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Home built trailer

Anyone have any experience

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Plasma05/08/2019 21:18:02
438 forum posts
53 photos

Hi all.

Anyone have any experience of building a small road going trailer for general purpose use, trips to the tip etc?

The parts are all available and welding up a frame would be a simple enough fabrication job.

I'm just checking there are no pitfalls, some sites say new trailers need an IVA inspection but I'm not sure if this is for commercially built units.

Regards plasma

Clive Brown 105/08/2019 21:35:37
480 forum posts
18 photos

My understanding is that inspection applies to all new trailers,including home built, since 2012.

A 'phone call to your nearest Indepension shop might be helpful.

Edited By Clive Brown 1 on 05/08/2019 21:39:12

Bazyle05/08/2019 21:40:57
5391 forum posts
206 photos

About 15 years ago I needed to move a load of scaffolding tube so I built several trainers out of the tube itself, drilled one tube for the hitch off my other trailer and used a 5ft wide Indespension axle set with a sort of cradle to attach the tubes with Ubolts. the rigs were successively 8ft, 13ft, 21ft plus a bit for clearance round the hitch. I mounted the 21ft in pairs one above the other to avoid sag. Think I did 4 or 5 trips.
I still have the bits but wonder if the new 2008 (or is it 2012) regs would kybosh it or whether the key parts of hitch and wheelset constitute a trailer predating the changes.

Edited By Bazyle on 05/08/2019 21:41:41

Grindstone Cowboy05/08/2019 21:43:26
325 forum posts
27 photos

I built a small trailer about 25 years back using a Mini rear subframe, which is still in use, the major drawback being that it is quite heavy - however, that adds to the stability so maybe not a bad thing.The major parts - drawbar and crossmember to bolt the subframe onto - are vastly over-engineered in 1/4" thick angle and channel, the rest of the frame is in 2" x 2" x 1/8". Originally had a plywood floor, but that rotted so managed to get hold of some of the resin-impregnated board they use for the floors of horse-boxes (urine-resistant!). Sides are tongue and grooved planks, all woodwork attached with 1/4" gutter bolts.Rope attachment points are six inch nails welded to frame.

I made the length of the drawbar long enough to clear the back corners of my car even if I manage to reverse it into a 90 degree position relative to the vehicle.

I don't know about any legal issues, it has never been tested. I did paint the max allowable weight onto the side of the tow-hitch, which was some fraction of the gross weight of the towing vehicle - can't recall the formula now, unfortunately. I got a few ideas from an Indespension catalogue, although I used none of their parts, just utilised what I had available.

Michael Gilligan05/08/2019 22:02:59
16189 forum posts
706 photos

VOSA used to be the relevant agency, but things have changed

This now appears to be the place to look: **LINK**

... and note the helpful link to this: **LINK**



P.S. it must be 40 years since I built mine [now gone], but I remember Indespension being very helpful

... and their suspension units made it a very easy job.

Alan Waddington 205/08/2019 23:02:28
505 forum posts
87 photos

Blank data plates are available on stamp them with the correct axle weights and the year of manufacture, but of course the 9 is missing from your stamp set, so you use a 0 instead wink

not done it yet05/08/2019 23:40:32
4872 forum posts
18 photos

Night shift used collect together steel, bring in indespension units and tow hitch - the drive out of the works with a trailer when they clocked off. Not so easy now there are security cameras!smiley

If i were to need another trailer, I would go along to a relevant auction, search out a suitable candidate and bid on it.

Small second hand trailers are likely cheaper than making a new one. There were about six in the sale I went to, at the weekend. Some sold, some didn’t.

Seems like an unbraked trailer is all that is required, so no brakes needed and a lighting board could be used for the electrics?

Robert Atkinson 206/08/2019 07:23:51
751 forum posts
17 photos

Since 2012 virtually all trailers need to be approved or inspected see

This ties in with new laws (draft in 2018) that will require registration of al trailers over 750kg.

Note that trailer laws generally don't apply to mobile plant. This can be useful for stationary engines if they are bolted down on a chassis with wheels. Used this clause about 15 years ago when putting a gas tubine airstart unit on a ex MOD Sankey landrover trailer chassis.

Robert G8RPI.

Michael Gilligan06/08/2019 08:03:30
16189 forum posts
706 photos
Posted by Robert Atkinson 2 on 06/08/2019 07:23:51:

Since 2012 virtually all trailers need to be approved or inspected see


That's an interesting link, Robert

**LINK** added for convenience

But I do find it a little worrying that the text has not been updated since VOSA, as such, ceased to exist.


martin perman06/08/2019 08:53:58
1857 forum posts
78 photos

As a slight aside I recently found I was breaking the law with my Ifor Williams trailer, I'm on a restricted three year licence because I inject Insulin, the weight combination of car and trailer exceeded my 3.5 ton limit. I found out that IW could supply spec plates for the trailer to de rate it, I gave them a call and they asked what I required so I had a new plate supplied reducing the load from 2000kgs to 1400kgs all for the cost of £40 + vat instead of £1500 for a new trailer.

Martin P

V8Eng06/08/2019 09:15:02
1462 forum posts
28 photos

If you plan on using a trailer for taking stuff to a council Tip  Recycling Centre check if they have a size limit, our centre will only allow smallish trailers into the domestic type section. Council rules seem to vary from area to area as well.

Edited By V8Eng on 06/08/2019 09:16:27

martin perman06/08/2019 09:24:38
1857 forum posts
78 photos
Posted by V8Eng on 06/08/2019 09:15:02:

If you plan on using a trailer for taking stuff to a council Tip Recycling Centre check if they have a size limit, our centre will only allow smallish trailers into the domestic type section. Council rules seem to vary from area to area as well.

Edited By V8Eng on 06/08/2019 09:16:27

Our local Recycling centre wont allow anthing bigger than 5' x 4', no twin axles of any size allowed so I've recently bought a small second hand one for tip runs.

Martin P

Bazyle06/08/2019 09:45:33
5391 forum posts
206 photos

Also check your car specification. A Fiesta is only rated for 600kg unbraked but 900 braked, not the 750 one assumes. Don't like the idea of having to register trailers - guess Brexit will give the petty bureaucrats the chance to increase our 'freedom' from EU regulations.

martin perman06/08/2019 09:53:34
1857 forum posts
78 photos
Posted by Bazyle on 06/08/2019 09:45:33:

Also check your car specification. A Fiesta is only rated for 600kg unbraked but 900 braked, not the 750 one assumes. Don't like the idea of having to register trailers - guess Brexit will give the petty bureaucrats the chance to increase our 'freedom' from EU regulations.

I bought my Ifor Williams over 17 years ago second hand from my place of work and the first thing I had to do was contact IW to transfer ownership to me, when I rang them recently they asked for the serial no and asked me my details to confirm the trailer was mine, I think its a good idea as if the police find it they can quickly find its correct owner.

Martin P

john fletcher 106/08/2019 10:13:42
617 forum posts

I have an old book called Your Complete Guide To Trailers and Towing published by Indespension who made the wheel units etc, a useful book if you can obtain a copy.Some years ago a friend of made his own flexible suspension rubber units, using some square section tube, four circular length of rubber (rod) and a shaped steel piece to fit inside, which he made himself. I think he had seen the Indespension units being made. However, he put the lengths of rubber in his freezer, then later pressed them in place, together with the steel piece.My friend made a few for his mates, they seems to work OK and never heard of a failure. Not at all sure about modern legislation reading trailer. Not many home made looking trailers at car boot sales or auto jumble sales. now days. john

Ian S C06/08/2019 11:28:58
7468 forum posts
230 photos

A number of years ago(could be 30) there were plans to build a small trailer in ME.

Your regs are quite different to what we have in NZ were there is annual registration fee(each trailer has it's own number plate, and annual warrant of fitness that you also pay for.

Maybe not quite so much these days(don't know)but almost every car seemed/s to have a tow bar. The one problem I see with trailers here is that both 1 7/8", and 50 mm tow balls are allowed, one won't fit, and the other can fall off. Can't quote the weights etc, but two and three axle trailers are common.

Not what you have in mind, but we built about 60 of these feed out trailers.

          test 037 (640x480).jpg

Ian S C

Edited By Ian S C on 06/08/2019 11:34:39

Nigel McBurney 106/08/2019 11:44:17
726 forum posts
3 photos

Over a long period,I have built six small trailers for motor cycles and stationary engines,plus trips to the dump.Some of my trips have been over hundreds of miles when buying stationary engines,My last home built trailer now 30 years old has had some updates,I based the chassis on those that indespension used to sell ie 6 ft x4ft ,measured up one down our local trailer centre when no one was looking,modified it by making it 6 inches longer and just over 4ft wide so that a new sheet of 6 x 4 sheet timber will fit inside and hang over the tailgate.It is unbraked I first used mini hubs and wheels and 500 kilo indespension units,first mod was to fit metro taper wheel bearings in the mini hubs which made the trailer roll better,and replaced two sets of indespension units due to bent axle shafts, the mini hub is only 7/8 ins dia and theindespension steel is not as strong as a Mini Spindle, All due to overloading with stationary engines and a 15 cwt surface grinder. The trailer now has Avonride units which have stronger one inch dia spindles,and trailer parts suppliers now have hubs to suit these axles and a variety of wheel sizes,try to get better quality bearings ,the real cheapo ones are not very good. The avon rides 550 Kilo capacityalso have solid arms from the rubber down to the axle and are a lot stronger than those made from rectangular tube.Try looking at Trailertek website. I would just build the trailer,stamp/mark on the max gross weight ,just guess it dont worry about weighing it, the gross weight has been mandatory for a very long time,also a safety chain is mandatory on unbraked trailers.nobody can tell how old it is so dont worry about latest regs which currently apply to manufacturers. Make the trailer neat and tidy,paint it and add plenty of tie down points,trailers only seem to get stopped by the law if they have poorly secured loads and look as though they will fall to bits. I carry stationary engines to rallies so need reliability so use 8 ply tyres ,carry a good spare wheel ,plus a new wheel hub and bearing.and jack,dont rely on the car jack as a lot of cars dont have jacks, my wifes Vitara had as standard the aerosol of glue in the boot in case of punctures, no jack or wheel brace, so I ordered the skinny get you home kit,the kit comprised the wheel and tyre,plus nut spanner and jack ,then when I checked the kit the wheel nut spanner did not fit,wrong size so the suzuki garage had to rob one from their stock of cars oops.and then made sure the skinny wheel fitted, What made me flaming mad was the agent told me that a full size spare would not fit in the boot well, so I checked it out when it was too late,the full size spare does fit with about a 2 inch loss of boot space.If building a trailer costs too much,try finding a trailer of known make and make sure that it is not been abused,rusty,and does not have perished tyres,If you do consider making a trailer to the full 750 kilo capacity I think you will find that 750 kilo spring units will beat the load to depth as these rubber sprung units will take well over their rated load. By the way for my larger engines up to 3/4 ton an Ifor williams with leaf springs is the best ,these springs give a really nice ride for the valuable load. The problem with an Ifor is theft prevention.

Nigel McBurney 106/08/2019 12:07:15
726 forum posts
3 photos

this note may be helpful to trailer owners who tow their models and preserved engines, A friend 50 miles from home was visiting relations,some towrag stole his catalitic converter on the exhaust,breakdown service arrived loaded the vehicle and then the operator found that the car owner had two dogs and he refused to carry them,so separate arrangements had to be made for the dogs.I had 54 years of AA membership with the AA including the relay get you home, I made enquiries and the following was confirmed in writing from the AA . The AA will only carry pets in their lorry cab at their absolute discretion,and went further that this discretion is entirely in the hands of the lorry driver when he arrives at the breakdown, they will not allow pets to be carried in the car which is on the back of the lorry.On the other hand if you are towing a trailer, if the car breaks down they will also tow the trailer home,also if the trailer breaks down they will take it home on the lorry and you make your way home in the car. So if your car breaks down and you have a pet ie the dog/s it could be tough luck " the car gets home but you do not," So I looked at the RAC now they take pets in your car at the owners risk so thats ok,they will take your car home and tow a troadworthy trailer behind the lorry. but if your trailer breaks down again its tough luck ,a bit risky if there is a miniature traction engine in the trailer which could be worth up to 50 grand.Then I found at extra cost the RAC has a scheme at a lot of extra cost ,where they will take a broken down trailer or caravan if you are a member of the camping and caravan club. So have a look at the smallprint of any breakdown service.

A Smith06/08/2019 13:08:16
44 forum posts
3 photos

Two general purpose trailers and three dinghy trailers built over the last forty years. I only have one g.p. trailer now but I believe all the others are still in use. Quite a lot of overthinking above. How would anyone know whether your privately built, lightweight trailer for taking stuff to the tip is new or refurbished? The new trailer would just join the enormous fleet of privately built bike, boat, camping, general purpose etc. trailers that already exists. I think the best advice posted above is the suggestion to check with the tip on the maximum size of trailer that they will accept.


Meunier06/08/2019 14:54:44
340 forum posts
1 photos

As in NZ per Ian S C note, trailers in France must have their own registration hence diff reg nbr to the towing vehicle.
No info on 'MOT' testing requirements for trailers. (cars=2yrly after 4th anniversary)

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