Wagon Trailer

I have been kicking an idea around for some time now and I thought I would ask for some input.

I have a need for a off road capable trailer to haul a Jeep size vehicle, a quad (4 wheeler) a dual sport motorcycle and 100 gallons of gas, 100 gallons of diesel, 100-200 gallons of water and a grey water holding tank of for 100 gallons. All of this weighs 900-1,000 pounds. EDITED TO CORRECT: 9,000 to 10,000 pounds.. Sorry about the typo/brainfade!!

After lengthy consideration I feel that a "Wagon trailer" design is likely to be the best option for stability, especially off road. I'm not talking about class 5 off road trails (Obviously!) but this unit will see plenty of off pavement use on less than improved roads. Likely some creeks and so forth.

I have reviewed the M989A1 and the M1076 PLS trailer ( PLS M1076 Trailer : Oshkosh Defense ). The 989 weighs in at just over 10,000 pounds and the 1076 is something around 16,500 or so.

One thing I have not been able to learn from the manuals is the length of the 989 from front to back if you go from the front of the front deck to the back of the back deck. I know several SS members have these trailers, perhaps somebody could measure that for me?

Of the two I think the 989 would work better. I had looked at the 1076 hoping it weighed less than the 989 but with the 3rd axle it is over 50% more! I suppose I could take off the center axle but I'm pretty sure that even after removing it and modifying the rear suspension as needed it would still weigh more than the 989.

I have seen a lot of guys take a M109 truck and remove the cab and front axle to make a trailer out of the back 1/2 of the truck. This got me to thinking about taking a beat up Deuce and pulling the body, bed, engine, trans, transfer case and center axle. This would leave me with a frame, front axle and rear axle. Obviously the rear suspension (Springs) would need some attention after removing the center axle, possibly use a set of front springs from a scrapped truck?

Doing this I would remove the differential and axles from the front axle housing and possibly from the back. I would have to make the towing/steering mechanism for the front end of course. Build a flat bed deck and go from there.

So, this gives rise to some questions that I can not answer and some ideas that I would like/appreciate feedback on.

First is weight. What would a front and rear axle assembly, springs and frame weight (With the axles and diff out of the front)?

I am thinking of leaving the rear axle intact and making a mount for a hydraulic motor to attach to the input where the drive shaft normally goes. Build a hydraulic pump/motor assembly similar to what they use for the "Jaws of life" and mount it on the trailer. this could be used to maneuver the trailer when it was detached from the towing vehicle. If the tongue was to difficult to push side to side for steering a hydraulic ram could be installed there as well and I could actually "ride" the trailer during re-positioning. I know it will not be fast. I don't want or need it to be. I just want it to be able to move on it's own to make hooking up easier. Also, I know that the wagon style trailer is near impossible to back up so this would give me some insurance should I (Stupidly) find that I have gone into some place that I am forced to reverse out of. Is this concept even feasible or would the pump and or motor required for this be completely impractical?

Next is the towing/steering mechanism, lets call it the "Tow bar" for now. On the 989 the tow bar appears to be attached to a vertical assembly looking like a pipe that is installed in a set of heavy duty bearings to allow the pipe to move side to side (More like pivot, left and right) with the movement of the tow bar. The tow bar is also allowed to move up and down at this attachment point. The tow bar extends rearward passed the pipe and the drag link that does the actual steering is attached to that and down to the front spindles on a bracket (Steering arm?) that instead of extending to the front like on a normal vehicle extends to the rear to allow for the tow bar to easily direct the front wheels. In order to get the steering arm to point to the rear rather than the front could the axle simply be rotated 180 so that the plate covering the hole where the differential was is now facing down? (Added benefit of a bit more ground clearance) Would that work or would it screw up the ability to provide a proper alignment of the front end?

Coming up with the mounting and design of the tow bar attachment to the "Pipe" and the brackets, bearings and such should not be to hard to design after some discussion with a mechanical engineer to be sure that proper size materials are used.

The "Stripped truck" idea is intended to do 2 things that the two previously mentioned wagon trailers don't/can't. One is to provide a lighter base unit for the project so that the finished assembly is lighter. The other is to provide for "Self mobility" should the need arise. If either or neither goal is reasonable/possible then I'll probably just look at the 989 some more.

This leads to a couple additional questions on the 989 for those of you that have one to actually look at. I believe that the drop sides provide no structural support at all and could just as well be removed (From a structural integrity point of view). Is this correct?

Next, on the front there is a fire extinguisher mounted on a "Lip" that extends up above the flat deck. There is a similar lip on the back deck. Without sacrificing any structural integrity could those two lips be cut down to be flush with the deck?

Are there any other already built wagon type trailers that I should look at?

I think that pretty much covers it for now.

What do you guys think?
 
Last edited:

mhassett

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Your weight estimate is way low.
Water Fresh & Gray: 8.3 Lbs/Gal.
Gas & Diesel: 7.1 Lbs/Gal.
You have a lot of liquid weight.
MHassett
 

Recovry4x4

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I have been kicking an idea around for some time now and I thought I would ask for some input.

I have a need for a off road capable trailer to haul a Jeep size vehicle, a quad (4 wheeler) a dual sport motorcycle and 100 gallons of gas, 100 gallons of diesel, 100-200 gallons of water and a grey water holding tank of for 100 gallons. All of this weighs 9000-1,0000 pounds.


What do you guys think?
I think you may have missed a couple of zeros up there. Added them in red.
 

Danger Ranger

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Ok, so what I think I got out of your book here is that you want to build or find an offroad trailer to haul too much gear at once with an obviously very large truck, that I do not believe was stated nor mentioned. Dont take that the wrong way, its my harsh summary.

I would go with something like a modded and reinforced school bus frame. Similar to your deuce trailer but longer. Look around, do some more reading is all I can really say I guess. Good luck.
 

quickfarms

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How about a M146 trailer, or other 20 to 28 foot semi trailer, with a converter dolly?

Remember you will probably need a class a drivers license since your trailer is over 10,000 lbs
 

wreckerman893

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Backing one of those up is an exercise in frustration...especially if you get into a bad spot and can't drive out straight. If you do this put a BIG pintle hitch on the front of the tow vehicle so you can drag it out without backing up.

You would do a lot better using a Bolster trailer with a deuce or 5 ton bed on it.

Lower center of gravity and still cheap for what you get.

Just my dos centavos for what it's worth.
 

11Echo

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"Off road capable" covers a very large area. Water crossings. Often requires a need for ground clearance. Would need loading ramps as a beavertail trailer would facilitate getting hung up. Built heavy enough to carry your load at the lightest weight possible. Tough to find ready made.
 

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Stalwart

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A M989A1 HEMAT is a BIG HEAVY trailer. As an absolute MINIMUM you'd need a 5 ton to tow it off road. Plus you'd need to have the towing truck loaded to help to provide traction as the tow bar arrangement provides no trailer to towing vehicle weight transfer. They were specifically designed to be towed behind a loaded HEMTT which weighs 39,000 lb empty. The sides of the trailer can be removed as they are not structural.

Have you even seen a HEMAT in person? They are a LOT bigger than you might think :shock:

Here is mine on a very heavy duty gooseneck trailer with a 29' deck behind my F450. The 450 could tow the HEMAT on the road but not off-road even in 4WD, no weight transfer and the empty trailer weighs more than the truck.
 

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Thank you for the responses so far.

Since I have an excel spreadsheet with all the proper unit weights and quantities of the various "Stuff" I knew in my head the weight numbers, I just failed to properly transfer those numbers to my information request. Amazing what the lack of a single "0" can mean.... LOL.

Yes, I am FULLY aware that this is a large heavy load hauling a buttload of stuff. Yes I am well aware of the towing requirements. Since I had clearly outlined and detailed my specific questions about the trailer portion of this project and the post was already pretty long I did not think it was necessary (Or appropriate) to lay out the entire plan in detail to cover exactly what I'll be towing it with, where, when, and under exactly what conditions. Considerable research and planning has already gone into all of that, I feel comfortable that it is well under control. Rest assured that the tow vehicle will be very large, heavy, multi-wheel drive, plenty of HP, plenty of brakes, designed and rated to haul a 20,000 pound trailer, properly licensed/insured and driven by a properly licensed driver. And yes, the MPG will suck.

What I don't know and really need help with are the specific questions I asked in my initial post.

To recap, those questions are:

  1. Can the drop sides of the 989 be safely removed? - Answered (Thank you!)
  2. The measurement of the 989 front deck to rear deck (Including the decks). - Remains to be answered
  3. Can the "Lip" on the deck of the 989 deck be removed? - Remains to be answered
  4. Weight of a Deuce stripped down as noted above - Remains to be answered
  5. Is the hydraulic maneuvering plan even feasible? - Remains to be answered
  6. Is it possible to rotate the front Deuce axle upside down w/o causing steering alignment (Or other unforeseen) issues? - Remains to be answered
  7. Other trailers to consider - Partially answered

*** New question: while reading the responses and writing this post it occurred to me there are 2 possible alternatives for the Deuce front end.

1) Instead of flipping it upside down to get the steering arm facing rearward, what about keeping it upright but turn it around "backwards" this will keep the steering components on the top of the axle which would be preferable.

2) When flat towing a Deuce with a standard military tow bar there is no attachment to the steering. What about simply making a slightly heavier duty tow bar and attaching it to the front of the frame similar to the way a normal mil tow bar is attached. A heavy duty steering stabilizer shock (Possibly dual shocks) to dampen any wandering tendencies may help it track straight down the road. Comments/issues with doing this?

To answer the current questions from posted responses:

"What would you pull this with?"
*See above, as noted after, "Rest assured" :)

"I would go with something like a modded and reinforced school bus frame. Similar to your deuce trailer but longer. Look around, do some more reading is all I can really say I guess. Good luck."
*The school bus frame would be along the same lines of converting a Deuce, not really any advantage there. Yes, it is longer but all I need/want is 20-24' at the most. I believe 22' would be just about ideal. (The stock Deuce frame is right at 23' which would be close to ideal) Since I don't need any more length than what a Deuce frame would give me, unless I'm missing something, I don't really see any advantage to using the bus.

"How about a M146 trailer, or other 20 to 28 foot semi trailer, with a converter dolly?"
*That is an interesting idea and I kicked it around some. My initial thoughts/questions would be what would the trailer/dolly combo weigh? Looks like it is taller than the 989 would end up being so the CG would also be higher. Is it wide enough inside to load the jeep? Is the inside height tall enough to load the Jeep and the racking to hold the bike and 4 wheeler over the hood of the jeep? I'll table those questions for the time being but if I come around to looking closer at this option I'll re-open this particular can of worms. However, along those same lines I was thinking of a 22' flat bed with the tow dolly. this is an idea that I am still considering so it is not dead yet, but I first want to answer the above questions about the 989 and Deuce.

"Backing one of those up is an exercise in frustration...especially if you get into a bad spot and can't drive out straight. If you do this put a BIG pintle hitch on the front of the tow vehicle so you can drag it out without backing up.

You would do a lot better using a Bolster trailer with a deuce or 5 ton bed on it.

Lower center of gravity and still cheap for what you get.

Just my dos centavos for what it's worth."
*Backing issue well understood, thus my desire for the hydraulic "Self motivation system"
*The M796 Bolster trailer looks interesting but I don't believe it would allow me the same stability as a wagon style trailer. Also, In my application I really don't need the tongue weight to add stability/traction to my tow vehicle so there is no advantage there.
CG does look to be pretty low but I am also thinking it will need larger (Taller) tires which will be complicated by the limited axle to axle distance which will also limit maximum tire size to what looks like not much more than "stock".
*I appreciate your input, Thank you!

"Off road capable" covers a very large area. Water crossings. Often requires a need for ground clearance. Would need loading ramps as a beavertail trailer would facilitate getting hung up. Built heavy enough to carry your load at the lightest weight possible. Tough to find ready made."
*A very wide area indeed, and yes, water crossings are definitely anticipated. 100% agree and already working on loading ramp issue.
*Your last sentence is definitely the key, "Built heavy enough to carry your load at the lightest weight possible. Tough to find ready made".

"A M989A1 HEMAT is a BIG HEAVY trailer. As an absolute MINIMUM you'd need a 5 ton to tow it off road. Plus you'd need to have the towing truck loaded to help to provide traction as the tow bar arrangement provides no trailer to towing vehicle weight transfer. They were specifically designed to be towed behind a loaded HEMTT which weighs 39,000 lb empty."
*As noted above the tow vehicle will cover the needs. I understand the total lack of weight transfer to the tow vehicle which I currently consider to be a plus as the tow vehicle will likely come in at close to the HEMTT weight once it is loaded and ready to roll.
*Thanks for the pics of your 989 and the answer to the sides removed question!

So... any input on the 9 specific questions above?
 

quickfarms

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What model of jeep are you using?

Is it stock or has it been modified?

The M146 is 22 feet long inside

You can back up a trailer using a dolly. Before I got the forklift I did it a lot. If you get in trouble you can use a chain and binders to lock out the pivot point.
 

plym49

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I will take a stab at a few of your questions:

A hydraulic maneuvering system could work if all of the components are sized properly. You could even set it up to give you a little bit of push in a 4 (or 6 or 10)-wheel low range situation where you need a little bit more push.

Instead of flipping a front Deuce axle one way or the other, why not swap the spindles side to side?

Using caster steering (like flat towing a vehicle on a tow bar) can work but you will have a lot of scrub and situations where the tow vehicle is dragging (scrubbing) the wagon sideways in tight corners. This might take away from maneuverability and might also stress things a bit more.

You have challenging plans and have obviously thought this through. I am interested to see what you come up with.

Oh, and a HEMAT trailer weighs more empty than a 450? Holy crap!
 

plym49

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Another idea - maybe you can create a wagon style steerable front axle out of Deuce parts. On the Rockwell, mill off the top of the pumpkin so that you have a completely flat surface up top. Attach a 5th wheel from a tractor. Attach the pin to the bottom front of the trailer. Now you have a heavy duty wagon pivot point that has a lower CG but still has plenty of ground clearance. Maybe air bag the suspension up front for ease of packaging and lower weight. I have not completely thought this through; this is just brainstorming.
 

quickfarms

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That trailer has a coil spring suspension. The manufacturers stopped making those trailers decades ago. I have been told by some old time drivers that those trailers had handling issues.

There is a modern equivalent of that trailer that is available today, and they can be found on the used market.
 
That trailer has a coil spring suspension. The manufacturers stopped making those trailers decades ago. I have been told by some old time drivers that those trailers had handling issues.
That's a shame. Looked like this one might have some potential.

There is a modern equivalent of that trailer that is available today, and they can be found on the used market.
Any idea where to get any info on the modern version?
 

11Echo

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11Echo Thanks for the pics, especially this one.

What is the name of this trailer?
Happen to have a link to a PDF copy of the -20 manual for it?
Rated to carry what kind of load?
Deck length?
Any chance of getting a good pic of the data plate that shows dimensions and capacities?
I posted that pic mostly for its design. It's a M243 trailer of 2 ton capacity and was part of the fire control system for a missile unit. The trailer in pic #4 is a much larger, heavier design from the Nike systems. It's an XM261 that belongs to crazyplowboy on this site.

The deck length if you covered the drop in the M989A1 munitions trailer would be 19.5 feet with a 57" deck height. The drop area size is 176x96, 92" wide with drop sides up.

If you were to abandon "wagon style", another trailer example is the M989. It's deck is about 17' in length.

The trailer in pic#3 is M345. It's 23' deck is short for many purposes for it's build is heavy has a deck height of about 55".
 

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