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Death Metal Trailer (beater 18' trailer refresh)


What an idiot...
May 22, 2020
Member Number
Land of Mary
Primary intention is to re-configure the Death Metal Trailer for buggy hauling. Its a tough little 18' 7K Diamond C landscape trailer that's been brutalized it's entire life. I think I'm the 4th owner; previous two were fellow wheelers but don't know how the original owner used it. Last owner, one of my best friends and fellow wheeler, told me how he used to grease the perimeter round rail to load his ZJ on full widths and 40" TSLs. Bran gave me the trailer in spring 2020 having traded him some work for it. My 27' Moritz deck over goose was totaled in an accient this time last year so I had to make this one work. When I got it from Bran:
-Front axle was slightly tweaked
-Jack was barely useable
-Jack steel plate was bent and twisted
-One of the tounge steel C-channel rails was slighly tweaked
-Fenders were thrashed
-Newest tire was 10 years old, none matched
-Wheels looked like they were going to rust through
-No brakes
-Wiring completely hashed
-Large voids in the deck, deck had been scabbed over with scrap lumber

At first, I replaced the bad tires, cleaned up the wheels, welded-in 2"x3"x.12" box tube to reinforce the tounge, replaced the jack, welded-in tie down tabs for my flat hook style ratchet straps, and hit it with some paint. I also threw some old ply-wood down over the holes in the deck and got the Tractor Supply brake lights working.

First couple trips went great but then had two flats outside of AOAA about a month ago which wrecked the passenger side fender. I ordered two new 15" 5 on 5 steel wheels from Walmart, replaced the two tires, and bought two spares. Most recently, I stripped the deck off and started welding in 2" x 3" x 0.188" square tube in preparation of cutting off the perimeter round tube rail. Future plans include welding in two additional beams, frame out drive-over fenders, re-deck with rough cut lumber, replace the front axle with a braking 3.5K lb axle, re-wire, and paint.





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AOAA trip mid-August 2020 when both passenger side tires blew. I ended up replacing them with two Walmart cheapies just to get home. Huge thanks to Derrick @ Rollie's for helping me out that weekend.




Progress so far.
-Stripped all the old decking
-Power washed the frame
-Ground galvanizing and paint off the passenger side angle
-Cut new beam to length, notched to fit in place, beveled a step into one end to be more tire friendly and better fit with replacement decking





Throgh welds angle to beam.jpg
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The 3 main beams are fully welded in and capped. I plan on installing addtional 2" x 3" x 0.188" structural support where the Cruiser's axles will be on the trailer and 2" x 2" x 0.188" at the very tail end. From there, I'll need to weld in some supports for the deck boards then start on the fenders.

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Mian beams are welded in and I started on some additional structure. I've got a bit more structural work at the front of the trailer then it's onto fenders.
1 Oct Trailer Progress E.jpg
1 Oct Trailer Progress C.jpg
1 Oct Trailer Progress F.jpg
1 Oct Trailer Progress A.jpg






1 Oct Trailer Progress D.jpg
I'm guessing the lumber will be recessed I'm the tubing you added? Would definitely change the 24" centers to 12".
Right, it'll be recessed and am chaninging the 24" centers to 12" centers where my trail truck's axles will be strapped down on the trailer. I'm going with 2" rough cut that I plan on staining and sealing.
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Pecking away at it. The new cross members are in and I started welding in 3/16" plate that will support the deck boards. I've got one more section of plate to weld in then it's onto replacing the running gear and making drive-over fenders.

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It's been a great couple weeks for the Death Metal Trailer: -New 5200lb Dexter axles, 12" Dexter brakes, new Dexter hubs, ~2800lb leaf springs, equalizers, shackles and hardware. I cut the perimeter rail off without a hitch, primed all the new material, installed 6" oval light brackets, torched in provisions for side markers, welded in wiring chase, and started wiring. Within the next day or two, I'll get the tires mounted on the new-to-me 6 lug wheels. The 15" rock rings were left over from an old project and the trailer is the only thing I own that runs 15s so I figured why not!? :)
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Moving foward slowly but surely. Wheels are painted and tires installed. Front markers are wired and am working my way towards the back of the trailer wiring wise. Brakes are a couple fittings and some heat shrink away from being done. Next major hurdle are making the fenders. From there, more paint, wiring, and decking last.


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-Equalizers & shackles are flipped the right way
-The amber, red, and 3 bulb running lights are wired and working
-Brakes are wired and working
-Driver's side fender is done which I hope to wire and skin over the next day or so.
drivers side fender and lights.jpg
How close is the tire to the frame. I would bet $100 bucks when loaded/turning the axles flex enough to rub the tires on the frame. I had a trailer that did this. Put some1” spacers behind rims and problem went away.

Very first thing I look at on a new trailers is if I can get three fingers between tire and nearest piece of trailer. I hate popping tires for no reason.
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For sure - rubbing trailer tires suck. For what it's worth, there's about 2.25" between the outside of the frame and the inside of the tires.
12 Nov - D Side Fender 3.jpg
12 Nov - D Side Fender 1.jpg
12 Nov - D Side Fender 2.jpg

Left sider fender is skinned and wired. I'll get on the passenger side over the next couple of days.



12 Nov - HRC pillow 2.jpg
12 Nov - HRC pillow 1.jpg

My mother-in-law is pretty crafty and made this pillow out of one of my son's old wheeling club hoodies.

Also - gotta give some props to my awesome wheeling dog, Huckleberry.
Huck Flat Bed 2.jpg
Huck Flat Bed 1.jpg

DMT is road worthy and ready to deck. Wiring is done minus the winch. The switch panel inside the ammo can is 65 year old oak from my '55 Chevy 6400 2 ton stake body that I trimmed last year.
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Decking on order with my local mill at about $1/BF - 2 3/4" x 6" rough cut oak, ETA ~14 days.
Wired up the Smittybilt 12K with an Albright contactor and wireless controller. I'll respool with the cable with the Cruiser over the next few days.

Capped the open rail and box tube ends, fab'd the two spare tire mounts, and painted the trailer out.
Two key things left are to wire in the break away and spool the winch with a load.
Shake down run is this weekend; hauling a friend's car to Shenandoah Speedway.
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