Aluminium 4 x 4 trailers

Submitted: Tuesday, Oct 14, 2003 at 21:07
ThreadID: 7823 Views:2304 Replies:6 FollowUps:1
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I'm planning on buying my first 4 x 4 camper trailer. Have looked at many heavy duty rigs in Brisbane area and have come across an Aluminium trailer significantly lighter than its counterparts [300ks compared to 550 - 600 kgs]. Does anyone have experience with these trailers on tracks such as the Gulf track, Strzelecki, Cape York ? It has similar [7 leaf spring] suspension to heavier rigs without need for trailer brakes. Advice most appreciated. Caps
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Reply By: Member - Ross - Tuesday, Oct 14, 2003 at 22:42

Tuesday, Oct 14, 2003 at 22:42
No experience at all but remember they tried Al tippers on big rigs and found they failed due to metal fatigue ... just a thought.Rosco
AnswerID: 33826

Reply By: Truckster (Vic) - Tuesday, Oct 14, 2003 at 22:53

Tuesday, Oct 14, 2003 at 22:53
Remember you can get steel welded almost anywhere if needed, alloy is not as simple to find someone.

The average farmer will have a normal welder...
AnswerID: 33833

Reply By: Member - Melissa - Wednesday, Oct 15, 2003 at 11:18

Wednesday, Oct 15, 2003 at 11:18

Our campertrailer has a steel frame but also incorporates a lot of aluminium sheeting etc. This combo makes it much lighter than the all-steel counterparts without compromising overall strength etc.

:o) MelissaPetrol 4.5L GU Patrol &
Camprite TL8 offroad camper
AnswerID: 33858

Reply By: cj - Wednesday, Oct 15, 2003 at 11:42

Wednesday, Oct 15, 2003 at 11:42
Have had an aluminium boat trailer once and it was light, well made with heavy guage alloy but it developed cracks. I wouldn't go off road with one. All my other trailers have been galv steel, only way to go.
AnswerID: 33863

Reply By: cookie - Wednesday, Oct 15, 2003 at 13:10

Wednesday, Oct 15, 2003 at 13:10
Aluminium has a very good strength to weight ratio but one of it’s limiting properties is fatigue strength. Fatigue is a phenomenon whereby a material fails by cracking from a cyclic load of a magnitude much smaller than the breaking strength of the material, normally over a relatively long period of time. The crack normally initiates at some discontinuity in the material, normally at welded joints, and continues to propagate as the number of load cycles increase. Suspension components are subject to very high number of cycles is their lifetime, at relatively small loads. Corrigated roads where an offroad trailer will probably operate would generate a massive amount of cycles. Hence why you don’t see aluminium suspension components. If the trailer suspension is attached to an aluminium frame it would need to be a very good connection detail to avoid fatigue problems in the future, it may be fine for 5 years or so and then start to crack. I’m a naval architect at a prominent aluminium boat builder and we do a lot of computer analysis and design work to avoid bad fatigue connections. So if they have done their homework regarding fatigue the trailer may well have a long fatigue life. Ask them about any fatigue analysis they have done and if they can give you some info regarding lifetime fatigue cycles, stress ranges etc. or at least some experience with a trailer that is at least 3 or 4 years old then you could probably be satisfied. If not I would be concerned about fatigue. A steel chasis with aluminium panelling as mentioned by Melissa is probably ideal.

If you only intend to keep the trailer for a couple of years aluminium may be an ideal choice, no point carrying around that weight for nothing, anything longer than that fatigue cracking will probably be an issue.
AnswerID: 33883

Follow Up By: Caps - Wednesday, Oct 22, 2003 at 22:25

Wednesday, Oct 22, 2003 at 22:25
Thanks for your detailed response Cookie. I've given up the idea of an Aluminium trailer and continuing the seqrch for a more conventional Galv steel job. I'll take your points into my discussion in any case.


FollowupID: 25115

Reply By: Caps - Wednesday, Oct 15, 2003 at 22:34

Wednesday, Oct 15, 2003 at 22:34
Thanks so much for these prompt and informative responses. I guess in hindsight the fact that there don't seem to be many - this was the first - aluminium 4 x 4 trailers on the market, they can't be too popular or suitable. I do intend keeping one for longer than a few years so I'll continue looking but be better informed. Thanks to all. Caps
AnswerID: 33970

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