How to Make Your Own Travel Trailer

How to Make Your Own Travel Trailer
If you like to camp and putter around the workshop, consider making your own travel trailer. This could be a great project to occupy winter days--and weeks--giving you time to customize the rig while thinking about warm weather and places to go.

You will need a very well ventilated workshop since you will be welding and using torches that take oxygen out of the room. Check with your local state's DMV on registration rules and laws for your custom trailer.


Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Things You’ll Need:
  • Welding torch and tools
  • Welding apron, gloves and goggles
  • 2- by 4- by 1/4-inch steel box frame
  • Axle kit and wheel mounts
  • Ball hitch
  • Tires
  • Power saw
  • 4-foot length of square metal tubing
  • Shocks and suspension kit
  • 2- by 8-foot deck planks
  • Tire iron
Step 1
Find trailer plans, either online or from your own hand. Travel trailer plans are available at a multitude of online outlets, letting you select your design and size.

Select your RV parts and equipment based on the size you wish to build. For example, choose an axle system and suspension based on the weight of the design and what you will be carrying.
Step 2
Lay out the 2- by 4- by 1/4-inch steel tubing and use a welding torch to cut the pieces down to the design frame size. Keep the welding area well ventilated and wear goggles, apron and gloves. Weld the tubing together to make the main frame of the travel trailer enclosed space.
Step 3
Assemble the decking timbers. Cut the timbers making a deck frame. Screw the deck frame together for an extra measure of attachment and fastening.

With an assistant, lift the frame onto the deck and fasten together using metal edge braces and screws. Set the complete frame and deck unit onto a workhorse so you can slide the axle kit under the deck/frame.
Step 4
Push the axle kit and tire mounts under the frame and deck. Align so the axle is at the center of gravity for the frame.

Measure the axle distance, width and length, under the trailer twice and reference the trailer design plans to make sure it fits properly before welding it to the frame. Once sure the axle kit and tire mounts fit, and then weld them to the frame.
Step 5
Cut down the metal tube into a cross bar chunk half the distance of the width of the trailer. Weld this to the front of the frame, where the trailer arm will extend.

Weld the trailer arm and ball hitch attachment to the frame, extending parallel to the trailer and in the middle of the width of the trailer. Make sure the trailer arm is welded not just to the trailer frame, but to the cross bar as well.
Step 6
Attach the suspension system to the tire mounts according to the suspension kit instructions. Attach the tires and tighten the lug nuts with a tire iron.

With an assistant, lower the trailer unit off the work horses. Place cinder blocks under the trailer arm to keep the trailer bed level. Add chocks to the front and rear side of the tires to prevent fore and aft movement.
Step 7
Add walls made out of wood or metal, depending on your preference to the frame. If you wish to save money, go to an RV salvage yard to find used doors, windows and trailer walls.

Article Written By Eric Cedric

A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.

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