Anyone interested in a teardrop build? - JKowners.com : Jeep Wrangler JK Forum
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post #1 of 75 Old 02-21-2011, 07:13 PM Thread Starter
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Anyone interested in a teardrop build?

I've been wanting to build an offroad teardrop for a while. After many years camping in tents, a trip last June set the ball in motion. It rained. A bunch. My trusty tent that had never leaked before, decided it had enough. There were constant streams of water coming through in multiple spots and camping was miserable. After about 3 nights of this, the little lady told me to build the trailer. Woo hoo for leaky tents!

Then we came up with a plan to take a scenic drive while on the way to Florida for our wedding and take the teardrop and camp along the way. So, here we are in February, and the wedding in is April. I've never built one of these before so this could get interesting.

I've been gathering materials for a while now, but haven't started anything until today. I started with a pile of steel.

A torsion axle...

A little work done...

And finally with the axle mounted but still some work to do...


Was only able to work on it for about 3 or so hours today and that is where it ended. The frame still will get a cross brace in the center and the sides need to be finished.

The original plan was to have the wheels set into the body with only about half the tires sticking outside. However, I screwed up. When I ordered the axle, I didn't account for the deep offset on the stock Jeep wheels. They would hit the torsion arms, so I had to get some wheel spacers. This pushed the wheels out so far that my originally planned outside measurement of 65 inches would only be about 3 inches wider than the inside of the tires. 3 inches just isn't worth going through all the work of building wheel wells, so the plan is changed to narrow the cabin to fit between the tires and then standard fenders can be mounted.

Tomorrow, finish up the frame and final weld.

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post #2 of 75 Old 02-21-2011, 08:06 PM
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If it makes you feel better, your trailer has better tires than my Jeep currently does. So there's that.

That's a really cool idea.


Makes me wish that I had a garage so I could do cool stuff like this.



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post #3 of 75 Old 02-21-2011, 09:06 PM
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I am definitely interested in this. please continue to post pics.

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post #4 of 75 Old 02-21-2011, 09:17 PM
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Looks like a great start to great project. Keep us posted.

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post #5 of 75 Old 02-21-2011, 09:36 PM
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Sounds like the leaky tent was a much needed blessing in disguise. I'll be watching the progress on this one!

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post #6 of 75 Old 02-21-2011, 09:49 PM
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I have been talking about this for some time now. Looking forward to see what you come up with.

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post #7 of 75 Old 02-21-2011, 10:22 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dancin Dan View Post
If it makes you feel better, your trailer has better tires than my Jeep currently does. So there's that.
You're actually the second person who has told me this. A buddy came over today and he said the same thing. lol. Don't feel too bad. They are retreads.

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Sounds like the leaky tent was a much needed blessing in disguise. I'll be watching the progress on this one!
No more water, no more heavy winds blowing the tents down on top of you, no more sore body and rough sleep. Hard sides and a real mattress will be nice. Not to mention instead of getting up at sunrise due to sun lighting up the tent. Yeah, I've been wanting this thing for a while.

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Looks like a great start to great project. Keep us posted.
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I have been talking about this for some time now. Looking forward to see what you come up with.
The more and more I looked into them, they are fairly affordable to build and not too difficult. Then again, we'll see how it plays out. lol

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post #8 of 75 Old 02-21-2011, 11:39 PM
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Cool project for sure...

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post #9 of 75 Old 02-22-2011, 05:27 AM
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interested as well. I am in the same boat right now. Not sure if we want to do a rtt on the jeep, or on a military trailer, or go full fledged camper trailer or even a small rv. The wife has some high expectations to go camping. I would be happy in my hammock.

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post #10 of 75 Old 02-22-2011, 07:28 AM
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post #11 of 75 Old 02-22-2011, 07:32 AM
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No, go away







Seriously, you had to ask? Of course we're interested. Now move it to the write-up library so I can index it with the other trailer builds.

........My other hobbies include: Older cars and trucks; Spending money on unfinished projects, and continuing to not finish them...

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post #12 of 75 Old 02-22-2011, 07:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oz97tj View Post
You're actually the second person who has told me this. A buddy came over today and he said the same thing. lol. Don't feel too bad. They are retreads.
LOL - Well, at least they're just retreads. I'll be able to sleep now

Hopefully I'll be getting my Duratracs mounted today. Just waiting on a call from the shop

Keep this build going and you should definitely put this in the write up section. I'm sure someone can follow in your footsteps on this one.



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post #13 of 75 Old 02-22-2011, 07:44 AM
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Also love watching folks build stuff. Lots of talent out there. Hell I get excited seeing the garage space and tool inventory some of you guys have!

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post #14 of 75 Old 02-22-2011, 08:23 AM
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post #15 of 75 Old 02-22-2011, 02:01 PM
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post #16 of 75 Old 02-22-2011, 06:25 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gold knight View Post
No, go away







Seriously, you had to ask? Of course we're interested. Now move it to the write-up library so I can index it with the other trailer builds.
I wasn't sure where to put it. Can I move it? I'll have to look.

Edit: I just looked and can't see where to move it. Maybe a mod can move it?

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Keeping an eye on your build on ExpeditionPortal.com

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I cross posted over there because that's where I got the bug to build one of these. Specifically, the Sawtooth. Seach it over there. It's a cool trailer!

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post #17 of 75 Old 02-22-2011, 06:26 PM Thread Starter
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Today, I didn't get as much done as planned. Did most of the final welding and got it narrowed down to the new width. Still need to do a few cross braces and such and then the frame will be done.

Also for kicks, while doing a few other things in the garage, I pulled the frame out and set it up behind the jeep to see how it would set. Looks about perfect...


This is how it sets right now. Doesn't look much different...


Back to work tomorrow. I'll finish up the welding and then next Monday will start with the wood.

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post #18 of 75 Old 02-22-2011, 06:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oz97tj View Post
I wasn't sure where to put it. Can I move it? I'll have to look.



I cross posted over there because that's where I got the bug to build one of these. Specifically, the Sawtooth. Seach it over there. It's a cool trailer!
Not without a red star. If you want it moved let me know, I know a guy (or just pm Hit).

........My other hobbies include: Older cars and trucks; Spending money on unfinished projects, and continuing to not finish them...

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post #19 of 75 Old 02-22-2011, 06:28 PM Thread Starter
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Not without a red star. If you want it moved let me know, I know a guy (or just pm Hit).
I just edited my post. If someone could move it that would be great. Thanks!

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post #20 of 75 Old 02-23-2011, 04:39 AM
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Oz, looks great so far. My immediate thought would be to reconsider that torsion axle for off road use. They are excellent axles for road use but the first time you get that trailer out on a washboard section of trails, your going to discover it's tendency to bounce excessively and even roll.

A long leaf setup with shocks are not the best design out there but they do offer a bit more off road stability over a torsion axle design. Now if you have the skill and $$$ to throw into the suspension, then I recommend a independent trailing arm system with airbags/coil spring combo.

I've considered a tear drop design a couple of times and still hope to eventually get back to my design one of these days which was also inspired by Sawtooth. Sawtooth was a work of art and some of the best woodworking skills if seen applied to a home built trailer.

Keep up the good work and I look forward to seeing the end results.


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post #21 of 75 Old 02-23-2011, 12:37 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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Oz, looks great so far. My immediate thought would be to reconsider that torsion axle for off road use. They are excellent axles for road use but the first time you get that trailer out on a washboard section of trails, your going to discover it's tendency to bounce excessively and even roll.

A long leaf setup with shocks are not the best design out there but they do offer a bit more off road stability over a torsion axle design. Now if you have the skill and $$$ to throw into the suspension, then I recommend a independent trailing arm system with airbags/coil spring combo.

I've considered a tear drop design a couple of times and still hope to eventually get back to my design one of these days which was also inspired by Sawtooth. Sawtooth was a work of art and some of the best woodworking skills if seen applied to a home built trailer.

Keep up the good work and I look forward to seeing the end results.
I've heard people say this about torsions before but I've also heard people say they aren't bad offroad and better than a straight axle. I don't know. All I do know is I haven't been impressed with a straight axle and leafs offroad and I didn't have the time to build a trailing arm design so here I am. The ease of install and high ground clearance were big factors for me. I don't think ill ever really be seeing high speed desert washboards anyway. It'll be primarily road pulled with some two tracks and somewhat rocky trails to get to remote camping spots. So in other words it'll be pulled relatively slow while offroad and im hoping this will give a better ride in those conditions. I guess we will find out.

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post #22 of 75 Old 02-23-2011, 08:24 PM
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post #23 of 75 Old 02-28-2011, 06:05 PM
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post #24 of 75 Old 02-28-2011, 07:34 PM Thread Starter
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I got wood!

Plywood that is. Today I went and bought all the wood I'll need minus some luan. I started cutting the floor out. I had to add 1/2 inch spacers under the floor to make the floor all flat. My trailer frame has a 2 1/2 inch tongue and the rest is 2 inch. The extra half inch was supposed to hang off the bottom, but due to the axle crown I had to actually use the flat part for the bottom which made the bottom the top. I could have built some spacers for the axle mount to lower it a bit, but I figured wood spacers would be easier to work with. So, long story short, I had to cut out spacers for under the floor but I don't have pictures.

Here is the floor completed...


I then started the walls. The first one was drawn out and cut with a jigsaw. The second was just placed over the first and traced out with a router.


I then routered the bottom inside edge of both sidewalls so they would be partially sitting on top of the floor.


Both walls went up smoothly so I used some scrap from cutting the walls out to hold it all up.



I also cut out the wall / closet or whatever you want to call it that is at the front of the cabin, and mounted it. I still need to cut out the center though. I'm thinking of cutting a large hole in the center to give it a bit more character, but we'll see how it looks. I didn't get any photos of it installed.

Tomorrow, cut the rear wall / partition and mount it all up. Once I'm comfortable with the fit of things, I'll pull it all back apart and flip the floor over to epoxy it up.

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post #25 of 75 Old 03-01-2011, 08:27 PM Thread Starter
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Well, today took way longer than it should have. The dreaded snoopy neighbors kept interupting progress. lol Twice, guys walking by, saw the teardrop in the driveway and decided to check it out a little further. Each guy took over an hour of BSing. Guess next time it needs to stay in the garage! Both guys were real nice though and I got to meet some neighbors that I've never met before so it was good day.

Anyway, got the galley partition all mocked up, tore it all back apart and epoxied the bottom.

Sitting out in the sun. It was a balmy 38 degrees...


Galley partition...


I didn't take a photo of the bottom of the floor being epoxied. I'll give it a good couple days to cure, and then I'll reassemble and work on the ceilling and roof.

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