After an exhaustive craigslist hunt that lasted several weeks I finally realized that the best trailer, especially for the money, was sitting under a pile of junk out behind the old flood condemned house at the family farm. I had seen this old thing back on Father’s Day but thought it was simply too far gone to use. But after finding equally dilapidated rust buckets on craigslist, that people still wanted money for, this old free trailer was looking more and more viable.
It was built by my wife’s grandpa and dad years ago out of mostly salvaged parts. It’s got a 5000 pound tongue, two axles, a very sturdy steel frame, 16″ truck wheels, and is a total fixer upper. I’m not sure exactly how much weight it can carry but I suspect it will be adequate for the tiny free house which I’m guessing will weigh less than 5000 pounds.
My first step will be to strip off all the old rotten wood, clean up the frame, throw some new paint and tires on it and make sure everything is working safely. The tires and paint will be the first real out-of-pocket expense I’ll make up by selling free stuff scavenged off craigslist and other places. Once that list of expenses and reimbursements gets long enough to be interesting I’ll post it here so you can see how I’m keeping this house free.
The trailer’s dimensions are 12′ long and 7′ 4″ wide. The frame between the wheels is 52″ wide and the tires are 30″ high. All this means is I need to alter the design to match the trailer. I’ve already figured out the rough plan and I’m drawing up a modified plan based on feedback from readers’ comments and the new size. I’ll post the design here soon.
The only other trailer related idea I’m considering is one my wife and dad both came up with separately. What if the trailer were only temporarily attached to the house and used to move the house from place to place? It could be temporarily chained down for transportation and jacks could be used to lift the house off the trailer once it was in it’s new home. Then the trailer could be used for other things. The jacks that lift the little house off the trailer could also be used to level it just like jacks on an RV.
If a little house like this were moved around a lot this would not be ideal but for those intending to move it only occasionally freeing up the trailer for other uses might be much more practical. The benefit of permanently attaching the trailer is added safety, strength, and convenience. I’ll continue to noodle over the idea and figure out if the added cost of the jacks, chain, and floor framing (potentially) offset the added value of having a utility trailer.
P.S. The story behind the “old flood condemned house” at the family farm is… was built by my wife’s great grandpa, but got caught in a flood several years back, making the house unlivable. It’s never been torn down and is now used for storage and a cat lives there.