Tiny House, Tiny Living, The Tiny Life.

The Trailer For My Tiny House

Picking up my trailer was a very surreal moment for me.  I think when I saw the trailer for the first time it finally hit me that I was committing to this project.  It was a weird mix of emotions… excitement mixed with a touch of oh s%!$ I have to build a whole house!  Even though I have been inside a Tumbleweed Fencl before, when I saw the trailer it seemed small.  The interesting thing is now that I am building on it, it’s size seems to get bigger feeling.  Even though it seemed small for a house, it was huge on the road!  I had to go down this little side road to get home; at one point I looked in my side mirrors and my right tire was on the pavement’s edge and the left side was a foot into the other lane!

So now the nitty gritty details for those who want them.

The trailer is a 18′ utility trailer, its a 8,000 GWVR made by Kaufman trailers.  Between the fenders it is 82.5 inches which is really important for to make sure your house is as wide as possible.  Basically if you have you maximum trailer width, minus the tires, clearance from the axle/wheel wells you get about 82″.  The decking is treated lumber and I opted to get a heavier duty trailer so I could just leave all the decking on instead of fooling with removing some of it like many houses do.  This also means that I have a (almost) solid chunk of wood underneath my insulation which adds to the R value of my house.  According to a web search this will add about R-3 to my already R-13, add the almost inch of flooring and then a 1/2 finished flooring we are looking a total of R 18.8 for the floor.

I took my trailer to a welder to add the tie downs and remove a bunch of parts.  I had him cut off the rear light arms that you can see in the above photo, also the spare tire bracket and one part of the front “I” beam to make it flush with the front of the trailer.  The tie downs are 4 bolts in the front, 6 threaded rods on the sides and two plates on the back.  Check out the video below for more.

 

Here (below) is the front “I” beam that the top right arm of the “I” was cut off, you can see them cutting it off in the above photo.

In the above photo notice that I made the tie downs go in line with the cross members of the trailer.  I will have to tweak the wall framing to accommodate, but it is much strong at this point.

Since the house extends about 6″ off the back of the trailer I needed more tie down spots and support.  Above and below are photos of the rear tie down plates.  I left them without holes because I wanted to be sure to place the hole exactly where I needed it to tie into the framing once it is built.  Because of this I made the plates out of 6″ C channel and then had gussets welded onto them.  These plates ended up being slightly too long, but I will just sheath this section of the house twice:  the first layer will extend the surface beyond the plate’s edge and the second will hand down to attach the siding and hide the trailer from sight.

 

 

13 Comments
  1. Great video! Seeing the extra parts you had welded on was very helpful!

  2. Thanks for the nice post.
    You have an awesome tips you have shared in here. This will help everyone to see the results of their work. I would love to see more tips from you hear and see the positive results you have.
    I really like it.
    So, please carry on…………………….

  3. Hello,
    Thanks a lot for such types of great post.
    I am looking for such types of post last few days.
    I think, everyone should read the post because it will be helpful for all.
    So, please keep it up……………………….

  4. Ryan,
    Love the blog and videos. I’m just in the planning stages of my Tiny Retirement House. I just turned 55 and I have a plan to retire (very frugally) at 58. I’ve got my plans, my cut list, I’m pricing out all the lumber, parts, etc. in a spreadsheet so as the prices change the whole sheet changes, but I’m having trouble finding an 8′x 16′ trailer. They all seem odd sizes, yet the plans I have are 8 x 16. Do you have a list of, or leads on where to buy a trailer? I’m a little leery of Craigslist. I’m in Phoenix, AZ.

    I’ve got the whole project done in my mind, now just have to meticulously plan and execute.

    Thanks,
    Kent

    • I live in Mesa and would like to know other Tiny House people in this area as a support system. Will this site let us post phone numbers or emails?

  5. Hello Kent,

    I ordered my trailer from http://www.kaufmantrailers.com/. This is based in NC, however I know the trailers are manufactured in Nebraska or somewhere out West. They custom ordered my trailer and they might be able to have it delivered to you. Other than that, possibly asking some of the other tiny house bloggers about it would be wise. I think tumblweed has a list of trailer dealers on their website.

    Good luck.

    Alan

  6. Thanks so much for the details of construction. Very helpful.

  7. I own a steel fabrication company in southern Ontario Canada. We manufacture a lot of different objects and articles. And trailers – usually custom. These projects fascinate me and we are going to tackle making a few of these from the wheels up this winter. Anyone interested can contact us but if you are looking for a custom trailer for a specific deck area – you should be able to get a welding shop in your area to manufacture one -some shops don’t like the work because it’s not in their regular scope of work, so just keep shopping around – or call us! ;)

    Now a question – you show that Kaufman sticker in the video – a lot – did they give you this trailer as a promo for them?

    Cheryl muskokamm dot com

    • Hello Cheryl!

      I’ve sent an email your way!

      Hope to hear from you :)

      Kat

  8. Are there more videos of you finishing your tiny house? These videos are really great for those of us really contemplating do this but who have NO construction experience. Thanks

  9. I’m searching for trailers on craigslist because I don’t have that much money. i found a 350 dollar trailer that is 6×11, which is teh same size as jay schaeffer’s tiny house… I have a little bit of experience framing walls, but i’m very nervous about building and this post is crucial, so thank you.

    Please let me know if there’s any red flags when the post says IT’S MADE OF PLYWOOD AND REINFORCED METAL. IT HAS A LIGHT KIT THAT WORKS ON SOME VEHICLES. IT HAS 2 WHEELS & THEY ARE 5 LUG. HEAVY DUTY FRAME. TRAILER DOESN’T HAVE TITLE,BUT USED TO BE A CAMPER SO EASY TO GET ONE FROM YOUR LOCAL MVA/DMV

    i don’t even know what 5 lug. means…. I’m gonna learn to build this thing! Gotta find a good trailer :)

    • I can appreciate your tenacity Emmy! Stick with it and google/youtube everything you don’t understand – you’ll figure it out!

      Good Luck!

      Cheryl

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