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Converting my existing 16' trailer (7000Lb) to 10,000+..... many questions!

Discussion in 'Tow & Trailer' started by Greg72, Jun 1, 2004.

  1. Greg72

    Greg72 "Might As Well..." Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Converting my existing 16\' trailer (7000Lb) to 10,000+..... many questions!

    Alrighty folks..... here's the simple story:

    Bought a 7000Lb trailer for cheap when I got my '69 Blazer Tub. It's a 16' wood deck, A-Frame style with dual 3500Lb axles, and NO brakes at all.

    I want to re-use the upper frame structure and wood deck, and strip out all the springs, hangers, and axles and put in something newer and safer for towing a 5000Lb truck. I was thinking something in the 10,000Lb range would still give me some safety margin (weightwise) without being excessive overkill.


    Here's where I get a little confused.... I can find places that sell a "kit" to do this exact thing (contains springs, axles, electric brakes, wheels & tires, etc) for example:

    10,400Lb Trailer Kit from UtilityTrailer.com

    The kit is offered at $1099.95 and weighs 800Lbs, so shipping has got to add a few hundred bucks more..... /forums/images/graemlins/dunno.gif




    I understand "Load Range" on the tires (D vs. E) but what is the relevance of getting a 15" wheel vs. 16" vs. 16.5"??? Is there supposedly something inherently "better" about the larger wheel diameters?

    I've heard that running "real" trailer tires is the way to go even though they're more expensive. I heard something about passenger tires "squirming" too much when trying to make sharp, slow speed turns....and typically I doubt that most passenger tires could meet the load reqirements for a 10,000 trailer anyway.

    Does anyone have a source similar to the one above for buying conversion "kits" like what I'm after? Based on the information on that website, is there anything specifically that you'd pay to "upgrade" from what's offered in their standard kit???
     
  2. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    Re: Converting my existing 16\' trailer (7000Lb) to 10,000+..... many questions!

    I've thought about upgrading mine, but it seems cheaper to just sell and buy another.

    Higher rated tires are easier to find and may be a bit cheaper for 16" wheels as opposed to 15". And you can run bias D/E LT truck tires as well.

    I'm currently debating selling mine and moving up to a longer 10-12k trailer with 16" 8 lug wheels. Preferably goose neck. But I really don't have a place to store it. /forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif
     
  3. therobzilla

    therobzilla 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Converting my existing 16\' trailer (7000Lb) to 10,000+..... many questions!

    Greg,

    I will tell you what I have found out from my follies with finding a trailer and trailer "Stuff".

    15" vs. 16" vs. 16.5" trailer wheels are a real speciality item, I have been trying to find a 16x6 6 lug on 5.5 spacing. The wheel along is $60.00 with the correct backspacing. What ever wheel you pick, make sure it come with a spare. Do not run E or D rated truck tires, they do not act the same as a trailer tire. With lots of weight on the trailer, run a trailer tire only. It has much less sidewall flex and handles the weight and speed much better. I personally have been through about 4 truck tires on trailer wheels. Its a pain when they blow out and a real pucker when cruizing down the road doing 65/79 mph. Besides the trailer tires handle the turning much better.

    Try Carson Trailer, for the upgrade kit. IIRC they have a manufacturing facility in Cali somewhere, and they are pretty cool to deal with. Just talk with Ricky directly, he is one of the main owner/managers of the company. We use to sell them springs for the box trailers and ramps.

    Just my .02 worth of info. Going to miss seing you at Blazer Bash, sorry to hear you are heading east, but all is good if it's good for you and the family.

    Rob
     
  4. BIGJ

    BIGJ 1/2 ton status Author

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    Re: Converting my existing 16\' trailer (7000Lb) to 10,000+..... many questions!

    That's a good kit to start from, although it looks like the kit has everything you need to build a "new" trailer from scratch, except the steel. My local trailer dealer sold just the springs and hangers as a kit. Maybe there's a trailer dealer locally that would sell you just the hanger & spring parts you need?

    If you already have a complete trailer do you need the new jack and breakaway kit, etc.. that comes with this one in the link you posted? If you do need a new coupler, you might want to check out a Bulldog style vs. the more common atwood style.

    The only other thing I would change about the spring setup would be to go to a slipper spring instead of the double eye setup. Most of the shackles on trailer suspensions I have seen are generally too thin, and eventually wear to the point that the spring pulls out of the shackle. You could make some heavier shackles, but the slipper springs are made to carry heavier loads and don't cost that much more than the double eye setup. The weight ratings will be the same essentially and the spring rides on one large bolt instead of a thin shackle. You'll have much less maintenance in the long run with the slipper springs.

    I agree with everyone else, trailer tires are the best way to go. Mine are 16" wheels b/c that's all I could find in a 8 lug pattern. I bought mine here.

    What about brakes on the axles? Do you want brakes on one or both axles? It's not much more work to hook up brakes on both, and the extra price is a small price to pay for the extra stopping power.


    BIGJ
     
  5. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    Re: Converting my existing 16\' trailer (7000Lb) to 10,000+..... many questions!

    While I do agree that trailer tires are, well, the best for trailers... I have run 10 ply bias truck tires on heavy trailers in the past with fine results. Those things are stiff as trailer tires and lasted just as long, or so it seemed to me. And that was on a two car hauler. These were like OTR tires with nothing much but zig-zags for tread and, IIRC, came from the local co-op for use on dual rear wheel trucks. At least I got them off a ragged out dual wheel flat bed truck. Still, no question, if you want to do it right, and especially if your buying new, get trailer tires...

    On a side note, I just ditched my radials today and got Carlisle 8 ply trailer tires. Even towing empty is was SO much nicer. I wanted to get a set of these some time ago, but my neighbor got me a set of 75% radial "take offs" and I just could not throw them away or hurt his feelings. I kept the best for a spare and left the rest at Discount...
     
  6. Fubeca

    Fubeca 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Converting my existing 16\' trailer (7000Lb) to 10,000+..... many questions!

    Greg,

    What are you doing to strengthen the frame? I've thought about upgrading axles on one of my trailers but I wasn't sure if the frame could handle it. Is yours c channel or angle?
     
  7. Greg72

    Greg72 "Might As Well..." Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Re: Converting my existing 16\' trailer (7000Lb) to 10,000+..... many questions!

    UPDATE:

    Well for lack of any compelling alternatives, I went ahead and ordered the complete kit, and have begun installing it.

    The kit looks pretty good, it comes with "slipper" springs which are supposedly better than the conventional eyelet style.

    As for the existing frame, it is a simple angle iron A-Frame style. New new spring hanger bracketry is a lot beefier than what I cut off, so I will probably invert a second piece of angle iron and weld it to the existing frame to effectively create a "box section" in the area where the spring hangers are.

    It feels good to be able to completely go through this trailer and upgrade all the stuff that's cheesy or old. It's obvious that this trailer has been "used and abused" for a long time, so it's good to get it some fresh parts before taking the LONG TRIP across America. /forums/images/graemlins/usaflag.gif


    No pics, but I can take some if people are interested......
     
  8. Fubeca

    Fubeca 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Converting my existing 16\' trailer (7000Lb) to 10,000+..... many questions!

    I'm always interested in pics /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
     
  9. BIGJ

    BIGJ 1/2 ton status Author

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    Re: Converting my existing 16\' trailer (7000Lb) to 10,000+..... many questions!

    Pics would be great. This would be some good tech for those interested in trailer suspensions.

    Good luck with the work on the trailer and the trip /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif

    BIGJ
     

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