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August 8th, 2010


DIY Trailer

For the past week wibble_puppy and I have been driving far and wide, scouring salvage yards for old reclaimed bricks that match those her house is built from. At two different places we bought a hundred and brought them back in her Honda Jazz (I worked out it was just about safe to carry that much weight, but the rear suspension was riding pretty low). At a third place we bought a palette of 150. There were already 100 bricks in the back of the car so we couldn't bring the 150 back with us that day.

Not wanting to risk breaking the Jazz by bringing them all back in one trip, we discussed a number of different options to retrieve them. Among the options were to make two trips in the Jazz (about three-four hours per round trip, including loading and unloading); bring them back in Wibble's Minor van (unsure if it would be a safe load because we think it has the rear springs from a car instead of a van); get me insured to drive G's big business van (expensive); or rent a suitably hefty trailer (very expensive). In the end I decided on the most illogical option: build a trailer and tow it with Lintilla!

Starting with the trailer tent chassis that I'm going to build my caravan on and a pile of scrap timber, we spent five and a half hours yesterday afternoon/evening (much of it in the rain) putting the brakes back together and then building a box on top of the chassis.

After grabbing a bite to eat, we headed over to the brick yard, picked up the 150 bricks, and brought them back. I had been a little concerned beforehand about how well Lintilla would cope with pulling that much weight - I estimate the gross weight of trailer and load probably came to about 500Kg. I could certainly feel her handling differently, and hill climbs were a bit slower, but she coped remarkably well overall. Overrun brakes on the trailer are certainly a good thing and I'm very glad the chassis I bought has them - they make braking with a heavy load not much harder than with a light empty trailer.

I'm pretty happy with it, particularly since it's nearly all made from stuff we already had lying around. I want to make a few small modifications (turn the back into a hinged tailgate, lower the height of the front, bolt the spare wheel on, maybe fit mudguards) and give it a lick of paint. We've discussed putting a wanted ad on the local Freegle for unwanted tins of exterior paint and using whatever colours we end up with! It's a bit of a shame that it will have to be dismantled in a few months to use the chassis for the caravan, but in the meantime we have a useful resource for moving building materials around (including caravan-building materials).