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Trailer Tent for a small car - home build


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I admit I thought your idea was a bit mad and why not just buy a small flip over trailer tent. However I'm in the process of buying a Combi camp "Tiny", and it's massive and would dwarf a small sports car. Be like being permanently chased by a big thing. A brilliant project, really looking forward to the next episode.Like the fact that as a big guy, you're making it to fit yourself. 

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Thanks, for your encouragements..  Things came to a halt when the Triumph came home from its chassis swap bringing with it a list of new jobs to get on with.  Right now I'm off physical stretching and lifting work, having had a bit of open surgery last Tuesday, but hope to get back on with finishing and sealing the top lid of the trailer soon.  

Had a flood here last night..  heavy rain washes the crud down from the adjacent apartment block's car park, as well as the windfall from a mighty big oak tree, down to a 4" drain by the cottage's front door.  Naturally the drain soon gets blocked with twigs and bits of tree (even before the autumnal leaves have started to drop), and so the patio was flooded with 3 - 4" of water.   That's not a good place to have things put under cover to keep out of the weather, let alone to park a 50+ year old Triumph sports car. Nor is it somewhere I can continue working outside ..on car or trailer, even under a gazebo.     Naturally, water puddling against the side of the house will only contribute to damp within and subsidence. 

I've just dropped the site Manager a note to suggest that a grated-drain be cut across the driveway's surface to address this, and that should be done as a matter of urgency.   However even as I wrote it I realised that the owner of the property is far too penny pinching and so any such drain is unlikely to happen before the winter ..if at all !   I'll wait for a reply but I suspect ..as of this afternoon, I'll be looking for somewhere else to live, with a garage.    That is a great shame as I was just about coming to terms with living here. 

But I cannot afford to leave such a car parked in a puddle, and my moving here (paying more rent) was because of the patio / outside working space. 


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It's a nuisance but I think you might be over reacting.  It will eventually cause damage to the building so it's in the interests of your landlord to sort it out but I imagine the water is gone fairly quickly?  Did it get above tyre level?

I used to have problems at the college I worked at during heavy downpours like that.  Due to some terrible roof design the water would end up inside the wall and pour into the fire alarm system.  I did need to get that sorted out but it made me aware that storms like that only happen around once a year.

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Thanks chaps,

After (Monday night, I think) flood on the patio where my TR is presently up on ramps.  After two days, once that had subsided, there was of course a whole lot of crud to sweep up and wash out . . 

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^ a week after my op, the day's light exercise was to clean up this S%%t.  Perhaps it doesn't look too bad in the photos but just from this space and under where the Chrysler is parked I swept and shoveled up the best part of a wheelbarrow load of crud.  I'm now aching (both front and back !) more than would have liked ..but at least now the ground under the car has half-a-chance to dry out. 


^ Job done for the most part..

That was done on Thursday and now on Saturday the top of the slabs are sort of dry but the cracks between them are capillaries for the saturated soil underneath to come through.  It'll take a long spell of dry weather for that soil to dry out enough before it absorbs any more rain water. 

Fair do's to the apartment block Manager, Frank.  As an Englishman of Italian descent, who's lived so much in America that he's almost a native of that country.. he really likes my Triumph, and so is very understanding to my concern.  Since moving here I've also been plying him with fresh coffee on a regular basis ..so I reckon he doesn't want to see me leave ! 

He immediately tried cleaning out the drain using a pressure washer with a long flexi-pipe nozzle that jets forward (to loosen) and then at the same time jets water sideways & backwards to draw the debris back out of the drain pipe.  Despite best efforts, the pipe wouldn't clear (I suspect far too much gravel & sand has built up in it) and still we don't know where it is supposed to drain to ..so cannot work upstream from that end.  

Ground-works and drainage over the years hasn't been recorded and the owner isn't really interested.  From next week, he's off to his holiday home in Portugal for three weeks ..where I'm sure he'll contemplate on how much he'll spend on looking after his property ..which he's seriously thinking of selling anyway. 

I did ask Frank to have a hole drilled low-down through the patio's end wall, and that was duly done. So, should the floods happen again - it ought at least not be more than an inch deep. 

Yesterday, I was down on my hands and knees digging out a grated drainage trough further up the (30+ apartment block's) car-park.  That was totally blocked of crud (another barrow load) and was doing nothing to prevent its catchment rainwater washing down onto this patio.  Despite my reaching deep into its drainpipe, up to my shoulder, I couldn't clear the blockage out of the pipe where it disappeared underground.  Again we cannot ascertain it goes, or whether there's a soak-away buried unseen. Frank's said he'll try the jet-wash in that pipe on Monday.

In the meantime  ..this morning the sun has come out.  Even if it does little to dry things out underground ..it does lift one's spirits  B)

Cheers, Pete.

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  • 7 months later...


I went to look at a folding camper that was really cheap but it was too far gone, the outer cover had leaked and water pooling had eaten it's way through the camper waterproofing so the inside was all damp, pity as it was in good condition prior to him leaving it unused since march 2020

I thought I wonder if it's worth saving with a replacement cover

fuck me, I had no idea they were that expensive, I don't think it's worth saving , the cover is probably 3k



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^ That is a heck of a lot of money, which might only offer any sort of 'value'  if it's used very frequently.  And from the (admittedly limited) trailer-tents I've seen i wouldn't expect any of them to last long if used frequent.  It's a no-win sort of situation for those who want to get away on the cheap.  Conversely when I last looked, a few years ago, you could pick up a used but clean and dry caravan very cheaply.  The alternative seems to be a box trailer to carry a decent tent and all the camping gear, including perhaps inflatable beds.   

22 hours ago, Wack said:

it was in good condition prior to him leaving it unused since march 2020

  If it cannot stand up to one year's non use - then that's a sad reflection on the quality of materials used.   


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  • 2 months later...

It's been a looooong time !!

Mostly due to getting the Triumph back from having it's chassis changed and various other things, and then finding that I had a whole lot of working to do to correct what their mechanic had fouled up !   This in turn led to despondency which took a long time to drag myself out from under, and then finally I've spent the last couple of months making a Surrey top roof for that car. 

With that done to such a stage where i can now use the car and get on with other thing, combined with my wanting to attend various events in different parts of the country ..and then seeing how few Bed & breakfast had availability in the summer months nearby event venues, ..and the cost of those !!! not least because as I'm so big a single bed really doesn't give me a decent night's sleep, and it's time again to get on and get this trailer tent fit for use. 

I've asked a local boat cover company to have a look at making the wrap around cover for it ..and from our initial conversation was shocked at the price estimated. Still it's something I want, and if used frequently will pay for itself in short term (compared with even basic hotel room prices). So tomorrow I'm hoping to get the trailer around to that trimmer and to get a cover made. 

Last week I pulled the trailer out from the back garden where it's been sitting neglected for all these past months.  I gave it a scrub over and cleaned out the spiders and earwigs from within.  The shitty fibreglass that I struggled with because it wasn't curing has now cured ...but is still tacky when rubbed down !  I needed to smooth the inside face of the lid's overlap, so as to not snag and tear the fabric cover I hope to have made for it.  And in cleaning that up with a sanding disc, even though used on a slow speed - I spent more time wire brushing the sticky crud off the disc than actually sanding the surface flat.     I hate this resin. never had such issues before.  Someone has suggested that some fibreglass resin has wax in it which floats to the surface as it cures.  That may be useful for fibreglassing a roof but for what I'm using it for it's more trouble than it worth.

Aside from that I've reshaped a bimini cover bow that I picked out of the boatyard skip. I used the smaller of the two parts but still it was far too rounded a  shape and 24" too wide.  It's an anodised aluminium tubem with I'm guessing a steel rod inside it, because it  took a lot of effort to straighten the curvature, My 100kg trying to bend it over the raised edge of a paving slab (with a piece of carpet on that to prevent scratching the metal).  I then had to rebend it to a tighter curve, trying to get things symmetrical and to roughly match the curvature of the trailer's body tub . . .


^ rebending that bow to fit within the trailer took a whole lot of work.  I must be getting old ! 

I would have preferred it tighter into the corners but that would have been pushing my luck ..and my knee caps used for bending.  I have to pretend its rounded shape was deliberate :P ..to allow for the fabric to fold away under it



^ I'm impressed that it's size happened to work out usable  ..And almost corresponding to my drawings ! 8)    The string illustrates where the cover will hang and the additional headroom I gain by adding the single bow.  That headroom is not important over the bed but it will be over the doorway. 

Next up., was cut down the jockey wheel's tyre . . .

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^ don't try this with a pneumatic tyre !  :lol:   Because the jockey wheel (tyre) was previously too big, and it needing to swivel around under the trailer's chassis, meant that the whole trailer was tilted up at the front and imbalanced.  In turn, this led to the bottom edge of the back of the trailer's body being prone to dig into rough ground.  As you can see I cut quite a chunk of rubber off the tyre with a saw, and then went around again cutting the hard corners off, before using a sanding disc to round the tyre again.   It's amazing how much easier it is to man-handle the trailer now ..chalk and cheese.!   The loop of string is simply a lead to pull it along with ..which is easier than my reaching / bending down to the handle.  It's shape is quite chunky looking but this trailer is all so very small and therefore low. 

Overall : 32" high (812mm) x 45" (1145mm) wide x 65-3/4" (1670mm) from ball hitch to the very rear ..to be lightweight and neatly tuck in behind Katie.


^  I've also fitted the rear lamps I'd bought.  They're repro items for a split-screen VW combi, and are not wired in yet so I've borrowed a light board.  Why is it that when I borrow things - I have to fix them before I can use them ?  ..they just see me coming don't they !  Out of the six filaments in the four bulbs - only one illuminated - duh !  A two minute job turned into two hours.


^ and last but not least I added some grease to aid the telescopic action, and some marks, as well as a length of cord - to easily know when the trailer is fully extended. Beforehand., it was inch in and out until I could locate the pin / bolt in the hole to lock it in place.   At the top of this photo you can see an over centre toggle clamp ..also just added, to secure the trailer's-front-half legs, which are also the stays for the hinged lid. 

And so there we have it. Unfinished but ready to go off for the cover to be made.   I've done series of drawings to explain what I'm hoping to achieve . . .




That's all for this update, hope to see some progress in a couple more months.  The trimmer has suggested a nine week turn around to make this.  That should get the trailer back to me ready for camping in October ! ??

Bidding you a good evening.



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