Putting Wooden Sides On A Utility Trailer

EmeraldHike

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Do you think by just adding the ball it would be too much weight to haul a log splitter?
 

JGaulard

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Do you think by just adding the ball it would be too much weight to haul a log splitter?
Nah. Log splitters don’t weight that much. I pulled around this trailer full of mulch as well as the trailer with almost a ton of pellets in it. No problem.
 

CraigHardy

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Hey Jay - did you use treated 2×4s on the sides and front?
 

JGaulard

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Hey Jay - did you use treated 2×4s on the sides and front?
Hi Craig,

If I were you, I’d use treated for everything. I did use it for the 2x4s, but not for the plywood. I should have used it for everything. Also, paint as much as you can with the canned Rustoleum (with a brush) and really get the paint in there. If the trailer sits outside, the wood tends to get old quickly. The goal is to preserve it for as long as possible.

Jay
 

CraigHardy

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Jay,
Thanks for posting this. I got a 5×8 trailer from Lowe’s a few weeks ago. I already installed wood on the floor and am now in the process of designing the walls. What’s your opinion on using 3 ft high walls to match the height of the ramp instead of 2 ft?
 

JGaulard

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Jay,
Thanks for posting this. I got a 5×8 trailer from Lowe’s a few weeks ago. I already installed wood on the floor and am now in the process of designing the walls. What’s your opinion on using 3 ft high walls to match the height of the ramp instead of 2 ft?
Hi Craig,

That’s a great idea. Just make sure those walls are framed with 2x4s and you should be fine. Also remember that those little 5×8 trailers don’t hold that much weight, so be sure not to overload it. When calculating the weight, you need to account for the weight of the trailer and any accessories, the weight of the wood used to make the sides and the weight of the cargo you’ll be hauling.

Jay
 

LukeLewis

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Thanks for posting this. I got a 5×8 trailer from Lowe’s a few weeks ago. I already installed wood on the floor and am now in the process of designing the walls. What’s your opinion on using 3 ft high walls to match the height of the ramp instead of 2 ft?
I have the same 5×8 Lowes trailer. Something I did to increase weight capability and wheel clearance (found it on Youtube) was flip the axle. Gives you about 3 more inches of clearance between the wheel and fender, increasing the weight tolerance.
 

LukeLewis

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Jay, Your the best. Great job! Any ideas on doing this to a garden tractor dump trailer?
 

JGaulard

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Jay, Your the best. Great job! Any ideas on doing this to a garden tractor dump trailer?
You would definitely need to post photos of your trailer here so I could take a look at it. I wouldn't even know where to begin without seeing what I'm working with.
 

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Jay,
I’m a total beginner. When you say “framed”, I’m not real clear how to put everything together. I already have wooden floor and bought untreated plywood, which Home Depot cut for me. I have two sides , and a piece for the front. I need to buy 2″ x 4″ x ? (enough to frame all three boards and attach them together). You assembled this and then put in trailer, Can you give me a “step by step” guide. That is probably asking a lot but basic should be good and very appreciated.
 

LukeLewis

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Jay,
I’m a total beginner. When you say “framed”, I’m not real clear how to put everything together. I already have wooden floor and bought untreated plywood, which Home Depot cut for me. I have two sides , and a piece for the front. I need to buy 2″ x 4″ x ? (enough to frame all three boards and attach them together). You assembled this and then put in trailer, Can you give me a “step by step” guide. That is probably asking a lot but basic should be good and very appreciated.
Hey Wendy, you can do a search on YouTube for a step by step assembly instructions! I did that for my poly trailer, it came out great!
 

JGaulard

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ALERT: This was my second attempt at creating wooden sides for a utility trailer and it failed spectacularly. The reason it failed was because I didn't use waterproof wood. The luan was a great idea to keep weight down, but the moment it got wet, it curled up and came apart. If you'd like to make sides like I did below, I urge you to use a waterproof material such as fiberglass or something else.

------

The name of this game was weight. Or perhaps I should say, lack of weight.

That’s what I was after with this go round. I’ve built trailer sides before and I’ll admit that I succumbed to the temptation of creating what I like to call “tank” sides. I used half inch plywood and pressure treated 2x4s as a full frame. The sides almost weighed more than the trailer. You should have seen me a few days ago trying to get the things off. I almost pulled my back out – and that was all for a small 5’x8′ trailer!

Before heading out to purchase any lumber this time, I sat down to decide exactly what I wanted to build sides for. I came to a few conclusions:

1. The sides I need will be used primarily for moving light cargo. No mulch or gravel. Only plastic totes filled with household items.
2. They must be rigid, but light.
3. They must be able to disassemble relatively easily, fold down into flat pieces and be strapped down.
4. They must hold up to at least 70mph winds, or otherwise known as highway driving.

I think I found a solution. There’s a board out there called “Luan.” I’m sure you’ve seen it. It’s the stuff cheap doors are made out of. It’s also used as backing for a variety of products. I remember it as being really strong and really light. I think I tried to break it in two once with little luck. It just splintered, but hung on. I thought this type of wood would create the perfect trailer sides for the use I was after. Also, I decided to steer clear from anything pressure treated and use regular pine. Well, I did use 2×2 pressure treated wood for the rails, but it’s light.

I started the project this afternoon and within a few hours, I was pretty much done. All I need to do is paint all the wood with some nice black protective Rust-Oleum paint and I should be good to go. There are a few things I would like to show you though – in the way of pictures. I want you to look at the details of how I am planning to keep this whole thing together. By not using heavy lumber, I had to come up ways to keep the unit strong against those high winds. I’ll do my best to describe what I did under each picture.

By the way, the zip ties you see were temporarily holding the sides in place as I was doing the building.

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KristinaW

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ALERT: This was my second attempt at creating wooden sides for a utility trailer and it failed spectacularly. The reason it failed was because I didn't use waterproof wood. The luan was a great idea to keep weight down, but the moment it got wet, it curled up and came apart. If you'd like to make sides like I did below, I urge you to use a waterproof material such as fiberglass or something else.

------

The name of this game was weight. Or perhaps I should say, lack of weight.

That’s what I was after with this go round. I’ve built trailer sides before and I’ll admit that I succumbed to the temptation of creating what I like to call “tank” sides. I used half inch plywood and pressure treated 2x4s as a full frame. The sides almost weighed more than the trailer. You should have seen me a few days ago trying to get the things off. I almost pulled my back out – and that was all for a small 5’x8′ trailer!

Before heading out to purchase any lumber this time, I sat down to decide exactly what I wanted to build sides for. I came to a few conclusions:

1. The sides I need will be used primarily for moving light cargo. No mulch or gravel. Only plastic totes filled with household items.
2. They must be rigid, but light.
3. They must be able to disassemble relatively easily, fold down into flat pieces and be strapped down.
4. They must hold up to at least 70mph winds, or otherwise known as highway driving.

I think I found a solution. There’s a board out there called “Luan.” I’m sure you’ve seen it. It’s the stuff cheap doors are made out of. It’s also used as backing for a variety of products. I remember it as being really strong and really light. I think I tried to break it in two once with little luck. It just splintered, but hung on. I thought this type of wood would create the perfect trailer sides for the use I was after. Also, I decided to steer clear from anything pressure treated and use regular pine. Well, I did use 2×2 pressure treated wood for the rails, but it’s light.

I started the project this afternoon and within a few hours, I was pretty much done. All I need to do is paint all the wood with some nice black protective Rust-Oleum paint and I should be good to go. There are a few things I would like to show you though – in the way of pictures. I want you to look at the details of how I am planning to keep this whole thing together. By not using heavy lumber, I had to come up ways to keep the unit strong against those high winds. I’ll do my best to describe what I did under each picture.

By the way, the zip ties you see were temporarily holding the sides in place as I was doing the building.

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Hi Jay,
I followed your advice and made my trailer sides out of Luan as well. It looks great. But how do I secure it to the trailer? I’ve been on your website several times and there are no explanations under the pics.
Thanks!!
Kristina
 

JGaulard

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Hi Jay,
I followed your advice and made my trailer sides out of Luan as well. It looks great. But how do I secure it to the trailer? I’ve been on your website several times and there are no explanations under the pics.
Thanks!!
Kristina
Hi Kristina - Please read my warning about using luan. I'll answer your question, even though I don't recommend that material. Perhaps you only use your trailer on sunny days and store it in a dry location.

If you look at the photos closely, you'll see that I attached the wood to the trailer via zip-ties as well as 2"x4"s that keep it so the sides won't lift from the bottom. If I were to really secure things down, I'd screw some 1"x1"s inside the trailer, along the sides, down to the floor of the trailer and then screw the sides into those 1"x1"s.
 

JGaulard

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ALERT: This is my third attempt at making wooden trailer sides. This one turned out awesomely, if that's a word. I used pressure treated decking and metal angle iron for construction and, although heavy, these sides were as strong as all get-out. They're perfect sides for hauling cargo, such as couches and other furniture, but lack the "keeping it in" quality you'd need when hauling mulch, soil, compost, etcetera. The best part is, these heavy duty trailer sides really bolt up to the steel of the trailer. They won't fly off on the highway.

------

I know I’ve been down this road before, but I thought I’d give you an update on the installation of my new wooden trailer sides. I’ve changed things up a bit.

With my first go-round of setting up some nice sides for my new trailer, I emphasized that weight was of the utmost importance. Well, after sleeping on it and looking out the window at the flimsy trailer sides I’d put together, I decided that luan wasn’t going to work out. While I was still conscious of weight, I also needed strength.

Back when I was looking at the trailer store’s inventory of trailers, I noticed that many trailers that were sent straight from the factory used standard 6 inch wide decking board. Many used the board all the way up to create sides that were at least two foot high. I didn’t need solid two foot sides, but I did like the idea of using the decking board.

So, I took another trip over to Home Depot (which I don’t enjoy, by the way) to pick up the materials I would need. I purchased four 12 foot long boards, and two 8 foot long ones. I also bought a few boxes of nuts, bolts, washers and some pieces of angle iron. I was happy with the plan I had.

The goal of these sides isn’t to waterproof my cargo. I’ll have tarps for that. It’s simply to create some sort of an emergency barrier in case something decides to shift. My peace of mind requires this at the very least.

After a few days of working in the knuckle banging cold, I cut, drilled and painted my way to some pretty sweet looking and acting trailer sides, which I’ll post below for you to see. I’m very happy with what I’ve done here because they still meet my requirements of being fairly lightweight and quite strong.

Just a note on the pictures I’m posting – I did this sort of post years ago with my last trailer side endeavor and had many comments asking questions about the intricacies of what I’ve done. So to preempt those types of comments, I decided to post more than mere far away photos and to focus on the details as well. Enjoy.
 

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LukeLewis

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ALERT: This is my third attempt at making wooden trailer sides. This one turned out awesomely, if that's a word. I used pressure treated decking and metal angle iron for construction and, although heavy, these sides were as strong as all get-out. They're perfect sides for hauling cargo, such as couches and other furniture, but lack the "keeping it in" quality you'd need when hauling mulch, soil, compost, etcetera. The best part is, these heavy duty trailer sides really bolt up to the steel of the trailer. They won't fly off on the highway.

------

I know I’ve been down this road before, but I thought I’d give you an update on the installation of my new wooden trailer sides. I’ve changed things up a bit.

With my first go-round of setting up some nice sides for my new trailer, I emphasized that weight was of the utmost importance. Well, after sleeping on it and looking out the window at the flimsy trailer sides I’d put together, I decided that luan wasn’t going to work out. While I was still conscious of weight, I also needed strength.

Back when I was looking at the trailer store’s inventory of trailers, I noticed that many trailers that were sent straight from the factory used standard 6 inch wide decking board. Many used the board all the way up to create sides that were at least two foot high. I didn’t need solid two foot sides, but I did like the idea of using the decking board.

So, I took another trip over to Home Depot (which I don’t enjoy, by the way) to pick up the materials I would need. I purchased four 12 foot long boards, and two 8 foot long ones. I also bought a few boxes of nuts, bolts, washers and some pieces of angle iron. I was happy with the plan I had.

The goal of these sides isn’t to waterproof my cargo. I’ll have tarps for that. It’s simply to create some sort of an emergency barrier in case something decides to shift. My peace of mind requires this at the very least.

After a few days of working in the knuckle banging cold, I cut, drilled and painted my way to some pretty sweet looking and acting trailer sides, which I’ll post below for you to see. I’m very happy with what I’ve done here because they still meet my requirements of being fairly lightweight and quite strong.

Just a note on the pictures I’m posting – I did this sort of post years ago with my last trailer side endeavor and had many comments asking questions about the intricacies of what I’ve done. So to preempt those types of comments, I decided to post more than mere far away photos and to focus on the details as well. Enjoy.
Hi, Jay.

I read most, if not all, of your trailer posts today. Very nice info.

With respect to this post, did the usage of your trailer change after putting on these sides? I’m going to be enclosing a couple of feet of my utility trailer much like you did the first time around with 2x4s and plywood. This will allow me to carry soil and mulch without the need for wrapping it like I do now with a tarp.

I’m curious how (or even if) you carried these loose loads with this setup. I’d also welcome any suggestions or pointers you have as well.

BTW – I’m assuming you got ride of the Sure-Trac trailer when you went with the enclosed – the sure-trac looked like a very nice trailer.

Take care,
Luke
 

JGaulard

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Hi, Jay.

I read most, if not all, of your trailer posts today. Very nice info.

With respect to this post, did the usage of your trailer change after putting on these sides? I’m going to be enclosing a couple of feet of my utility trailer much like you did the first time around with 2x4s and plywood. This will allow me to carry soil and mulch without the need for wrapping it like I do now with a tarp.

I’m curious how (or even if) you carried these loose loads with this setup. I’d also welcome any suggestions or pointers you have as well.

BTW – I’m assuming you got ride of the Sure-Trac trailer when you went with the enclosed – the sure-trac looked like a very nice trailer.

Take care,
Luke
Hi Luke,

I actually only used this setup to haul my belongings from Connecticut to Florida. Once I got to Florida, I sold the trailer and the sides. It made two round trips very nicely.

To answer your question about the Sure-Trac, yes, that was my favorite trailer of all time. It was so well made and worth the money spent. I got good money for it when I sold it too, so apparently there's a reputation out there for them.

In your case, I'd probably set up these heavy duty sides for all-around usage and then make some solid sides that I could slide in and out when necessary. That would be a super handy solution.
 

15Katey

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I am going to be adding sides to my utility trailer and I was wondering which wood is the best to use. I am going to be building my homemade sides soon, so it's important that I get the wood type right the first time. I'm assuming it'll be plywood, but I wonder if there is any specific type that's best. Thanks.
 

JGaulard

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I am going to be adding sides to my utility trailer and I was wondering which wood is the best to use. I am going to be building my homemade sides soon, so it's important that I get the wood type right the first time. I'm assuming it'll be plywood, but I wonder if there is any specific type that's best. Thanks.
Hi - I responded to your question up in the very first post of this thread. You can read it there. It's at the bottom of the first post. Please let me know if you have any further questions.

https://indyfor.com/threads/512/
 
Putting Wooden Sides On A Utility Trailer was posted on 08-17-2021 by JGaulard in the Motor Forum forum.

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