Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Generator Trailer

Last month on our way back from Georgia just as hurricane Sandy was about to cause our neighborhood to get dumped on with snow, we stopped and picked up a generator. We figured we would either need it or it was good insurance to chase the power outage away. Turns out that is what happened. We didn't have to use the new generator at all. We did work on our plan for when we will need it though.

Since the generator is classified as portable and the farm always needs work done far from an outlet or the spare battery pack, part of that plan involved getting a trailer for the generator to live on.

We considered buying a complete trailer. Have you ever priced complete trailers?
It is like those things are made of gold or something! Honestly. We have several trailers of various sizes and for a variety of purposes around the family farms. Every one of them (except the cattle trailer - and it has been rebuilt, so almost included) is homemade and most of them are licensed for the road. None of them cost anywhere near the price of those "ready-builts". It is nice to have people with skills who know how to bargain for the parts and build things from scratch.

So with that plan, we considered building one. That requires an axle to be found/purchased.

The second nephew of BIL just got done looking high and low for axles and had found nothing that would work on the scale we wanted. Not too big so it can be handled and stored pretty easily. Not too small so other things can also be carried when necessary. Just right would also be road worthy for those trips down to the family farms, cause you never know what might come up around here.
The cheapest axle we found locally was $129. That and the rest of the building supplies would have been more than we wanted to pay. So we looked for another plan.

We looked at Harbor Freight. Because sometimes they have the unexpected stuff.
I guess they have always had trailers for sale at HF, but finding this Utility Trailer was perfect for our plans.

If you consider it or any of what they have available here are some tips. 
  • Don't miss the 20% off any single item coupon that is in their mailer ads or in some magazines. They took the coupon even though the price is listed as on sale.
  • Call your local store before traveling an hour. Glad we did. We would have gone to the Roanoke store, but they didn't have any so we ended up at the store in Cross Lanes. Plus $12 toll. grump
  • Watch out for surly clerks
  • Bring some proof of insurance for the registration
  • Don't plan on getting it licensed quickly. The paperwork can take 6 months.
So we headed to the big city to buy the trailer not knowing how big the packaging would be and sort of expecting the frame and axle to be pre-assembled, we took the Big Boy truck. We should have taken mine since the ride isn't quite so harsh. We could have taken a Smart car. If we had one and dared ride it on the interstate. 

There was quite a bit of assembly required.

But FabHub is the best assembly guy on the farm.

He did skip the light installation though.
The trailer is small enough to fit in the back of the truck if he needs to leave the farm.
Towing would be more of a bother than rolling it up into the truck bed. 

The size keeps it easy to roll and move around.
Putting the frame together was the first step.
Next step was building the deck and adding the side boards.

Finally was attaching the generator to the deck.
For FabHub that meant installing not just 4 U-clamps, but also 6 carriage bolts.
This thing is not moving from that deck very quickly.
There is also plenty of space for "stuff"

Yes, that is a goat named Daisy checking out the job.
That is another blog post.
She approved.
And so do I.

One more tip.
Some of the comments on the HF website talk about the "poor" grease that is in the wheel hub.

Lesson for those people, that isn't grease.
It is shipping/packing and rust prevention lubricant.
See that little gold valve looking thing - that is a grease plug.
You will need a grease gun and a tube of grease.

Stoopid people are funny.

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