Sport Bikes banner

1 - 20 of 112 Posts

·
Canyon Assault Vehicle
Joined
·
1,299 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Well, I had originally planned to post this while I was building the new bike trailer, but I ran out of time before I had to leave for Laguna Seca. I literally finished the trailer the morning before we left, and then just kinda forgot about it after I got back. Anyway...

I pretty much had to figure all of this out on my own as I was building, so I thought I would post up everything I learned so hopefully someone else who is planning a project like this wont have to work nearly as hard as I did.

This project kinda began as I was researching a way to get two people, two bikes and all our associated crap 1400 miles to Laguna Seca for the MotoGP race in July. I have a full-size 4-door pickup that can tow / haul pretty much anything, but due to the width of the Busa and the BMW R-bike I was planning on taking, they both weren't going to fit in the bed at the same time. That ended up being a huge blessing, as I don't know where we would have packed all our shit if the bed would have had two bikes in it.

I started a thread a long time ago asking about hauling options, trailers, etc, and after racking my brain and fielding advice for months, I finally decided to build me a Harbor Freight folding trailer to use on the trip. I figured I would have it as long as I wanted, and could use it for hauling bikes as well as all sorts of other stuff in the future, so why not? Besides, building shit is cool!

I ended up looking at a few pre-fab trailers that were on the market, but ultimately went with the Harbor Freight trailer for a few reasons. First, I could build it myself, exactly the way I wanted, with exactly the features I wanted. Second, it folds up, which is an anomaly in the world of bike-trailers. Third, it cost less, even after all the extra shit I put on it.

I bought the kit one fateful Saturday morning at my local Harbor Freight. They were having a sale on the heavy-duty 4x8 folding trailer, $279 down from $349. It has 12" 4-lug wheels, and came with pretty much everything I needed. I sprung for a spare wheel / tire with mounting bracket ($30), and a heavy-duty rotating trailer jack as well ($30). I went to Home Depot and picked up a 4x8 sheet of 3/4 plywood, all the deck mounting hardware, and some exterior primer and paint with some grippy texture stuff added in.

I also needed a ball for my truck, as well as some trailer-locking hardware, since I wanted to keep my new trailer mine while I was in the Republic of California. I bought a removable front wheel chock from Competition Accessories, and some HEAVY DUTY tie-down anchors from a local Farm and Ranch Supply place.


All told, when the trailer was complete, I was into it about $460, and about 3,128 swear words while building it

The directions are pretty clear, as long as the TINY labels that identify all the pieces are still stuck to the appropriate pieces. Most of the time, they were, but I had to do some Detective work a few times to figure out what the hell went where. I got the basic frame together in about 6 hours, and then took my sweet time with the wiring and the decking over the next few days.

I encourage any of you who are considering building one of these beasts to follow the directions carefully. Riiiiiight up until you reach the part about wiring the lights, that is. Then throw that shit out, and do the wiring yourself with no influence from the Chinese designers, who are fucking retarded when it comes to electricity.

The biggest problem is that the designers used a floating-ground system, and they forgot to think about the fact that electricity doesn't flow through 1/4 inch of powder-coating, and it doesn't flow through wood or air very well either. The way they direct you to run the wires simply will not work if followed, no matter what.

Now, I happen to know a thing or two about electricity, especially automotive applications. If that wasn't the case, I probably would have hung myself in my garage with the included wiring harness, but I ended up figuring out what the hell I had to do.

I'll save you guys the time, and exaplin what I did. First, run a separate ground wire from the trailer-side of the harness down each side of the trailer, starting near the hitch. Measure it all out first with the extra 40 feet of 12ga wire you just bought, and make sure to leave some major slack in the middle for when you fold it. If you never plan on folding it, do this anyway, cause youre gonna fold it eventually....got that? Run the ground WITH the other wires for the lights on each side, and use some flex-loom to cover all the wires so they don't get wet, eaten, damaged or otherwise disconnected.

Then, grind away some of the powder-coat on the top of the frame near the front running lights, splice a small piece of wire into your ground lead, and connect your ground to the exposed metal however you see fit. (I just drilled a small hole, and ran the bare wire through / around it.) Do this on each side, which grounds the rails that the running lights are attached to. Then run the grond leads to the back with the other light wires. ( Remember to use flex-loom to protect everything, and use the existing hoiles in the frame to run the wires neatly.) After you have wired up the lights as instructed, connect the end of the ground leads to the metal bolts that are attached to the taillights themselves. These bolts go through the taillight brackets, which attach to the frame. This is the only way to ground the rear lights correctly, unless you want to sand-blast the whole damn trailer.

Everything else is pretty easy to figure out after the wiring. I had bought one quart of primer, and one quart of exterior paint with the texture, non-slip stuff in it, and it was juuuuuust barely enough for two coats of paint. Buy two quarts of paint to be safe, and use about 3/4 of the texture package per quart. This makes a great surface for people and bikes to stick to.

I bought the biggest, baddest anchors I could find for front, and bolted them to the decking in the corners near the frame. For the rear, I bought some galvanized steel eye-bolts that bolt through the decking into the trailer frame itself. DO NOT use the cheesy stainless .99 cent ones, spring for the load-rated galvanized bolts. These worked flawlessy, and didn't budge a bit.

Make sure to grease the shit out of the hubs after the wheels are installed on the axle. The stuff that comes in them is mickey mouse, and will fail. I used some synthetic axle grease, and just kept squirting in there with my grease gun until I could see it pushing past the race seals. No problems whatsoever with my hubs or bearing during the trip.

BUY SOME EXTRA ZERK FITTINGS. One broke on me in CA the day we were going to leave, completely stranding us until I could find one the right size.

Buy a lug wrench specifically for the trailer. The lug nuts had to be tightened twice during the trip.

CHECK THE TIRES!!! Those little tires need 60psi to stay in good shape.

The trailer jack was a HUGE asset, it made moving the trailer around in small spaces really easy. GET ONE.

After all was said and done, I was REALLY happy with the way the trailer worked out. It pulled great, didn't affect mileage too much, and didn't move around too much at all while on the highway. I drove 75mph all the way to CA, and the tires and hubs stayed cool the whole way. I had to tighten the straps on the BMW a few times, as they stretched a bit, but that wasn't a problem. Make sure to check those things every time you stop....All in all, I am happy, and I recommend this trailer.....but ONLY if you are a competent tinkerer with some knowledge of hardware / electricity. If you are a mechanical idiot, please spare yourself the lead breakfast and just buy a pre-fab.

I guess that's it for now....I didn't take too many pics during the build, but here's what I got.

Let me know if you have any questions....ENJOY!


Here are all the parts sprawled out on my garage floor, with the front part coming together:





Finished, with BMW mounted up, ready to go.





 

·
Canyon Assault Vehicle
Joined
·
1,299 Posts
Discussion Starter #2


Here's the trailer folded up after the trip. Note that it won't close completely with the 3/4 ply deck. Close enough, and much sturdier than 1/2.

 

·
Canyon Assault Vehicle
Joined
·
1,299 Posts
Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
TeeJayHoward said:
Three things I want... A BMW, a 'busa, and a trailer. Beautiful, man. Come to think of it, that seems like a pretty nice neighborhood, and the truck looks new too... Are you loaded or something? Win the lotto?

Hahahaha.....no. Shit no.The BMW actually belongs to my friend that went with me on the trip. It lives in my garage right now, as he got deployed to Japan just after we got home from California. I am in charge of storing / selling it.

The truck is an '05, and I lease all my cars, so the payments aren't too ridiculous. I might have a cool toy or two, but I am FAR from loaded, I assure you.

:) :)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
20,922 Posts
LiterTwin said:
I might have a cool toy or two, but I am FAR from loaded, I assure you.

:) :)
He's a cop, he's not rich! That's why he built his own trailer.
That's why I don't even have a trailer! :lol :D
 

·
RESIDENT ASSHOLE
Joined
·
8,497 Posts
Building your own trailer should be the first clue that youre not bankrollin'

I thought the tape to protect from rock chips and shit was rather cute.........

I admit, its an idea I never thought of.

Then again I go broke now and again so I can afford an enclosed trailer.
 

·
Canyon Assault Vehicle
Joined
·
1,299 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
jk750 said:
He's a cop, he's not rich! That's why he built his own trailer.
That's why I don't even have a trailer! :lol :D

Tell me about it, brother! I don't know any cops that are rich.....I know some pretty well-off administrators, but nobody ever accused them of doing police work. :)
 

·
Canyon Assault Vehicle
Joined
·
1,299 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
hybrid said:
I thought the tape to protect from rock chips and shit was rather cute.........

I admit, its an idea I never thought of.

Painters Tape.....it's GREAT for preserving your paint / glass, etc when towing or hauling. I love that stuff.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
437 Posts
looks good. I bought the same trailer because I used to have a Ranger and I wrecked it so now I have a bronco 2. I use it to haul the bike back and forth to school and to haul my scrap from work in the summer. I didn't spring for the jack or spare tire (which I am going to get) but I did spend quite a bit on bolts and wood and still had much less than what a prefab would have cost. Did you put all of that together by hand? I was getting tired of putting it together and I used my impact gun on all them bolts. Since then I have bent aluminum for all four corners, put heavy duty eye bolts in to tie stuff down, built a wooden wheel chock, and put handles and hasps to hold the tailgate down. I love the thing for what I use it for. My buddy just gave me two rails from a big rig trailer to raise a tarp off the top about 2 ft. It seems like a never ending project.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
333 Posts
LiterTwin said:
Now, I happen to know a thing or two about electricity, especially automotive applications. If that wasn't the case, I probably would have hung myself in my garage with the included wiring harness,
I don't care who you are...that's just damn funny!:lao :lao :lao

Nice setup!
 

·
Official SBN Party Pooper
Joined
·
20,262 Posts
Nice setup :dblthumb

Did you have the extra bolt laying around after you were done? :lol
 

·
Canyon Assault Vehicle
Joined
·
1,299 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Rascus said:
Nice setup :dblthumb

Did you have the extra bolt laying around after you were done? :lol

Hehehe...yeah, I had a bunch of bolts left over, I thik they included a bunch extra with the kit.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
67 Posts
i have the same trailer and had the same problem with the ground. i just ran an extra wire down and attached to the frame about halfway down. this is actually my second trailer i sold the first one and ended up buying another one about a year later. for the price you really can't beat it.
 

·
at the track
Joined
·
3,121 Posts
cool project
 
1 - 20 of 112 Posts
Top