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Author Topic: Help me build a towing dolly! (Hitch Hog, Trailer Toad, Stinger, etc)  (Read 3802 times)

supermanotorious

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As an experienced fabricator I am comfortable taking on one of these builds. I think it would go a long way helping my half-ton pull our 27' toy hauler.

I could use some guidance around the spindles, where to get them or what to salvage them from. I'll use this thread to track build progress. If it is a success I'd be willing to make them for members of this forum.

Pictured is the Trailer Toad just for reference.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2016, 04:45:24 PM by supermanotorious »
Home is New River, AZ
2008 Skyline Freestyle M-240 Way-Lite
2003 Harley Davidson Dyna FXDX
2003 Chevrolet Avalanche 2500 4x4
1994 Four Winns Freedom
various quads, off-road gokarts, mini bikes
Phoenix Winch wakeboard winches

OpenRangeBob

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I'm not sure how heavy duty you want it or what your tongue weight is on your TT, but here's one site that has quite a few listed.
This is also the first time I've ever heard of a trailer toad, I thought it was something similar to a lot lizard... :-[

http://www.etrailer.com/dept-pg-Trailer_Axles.aspx
2014 Open Range LT 308 BHS
2005 Ford 350 SRW CREWCAB 6.0 PSD (Bullet Proofed)
BOB, KELLY, ABBEY , ROBBIE & our black lab rescue SASHA

HueyPilotVN

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I can give you some information on the "Trailer Toad" because I do have one.  I also looked at several of them in different stages of manufacture when I was at the plant in Minnesota.

First, the trailer toad uses more than just a spindle.  They use a spindle and a full hub with roller bearings in a few different sizes depending on the capacity of the unit.

I had them change out the two hubs for my wheels to larger units to allow me to use a common wheel/tire on all the axles of my trailer.

The spindle that you are more interested in is the swivel or pivot hub that allows the trailer toads to track behind the tow vehicle and reduce wear on the tires and allow for better turning radius.

This spindle/hub is mounted vertically and connects the axle to the body of the trailer toad.  The axle is a "Torsion Axle" and has a square tube which helps for mounting the spindle to the axle.  I suppose that you could fabricate a mount using "U bolts" if you had to use a round axle tube.

If you look at the top of the trailer toad you can see the connection using studs and lug nuts like you would see on a regular wheel hub attachment.

From looking at what I will call the pivoting spindle, it seems to be about the same size as the newer wheel hubs that we substituted.

My Torsion axle is a 7,000 pound axle and when we upgraded the hubs we used 16 inch, 8 lug hubs and changed them at the factory.

I can see no reason why you could not build yourself one but I would be careful about manufacturing them for sale in regards to patent issues.  I am not giving legal advice just speaking from experience after my company recently prevaled in a seven year patent case.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2016, 01:49:50 PM by HueyPilotVN »
Bill Waugh
40' Country Coach DP
2 Jeep Commanders
Mustang Bracket Race Car
Retired from the road to Lake Havasu after 35 years on the road

HueyPilotVN

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Here are some more pictures.

The first two pictures have the smaller 6 lug hub and the third picture is after changing the wheel hub for the larger 8 lug hubs.

I would definitely be looking at automotive hubs and not trailer hubs depending on the tongue weight that you are planning for in reference to the swivel hub.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2016, 01:32:42 PM by HueyPilotVN »
Bill Waugh
40' Country Coach DP
2 Jeep Commanders
Mustang Bracket Race Car
Retired from the road to Lake Havasu after 35 years on the road

supermanotorious

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most excellent, thank you very much! My plan is to go pretty heavy duty although tongue weight is just under 1,000 lbs, I am going to go with larger wheels and I love your idea about the same size as the trailer's! I'll spend some more time looking at these pictures today, I need to go to the steel yard first thing tomorrow morning so we'll see if I end up buying materials for this build
Home is New River, AZ
2008 Skyline Freestyle M-240 Way-Lite
2003 Harley Davidson Dyna FXDX
2003 Chevrolet Avalanche 2500 4x4
1994 Four Winns Freedom
various quads, off-road gokarts, mini bikes
Phoenix Winch wakeboard winches

supermanotorious

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I'm actually super excited! I have these Jeep wheels that are the same size as the trailer's so I can match up the tires! I found an axle on Craigslist I can modify for width and I'll buy hubs to match the Jeep wheels.
Home is New River, AZ
2008 Skyline Freestyle M-240 Way-Lite
2003 Harley Davidson Dyna FXDX
2003 Chevrolet Avalanche 2500 4x4
1994 Four Winns Freedom
various quads, off-road gokarts, mini bikes
Phoenix Winch wakeboard winches

HueyPilotVN

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Good Luck,

I would also spend lots of time thinking about several other aspects of incorporating the features of this type of unit to allow for vertical articulation, sway control, backup locking ability and the use of a Weight distribution hitch with it.

This is a more complicated unit than what you see at first glance.

Once again I would mention that I think that building your own version for your personal use seems like a Do It Yourself type project.  Building a commercial copy for sale would more likely be infringement on the patent.  I do know that Jok spent a lot of time and money developing this product.

I do not have any financial interest in this product.  However, I do have a lot of respect for Intelectual property rights under patents and Jok was very fair and I wish him no harm to his business.
 
Here is the link to my original post about the Trailer toad that I got.

http://www.rvforum.net/SMF_forum/index.php/topic,88123.0.html

« Last Edit: June 17, 2016, 01:07:31 PM by HueyPilotVN »
Bill Waugh
40' Country Coach DP
2 Jeep Commanders
Mustang Bracket Race Car
Retired from the road to Lake Havasu after 35 years on the road

keymastr

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I wonder what the liability would be? Does it need D.O.T. certification? I bet some insurance company lawyer would be skipping and jumping with glee if he found out you had built this yourself even if his client were at fault. For my money the liability just is not worth the risk to save a few bucks.

Also, how much will it weigh? You may be saving tongue weight but by adding the weight of the dolly you will likely be going over the gross combined rating of your 1/2 ton tow vehicle with it's 1/2 ton brakes. Would be cheaper and easier to just buy a better tow vehicle. Good solution for motorhomes with high gross combined weight but short on tongue weight ability. Poor choice for a P.U. truck.

HueyPilotVN

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I agree that the primary market for this product is really the extra heavy trailer that pushes the envelope of tongue weight.

I also know from conversations with the owner of the Trailer toad company that many of his customers are race car owners that have Stacker Trailers.

I would not rule out the use on lighter trailers, but the cost of the units, (even if you build them yourself) is substantial.

It might make more sense to upgrade your tow vehicle to better handle the trailer towing.

In my case I did take lots of factors into making the decision to use the trailer toad.  Mostly the loaded weight of 24,000+ pounds was the biggest issue for me.

I would also advise that this is the kind of do it yourself project that will probably require rebuilding and modifications as you discover all the nuances of it's performance and uses.

Just from reading the official "Trailer Toad" website you can see the performance upgrades and changes that it has undergone and the different models for different uses.

Other than the satisfaction of building your own, I do not think that I would undertake building one.  I do not think that the cost savings justifies redeveloping it especially in that you may bypass some expensive lessons about it.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2016, 04:32:56 PM by HueyPilotVN »
Bill Waugh
40' Country Coach DP
2 Jeep Commanders
Mustang Bracket Race Car
Retired from the road to Lake Havasu after 35 years on the road

keymastr

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Yup, makes perfect sense with your set up. I remember your write up a while back showing it and your stacker. Very cool solution for your particular needs.

On a side note, they fly Hueys here in the spring to blow the rain off of the cherries.Some nights they hover all night very close to my house. Unmistakable sound.

keymastr

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Re: Help me build a towing dolly! (Hitch Hog, Trailer Toad, Stinger, etc)
« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2016, 08:39:07 AM »
shouldn't have mentioned it, I am hearing one now which means it is raining. :(

supermanotorious

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Re: Help me build a towing dolly! (Hitch Hog, Trailer Toad, Stinger, etc)
« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2016, 09:18:42 AM »
these are all good points, I would never steal a design and sell it under a different name, I own a winch company and would be pissed if anyone did that to me

I know this is going to be a challenging project but that's my jam, I love doing this stuff, likely- if I make more than one it will be for a friend or family member

stay tuned for the build!
Home is New River, AZ
2008 Skyline Freestyle M-240 Way-Lite
2003 Harley Davidson Dyna FXDX
2003 Chevrolet Avalanche 2500 4x4
1994 Four Winns Freedom
various quads, off-road gokarts, mini bikes
Phoenix Winch wakeboard winches

jubileee

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Re: Help me build a towing dolly! (Hitch Hog, Trailer Toad, Stinger, etc)
« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2016, 03:14:31 PM »
  We built a half a dozen small converter dollies in my truck shop in the late seventies for an oil field supply company I had bought an interest in. They could pull trailers around the yard with a garden tractor to load them, or pull them on hi way with small pickup or heavy loaded large pickup.
  Had a ball on top for goose neck and receiver in back for ball or pintle. Used two 24" 1/4" round plates for swivel. (5th wheel) 1 1/2 in solid steel bar welded to top plate, stuck out top about 6"', web welded to plate. Bar stuck through top plate about 8". Bottom plate had schedule 80 pipe web welded to it that bar dropped thru. Bar pinned below pipe a couple inches so it could move up/down. Very tight fit on pipe and bar. Think we did some machining  I remember grease zeros on pipe and top plate.
   I remember using pickup rear ends, cutting out pumpkin housing, and welding tubes back together for an axle. We used one transverse leaf spring ( like old model a) across axle.
   That's about all I remember without getting into a lot of details that I probably don't remember correctly.
    Good luck on your project.
   

Dirty Dave

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Re: Help me build a towing dolly! (Hitch Hog, Trailer Toad, Stinger, etc)
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2018, 11:16:53 AM »
Saw the posting and just wondered if you ever fabricated a hitch?

supermanotorious

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Re: Help me build a towing dolly! (Hitch Hog, Trailer Toad, Stinger, etc)
« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2018, 11:06:46 PM »
honestly not yet, still very much want to do it and I'm probably one step closer now that I live on acreage however now I have a 3/4 ton truck which I did not when I originally made this thread, why closer?- I'm soon to have a legitimate fabrication shop, I faked it long enough, I've finally made it.
Home is New River, AZ
2008 Skyline Freestyle M-240 Way-Lite
2003 Harley Davidson Dyna FXDX
2003 Chevrolet Avalanche 2500 4x4
1994 Four Winns Freedom
various quads, off-road gokarts, mini bikes
Phoenix Winch wakeboard winches

keymastr

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Re: Help me build a towing dolly! (Hitch Hog, Trailer Toad, Stinger, etc)
« Reply #15 on: February 21, 2018, 12:37:58 AM »
Good for you. Would make a cool project. Look forward to seeing some of your work.