Throne for the Queen - Enclosed Trailer Build

Discussion in 'Mazdaspeed 6 Build Diaries' started by phate, Jun 16, 2020.

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  1. phate

    phate Motorhead

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    After buying a used trailer (circa 2001) and nuking some axles bearings, I sold it. I sold it with the intent of getting a new trailer before the next season. Thus, the queen needed a new throne.


    1.jpg




    I compared pricing and a fuckillion reviews before deciding to save some cash and get a trailer from Georgia. Now, if you know anything about Georgia trailers, you know there's a LOT of horror stories with them. I landed on Rock Solid brand enclosed trailers. They seemed to have the right combination of build materials and good reviews to make me feel pretty comfortable buying one. I had a few "must haves" on the trailer, and a few additional items that we would like to have, and decided to just custom order one. The lead time from order to pick up was 16 days.

    The basics of the trailer:
    8.5x28' enclosed Rock Solid Brand
    20200526_102650.png

    The basics include a couple noteworthy items - 8" main beams. Most trailer manufacturers use 6" main beams up to ~30'. Rock Solid uses 8" on 26'+. 16" O/C floor studs - some manufacturers use 24". You can get tighter spacing for a cost, but I didn't think it was necessary.

    The options:
    • Flat front (for easier shelving and cabinetry)
    • Add 6" to height (overall 7' interior height)
    • 7000 lb torsion axles (because of GCWR things and CDL requirements, this will keep us under)
      • I had 3500 lb axles on the last trailer and the bearings always ran HOT when loaded. I could cruise about 65 mph on a cool day without a problem, but would have to slow down on hot days. I ended up servicing the bearings a lot more than I should have. If you get an enclosed trailer, avoid 3500 lb axles like the plague, and upgrade to 5000+ lb axles.
      • 7000 lb axles come standard with 16" wheels, where you get into a MUCH better tire. You can upgrade wheels on the 5-6k lb axles, but the price differential was a couple hundo between that and the 7k's, so we just spent the extra cash and went 7k.
    • Escape door - for the most part these things are unusable as car escape doors. The inner fenders are too tall to open your door over, and our cars are too low. But, for resale reasons, I got one (everyone wants an escape door). They are GREAT for getting a cross breeze through a trailer, though.
    • 48" ramp flap - standard is 16", and to have any hope of getting the car on without splitter disassembly, you need a longer ramp
      • The ramp flap makes the door stupidly heavy, so get a double spring assist. We have a double spring on this one, and it's still pretty heavy.
    • .040" exterior skin. Standard is .023" or .030", but we wanted a less wrinkly exterior.
    • 1 piece aluminum roof - because leaks suck. I also deleted the roof vents so there isn't another potential leak point.
      • Push out side vents - these things are pretty trick. They can open forward or backwards. They are a little small, I have one on the upper front left wall, and another on the lower rear right wall. I kinda wish I would have gotten 2 at the front and 2 at the rear.
    • Dual LED taillights - Single tails can be a little hard to see (you can get however many you want)
    • Winch Plate - Gives you something solid to mount a winch to.
    • Steel transition flap - this little hinged flap covers the gap between the rear door and main compartment so you can roll stuff in and out more easily.
    • Stabilizer jacks - so you don't lift the front end of the trailer when loading an unhooked trailer. Also gives the trailer a more solid feel when in the paddock.
    • 8 total D-Rings - again, mostly for resale because everyone says they need more.
    • Bogey wheels - why aren't these standard on big ass trailers? You will slam the ass end into steep inclines, and these wheels take the hit instead of the outer edge of the trailer. Just get these.
    • Bar Locks on all doors in addition to just the RV locks - they're more secure, that's all.
    • Spare tire - cheaper to do it here than afterwards

    20200613_081747.jpg
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    download_20200613_091238.jpg



    Some suggestions for anyone ordering a trailer:
    • Define exactly where you want the D Rings and Winch Plate (I drew them a diagram)
    • Define where the side doors go - I was really surprised at how far forward the man door was. We didn't define it or even ask about it, so I didn't complain. But, if I could do it again, I would move the door away from the front end 3-4' - this is 16" away from the front wall.



    This thread will mostly be about how we modify the trailer to make it livable for race weekends. I'm starting with the floor and walls, then building in shelving and cabinets, and we are planning on RV style shower/toilet before next season.
     

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    Last edited: Jun 18, 2020
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  2. _Mazdarati

    _Mazdarati Resident Asshole Gold Member

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    This thing is pretty sick. Never thought about how much goes into a trailer like this.
     
    _Mazdarati, via a mobile device, Jun 16, 2020
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  3. Easter Bunny

    Easter Bunny Professional Engineer Platinum Member

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    Are you planning on sleeping in it?
    What is your tow vehicle?
     
    Easter Bunny, via a mobile device, Jun 16, 2020
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  4. phate

    phate Motorhead

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    Yep, we'll sleep in it occasionally. Going to have some sort of bed "frame" that we can set up and remove easily so we aren't on the floor. Just an air mattress on it most likely.

    Current truck is a 17 Ram 1500 with a 5.7. I pulled the 24' trailer about 25k miles with it and it did well. The new trailer is 500lb less at 4k lb unladen.

    Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
     
    phate, via a mobile device, Jun 16, 2020
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  5. Easter Bunny

    Easter Bunny Professional Engineer Platinum Member

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    Two comments. Make sure that your door locks are setup to prevent someone from locking you in if you are sleeping with the door closed. And buy this instead of an air mattress.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B07MH1HW8Q/ref=ya_aw_oh_bia_dp?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    I bought one for my parents rv as I was tired of sleeping on an air mattress and it's a million times better. Too thin to replace your actual bed but damn nice for the weekend. We were limited on how thick we could go, if you got a thicker one it would be better. Though I weigh about 80 lbs more than you so you may not need to upgrade
     
    Easter Bunny, via a mobile device, Jun 16, 2020
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  6. phate

    phate Motorhead

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    I like the mattress idea. We usually leave the air mattress inflated during the day, anyway, and it looks like won't take up much more space.

    I've been thinking about the bar locks and how we secure them open. Not sure yet how I'll do that.

    Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
     
    phate, via a mobile device, Jun 16, 2020
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  7. Awafrican

    Awafrican Moderator Silver Member

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    Just lock the padlock into its usual spot without the bar in it, no closing the bar if it's locked open.
     
    Awafrican, via a mobile device, Jun 17, 2020
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  8. phate

    phate Motorhead

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    I haven't tried it on this one, but the last trailer you could sit the bar behind the top of the padlock and it is enough to prevent the door from opening. There really needs to be something on the "unlocked" side that locks it open.
     
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  9. phate

    phate Motorhead

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    First things, first. Before we get into making the trailer livable, we need to make it easier to pull. Enclosed trailers are giant sails in cross winds, and sway can be unsettling. I'm also pulling this with a 1/2 ton truck - when you have significant tongue weight (upwards of 1000 lbs in my case), you end up causing squat in the rear (obviously), but you also pull load off of the front tires (not so obvious, but not good). So, we're looking for anti-sway and load distribution.

    Standard hitch that everyone has seen -

    20200613_085006.jpg


    On my previous trailer (24'), I used a Husky CenterLine TS 32218 load distribution hitch with friction style anti-sway built in. It worked well, but I sold it with the trailer. The anti-sway function comes from friction pads in the trunnion bar swivel mounts. If the trunnion rotates (sway or turning) then you have a resisting force from the friction pads. The trunnion bar ends have some lateral play before they start to rotate, so there's a little bit of lag before you get the resistive force.

    For this trailer, since it's a little longer and taller, I decided to upgrade a little bit to a Reese Strait Line 66130. It's a trunnion bar system, but the trailer ends have an upside down 'U' shape that nests on a steel cylinder. In order for that to move out of that valley (sway or turning), you have to overcome a friction force there, but now you've eliminated all of the slop that was inherent to the Husky hitch. Pretty cool design.

    20200520_171812.jpg



    I wanted to get a feel for how the trailer pulled without the load disto hitch. When I picked it up, I used the regular hitch and we pulled it ~100 miles. I was comfortable pulling it at ~60mph, and was getting some sway above that. We had planned on hooking up the load disto hitch, anyway, so we stopped at a Home Depot (just in case) and started the install there.

    We ended up having to relocate the battery rearward on the frame rail since it was in the way of the chain hanger, otherwise it was pretty straight forward. It took about 3 hours to set it up, but was straight forward. We tried a couple different chain lengths to get the squat out of the truck and bring the back end down, and ended up at stock height in the front (no lift at all), and only 1/2" squat in the rear. This will need a small adjustment since this is an unladen trailer with only 500lb of tongue weight.

    20200613_151931.jpg

    And the final result:

    download_20200613_153449.jpg

    Once we had it all set up, we got back on the road for the remaining 800 miles. The difference is immediately noticeable. The rear suspension feels way stiffer (you just effectively added a ton of spring that prevents the tongue from dipping down), and the sway is way reduced. We pulled the trailer at 70mph for nearly the entire trip home. It got super windy in Ohio and I slowed down a little bit, but overall the trailer pulls great. I expect a loaded trailer to sway even less because 1) it's heavier, and 2) there will be way more load on the trunnion bars, making it harder for them to move off center.
     
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  10. phate

    phate Motorhead

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    Interior wise, the floor was my first concern. Bare wood soaks up everything and gets pretty nasty in a short time. I knew I wanted to protect it, and pretty much anyone who has done a floor in a car hauler has their own opinion of what works.

    So, this is my take. I wanted something hard and abrasion resistant, but wasn't too slick when wet. Linoleum flooring gets gross, paint picks up with tires, and rubber flooring is $$$. Epoxy is where I was headed, but typically it's very inflexible - not great with 3/4" ply supported by 16" O/C floor joists. Sooo, I called up Exterior Performance Coatings and got their take on it.

    They suggested an epoxy called HyperFlex - It has some pretty incredible elasticity at 150% tensile elongation limit. But, it's not terribly abrasion resistant.

    To help with that, they suggested a top coat over the HyperFlex base coat of Aspartic 85. I tinted it with a metal gray pigment, and used a very light grit with it, as well.

    Prep work: de-trim around the floor edge. This was just a bunch of stapled down wood. I filled the screw holes and seam gaps with wood putty. I sanded the transition to the beaver tail at the rear to round it over slightly. I removed the D-rings and just taped over them, and taped along the edges to hold in the epoxy (you squeegee the hyperflex).

    Before:
    20200620_105440.jpg
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    With HyperFlex base coat:
    20200620_130603.jpg
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    With Aspartic 85 top coat:
    20200620_164550.jpg
    20200620_170527.jpg



    Quick timelapse of the process:






    Walls and ceiling are next on the agenda :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2020
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  11. Easter Bunny

    Easter Bunny Professional Engineer Platinum Member

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    Disappointed that you didn't put a giant glitter dick on the floor
     
    Easter Bunny, via a mobile device, Jun 24, 2020
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  12. phate

    phate Motorhead

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    Electric jack - yes please. These things are way too expensive to option out up front, but for ~$125, you can put one on yourself. 3 bolts and 1 wire.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2020
    phate, via a mobile device, Jun 28, 2020
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  13. Awafrican

    Awafrican Moderator Silver Member

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    Well aren't you fancy. Looks like the trailer is coming along nicely
     
    Awafrican, via a mobile device, Jun 28, 2020
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  14. phate

    phate Motorhead

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    Seal and insulate.

    I pulled all of the wall panels off:

    20200622_190050.jpg

    I think this is where the cheapness of the Georgia trailers really comes in. Nothing is sealed below the roof line, essentially. So, I set out siliconing all of the seams that I could find. I started by closing myself in and looking at all of the light infiltration:

    20200623_181936.jpg

    That' a lot of leakage.

    After sealing everything I could find, I had Johanna blast the exterior with a hose while I stayed inside looking for leaks. Sealed up a couple more and found that the door seals are terrible, too. I'll be replacing the door seals later on, but for now the other seams seem water tight. I'm going to add a couple drain holes around the bottom perimeter just in case it gets leaks in the future.

    Now we're ready for insulation. Wall studs are 1" thick, so I used 1" EPS in the walls (R=3.9) because I'm cheap, and I used 1" XPS in the ceiling (R=5). Use whatever, but make sure you get closed cell foam so it doesn't retain water. I have them positioned ~0.5" above the bottom rail so they can't get into contact with water if it does get in, anyway.

    20200702_184817.jpg

    Now we can run some wiring and add lights.
     
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  15. Raider

    Raider Administraider Administrator Platinum Member

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    Waiting for hot tub install next!
     
    Raider, via a mobile device, Jul 4, 2020
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  16. phate

    phate Motorhead

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    Did a ton of work over the long weekend, but it was all in anticipation for buttoning things back up after the wiring install (which isn't here yet). Instead of plain wood, we wanted to lighten things up a little bit so it's brighter and a little less drab. So, I stained (not painted) everything white so you can still see some wood gain. Easier than painting? No, definitely not.

    I shot it with my airless paint sprayer (harbor freight!) and back brushed it real quick. I also used this thing to prime and paint my garage and it is awesome. I laid down a coat of paint in the garage (2k sqft of paintable surface including the ceiling) in about an hour. Anyway, highly recommended.

    Ceiling panels-

    20200704_122735.jpg

    Wall panels (no trim pieces, re-hung just for this)-

    20200704_112740.jpg



    One thing I wanted after blowing up wheel bearings on the last trailer was TPMS/TTMS. It can be really hard to tell when things go bad on a trailer axle, so hopefully this will help a little bit. It has high/low pressure alarms, and a high temp alarm. It will take a trip or two to figure out crusing temps and pressures, but it should be handy.

    I tested it on the truck this morning and it reads accurately enough. It picked up the sensors in about 10 seconds of driving.

    20200706_063813.jpg
     
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  17. phate

    phate Motorhead

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    Back to the door seals.

    Both the escape door and main door have 2 sealing surfaces, but the stuff they use doesn't work to keep anything out.

    This ultra light dust seal:
    20200707_164202.jpg

    And this stuff that doesn't seem to do anything:
    20200707_164217.jpg



    I replaced those with 3M backed EPDM foam bulb seals (style H) from McMaster Carr.

    20200707_203046.jpg

    No more leaks :)
     
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  18. phate

    phate Motorhead

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    I've been doing a bunch of wiring work in the trailer getting it set up for lights and whatnot. This is a quick test of the lights we're using and the 3 way dimmer switches.



    Currently debating how/where to put the batteries. I think the current front runner is an in-floor box to keep them out of the way since I won't need to access them often.
     
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  19. Raider

    Raider Administraider Administrator Platinum Member

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    Nice and bright!
     
    Raider, via a mobile device, Jul 22, 2020
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  20. phate

    phate Motorhead

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    Got the lighting all wrapped up!






    I need to finish putting the upper trim back on, then it will be time to hang etrack, build shelves, and build a movable bed frame. I still have a couple electronics goodies to install, but I'm taking a break to install 3 phase in the garage for the newest tools.
     
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