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Comanche Trail'r

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I did my first road, er ah, trail test today and everything went great. I've been meaning to start a thread on this thing since the chopping began but just never got around to it until today. It's been a fun project but I'm glad that the last details are coming together. I'll get my pics together and try to put them in some kind of order over the next day or so.

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boy, that sure is a nice chrome bumper on the back of that trailer? any chance you'd sell it to me and put a black one on to match the truck? i'm SURE you're going to paint the trailer to match the truck anyway. let me know if you have any interest in doing this, i'd buy it asap. thanks......

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Here's how it all started. A 3/4 ton Dodge pulling a 16' flatbed trailer decided at the last instant that he couldn't stop after all- just after my son committed to his left turn. :mad: It doesn't look bad here but believe me- This thing was bent hard. The front sub-frame punctured the oil filter and the passenger side bucket was at about a 30 degree angle. We had pulled the motor and radiator (no damage) at this point. Luckily, there was no damage to the new tires, rims, and lift parts that just went on 2 weeks before. We snagged the new stuff and put it in a replacement MJ pronto. Hey- I ain't waking up early and driving him to school.

Since I couldn't sell it, then I couldn't give it away, I said "Let the games begin". I let Comanche Club words of wisdom be my guide: "Sawzall solves all" and "I'm going to keep cutting stuff off 'till I'm happy" seemed to ring true.

I stopped at this point for a day or two then thought, "Naw. Don't do it". As soon as the shop put a new armature in my brother's sawzall I went back to it.

My son snagged the front axle and made a teaching aid for extra credit in his auto mechanics class. Future Jeep owners attending Quartz Hill High will have a disc brake to look at.

Once most of the excess was removed the basic idea seemed easy: Cut a slice out of what used to be like a frame and pull the two halves together. I took the extra time to establish reference points to square things up before welding the nose together. The piece of angle iron across the front didn't stay- It was just tacked in perfectly parallel to the rear axle until the front was welded.

Here's a close-up of the cut. The outer skin was flexible enough that I didn't have to cut it. Just a pie slice out of the other surfaces and bend it in.

Here's what the joint looks like after adding 3/16 plate on the inside and bottom surfaces. Obviously, there's also Bondo, primer, and it's upside down.

One of the trickiest parts was actually attaching the two sides together. I pondered a lot of factors before I did anything. One of the problems is that we're only talking about a sheet metal sandwich. It's, 4 layers thick right here but they want to separate when you start cutting. I may have had a little spring action from the accident going on too. The bolts you see are original MJ stuff. I think they were good to keep in place because the threads are factory welded to the innermost layer of sheet metal and with a bolt tightened in them, they add a lot of strength. What I added is the wide "I" shaped piece in the middle.

:popcorn: Doh! The Unit is coming on. I'll finish later.

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I rattle-canned the frame. The new industrial grade Rust-oleum is surprisingly tough.

After putting the box on and painting it I put some of that 3M traction tape on the front of the frame.

Most of that was covered when I cut an old receiver-type luggage rack and added it to the front.

All of the front stuff mounts on a rectangle made of "Uni-Strut". It's like C channel steel, sometimes doubled like shown, made for mostly industrial uses. It has all sorts of attachments and goodies if you were to buy it. Mine came from an illegal trash dump in the desert. It's neat stuff. It's not real style-ish but it solves a lot of engineering and attachment problems.

My son gets credit for the badge on the front. I wanted to do something with the J E E P letters but his ideas kind of brought it together. I probably didn't need two 1/2" bolts to hold it on but hey, that's how Uni-Strut works.

These came home with us on a trip to a junkyard a while ago. They seem to work.

The bedliner came out of the replacement MJ. Its stock retaining system was a bit skewed so we took it out and saved it for the trailer. It would have greatly complicated the rollbar installation in that truck too. Since I was making a tie rack for the box perimeter I made it out of 2 X 2" angle which holds the liner in nice. To attach the rack behind the liner I had to weld blind nuts on backing plates under the bed rails.

I'd say this is OEM?

:banana: Still working on the tank mounting system. It will be where the stock fuel tank was. The 20lb CO2 tank should air up a tire or two.

That's my wife's new car in front of the MJ. For some reason she won't let me tow the trailer behind it. And I even painted the trailer to match. :dunno:

That's all for now. If anyone has any questions about specifics just ask.

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I don't know what it weighs but it's almost too light on the front. Even with the Uni-Strut, luggage rack, Handy-Man jack, and ammo can on the front it will wheelie if I sit on the tailgate. There is a full sized spare tire in a steel fold-down rack in the normal spare spot. That adds a little tail weight. It rolls easy though. I removed the brakes and ring gear from the D35.

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oh man matching paint and wheels/tires and along with the SporTruck decal extend the black stripes. I agree with everyone else though nice job, very creative build and I love the chunk of the front header panel with Jeep emblem.


I bet the dude that runs Jeepsticker.com could hook up a Sportrailer decal and stripe set.

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Looks great. I know where there is a 2wd 'manche sitting in the weeds that I want just for a trailer. Just too many other projects right now. I had planned to slice the frame off at the bed & use heavy tube for a tongue, but I like your idea much better.

I just don't know how it will look pulling a shortbed trailer with a longbed truck. Kinda seems backwards :roll:

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