Mini Utility Trailer

June, 2009

Prompted after looking at a similar trailer that my son-in-law, Dan Dorfeld, had I purchased a mini utility trailer kit.  My primary application right now will be camping trips when I can't borrow a pop-up trailer.

I'm sorry now that I didn't take pictures while I was putting the basic trailer frame, axle, wheels, hitch and lights on but here are some pictures that tell the story of the home made body and sides.

The 3 sides can be removed by pulling 6 bolts.  The tail gate is removable by pulling 2 clevis pins (which haven't been installed yet).



The trailer kit is from Harbor Freight and comes in 2 boxes that are fairly small.  The steel frame is all "bolt together" so there is no cutting, drilling or welding required.  This picture shows the basic trailer with a floor that I put in using 3/4 plywood painted on all sides with exterior porch paint (which I had in stock).

As you can see, the frame has slots in all 4 rails for stakes to support the sides.

The only addition to the basic kit is the spare tire.

I used 5/4 deck boards (which are really 1 inch thick) for the stakes and sides.  These are fully treated and weatherproof.  I did have to do some woodworking to get the bottom of the stakes to fit down in the slots in the frame.

0.jpg (54438 bytes)
1.jpg (46060 bytes)  

The tail gate is removable but is latched in place and has stakes that fit down in to the frame when installed.

The tail gate is also held in place by a set of latches.


I have a set of LARGE screw eyes that I will be installing on the lower part of all 8 stakes inside and outside.

The outside ones will be to hold a tarp down with bungies and inside ones will be used to secure loads.

3.jpg (49261 bytes)
3.jpg (49261 bytes)  

The spare tire bolts to the trailer tongue with a large hold down that looks sort of like a U-bolt.


All 4 corners of the body are held in place by a set of locking latches.  This turned out to be much stronger than I anticipated. 

This is what allows the sides to be easily removed in case you have a load that may be wider that the sides.

4.jpg (31596 bytes)
5.jpg (29853 bytes)  

All 6 of the stakes on the front and sides are bolted to the steel frame. 

After I did all of the trimming on the stakes I realized that I could have left more of the original wood in place but I sure wasn't going to do all that work over again.


The tail gate is similar but will be held with clevis pins which can be quickly removed when the tail gate is removed.


I wound up using a product called a "hitch pin".  This is the same as a clevis pin except you don't have to have a extra wire clip to hold it in place.  This product has a spring loaded bearing that keeps it from backing out.

To remove the pin for installing or removing the tail gate, you just pull on the ring and it pops right out.




6.jpg (77573 bytes)

7.jpg (76079 bytes)

8.jpg (128126 bytes)



I originally got a vinyl tarp to cover the trailer but after one trip to the lake with it I decided it was too fragile. 


So I got a heavy canvas tarp and it looks like it was tailor made.


I also added a "snubber" on the back of the trailer frame so the lights wouldn't hit when the trailer was tilted all the way back.

I have to remove the license plate when not attached to the car but Georgia requires that the plate be lighted if you use a vehicle at night and the light kit was the only easy way to comply with that requirement.

I am also going to get a couple of the small wheel chock sets to keep the trailer from rolling in either direction when loading and unloading.


9.jpg (124079 bytes)
10.jpg (119382 bytes)



The original tarp was reversable with a reflective side that would block sunlight and UV rays.

I will use it for storage until I finish cleaning out the downstairs garage and then I will store it in there.

This page last updated 07/09/2009