dovetail trailer
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  1. #1

    dovetail trailer

    I am new to this site.
    I have a 16' trailer that I want to convert to a 17' car hauler. I want to cut off 1' then add 2' of dovetail. But i don't know how much drop I should have. Any ideas ?

  2. #2
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    Re: dovetail trailer

    "OH! OH! Dibs on the first bowl of popcorn."

    Dodgeman,

    To start how about some explanation of your tools and ability level. That way we have a good idea of what we're working with here.

    FYI, trailers are a touchy subject here.
    There are no problems. There are only solutions. It's your duty to determine the right one.

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  3. #3

    Re: dovetail trailer

    Where do i begin... Lol I have been welding for years. My last welding project was a flatbed for my RAM. I couldn't find a short-bed flatbed so i made one... As for tools, you can never have enough... I do have a miller 135 wire fed with argon. Grinders , chopsaws,etc.

    The trailer I'm working on has 2 , 3500 lb axles . 3 " main frame. 4" c-channel tongue. I will change that to 5" and run it all the way down to the axles for better support. I was thinkin of having a 3" drop on the dovetail... Is that too much ? Any input is helpful... Thanks. J D.

  4. #4
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    Re: dovetail trailer

    "Welding for years" really doesn't say much, and a MM135 doesn't have enough output to reliable weld 3" channel. Welding on structural parts trailers that go down the road isn't a "learning project. At a minimum you need to be able to do code quality welds in all positions with a machine that's capable of accomplishing this. Small 110v migs like yours are notorious for making cold welds with no penetration into the base layer, even though they may look pretty to the uninformed. The MM 135 is a nice machine, but will top out at 1/8" under real world conditions at best. Not a machine I'd consider acceptable for critical welds on something like this.

    Sounds like you have a lot more planned than simply "cut off 1' then add 2' of dovetail." Sounds like you have a major structural rebuild in mind. Probably not the best idea I've seen.

    As far as the dove tail in the original idea, I could see that go 2 ways. One like most of the heavy equipment trailers I'm familiar with, the dovetail is simply part of the "ramps" for the trailer. It never gets parked on, only used when loading. Since it's aft of the springs and not loaded in transit, structure isn't as big a deal, but the welds still have to be up to "code" standards. "it's ugly but it holds" is BS and will not cut it. Drop on the dove tail depends a lot on how the original was built. Big deck over wheel trailers need a lot more drop, but can do so and still have good clearance between the trailer and the road. The drop on our 10 ton tag a long was almost 2' IIRC. Smaller 10-12K equipment trailers usually have very little drop if any, if they are deck between the wheels. There simply isn't enough clearance between the deck and the road if you lower the back down much. If this is a trailer like many toy haulers where the vehicle sits on the dovetail, then frame design is much more important. Now that section will be under quite a bit of weight and the added length will magnify that weight. Your welds will need to be top notch and material and frame design will be critical. Definitely not a DIY type learning project.



    Quote Originally Posted by ThorsHammer View Post
    "OH! OH! Dibs on the first bowl of popcorn.".
    How much butter did you get on that popcorn Thor. T'm trying to watch my diet for dive season coming up.
    Last edited by DSW; 05-10-2012 at 10:21 AM.
    .



    No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!

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  5. #5
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    Re: dovetail trailer

    I doubt you are talking deck over with dovetail which is what I am more familiar with. Actually I went with no dovetail and lifting belt for the ramps.

    If you found some four wheel drive type of truck event most likely there will be many trailers and some modified ones.

    Here is a tailer company perhaps you could point at a trailer thet most closely resembles what you have and what you want to create. http://qualitytrailersinc.com/index.php

  6. #6
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    Re: dovetail trailer

    I would most likely suggest you find one some what what you want and copy it if it works for your application,

    even a good side picture off the net, one can rescale it and use it for a basic guide, you will have the angle and some ideas,

    a lot will depend on the bed height on the trailer and a lot of other things post a picture of the trailer, and some basic dimensions,

  7. #7
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    Re: dovetail trailer

    Buy a larger welder (200A, 240V at least) and learn to use it properly before you go one step further.

    If you think you're going to modify that trailer with the welder you have "been welding with for years" then you haven't learned much.
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  8. #8
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    Re: dovetail trailer

    we don't even know what he's working with at this point. meaning the trailer itself. It's possible that the trailer wouldn't handle the modification without a complete rebuild. Pictures please.
    There are no problems. There are only solutions. It's your duty to determine the right one.

    Hobart Handler 210
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  9. #9
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    Re: dovetail trailer

    I thought the standard response on this board regarding any modification to vehicles and trailers was "if you attempt any modification of any piece of equipment that goes down the road you will die in a fiery wreck along with a bus load of nuns and orphans"
    I agree that there is a degree of competency needed in order to correctly modify or repair equipment of this type. Any major structural changes can have severe consequences if not thought through completely.
    With that said, have any of you ever seen the facilities where they build these types of trailers or looked at the welds? Typically they are built in the South in open air sheds with concrete slabs and I-beams for fixtures. Most fo the welding I have seen on them is mediocre at best and often times poor, and as far as code quality?????? No way unless the code is "here Hillbilly Hank, make these pieces stick together" I have several General Cargo trailers I have purchased over the years and repaired many other brands and the welding is just really not that good. Especially when you can see that many of the pieces are hand notched or cut with a torch overall they are fairly crude pieces of equipment. There is so much competition in that business that the name of the game is how quick can you do it, not how well.
    A good, conscientious hobby welder can fix a trailer if he pays attention to joint preparation, position etc. Even a 110 machine will do fine with a flux core wire and a little pre-heat from a propane torch or some CO2. Practice on a few pieces of samiliar material in the same positions and test the coupons yourself, easy enough.
    Again I don't advocate that everyone should try this without some skill, but it is certainly not out of the realm of a home hobbyist my any means. I would also like to see what "code" is required for light duty trailer construction? I am not aware of any, I am sure heavy equipment must meet some sort of qualification but all of the car hauler type trailers seem to be unregulated.
    "Anybody can talk $h!t behind a monitor, I let the quality of my work speak for itself"


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  10. #10

    Re: dovetail trailer

    For those people who gave me ideas thank you very much. And for the other people..... Thank you for your concern... When i said " welding for years" that means I have worked at a steel mill for 11 years doing structural welding on bolsters and side frames for rail cars. At work I am a certified welder. I didn't know that i needed to show all of my paperwork just to ask a simple question.

    That was a nice way to welcome me. I don't think i will ask any more questions.... JD

  11. #11
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    Re: dovetail trailer

    Understand we see these types of posts at least 2-3 times a week ( if not more frequently) from new guys. 95% of these guys simply can not weld. Either they have never used a welder before, or they've "welded for years" but make bubble gum or bird $hit looking welds. On average guys with the skills to do these sorts of projects either don't need to ask, or don't ask basic questions. New guys get dumped in the "have no clue what they are doing" category unless they tell us they have the skills and knowledge to do these things.

    Those of us that take this sort of stuff seriously, tend to err on the side of caution unless the OP really shows they know what they are doing. Safety in general is important to us.
    .



    No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!

    Ronald Reagan

  12. #12
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    Re: dovetail trailer

    Ahhhhh don't let these guys get under your skin, JD. Lot of us on here to help. Some of these guys figure everyone and every weld ought to be capable of being used as a lifting lug for a battleship. There are some guys who through their posts obviously are in over their heads but I try to save judgement for after I see some pics and descriptions. Ask questions as needed, post pics and have a good time. I'm terrified to post any pics of my projects since they all go down the road at about 120+mph...........
    "Anybody can talk $h!t behind a monitor, I let the quality of my work speak for itself"


    Lincoln Square Wave 255 and 355 Tig
    Lincoln 255 Power-Mig w/ spool gun
    Koike 5 x 10 CNC plasma
    Hyd-Mech DM-10 bandsaw
    Ineco QB-76 NC tube bender

  13. #13
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    Re: dovetail trailer

    Quote Originally Posted by Coupebuilder View Post
    Typically they are built in the South in open air sheds with concrete slabs and I-beams for fixtures. Most fo the welding I have seen on them is mediocre at best and often times poor, and as far as code quality?????? No way unless the code is "here Hillbilly Hank, make these pieces stick together".
    Easy Coupe my name is Frank not Hank

  14. #14
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    Re: dovetail trailer

    Hey hotrod...keep your damn sense of humor turned off will ya...this board is for us here serious type welders. We're just here to pound some rod and harass the newbies. Wouldn't want to accidentally help someone who asked a question. Besides thinking of a stereo-typical southern name to rhyme with Frank is making my brain itchy.
    Last edited by Coupebuilder; 05-10-2012 at 03:03 PM. Reason: grammar
    "Anybody can talk $h!t behind a monitor, I let the quality of my work speak for itself"


    Lincoln Square Wave 255 and 355 Tig
    Lincoln 255 Power-Mig w/ spool gun
    Koike 5 x 10 CNC plasma
    Hyd-Mech DM-10 bandsaw
    Ineco QB-76 NC tube bender

  15. #15
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    Re: dovetail trailer

    JD,

    no disrespect intended. but like DSW said, we've seen many many of these threads.

    I for one like to get some background on the people who are asking the questions. As I'm not the type of person to give a suicidal person a rope and teach them how to tie a noose. Erring on the side of caution because I don't want to see someone who got in over their head in the news because of advice I may have given.

    We like details here. so a response like "welded for years" seems to be avoiding the question. We also like pictures. Knowing what we're working with will give us better ideas of what you want to do, and what needs to be done to do it. no one is attacking you, and no one is trying to tell you not to ask questions. Well at least they shouldn't be. We're all here to learn and to help. well maybe not FB.

    Coupe, you're still here after going 120+ down the road, so your projects can't be all that bad. but I'm sure someone somewhere will find something that they don't like. It's the nature of building stuff. Share, we all love welding porn here. MORE PICTURES!
    There are no problems. There are only solutions. It's your duty to determine the right one.

    Hobart Handler 210
    Airco 225 Amp MSM Stinger

  16. #16
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    Re: dovetail trailer

    Ok, Thor I have pretty thick skin so have at em. These are just a few of the chassis we have built in the past. If people like em I will post more in their own post. Will post some cool stuff when I get more time, lots of little stuff that I never seem to find time to download the pics.
    Attached Images Attached Images      
    "Anybody can talk $h!t behind a monitor, I let the quality of my work speak for itself"


    Lincoln Square Wave 255 and 355 Tig
    Lincoln 255 Power-Mig w/ spool gun
    Koike 5 x 10 CNC plasma
    Hyd-Mech DM-10 bandsaw
    Ineco QB-76 NC tube bender

  17. #17
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    Re: dovetail trailer

    lol, that there is some mighty purty welding porn.
    There are no problems. There are only solutions. It's your duty to determine the right one.

    Hobart Handler 210
    Airco 225 Amp MSM Stinger

  18. #18
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    Re: dovetail trailer

    Coupebuilder,

    I'm guessing that wasn't welded out with a 135A Miller mig, "with argon".

    Dodgeman,

    You come on here and ask a question but yet give virtually no information. Amount of drop will be dependent (I would guess) on the current height of the bed of your trailer.

    Then when questioned about qualifications/welders you state "been welding for years" followed up with an underpowered welder and the WRONG gas.

    Once you and Coupe have been around here for awhile, you'll better understand the response of many members.
    Syncro 250 DX
    Dynasty 200 DX
    MM 251 w/30A SG
    XMT 304 w/714 Feeder & Optima Pulser
    HH187
    Dialarc 250 AC/DC
    Hypertherm PM 1250
    Smith, Harris, Victor O/A
    Smith and Thermco Gas Mixers
    Access to a full fab shop with CNC Plasma, Water Jet, etc.

  19. #19
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    Re: dovetail trailer

    Quote Originally Posted by SundownIII View Post
    Coupebuilder,

    I'm guessing that wasn't welded out with a 135A Miller mig, "with argon".

    Dodgeman,

    You come on here and ask a question but yet give virtually no information. Amount of drop will be dependent (I would guess) on the current height of the bed of your trailer.

    Then when questioned about qualifications/welders you state "been welding for years" followed up with an underpowered welder and the WRONG gas.

    Once you and Coupe have been around here for awhile, you'll better understand the response of many members.

    I have been around plenty long enough as a lurker and as a poster on here and other forums to know the routine. I spent a good amount of time the other night writing up a "10 commandments for TIG welding" hoping it would save some question adn answer time, and yet I have seen multiple new tig help questions who never bothered to read it. I'm not saying the repetetive questions with no pics aren't annoying to say the least, especially the ones who never bother to reply to the info they are given, thats just rude in my book. My point is, why not just go past them and ignore it? I see plenty of posts I don't agree with but I don't feel the need to point out every flaw in their post, I just go to the next one and help where I think I can be of some value. You obviously have some talent as a welder and fabricator so you can be of good help to the guys who need it.
    "Anybody can talk $h!t behind a monitor, I let the quality of my work speak for itself"


    Lincoln Square Wave 255 and 355 Tig
    Lincoln 255 Power-Mig w/ spool gun
    Koike 5 x 10 CNC plasma
    Hyd-Mech DM-10 bandsaw
    Ineco QB-76 NC tube bender

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