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Old 06-23-2013, 10:30 AM   #676
Curtis in Texas
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My First Motorcycle Trailer build.
This very old picture was taken in 1977 by a Co Worker. My Son and I were riding around town going after something. Can't remember what but it was big what ever it was. He's 3 in this picture and before the Safety Police jump on me his helmet and gloves are hanging on the right mirror. He'd been riding with me since he was 1 1/2. He's 38 now.



The little trailer worked so well we used it behind my 78 4WD Subaru Wagon to go camping in Colorado and even all the way to Washington State. I used a Sears Car Top Carrier Box and heavy wall square tubing for the frame and small boat springs with some leaves taken out. And of course 8 inch boat wheels. I even made the axle. Ended up adding a rack to the top to tie more stuff on top of it.
Can't find that picture, but I'll keep looking and will edit it in when I find it.

Found it!



The only draw back to pulling these trailers with small bikes is the lack of brakes on the trailer. Braking gets tricky and believe me they will push you around.

I have a funny story about a trailer one of my HD Riding neighbors long ago built out of a Freezer Chest for hauling iced down beer behind his Harley to the Tres Rios Bike Rally. He'd seen me build and use the trailer above and thought he should make one too!
The guy had zero engineering skills and actually connected his trailer tongue right behind the solo seat on his Wide Glide. Needless to say on his first test run he proudly motored off briskly with his trailer in tow through the neighborhood. But being as we lived on a short street with a 90 degree turn at the end of it probably saved his life. Because in typical Harley Worshippers fashion he was wearing a "T" shirt, greasy blue jeans, Stomper Boots and no helmet.
As soon as he leaned it into the corner and tapped his rear brake he found himself hurled face first onto the asphalt and his Harley being shoved across the same asphalt right behind him. That pavement sure made a mess of that 60 YO Bad Ass sporting his pony tailed head, complete with bearded face, and that Scooter. He picked up his disaster and rolled it home and promptly cut the wheels off the trailer and put the deep freeze back in the garage where it belonged.


Built right a trailer will make trips a blast. Wrong and they could kill you and a Bus Load of Nuns!
So build them correctly.
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Curtis in Texas screwed with this post 06-23-2013 at 04:57 PM
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Old 06-23-2013, 04:17 PM   #677
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Interesting thread . Around 1980 I made hitches for my LTD 440 and my buddy's KZ 650 . both hitches were mounted to the swing arms . We rode on pavement 95% of the time and didn't have any problems other than remembering the trailer was behind us . We didn't think adding a high frame mounted "lever" to the sprung weight would be a good idea . On a dual sport where you need much more clearance and flex , maybe . We just used a standard 1 7/8" ball on our trailer . Can't remember what our trailer weighed empty , but the heaviest when loaded was 332 lbs . Didn't effect handling but the gas mileage went straight down the shitter ! [IMG]Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug[/IMG]
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Old 07-07-2013, 05:41 AM   #678
Not the Messiah
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Hi Curtis,

Congratulations on a great build - and a cheap one.

I'm loving the ability to take the Grunt Wheels (bicycle) along. So much so that I'm highly tempted to have a crack at my own 3rd wheeler.
A few questions:
What size is the box you've used?
Did you do anything special to avoid free play in the hitch pivots? Did you just drill the holes for the pivot pin or did you ream them to final size? I'm paranoid about being able to feel any free play and wonder whether my handyman resources are good enough for this bit.

I'm thinking of an aluminium tool box - they're common and quite cheap here, only a bit more than the plastic ones, due to high volume sales for tradies utes:


I'm even thinking to bolt front (tow hitch) and rear (swing arm & shock) subframes to the box for the ultimate "monoque" constuctions.

Cheers
Brian
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Old 07-07-2013, 11:32 AM   #679
Curtis in Texas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Not the Messiah View Post
Hi Curtis,

Congratulations on a great build - and a cheap one.

I'm loving the ability to take the Grunt Wheels (bicycle) along. So much so that I'm highly tempted to have a crack at my own 3rd wheeler.
A few questions:
What size is the box you've used?
Did you do anything special to avoid free play in the hitch pivots? Did you just drill the holes for the pivot pin or did you ream them to final size? I'm paranoid about being able to feel any free play and wonder whether my handyman resources are good enough for this bit.

I'm thinking of an aluminium tool box - they're common and quite cheap here, only a bit more than the plastic ones, due to high volume sales for tradies utes:


I'm even thinking to bolt front (tow hitch) and rear (swing arm & shock) subframes to the box for the ultimate "monoque" constuctions.

Cheers
Brian

My box measures 30 " X 14" at the lid, and is 12" deep. A little bigger internally, but I chose that box because I had it already, and it would hold my big tent, cot and folding lawn chair inside with a little room to spare.

I used 3 point tractor pins and sleeves for the hitches stress areas. Tractor parts are made for durability, and will take a lot of abuse. You can buy pins and sleeves in almost any size you need. And they are all made from tough steel. They will last a lot longer than I will! Plus the tolerances are tight. The sleeves are DOM and have no welded seam to mess with like in HREW tubing. And the wall thickness is better for welding on. Just enough play in them to fit them together without a lot of slop and still work in dusty conditions. I bored the hitch plate to accept the sleeves then welded the sleeves in with the pins in them to keep the alignment straight. ( Side note, use a band saw on slow speed (with coolant if you've got it) to avoid annealing the sleeves and you can cut them to the length you need.)

The sleeves are the load bearing surfaces like between the hitch ball and hitch cup of a normal trailer hitch. A little grease to keep the rust away and you're good to go!

An aluminum box would work well for a trailer body, but might require a steel frame underneath to support the suspension and tongue because of the stresses generated by the suspension working. Aluminum tend to crack under pressure if it's the stress factors aren't taken into account.
That or reinforce the aluminum to handle the load stress harmonics.

Also, take into consideration that the longer the box the more the tongue weight on the bike there will be.( A clever way around the length is to integrate the wheel into the bottom floor of the box by building a sub frame in the floor, or under it, and cut out a hole for the tires intrusion and fender off the tire inside. Then you can have some box overhang out the back. You'll lose some space internally, but you can keep the weight low and better balanced.

And also remember the wider the box is the higher off the ground it will need to be, to prevent it hitting the ground in a turn. Too low and you're going to drag it against the pavement. Especially in driveway crossings where there is a slight curbing to cross at an angle during a turn. (That's why my design has the rounded reinforcement bars at an angle, to double as sliders and to protect the turn signals in a fall.)


Most of my trailers weight is in the rear suspension (single sided Swingarm) and that heavy 8" boat wheel and tire. Soon to be replaced with a 12 inch aluminum wheel and lighter scooter tire. A regular bike swing arm would have been lighter, even with two shocks, but the single side swingarm was something I wanted to build for the challenge. I made two of them, and will be using the other one for a sidecar I have in the works for later.

Anyway, good luck with it, and if you get stumped PM me an I'll see if I can help you figure it out.

[Off Topic a little]
To those who remember, I talked about the Red Ant Cycle Carrier for Motorhome's and Cars I use to build in the Factory back in the 70's. And someone found the Patent from 1973. I've almost got mine built. It works well. This is a much better design that the bike rails we're using today. Only it's a little heaver is the main drawback, but loading a bike on it is soooo much easier by yourself.

I had a flat tire last week on my way to Saturday morning breakfast with the guys, and needed the wife to come get me, but she can't load or drive a vehicle with a trailer, and that fiasco I do not want to repeat. So that got me motivated to build this carrier and just keep it in the back of my 3/4 Ton Pickup. (Short bed full of fuel tank so no option of loading the bike in the bed.) Takes about 2 minutes to install it on the back of the truck or Motorhome, and another minute to load the bike. Push it and it raises the bike up and locks in, parallel to the back of the vehicle. Once I get the pieces made I'll post up a build thread of it. It's pretty slick. I always thought it was ahead of it's time when we were making them. And since the statutes of limitation (17 years IIRC) is done by a long ways. I'm making two so I'll have on for my Big Bus and one in my pickup tool box for emergencies.
[/Off Topic a little]
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Old 07-09-2013, 02:05 AM   #680
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Curtis in Texas, I am very much looking forward to that project... maybe you want to make 3?
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Old 07-09-2013, 08:34 PM   #681
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A not very good pic of mine in progress.

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Old 07-09-2013, 11:19 PM   #682
smoothride
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Curtis in Texas View Post
My box measures 30 " X 14" at the lid, and is 12" deep. A little bigger internally, but I chose that box because I had it already, and it would hold my big tent, cot and folding lawn chair inside with a little room to spare.

I used 3 point tractor pins and sleeves for the hitches stress areas. Tractor parts are made for durability, and will take a lot of abuse. You can buy pins and sleeves in almost any size you need. And they are all made from tough steel. They will last a lot longer than I will! Plus the tolerances are tight. The sleeves are DOM and have no welded seam to mess with like in HREW tubing. And the wall thickness is better for welding on. Just enough play in them to fit them together without a lot of slop and still work in dusty conditions. I bored the hitch plate to accept the sleeves then welded the sleeves in with the pins in them to keep the alignment straight. ( Side note, use a band saw on slow speed (with coolant if you've got it) to avoid annealing the sleeves and you can cut them to the length you need.)

The sleeves are the load bearing surfaces like between the hitch ball and hitch cup of a normal trailer hitch. A little grease to keep the rust away and you're good to go!

An aluminum box would work well for a trailer body, but might require a steel frame underneath to support the suspension and tongue because of the stresses generated by the suspension working. Aluminum tend to crack under pressure if it's the stress factors aren't taken into account.
That or reinforce the aluminum to handle the load stress harmonics.

Also, take into consideration that the longer the box the more the tongue weight on the bike there will be.( A clever way around the length is to integrate the wheel into the bottom floor of the box by building a sub frame in the floor, or under it, and cut out a hole for the tires intrusion and fender off the tire inside. Then you can have some box overhang out the back. You'll lose some space internally, but you can keep the weight low and better balanced.

And also remember the wider the box is the higher off the ground it will need to be, to prevent it hitting the ground in a turn. Too low and you're going to drag it against the pavement. Especially in driveway crossings where there is a slight curbing to cross at an angle during a turn. (That's why my design has the rounded reinforcement bars at an angle, to double as sliders and to protect the turn signals in a fall.)


Most of my trailers weight is in the rear suspension (single sided Swingarm) and that heavy 8" boat wheel and tire. Soon to be replaced with a 12 inch aluminum wheel and lighter scooter tire. A regular bike swing arm would have been lighter, even with two shocks, but the single side swingarm was something I wanted to build for the challenge. I made two of them, and will be using the other one for a sidecar I have in the works for later.

Anyway, good luck with it, and if you get stumped PM me an I'll see if I can help you figure it out.

[Off Topic a little]
To those who remember, I talked about the Red Ant Cycle Carrier for Motorhome's and Cars I use to build in the Factory back in the 70's. And someone found the Patent from 1973. I've almost got mine built. It works well. This is a much better design that the bike rails we're using today. Only it's a little heaver is the main drawback, but loading a bike on it is soooo much easier by yourself.

I had a flat tire last week on my way to Saturday morning breakfast with the guys, and needed the wife to come get me, but she can't load or drive a vehicle with a trailer, and that fiasco I do not want to repeat. So that got me motivated to build this carrier and just keep it in the back of my 3/4 Ton Pickup. (Short bed full of fuel tank so no option of loading the bike in the bed.) Takes about 2 minutes to install it on the back of the truck or Motorhome, and another minute to load the bike. Push it and it raises the bike up and locks in, parallel to the back of the vehicle. Once I get the pieces made I'll post up a build thread of it. It's pretty slick. I always thought it was ahead of it's time when we were making them. And since the statutes of limitation (17 years IIRC) is done by a long ways. I'm making two so I'll have on for my Big Bus and one in my pickup tool box for emergencies.
[/Off Topic a little]
Try eBay I just ordered to 14 inch wheels for 130$ just like the guy that builds the motomule should have them on Friday. I will be using one to build a trailer for the bike.
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Old 07-10-2013, 05:22 AM   #683
Not the Messiah
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Thanks Curtis,
i came back to this thread thinking that someone would have linky'd us back to another thread in ADV with a picture of an aluminium tool box third wheeler behind a green road bike!
i saw this whilst looking for something else and running out of battery on the laptop. I kept going on whatever the other mission was (something of eminently forgettable importance) and then couldn't find my way back to the tool box trailer........
So it's back to the Search function...
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Old 07-16-2013, 08:30 PM   #684
Eddieb
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Mocking up the hitch spacing on mine last sunday



and a quick test run around the yard
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Old 07-16-2013, 08:47 PM   #685
Curtis in Texas
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Love it EddirB. Although it looks long, it tracks right behind your DR just fine! Might want to buiild a box for cargo and teach the dog to ride in it. Looks like he wanted to go anyway.

If kept your brakes on that rear wheel you could rig up a brake lever out of a decompression lever of old, to make a quick stop lever for the trailer. I'd rig it with the front brake lever so you could apply either one.

That or put in a Recluse Clutch and make your clutch lever the trailer brake control................

Friend brought a 400 Suzuki with one in it to my shop for an electrical issue and I rode it around the neighborhood to see how I liked the auto clutches. I must say I was impressed. Taking off was so easy. Would make pulling a trailer a breeze!

I would put one in my 06 KLR but then I'd have to give up the kick start I just put in it this Winter.
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Old 07-16-2013, 09:13 PM   #686
Eddieb
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Curtis in Texas View Post
Love it EddirB. Although it looks long, it tracks right behind your DR just fine! Might want to buiild a box for cargo and teach the dog to ride in it. Looks like he wanted to go anyway.

If kept your brakes on that rear wheel you could rig up a brake lever out of a decompression lever of old, to make a quick stop lever for the trailer. I'd rig it with the front brake lever so you could apply either one.

That or put in a Recluse Clutch and make your clutch lever the trailer brake control................

Friend brought a 400 Suzuki with one in it to my shop for an electrical issue and I rode it around the neighborhood to see how I liked the auto clutches. I must say I was impressed. Taking off was so easy. Would make pulling a trailer a breeze!

I would put one in my 06 KLR but then I'd have to give up the kick start I just put in it this Winter.
That dog is not the smartest and is known to have a rubber and plastic fetish

In the pic above you can see the box that is going to be mounted on it. The drum brake is still on the rear wheel, it's not connected at the moment but it is an option to reconnect it, apparently you can get small electrical actuators which could be connected up to the brake rod and activated off the brake light.

There's a little bit of flex in the frame and hitch but nothing that can't be dealt with. For the test the hitch upright was only tacked on.
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Old 07-17-2013, 08:47 AM   #687
Curtis in Texas
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That dog is not the smartest and is known to have a rubber and plastic fetish

In the pic above you can see the box that is going to be mounted on it. The drum brake is still on the rear wheel, it's not connected at the moment but it is an option to reconnect it, apparently you can get small electrical actuators which could be connected up to the brake rod and activated off the brake light.

There's a little bit of flex in the frame and hitch but nothing that can't be dealt with. For the test the hitch upright was only tacked on.
My advise is to stay away from electric actuators. They will eventually fail. Some sooner than later. There is a way to rig a long brake cable and put a connector on the tongue. That way you can leave the bikes parts on the bike and the trailers cables on it. Use bicycles parts because they are cheaper and easier to get long. And you'll not use it enough to wear the bicycle parts out.

If you look at my trailer the angled braces are what really made the thing like a bridge. It does NOT FLEX anywhere! And that's because of the triangulation bracing. Even the curvy tubing on the tongue is bracing for the tongue.

As for the dog, I believe I'd spray my tires with something that has a taste he won't like.

But, you can't fix stupid. But you can make sure it leaves a bad taste in his mouth,
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Old 07-17-2013, 05:18 PM   #688
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OK my trailer is still working awesome except for a couple things.
Still working on the slight sway I'm getting above 55mph.
I think all new bearings and 1 or 2 extra gussets will fix the sway.
My big problem is the shocks. Stock Z50 shocks were a shade stiff and zero damping.
I picked up some "nitrogen filled" shocks on ebay and they were WAY too stiff.
I thought I'd remove the springs to see how just the "nitrogen filling" would work and found them to be empty.
They actually did hold air though so I tried it like that. Not bad but still no damping and the air only last for an hour ride.
Anyone got any ideas?? Maybe those hatchback/hood shocks for a car? 1/4 midget shocks? MTN bike front shocks would be about right if I could fab them in there somehow..
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Old 07-17-2013, 07:04 PM   #689
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My big problem is the shocks. Stock Z50 shocks were a shade stiff and zero damping.
What symptoms do the too hard shocks cause? My trailer above is using the rear end of a Honda GL145 and while it hasn't been road tested yet the shocks seem way too hard even on their softest setting. If I sit my 85kg on the rear frame they barely move and I'll only be carrying 1/3 of that at most.
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Old 07-17-2013, 07:37 PM   #690
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Bounces off the ground over the bigger bumps like railroad tracks, pot holes, some bridge sections. Bounces around pretty good when flying down gravel roads.
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