You're Going To Build A What?

The saga of J building his tiny off-grid house

Caveat Emptor, indeed.

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When I bought the trailer for my tiny house, I was told it was weight rated at 2700kg. This was a little less than the 3500kg I’d prefer, but it was tough finding one of those second hand at a price I could afford, so I figured that I could build down to that weight if I was careful and was prepared to do things like drain water tanks and take out the big pile of batteries on what I hope will be the rare occasions that I move. It had been used as a farm trailer, towing machinery, landrovers, cars etc, and seemed strong enough, but didn’t have a plate on it. Some things you have to take on trust I guess.

Cleaning it up recently, I uncovered an old plaque on the trailer hitch you can see below.

trailer plate

trailer plate

Clearly stated, is the trailer hitch load limit of 1700kg. Damn. There’s no way that’s going to be enough. It does state that the weight limit is for a single axle trailer and I wondered if it would be double that for my twin axle trailer. So, I got on the phone to the manufacturer of the trailer coupling (there’s no trailer manufacturer plate) and had a chat with their technical bod who was very helpful. Turns out all their hitches share the same body, all the way up to the 3500kg model, the only difference is the draw tube inside and the damper outside. These can be replaced/upgraded for a moderate cost of £115, they’ll also give me a new plate for the uprated weight rating so it’s nice and legal.

That all seems fine and dandy, but supposes that the rest of the trailer is up to it. So, the next thing I’ve got to do is find out what the wheelhub/suspension units are rated for. If they’re up to the job and the rest of the trailer is strong enough, I can just swap out the hitch parts and I’m good to go. It’s a worrying ‘if’ at the moment. However, the trailer is solid box section steel, has plenty of reinforcing and appears to have held the weight in the past. In a week’s time, my big ‘brother’ John is coming down to stay for a few days and we’re going to get stuck in to stripping down and overhauling the trailer, hopefully having it done in the 6 days he’s here. I’m keeping fingers crossed for good weather.

Funnily enough, yesterday I applied for an evening class in welding, only to find that all the local places were full for the coming term, so I’m considering using what it would have cost to take the course to buy a welder and get my little brother to come over and teach me to weld, I also have some other friends who know a reasonable amount of welding so it looks like if there’s repairs needed then I should be covered with just some steel cost. I’m hoping fervently that this trailer will work out, otherwise it’s going to put a spanner in the works of getting it done in a reasonable time-frame. I haven’t seen a 3.5ton trailer go for less than about £1600, new they’re closer to £3k and that’s out of the budget. After doing so well on other purchases for the house there was bound to be something not go quite as smoothly, we’ll see what the next couple of weeks brings.

Written by justin

April 17th, 2009 at 12:21 pm

Posted in Construction

Tagged with , ,

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