Author Topic: My ex RAAF Tactical Trailer camper build  (Read 21303 times)

Offline Psimpson7

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My ex RAAF Tactical Trailer camper build
« on: April 14, 2012, 05:21:36 PM »
Hey everyone,

The admins have kindly added the EX RAAF Tactical trailers to this section so now I have somewhere to post up some pictures and progress of our trailer build, beyond my wheel alignment thread in general a while back.

So after a few years of ground tents for most of our camping, and using our Hannibal roof tent on major trips (Simpson, Cape York, and high country) we have decided to build a camper trailer.

After a bit of searching and luck, we managed to buy one of the RAAF Track Trailers with the MC2 asymmetric link suspension. It is in very good condition and hasn't done much work at all really! It came complete with canopy and bows too.

As we got it (complete with carpet liner!):



Suspension:
 


The rough plan is to set it up with 2 batteries, with solar regulator and anderson socket to connect to the cars charging system, slide out kitchen, water tank underneath at the rear, probably around 70 litres or so, a couple of jerry can holders, and a few other bits and pieces and then top it with a 9ft camper top. Electric brakes are also in the works.

The very first thing to do was sort the camper top. We spent a bit of time looking on the net at the various options and decided to go with the Oztrail 9ft top.

Collecting the top:





Firstly we drilled out the bow fixings around the top of teh trailer (3 of them each with 4 rivets) to leave us with a flat a surface as possible.

We then got some high density adhesive backed rubber/foam and stuck it around the top of the trailer, before setting the top centrally and fitting the hinges - I may get some reinforcement sections made up to help support the hinges shortly, but have just fitted it for now:



We then gave it a quick test run down to Pebbly Beach in NSW, just north of Coffs where in its very basic form it worked fine!:






Offline The Hueys

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Re: My ex RAAF Tactical Trailer camper build
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2012, 05:31:15 PM »
Looks to have had very little use in the past and now looks like a great set up.

I once considered this option before heading down the Tvan route but the main thing that concerned me was that most of the tents that were available off the shelf only allowed 1m to 1.1m height from the bed base to the ground and these are somewhat higher but it doesn't look to be a problem from the photos.
Craig Hewitson
Former Track Trailer Service & Sales Manager - 2005 to 2011
MkII Tvan behind a Mazda BT-50

Offline Psimpson7

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Re: My ex RAAF Tactical Trailer camper build
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2012, 05:39:32 PM »
Thanks. I had the same concerns regarding the tent, with the trailer top being 1150mm or so but as you say it seems ok. We had planned to have the base of the tent lowered if required.

Next steps (and I am already a few weeks into this build) were to sort out the suspension and brakes, and the Jerry can holders.

The main towcar is my Defender 90 which only has a 60l tank so the extra fuel carrying capacity is useful.

So I removed all the suspension and stripped the hubs and brakes:





This is what I took to the coaters:



And this is what I got back.  :)  Blasted, then 2 coats of powder, a Zinc primer coat, and then the top black coat.





In the week in between I was pretty busy though, and modeled the trailer up in SolidWorks so I could play about with the layout more easily:



I also set up my idea for the Jerry can holdes which mount to the chassis and tie into the back of the wheel arch:



And this is what I got back from the laser cutters:





Provisionally setting one up:



Finished (but not painted of finally fitted):






Offline Psimpson7

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Re: My ex RAAF Tactical Trailer camper build
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2012, 05:51:25 PM »
Next up, sorting out the wheel bearings hubs etc.

New NTN bearings fitted, with new seals.



Refitting the suspension - the stub axle looks black but thats a thin layer of grease I put on it to protect it:



Now the brakes. I dont mind override brakes but decided to try and swap to Electric on this so I could brake the trailer indepentley of the car if requried.

The original back plates are made by Dexter who are a large American company. They do sell an electric back plate assembly but Alko seem to be an easier to get product.

It turns out that there is an Alko in Yatala just up the road.

I rang them and they had heaps in stock as you would expect of the 10" offroad set up with park brake.

Online the cheapest I could find these was 196$ each + delivery.

Alko direct were $162each inc gst. So i grabbed a pair.

Left hand one:



Trial fit of Right hand one:



Before I went any further I did some measuring and to all intents and purposes any importants dimensions are identical between the Alko and original spec Dexter brakes.

Left side fitted:



Right side fitted:



I then set the wheel bearings and adjusted the brakes as per instructions.

i.e.

fit back plate loosely.
Fit hub.
Adjust brakes till tight to centralise back plate and shoes into drum/hub
back off adjuster 13 clicks

I then set the wheel bearings again. Will check these down the track a few times.

Next up was to set up the brake wiring looms:



Then set the wheel alignment:



looks a lot better underneath now!

We then used it for Easter! - Everything worked nicely!


Offline Eelezy

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Re: My ex RAAF Tactical Trailer camper build
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2012, 06:11:09 PM »
Mate..great stuff. I have just finished the framework for a table that goes over the drawbar of these trailers..ie eagle etc.. I will post some photos tomorrow.
Chris
2014 Mark Three Canning with extras, 76 series V8 Landcruiser...(you know you want one!)

Offline ChrisN

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Re: My ex RAAF Tactical Trailer camper build
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2012, 07:46:52 PM »
Excellent job there - you have some skills!

That looks like a strap (inside the spring in the last photo) to limit suspension travel. I've often wondered about the lack of that on the Tvan. While up on Cape York I saw a Kimberley camper with collapsed suspension - the damper had failed at one of the attachment points, and on the next bounce the spring escaped. A limiting strap would have prevented at least part of that problem. Good to see your trailer has it.
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Chris

2003 Tvan.  Nissan Patrol GQ.

Offline Psimpson7

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Re: My ex RAAF Tactical Trailer camper build
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2012, 10:09:13 PM »
Thanks Guys,

Yes Chris it has really substanstial limit straps, and the springs literally fell out once they were unbolted. A broken shock without them on there would result in the spring coming out on this trailer at least, so I am glad they are there.

Last update to sort of bring the progress up to date is as follows.

Firstly the batteries are going to be moved to the drawbar.

I have modeled up the following tray assembly and it is awaiting a quote from the laser cutters for the cut and fold which I shoudl get on Monday (along with the other parts shown below)



Here is the base tray:



I have also decided to move the spare wheel from the draw bar and have come up with the following mount that clamps around one of the main round chassis crossmembers.





This is how it works. There is a pivot at the back, then a pair of bolts to clamp it tight onto the chassis then pinch bolts to tighten up on the slot (if that makes sense!):



I also have ordered a 70l fiamma water tank, to see if I can use that as opposed to the custom one which I had drawn up. Got it for 125$ delivered which I was pretty happy with. The sizes look suitable, and I have found a reducer to drop the inlet from 38mm to 25mm which makes routing the fill pipe a lot easier. I am thinking of putting the filler on one of the wheel arches as I think there is room even at full bump.

I have just found out that these are apparently the tanks used in the new tvans?

Thats about where I am at the moment.

Offline Psimpson7

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Re: My ex RAAF Tactical Trailer camper build
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2012, 10:10:39 PM »
Also sorry about the random pic sizes... not sure what I have done there....

Offline The Hueys

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Re: My ex RAAF Tactical Trailer camper build
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2012, 07:25:33 AM »
The RAAF trailers are the only MC2 ones I've ever seen with the limiting strap in the spring. I suspect it may have been part of the design spec as the shockers have a bottom bump stop built into them to do the same job, but as stated if the shock breaks then the spring can come out but only at full travel.

For anyone interested the blue spacer shown in one pic is (should be) 280mm long, one is put in each side to simulate the average loaded height of the spring to allow the wheel alignment to be adjusted to the correct spec of 3mm toe in.

I love the jerry can holders, are you getting them zinc plated prior to painting/powder coating? Powdercoat tends to be somewhat porous and anything not plated beforehand tends to rust out from the inside.
Craig Hewitson
Former Track Trailer Service & Sales Manager - 2005 to 2011
MkII Tvan behind a Mazda BT-50

Offline Eelezy

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Re: My ex RAAF Tactical Trailer camper build
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2012, 10:31:16 AM »
Mate...I am stunned at the quality of your photographs, drawings and overall work on the trailer. As mentioned here are the photos of my bench( frame) for over the draw-bar. I don't have all those CAD type drawing skills..just a pencil and bit of wood to sketch on, but overall it came out well.
The P.O. had made a solid wooden bench that extends over the drawbar. It had hooks to locate it into the top of the jerrycan holder, plus little arms that extended back to stop it moving backwards.
It worked great.. like a full size kitchen bench to work on, but was both heavy AND had lots of things that could catch and tear if you stored it under the top cover or even inside the trailer base.
My new design had to both pack FLAT, have no protrusions and be as light as possible.
The bench is also great because it covers the entire drawbar and hitch, so protects the shins as you walk past from both knocks and grease!

When you look at the photos: The frame is made from 20mm SHS and slips into a piece of aluminium channel. I used lynch pins to locate it through the channel but will probably use "D" style pins later (about $2.00each!). The front support swings down on pivots and sits on the drawbar ( in fact, on the protection ring over the hydraulic brake cylinder..but anywhere would be fine...
I will cover the front section with marine ply and /or laminex. I will curve or 45 angle the timber on end of the bench too!
The rear small section is deliberately left open as it is covered by the drop down trailer bench and also allows you to get access to clip it into the channel and run leads/gas-hoses etc up and over.
Hope it makes sense..would work for most camper trailers that have some clear access over the drawbar!
regards
« Last Edit: April 15, 2012, 10:52:05 AM by Eelezy »
2014 Mark Three Canning with extras, 76 series V8 Landcruiser...(you know you want one!)

Offline Eelezy

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Re: My ex RAAF Tactical Trailer camper build
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2012, 10:32:37 AM »
Can't seem to get photos into the body of the post..so here's more...
2014 Mark Three Canning with extras, 76 series V8 Landcruiser...(you know you want one!)

Offline Eelezy

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Re: My ex RAAF Tactical Trailer camper build
« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2012, 10:33:58 AM »
final..showing frame folded for transport...front (swing-down) support will clip onto underneath of wooden bench-top when folded flat...
Chris
« Last Edit: April 15, 2012, 10:50:50 AM by Eelezy »
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Offline Psimpson7

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Re: My ex RAAF Tactical Trailer camper build
« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2012, 09:32:16 AM »

I love the jerry can holders, are you getting them zinc plated prior to painting/powder coating? Powdercoat tends to be somewhat porous and anything not plated beforehand tends to rust out from the inside.

Thanks Craig,

I think so. I have a place I have used locally for zinc plating before. I had been considering getting them galvanised, then painting them but am not too sure about that. I will probably do them green the same as the rest of the trailer.

I will wait either way until I have the battery tray and wheel carrier ready and get them all done at the same time.

Rgds
Pete

Offline Psimpson7

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Re: My ex RAAF Tactical Trailer camper build
« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2012, 11:39:44 AM »
Mate...I am stunned at the quality of your photographs, drawings and overall work on the trailer. As mentioned here are the photos of my bench( frame) for over the draw-bar. I don't have all those CAD type drawing skills..just a pencil and bit of wood to sketch on, but overall it came out well.


Thanks Eelezy,

Thats a neat result with the frame. One question though, how is the spare wheel mount done? I cant quite see from the pics. Does it swing out the way?

Rgds
Pete.

Offline Eelezy

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Re: My ex RAAF Tactical Trailer camper build
« Reply #14 on: April 16, 2012, 01:01:35 PM »
Hi Pete,
yes, the spare wheel is mounted on a swingaway holder that pivots to the R/H side (looking from the back to the front of the trailer). It is limited by a strong chain. It's VERY solid. I do like your idea of mounting the spare under the trailer, but need to look at clearance etc. I noticed in your pics that you have mounted the tent so that the awning etc is at the back..this is the opposite of the Track Trailer "eagle" models, though I have heard that some people reversed the tent to be like yours. This might mean that you don't really have a need for the bench like my design, as it is actually under the awning in our case.
One advantage I see in our tent orientation is that we also have our food and fridge in the back of the car, so when you reverse into a narrow or tight campground, you don't have to swing the trailer around or have an issue getting the car to the back of the site. However, I also think that it would be good to also be able to access the tailgate from under the awning, which we cant do. ( Then you could have a slide out kitchen under cover and convient eh!)
Most eagle tents also had a door in the rear..ours doesn't...
These are only minor things however, and initially I thought the drawbar would be "in the road", but in fact, it's fine and everything works well...
I will be following your mods, esp battery connections etc as i do the mods on mine too
regards
Chris
2014 Mark Three Canning with extras, 76 series V8 Landcruiser...(you know you want one!)