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Car Transporter Trailer


Construction Guide

Thank you for purchasing this set of plans.

I have arranged this fabrication guide to follow along with the full plan set and hope you find it easy to follow
and build your new trailer from.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me, and if you have any suggestions for improving
the plans or have any constructive feedback, I would love to hear from you.

Happy Trailering!

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Safety
In any workshop environment, there is an ever present risk of having an accident and reducing that risk is
entirely in your hands. Having an uncluttered work area - apart from being able to find the tool or component
you require quickly & easily -, reduces the risk of a trip or fall & a potentially nasty injury. Welding leads,
extension cables, air hoses, steel or tools on the floor should be kept tidy and organised where possible.

Simple tasks like steel cutting, drilling, & grinding have the risk of cuts, burns and eye injuries. Wearing
comfortable, soft leather gloves when handling and working with steel will prevent most hand injuries and
wearing safety glasses/goggles when drilling and grinding are an absolute necessity to prevent eye injuries.

Use hearing protection whenever using cutting or grinding equipment or when hammering steel.

Always use a welding helmet even when doing a quick tack weld. An arc flash can cause painful short term and
long term eye damage. Wearing gloves while welding will prevent burns, and skin cancer from the intense UV
rays of the welding arc. Wearing the proper protective clothing (overalls, leather jacket, etc) will also help
prevent burns and skin damage.

Keep the working area clear of flammable materials (timber, paper, aerosol cans, fuel containers, paint cans,
etc), grinding and welding sparks can travel a long way. A spark can quietly smoulder away on a piece of
flammable material for hours before igniting into a fire,- do a walk around the work area before leaving for the
day and check for any potential fires. Always have a fire extinguisher at hand.

Get a mate to help you with any heavy lifting or moving of trailer components/steel work, etc, and keep
children away from the work area at all times.

Keep your tools in good condition and know how to use them correctly. Do not remove safety guards or
attachments. Do not attempt to adapt a tool or piece of machinery to do a job it wasn’t designed for. Taking
shortcuts causes accidents.

Tools & Equipment


A good level working space is required, with plenty of room to manoeuvre around the trailer as it is being built,
as well as ceiling space to allow the trailer to be turned over. The area must be clear of any flammable
materials as hot sparks from welding and grinding can travel some distance.

Fire extinguisher
Welding plant – either MIG or arc welder are suitable for welding the trailer
Welding helmet
Leather gloves
Overalls
Safety glasses/goggles
Hearing protection – earmuffs or ear plugs
Grinder – any size is suitable, but a 4” or 5” grinder is preferable. A selection of standard grinding discs, cut off
discs and flapper/sanding discs are required.
Measuring tape
Engineers' chalk
Large Square – a builder's rafter square is perfect
Trestles or stands – you can get away with a couple of trestles or stands, but it is safer and easier with 4 or
more. The higher the better (around waist height) will allow you to work without too much bending and
kneeling.
Power drill – ideally with a chuck capacity or up to 12mm or ½"

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G clamps & sand bags for securing steelwork for welding


Metal cut off saw

Welding
You do not have to be an expert welder to build your own trailer and
with practice, some lessons or guidance from an experienced welder or
an online video series, you should be able to lay a good weld in a short
time.

The most important thing about welding is getting good weld


penetration within the two pieces of steel you are joining to ensure
that they are properly joined together strongly and ideally neatly.

Too much penetration or heat in the weld, and you will blow through
the steel.

Not enough penetration and your welds will fall apart on the first bump
on the trailer's maiden journey down the road.

If you are a novice, do your research, and practice, practice and


practice. Talk to your local engineer and see if you can borrow some
scrap metal from his scrap bin and practice welding on these until you
are proficient to run welds on your trailer.

These plans do not provide detailed welding information, but do show where welds should never be put –
especially around the drawbar/chassis area. The reason for not welding around some of these areas is that the
welding has the potential to weaken the structure of the trailer and could cause structural failure of the trailer
while being used.

Be aware that poor welding also has the potential to cause the trailer structure to fail and ultimately maim or
kill while in use. If you are in any doubt about any of your trailer welds, seek advice from an experienced
welder or engineer.

Trailer Brake Regulations – USA & Canada


Every state has its own braking requirements for trailers and may even vary on the type of trailer. If you are
traveling from state to state on a regular basis, you need to comply with their laws and regulations.

Some states (North Dakota & Wisconsin) require all trailers to be braked regardless of their size and load,
while the rest have variances between 1000 lbs right up to 10,000 lbs.

The maximum weight rating is based on the gross trailer weight (GTW), which is the total weight of the trailer
including everything that is in or on the trailer. GTW is the same as GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) when
referring to a trailer.

Ideally all trailers should be braked although it may not be overly practical in some circumstances, but it is
recommended that trailers over 3000 lbs have brakes fitted.

Where brakes are fitted, they need to function correctly and regular maintenance is required to ensure their
reliability. Brakes give the trailer and its load stability when braking and reduces the chance of a serious
accident if you need to stop suddenly.

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Most states require breakaway brakes to be fitted if brakes are fitted to the trailer. Breakaway brake systems
are emergency brakes which will apply the trailer brakes if the trailer separates from the towing vehicle.

See below for more information on Breakaway brake systems.

Before building your trailer, check your state laws regarding brakes and breakaway systems as well as any state
you anticipate towing the trailer through.

Maps
sourced from AAA Digest

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Max weight Breakaway Max weight Breakaway


State State
without Brakes Brakes without Brakes Brakes
Alabama 3000 Y Alberta 2000 Y
Alaska 5000 Y British Columbia 3000 Y (see Note D)
Arizona 3000 Y Manitoba 3000 Y
Arkansas 3000 Y New Brunswick 3300 NA
California 1500 Y(See Note D) Newfoundland/Labrador 9900 NA
Colorado 3000 Y Nova Scotia 4000 Y (See Note E)
Connecticut 3000 Y Ontario 3000 NA
Delaware 4000 N/A Prince Edward Is. 3300 NA
Florida 3000 Y Quebec 2860 Y (See Note E)
Georgia 2500 Y Saskatchewan 3000 Y
Hawaii 3000 Y(See Note E)
Idaho 1500 Y
Illinois 3000 Y(See Note F) Notes
Indiana 3000 Y A Must be able to stop within 40' from 20mph
Iowa 3000 Y(See Note E) B If trailer is 7' high x 7' wide
Kansas See Note A N/A C Or if trailer weight (GTW) is more than 40% of
Kentucky 3000 N/A tow vehicles weight
Louisiana 3000 Y D Brake must hold for 15 minutes
Maine 3000 N/A E For Trailers over 3000# GTW

Maryland 3000 Y F For Trailers over 5000# GTW - includes safety inspection

Massachusetts 10000 N/A G For Trailers over 6000# GTW


Michigan 3000 N/A
Minnesota 3000 Y(See Note G)
Mississippi 2000 Y
Missouri 3000 Y
Montana 3000 Y(See Note E)
N. Carolina 1000 N/A
N. Dakota All N/A
Nebraska 3000 Y
Nevada 1500 Y
New Hamp. 1500 N/A
New Jersey 3000 Y
New Mexico 3000 Y
New York 3000 N/A
Ohio 2000 Y
Oklahoma 3000 Y
Oregon 3000 N/A
Pennsylvania 3000 Y
Rhode Island 4000 Y
S. Carolina 3000 Y
S. Dakota 3000 Y(See Note E)
Tennessee 3,000 Y
Texas 4,500 Y(See Note E)
Utah 2000 Y(See Note E)
Vermont 3,000 (See Note B) Y
Virginia 3000 Y
W. Virginia 3,000 (See Note C) Y
Washington 3000 Y
Wisconsin All N/A

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Chains & Cables


Chains and cables (Safety Connectors) are important components in the safety of your trailer and should not
be overlooked or given the attitude that any chain/cable and hook or shackle will do.

There are so many trailers in this country running with an old bit of chain left over from some long forgotten
job and an even smaller S hook that someone
bent up from an old nail.

If in the unfortunate circumstances that your


trailer decides to leave the comfort of your
vehicles tow hitch at 70 mph, you have a trailer
barrelling full blast down the road unguided and
unhindered into any poor soul that may be on the
road at the same time.

Poorly chained and cabled trailers do come loose


and do kill and maim people.

All safety connectors need to be rated for at least


twice the gross towed weight (GTW) you are
towing and the safety connectors should be
indelibly marked by the component manufacturer
with their rating.

Safety connectors should be mechanically fitted


as close as is practicable to the longitudinal center line of the tongue. They need to be crossed under the
coupler and of such a length that in the event of coupler failure, it will prevent the tongue hitting the ground
as well as help control the direction of the trailer to follow the towing vehicle.

Attach the chain/cable as close as practical to the coupler and keep them as short as practical without
interfering with full lock steering

Welding or bending of chain links should never be done under any circumstances.

Use a high tensile bolt and safety chain mounting washer to attach your safety connectors to the tongue – also
keep any holes drilled in the tongue at least ½ to ¾ the length of a chain link from the outside edge)

Always use hooks or S hooks with spring loaded safety catches to prevent them coming loose. Replace any
frayed or kinked cables as these could be inherent weak points,

Breakaway Brakes
Breakaway brake units are designed to immediately apply full braking power to the trailer brakes should the
trailer separate from the tow vehicle.

Electric Braked Trailers


On electric braked trailers, the breakaway unit is basically a on/off switch box fitted with a removable pin
which is attached to a tether cable.
The box is mounted on the trailer tongue and the tether fitted to the tow vehicle with a shackle or hook.

A small rechargeable battery on board the trailer supplies power to the breakaway box and when the pin is
pulled from the box (when the trailer comes away from the tow vehicle) full power is instantly applied to the
brakes.

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Power is supplied to the


brakes until the on board
battery runs out of juice or the
pin is re-fitted to the
breakaway box.

It does pay to regularly check


the battery charge especially
when the trailer is infrequently
used. If this is the case,
remove the battery and
charge it on a mains charger before any trips. Also check that the tow vehicle is charging the battery when
plugged into the trailer.

To check if the breakaway unit and battery are working correctly, immobilize the trailer and jack the wheels
up. Pull the breakaway pin while a buddy spins the wheels. They should lock up immediately.

The breakaway tether needs to be attached to the tow vehicle and not to the chains, the chains will not pull
the breakaway pin out if the trailer decides to part company. Likewise the tether needs to be in good condition
and needs to be replaced if kinked, frayed or damaged. If the damaged section fails before the breakaway pin
can be pulled, the brakes will not come on.

Breakaway brakes should not be used as a park brake as the battery will quickly lose its charge and the brakes
will release.

Hydraulic Braked Trailers


Modern hydraulic surge couplers come complete
with an in built breakaway lever which again is
activated by a tether cable attached to the tow
vehicle.

When the trailer comes adrift from the tow vehicle,


the tether cable will manually actuate the master
cylinder and apply hydraulic pressure to the brakes.
In most cases the cable will lock in its
pulled/activated position retaining pressure on the
brakes. Simple and effective if maintained correctly.

Check your coupler manufacturer maintenance


booklet to see what is required for testing the
breakaway unit and most importantly any maintenance and lubrication requirements.

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Trailer Brake Regulations – NZ & Australia


New Zealand Trailer Brake Regulations
Up to 2000kg GVM
In New Zealand the braking requirements for trailers are pretty simple. For up to 2000kg load capacity or GVM
(Gross Vehicle Mass which is the trailer weight and its load combined) there is no legal requirement for brakes.
The law states that the tow vehicle and trailer must be able to stop safely within 7 metres from 30km/hr
safely.

The biggest consideration that needs to be taken is the tow vehicle's legal tow rating.

If it is only certified or recommended that the tow vehicle is rated to 750kg GVM unbraked (check your
vehicles handbook for specs) then it is unwise to tow an unbraked trailer exceeding 750kg GVM. Just
remember that you could be charged with dangerous driving if you are caught or have an accident, incurring
serious penalties as well as possibly voiding your insurance.

If you are unable to determine the towing capacity of your tow vehicle, either check with your local towbar
manufacturer, go online and check your vehicles specifications, or as a rough guide set out by the NZ Transport
Authority use the following – “the laden weight of an unbraked trailer should not exceed three quarters of the
unladen weight of the towing vehicle and then only if the towing vehicle's brakes and tyres are in excellent
condition. A trailer heavier than this may prevent the vehicle combination from meeting the seven metre for
30km/hr brake performance requirement.”

2000 to 2500kg GVM


Between 2000 and 2500kg GVM trailers must be braked on at least one axle via either override brakes
(hydraulic coupling unit) or with cab controlled brakes (more on this later) and again must be able to stop
within 7 metres from 30km/hr. Dual crossed safety chains (see below) or an electrically operated breakaway
system is also required. Both coupling and chains are required to be rated and marked.

With the crossed chain system, if for whatever reason the trailer detaches from the tow vehicle, the chains will
support the coupling end of the trailer, and give you some semblance of control until you are safely off the
road. You may get a bit of damage to the rear of your vehicle as the trailer shunts into it, but better to have a
small repair bill than having your wayward trailer crossing the road and injuring or killing someone! Don't be
lazy when fitting your double chains - always cross them and if you do not have two mounting points on your
tow bar, get another one fitted.

Over 2500kg GVM


Trailers with a GVM over 2500kg up to 3500kg need some serious braking power and must be fitted with cab
controlled brakes (direct braking). The trailer is also required to be fitted with a breakaway system (more on
this later) and a parking brake on at least one axle which can sustain the trailer and load in position on a slope
of 1 in 5 (approx. 20 degrees).

Again the stopping within 7 metres at 30km/hr rule still applies. Safety chains are not required although
personally I like to have one fitted for peace of mind. Unless you have some very serious axle and braking
hardware under the trailer you will need to have brakes on both axles.

Over 3500kg GVM


Over 3500kg GVM falls into the realm of Heavy Transport regulations and for the most part is beyond the
scope of this website. The rules are complex and change on a regular basis. Certification is required on almost
every aspect of the trailer and requires professional engineering input from the start, and unless you have very
deep pockets, I would look at other options before progressing down this path.

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9

Indirect Braking
Indirect braking is a braking system which uses the weight of the towed trailer to operate the brakes via inertia
through a spring dampened override coupling. The movement of the coupling applies the brakes
proportionate to the amount of travel of the spring. This inertia can be applied to mechanical and hydraulic
disc and drum brakes.

The advantages of indirect braking is that everything required for braking is self contained within the trailer
which means any vehicle can tow the trailer. It is also relatively cheap and reliable.

The disadvantage is that the trailer brakes can activate while reversing and unless the coupling is fitted with an
automatic reversing solenoid (which electrically disconnects the brakes), you will need to get out of the tow
vehicle and engage a lever to prevent the brakes from working while reversing. This leads to the risk of
accidents if the lever is not disengaged before driving forward again.

Newer style European override couplings do away with the spring dampened coupling and work on a hydraulic
damper system which does give better and more reliable braking including automatic reversing control.

You can use a trailer mounted brake controller to operated electric drum brakes. This involves adjusting a knob
on the controller to the amount of weight you are carrying on the trailer. When the tow vehicle brakes, the
controller activates via the tow vehicle's brake lights and sends an electric current to the drum brakes
proportionate to the amount set on the knob.

This can be a little hit and miss with the adjustment and requires a bit of trial and error to get right.

Direct Braking
Direct braking is braking the trailer with full control from the tow vehicle including emergency override
braking.

There are many systems available and the most commonly used is to wire a dedicated tow vehicle with a cab
brake controller. The controller uses an electrical inertia pendulum which senses the movement of the tow
vehicle. If the tow vehicle slows or brakes, the controller will send a signal to the drum brakes to brake
proportionately. The controller is adjustable to the amount of weight being carried on the trailer and can be
adjusted whilst driving. This gives better control down steep hills and on gravel where skidding and jack knifing
of the trailer could occur.

Every trailer parts supply company has their own type of controller or system for direct braking and new
systems are coming out on a regular basis. The simpler but less convenient systems are normally reasonably
priced and the more complex but more convenient systems can set you back a small fortune.

Breakaway Brakes
Breakaway brake units are designed to immediately
apply full braking power to the trailer brakes should
the trailer separate from the tow vehicle.

On electric braked trailers, the breakaway unit is


basically a on/off switch box fitted with a removable
pin which is attached to a tether cable.

The box is mounted on the trailer drawbar and the tether fitted to the tow vehicle with a shackle or hook.

A small rechargeable battery on board the trailer supplies power to the breakaway box and when the pin is
pulled from the box (when the trailer comes away from the tow vehicle) full power is instantly applied to the
brakes.

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Power is supplied to the brakes until the on board battery runs out of juice or the pin is re-fitted to the
breakaway box.

It does pay to regularly check the battery charge especially when the trailer is infrequently used. If this is the
case, remove the battery and charge it on a mains charger before any trips. Also check that the tow vehicle is
charging the battery when plugged into the trailer.

To check if the breakaway unit and battery are working correctly, immobilize the trailer and jack the wheels
up. Pull the breakaway pin while a mate spins the wheels. They should lock up immediately.

The breakaway tether needs to be attached to the tow vehicle and not to the chains, the chains will not pull
the breakaway pin out if the trailer decides to part company. Likewise the tether needs to be in good condition
and needs to be replaced if kinked, frayed or damaged. If the damaged section fails before the breakaway pin
can be pulled, the brakes will not come on.

Breakaway brakes should not be used as a park brake as the battery will quickly lose its charge and the brakes
will release.

Australian Trailer Braking Regulations


Light trailer braking regulations in Australia for trailers up to 4500kg ATM are relatively straight forward

Up to 750kg GTM
Trailers with a 750kg GTM (Gross Trailer Mass) do not require brakes but do require a least one safety chain
that is rated and complies with AS 4177.4-1994 or AS 4177.4-2004 and have shackles to match.

750kg up to 2000kg GTM


Trailers over 750kg GTM up to 2000kg GTM, must have working brakes on at least one axle. Over-run or surge
brakes (see indirect braking above) can be used up to 2000kg GTM and the trailer must have at least one rated
chain or cable as per the standards above.

2000kg to 2500kg
For all trailers over 2000kg GTM, all wheels must have operational brakes. Over-run or surge brakes are not
permitted. Independent Electric Brakes or power assisted hydraulic brakes are allowed. These must be driver
controlled by either hand or foot. A breakaway brake system is required to be fitted (see above). If the trailer
does detach from the towing vehicle, the brakes must remain applied for at least 15 minutes.

Over 2500kg ATM


For all trailers over 2500kg ATM up to 4500kg ATM, all wheels must have operational brakes. Over-run or
surge brakes are not permitted. Independent Electric Brakes or power assisted hydraulic brakes are allowed.
These must be driver controlled by either hand or foot. A breakaway brake system is required to be fitted (see
above). If the trailer does detach from the towing vehicle, the brakes must remain applied for at least 15
minutes. Up to 2500kg ATM, the trailer must be fitted with at least one rated chain or safety cable as per the
standard above.

Over 2500kg and up to 3500kg ATM, the trailer must have two rated safety chains as per the standard.
Trailers over 3500kg up to 4500kg ATM need two safety chains with a minimum breaking stress of 800MPa
and must conform to the mechanical properties of a Grade T chain (short link lifting chain) and must be sized
so that the minimum breaking strain exceeds 4500kg ATM.

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11

Chains & Shackles – NZ & Australian Regulations


Chains and shackles are important components in the safety of your trailer and should not be overlooked or
given the attitude that any chain and shackle will do.

There are so many trailers in this country running with an old bit of chain left over from some long forgotten
job and an even smaller D shackle that lost its original pin many years ago and is held in place with a bolt or
screw that only just fits.

If in the unfortunate circumstances that your trailer decides to leave the comfort of your vehicles tow bar at
90km/hr, you have a trailer barreling full blast down the road un-guided and unhindered into any poor soul
that may be on the road at the same time.

Poorly chained and shackled trailers do come loose and do


kill and maim people.

On trailers up to 2000kg GVM (Gross Vehicle Mass - trailer


tare weight and load combined) only one chain is legally
required. According to the NZ Code of Practice, the chain
needs have a breaking strength of at least 4000kg. The
rating on the chain and shackle is normally the safe working
load rating and has a much higher breaking strength. If
unsure, check with your supplier on this before purchasing .

On trailers with a GVM between 2000kg and 2500kg, double crossed chains are required.

Trailers over 2500kg to 3500kg are required by law to have a "break away" braking system in place and safety
chains are not required. Personally, I like to have at least one chain fitted as well for peace of mind.

NZ Code of Practice NZS5467:1993


The code of practice for chains and shackles in New Zealand are as follows –

1. Safety connection(s) shall have a minimum breaking strength equal to 2 times the maximum towed mass.

(If you are towing a trailer with a combined tare weight and load of 2000kg, you are required to have chains
with a combined minimum breaking strain of 4000kg)

2. The safety connection(s) attachments shall have a strength equal to, or greater than the safety connection.

(Any bolts or other forms of connection of the chain and shackle to the trailer or tow vehicle, need to be rated
as strong or stronger than the safety chain and shackles)

3. The attachment of the safety connection(s) to both the towbar and drawbar shall be separate from the
coupling and its fastenings.

(Do not use the coupling bolts to bolt your safety chain to the trailer)

4. The safety connection(s) shall be mechanically fitted as close as is practicable to the longitudinal centre line
and of such length that in the event of coupling failure, it will prevent the drawbar hitting the ground as well as
controlling the direction of the trailer to follow the towing vehicle.

(Attach the chain as close as practical to the coupling and keep the chain as short as practical without
interfering with full lock steering)

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5. Welding of the chain is not acceptable.

(Use a high tensile bolt and safety chain mounting washer to attach your chain to the drawbar – also keep any
holes drilled in the drawbar at least ½ to ¾ the length of a chain link from the outside edge)

6. The safety connection(s) shall be indelibly marked by the component manufacturer with their rating. The
rating shall enable the minimum breaking strain of the components to be identified.

(Both chains and shackles need to have the manufacturers rating either stamped or cast into their surface.
Note that some chains have the rating stamped every couple of links)

Australian Safety Chain & Shackle Regulations

All safety chains on trailers up to 3500kg ATM, must be permanently attached to the trailer by either bolting or
welding, the use of shackles to attach the chain to the drawbar is not permitted.
If the chain is to be welded, the weld must extend around 50% of the link and the adjoining link must have free
movement.
For trailers over 3500kg ATM, the safety chain/drawbar attachment must not be welded or have the chain
deformed in any way.
The safety chain attachment must be located as near as practicable to the coupling and where there are 2
attachment points, they are required to be mounted on either side of the centreline of the drawbar.

Australian Standard AS 2741-2002 for Shackles

For trailers up to 3500kg ATM shackles are required to be


1. The shackle is required to be rated and comply with the Australian Standard AS 2741-2002 “Shackles” or
other equivalent recognised standard
2. The break load limit of the shackle is rated at least 1.5 times greater than the ATM of the trailer.
(If your trailer has an ATM of 1000kg, the break load limit needs to be at least 1500kg)
3. Shackles need to be legibly and permanently marked with the following information.
A. The manufacturer's name or trademark;
B. Quality grade of the shackle, e.g. (“M” or “4”, “S” or “6”);
(Grade “M” or “4” shackles are around 20% stronger than their mild steel counterparts and are normally
recognised by the pin having a larger diameter than the shackle material. “M” shackles are not so common
now as they have been superseded by the stronger “S” shackle. Grade “S” or “6” shackles again have a larger
diameter pin which is normally painted to differentiate from lower strength shackles. Grade “S” or “6” are
higher in strength than the “M” or “4” grade although have less ductility. They tend to be smaller than the “M”
or “4:” shackles for their respective ratings.
C. Working Load Limit (WLL) or Rating; and
D. Identification marking in order to correlate shackle to test certificate.

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SHACKLE SIZING GUIDE

Nominal Shackle Working Load Breaking Load Grade


Size (mm) (kg) (kg) Marking

5 330 1987 S or 6
6 250 1508 M or 4
6 500 3007 S or 6
8 750 4505 S or 6
10 500 3007 M or 4
10 1000 6004 S or 6
11 1500 9001 S or 6
13 750 4505 M or 4
13 2000 12040 S or 6
16 1500 9010 M or 4
16 3200 19285 S or 6
19 2000 12040 M or 4
19 4700 28265 S or 6

NOTE - For all other countries trailer braking regulations, please contact your local or state department of
transport, department of motor vehicles or vehicle licensing to get up to date information on what is required.

Disclaimer
Trailersauce has taken care to ensure that all plans are accurate, of sound design and should reasonably
comply with most countries transport/trailer laws & regulations These plans are offered as a guide to assist
with the construction of the described trailer. It is ultimately the builder/owners responsibility to ensure that
the trailer is of sound construction, complies with your country/federal/state transport regulations, is legally
registered for road use and maintained in serviceable condition. Trailersauce takes no responsibility for any
injury, accident or losses that may occur as a result of a trailer built using these plans.

By using any plans or instructions, you agree that Trailersauce cannot be liable for any misuse or faulty
workmanship of the final product. The plans are to be used only as guidelines and to aid in the assembly of the
final product.

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If you need to move your classic car, stock or race car, tractor, farming equipment or agricultural machinery,
you can't go past the Trailersauce Car Transporter trailer for strength, versatility, ease of use and smooth, well
balanced towing.

With its tilting deck, hinging ramps and drawbar mounted winch, loading and unloading of vehicles or
machinery is a breeze. Securing the load is quick and easy with heavy duty tie rails extending from the front of
the trailer all the way down each side.

With a standard GVM of 2500kg (5,500 lbs) with hydraulic override brakes, fitting 4 wheel electric brakes
will increase the trailers capacity up to a total of 3500kg (7,700 lbs) GVM. The tare weight of this trailer is
approximately 680kgs (1500 lbs).

Deck size is 4.25 x 1.95m (13’ 11 ¼” x 6’ 4 ¾”) and can be fitted with steel, alloy or timber decking, depending
on its end requirement. The 500mm (19 ¾”) wide ramps are 900mm (35 ½”) high and will allow almost any
vehicle to run on and off the trailer without bottoming out or damaging valuable trims.

Running 14" tyres, and oscillating load sharing suspension, the car transporter trailer will tow your pride and
joy effortlessly, smoothly and safely.

The following design will enable most competent welders/engineers to quickly fabricate the trailer with easy to
follow, step by step instruction.

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CUTTING LIST & COMPONENTS


The following cutting list uses readily available and standard size steel sections.

Components are also standard and


should be available from most trailer part
suppliers or auto shop.

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Component Guide

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CHASSIS COMPONENTS

Cut the chassis rails and crossmembers as per the details below. Drill all the inner crossmembers and
front/rear beams as shown to provide drainage for galvanising as well as for routing the light cables around the
chassis.

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Fold up the light channel and grind the 12mm rods to fit neatly into the light channel. Tack weld into position.

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Lay all components out on a flat surface or fully supported on trestles if available.

Mark out the crossmember positions and fit into position. Check the frame is square by measuring diagonally
from one corner of the chassis to the opposite corner. Once both corner to corner measurements are
identical, sandbag, clamp or secure the frame to prevent any movement.

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Tack weld all the components together while constantly checking the chassis for squareness. The chassis is
fabricated upside down, so all components (except the light channel) will be flush with the top of the chassis
rails.

The light channels top face (when right way up) should be flush with the bottom face of the crossmembers as
shown below.

Cut and bend up 4 light channel straps and 22 deck support angles.

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Fit the straps from the light channel down to the chassis as shown.

For fitting the deck supports, clamp an offcut of box section or similar along the inside of the chassis rails
under the crossmembers to help level the supports. Centralise the supports between the crossmembers and
tack weld all components together. When welding the deck support angles, it is not necessary to fully weld
them to the chassis rails, stitch welding is sufficient.

DRAWBAR

Cut and fabricate all the drawbar components as shown. Ensure accuracy and care is taken when fabricating
and drilling the tilt and hinge plates.

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Measure out the position for the tilt plates, square and clamp the external tilt plates to the chassis rail and
tack weld into position.

Place a 12.5 - 13mm packer between the external and internal tilt plates, fit a bolt to align the hole and tack
weld the internal plate to the chassis rail. Do not fully weld until the drawbar has been fitted and its tilting
operation checked.

Put the drawbar sections together making sure that the shackle holes are on the outside faces. Fit the hinge
plates to the opposite end, opposing each other and tack weld onto the drawbar sections.

Lay the drawbar sections down the centre of the chassis and swing the hinge end around to the tilt plates and
bolt together.

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Bring the other two ends of the drawbar together, align top and bottom and the inside edges together and
tack weld.

Check the alignment of the drawbar by measuring from a common point on the end of the drawbar back to a
point on the chassis. Repeat the measurement on the other side of the drawbar.

If the measurements are not identical, there may be some misalignment with the hinge or tilt plates. Double
check all measurements and for any discrepancies. Break the welds and adjust as needed.

When the drawbar has been aligned, clamp the drawbar sections to the front chassis crossmember and fit the
winch base and drawbar brace as shown.

Bend up a couple of drawbar guides and fit them to the front chassis crossmember with a minimum 1mm gap
between the guide and the outside face of the drawbar section. Fit the guide gussets for a bit of additional
strength and tack weld.

Unclamp the drawbar and lift the front end up approx. 5-600mm and check its action. If there is any stiffness
or binding, try and find the offending component and adjust or trim/grind as required.

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Fit the angle brace centrally over the drawbar face and weld onto the front chassis crossmember only - Do not
weld to the drawbar section.

Reclamp the drawbar to the chassis and fully weld.

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SPRINGS
Note - the springs used on this trailer are 610mm standard eye/slipper leaf springs. The position of the
oscillator is the same if you are using different style springs. If you are using eye/eye springs, fixed
suspension or torsion axles, use the oscillator centre position for the axle centre.

When setting up the springs, ensure that the outside face of the springs is flush with the outside face of the
chassis rails along the length of the spring setup.

Before welding into position, check that the tail (slipper end) of the spring is located correctly and will not bind
or fall out of the oscillator and slipper under normal operating conditions.

Tack weld the components to the chassis and check the oscillator action for correct operation. Adjust as
necessary if any binding or stiffness occurs. Fully weld spring components when happy with their position.

AXLES
The axles for this trailer have been designed as overlay or stepped axles. Dropped axles can be fitted but issues
with ground clearance will become more apparent and damage may occur to the drawbar or chassis.

The axles shown below do not contain overall dimensions for length as variations in hub and stub design as
well as rim offset can dramatically alter the hub to hub length. For axle measuring see below -

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Measuring axle length


Before measuring up your axle, it pays to dry fit all the components to the stub axles. In a clean, dust free area,
mount the bearings, hubs and any braking hardware you are using.

Place the assembled unit inside the wheel and rim you are using, and place a straight edge across the tyre
sidewall. Measure up from the sidewall edge to the highest part of the braking hardware and add at least
20mm (minimum) to this.
Remove the hub unit and measure down from the sidewall edge of the straight edge to the hubface mounting
surface of the rim.

Add the measurements together, multiply x2 for both sides of the trailer and add the overall chassis width.
This is the hub face to hub face measurement for your axle.

If you are using dropper extensions as below, the room these take up over and above the braking components
will need to taken into consideration.

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Hydraulic disc brakes inherently take up more internal space between the wheel and the trailer chassis and
in most cases when the brake pads wear down, the caliper unit will move closer to the chassis.

Hydraulic and electric drum brakes take up less valuable space, but consideration needs to be given for access
to the manual adjuster, any bleed nipples, park brake levers and allowing space for the cables and hoses to
move and flex.

For straight beam axles, the spring centre measurement is also required before making your axle.

If you want to measure the axle directly off your chassis you need to clamp the guard approximately around
the area where it is to go. If you are unable to clamp the guard or if the clamps will not hold, tack weld the
guard in position.

Position your tyre and rim inside the guard and line up the tyre sidewall flush with the outside rim of the
guard, both vertically and horizontally. If you are pushed for room within the guard, you can move the tyre out
so that the true edge of the tyre tread is flush with the guard with the tyre bulge protruding from the guard
edge.

Once the tyre is in position, measure from the inside hub mounting surface of the rim, to the outside edge of
the spring. If your springs are set up correctly this will be the same measurement as the outside edge of the
chassis. We'll call this measurement "A".

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Measure your chassis width across the central part of your chassis for measurement "B". The Hub to Hub face
measurements will be measurement "A" x2 (doubled) added to measurement "B".

Measuring between the spring centre bolt centres will give you the spring centres. Another way to get this is to
measure your chassis width "B" and subtract the width of one spring.

These measurements should be all that is needed to get the axle building started. If you are going for a
different style axle (ie, stepped or dropped axle) then further measurements will be required.

See here for more information on building overlay/stepped axles –

http://www.trailersauce.co.nz/information/trailer-axle-building/building-overlaystepped-axle/

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GUARDS

NOTE - The guard position shown is only approximate and should be used as a guide only. To get the most
accurate position of the guards, dry fit the hubs to the axles, and fit, with the wheels, to the trailer.

Adequate clearance between the guard and tyre is essential to prevent build up of mud and stones and
rubbing of the tyres on the guards under load.

As a guide, 50-75mm between the top of the tyre and underside of guard and at least the same measurement
between the back of the rear tyre and guard should be sufficient for most purposes.

Allow 50mm clearance between the front of the front tyre and guard.

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Once the guard position has been found, tack weld the guards to the chassis rail and use the guard strap and
brace to help square the guard to the trailer.

Cut and fold the guard gussets and notch the front gussets around the external tilt plate. Square the gusset to
both the guard and the trailer and tack weld into position.

It is important that care and accuracy is taken when setting up the guards and guard gussets. Poorly fitting or
out of square guards/gussets will make the trailer look poorly built and second rate. Spend some time getting
it right!

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TIE RAILS

Before fitting the tie rails, now is the time to give a couple of your mates a call and get them around to help
you flip the chassis over to its correct side. Make sure a plan is made on how to flip the chassis and that
everyone knows what the plan is. Allow plenty of room around the chassis for safety and if you have access to
a gantry or forkhoist or even a strong rafter – use it!

Source parts and fabricate the components below for the trailer tie rails.

The drilled tie rail support is for fitting a chain and shackle for securing the rear ramp when required.

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Find the diameter of the tie rail and halve and then subtract half the thickness of the tie rail support. Mark this
measurement in from the outside edge of the chassis rail and use a string/chalk line to mark the full length of
the chassis rail. This will be mark for lining the tie rail supports up to.

Align the front tie rail support top leading edge, 55mm back from the front of the chassis crossmember and all
other supports 520mm apart along the length of the chassis rail.

Use a straight edge on the side of the chassis rail to butt the tie rail up to and tack weld the tie rail to the
supports.

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Fit the 90 deg bend and repeat the tie rail fitting to the front of the trailer using the 45 bend and tie rail stub to
finish.

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RAMPS

Cut and fabricate all the ramp components as per the details below.

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Square and tack weld all the box section components together.

Use the hinge pin to help align the hinge pipes and tack weld as shown below, to the ramp.

Note - The trailer shown here has 5mm alloy cladding on the ramp and deck. If you are using cladding of a
different thickness, adjust the hinge pipe offset from the ramp edge.

Do not weld the ramp or chain lug on until the ramp is fitted to the chassis.

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Fit the ramp to the chassis again using the hinge pin to align the hinge pipes and allowing the correct clearance
above the light channel for the deck thickness. Also allow side clearance as shown in the last drawing.

When fitting the hinge pipes to the trailer, allow a slight gap either side of the pipe to allow for easy
movement of the ramp.

Fit the tie rail pin in the end of the tie rail and adjust so the lynch pin hole will clear the ramp lug plate when
fitted to the ramp.

Securely weld the tie rail pin in position, including a hot, strong weld in the "spot weld hole".

Once the tie rail pin and ramp is in place, fit the ramp lug plate centrally over the pin and tack weld to the
ramp. Operate the ramp to ensure there is no interference and the ramp hinge is not stiff or binding. Adjust as
required for a smooth action.

Fit the chain lug plate and gussets as shown above.

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WINCH ROLLER

The winch roller is to assist the loading of non-motive vehicles or machinery and is at its most basic design. A
shaped roller or a full 4 roller box guide can be modified to fit if required.

Mount the roller centrally on the front chassis crossmember allowing clearance (2-5mm)between the inside of
the mounting plates and the roller.

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DRAWBAR LATCHES

The tilt latch can be purchased from your local trailer parts supplier (normally spring loaded) or you can
fabricate one as below. Weld the latch to the drawbar along the length of the latch only. Do not weld across
the ends of the latch.

If required, packers can be fitted to the front chassis crossmember angle gussets to reduce the gap between
the gusset and the latch pin. Allow a little clearance for ease of use (1mm)

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WINCH POST

Cut and fit the winch post components as below. Predrill the winch plate to suit the hole dimensions of your
winch and ensure that the winch post is not in the way of fitting the mounting bolts when the winch plate is
welded on.

Only weld the brace plates to the drawbar along the edge of the drawbar section and not across the top face
of the drawbar.

Align and fit the coupling plate (drill to suit your coupling hole dimensions) and weld on the shackle plates
on both sides of the drawbar "A" frame.

Australian Trailer Builders -

Now is a good time to fit the safety chains to the trailer - the safety chains must be permanently attached to
the trailer (welded) and the weld must extend around 50% of the circumference of the welded links and the
adjoining links must have free movement.

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Weld the safety chains as near as practicable to the coupling - they must be mounted one on either side of the
centreline of the drawbar.

See the beginning of this guide for more information.

DECKING

The decking used on this trailer is 5mm alloy treadplate – See here for other options -
http://www.trailersauce.co.nz/equipment/trailer-decking/

Plywood or timber can be used down the centre of the trailer to close up the opening between the wheel
wells.

If using 3mm steel treadplate, use the same bending profile as below. 3mm alloy treadplate is too thin to be
used as decking material by itself. It can be used if timber or plywood (17mm or thicker) is fitted underneath.

Cut and fold the deck cladding as below, removing all sharp edges and profiling the leading edge to help
prevent potential puncture points.

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The cladding can be fastened to the chassis with suitably sized rivets, self tapping metal screws or coach bolts.

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SPARE WHEEL MOUNT


As an option, you can fit a spare wheel mount to the drawbar as shown below. Use Mag Lock Nuts when fitting
the spare wheel to the mount to prevent theft. Ideally get a tyre cover made to fit, to reduce the effects of UV
damage from sun exposure.

Before fabricating the mount beam, double check that your tyre will fit correctly. Adjust the length of the
mount beam if necessary.

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Cable conduit is used to protect and support both lighting cable and either hydraulic brake lines or electric
brake cable when routing from one side of the trailer to the other.

Any sharp edges or burrs should be removed from the conduit before fitting to prevent chafing or damage to
the cable insulation.

Fit the front conduit on the third crossmember back from the front and the rear conduit between the rear
beams. The rear conduit length can be reduced to allow easier access to the conduit when running cables
through the rear beams if required.

Stitch weld the conduit to the chassis only.

Note - 1.6mm thick SHS is used here, but any lengths of thicker material can be used if preferred.

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LIGHTS & WIRING

Note
Before doing any cable fitting, it is advisable that the trailer is fully prepared and painted or galvanised and at
the bare minimum, has a primer coat applied.

Running the light cable


From the front of the trailer, slide a semi-rigid section of mild steel "pull" wire down the drawbar until it comes
out an oversized hole drilled on the inside of the drawbar close to the spring end. Tape the trailer 5 core cable
(seven core if you are fitting electric brakes) to the end of the "pull" wire and pull from the spring hanger
end until the cable comes through.

Gently pull the cable through until you have around 200mm free cable. Slide a section of flexible conduit over
the cable where it exits the tilting drawbar and tape it securely to the cable. This will prevent chafing of the
insulation when in tilting operation.

Allow another 600mm extra at the coupling end of the drawbar for wiring into your plug.

Fit a junction box near the spring hanger and wire in the main cable to the strip connector. Run 2x 5 core
cables from the junction box down the side of the chassis rail through the holes predrilled in the
crossmembers to the light channel.

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Drill through any cross members or chassis runners not already drilled to allow the cable to be threaded
through.

All other cabling required for both the front & rear marker lights and electric brakes can be taken from the
junction box to their required positions.

Wherever any cable passes through any steelwork, apply silicon sealant or a similar fixant around the
hole/cable to prevent any chafing or wear on the cable.

Fitting Lights
Make sure that your number plate light is in the correct position and that the light will shine on the plate. Keep
your lights as wide as possible in the light channel, but do not place lights directly behind the rod bracing.

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Mark out your light position on the light channel and drill the mounting and cable holes as per your lights
instructions or template.

There are a couple of ways of joining the wire together


behind the left hand light. Using a strip connector inside a
sealed junction box is one of the best ways of keeping the
join secure and weather tight and also gives the option of
easily changing lights should they get damaged, etc.

Other options include soldering the wires together and


sealing with insulation tape and a heat shrink tube or
using crimp connectors and covering again with heat
shrink tube. These options take less time to do than the
first option, but will cause a bit of a headache when
maintenance needs to be done at a later date.

FRONT/REAR MARKER LIGHTS


For front & rear marker lights, an additional two lengths of 2 core cable need to be run from the junction box,
through the front conduit to the lights on the other side. The marker lights on the junction box side are wired
direct from the junction box.

Crimp connectors are the most convenient method for joining the wires to sealed lights with attached wiring.

PLUG
Pass the plug end cable through the cable hole drilled in the top or side of the drawbar and slide a suitable
sized rubber grommet over the cable to prevent any chafing of the cable where it passes through the drawbar.

Trim the length of cable so that the cable can move with the trailer behind the tow vehicle without being
stretched or kinked, but not too long that it will dangle too close to the ground.

Slide any plug sleeve or nut, that came with the plug, over the cable, then strip each end of the plug wires
leaving approximately 10mm bare wire, fold the bare cable in half and enter them into the plug connector in
the correct sequence as per the chart above. Tighten the screws snugly but do not over-tighten. Screw the
cable clamp down to prevent the cable from pulling out and fit any sleeves, nuts or covers that came with the
plug.

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If possible, check all your lights by hooking the trailer plug up to your tow vehicle. If you don't have a mate to
help you check your brake lights, grab a mirror and position it behind the trailer where you can see it from the
tow vehicle.

FINISHING

Go over the trailer carefully checking all components are fitted correctly.

Fit the coupling and complete any wiring required for electric brakes. If a manual park brake is fitted, check the
cables are secure and operating correctly.

If fitting hydraulic brakes, check all fittings are secure and the brakes have been bled correctly. Recheck fluid
levels in the coupling reservoir.

Fit the winch securely to the winch post and fit the cable or webbing if not already installed. Check the winch
roller is securely pinned.

Check that the tilt hinge bolts and nylock nuts are tight and secure. Check the tilt latches are working correctly
and in place.

Double check your spring hanger bolts and "U" bolts on the axles that they are secure and tight and the wheels
to the trailer.

Hand tighten the stud nuts to help align the rim on the hub and tighten the nuts in sequence. Ideally use a
torque wrench to ensure that the nuts are tightened adequately.

Torque Settings for wheel nuts are

7/16" UNF 110Nm or 80 Ftlbs

1/2" UNF 125Nm or 90 Ftlbs

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Fit amber reflectors along the side of the trailer, white reflectors on the front outside edge of the guards and
red reflectors on the rear outside edge of the guards.

Put a dab of grease on the towball and hook the trailer up to your tow vehicle and double check that all the
lights are working.

Grab a new vehicle registration form from your local vehicle registration centre, fill it out and register your
new trailer. Attach your new license plate to your trailer and book the trailer in for a Warrant of Fitness.

Once the trailer is warranted it is ready for loading!

For Australian trailer builders, check with your local State Department of Transport for details on VIN,
certificate of compliance and other requirements.

For the first couple of outings with the trailer, take extra care to get used to the trailer and how it handles on
the road. It may take a few minutes of driving for the brakes to bed correctly and if electric brakes are fitted -
may need to be tweaked as components settle.

Every trailer trails differently and getting a feel for how the trailer handles takes time.

Good luck and happy trailering!

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