Adding Toolbox and Jack to tongue of Trailer


I recently bought a 4×8 mesh bottom trailer off of craigslist and quickly realized I needed to add a jack and place to store straps. Check out the rest of the article to see what I came up with.

These mesh bottom trailers are super light and very handy. They work really well behind my Honda Accord which has been pulling it around at least a couple of times a week since the day I bought it.

I bought mine from a guy off Craigslist. It is Carry On Brand 5′ x 8′ mesh bottom trailer from Lowes. You can get them from a couple of different sources, Lowes and Northern Tool seem to have the better ones. The Harbor Freight folding trailers are cheap but appear to need quite a bit of customization to finish and get to where they are really useful.

Here is my trailer the day I met him to pick it up. I paid $400, they can be had new for around $750 bucks.

Adding Toolbox and Jack to tongue of Trailer

New-to-me t 5×8 trailer.

While I don’t want to make the trailer a whole lot heavier, it needed some modifications. I picked up a fridge and stove combo the other day but couldn’t unload them right away and didn’t want to pull them all over town. Since the trailer didn’t have a tongue jack, I had to get out my floor jack to get it unhooked from my car. Worked once, but isn’t something I would like to do regularly.

Adding Toolbox and Jack to tongue of Trailer

In case you were wondering, the Honda pulled this load around great. Properly distribute the load and keep it out of overdrive when towing up any grades.

Adding Toolbox and Jack to tongue of Trailer

They do make bolt on jacks, but this is DIY Metal Fabrication and bolting things together is boring. Since I wanted to add a jack and a toolbox, the first step was to get it all out and mock it up to make sure they didn’t interfere with each other. The toolbox is a 48″ side mount truck box that used to be on my Dodge Ram, and the jack I already had laying around the basement:

I recommend getting a jack that swivels. This way you don’t have to screw the jack up all the way every time, you can just swing it up and out of the way. Another benefit of trailer jacks that swivel up is so they don’t bottom out (and get destroyed), my Honda doesn’t have a much ground clearance and I will use all the help I can get!

Adding Toolbox and Jack to tongue of Trailer

After making sure they would work together, I got out some angle iron to support the aluminum toolbox.

Adding Toolbox and Jack to tongue of Trailer

Adding Toolbox and Jack to tongue of Trailer

It was late at night at this point (I see a recurring theme here) so I chose to use my cordless drill and roloc sanding disk. Quieter than a grinder and very effective at getting paint off without getting into the metal underneath. They have two pieces, one is an arbor that chucks in the drill with a female screw in the middle. The brushes are quick change with a male screw end on them. No tools required to switch them out. These are handy to have around the shop and are relatively cheap, the 25 packs below could easily last a hobbyist a couple of years:

 

Adding Toolbox and Jack to tongue of Trailer

Next I used my MIG welder to weld on the jack and angle iron to support the toolbox.

Adding Toolbox and Jack to tongue of Trailer

I added an extra small piece of angle iron to help support the back side of the toolbox.

Adding Toolbox and Jack to tongue of Trailer

Close up of the swivel trailer jack and how it attaches.

Adding Toolbox and Jack to tongue of Trailer

Another close up of the swivel trailer jack and how it attaches.

The next step was to attach the toolbox to the angle iron. To do this, I ended up drilling some holes through the bottom of the box into the angle iron. Once again, I got out my favorite bolt assortment kit:

Adding Toolbox and Jack to tongue of Trailer

My favorite bolt assortment kit.

This bolt kit is SERIOUSLY worth it’s weight in gold. Yes, I might not need every size in there, but I can’t even begin to tell you how many trips to the hardware store it has saved me. They are really pretty cheap, and come in Standard and Metric.

Adding Toolbox and Jack to tongue of Trailer

Here is an example of the contents, though not necessarily representative because I have already used some of the contents..

Adding Toolbox and Jack to tongue of Trailer

Remove the box and do some painting. I ended up putting 6 bolts from the bottom of the toolbox into the angle iron.

Adding Toolbox and Jack to tongue of Trailer

Then reinstall the box and viola! my trailer is now more useful.

Some pictures of the jack and toolbox setup in action:

Since it is outside of the main trailer, the toolbox isn't in the way and still lets me use the full length of the trailer.

Since it is outside of the main trailer, the toolbox isn’t in the way and still lets me use the full length of the trailer.

A picture of the Honda Hauler delivering the DIY custom A/C cage.

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Here is another side benefit I discovered about having a small and light trailer. We had some bad weather with ice the other day and I didn’t want to have to defrost my car before work. So I unloaded the trailer and put it up on it’s side.

Trailer stored on its side inside of my small 2 car garage. I have a chock under the tire and two straps going to the wall for extra safety.

Trailer stored on its side inside of my small 2 car garage. I have a chock under the tire and two straps going to the wall for extra safety.

My The Honda Hauler thawing out.

Brought the Honda Hauler in to thaw it out.

Tight fit. But works in a pinch. This was just a temporary solution until the weather got better to where I could put the trailer back in the backyard.

Tight fit. But works in a pinch. This was just a temporary solution until the weather got better to where I could put the trailer back in the backyard. If the trailer were much heavier, I wouldn’t have been able to pick it up by myself like this.

This is just a small project idea that anybody can do with a Welder, Grinder, and some time. Check out my post Get Started Welding for <$250 guide for more information on how you can get the tools and supplies to do projects like this yourself.

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