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.