Thread: Mini Harbor Freight Trailer build

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  1. #1 Mini Harbor Freight Trailer build 
    Senior Member Grand Slam West Planner Ted_Z's Avatar
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    The trailer started life as the cheapest HF trailer kit then added a 2000 lb axle, 225/75R15 tires/wheels and and a new tongue/backbone. The original tongue was cut in half length-ways and used to make the diagonal braces.


    The box was built from 3/8 plywood and reinforced with 1x2 and 1x4 lumber at the joints/corners. The deck is 3/4" OSB and 2x4 lumber. All the wood was painted with deck resurfacer paint (in hindsight it was a bad choice). It has a working tailgate and the front panel is removable to carry longer loads if needed. I still need to sort out the fenders, but I'm running without them for now. The bottom of the box is 48" by 40", the top is 48" by 48". A similarly styled lid is also on the to-do list but for now I just use a tarp.


    Last summer I did a 500 mile trip and it did great at highway speeds. On some of the rougher roads the sort slip springs seems too stiff (even with the 870 pound rated kit). Long term I may look at a longer leaf springs.

    Basic Platform:




    Ready for the first trip:



    Inside and outside now painted:


    -Ted Z
    '97 Grand Cherokee Laredo w/ stuff
    '02 Grand Cherokee Limited w/ less stuff
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  2. #2 Re: Mini Harbor Freight Trailer build 
    Senior Member Grand Slam West Planner Ted_Z's Avatar
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    This spring I got the lid built and I am starting to fishing up the rest of the planned upgrades.

    Primed lid:



    Lid test fit with rack installed:



    Test fitting spare for fold down mount:

    -Ted Z
    '97 Grand Cherokee Laredo w/ stuff
    '02 Grand Cherokee Limited w/ less stuff
    Quote Originally Posted by Cody View Post
    everytime someone makes a bumper with a stinger, God kills 6 baby Koala's.
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  3. #3 Re: Mini Harbor Freight Trailer build 
    Senior Member Ken L's Avatar
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    Looks good, Ted. Does the lug pattern match up with either of your Jeeps? I was considering something similar and putting 5x4.5 hubs to match the ZJ.

    Oh, and if you want leaf springs, I have some 4" lift YJ springs you can have. I have both fronts and rears....collecting them for the day I get ready to build something.
    Ken L
    '96 ZJ with stuff
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  4. #4 Re: Mini Harbor Freight Trailer build 
    Senior Member Grand Slam West Planner Cody's Avatar
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    pretty slick, nice work!
    Resident hater of tall lifts, dana 44's, 4.0's, stingers, exo cages, and ZJ tow rigs....and the word "overlanding"
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  5. #5 Re: Mini Harbor Freight Trailer build 
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    These are on sale at HF right now if anyone wants to build one.
    04 Dub -- Longarms, JK44, 9" ARB's etc.
    68 Super Wagoneer - Resto Project
    93 ZJ: longarms, 231D, 35's, 44/Hi 9", ARB's, etc. -- Sold
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  6. #6 Re: Mini Harbor Freight Trailer build 
    Senior Member Grand Slam West Planner Ted_Z's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken L View Post
    Looks good, Ted. Does the lug pattern match up with either of your Jeeps? I was considering something similar and putting 5x4.5 hubs to match the ZJ.

    Oh, and if you want leaf springs, I have some 4" lift YJ springs you can have. I have both fronts and rears....collecting them for the day I get ready to build something.
    The bolt pattern is 5 on 4.5 which matches my Patriot. The 225/75R15 is about the same diameter as the 215/65R17 that the Patriot runs, so I could interchange in a pinch. The plan is to get the trailer spare mounted so there isn't a need to worry about it and thus I can pull it with my wife's WK.

    Thanks for the offer on the springs. I actually used YJ spings on the last trailer built from the TJ tub. I'm betting the ones you have will be too tall and too long for this little guy. I'm looking at some 26" eye-to-eye springs.
    -Ted Z
    '97 Grand Cherokee Laredo w/ stuff
    '02 Grand Cherokee Limited w/ less stuff
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    everytime someone makes a bumper with a stinger, God kills 6 baby Koala's.
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  7. #7 Re: Mini Harbor Freight Trailer build 
    Senior Member Ken L's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info on the bolt pattern. That was always my concern if I'd ever make a trailer. In the back of my mind I always thought it would be cool to put 2 Swampers on the trailer, carry the other 2 in the trailer, and then drive wherever with more road friendly A/T tires. I'd swap the tires at the destination, then put the mild tires on for the drive back. That was one of the crazy reasons I'd plan to match bolt patterns.

    Yeah, these springs are way too long. They might be longer than 42"....more than double what you're looking for.
    Ken L
    '96 ZJ with stuff
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  8. #8 Re: Mini Harbor Freight Trailer build 
    Senior Member Grand Slam West Planner Ted_Z's Avatar
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    Got the folding spare tire mount done and added baskets to the tongue.




    -Ted Z
    '97 Grand Cherokee Laredo w/ stuff
    '02 Grand Cherokee Limited w/ less stuff
    Quote Originally Posted by Cody View Post
    everytime someone makes a bumper with a stinger, God kills 6 baby Koala's.
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  9. #9 Re: Mini Harbor Freight Trailer build 
    Senior Member Grand Slam West Planner Ted_Z's Avatar
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    Finally got the fenders on. Too bad we had rain all weekend, had to cancel the camping trip.



    -Ted Z
    '97 Grand Cherokee Laredo w/ stuff
    '02 Grand Cherokee Limited w/ less stuff
    Quote Originally Posted by Cody View Post
    everytime someone makes a bumper with a stinger, God kills 6 baby Koala's.
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  10. #10 Re: Mini Harbor Freight Trailer build 
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    BigDaveZJ's Avatar
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    I like the little cargo basket on front too. With the tongue as short as it is on my M416 I can only fit a couple Gerry cans there, but will add some more storage up there when I extend the tongue. Assuming I keep it . . . . we've spent ONE night in there in the last 2 years.
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  11. #11 Re: Mini Harbor Freight Trailer build 
    Senior Member GSSW Planner Pitch's Avatar
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    @TedZ, what did you use for the roof rack on the trailer lid? Looks like a stock rack off of a ????

    I am looking to do the same on my M416.
    Toyota FJ80, lifted, locked, slow
    Sold: 01 WJ, 93 YJ, 86 CJ7
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  12. #12 Re: Mini Harbor Freight Trailer build 
    Senior Member Grand Slam West Planner Ted_Z's Avatar
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    The rails are off a Ford Explorer, late 90's vintage. Cross bars are Yakima.
    -Ted Z
    '97 Grand Cherokee Laredo w/ stuff
    '02 Grand Cherokee Limited w/ less stuff
    Quote Originally Posted by Cody View Post
    everytime someone makes a bumper with a stinger, God kills 6 baby Koala's.
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  13. #13 Re: Mini Harbor Freight Trailer build 
    Senior Member Grand Slam West Planner Ted_Z's Avatar
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    Minor update: I added a receiver to the tongue, and beefed up the joint with some fish plates. Welded a nut on so I can keep it from rattling by tightening a bolt and jam nut. Also by using a locking hitch pin it adds a bit security, as I can simply pull the coupler at camp. Now I can swap to a multi axis coupler easily.


    Last edited by Ted_Z; 02-17-2016 at 03:02 PM.
    -Ted Z
    '97 Grand Cherokee Laredo w/ stuff
    '02 Grand Cherokee Limited w/ less stuff
    Quote Originally Posted by Cody View Post
    everytime someone makes a bumper with a stinger, God kills 6 baby Koala's.
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  14. #14 Re: Mini Harbor Freight Trailer build 
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    I see this is a super old thread but I'm at the beginning of this and what you have here is what I've envisioned! Anyway, I'm trying to find out the axle size I need to do exactly what you've done here. Any plans available?
    Last edited by Sunbeard; 06-27-2019 at 05:39 PM.
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