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Full Version: The Toad Pod™ Chaser Conversion
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So I broke my Chaser Tent Trailer in Big Bend. Rather than repair it I've decided to rebuild it as a sleep-inside off road trailer.

Before:
[Image: chaser-before-720.jpg]

Flipped (I let the shocks wear out completely and hit some bad bumps):
[Image: chaser-broken-720.jpg]

So after removing the tent and cargo box, here's the empty frame:
[Image: frame-empty-1-720.jpg]

Here's the exterior view of the plan:
[Image: Toad-Trailer-exterior-720.jpg]

And here's the interior floor plan:
[Image: toad-pod-plans-1-720.jpg]

So far in 8 weeks of work, I've:

1. Drawn and redrawn the blueprints eleventy-four times.
2. Stripped and cleaned the Chaser frame
3. Order and taken delivery of 75% of the materials needed
4. Fabbed and installed the new, lower battery box
5. Installed the aluminum floor
6. Welded, drilled and tapped the steel foundation

For those interested in the day-to-day details, they are posted first to my FaceBook page:
https://www.facebook.com/fuzzymauldin

Eventually I'll write a more thorough build report on the Team Toad Jeep page:
http://lazytoad.com/jeep/index.html

But for now at least you can see what I'm trying to do.

--Fuzzy (Jan 13, 2015)
It is going to be a great transformation. Looking forward to seeing the Pod progress.

Might have missed this, is it designed so the top can come off or as an integrated unit?
(01-14-2015, 07:21 AM)Scott Wrote: [ -> ]It is going to be a great transformation. Looking forward to seeing the Pod progress.

Might have missed this, is it designed so the top can come off or as an integrated unit?

It's a single unit, but it bolts onto the trailer frame so in theory it's removable. In practice there are 73 bolts connecting it to the Chaser frame.

The size is dictated by the desire for a "full-sized" Truck mattress (34x74x6), which rests on a hinged plate so I have lots of under-bed storage (22x76x12).

--Fuzzy
Ok. Yes, as I've been working on some "sleep in" ideas, having a nice full size bed controls the dimension.

Wow, 73 connection bolts? I was wondering when I saw all the bolts connecting the aluminum floor. Help me understand the design? I'm assuming the Chaser frame is plenty rigid and doesn't require the pod body for strength.
(01-14-2015, 08:28 AM)Scott Wrote: [ -> ]Ok. Yes, as I've been working on some "sleep in" ideas, having a nice full size bed controls the dimension.

Wow, 73 connection bolts? I was wondering when I saw all the bolts connecting the aluminum floor. Help me understand the design? I'm assuming the Chaser frame is plenty rigid and doesn't require the pod body for strength.

The original Chaser Trailer with its unibody construction is great for fording deep water, and I'm trying to retain that fording ability in my rebuild.

Since my sides bolt to my floor I wanted a lot of little connection points to keep from developing leaks. Forty-eight (48) bolts keep the sides down, five (5) keep the floor flat against the bottom, and twenty (20) keep the seal in the floor around the battery box.

I'll be posting a set of photos showing the relocation of the house battery from the outside toolbox to a compartment slung between the trailing arms.

--Fuzzy
OK, now I get it, didn't realize the Chase was a unibody design.
(01-14-2015, 11:51 AM)Scott Wrote: [ -> ]OK, now I get it, didn't realize the Chaser was a unibody design.

Well, the body is actually made of multiple pieces bolted together, but the result is a "boat hull" shape that can take deep water.

Here's the lid of the cargo box "torqued":
[Image: chaser-box-1-720.jpg]

I used my BobCat to straighten it:
[Image: chaser-box-3-720.jpg]

And got it close enough to use:
[Image: chaser-box-5-720.jpg]

But the tent itself was a total write-off, and I really wanted something to sleep inside, so I converted the old cargo box to a rodent-proof feed bin:
[Image: feedbin-1-720.jpg]

--Fuzzy
sorry about the bad luck

I too transformed my M416 into a sleeper, not as nice as this

tuned in for more
(01-14-2015, 07:50 PM)AA1PR Wrote: [ -> ]sorry about the bad luck

I too transformed my M416 into a sleeper, not as nice as this

tuned in for more

I checked out your build... using a truck bed cap is cheating, or brilliant... probably both :-)

--Fuzzy
I broke my old trailer because I let the shocks wear out and I
drove faster than the bouncy trailer could handle. But that has
made me sensitive to wanting a lower center of gravity in my
rebuild.

The Chaser has a Engel 45 fridge/freezer that runs off of an
AGM house battery. For the rebuild I wanted to increase the
battery size and move it from the tool box (which I access
several times a day on the trail) to inside the trailer under the bed.

A BattleBot friend suggested putting the batteries between the
trailing arms, and I decided to go all the way with his idea.

As a rancher I have all sorts of cut-off metal pieces, so I started
with a piece of 8x8 0.250 inch steel tubing. I cut the top off and
cut it to the length of two AGM batteries.
[Image: battery-box-1-720.jpg]

I welded on some pieces of 2x3" angle to make the sides and a
couple of pieces of plate to the front and back.
[Image: battery-box-3-720.jpg]

I added a 2x2 inch tubing to the frame and sandwiched the box
between the two horizontal members.
[Image: battery-box-weld-2.jpg]

Before welding the box in place, I drilled several 1/4 inch holes
in the side angles and welded some nuts on the bottom to make
one person assembly easier.
[Image: battery-box-weld-5.jpg]

And for added insurance against a rogue rock, I added a 1/4 inch
skid plate to the front of the battery box, supported by a footlong
piece of 1.5 inch tubing running between the horizontal frame
member and the bottom of the battery box (seen here with
the trailer upside-down):
[Image: trailer-skid-plate-3.jpg]

Here's the frame with the batteries inside:
[Image: trailer-floor-1-720.jpg]

The front of the box sticks about 2 inches lower than the trailing
arms, but is still has 18 inches of clearance. Any rock that would
hit the box would have already taken out the Jeep rear diff. The
bottom of the battery box is also higher than the middle of the tires.
[Image: battery-box-clearance-1-720.jpg]

My latest task was to cut a rectangular hole in the aluminum floor
plate to allow access to the batteries from under the bed:
[Image: trailer-lower-frame-1-720.jpg]

The end result is that I moved 130 pounds lower by at least one
foot, which should help with the center of gravity.

Of course the proof will be in the pudding after I haul it around
some trails to see whether the trailer behaves well.

--Fuzzy
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