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cscotthendry

Trailers for Trikes

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Trailers for trikes.

 

Hi, guys.

 

I have noted with interest the construction of Scott's trailer, which will undoubtedly be a superb unit when completed. Whilst a trailer provides the primary function of transporting our beloved trikes, I concede that the design will ultimately reflect on the owner's personal requirements, inclusive of cost, type of tow vehicle, distance/terrain to be towed, and a whole range of criteria that us blokes consider important.

 

Also I observed Ray's comment regarding the difficulty encountered when loading/unloading trikes. This was a matter of great concern for me, as there had to be the ability to do so with ease and safety, especially avoiding the nose tilting skyward when elevated to place the nosewheel on the trailer. You can't always count on having a heap of mates around to assist with this procedure.

 

I had to transport my trike back to Tassie, after the training/purchase in Northern Victoria.

 

Already having a 8x5ft tandem trailer, I decided to modify it to do the job. Despite hangarage at a local private strip, I had a future wish to transport the trike from the strip to my home if need be, plus the benefit of a purpose-built trailer for emergency recovery etc.

 

All this had to be done with ease by one person.

 

I opted to cut away the sides of the trailer, rearward of the mudguards, providing access for the strut and wheel/spat assemblies. I affixed reinforced platforms either side for the rear trike wheels, extending from the rear of the trailer mudguards, and out to their width, to the rear trailer extremity. Having mutilated the trailer thus far, I wished to still be able to use it for general stuff if the need arose. I constructed a removeable cross-braced frame to bolt to the trailer floor, using 25x25 angle. This would accomodate the rear support post for the wing bag, the front wing post bolting on to the drawbar and bolted/braced the the forward section of the trailer sides. This structure was designed so that the wing bag was angled from over the centreline of the vehicle, terminating at the rear r/h corner of the trailer. Allowances were made for the front of the wing not striking the vehicle roof if a gutter/ramp was encountered. A pair of light weight folded channel wheel ramps were also stored on this internal frame, inclusive of tie-down eyes.

 

I had the luxury of my ''tassytriker'' mate Gary, owning an identical trike to mine, and his help in setting up my trailer and supplying his trike was invaluable. Gary is no slouch when it comes to engineering, and his ingenuity is outstanding. He had encountered concerns over the possibility of a wheelstanding trike and resultant damage. He had overcome this with an amazing but simple device, and a fair bit of R & D to perfect its operation for his trailer, a custom lightweight skeleton, powder coated rig he designed and built himself.

 

Needless to say I copied his final design for the nosewheel device.

 

On my trailer, the removeable frame insert has two rails of 20x20mm angle, 150mm apart, running down the centreline, the entire length of the trailer floor, the flat sides face upward.

 

Sitting on this is a dolly/carriage, with cradle to support the nosewheel. This runs on two standard black boat trailer rollers, the spool type. It resembles Fred Flintstones car to look at. Gary tried roller bearings initially, but found the K.I.S.S. principle worked best. The underside of the nosewheel carriage has a nylon guide/runner bolted to a steel slider plate, that engages under the angle ''railway'' lines. When shimmed correctly with washers, this device rolls quietly and effortlessly the entire length of the trailer, with not much more than half a mm movement in any direction, and is captive to the rails.

 

To load the trike, chuck the ramps down, lift the nosewheel into the cradle, ( the lifting height is below the threshold of the ''overbalance'' height), secure it to the cradle with a small tie-down strap, ( I also use a soft plastic covered steel pin, inserted thru the sides of the wheel cradle and thru the spokes of the mag wheel, as an extra security measure).

 

A standard cheapie boat winch with webbing is used to crank her up until it strikes a stopper incorporating a couple of lock-toggle fasteners (same as fitted to drop side utes), flick em in and she is secure, just use tie-downs as required.

 

It is that simple, a 10yo kid can do it alone. Unloading is the same, just give it enough slack to get the rear wheels on the ramps, hold or lock the winch, push the trike back then ease it down on the winch handle.

 

All this suited my personal requirements, while still being able to quickly unbolt the entire show for general trailer useage if needed, all for around $250. This may not appeal to all, but for me it works well. The nosewheel in the captive trolley should be a winner for other people though. Props, gearbox shafts and other bling that may get bent, are not cheap.

 

There ya go Ray, a nice bedtime story to read, and one method to safely and easily do the job. I reckon I could send a pic or two if needed, of mine and my mates trailers if someone wants a squizz. I suspect this idea must have been tried before, but until my mate sussed it, I hadn't seen any other examples.

 

Lucky we have those two heads, down here, it gives us double the brainpower. (maybe)

 

Cheers to all, Terry.:thumb_up:

 

 

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Loved the bed time story Terry. similar principle to the one I saw but much simpler in construction. I agree it seems the best option for easy, safe single handed load/unloading. Captive front wheel means the trike isn't going to give any nasty surprises during loading. After all you only have to trip, slip, stumble or sneeze while pushing it up the ramps from the back, by yourself, to create a situation you would rather not have.

 

 

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Keepin that front wheel down.

 

Hi, Tracktop and others.

 

I guess the two heads were not working when I first spotted the trailer mods etc, as I didn't take the time to browse thru all the posts.

 

It appears my mate Gary was up to speed (as usual), and had responded with his contribution beforehand.

 

It did concern me that we must of had the same 10yo kid assess his loading system, and my similar copy of his. We betta not go there as this is a respectable forum. (no tassie jokes please).

 

Yeah, Ray, I am sure there is more than one mechanical genius residing in Australia who may have designed a similar (and possibly simpler) concept. Us guys come from a mechanical/engineering trades background, therefore something like a clothes peg and rubber band seemed a bit mundane to do the job.

 

It's a pity we were not aware of this previously when we both visited Maitland for the ''Rainbow Aviation'' trike course, as we could have personally handed over the blueprint, for the small cost of a beer.

 

The concept is simple, as Gary's photo indicates, an yes there is a little home/garage engineering involved...., but it is stong, (I reckon you could suspend the whole trailer by this trolley), reliable, and works well. As mentioned in my previous post, the humble boat keel rollers turned out to be the most effective undercarriage components.

 

I am sure that most guys will now be able to grasp the method by which the nosewheel carriage is retained captive in the underside of the two angle iron rails, The steel T section ''winged keel'' between the rails has nylon sheeting/strips affixed, slightly wider than the keel plate, and slightly narrower than the internal rail width, thus providing a quiet, long wearing guide to keep the unit in alignment. I incorporated an adjustment feature into my undercarriage to maintain minimal play in all directions.

 

I will also concede that a trip to the top end may test the longevity of this unit, but reckon it wouldn't fail, just get a little sloppy.

 

The engineering in this design really isn't too complex, after seeing some of the lovingly crafted purpose-built trailers, I think a NASA engineer would be envious of the owner's construction prowess and design ability. As usual, it is best to have the user design the product, as it will normally deliver the intended result.

 

I have incorporated lots of enhancements on my trailer, the winch is on an elevated post (to clear the spare tyre located on the a-frame draw bar, and have another smaller boat roller mounted low. The winch strap feeds under it to run low and horizontal to the trolley tracks.

 

I also have adjustable rear trike wheel chocks with non slip tyre contact areas, to ensure a perfect fit. The wing cradles were constructed to accomodate my extra long aluminium ladder to provide a padded rack for the wing, reducing flexing. I thought that all this stuff was pretty good considering I just wanted to modify my tandem trailer to do limited trike transport whilst still being able to remove the set-up, for general trailer useage. I do have two other trailers, but they are stuck under boats, and did contemplate utilising the smaller one, but it all got too hard, hence the tandem mod, and not an extra trailer, as we don't get a fleet discount on trailer rego here.

 

Once again I make mention that my set up is sufficient for my needs, given the intended job and available tandem.

 

There are some terrific ideas out there, evidenced in the workmanship of other trikers with custom built rigs to suit their personal requirements.

 

It's great to be able to observe and share these ideas.

 

Regards, Terry. P.S...., sorry Gary, I will read all the posts before I jump in next time.:gerg:

 

 

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designed a similar (and possibly simpler) concept.

Sorry, I possibly wasn't real clear. Yours was the simpler version, which seems fine. I also like the boat rollers as I think they would provide reduced track wear in the travel position

 

My original trailer description was in a different thread -

 

http://www.recreationalflying.com/forum/trikes/54696-popularity-2.html#post136539

 

 

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Boat Rollers.

 

Sorry, I possibly wasn't real clear. Yours was the simpler version, which seems fine. I also like the boat rollers as I think they would provide reduced track wear in the travel position

My original trailer description was in a different thread -

 

http://www.recreationalflying.com/forum/trikes/54696-popularity-2.html#post136539

Apologies, Tracktop

 

Your comment was clearer than my recollection of your post.

 

Yes, the standard black ''rubber'' roller is better than the teflon type, which tend to be quite tough, and can even chew into a boat keel at point of contact.

 

The black rollers are more supple and track smoothly and quietly.

 

They tend to compresss slightly when tied down in transit, keeping the carriage firmly seated and this feature may compensate for anticipated wear in the pin assemblies by reducing overall movement. Given the tie down loading, I believe they shall provide an acceptable service life.

 

The overall concept is simple, it just requires a few easily obtainable components, some handywork and thought to arrive at the finished product. The wheel carriage can be designed to accept various size tyres and appropriate method to secure the tyre/axle therein, including a supplementary safety strap to secure the wheel/carriage/rails firmly as one.

 

There appears to be concern amongst some trikers, whose systems exhibit loading problems and risks. For those, I believe this may be a remedy to avoid possible injury to themselves or their wallet. I can see the potential for some guys to incorporate this as an in floor feature when constructing those awesome custom trailers.

 

Anyone got any ideas to share ?

 

Keep safe.., even on the trailer.

 

Cheers, Terry.

 

 

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Thanks Ray. I just had a test run at loading the trike onto the trailer and tying it down. I'm pretty happy with how that went. The winch allowed me to haul the trike up and let it down in a nice controlled manner, single handed. The balance on the trailer without the wing is pretty well even. That is, it's easy to tilt the trailer back and then the tray stays there. It also stays in the un-tilted position if you put it there.

 

Overall, the trailer will still be forward weighted because of the spare wheel, the wing, the fuel drums and a possible equipment box in front of the axle. The forward balance is probably not as much as I would have liked, but still roadworthy. A shorter trailer balanced as this one is might have been a bit squirrely, but because of the length, it will still be a stable tow.

 

 

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Question and some pics

 

Hi all,

 

Thought I might show some of my photos to give others ideas on converting a box trailer to fit a trike.

 

Looked at various options with regard to buying new or possibly converting a different type of model but went ahead with cutting the back end off my old and reliable trailer. I still have a few jobs to do to finish it off i.e anchor points, prime/paint, stowage rack for ramps under floor and fit hand winch to front of trailer.

 

I have tried to re-use as much of the cut off materials as possible and found it a great way to become quite comfortable with the welder and grinder - without annoying the neighbors too much.

 

Some questions I have though are when pulling the trike up the ramps where is the best attachment point on the trike. I tried using two clips, one on the left and right axle and found the steering to move more then what i would have liked. Additionally when tying down the trike on the trailer again where is the best attachment points on the trike.

 

Anyway any help would be much appreciated.

 

Regards Jon K.

 

trailer1.thumb.jpg.1b02c366b6ecf751989857fd0a83a2b2.jpg

 

trailer2.thumb.jpg.967e4a24e24d305717cc619c2a569fd1.jpg

 

trailer3.thumb.jpg.c27546a9244b92265f377215e83db3d6.jpg

 

 

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Jon:

 

Congrats on a very neat conversion job!

 

As for winching the trike on board, here's what I do: I'm assuming your trike is an Airborne trike. If not this may not work.

 

The rear suspension has two plates, I'll call the inner and outer plate. Between them are two round posts that connect the plates. I use those tie-down straps that have the steel hooks at both ends and the buckle for tightening. I hook one end of a strap to each of the two sides of the rear suspension (two straps) on the round posts at the front of the suspension and then hook the other two hooks together in front of the front wheel. Then I hook my winch to those front hooks. That way, you're pulling from where the weight is concentrated rather than the front fork via the base tube etc. I've found that doing it this way the front wheel doesn't tend to turn, and also that it's free so that I can make minor adjustments to the tracking as I winch the trike on. This works with an XT912, although I believe some trikes may have a tendency to topple backwards if the angle of attack is too great.

 

 

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I think you will find the Airborne manual has a section on tying down to a trailer

 

- XT anyway.

 

If you have rear breaks - watch the break lines don't get involved

 

The tie down points on the airborne trailer design ( Plan on their web site) seem to work very well ( assuming its the same as their factory trailer), with about 3 different locations around each back wheel for choice and one either side and forward of the front wheel from memory.

 

Check if you need to move the trailer lights further to the edges -

 

RTA(NSW) have specs on their web site for building (modifying) small ( <4.5t) trailers

 

with plenty of detail.

 

 

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Hi Scott,

 

Great looking trailer. Just a little concerned that the wing is supported directly on what appears to be steel sections at 3 points. Could be potential for damage to wing spars & or sail due to vibration & rubbing when on anything other than perfectly smooth bitumen. I used to suspend my wing with wide webbing straps with no damage caused even on fairly rough tracks.

 

Rgards Pete

 

 

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Ray:

 

Floats? Don't I wish!! I priced them when I was purchasing the trike,036_faint.gif.544c913aae3989c0f13fd9d3b82e4e2c.gif but they were a bit out of my league.

 

Pete:

 

I thought about some kind of sling arrangement and I may still try to do something like that. Like you, I'm not overly fond of the current setup, but I needed to do something. In the short term I may do what Slartibartfast suggested and use some soft foam padding. That's what my instructor does on the racks on his truck. In his case the wing is only supported in two places.

 

 

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Hi all,How about one of these AmeriDeck? - Home of the pick-up truck loading system: SuperDeck

 

Regards Bill

Good find Bill

 

I had been thinking along tilt tray line but that is even better.

 

When I first looked I was concerned about weight but at only 230kg for a mechanism and tray and a lift capacity of 900kg that's well and truly acceptable.

 

 

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Jon,

 

Like the look of your converted box trailer in post #35 of this thread. What size box trailer was it? Was it a 6ftx4ft? If so I'm thinking of doing something similar to my 6x4 box trailer but maybe in a way that it can still be used as a box trailer . . .

 

 

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Here I go again:

 

It looks like I might have sold my flatbed trailer and now have the opportunity to build a covered trailer. This is what I'm considering.

 

As always, your suggestions are most welcome.

 

[ATTACH]13104.vB[/ATTACH][ATTACH]13103.vB[/ATTACH]

 

Front_Qtr_view.jpg.1091ee5f4b8f5432804c40415bbb6420.jpg

 

Rear_qtr_view.jpg.28ba78f2cab35a9c114cd358dc385c91.jpg

 

 

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Guest Andys@coffs

Scott

 

I noticed that others have already mentioned it but I suspect that one 100km+ trip with the wing tied down like that would almost certainly result in you needing a new wing, worst case, new skin at best. I have tradditionally used ladders as a basis of support with Carpet and then foam between the ladder and the wing to spread the load over as much contact surface area as possible, and my instructor told me that the big PVC drainage pipes that are about 35-50cms across, if cut in half lengthwise and lined with Neoprene make a fine cradle for wings as well, which would then mount just fine on those supports.

 

My experience towing a trike and wing long distance with a V6 VR commodore on Gas showed that fuel ecconomy towing a trike is just horrible with a required resultant speed decrease down to 90as max. The next long tow (2000km's) was done with a 4cyl 2Lt ford focus turbo diesel and what a difference that was, the focus hardly felt any difference at all with fuel ecconomy about 50% worse overall but still easily doing 110 where allowed. However that was a moving home situation and the car and boot were absolutely chockers so the trike may not have contributed the entire 50% extra.

 

When the focus normal ecconomy is around 6 - 7Lt's per 100k's 50% extra sounds heaps...but was still less than the commodre without the trailer..

 

So why all the stuff around fuel ecconomy....I wonder if a horse float would be even worse on the hip pocket at refuel time. Trikes are draggy, but I think horse floats or flat fronted trailers like your drawing shows would be even worse on a petrol puller.

 

Andy

 

 

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Andy,

 

Should of towed it with an X Trail turbo diesel mate, i towed mine to Mt Beauty over Hotham and back from WSL and got mid 8's and still had space in the boot lol.

 

Cant beat these modern day 4 cyl diesels.

 

But i wasn't moving house either BTW.

 

As I say it's only fuel and we were all born in an amazing era and i'm going to use as much of it as i can especially in the air.

 

Cheers'

 

Alf

 

 

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In the past few months I've done 2 trips to Victoria towing trikes with my new i30 turbo diesel. It's only a 1.6L engine but it really pulls for its size.

 

Even though the temperatures on those days conspired against it, getting into the mid to high 30's both times, it didn't miss a beat, towing the trike at over 100km/h on the flat and back to 4th gear on the big hills doing 2,500rpm at 90km/h though it could have done 100 I was just preserving the engine a bit.

 

Not towing a trailer it normally drinks 5.0L per 100km at 110km/h on the expressway. Towing a trike at 105km/h it drinks 8.0L per 100km. I use a Scangauge plugged into the OBD port to monitor the engine parameters including boost pressure. It can't measure EGT's though which is a shame.

 

 

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