, and make an inside wall with a nice door with a window. This gives you security but also some space "outside" but behind the rear doors to store dirty stuff, for example, and a "homey" front door.

That extra foot of width is huge. Apples to oranges, but I have a 102" wide motorhome and it is a foot wider than the previous one and errrhmerrrhd, so much space. Your F150 can handle it.

Electric brakes are fine. Just maintain them every year.

Go over to tnttt.com and hit the cargo trailer build thread.

I was gonna do this before I bit the built and just went conventional RV.
-Zonie
Still Workin...
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#3
(12-22-2017, 06:26 PM)ZoNiE Wrote: Go over to tnttt.com and hit the cargo trailer build thread.

Thanks for the input!

I've also been reading at tnttt.com and was wondering which site might be best for my build thread... this seems to be more about the lifestyle so I thought I'd try here. Is one more popular/better for build threads?
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#4
TNTTT has a lot of build threads, and there are some links to other blogs. Here is a bit spotty, but yes, more of the lifestyle here. You will find aspects in both sites that are complimentary.
-Zonie
Still Workin...
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#5
The layout makes a lot of difference. My 6x12 v nose is the smallest camper/trailer/RV we've owned over 30+ years. And it's the most comfortable even though it's not 100% complete (are they ever). My layout is a sofa bed down each side at the rear, that can be joined in the middle to create one huge bed. That way my KLR 650 motorcycle can ride in the middle. We're fine sleeping on 24'' wide beds when the bike is in there, like when we stop for the night at a Walmart while driving from one place to another. For a desk surface my kitchen box door fold down to the right height to work off of while sitting on a stool I keep inside. Build thread is here -http://www.cheaprvliving.com/forums/showthread.php?tid=12042&highlight=masterplumber%27s+cargo+trailer

I've done a few things since I last updated it, but you'll get the gist of it. I don't live in it full time, but I easily could. I do travel for work often, and play, so I spend about a month per year in it on average. But even though I constantly am downsizing, I still have a sticks and bricks to store stuff in which does make a difference in priorities. I think if my wife and I were to ever hit the rode full time and sell the house - probably won't happen but a guy can dream ; ) I'd probably build a 7x20 with an 8' garage at the back and a 12' living area in front. But if it is just me my 6x12 is all I'd need along with my truck full of tools and my bike. Even when at home I spend quite a bit of time in it. It's kind of become my man cave where I can go for peace and quiet, or sometimes even to do some paperwork. I just really enjoy spending time in it. Some people I understand need more room to be comfortable, but I like having everything within a step or two, and a minimum of space to clean. The key is to keep everything organize and only have what you need inside.
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duncanshannon (12-23-2017)
#6
I love my cargo trailer. 12 foot, single axle,4 -100 watt solar panels on top, barn doors, cozy, comfortable, and pull it easily with 6cylinder Dodge Dakota. It's been behind me around the state's and all over the Pacific north west. I've had several styles of beds, hammock, and now trying a comfortable recliner.
Don't hurt your brain trying to do the VERY BEST, just jump in there and give it a try.
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duncanshannon (12-23-2017), o3dave (12-23-2017)
#7
Dude, I will say this, you need to just dive in and learn, I'm on my 4th or 5th setup now trying to decide likes and dislikes and wants and such. I just bought a 7x14 and I think it's a good size. For sure go 7 wide, 8 if you can and at 12 feet you should be able to park in two parking lot spaces which for me would be really nice as the smallest I've had before required four. If I were to spend a lot of time in it I would want larger than 12 long. You didn't mention budget which I would want to know before I start advising. A few quick thoughts:

1) Bunks, I would maybe do a metal Costco pallet style rack with two of the shelves in and potentially at the end of your bed so your feet are under the lower one and you use two for shelves.
2) Insulation, I'm doing 4" of polyiso in the ceiling and 2" in the walls, I've learned the hard way not to skimp.
3) I was deal hunting and as such have a door that goes down. It's fine as I will use it as a porch but I would rather have a door that went up, barn does are fine.
4) I would for sure rather have a tandem axle for many reasons including stability in the wind.

Let me know if you wanna brainstorm ideas on the phone sometime.
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#8
(12-24-2017, 02:15 AM)TucsonAZ Wrote: Dude, I will say this, you need to just dive in and learn, I'm on my 4th or 5th setup now trying to decide likes and dislikes and wants and such. I just bought a 7x14 and I think it's a good size. For sure go 7 wide, 8 if you can and at 12 feet you should be able to park in two parking lot spaces which for me would be really nice as the smallest I've had before required four. If I were to spend a lot of time in it I would want larger than 12 long. You didn't mention budget which I would want to know before I start advising. A few quick thoughts:

1) Bunks, I would maybe do a metal Costco pallet style rack with two of the shelves in and potentially at the end of your bed so your feet are under the lower one and you use two for shelves.
2) Insulation, I'm doing 4" of polyiso in the ceiling and 2" in the walls, I've learned the hard way not to skimp.
3) I was deal hunting and as such have a door that goes down. It's fine as I will use it as a porch but I would rather have a door that went up, barn does are fine.
4) I would for sure rather have a tandem axle for many reasons including stability in the wind.

Let me know if you wanna brainstorm ideas on the phone sometime.


Thanks man! I appreciate it.

I'm gonna order my trailer soon. Pretty settled on 7x12 single axel.

The rest is just detail!

Wow - 4" on the ceiling. That's the most I've seen. Are you in the AZ heat a lot? How much difference does the color of the trailer make? I'd like a color but thinking white to keep it cool!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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#9
(12-28-2017, 04:13 PM)duncanshannon Wrote: Thanks man! I appreciate it.

I'm gonna order my trailer soon. Pretty settled on 7x12 single axel.  

The rest is just detail!

Wow - 4" on the ceiling. That's the most I've seen. Are you in the AZ heat a lot?  How much difference does the color of the trailer make? I'd like a color but thinking white to keep it cool!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Color makes a huge different!  On the side of my white stepvan was a dark brown doughnut, the surface temps in direct sun on a hot day were brutal, roughly fifty degrees hotter!  And on the roof, under the solar it was hot enough to blister the paint!!  No way I would ever do another build without the solar having at least 4 inches of air flow under them and A LOT of roof insulation, the solar gains were brutal even on a mild 65 degree sunny day!

   
   
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duncanshannon (12-28-2017)
#10
(12-28-2017, 09:52 PM)TucsonAZ Wrote: Color makes a huge different!  On the side of my white stepvan was a dark brown doughnut, the surface temps in direct sun on a hot day were brutal, roughly fifty degrees hotter!  And on the roof, under the solar it was hot enough to blister the paint!!  No way I would ever do another build without the solar having at least 4 inches of air flow under them and A LOT of roof insulation, the solar gains were brutal even on a mild 65 degree sunny day!


Wow! That's a lot!

Doesn't securing the panels become an issue? Air getting under em and wanting to rip the panels off? Plus drag!


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