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I am in the process of building a trailer. Frame is 32" x 48". Body will be 34"x 54"x 24" tall. I am thinking of using a tongue that will be 40" beyond the front of the trailer. Does this sound about right? I want to use1.5" square tubing for the tongue but I cannot find a coupler for anything smaller than for 2" tubing. I know I can us spacers but didn't really want to. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.
 

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1.5" is pretty small really. The Harbor Freight trailer has a 2.5" C channel tubing. I would use 2.5 if you could, it will fit the tongue much better, and you can find replacement tongues at Wal Mart if need be for 2.5 ones.

Yes, the longer the tongue, the better it will handle. Many people who built their own trailer attest to this. I extended mine almost 24" longer than stock.

But I still see pics of trailer with extra short tongues, but to each their own. But mine handles like a charm with about 35 pounds of weight on the hitch.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
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2.5" really seems large for such a small trailer. I guess I could go with a 2" C channel tongue. Is the Harbor Freight 2.5" C channel tongue fairly light gauge steel to keep the weight down? It will make it easier to get the coupler if I go 2" or 2.5". Thanks for the reply.
 

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Yes, it is, and I call it a C channel since it is not completely enclosed on the bottom part of the channel.

Mine measures 0.15" thick, but that includes the powdercoat paint they use.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
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Thanks SiliconSam,Iunderstand C channel. Most of the strength comes from the vertical sides so to keep the weight down I will use a C channel tongue with a little thinner side wall than I planned to use with the 1.5" tube. I am thinking the tongue will be about 43" from the front of the frame. I f anyone has a concern about this please share them with me. I want to do this right. Sam if you added about 24" what is the overall length of your tongue? Must be about 60".
 

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51" from front rail to tip of tongue. Here's a pic taken from the start of it's 4K maiden voyage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
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Silicon Sam, thanks for the quick reply. I am going a little longer now. I am going to put the tongue on and then test pull it with some weight to simulate a loaded trailer. After I am sure it will track well then I will paint it and put the box on.
 

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I built the cooler rack and made it attach to the trailer with a clamp arrangement. That way I could either take it off and build another one if I got a different cooler, or even slide the cooler forward or back as needed. For weight all I did was add ice to the cooler, or drain water as needed.
 

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Great tips Sam...I have seen some really nice "home made" trailers here and some factory made ones that are to die for....I looked last night at a member trying to sell his "Beer Keg" trailer....Nice looking rig and priced reasonable too...It would be great if some member, if they haven't already, put some drawings on the forum of how to build a trailer either from scratch or using a Harbor Freight , Northern Tools basic trailer kit.... Everyday on my patrol at the Mall, I have to pass the Sears automotive center and in the window there are all these car top carriers and I am always thinking of what a super nice trailer one of or all of these car top carriers would make...But alas I will never built one nor probably never tow one, but it is nice to dream....I realize that what works great for one guy might not be right for someone else....But your tips helped one member get his trailer headed in the right direction.....

Claude.....
 

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Recommended tongue length is usually figured at 1 1/2 times the width of the axle. You can adjust this as needed to accommodate your needs.

Here's a good shot of mine with the tongue extended for the addition of the removable cooler rack.



Here's the rack on the receiver adapter.

 

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From my experience the trailer pulled worse with the long tongue so i shortened it. Seemed to sway back and forth with the long tongue.Here is a pic of the trsiler i just traded off with the short tongue
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
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dustin neal rose, I saw you had yours up for trade or sale and I really thought about it but too far away. Hope the new owner appreciates it. Guys, all of your input is really appreciated. I knew somewhere I had seen a formula for tongue length but I couldn't find it so thanks bagmaster for that input. Will get back at it again Monday or Tuesday, got to work this weekend.
 

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What causes the trailer to sway is lack of tongue weight. Solve that and it goes away....
 

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Silicon Sam wrote:
What causes the trailer to sway is lack of tongue weight. Solve that and it goes away....
Really! Lack of tongue weight? Never heard that before,but never pulled motorcycle trailers much till the last little bit either. Thanks for the tip,since you are a senior guru i will take your word for it. I have a new one that is swaying now so i will try this theory on it
 

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I have found that if I keep my tongue weight @ close to 10% of total weight (bathroom scales) it works for me . Ipull a kwik kamp with a 1500
 

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From http://www.ccis.com/home/mnemeth/ram/towsafe.htm

There are several causes of sway. For the tow vehicle...

1) Wheelbase is too short
2) Rear overhang is too long
3) Rear suspension is too soft
4) Rear-end weight is too much
5) Rear cornering stiffness is too low

For the trailer...

1) Tongue weight is too little OR too much
2) Center of gravity is too high
3) Tongue length is too short
4) Trailer frame is too flexible
5) Trailer suspension is too soft
 

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Ours are 60" from center of axle tocenter of ball. The trailers don't sway either empty or loaded under normal conditions.


We've been pulling them since '81.
 

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Triker Mike wrote:
I have found that if I keep my tongue weight @ close to 10% of total weight (bathroom scales) it works for me . I pull a kwik kamp with a 1500
Yup, common wisdom says 10-15% of weight on the tongue. I use a fish scale, so I can take it with me when I travel..
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
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All great info and really appreicated. Can't wait to finally try mine out. Got a ways to go yet but I plug along at it, take my time and hopefully not have to redo anything. I try things I have never done before (build a trailer from scratch) to challenge myself and learn. I try to pick experienced peoples minds and learn from them. Wealth of knowledge and people willing to share it on this great site. Thanks again.
 

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Silicon Sam...

Howdy from San Marcos! you and Bagmaster have some pretty snazzy looking trailers... are they home-made? If so... can you direct me to where you found the axle and spring assemblies?
 
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