Transforming standard camper into an offroad camper trailer

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oversite
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Transforming standard camper into an offroad camper trailer

Unread post by oversite » November 17th, 2013, 4:26 pm

Hi all,

Now I'm not really thinking about doing this but I have been thinking how I would for a while.

And while I can weld/fabricate pretty well for an amateur I know very very little about trailers and nothing about camper trailers.

Is it possible to turn an on-road/light duty camper trailer into a serious duty off road camper?
what would it involve?

new tires and better leafs, modified drawbar? increased support steel welded in?

Is there any advantage in using a rear diff enclosure/axles/suspension form the same truck as yours to maintain the same height/footprint?

Would the same approach work for modifing a boat trailer?

Anyone else thought about this?

MasterInnovator
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Re: Transforming standard camper into an offroad camper trai

Unread post by MasterInnovator » November 17th, 2013, 4:45 pm

I have seen and even built trailers that I THINK were 3mm thick, (may have been more) that have handled heavy duty quite well,even the onraod ones did quite well

draw bar will probably need abit of beefing up depending on how much weight it has to pull up hills through ruts or what have you...usually a bit of 6mm plate welded onto any beands or anything you would think as a weak point should work...I saw a thread will some one who did this which should help ya out I will try and find it for you
2011 Holden Colorado 3.6 V6 "Killa Rado"
successfully completed 2wd-4wd conversion
mod plated
Electronic to manual transfer caser selection conversion
2" lift
33's
ARB Bullbar + Modified Landcruiser siderails(unknown brand)
Custom steel canopy being made by me

MasterInnovator
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Joined: August 16th, 2013, 8:05 pm
Location: Roma, QLD

Re: Transforming standard camper into an offroad camper trai

Unread post by MasterInnovator » November 17th, 2013, 5:05 pm

if youfind a trailer with 100x50x3mm rhs frame, that would be sufficient without any modifications to strengthen it. In terms of getting the height to suit your vehicle, you could get axle/diff assembly but it does add a fair bit of weight. another thing to is depending on they trailer, the mounts for the leaves may need abit of beefing up as well
2011 Holden Colorado 3.6 V6 "Killa Rado"
successfully completed 2wd-4wd conversion
mod plated
Electronic to manual transfer caser selection conversion
2" lift
33's
ARB Bullbar + Modified Landcruiser siderails(unknown brand)
Custom steel canopy being made by me

Peter Aawen
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Re: Transforming standard camper into an offroad camper trai

Unread post by Peter Aawen » November 17th, 2013, 7:04 pm

Many 'on-road/light duty' camper trailers have chassis cracking/failure issues even tho they are used mainly on the bitumen and within their design parameters, and the number of relatively lightly constructed 'so called' off-road campers that I've seen on the tracks with broken chassis issues, springs broken, fallen off, or torn out of the chassis rails, busted tow connections, or even drawbars completely separated from the body tends to suggest that you need a solid, well built, camper trailer to start with if you want to go off road with it! Something ith full length chassis rails and a draw bar that is properly tied in to the chassis/frame & with a substantial axle & flexible suspension system underneath it all for it to work well. So I'd be really careful in choosing your 'light duty' camper to start with, cos beefing it up might be a whole lot harder than building from scratch and doing it properly to start with!!

As for the vehicle axle etc, forget it! The weight involved will reduce the payload capacity of the trailer so much as to make it hardly worth bothering, and if you do go that way, dragging all that extra weight around will cost more than you'd believe!!

It's easy enough to get a heavy duty trailer axle made to match your vehicle wheel track, and fit the appropriate hubs so you can use the same wheels and share spares as well! Then all you've gotta do is find the right suspension to hang off the trailer & carry the load without jarring everything inside to pieces!!

For my two bob, the cheap way of doing it would be either buying a 'proper' off road trailer second hand & modding to suit, or building from scratch & doing it properly from the start. It doesn't cost a heap to get them identified & certified, the last one we did ended up costing less than about $200 on top of the original build costs, and that included testing the brakes!!
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mydmax
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Re: Transforming standard camper into an offroad camper trai

Unread post by mydmax » November 17th, 2013, 7:20 pm

oversite
About 16 yrs ago I changed a normal home 6x4 trailer suspension using the front leaves of a 60 series, new larger pad front hangers and rear shackle mounts. Added shock absorbers to "absorb" and added a 50mm sq axle but used 14" wheels and Falcon, not Oldhen, bearings. Probably wouldn't use the Falcon/Fraud style again though.

With radial tyres it went a lot of places off road including the all of the Oodnadatta track when it wasn't as smooth as it is now and travelled/towed and rode well without bounce while carrying around 500kg.

Long leaf, large deflection ability ie compliance of suspension and shock absorbers will be of most benefit.

Now we use 4wd rims/tyres, parallel outer axle profiles, and often fancy suspension design.

If you look at a Jayco extending, off road, "Called OUTBACK", campervan of 10 years ago, with it's 9 leaf highly curved non compliant suspension you will see how NOT TO make a suspension system. They break off the 50mm square parallel axle from their swing arms and jarr and shake the floral out of everything inside. Seen more than one do that.

They always break on the Mereenie loop road or somewhere it isn't convenient.

Desert race vehicle large/heavy and small, use compliant, long travel, shock absorbed suspension. Why would that be?

Cheers
mydmax

stevezammit
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Re: Transforming standard camper into an offroad camper trai

Unread post by stevezammit » November 19th, 2013, 8:06 am

For my money I'd go to an eye to shackle spring type with 7 or 8 leaves, add a shock absorber each side and anything chassis wise that looked sus I'd beef up. The draw bar I'd lengthen to 2m but it would take some mucking around changing the exit angle from the trailer chassis. fish plates are great for adding strength to RHS at joins and stress points. If you went nuts and decided on independant suspension there's a lot to take into consideration, wheel offset, mounting point strength etc etc etc. If you decide to do it and want photos of a few different types of offroad suspension set ups let me know.

Gof
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Re: Transforming standard camper into an offroad camper trai

Unread post by Gof » January 13th, 2014, 3:47 pm

Just look at the rear half of most 4wd utes. A deep chassis, not too thick, long compliant springs for a soft ride with shock absorbers to control wheel bounce and a reasonably strong axle. Thirty five years ago I built a camper trailer that I towed with a (new, then) MQ Patrol over most of Australia including the Ghan railway line Alice to Dalhousie via Chambers Pillar. It had 11R15 tyres, the same as the car and was 2.4 metres long in the body, the same width, height and wheel track as the car. The springs came from the back of a CJ Bedford 1 ton van. Fully loaded I could (just) lift one wheel off the ground from the back corner, it was little more than a tin tent and it had a better tide than the 4wd. The chassis was 59x100x2.5 RHS welded to a 1.6 body with an aluminium canopy, the axle I fabricated from alloy hollow bar with 50 and 65 bore wheel bearings in fabricated hubs with the electric brakes hung inboard from the hubs, it looked like a semi trailer axle, the hubs were vented to a filter 1200 above ground. A bit over designed but never gave any problems.
My current trailer is an aluminium ute tray that I mounted above a 150x50x1.6 chassis with a underslung 50mm square axle and HD camper trailer springs.

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