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post #1 of 14 Old 03-01-2015, 04:40 PM Thread Starter
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Trailer Topper

I make bird houses, bird and pet feeders, key racks, boxes, etc. etc. and haul them to farmers' markets and craft shows. I have a compact pickup and a 4'x8' trailer to carry tables, canopies, chairs and merchandise. A new and/or bigger trailer is not in the budget, but I need more room for merchandise, so I want to build a topper with a shelf for the trailer. On the floor would go all the tables, canopies, weights and "stuff," and on the shelf would be bird houses/feeders. I have a shelf in the truck for this already, but I need more room.

I want to slip it over the existing sides, down to the rail, and attach it so that it can be removed when I need the trailer for other things. The back can be open and just covered with a tarp for travel. Other than the open back, it should be as watertight as possible. The top is wider than a 48" plywood, so it will need a watertight seam, I guess, as well as along the corners.

If anyone has ever built anything like this, or knows of a plan, please advise. Thanks in advance.
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Last edited by Mort Tenon; 03-01-2015 at 04:42 PM. Reason: typo
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post #2 of 14 Old 03-01-2015, 06:30 PM
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Find a topper for a mini pickup and make minor attatching jigs. should be something on craigslist or LSN if you find the proper fitting one to look for. I've rigged a few over the years BUT when I got through and figured time and material I'd been better , cheaper and money ahead to build and sell a few more products then buy the enclosed trailer.
Good luck and keep us posted.

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post #3 of 14 Old 03-01-2015, 08:03 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Tim. I'll see what's out there.
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post #4 of 14 Old 03-21-2015, 11:28 AM Thread Starter
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Well, I couldn't find a suitable truck topper to convert so I ended up with this:
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post #5 of 14 Old 03-21-2015, 12:34 PM
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Your gas mileage is going to suck big time!
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post #6 of 14 Old 03-21-2015, 01:39 PM
where's my table saw?
 
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remains to be seen ....

Quote:
Originally Posted by MT Stringer View Post
Your gas mileage is going to suck big time!
Lot's of things come into play with aerodynamics on towed trailers, turbulence, drag, attached or laminar air flow etc. It won't weigh much so that's good. You could use something like this:

m

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 03-21-2015 at 02:40 PM.
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post #7 of 14 Old 03-21-2015, 03:13 PM Thread Starter
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It will only be towed locally, most of the time less than twenty miles, and no freeway, so I'm hoping for the best. I thought about an aerodynamic attachment like that, but haven't looked into them.
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post #8 of 14 Old 03-21-2015, 03:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mort Tenon View Post
It will only be towed locally, most of the time less than twenty miles, and no freeway, so I'm hoping for the best. I thought about an aerodynamic attachment like that, but haven't looked into them.
Good. I had an enclosed trailer (6x12 foot Haulmark) similar to the one Wooodnthings posted. Pulling it on the freeway was a bear. Towed great, gas mileage on the truck, very bad. All it contained was tables, chairs, a few laptops and monitors, and a generator.
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post #9 of 14 Old 03-21-2015, 06:49 PM Thread Starter
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They look heavy, but in any case, a new enclosed trailer is not in the budget. I tow this one with a 4 cyl. Ranger, and I expect gas mileage in the low 20s. We pulled a 2000 lb. pop-up camper all over the west and southwest with that Ranger for years, and averaged about 19-22 mpg. It gets up to 28 mpg empty. I have another truck for pulling the travel trailer, but it's overkill for this one.
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post #10 of 14 Old 03-21-2015, 07:23 PM Thread Starter
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The Chevy is a 2500HD 6.0 liter gas, and gets 9-11 mpg. pulling the travel trailer, up to 15 mpg. without. I don't use that for the craft shows, it's just too un-economical.

I can get about a dozen bird houses and feeders in the trailer, tables, chairs, canopies, weights, etc. go in the bottom. I also have a double-deck shelf that goes in the truck for more feeders and cat/dog bowls.
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post #11 of 14 Old 03-21-2015, 08:34 PM
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My problem was wind resistance, and the fact I ran with the transmission in Drive and not OD. The 3:42 gear made it easy to tow, but made the engine drink the gas. :-(
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post #12 of 14 Old 03-22-2015, 04:07 PM
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MT and Mort.....the topper on a truck makes a world of difference on wind drag...and being a 4 cylinder and small trailer I think Mort you'll be OK.

Mort also watch loading trailer...you don't want a equally balanced trailer (at the tongue)...some tongue wieght is very important on towing a box trailer...it doesn't take a lot.... but balanced and less at the tongue and the trailer won't trail good and want to weave.

NICE looking fix!!!

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post #13 of 14 Old 03-24-2015, 06:59 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Tim. I'm familiar with how to load a trailer, and most of the weight will be forward. I have canopies, concrete/pvc weights for them, tables and display boards, etc. I don't think that will change much—the biggest factor will be the wind. I looked up nose cones and they want a lot of money for them.
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post #14 of 14 Old 03-24-2015, 07:11 PM
where's my table saw?
 
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you can make one!

Use either sheet metal or plywood and make a horizontal "V" about the same dimensions as the nose cone shape I posted. Fill in the ends and you have additional storage for a couple of feeders! You are trying to make the air flow over the top of the trailer. The next issue is a square "behind" adds a lot of drag. maybe a wing on the top at the rear to deflect the air further rearward. Simple drag reduction elements are easy to make.....

Look at tractor trailer rigs and see what they have done:
http://search.yahoo.com/search?ei=utf-8&fr=ytff1-gl-gen1&p=simple%20aero%20reduction&type=


This guy, a college classmate of mine did a lot of great work on motorcycle fairings and aero dynamics:
http://images.search.yahoo.com/searc...F-8&n=60&x=wrt

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 03-24-2015 at 07:18 PM.
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