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DIY Enclosed Trailer | Building a Covered Trailer For Hauling

 

Recently we started traveling to local swaps and shows to do on-site embroidery for hats and T-Shirts.  The first show we attended, we found that we needed to take both of our cars because we couldn't fit everything into one.  Not only was this not practical but it was expensive with gas for two cars and often having to make two trips to set up for the show the night before.

 

So what was the answer?  A small covered or enclosed trailer to haul our gear and supplies around.  We were looking for a fairly small enclosed trailer as we planned to pull it with my wife's Dodge Stratus and it couldn't have a lot of tongue weight and needed to be very light.  We were looking for a trailer between 4 x 4 & 4 x 6.  I started pricing other enclosed trailers and the smallest one we could find was 4 x 5 and sold for $1500.  Not bad as covered trailers go but more than I wanted to pay.

 

That's when I decided to try and build one.  I have a bad habit of being cheap and figured I could build something for much less.  The search was on for a small trailer that we could enclose ourselves.  We finally found what we were looking for at Harbor Freight and it was a 4 x 4 utility trailer that weighed in at less than 100 lbs.  Perfect.  Now all we had to do was find a way to enclose it to protect our gear as we traveled to different shows around the area.

 

After some time looking around  our local home depot, we decided that 1 x 4 construction was needed to fit the existing mounting slots on the trailer and we went with a plastic shower enclosure material which was available in 4 x 8 sheets.  This would be very light, durable, and waterproof and would handle the rounded corners we needed to make on the front to keep it aero dynamic.  We used 3/4" strand board for the enclosure structure on the 1 x 4 frame work.  We also needed something to help form and strengthen the front corners and we chose to use a round furnace duct that was 5" diameter for this.  This was very already in slit in the middle and was fairly easy to fit into the front corners to give us the radius that you see on most enclosed trailers for wind resistance reduction.  The rest consisted of latch hardware, hinges, and screws of two sizes for putting together the frame.  We used a rubber base board molding for the top finished rim which was attached with washered screws and liquid nails, and then caulked to seal it after the liquid nails was dry.

 

The pictures below are meant to be a guide.  The exact hardware is not specified and I assume you have at least a bit of do-it-yourselfer talent.

 

The 3 sides and the top in place .  All are constructed in the same manner to fit the purchased trailer frame.  We added one extra row of 1 x 4 at back to help support the door and hinges.
The door frame and door being built.  The door mounted on the trailer and then the door in it's open position.
The furnace duct installed on the front corners to create the radius and a view from inside the now enclosed trailer.
Adding the plastic shower enclosure sheeting to the outside of the trailer.  We used liquid nails and plastic rivets to hold this sheeting in place.  We also used a torch to soften the plastic sheet to be able to mold it around the corners.
The back door, attaching the baseboard molding to the top edge and and the finished enclosed trailer.  Final price including the trailer was less than $600.

 

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Written by: WM8C, October 06th, 2006.  Not for use without written permission

 

 

 

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