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Trailer Woes.....

Discussion in 'Bicycle Mechanics' started by StuInTokyo, Jan 12, 2011.

  1. StuInTokyo

    StuInTokyo Maximum Pace

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    Last year I built a trailer, you can see all about it here.....

    >> Trailer Build <<

    ... so it has been in use for a good ten months.

    I've been using the heck out of it and have had zero problems, until yesterday.... :rolleyes:

    My fault, of course :eek: The part of the hitch that looks like a tie-rod end, well when I ordered one from the Japanese website, I mixed up the kanji for right and left, and I got one that had a left hand thread inside it :madman: I drilled it out a bit and then stuck the right hand threaded bolt I had already made into it, to keep it in place, I drilled a hole through the hole thing and put a bolt in there.
    View attachment 686

    View attachment 687

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    So by weakening the structure and then putting a hold through it, well it gave up the ghost on me. Luckily, it happened just after I had dropped off 3 large cases of beer at a customer's place, so no harm done but to my ego.

    I had the right part on hand, as I had ordered it as soon as I realized my error. I had everything fixed and ready to roll in under an hour, but then today I had another problem.... :eek:uch:

    The neck part of my trailer, where it connects to the trailer has busted.

    When I came back from a delivery (another heavy one) I felt the back of the trailer hitting on just about every curb etc on they way, this was odd as it does not usually hit. When I parked the unit, the back of the trailer was almost touching the ground...Huh??

    Turns out that the tongue was only just attached, one was busted right off :(
    View attachment 690
    This is the one that is still just barely attached.

    View attachment 691
    here is the one on the right that is busted right off :twitchy:

    I guess this is all part of making something from scratch, testing it to the point of failure over time :rolleyes:

    Well now what to do, I might just try to reinforce with a gusset what I have there, or I might rethink the whole deal and go for one stronger tube in the center...?

    On thing I do not like about the twin tube set up I have now with the tongue design is that I cannot use my pannier on the bike with the trailer, sounds dumb, but there are times when I wish I could. I might also take this opportunity to put a spacer in to raise the whole trailer up another inch, as there are sometimes ground clearance issues.....

    I'll get it down to the workshop tonight and start to tackle the problem, might have to make a run to the DIY shop to buy some stronger steel too.....

    There always seems to be one more thing to do :rolleyes:

    Cheers!
  2. koribeyer

    koribeyer Speeding Up

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    I think it's awfully impressive that you are building your own stuff but it must come with many testing phases...

    You might be interested in my Portland friends' blog. They build wooden crates for their yuba-- also pannier compatable.
    http://civilizedconveyance.blogspot.com/2010/04/ikea.html
    Poke around for the --how we built it parts.

    Good luck!!
  3. StuInTokyo

    StuInTokyo Maximum Pace

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    Wow, that is quite the blog :cool:

    I think I have the version 2.0 worked out, pictures to follow (after I take some!)

    Cheers!
  4. StuInTokyo

    StuInTokyo Maximum Pace

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    OK, some pics

    View attachment 692
    You can see the gussets I put at each joint in the new trailer tongue.

    View attachment 693
    A close up, welding is OK, but not great. :eek:

    View attachment 694
    Here is the vertical part of the tongue where it attaches at the front of the trailer

    View attachment 695
    The strong back I put on the inside of the trailer that extends up to the first joint in the new tongue. I think this will be very solid. The hole is for the hook of my tie-down strap

    View attachment 696
    Here is is all a done, with out the brake mechanism attached, and then some paint.

    I really do think this will be really strong, but lets see what happens in a years time........ if it makes it that far :D
  5. kiwisimon

    kiwisimon Maximum Pace

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    Stu I always found square pipe was the first to break when flex was involved. Those gussets should do the job, here's hoping. How about doing a moultonesque space frame trailer design made from PVC piping as an experiment in weight savings ?
  6. StuInTokyo

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    Something like this......
    View attachment 697

    :eek: :D

    The problem is weight, I daily haul a lot of weight (and I'm talking about the beer etc I sell to my customers, not my fat arse! :eek:), those super spindly light weight frames are very cool and they do work, but they do not stand up to the daily abuse that is dished out when you are hauling around heavy stuff. Heavy things tend to get kind of dropped into the trailer, not really, and certainly not on purpose, but it happens, those spindly frames take one hard knock in the wrong place, one kinked tube and soon the whole house of cards comes down.

    My trailer is a weight weinnie's worst nightmare but I think, once I come out with ver. 2.0 in a day or two, will hold up for a long time to come.

    Remember, this is still a prototype :D
  7. GSAstuto

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    Hi Stu - actually have you thought about using cro-mo tubing and brazing? Its actually stronger than the mild steel sections you are using now. And alot lighter. Gussets are great - but they also create stress points that will eventually crack if you don't over-engineer them (def - make bigger and heavier). You can bend some pretty hefty tube with hand bender. Projects like this I miss living in Seattle. Having Boeing Surplus close at hand meant that you had a world of materials available. Have no clue how you get that kind of stuff here, though.
  8. StuInTokyo

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    Your last point is the largest hurdle, I guess you could get it from some bike frame builders, but it would not be cheap, also the tools I do not have now and they too are costly, an Oxy-Acetylene set up here is NOT cheap, and the tanks are a pain, need to be inspected all the time, yada yada:rolleyes:

    I agree that Cro-Moly tubing would be about the best, light, strong, and with the right tools, not hard to work with, but I don't have the right tools, and as you said, sourcing the materials would be a quest for sure.

    I agree that the gussets can be just one way to transfer a stress point to a new location, so I've done my best here to way over engineer things :D

    When in doubt, build it stout :cool:

    This is a tool for my work, it is not a thing of beauty or some sort of technological experiment, I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel here ;)

    Here is just one pic of the final upgrade....
    View attachment 698
    ... it was 3AM when I got done, the darn brakes took a lot longer than I thought they would:mad: but they are done and work well now. Took it for a spin and all seemed good in the world, I will do deliveries with it today, and report back. :)

    This version should fix a number of problems, I have no doubt that there will be future trips back to the Dungeon for repairs and even possible upgrades, but this, as Ver. 2.0 I think should last a good long while.

    Cheers!
  9. GSAstuto

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    Totally agreed about the tank set. Back in the old country can pickup a set of Victor regulators and tanks for practically nothing. And getting air is absolutely no hassle. Another option is TIG - there are some pretty nice small units available now - and inert gas easier to get in Japan. BTW - I'm semi-serious about teaming up on this for a real workshop. Just someplace to co-op tools and gear to do these types of repairs and fabs. In the spring, I'll be going back to U.S. to bring back some of my bike tools horde which include alignment tools (fork, frame, head tube, etc) and other goodies that I put on ice.
  10. StuInTokyo

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    I have a good workshop, but I mostly do woodworking, and some steel.

    I used to TIG weld a LONG time ago, only did a bit, but it is WAY cool, but it is also a skill set that has to be done all the time to stay good at it. MIG welding can be done well enough for most things with about 5 or 10 minutes of machine set up, as long as your steel is clean, your prep is done righ and the welder is set up, the weldor has a very easy job :D I use straight CO2 to MIG weld, I just use the last bit from the beer server 5Kg tanks we get back from customers, most restaurants will turn their tanks in when they get low, they don't want to run out on a busy night, even so a full 5Kg tank only cost me about 2500 yen to refill, which is cheap. I also have the Argon/CO2 mix tank and a tri-mix for aluminum, but they are not past inspection and I have to pay about 10,000 yen per tank for inspection before they can be refilled, thus I use the free beer gas. :)
  11. GSAstuto

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    Ahh - great idea with the keg gas! We used to have a nice Miller Syncrowave - wow , what a nice machine! I don't think you can weld bad with it... I learned to stick weld first from my grandmother (yes) actually she was a welder for Boeing during the war. Mainly aluminum - so that's what I learned first - gas welding aluminum, which transferred nicely to silver / brazing cro-mo since it was basically the same. I'm not good with MIG, though.
  12. StuInTokyo

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    Wow gas welding aluminum, impressive!:D

    Some pics of the completed trailer in the sunlight!

    View attachment 702

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    The square tubing that I used to make the neck of the trailer is two sized larger than the tubing I used before, and the wall thickness of the tubing is at least twice as thick. With the gussets in key spots and strong-back that runs vertically from inside the trailer, I think it will be just simply skookum :thumb:
  13. kiwisimon

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    Much better than the MK1 model, how about some signage in the main triangle? I am thinking of a banner held in place by velcro you can detach for non business cycling.
  14. StuInTokyo

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    Well, I live and learn I guess :rolleyes: I like the double pull, gracefully curved neck, but it did not stand up to the abuse, I think this will.

    No need for any business name on the rig, trust me, everyone knows about the Gaijin liquor shop guy by now :angel:
  15. GSAstuto

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    Great work! I'm used to seeing these look more like this:

    [​IMG]
  16. kiwisimon

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    THat picture belongs on a CD cover

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