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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all, not sure where this really belongs, it's a build, but not a bike build. It's track related, but doesn't have much to do with racing. So I'm dumping it in general and maybe a mod will move it if need be.

I don't actually own an SV anymore, but I haven't migrated to any other (motorcycle related) forums, and this isn't bike specific anyway, so thought this was as good a place as any.

I wanted was an enclosed trailer that I could leave the bike and 90% of my gear in for the season, and also had some very basic living accommodations for spending a night or two in it. There are plenty of trailer conversions floating around the internet, but some were way bigger than what I was thinking, some were way fancier, and most were both. Which is the main reason I wanted to post this, I had trouble finding any examples online that fit what I actually wanted to do, so figured I post one. I did the build this past spring/summer, so there may be some accidental time warps as I go through it.

Before buying the trailer I did a mock-up in the basement with painters tape. I was debating between looking for a 6x10 and 6x12, but this showed that I could fit everything in a 6x10, and I wanted to stay as small as possible.

Tire Wheel Automotive tire Vehicle Wood


Wheel Automotive tire Wood Table Tire


Forgot to take a 'before' picture that was actually before I started pulling trim, but you get the idea.

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I'm going to break this up a little instead of trying to do a massive post with 40 pictures.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Not impressed with the factory wiring install. I know a lot of these trailers a notoriously slapped together, but with the sheer number of brands it can be hard to get a read on what's good and what's crap. Of course you can inspect the ones you are looking at, but I bought this when the Covid economy was really getting going, demand for recreational and home business goods (like a trailer to keep your toys/tools in) had spiked, and so had the price of plywood and steel. I had talked to 3 different dealers in a 30 mi radius, and none of them could keep trailers in stock for more than a couple days. The sales people didn't want to waste a bunch of time helping you out, because everything was flying out the door either way. The factories were issuing new, higher MSRP every month to keep ahead of material costs.

All that to say, when I found reasonable deal that fit my criteria and didn't require a road trip, I took a quick look and wrote a check. The place had I think 6 or 7 trailers on their lot when I walked in. While I was signing paperwork on mine, another was getting towed away by it's new owner. When I was done signing and setting up to tow away, I overheard another guy agreeing to buy. They were literally selling as fast as the salesman could keep up.

Oh yeah, the wiring. Why use the wire channel provided by the part you are installing when you could just tuck unsealed connectors under the fender right next to the tire? Pretty easy fix, I just drilled a hole where you would expect there to be one right above the fender, remade the connections inside the trailer, and plugged the old hole with some sealant from the inside with duct tape as a backer for it to grab onto.

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Again with the wiring. This wire was just dangling for almost 6 ft of span (again, forgot the before picture, this is going to be a theme). It was hanging below the frame rails just waiting to get caught on something. I actually noticed it in the 5 min I spent looking the trailer over, but knew it would be an easy fix.

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
First real step was insulation. This will be a track day trailer, 90% of it's use will be in warm weather, so the insulation isn't to keep the inside warm, it's to keep heat from the sun beating down out. I would have preferred to actually use the trailer first to get a sense of if it really needed insulation at all (after all, I specifically got white so it wouldn't soak up the sun like a black trailer does), but I knew that once I started installing the interior, there was no chance I was ever pulling it all out to insulate.

I adhered the foam board to the outer skin with cheap construction adhesive (Power Grab). I wouldn't trust this long term, but I knew once the walls go back in every screw I install will penetrate about 1/2” into the foam board which will hold it in place even if the adhesive doesn't. I left between a 1/2” - 1” gap between the boards and the steel framing. This obviously isn't the best for insulation, but I did it to prevent any opportunity for the foam to hold moisture against the steel if I ever end up with condensation (or leaks) inside the wall.

Wood Flooring Floor Hardwood Ceiling


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Here's the other side showing the strips of leftover packing foam I added. It's 1” foam board and the wall cavity is more like 1-1/8”, so this applied some friction in the system just while I was putting the plywood back up in case the adhesive decided to let go.

Wood Electrical wiring Floor Flooring Gas


And all done. Goes fast in pictures, less so in real life.

Wood Floor Flooring Gas Ceiling


Figuring out exactly where I want the bike to go

Floor Flooring Gas Wood Ceiling


I've got most of this written up, but it takes a little time to dig up the right pictures, I might be done for tonight. I'll try to post the whole build over the next few days.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
End caps that came with the E-track don't even come close to letting it sit flush, had to reduce each one with the bench grinder

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E-track in and first signs that someone will be living in here.

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Here I forgot to take some mid-construction pictures. I wanted a bed that I could fold up out of the way. But I also wanted a clear span under it so I wouldn't have to move cargo around in order to fold it down. But I also wanted to be able to sleep on hot humid nights without waking up on a sweaty foam mattress. So basically I wanted a hammock, but I don't have the length to set up a hammock, and it would be nice if it didn't sag like a hammock. So I wanted a floating cot, which, as far as I could tell, is not something that is readily available to buy. So obviously I had to make one.

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It's a mesh hammock from Amazon, cut and wrapped around 3/8” wooden dowels then clamped between matching 2x3 frames which are screwed together. The end result is working fine, but the final tensioning before screwing the frames together was a total pain. If this one ever fails I'm doing something different next time. I'm thinking a welded steel frame that I can wrap the hammock around, no clamping.

Critically, I can still put it down with a bike in the trailer.

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Next up, 35 Ah AGM battery and some rough wiring. Battery is blocked into the corner with angle brackets screwed to the shelf and wall, including one on top. It should stay put even if the trailer is upside-down. Panel is one of those no-name pre-wired deals you can get on Amazon/Ebay/etc. Circuits are fused in the back with an inline automotive style blade fuse. A breaker panel would be nicer, but I'm cheap. Loose wiring does get cleaned up eventually.

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Interior lights are LED truck bed lights from Amazon, they just daisy chain together. I had to splice the wiring for the length from front to back, but lef to right was just plug and play. They have a PSA backing, you just stick them in place (there is a mounting hole, but it seemed like fairly good adhesive and has held up so far). Eventually I will replace my painters tape wire management system with actual zip ties. Eventually.

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Plumbing the sink drain. Required an odd fitting from McMaster, 1” NPT to 3/8” hose barb I think. McMaster-Carr saves so many headaches with stuff like that. The sink will drain straight to the ground, I won't be using enough water for this to be a problem, and the worst chemical that's going to go down it is toothpaste. The floor drain is just a PVC flange/coupling, I can pull the clear tube up and put the cap on it for rodents/bugs when the trailer isn't being used.

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And this is how I know I won't be using too much water. 3 gallons and I have to fill it manually.

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
My solar panel arrived with a bent frame. Annoyingly I think it sat in the box for maybe 2 months before I opened it and noticed this. It's possible I still could have returned it, but it tested out electrically, and I really wanted to get it installed that weekend while the weather was good.

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I ended up making a little jig to bend it back. I figured if I broke the glass I would just be back to returning it anyway. I guess I also didn't fully expect it to work, because I didn't think to take any pictures until after the fact. The panel went under the the longer 2x4, on top of the block closest to the camera, facing down. The E-track pushed up on the center of the bend. Looking at the picture, I'm still a little surprised it worked.

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When it was back to straight enough, I siliconed around the perimeter to reseal the glass to the aluminum. Then up it went. Drilling a huge hole in the all-one-piece aluminum roof of a brand new trailer was a little bit of a mental barrier to get past.

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2 self tapping screws into the steel joists at each bracket. Made a plywood backing plate for the cable gland to attach to, with a sightly smaller through-hole to keep the wires off sharp aluminum sheet edge. Everything sealed with butyl.

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1.2 amps in late afternoon when I finished.

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks Geo.

Like a genius, I never thought to test the side lights after rewiring them over the fender. Sure enough, one wasn't working and I really didn't want to take all this crap back apart. So I didn't. (Man I forgot how all-in I went with the painters tape. I remember now though, that was to keep the wires against the exterior skin so they wouldn't get nicked by a mounting screw.)

Property Wood Flooring Floor Hardwood


Turned out the splice connectors they used were sized for the two different wire gauges (16 awg in an 18 awg out to the sidelight I think), and I had flipped it around. 20 minutes of careful cutting for a 30 second fix. The oscillating tool works pretty well with a sharp blade, but I was pretty scared of applying too much pressure, then breaking through and plowing straight through to the aluminum skin.

Back together.

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Next up was a window so it isn't a total cave with the door closed. This I almost completely screwed up. I didn't have a jigsaw blade long enough to get through the door so I used a sawzall, which cut like crazy, but also tried to walk like crazy. There's one spot at the bottom where I came very close to cutting outside the perimeter of the window frame, but I managed to keep it together.

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Again the odd thicknesses come into play, with the Ebay-special RV window being intended for a wall that was about 1/4” thicker than my door. That's the reason for the shims of black scrap rubber you can see sticking out from under the interior frame. Window also bed with butyl tape.

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
This is a picture from the future, but somewhere in here I built my high-end kitchen cabinets.

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
This last one was completely unnecessary, but the truck I bought (to tow this trailer) had a cap on it from the previous owner – a cap with a tinted rear window. OK, except the cab already came with a tinted rear window from Ford, so rear visibility is about the same as a windowless panel van in anything other than direct sunlight. So I decided to get one of those license plate backup cameras from Amazon for like $100. And then I saw that you can get a dual wireless camera truck/trailer setup for like $200 (which is insane, at the time a sheet of 3/8” plywood was like $65). So yeah, backup camera on a 10' trailer. Mounting screws and wiring grommet bedded with...yes, butyl.

It was a little bit of a trick to get it where the door would clear the bottom and the antenna would fit under the drip edge. That's why there's the aluminum extrusion spacing it out from the trailer. The extrusion is a piece of old shower door frame, again, because I'm doing high-end work here.

I've since rotated the antenna horizontal and pointed the camera up a little. The angle shown lets you see the back corners of the trailer and exactly how far you are from hitting something that's already close, but you are blind to anything more than about 6' out. The higher angle would do less in a tight spot, but provides better situational awareness.

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Powered off the trailer lights, not the internal solar/battery setup. So it won't kill my battery, but I do need to have the truck lights on for the backup camera to work.



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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
A couple little electrical luxuries: Reading light with USB socket (on the bottom, can't see it) by the head of the bed.

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And a 12v fan to help with the heat. It's for a car, came with a suction cup that I gues you are supposed to used on the inside of your windshield, I just broke that off and ran a couple self-tapping screws through the base into the roof joist.

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And basically it's done.

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
It's definitely “cozy”, but there's enough space for me to unfold the camp chair inside after dark.

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Baxter is skeptical, but that's his nature

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
And that's basically it, hope it was interesting, and hopefully it can help someone who might be thinking about something similar. Let me know if you guys have any questions.

Old setup vs new:

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Enjoyed watching the process unfold, although I have no plans or skills to do anything similar.
 

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as a large trailer owner this is a very different approach to everything since you're maximizing space and i could really give a crap about space in a 24x8 trailer which brings 3 bikes usually XD
why did you go with battery and 12v stuff? why not just wire it for 30 or 50amp shore power?
my plan for before the season is to grab a floor AC unit, and run big power all over (if i can run warmers off the trailer rather than dragging separate cords.... )
 
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