DIY Enclosed Trailer

Written by adam quinn
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DIY Enclosed Trailer
Conceal your cargo and keep it safe from the elements with a homemade trailer box. (Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images)

If you haul delicate cargo that may be ruined in an open-air trailer, you can enclose your utility trailer with a homemade wooden container fastened to the frame. A plywood box with extension legs on the bottom edges can be secured to your trailer by inserting the legs into the stake mount pairs along the sides of the trailer frame. These stake mounts allow you to quickly detach the rear plywood wall for loading. Enclose your trailer with a homemade plywood box, and keep your cargo safe and concealed.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Utility trailer, 40-by 48-inch frame, with stake mounts
  • 1 plywood board, 3/4-inch thick, 40 inches by 48 inches
  • 1 plywood board, 3/4-inch thick, 40 inches by 54 inches
  • 2 plywood boards, 3/4-inch thick, 48 inches square
  • 2 plywood boards, 3/4-inch thick, 38 1/2 inches by 48 inches
  • 80 feet of 1-by-4 board length
  • 10 stainless steel angles, 2 inches by 2 inches by 3 1/2 inches
  • 4 stainless steel rotating hasp hinges
  • 72 lag machine screw, washers, and nuts, 3/8-inch diameter, 1 3/4 inches long
  • 96 wood screws, Phillips head, 1/4-inch diameter, 1 inch long
  • Power drill, 1/4 and 3/8-inch bits
  • Socket wrench and socket set
  • Screw gun, Phillips head bit
  • Circular saw
  • Tape measure
  • Wood glue
  • Silicone sealant
  • Safety goggles

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Instructions

    Preparation

  1. 1

    Measure and note the distance between the stake mount pairs along the sides, front and rear of the trailer frame. Measure from the inside edges of the mounts.

  2. 2

    Measure and note the insertion depth of the stake mounts.

  3. 3

    Cut six 1-by-4 boards to a length that matches the distance measured between side stake mount pairs. Cut six 1-by-4 boards to a length matching the distance between the front and rear stake mount pairs. These 12 lengths will be used as the horizontal frame boards.

  4. 4

    Cut eight 1-by-4 boards to a length of 4 feet plus the insertion depth measurement of the stake mounts. The insertion depth should add 2 to 3 inches to the length. These will be the vertical frame boards.

  5. 5

    Lay the two 48-inch-square plywood boards on a flat surface. Measure and mark the centre of each board at the top, middle and bottom. Align three horizontal frame 1-by-4 boards, cut to the width between the side stake mounts, in the centre of both plywood squares. There should be equal plywood space on either side of the 1-by-4 boards. Attach the 1-by-4s to the plywood boards using a screw gun to fasten two wood screws to both ends of each board.

  6. 6

    Lay two 1-by-4 vertical frame boards on either side of the horizontal 1-by-4s, allowing the excess lengths to extend past the bottom edge of the plywood squares. Fasten the 1-by-4s to the plywood with a screw gun and six wood screws per board. The 1-by-4 boards should resemble a step ladder mounted to the plywood squares. These framed plywood boards will be the side walls of the trailer.

  7. 7

    Mount the 1-by-4 horizontal frame boards, that were cut to the width of the front and rear stake mount pairs, on the two 38 1/2 by 48-inch plywood boards. Perform the same procedure used for the side walls. Use wood screws and a screw gun to fasten the 1-by-4s to the plywood boards, forming a ladder shape on each board. These plywood boards will be the front and rear walls of the trailer.

    Assembly

  1. 1

    Mount the 40 by 48-inch plywood board on the trailer frame. Bolt the board to the frame using lag screws and a socket wrench. This will be the floor of the enclosed box.

  2. 2

    Mount the side and front walls to the trailer by inserting the boards' vertical leg extensions into the corresponding stake mounts.

  3. 3

    Attach the front corners, where the side walls meet the front wall, using two steel angles per corner, lag screws, and a socket wrench. Before securing the corners together, apply a line of wood glue along each side of the front wall. Space the angles an equal distance along each.

  4. 4

    Apply a line of glue along the top edges of the three wall boards. Lay the 40 by 54-inch plywood board on top of the three-sided box. This will be the ceiling of the enclosed trailer space.

  5. 5

    Fasten the ceiling board to the three sides of the trailer box using two steel angles per side, lag screws and a screw gun. The board should extend 6 inches from the rear of the box.

  6. 6

    Insert the rear wall's extension legs into the trailer stake mounts. Fasten two hasp hinges to each of the outside rear edges of the side walls using lag screws and a screw gun. Lined up with each hasp, fasten each hasp's rotating cylinder to the rear wall. The hinges should be installed so that each hasp will latch over a rotating cylinder fastened to the rear wall. The cylinder can be rotated, locking the hasp in place. This will allow the rear wall to be secured during travel, and quickly removed when loading.

  7. 7

    Weatherproof the front and sides of the trailer box by applying silicone sealant along the corners, and around each lag screw. The ceiling board's rear overhang should minimise water runoff from above.

Tips and warnings

  • Weatherproof the sides of the rear plywood wall further, by fastening waterproof foam bushing around the inner sides of the plywood, using wood screws and a screw gun.

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