Converting a 60 series wagon into a trailer ? Legally whats required ?

Submitted: Tuesday, Jun 05, 2012 at 18:22
ThreadID: 96050 Views:5550 Replies:9 FollowUps:8
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Hi to everyone. Old mate and I were throwing the idea around about turning an old 60 series wagon into an enclosed trailer, with windows. Can anybody help with what is legally required ? And also from an engineering point of view, How would you go about chopping off the front end level with the windscreen at the firewall. Sealing it and ceating a draw bar ? Would the rear axle/wheels be set to far back giving you to much towball weight ? We presume that because it's a landcruiser that it would be off road ready ? What are your thoughts on this one ? Thanks...
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Reply By: Shaker - Tuesday, Jun 05, 2012 at 18:29

Tuesday, Jun 05, 2012 at 18:29
Google 'trailer ADR ' & you can download the Vehicle Standards Bulletin VSB1 & all your questions will be answered.

AnswerID: 487731

Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Tuesday, Jun 05, 2012 at 18:49

Tuesday, Jun 05, 2012 at 18:49
Here's the link:
FollowupID: 762984

Reply By: Ron N - Tuesday, Jun 05, 2012 at 19:18

Tuesday, Jun 05, 2012 at 19:18
Get On - You'd be hard-pressed to find an old HJ60 wagon that wasn't seriously rusted out in the body, wouldn't you?
Pity you never brought this up earlier. Old Joe, my mechanic neighbour scrapped a HZJ80 wagon that had a perfectly good body, just last month. It would have been ideal as a trailer.

Cheers - Ron.
AnswerID: 487739

Follow Up By: GET ON ! - Tuesday, Jun 05, 2012 at 19:55

Tuesday, Jun 05, 2012 at 19:55
Hi Ron N, Yes I would, I'm just generalising here, We might be able to use a variety of wagons. Just trying to find out if it's been done before. The pros and the cons.
FollowupID: 762988

Follow Up By: Ron N - Tuesday, Jun 05, 2012 at 20:24

Tuesday, Jun 05, 2012 at 20:24
I dunno where you're located, but W.A DOT generally isn't too happy about conversions of vehicles to trailers, unless you can provide engineering support to back up the conversion.
I know they won't approve using the original vehicle rear axle housing with a trailer, it has to be a new solid axle.
They will also scrutinise any welding or chassis modifications. The old days of just nicking and bending the chassis rails to meet in the middle, then welding the joined ends together, won't pass muster.
You'd probably need to fabricate a complete new trailer chassis and drop the Landcruiser body on it.
You also need to apply for a new 17 digit trailer VIN if you custom build a trailer.
It can be done, you just need to talk to your local rego authority to find out what is acceptable to them.

Cheers - Ron.
FollowupID: 762992

Follow Up By: GET ON ! - Tuesday, Jun 05, 2012 at 20:33

Tuesday, Jun 05, 2012 at 20:33
Hi Ron N, Thanks for your reply. I'm located in vic, I'll have a chat with a local engineer on my next day off to ask his advice. Will also call into a vic roads office hopefully armed with the right questions to help me assess the if it's worthwhile.
FollowupID: 762993

Reply By: macy - Tuesday, Jun 05, 2012 at 20:57

Tuesday, Jun 05, 2012 at 20:57
Get the ADR for trailers and make sure everything complies. We have done this with a troopy, makes a great campa. No trouble passing licencing inspection.
Cheers Mac
AnswerID: 487751

Follow Up By: GET ON ! - Tuesday, Jun 05, 2012 at 21:42

Tuesday, Jun 05, 2012 at 21:42
Hi Macy. What state are you in ? Can you give some more details on your Troopy camper ? Please.
FollowupID: 762999

Follow Up By: macy - Wednesday, Jun 06, 2012 at 10:01

Wednesday, Jun 06, 2012 at 10:01
Get On
The troopy shell was cut of from the top of windscreen and a "kitchen box" made to fit under roof and back to door pillars. The chassis was cut of immediately behind the front rear spring hangers, bent reinforced and extended with "C" channel to meet at the length required. Water tank and battery's fitted behind axle to get balance right. The axle was replaced with a square beam with electric brakes and the lightest aftermarket landcruiser springs. We are in WA. It was a lot bigger job than first envisaged!!!!!
If you send email I could reply with some photos.
Cheers Mac
FollowupID: 763017

Follow Up By: GET ON ! - Wednesday, Jun 06, 2012 at 22:02

Wednesday, Jun 06, 2012 at 22:02
Hi Mac, would like to see your photos, my email is Thanks. Bob
FollowupID: 763070

Reply By: splits - Tuesday, Jun 05, 2012 at 21:10

Tuesday, Jun 05, 2012 at 21:10
If you do go ahead with this then notching the rails and moving them in will work providing it is acceptable to the registration authorities. I did it a few years ago on a Hilux chassis but prior to welding it I did a few test pieces using steel cut from the front of the chassis. I set up two chamfered pieces in a vice and experimented with a MIG to get the weld penetrating right through while welding in the vertical up position. When I was finally satisfied, I ground the excess metal off both sides then bent it 180 degrees right along the weld and hammered it flat. The steel did not crack and the weld did not let go. As an extra precaution I bent a piece of cold drawn welded tube to the shape of the rails then cut it in two along its length and stitch welded each piece under the notches as a tension strip.
AnswerID: 487754

Reply By: GT Campers - Tuesday, Jun 05, 2012 at 21:43

Tuesday, Jun 05, 2012 at 21:43
yeah plenty of Holden, Mini, Escort etc pannos now being used as trailers.. and maybe even a few Hiluxes :)

Cruiser chassi may be heavy - might be worth looking at a new one

As mentioned, VSB1 has - and is! - everything

AnswerID: 487757

Reply By: Fab72 - Wednesday, Jun 06, 2012 at 19:34

Wednesday, Jun 06, 2012 at 19:34
I'll be following this post closely as I've often thought about doing the same thing.
Saw an SS LXTorana hatchback once with a cut down SS LXTorana hatchback as a trailer complete with Hatch Hutch. It looked awesome.

Personally, I think the biggest issue is stripping weight out of it. I hope I'm wrong.

Anyway...good luck and keep us posted.

AnswerID: 487812

Reply By: The Bantam - Wednesday, Jun 06, 2012 at 22:49

Wednesday, Jun 06, 2012 at 22:49
Um yeh VSB1 wont tell you everything.

years go ther was a lot of this went on, ute chop trailers where reasonably common.

My broinlaw had a ford pilot ute chop trailer, the local buss operator had a chevy pick up ute chop trailer

One big thing is the the time you get the body and the chaisis, it will be heaps heavier than a well designed from the ground up trailer....both the above trailers where heavy as

then there is the ballance thing......the utes are general better distributed arround the rear axle......station waggons tend to have the axle more toward the rear of the body.

Chopping the body is pretty straight forward cut and shut thaught if I havent already put you off is to cut and shut the rear of another body onto the front....doors front and rear.

As for the chasis.......the best option is to cut the chasis neard the front cut point and close the ends across with some channel and fit the drawbar in the usual manner.

As mentioned using an axle with adiff in it is very much frowned upon.

Remember you need to be able to justify the engineering.....load capacity of the springs in particular

Seriouilsy the only reason you would do it is because you want the look.

AnswerID: 487823

Follow Up By: GET ON ! - Thursday, Jun 07, 2012 at 21:09

Thursday, Jun 07, 2012 at 21:09
Hi Bantam, Yes I'm definatly doing for the look and for in my mind pure functionality, I see a solid complete body thats a hard top, has windows, opens at the rear and sides, has some insulation, and ventilation. for me I can open a door and get inside no matter what weather conditions are, as for packing up I would simply roll up the side awning close the doors and drive away. No canvas set up or pack up, except an awning. Now what I've learnt so far is that my best bet is to buy a shell only.[ it could be any wagon shell ], then fix it onto a heavy duty trailer chasis, [ this would be done by an engineer] and fit it out to my requirements. The engineer would close off the front to be weather proof,and ensure it is legal. ready to be road registered. when mounted onto the trailer chassis the trailer chassis wheels might not centre up with the wheel arches, but wiil achieve the right balance,covering in wheel arches is not a big issue. ... what do you think ? Any opinions welcome....
FollowupID: 763113

Reply By: Horacehighroller - Thursday, Jun 07, 2012 at 15:18

Thursday, Jun 07, 2012 at 15:18
If I was going to do something like that I think I'd use a Mitsubishi Express or a Hiace or similar, preferably withOUT glass as it's very heavy.

The above I Ton vans would be favourably well balanced over the axle, have a flat floor (other than the wheel arches), and be not much wider (if at all) than the 60.

Good Luck,

AnswerID: 487857

Reply By: The Bantam - Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 19:25

Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 19:25
Um the vans are even worse tha the stationwaggons....generally L300 have the rear wheels quite close to the rear of the body and hiaces are very similar.

I don't thing there is much to be gained in replacing the chasis....the majority of the excess weight in the the bodywork..remember trailers don't requre any impact stength or roll over capacity...but paseenger cars do

there would also be big advantages in using the existing chasis because of the sprining arangements because they would be far better than cheapo trailer industry crap.

If ya want an L300 body..I got one you can have.

BTW none of this needs "engineering" most of this stuff could be salf assessed and straight forward examination by a chair pollishing clerical type.

AnswerID: 488040

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