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Thread: Horse Trailer Conversion?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2017
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    Tennessee
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    Default Horse Trailer Conversion?

    Hey, long time reader, first time caller. I've got this idea to build an aluminum flatbed for my truck and convert a horse trailer into a slide-on cabover camper.

    First issue, even most of the nice horse trailers out there are too narrow for my purposes. My truck is a dually and I'd like to cover the wheels up with an 8' wide bed and camper. Ideally the front of the box be living quarters with a covered rear area framed in with some tubing so it stays together when dismounted. Ideally big enough to pull the jeep or chevette onto, or the bike, etc.

    Widening a horse trailer seems like a pain but I'm here to ask for opinions about it. Making the roof sturdy enough to have a second level would be awesome. Cutting the tongue would probably destabilize the cabover area, I'm not sure though. I need to get in a few trailers and have a look at how they're framed. The flooring and axle removal is another thing. Not to mention I'm hoping I can get away with a 15ft bed (maybe rollback) without having to lengthen the frame or wheelbase. I've considered a tandem axle as well but seems like overkill.

    Anyhow, great to be here. Any ideas?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    2,576
    I remember YEARS ago someone asked about converting a horse trailer to a camper..... many people posted they are REALLY heavy! That is all I know.
    Jay

    www.jaycapers.com
    02 DC Tacoma with a Flippac and other stuff
    93 FZJ80 - stock but dual lockers and less than 200k miles

    74 FJ40, 91 Hilux, 98 4Runner, 98 Rav4, 02 Conqueror Compact Trailer - All Sold

  3. #3
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    Somewhere in the midwest..
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    I've thought about cutting one down in the back to allow the loading of a Jeep and convert, or better yet start with a trailer that the front of is living quarters...
    2002 Wrangler Sport,
    3 inch BDS lift w/ sway bar discos, Tomken Stubby on both ends, K&N intake, carpet replaced with Durabak lined tub, CD player modified with laser fused sand.

    Kit built Bantam knock-off trailer, tilt bed, dual tailgates, extendable tongue, entire trailer coated in various Durabak inside and out. Homebuilt (poorly) lid to mount Mombasa RTT - rarely used, sadly..

    You play stupid games, you win stupid prizes...

  4. #4
    haven is offline Expedition Portal Moderator Expedition Leader
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    Eclipse Aluminum Trailers in Ohio will make a custom design for you. Ask them to make a trailer, but leave out the suspension, wheels and hitch! I think a trailer designed for two horses will be 8 feet wide.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Nor Cal
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    I'm not sure what truck you have, but nice horse trailers are expensive and cutting one up to widen, remove axles, remove fenders, possibly shorten , somehow mount and make it look somewhat nice seems like a waste of a good trailer and making a lot of work. There are tons of custom box builds, some are built from scratch and others started with a commercial truck body. I would read these forums for a while and you might come up with a better idea.
    98 E350 EB
    03 F150 supercrew
    2012 YZ250

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    northeast coast
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    you might find someone who has experience working with horse trailer conversion on this forum: http://tnttt.com/

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Tennessee
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    The truck is rated for about 3500lbs onboard, but I know it could do a little better. It's only 2wd though. I think stripping the weight from the horse trailer, widening and whatnot would be more expensive than just copying the general shape and a couple features into a build from the ground up. However there are a lot of old horse trailers around here. I'm just trying to do something cheap and spacious on a big flatbed. I'll figure it out.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
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    United States
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    98
    We have an all aluminum 4 horse gooseneck Hart Trailer that I considered converting at one time... but I went another direction with my project...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    West Slope Northern Sierra Nevada
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    I have a small, two axle horse trailer we have up armored for a trash trailer in Bear Country. It is heavy. I would say at least 2000 pounds. They are made heavy enough so the horses don't kick their way out of the stall. It doesn't even keep the bears out! They pulled the 1/2" bars down and helped themselves to an anniversary leftover party.

    Those claws were powerful: Bear pop tops.

    My advice for a trailer based camper that would fit on a 8 to 12 foot flat bed would be an old Hi-Low trailer where the walls crank up like an Alaskan Camper. Remove the rolling trailer part. Or just get an long Alaskan.
    If you do happen to succeed in making a horse trailer work, by all means post the results.
    jefe
    2001.5 4WD Dodge 2500, HO-CTD, SB, QCab, NV5600, NV241HD, 4.10's, 3" lift steer brace Gen4 trkbar/tie rod/drag-link Front: 35 spline Dana 70 spindle conversion with M M locking hubs; Detroit TRUE TRAC Mosiers unit bearing&axle disconnect delete, AT3 315/75R16's on 7.5" steel wheels. Rear: 8 leaf, Stable Loads, 35 spline Dana 80, TRUE TRAC, AT3 315/75R16 on 10" wide Stockton steel wheels. 15K lb. winch, 1998 Lance Lite, 8'6", 165-s XTC, 200W solar.

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Location
    Tennessee
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    Just to dig this back up, I'm not really afraid of the weight, although saving some is nice. Seems with what I may do to the truck its load capabilities are gonna be pretty high, and I do like the idea of something so sturdy you can walk around on it. Maybe even a pop-up over the cab section. So a "rollback-esque" flatbed complete with frame enhancements, maybe even to the tune of a third axle, although it's not necessary with a boxed stretched frame.

    The only thing that seems better than a gutted horse trailer would be a 20" shipping container notched for the cab. Also very heavy, but within range. Extremely tough.

    If it were a ground-up build (which the bed will probably be) bent alloy tube would be lovely, with some bedliner or some kinda coating thrown on the metal. Or since you guys seem into it, thin wood studs (but I'd still like to slather something over it to make it a little time resistant at least)

    The bed itself would be cool in aluminum as well, but I'd say I'm gonna be using treadplate steel for the deck and steel tubing for frame, some kinda storage boxes underneath. Maybe try to save weight with those at least, I dunno.

    Any tips, insights? Questions?

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