Draw bar on trialers

Submitted: Tuesday, Jul 17, 2012 at 19:42
ThreadID: 96935 Views:4273 Replies:4 FollowUps:19
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Ok all you fella's out there that tow trailers through the desert, I am about to convert my house hold trailer,into some thing that I can manage to tow in the bush, the question is which is better a long draw bar or short, not having towed anything in rough terrain, but having a look at a number of camper trailers they all seem to vary in length. thanks for your in put. cutting and welding starts tomorrow
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Reply By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Tuesday, Jul 17, 2012 at 20:30

Tuesday, Jul 17, 2012 at 20:30
Broodie! I cant think of many household trailers that would stand up to outback punishment. Generally they are made of a thin angle iron lower frame so there is not anything substantial to weld a decent A frame to. If it has slipper springs, it is best to change to eye to eye and if not, will the standard ones hold up to corrugations and rough roads? Is he axle and bearing type up to the job? A short A frame is good for tight tracks and less flex on the A frame, a longer A frame is better for reversing and general towing. The problem is if the trailer is not up to it and fails in a major way, where do you put all the gear that is in it? I really believe it should be purpose built to avoid any problems. My thoughts only. Michael.


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Follow Up By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Tuesday, Jul 17, 2012 at 20:38

Tuesday, Jul 17, 2012 at 20:38
By the way, a lot of camper trailers have a draw bar of around 3 metres from the axle to the ball or pin if it has an off road coupling.. Michael

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Follow Up By: Member - Broodie H3 - Tuesday, Jul 17, 2012 at 22:44

Tuesday, Jul 17, 2012 at 22:44
I neglected to tell you that My brother and I built this trailer several years ago, and believe me , It has stood the test at time has landcruiser wheels and 8 leaf springs We are going to put some shockies under it as when it is empty it does tend to bounce around a bit . as for ground clearance ground to axle is 22", and as I haven't been up the csr yet, would you suggest long or short.
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Reply By: Crackles - Tuesday, Jul 17, 2012 at 21:24

Tuesday, Jul 17, 2012 at 21:24
The key decisions re drawbar length are what needs to be stored on the A frame (spare tyre/tool box etc) & what size door/tailgate needs to open allowing sufficient clearance between the two. In general a long towbar will give a smoother ride & be easy to back while a short one has greater offroad ability & will follow the tow vehicle through tight spots.
For my trailer I ended up with a 1.6m drawbar (2.9m to axle) which gave sufficient clearance for a large swing door with a big spare tyre on the A frame.
As for towing a modified house-hold trailer in the desert ............good luck :-)

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Follow Up By: Member - Broodie H3 - Tuesday, Jul 17, 2012 at 22:55

Tuesday, Jul 17, 2012 at 22:55
Thanks for that info, we actually built the trailer several years ago and it is no ordinary house hold box trailer the only things being carried in it will be spare fuel, spare parts, tools and tyres with rims and as much water we can carry. bedding tent and fridges will be in the pathfinder, oh I forgot about the jenny as it will be coming for the ride too. The only reason for the change to the draw bar is because it has always been a cow to reverse, it just turns to quickly. thanks for the input Crackles.
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Follow Up By: PJR (NSW) - Wednesday, Jul 18, 2012 at 10:50

Wednesday, Jul 18, 2012 at 10:50
Hi Broodie

Sounds like good advice posted here and you have already approached most of the points. Here is some food for thought.

Once I did not think that I needed a roof rack. Everything would fit in the car. After all there were only two of us.

Ha!! Big error. Now the car is full and a roof rack is on the car with a roof top camper a firewood/chainsaw storage box is up there. I was way off the mark.

To quote you; "things being carried in it will be spare fuel . . . ". Bad assumption mate. Move "outside the square" a bit and maybe one day you may want to carry the boat or camper on it.

Just thinking.
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Follow Up By: Member - Broodie H3 - Wednesday, Jul 18, 2012 at 10:57

Wednesday, Jul 18, 2012 at 10:57
That is some trailer you are building, and looking at your Photo you have given me some more food for thought, How long has it taken you to build it.
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Follow Up By: Member - Broodie H3 - Wednesday, Jul 18, 2012 at 11:07

Wednesday, Jul 18, 2012 at 11:07
Hey Crackles, I don't think I will be allowed to do the camper trailer and boat thing as we have a 23ft caravan, I kind of cured my wife of the camping trip thing when we towed the boat up to cape Leveque, from Perth, and pitched the tents up and back got back to as far as Geraldton and we brought the caravan. this trip up the CSR is a boys run, as I don't think we can get the van through that country. lol
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Follow Up By: Member - Broodie H3 - Wednesday, Jul 18, 2012 at 11:12

Wednesday, Jul 18, 2012 at 11:12
Sorry Fellas, the last reply should hav read PJR
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Follow Up By: PJR (NSW) - Wednesday, Jul 18, 2012 at 11:16

Wednesday, Jul 18, 2012 at 11:16
Fair enough.

Apart from the locals maybe stopping you, I think that it would be both difficult and damaging to take a van up the CSR. I am hoping to do it solo myself next year.

Simpson in two weeks plus a bit.

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Follow Up By: Crackles - Wednesday, Jul 18, 2012 at 17:41

Wednesday, Jul 18, 2012 at 17:41
I'd be a bit careful not to make the drawbar too long for the Canning as it would drag cresting the dunes. 3.4m max hitch to axle. You mention taking "as much water as we can carry". Weight is the killer on the Canning & water can be topped up at so many spots along the way so don't bother taking too much. Cut down on weight at every opportunity so reasses everything you intend to carry (especially the genny) & not just take gear because you have room.

"How long has it taken you to build it."
3 weeks from the time I paid my money ;-) Found it cheaper to pay to have the independant suspension & chassis built to my spec than do it myself. It took me 12 weekends to build the top section & fit out the kitchen, power & water.
Cheers Craig...............






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Follow Up By: Member - Broodie H3 - Wednesday, Jul 18, 2012 at 18:08

Wednesday, Jul 18, 2012 at 18:08
Hi Crackles; Man that is one serious trailer I hope you have a lot of happy travels with it, I now have 2.9 meter draw bar, and on a trial run it now behaves a lot better. thanks very much for your input, and Knowledge.
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Reply By: The Bantam - Wednesday, Jul 18, 2012 at 10:30

Wednesday, Jul 18, 2012 at 10:30
A long drawbar is always better within reason.

the only two places that a long drawbar is a problem is where you actually want the trailer to jack knife easily to get it into tight places.

or that it simply makes the trailer too long.

the main hang up points on trailers are the hitch & the point of the drawbar and the rear edge of the trailer.

mounting the hitch between the drawbar arms rather than on top of them allows you far better clearance, as it places the drawbar above the hitch point rather than below

cheers
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Follow Up By: Member - Broodie H3 - Wednesday, Jul 18, 2012 at 10:52

Wednesday, Jul 18, 2012 at 10:52
Hi Bantam, thanks for that, I never gave the hitch point much thought, but now I will give it more consideration. thank you.
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Follow Up By: PJR (NSW) - Wednesday, Jul 18, 2012 at 11:22

Wednesday, Jul 18, 2012 at 11:22
Maybe a bit of flat plate bent up at the front edge and welded on under the hitch area would allow it to slide across anything rather than dig in.
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Follow Up By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Wednesday, Jul 18, 2012 at 19:09

Wednesday, Jul 18, 2012 at 19:09
My home made Off Road trailer has the shortest drawbar possible and is good for tight places but it tends to waddle around on dirt roads, I believe if it was longer it would be nicer to tow. I was thinking of making it adjustable in length using heavy wall SHS telescoping tubes, using pins for adjustment. I'm not too sure if it would meet design rules in NSW but i cant find anything in the rules that excludes this idea. Most boat trailers are one straight tube!! I have worked out how to stop it rattling if i actually get around to it. Just a thought. Michael
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Follow Up By: 153 - Thursday, Jul 19, 2012 at 10:51

Thursday, Jul 19, 2012 at 10:51
Whilst a longer draw bar is easier to back with, I wonder if a longer draw bar could allow more stones to hit the front of the trailer rather than going underneath it?
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Thursday, Jul 19, 2012 at 17:59

Thursday, Jul 19, 2012 at 17:59
That would depend on how good ya mud flaps where no wouldn't it.

It may be that a longer drawbar may result in less stones hitting the front of the trailer.

Seriuosly that consideration is so obtuse as to be pointless.

cheers
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Follow Up By: 153 - Friday, Jul 20, 2012 at 08:03

Friday, Jul 20, 2012 at 08:03
lol.....you must have damn good mud flaps if they can stop 100% of stones. And considering stones bouncing back off the trailer can smash a rear window of the tow vehicle......then I would not consider it a pointless consideration!
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Reply By: member - mazcan - Wednesday, Jul 18, 2012 at 14:10

Wednesday, Jul 18, 2012 at 14:10
hi broodie H3
just a word of warning from me as this is what happened even when i took precaution in respect to carrying a honda geny and this was in the wellbody of a previous navara ute and my current mazda bravo so if you intend carrying your geny in the trailer mentioned beware
there is a huge possibilty that some and or several parts on the geny will vibrate loose/drop off and or become damaged due to the horrific horrigations as i prefer to call them
and i might add that in 1987 there was hardly any corregations to speak of on thCSR but we encountered plenty on gunbarrel and kidson track
but in 2002 the the scene had changed and they were really badon lower half of CSR but not as bad as from all reports like they are now and get described as extremely bad

the fuel bowl retainer screw came undone and dropped off
the float assembly dropped out letting the needle valve
out luck has it that i was carrying the geny in it original packing box and was encased with polystyrene and i had installed a rubber ribbed mat also
so was able to retrieve and refit the said parts
in addition a side panel ran loose and several other screws also kept coming loose in cluding the oil dipstick and had to be constantly checked on a daily basis

and was in spite of the fact i had carefully gone over every screw /stud /bolt on both the genny and vehicle before leaving home

on the navara the front wellbody to chassis retainer bolt ran loose and i found it at a morning tea break with only two turns to go before it would have dropped down and be lost
i didnt tow a trailer and still had trouble even with a vehicle that had an after market suspension
in the long of it despite all of my pretrip prep things still came loose so if you intend carrying stuff such as gennies etc in a trailer over the current extreme horregation that now prevail expect there to be some problems
the best advice i can give is to get some of that thick rubber matting that is used in horsefloats and put on the floor of your trailer this will take a bit of the bad vibes out of the trip
clark rubber have it
and every thing will need to be strapped down
preferably to anchor points installed in the floor of your trailer as good downward pressure is better than a strap that just goes over and across the top of an item and is tyed off on the rope rail at the top side of the trailer if you get what i mean

i and not an alarmist and i'm not trying to deterr or put the fear god into you but just passing on an experience i had and hope you can avoid
hope you have an enjoyable and trouble free run
cheers
barry
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Follow Up By: Member - Broodie H3 - Wednesday, Jul 18, 2012 at 14:27

Wednesday, Jul 18, 2012 at 14:27
Thanks for the heads up Barry, you don't sound like an alarmist to me but a person, with a bad experience. Anybody is always welcome at my fire with advice as I take all advice on board with glee especially if I have not encountered those same good or bad things in my short 63 year life and as our dad always said you are not a stupid person, if you take advice good or bad. and if you do nothing about the advice given, then you have a problem my son. Thanks again Barry
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Follow Up By: member - mazcan - Wednesday, Jul 18, 2012 at 16:29

Wednesday, Jul 18, 2012 at 16:29
hi
despite the niggly problems i still thoroughly enjoyed both trips on the CSR


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Follow Up By: Member - Broodie H3 - Wednesday, Jul 18, 2012 at 18:17

Wednesday, Jul 18, 2012 at 18:17
When we lived in the Kimberley late 70's early 80's I wanted to go down that way but was told the Cortina would not make it, so I never tried, now we have a 4x4 and I am going to go and have a look see. This is not my first 4x4 and probably won't be my last. we'll see now I have the time to go and not rush anything. thank you for your input to my Question
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