Lightening a trailer... - Page 5 - Fiberglass RV

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Old 12-08-2012, 05:09 PM   #57
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Name: Brian
Trailer: Boler (B1700RGH) 1979
Posts: 5,000
"Simplicate and add more lightness."

A quick Google search strongly suggests that the saying "Simplicate and add more lightness." was popularized by William Bushnell Stout, although perhaps originated by Stout's aircraft designer Gordon Hooton. Chapman later adopted the philosophy.

"Simplicate" is not proper word, of course. Logically, the statement should be "simplify, and reduce weight". My guess is that it is a negation of something like "complicate, and add weight", used to suggest an approach which is the opposite of common trend.

Applied to a travel trailer, this philosophy implies the elimination of unnecessary components or systems, which results in weight reduction. That is, perhaps leave the microwave oven and television at home, and thus be able to leave out the AC electrical system as well.

1979 Boler B1700RGH, pulled by 2004 Toyota Sienna LE 2WD
Information is good. Lack of information is not so good, but misinformation is much worse. Check facts, and apply common sense liberally.
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Old 12-08-2012, 05:14 PM   #58
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Name: Glenn ( second 'n' is silent )
Trailer: 2009 Escape 17B '08 RAV4 SPORT V6
British Columbia
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Another option being, to just stay home.

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Old 12-08-2012, 05:18 PM   #59
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Name: george
Trailer: FunFinder
Posts: 455
The trouble with, simplifying the engineered pieces to 'add lightness' is that it typically adds astronomical costs. That's fine in an aeroplane, and especially so in a combat aircraft, because every pound of saved weight in the plane itself, is another pound of fuel or munitions you can carry, which of course is the purpose of the mission.

You want to build a lightweight camper trailer, you surely could do it using exotic materials ( titanium, etc ) for the frame, perhaps magnesium for the wheels and carbon fibre for the shell. Bring money. Whole wheelbarrows full of money. Before you do all that you'd do well to run some honest numbers of what it's possible to save in fuel costs and vehicle costs, then compare it to what is already commercially available. Come back and tell us how many miles you will have to tow to reach the pay off point.
Interesting discussion. Would certainly make a real conversation camper around the campground. Who's gonna step up and do it ! ???

I still say a teardrop camper may make the most overall sense from a towing standpoint when it comes to dragging something down the road with a very small tow vehicle. Whether you actually want to camp in it becomes a personal decision. I met a couple in Texas last March that were traveling with a teardrop behind their Land Cruiser suv/wagon. The little camper was "well used".....and they told me they loved it.
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Old 12-08-2012, 06:30 PM   #60
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Name: Barley
Trailer: In the market
Posts: 14
Originally Posted by Frederick L. Simson

You're a Hypermiler?
Well, by definition I am not a hypermiler, but I can certainly appreciate the concept of efficiency. Generally I take a pragmatic approach to most things:

Improving MPG:
- I don't turn off mp the engine at red lights, depending how long the light is, it may take more fuel to do this. And then there's the added stress to the starter - cars aren't really designed for this.
- I don't purposely antagonize other drivers to influence their driving: sounds like a recipe for road rage
- in California (where I live) it is almost unsafe to drive below 55mph. But I don't go much over 60 when cruising.
- I have a standard trans and I do have the habit of coasting wherever safe and appropriate (this does a great deal to improve MPG).
- I do have a ScanGauge that helps me learn the big gas wasting tendencies (pretty much all hard accelerations and hills!!)

Lightening a trailer:
I don't really want to give up too much comfort (one of the reasons I like the idea of a trailer is comfort and convenience), but there may be some unneeded or unnecessary things:
- I don't think I need a TV when I have an IPad (works great for watching movies while traveling)
- I'm not sure if I need a full stove when there are many self contained lightweight camping stove on the market (there are even some ovens!)
- I'm not sure a microwave would be needed, generally works fast but I'm not crazy about what it does to food!
- a jug of water seems to be plenty for two people over a couple of days (handy wipes are great as well!)
- bedding: I have a really nice set of lightweight down sleeping bags that zip together if needed (really warm and cozy!)

The things I like about a small stand-up trailer:
- a comfortable bed!!!!!
- a place with a table to eat, play games, check maps, read, watch movies, etc.
- an enclosed place to cook (even if its cold and raining).
- almost no set-up time, it's ready to go immediately (makes those spontaneous weekend trips even more enticing!!)
- you can leave the gear in the trailer all the time (again, ready to go at the drop of a hat!)
- it is safe (or feels that way)
- it is quiet (more so than a tent anyway)
- it is private

One of the reasons I want a trailer is so that I can have a good "home base" for my cycling events, without needing to pay for a hotel every time I leave my neighborhood. I'm an ultra distance cyclist and most of my events are all day events, so having a "sanctuary" waiting for me after a long hard day on the bike seems very appealing! Sometimes (most of the times) it's difficult to really rest in a tent, and then there is all the time required to set up and take down. Even a teardrop seems inconvenient for cooking or changing clothes (essential for my needs!)

Hope this clears a few things up (at least in terms of needs)...
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Old 12-08-2012, 10:00 PM   #61
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Name: Denece
Trailer: Compact II
Posts: 314
Our Compact II came pretty much stripped.
It has very thin fiberglass lay-up. Just enough to maintain shape, barely
It has the advantage of a bed large enough for two adults to sleep in ( many don't) and a closet large enough for a privacy room for the potty ( who wants to " go" in full view?).
We removed the Uninsulated ice box to make a big space to store bedding in the daytime. Our old ice chest is still in good shape.
We had to add a battery, since there was none, and recharge it with a 20 watt solar panel ( about three pounds). And changed over to LED lights. Our iPads will provide any entertainment needs.
Changed out the electric / manual water set up for a foot pump to the magnificent 10 gallon supply. We can carry extra in jugs when we boondock
We have car camped for years so have the gear pretty much minimalized. The three burners on the cooktop are more than we plan to ever need, but no sense downgrading it to a two- burner since it does work. No oven, no microwave
My comment on the framing had to do with the cabinetry frames inside the camper. On ours the frames are very light pine and the doors are all hollow core. The newer ones seem to have more " upscale" cabinetry, hence more weight
The pop-top eliminates a foot or so of height that equals resistance when towing.

Since you seem pretty sure the tear drop is not your cup of tea, you might look into a pop-top. There are a number out there. Once you settle on what you really want as far as amenities , it's just a matter of customizing A trailer is handy as far as having all your gear ready and waiting when you are. The " real weights" on this site are invaluable, as is manufacturers data on weight. Shopping over the winter will help in that most people who plan to sell have made that decision by summers end, and bad, because in lots of locations the eggs are all put away for winter

Have fun hunting! It's just the start of the good times!

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Old 12-09-2012, 09:20 AM   #62
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Name: george
Trailer: FunFinder
Posts: 455
To the OP, how about a little joe, or little joe ponderosa ?
I had forgotten about that brand, but when I did a search to see what Denece's Compact looked like, I saw a reference to the little joe.
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Old 12-09-2012, 10:17 AM   #63
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Name: Hazel
Trailer: Trillium
Posts: 577
We didn't seem to have too many feasible options when we bought our first trailer. We bought a Ventura because that was what was available locally. After a few years I started looking for a Trillium and that is what we use now.

As we used to be tent campers and occasionally took overnight trips in the canoe we already had lightweight gear. Decision made - use what we've got.

By choice we have no water supply, no tv, no microwave - but I DO like my fridge! We added a fairly heavy canopy with a pointy top that has windwalls and bug screens. This 'saved our sanity' when we camped in northern Manitoba and got hit by a blizzard.

Reading this forum is very informative - but when it comes to deciding what to buy we sometimes find the decision made for us. Personally I prefer to have a camper that isn't 'perfect' than wait for a year or two without camping. I preferred to look within a comfortable driving distance. For some, the cost is important too - certainly some can order a custom made trailer - others need to keep the cost below about $5000.

Wishing you a fun time however your rig finishes up - lighter, heavier, stripped or packed isn't what I find most important. For me USING it is what provides joyful times.
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Old 12-09-2012, 06:30 PM   #64
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Name: Ron
Trailer: 2008 13' Scamp
British Columbia
Posts: 325
Originally Posted by Andrew Gibbens View Post
I think the full quote is "simplicate, and add lightness" - on the grounds that engineers have an awful tendency to complicate and add weight. .
And it's also the opposite of the "belt and braces" approach that while might seem to add safety sometimes results in an item weighing twice as much as it has to.

I've always gone for lightweight components, more so now after building my car. It just becomes a habit.

If I had to do a major rehab on a trailer I would do several things that would result in a lighter unit. But I wouldn't be too obsessive about it because of the realization that with its shape, aero drag is more of a factor than weight.

Still, I lighten things when I can. Even simple things like my bike rack I just made. Any extra material that doesn't have to be there, gone

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Old 12-09-2012, 07:55 PM   #65
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Name: Barley
Trailer: In the market
Posts: 14
Just curious, has anybody here actually replaced the steel trailer (base) on their 13" fiberglass trailer?

Is there a resource that has these, or does it need to be custom?

How much weight does it drop?

About how much will it cost (or did it cost - if you did it)?
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Old 12-09-2012, 08:59 PM   #66
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Name: Floyd
Trailer: 2004 13 ft Scamp Custom Deluxe
Posts: 6,847
Originally Posted by Andrew Gibbens View Post
You probably want to learn to accept that idea - it's becoming common in Europe for cars to have stop/start fitted and if/when the EPA includes the effect in the official fuel consumption tests, you will probably get it too.

I'm on my second car with this feature and after a little acclimatisation, you get used to it and start to wonder why others have their engines running when they're not moving. The car is fitted with a stronger starter motor and has a sort of regenerative braking (normally the alternator only charges the battery when the brakes are being applied - so electrical power is 'free'). It's good for something like 1-2mpg in urban use of European cars, so maybe -1 mpg on North American-sized vehicles.

If I come to a stop, put the manual gearbox in neutral and let up the clutch, the ECU decides that I don't want the engine temporarily and, if a long list of conditions are met, it switches the engine off. As soon as I touch the clutch pedal, the engine restarts itself - with a small petrol/gas engine, it is just about possible to stall the engine by letting the clutch up too soon, but now I've switched to a diesel, I can't 'beat the system'.

Many people believe that this is bad for engines, because they know cold starts cause lots of wear, but one of the conditions for the ECU to operate the stop/start is that the engine is up to temperature. There are many, many other conditions - which are fun to try to 'reverse engineer' from the car's behaviour.

Apparently some manufacturers have worked out how to apply this to automatic gearboxes, but as yet it's only fitted to cars with manual gearboxes.

From your alien correspondent
I know of a Scion XB which recently got a simple knock sensor replaced ...Value (about $15),cost ($160), cost including labor at a local shop ($740), cost at the dealer (about $1100). This part is solid state and involves no moving parts.

No question that Rube Goldberg is is a famous engineer, but do you really want him or his ilk designing your next car? The repair costs will outwegh the return in terms of fuel savings or environmental impact, even if the system meets predicted failure rates.

I had a 1980 carburated truck with a 4.9L engine on which I fitted a compucruise unit, At Idle, with the choke open, this truck used less than a pint of fuel per hour. Hopefully a newer, smaller engine with direct fuel injection and all the other modern "improvements" should cut that in half.
If the average traffic light then costs 1 minute of time at idle (green and red combined) it would then take 60 lights to save one cup of fuel. That does not include the additional fuel wasted at shutdown and start up. Complication just to be clever seems foolish to me.

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