From Cheap Kit to Improved Trailer

You’ve seen them, the inexpensive bolt-together Harbor Freight trailer kits.  While they pack a lot of function, they unfortunately are often something like a rattle trap.  (Not always, of course.)  While they have a cheap rap, they sell a lot of them because there’s not much better for an occasional light duty use.  And, easy trailer storage.

This is a story of making the cheap trailer kit into something much improved.  As mentioned before, there is always more to learn when looking at other DIY projects.  While this customer story is a little different, it still fits the DIY paradigm of making something you need.  This trailer build is no exception.

First, Thank You.   We appreciate seeing the photos here with the story — and the many photo views.  We also appreciate all the detail things you’ve added to what some would consider a cheap Harbor Freight trailer.  It’s obviously much more than that now.  Thanks for sending it in.

This story comes from “BugPete” via our Customer Story Submission Form.  Here is the story in his words.

Customer Story:

Improving a Harbor Freight Trailer – from “BugPete”

I built this trailer as a kit from Harbor Freight’s Super Duty trailer frame kit.  The kit cost about $450.  The total cost when complete was close to $2500.  It was built for my last landlord so she can eliminate a monthly bill.  She loved the trailer once it was complete.

Major Trailer Mods

It was my first trailer I ever built.  I’ve now got the building bug and can’t wait to build my next trailer.  This time for myself.

The design beyond the frame is my own.  Everyone that’s seen this has said what a great job I did.  It is a tilt deck as well.  My next trailer will be from scratch entirely.  No frame to start with.  At least that’s my plan.  Depends on budget of course.


Thank You For The Story

We’re glad your landlord likes the work.  Hopefully that’s not part of why she’s your past landlord 🙂  From what I can see you took a cheap base Harbor Freight trailer kit (folding trailer) and made it into something much better.  Good job with the improvements.

Funny how building makes you only want more — and better.  I personally find the DIY building paradigm very satisfying.  Hopefully this is just the start of great things for you.   These stories stimulate creativity, and we think that’s awesome.  Rock on.

Thank you for sending story and photos.

To Our Readers

If you’re looking for inspiration, use this story and also others on our site.  Also, please see the trailer rebuild story of a few weeks ago, and the Unique Trailer build story.  Just type “Customer Story” in the Show Me search box at the top of the page.  You can build from something like some of these, or you can build your own from scratch using one of the great sets of fully engineered trailer plans in our plans store.

Build the trailer, then customize it to fit your personality.  As above, a trailer makes a great project that you too can share and submit your own customer success story.  Thank you for visiting Mechanical Elements.

Photos of the Harbor Freight Trailer Re-Think

More photos that came with the story are here.  (These are cropped and sized from the originals to fit the web size and to minimize page load time.)  To compare, you might look up the Harbor Freight trailer, Haul Master folding trailer, and see the photos.  Don’t laugh too hard at the descriptions of “Heavy Duty” and “Super Duty”.  They’re good for what they do, but they are in no way “Heavy Duty”.  That said, it’s a great substitute as a small trailer instead of a truck.  Enjoy.

Harbor Freight Trailer Improvement

Two Rear Views

Started as a Harbor Freight Trailer

Tongue Deck


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