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.
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.
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:
After making sure they would work together, I got out some angle iron to support the aluminum toolbox.
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:
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:
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.
Some pictures of the jack and toolbox setup in action:
A picture of the Honda Hauler delivering the DIY custom A/C cage.
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.
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.