Ultralight caravan pics. Near finished

Submitted: Friday, Jan 08, 2016 at 23:26
ThreadID: 131305 Views:3503 Replies:5 FollowUps:5
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Tomorrow I start the roof cladding sheets. Got the sikaflex 11RC (or is it FC?) for adhesive and also double sided tape someone on this site recommended to keep the sheets down while the adhesive sets.

The rear door, a new one weighs a lot, 17kgms but some luxuries are mandatory.

Light all worked without a hitch.

This build, my first and last (arthritis in my knees etc) has come with rigt and wrong choices. The 13mm square tube for the majority of the frame and floor joists was a good choice IMO. With the joists 150mm apart 6mm marine ply is strong enough as long as fill of 130mm long pine bits are crossed where it can fit avoiding any flex between the joists...lots of weight saving there. The floor ply has 4 coats of paint and two coats of waterproof membrane under it. Nice size for rivets and 13mm polystyrene filler and light at around 550 grams per metre. The drawbar now with its 3 trusses each side is really strong considering the main beams are 50x25x2.5mm so light also.

A friction sway unit is to be purchased as per my last thread on fishtailing. This is particularly important for this build as those who don't know it is to be towed by my trike and that requires a low towball weight of under 30kgms. It looks likely (mainly due to the door weight of 17kgms) that weight in the form of a toolbox or battery will be located near the tow coupling but as explained earlier...better to have it tail heavy with that option rather than front heavy and load needed at the rear of the van entry area that you need to unload everytime you stop. Besides the general load area under the beds for table chairs etc is in front of the axle.

My last unit, a motorcycle camper trailer had a large poly trunk on the drawbar for the small fridge and portapotti. To try to counter the excess ball weight I tried mounting 20 litres of water on the tailgate and a 28AH battery under the rear floor...even tent peg bag was at the rear but had little effect on the heavy 40 kgms ball weight. This left the trike with a light front wheel and in the wet potentially dangerous. So all ok with my plans with this build. I could have allowed 50-70mm more axle towards the rear but you cant know until you build it. I'm happy enough

Dimensions are length of body 10'8", width 6'2", height 7'4" (total). Tare weight - will find out soon when weighed. Hoping less than 230kgms. There is no hope of it being under 200 as desired. Cheers

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Reply By: Batt's - Saturday, Jan 09, 2016 at 03:46

Saturday, Jan 09, 2016 at 03:46
That's a nice looking bike a real head turner. Did the caravan your building come mostly in kit for or did you design it.
AnswerID: 594651

Follow Up By: eaglefree - Saturday, Jan 09, 2016 at 20:40

Saturday, Jan 09, 2016 at 20:40
The trike is a 2008 Panther (Aust) trike made in Gosford NSW. Originally with a VW 1916cc engine from Brazil mated to a vW automatic transmission. Ditched the VW for a Subaru engine and was fully reconditioned early last year. VW trike are still popular but the new modern trikes are gaining popularity the likes of Boom trikes and Touroz trike, both being mid engines from Ford Focus 1.6 litre or in auto form Peugeot 2 litre. The engine conversion was done by me and the roof designed by me and made by an engineer. The trike has won many award including overseas.
FollowupID: 863211

Reply By: noggins - Saturday, Jan 09, 2016 at 10:33

Saturday, Jan 09, 2016 at 10:33
I remember reading some time ago about a system of hitching that was used in USA for a few years. The connection to the van was a straight tube , not with a ball joint, and the actual hitching, swinging / moving, point was at the rear axle center.
The trailer pushed into a tube and was a straight connection to the tow hitch.
That meant that the weight was directly onto the rear axle, so no leverage was applied to the towing vehicle.

( imagine a direct bar from the van that hitched up to the axle center and all movement was from there , not at the rear of the engine )

Of course the main thing against it was it also limited the amount of turning circle as the tow hitch would contact the rear tyres on a hard turn.

Maybe something similar could be done with your setup.

AnswerID: 594659

Follow Up By: Ron N - Saturday, Jan 09, 2016 at 12:56

Saturday, Jan 09, 2016 at 12:56
Noggins, that would be the Pullrite Travel Trailer Hitch?

The system looks like an expensive and very heavy system, just to try and get some weight off a regular towbar, and to try and reduce sway.

Seems like there's plenty for sale secondhand in the U.S. - thereby indicating the setup has plenty of drawbacks and unhappy owners.

The hitch not only adds a lot of weight, it reduces ground clearance substantially.
In essence, it's a modified fifth-wheel hitch mounted on the underside of the vehicle, rather than on the tray or bed.

Even the manufacturers website is very light on description, pics and videos - thus probably indicating it's not the greatest seller in their product line.

Cheers, Ron.

Pullrite Products - Travel Trailer Hitch

Pullrite Travel Trailer Hitch

FollowupID: 863179

Reply By: Member - mechpete - Saturday, Jan 09, 2016 at 12:39

Saturday, Jan 09, 2016 at 12:39
I find it a bit hard to believe it will weigh less than 230kg
cheers mechpete
AnswerID: 594662

Follow Up By: eaglefree - Saturday, Jan 09, 2016 at 20:54

Saturday, Jan 09, 2016 at 20:54
As I said I wont know until I weigh it. However preliminary weighing forecasts seem hopeful. Clearly every item added to the van would be scrutinised for weight and alternatives sought.

Consider this. Wheels with tyres. 10" weigh 8kgms each. 13" weigh 17kgms each. Our sink made of acrylic weigs 1.5 kgms and shower tray also acrylic weighs 1.8 kgms. There is about 60 metres of 13mm square tube (1.8mm thick) for the main frame (not the edges) at a total of 45 kgms. The edges were ripped 2mm thick gal square tube making angles at even lower weight.

Floor an unusual 6mm ply. Total 6 square metres of it. maybe 20 kgms

Springs wheels and solid axle 45 kgms.

Drawbar 50x25x3mm RHS. plus trusses. etc etc.

I might well be wrong but adding up all the components it wont be far out. What I didn't calculate early on was the many tubes of structural adhesive, screw, rivets, MIG welding reels and so on.
FollowupID: 863214

Reply By: noggins - Saturday, Jan 09, 2016 at 13:48

Saturday, Jan 09, 2016 at 13:48
Yehh that would be the one
But there was a smaller version that basically went into a straight shank from the trailer I used on an old Oliver Crawler tractor I had years ago.
It was fitted when I bought the tractor and trailer for some block clearing, no idea who made it .

Remember the single pole trailers that were all the go many , many years ago. ?
The hitch I had used an inner and outer tube arrangement.
The outer tube was located via a single pin in a U bracket under the rear and held up out of the way with a small chain, when I connected the trailer I just backed up, aligned the poles and pushed, backed into position.
Dropped the jointing pin in unhooked the supporting chain and away we 'd go.
This made a rigid connection from trailer to tractor with no weight past the rear of the tractor.

Any way it was just a thought
AnswerID: 594663

Follow Up By: eaglefree - Saturday, Jan 09, 2016 at 20:57

Saturday, Jan 09, 2016 at 20:57
Thanks for that thought

I'd query if it was covered under ADR's. Seems to me that anything radical, different even if well engineered would bring out the wolves come rego time
FollowupID: 863215

Reply By: xray tango - Sunday, Jan 10, 2016 at 17:46

Sunday, Jan 10, 2016 at 17:46
With only about 120 kg max on each wheel, it should be easy to keep track of the weight by using a bathroom scales under each wheel plus the tow ball weight.
AnswerID: 594707

Follow Up By: eaglefree - Sunday, Jan 10, 2016 at 22:07

Sunday, Jan 10, 2016 at 22:07
mmm, yeh Mechpete was right. My scales go to 135kgm. Van is currently tail heavy as previously mentioned for good reason but will be rectified with load up front.

Tail has 22 kgms
Wheel RHS 133 kgms
Wheel LHS 131kgms
+ the rear door which isn't fixed on yet @ 17 kgms

Total 303kgms. What is left to do is the 4 roof sheets @ 3kgms each + adhesive + roof vent+ black exterior edging . Grand total around 330 kgms.

A little disappointing for me personally to set such huge goals with the plan of a tare weight around 220 kgms. Even if I went with alko lightweight suspension it would have saved me only 25 or so kgms.

Overall though it isn't a heavy van so my efforts achieved a nice caravan. Shortcuts were possible but it wouldn't be a "nice" caravan. More pics when it is totally finished.
FollowupID: 863272

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