Pop-up trailers are made with canvas sides that reside on the inside of the steel or metal container and bracing of the trailer. An old pop-up trailer with rotted canvas is prime for being converted to a utility trailer. It's an easy matter of removing whatever you don't want, such as the stove, propane tanks, sink, trundle bed, portable toilet and loft bunk. What's left will be the skeleton of a flatbed metal trailer with a loading dock on wheels. By thus gutting and remodelling, you can convert your unusable pop-up trailer into a utility trailer.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Electric saw
- Electric power gun
- Bolt remover
- Angle grinder
- Air hammer
- Tie downs
- Trailer lights
Assess your trailer and decide how it's best to gut the trailer. You will likely remove everything that is movable, including the floor of the trailer.
Lift the stove and sink out with a crowbar. Then, using an air hammer, remove the sink casing and bolt screws. Remove the propane or gas line tubing or pipes from the foundation of the trailer.
Remove the carpet, insulation and wooden flooring from the bottom of the trailer. Leave the metal bracing at the bottom corners intact. Attach the axle to the bottom of the trailer. Leave the trailer's lights intact.
Look underneath the trailer for screws that are bolted from the bottom upwards. Use the angle grinder to cut the screws off. Leave the axle in place, as well as the coil springs and shocks. This will help the trailer make turns on the road.
Use a bolt remover to remove the bolts from the corners of the wooden planks of the sleeping loft. Cut off the planks with an electric saw.
Make side frames with rectangular-shaped tubing. Attach the side frames to a tailgate with expandible metal meshing that pulls out when loading your trailer.
The decking of the trailer can be made of plywood, metal or wooden planks. The trailer can be coated with a waterproofing seal so that the structure doesn't rot and splinter.
Install and fix the tie downs at intervals on both sides as well as the front and back of the trailer. This will ensure that your cargo will be held securely and won't fall off.
How to Convert a Pop-up Trailer to a Utility Trailer
Tips and warnings
- Take pictures of your pop-up trailer before gutting it and converting to a utility trailer.
- Folding planks of plywood can be used in place of the metal mesh.
- Use only regulation trailer lights for the sides and back of your utility trailer.
- Be sure the wheels from your pop-up trailer are in good shape and are suitable for your utility trailer.
- Utility trailers require licensing, even if the trailer is hand-built.
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