Retro Trailer Rebuild: Part 2

Retro Trailer Rebuild: Part 2

Haven’t been following this project? CLICK HERE to read from the beginning!

The body came off in a cinch, and has been put on a few stacks of bricks in the shed. The wooden floor was in surprisingly good condition, we reckon we’ll be able to re-use that; which is handy as everything is already attached to it!

As for the chassis….well…. if it looked bad initially, it was 10 times worse with the body removed. John and I played around with a measuring tape over a few beers, scribbling a few notes down for measurements and designs as we went. A week or two prior to this, John had been lucky enough to run into a vehicle engineer during an epic campground conversation. You know, the kind where you wander off to find the dunny and don’t return until your dinner is stone cold and your wife is steaming mad!

Mr Engineer gave out a few pointers while going over his own trailer, like using taller rather than thicker steel for the main support/chassis rails. If you’re thinking of doing something like this, you absolutely should check out the Department Of Transport’s excellent PDF for building small trailers HERE.

Our final design was something like this:

  • We decided to lengthen the draw bar a little so that the camper could be popped up and the bed ends extended while still attached to the vehicle.
  • Designed in a space for a water tank to be mounted as close to the axle as possible.
  • Purchased all new springs, shackles and mounts to change the leaf spring setup from a slipper spring to an eye-to-eye design.
  • Widened the distance from the chassis rail to the outer frame to allow for some taller and wider wheels to be fitted.
  • Oh, and weld the absolute shit out of it. If there was a point where metal meets, it was welded all around. We might as well have created this new chassis by welding it out on the floor like a 3D printer.

The only part we are re-using down here is the axle and hub setup which will need to cop a cleanup and lick of paint, some new bearings and it’s all good to go!

Once we had the square outer frame welded up, we literally placed it atop the old chassis and used that as a base to work off. We are building it primarily from 50x50x3mm square tubing, with 100x50x3mm for the main ‘chassis rails’ where the springs mount and 75x50x3mm for the drawbar. I have always been pretty crap on the welder, but when I picked up the gun just for shits and giggles I somehow laid a near-perfect weld on my first go! Epic, but I gotta take pictures and document the process you know? So John and my younger brother Jake did most of the welding.


That’s where I leave you today folks! Did you enjoy reading? Then maybe you’ll also enjoy the next part in our rebuild.

Read Part 3 Here

Thanks for following!


Alex Garner

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  1. mark lavery
    June 11, 21:42 Reply
    Hi Alex i am doing up the same camper can you tell me how you got the body off in a cinch
  2. terry
    June 17, 13:53 Reply
    Hi Alex , i am about to start the same project . I have 2 to choose from ,1 is the same as the ACT and the other is like a larger version . I was going to makr the larger one to sleep 2 similar to the Cold Stream but not sure what to do with the smaller one . It looks like you are enjoying this project and i will be following it closely .Terry.
    • Alex Garner
      June 17, 20:41 Reply
      Hi Terry, the van I mention in the first part of the trailer build, the one I grew up camping in was a larger ACT like you described called a consort. The smaller one is certainly a challenge to work with in keeping the weight down, but I like a challenge :) I guess it all depends on how you plan to use it hey?

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