DIY overland trailer with a wood box.
Trailers

The Off Road Trailer Gets A Box

So I got a little time to work on the trailer and install a simple box. It is amazing how little time that you have to work on these things with 3 children. It hasn’t helped that the wife has been out of town with work a lot lately. I watch my kids during the week anyway but playing Mr. Mom on a 24 hour basis is a major time suck.

Anyway, I got a little time to check off another part of the off road trailer build, the box. When this is all over, I am going to have to do a recap to pull it all together but for now, you are getting it piece by piece.

Here is what we are working with today.

The Trailer Box

The goal is basically just to build a big box, nothing fancy. There will be no lid because I doubt my ability to pull one off that looks to my liking and it will allow me to transport items that are taller from time to time. A tarp will suffice to make it “water resistant”.

The idea that I have in my head is a box with metal corners and stained wood panel sides.

Metal Corners

I picked up some 4×4 angle iron from my local Metal Supermarket. Love this place. I got 4 pieces cut to my specs for a pretty decent price. I ordered the corners 26 inches long which would cover the 4 inches of metal frame and allow three 2×8’s to just poke above it. Of course I made a little math mistake, but more on that later. If you do not have a place like Metal Supermarket near you, you can find similar metal online.

Ordered it and picked it up in 24 hours. I wanted to go 4×4 because I am using 2×8’s for the side and I didn’t want to have to bolt them right on the end of the wood plank. The larger size allows me to drill the holes in the board about an inch and a half in which should be stronger.

Unfortunately with a 4×4 piece of angle, you get weight. It is only available in 1/4 inch thickness which is a bit of overkill, oh well. One day I will weld it to the frame and it will help make this thing bulletproof. For now, bolts because I do not have the facilities at the moment to weld or learn to weld.

I got the metal home and it was surprisingly rust free. Still, I sprayed it with some rust converter, and eventually I will follow with several coats of Rustoleum flat black. If you are unfamiliar with Rust Converter, it converts rust to a stable and paintable surface. You just have to spray it on and then give it 24 hours to cure.

Once dry, the angle iron was bolted to the sides with 3/8 inch bolts, 4 on each corner. This would reveal a minor issue. The trailer sides were not completely square and the angle iron flared out a bit. A few washers behind the lower front and lower back bolts on each piece fixed the problem.

DIY offroad trailer corners.

All that is left to do here is drill 48 3/8 inch holes in the angle iron. No drill press for me, doing it the hard way.

Wood Sides

Now, on to the wood sides. I chose 2x8s and as you probably know, wood sizes are actually different than stated. The nominal width of a 2×8 is actually 7.25 although for some reason I got 7.5 in my head which will cause me an issue in a bit.

Anyway, I picked up six 2×8 x 10 foot boards and  went to work. I could have used 8 foot boards but my local store only carried that size in pressure treated. I am going to stain the wood so I didn’t need the pressure treating, plus that stuff warps like crazy.

I got my first coat of wood stain on them and then cut them down to size. Finally got to use a nice trick I learned on the reality show “Homestead Rescue”. If you want to get equal sized boards, place one board on top of another and then make the cut. You get a groove in the lower board that you can follow to get an exactly identical board and it saves a lot of time measuring.

Once cut, I used a couple perpendicular brces on the backside to prevent buckling in the future and gave it another coat of wood stain. Then I test fit the board an discovered my issue. Because I figured the width of the board wrong, they sat just below the angle iron. That looked unpleasant and would surely wrap the tarp when I went to bungee it down.

To correct the problem, I eventually decided to place a 1/4 inch piece of rubber weatherstripping below the boards. I found some good 1.25 inch wide rubber weatherstripping that was actually 3/8 inch thick. This ended up being perfect because the floor of the trailer was not perfectly level and it sealed the gaps.

Finally, I bolted the wood in place with 3/8 inch lag bolts, of course being sure to pre-drill the wood. Don’t want to go to all this trouble just to crack a board.

DIY overland trailer with a wood box.

This is it just before I put the lag bolts in the front panel. Came out just about exactly like I imagined it.

Next Up

There are still a lot of little things to do.

I ordered trailer lights, metal light protectors to put them in, a custom tarp and the spacers for the wheels. I do not need fenders here in Texas but eventually I will need to address that issue when i start venturing out of state.

More to come.

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