Hindsight is 20/20.  This trailer build lasts to this day but it isn’t without its problems and quirks.  It really is a decent trailer.  Not bad for a first attempt made in a time when there wasn’t nearly as much information and there is available now.  Yet, there are some major material, process, and design ideas I’d change if I did it again.

Learn From My Mistakes

I cover some of my biggest mistakes with this trailer build & the most important components to focus on in a teardrop build in the Jumpstart Your Build video lesson.

After more than a decade and a half of teardrop trailer production, I know so much more that I wish I had known in 2007.  Learn from my mistakes.

The Short List that I'd do differently with the iPod:

  • Buy a Torsion Axle that was rated for 1200 lbs. – the spring axle & shock combo was just too much for the trailer body.  Everything bounced around in there too much.  Plus, I relied on a shock combo that was no future-proofed.  It went out of production – I should have seen that it was being scaled back by the manufacturer.  Another costly time and money mistake so I could save some cash up front.  Not worth it.
  • Interior cabinetry should have been taller.  It worked alright but an extra 6 inches in height was completely possible and would have made a big difference for storage.
  • I would put a full time sleep futon mattress in my trailer.  The foam didn’t last long and was replaced many times.  Too much time and money spent on that.
  • ABSOLUTELY – I would have put a sheet finish on the outside of the trailer instead of the fiberglass (either a metal sheet or filon sheet).  Actually, I ended up wrapping the entire trailer in aluminum.  The maintenance on the trailer’s finish was nearly constant.  So much for saving time and money…
  • Change the Body profile.  I ended up tearing the galley hatch off, tearing off about 1 foot of the roof and reshaping the profile of the trailer to make the transition from roof to galley hatch a smoother radius.  That eliminated binding in the hinge.  I also had to move the roof down into the galley because it didn’t fit the dimensions of the sheet aluminum I was finishing the exterior of the galley hatch.
  • I would COMPLETELY rely on much more experience to build my galley hatch.  This trailer ended up having 3 different hatches built for it.  It took a while to get the strength, weight, and sealing ability of the hatch that many tries before it worked pretty well.  
  • Add rock-guards around trailer lights.  This is a good suggestion as other teardrop trailers are getting little nicks and cracks from rocks (on the mikenchell forum), I’m going to fabricate some steel shields for the trailer lights.
  • This teardrop trailer frame is WAY overbuilt and channel steel would be plenty for off-road use.
  • Monroe quit making their trailer shock kit.  I would use a torsion axel instead next time.  I’d just get it for a few hundred pounds heavier than the trailer to make sure it could handle the off-road application.
  • For stability, I’d go with an A frame style tongue.  Plus it increases the area for storage when towing.