1940 Chevrolet Expedition Trailer

Starting life as an old truck bed, Mr. Leary patiently converted this old trailer into a camping trailer. Mr. Leary got impatient waiting for a military trailer, so he just bought something cheap to start with as a base since his plans were to cut it all up anyhow.

The first thing Mr. Leary did with the trailer was rip up the old rotten floorboards.

Since this trailer was going to be pulled on offroad, expedition type trips with his 1999 4runner, the 50 pound heavy duty rear bumper seemed like overkill, so it was removed too.

Finally, all of the lights and reflectors were removed.

Then it was time to test fit a larger wheel and tire. Mr. Leary used the spare tire from his 4runner to test fit on the trailer. Looks huge compared to the original! There are plans to remove the home made special fenders somebody added.

The after-the-fact welding on this trailer is some of the worst I have ever seen… so I’m cutting it all off.

The empty weight of the trailer is around 250 pounds, with hopes to keep it under 1000lbs loaded (not counting an ATV). Plans are to remove the current tongue and replace it with a 2″ receiver. Thoughts are to also put on on the rear in case Mr. Leary needs to winch himself out of a sticky situation again!

Since this camping trailer is designed to haul cargo, there will be storage boxes below the floor that will house water tanks and batteries. The storage areas will be angled to act as full-length skid plates for the trailer. This will also help the heaviest stuff get as low as possible to prevent the trailer from tipping over on the trails.

The_Mrs. has also requested a fold out table and an awning for her kitchen… so that will take priority… cuz’ if she ain’t happy, we ain’t happy. I have been looking through some kitchen threads, but have not decided yet on what I will do

The trailer will also be ready to carry a large ATV, so the axle will be upgraded to a custom Dexter axle with the same Toyota bolt pattern as the 4runner.

Now that the trailer is stripped down, it needed a good sand blasting.

The new Dexter axle arrived and was quickly installed. A quick coat of primer was added to the trailer in time to take it out and about on the weekend.

On the first few trips out, while trailer plans were still being decided, Mr. Leary purchased a truck bed tent that fit the 1940’s Chevrolet bed and used that. With a large foam mattress, he had some of the most comfortable camping nights ever.

The truck bed tent worked well, but they quickly grew tired of unloading everything from the trailer just to camp for the night. Plus, a good deal on a used roof top tent didn’t hurt!

After the first trip out, it was obvious the suspension needed some work. First, the trailer was flipped upside down and Herculined for rust protection.

For the trailer’s suspension, all of the spring leafs were removed except for the main leaf. The bottom leaf was also flipped upside down to act as an overload spring.

Up on top, the rack was fitted with some hot rolled bars that are the same dimensions as the Yakima bar systems. Using 1.125″ inner width long tangent U-bolts to fasten the crossbars to the square tube allows the bars to be moved into position as required to utilize Yakima rack accessories.

Here’s a view of the trailer all loaded up for the road.

And with a final coat of paint

After taking the trailer out on the road, it was decided to add some black bed liner to the lower part of the trailer to help with protection from rocks and dirt flung up from the tow rig.

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