*Building a Bug-Out Jeep Trailer: Part 1 - Planning*
By: Azgard
13 October 2007

This series of articles will describe my quest to build an off-road trailer to tow behind my Jeep Wrangler. Part 1 will outline the overall project; state its goals and parts selection, and present “THE PLAN” (Apologies, but the other parts of this article will probably be kept in the restricted Rubicon area).

First off, here are some of the goals I wanted my trailer to fulfill; hopefully most of them will be met before we’re finished.

· Same track width as the Jeep

· Same tire and wheel size for maximum flexibility

· Small and maneuverable

· Extremely durable

· Relatively inexpensive

During my research for this project I encountered several commercial options, however, they were all deemed too expensive. Although some of them are pretty impressive, I just wasn’t willing to shell out $10,000+ for something that I “knew” I could build.

Here are just a few of the trailers I used for “inspiration”.





Now that I had an idea of what I wanted to build, I further refined by requirements for key components.

Axle, wheel, and suspension requirements:

· 60 inches to match the jeep’s axle

· 5 x 4.5 bolt pattern, with 5 inches of backspacing to match the jeep (standard for a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon).

· 3000 lbs for strength

· Leaf spring suspension for simplicity, again at least 3000 lbs

· 31” tires

Part Number DescriptionQtyTotal PriceSource
KT3561HF60” track axle1$73.37Auto Safety House
84Bearing Kit2$18.12Auto Safety House
8-248-5545-Hub2$43.22Auto Safety House
0931844-Leaf 1750# 25 ¼ leaf springs2$55.34Auto Safety House
XP10W03011000LB Swivel Jack1$53.08Auto Safety House
2220005002x2 hitch coupler1$16.54Auto Safety House
60190301Hanger Kit2$17.64Auto Safety House
H74951LT245/75R16 Trail tires2$269.50Big O Tires
92601 409 08CRAGAR 397 16X8 5X4.5 Wheels2$105.98Quadratec

Frame requirements:

· No longer than 9 feet in length (so it will fit in my garage, and for maneuverability)

· Width defined by the axle length, plus additional space for tire clearance

· 2 x 3 x 0.120 rectangular steel chosen for strength

· Integral tongue for strength

This is the steel that I purchased to get started.

Part Number DescriptionQtyTotal PriceSource
Frame2x3x0.120 Rectangular Tubing40 ft$162.00Jan's Iron Works
Box1 ½ x 1 ½ x 0.083 Square Tubing50 ft$98.44Jan's Iron Works

Now that I had all of my requirements nailed down and suppliers for all my materials identified, I set to work on some plans. I used a combination of Microsoft Visio and Google Sketchup for visualization. This is what the plans looked like when I started welding. One thing to note – at this time I had no idea what I was going to do for fenders, as you’ll see in a later article, I managed to come up with some beefy ones.

The Frame

The Box

Google Sketchup Rendering

In the next article we’ll fire up the welder and get started on the Frame.

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