When the rubber meets the road, that’s when the feeling of real accomplishment kicks in. This is the first on-road trailer test with (with video) of our new frame and funky walking beam suspension design.
We have a lot to catch you up on with building the trailer, but for now, we’re going to jump ahead with video of the first trailer test ride.
Progressing To The Trailer Test
As you know from our previous posts on Economics, then on Trailer Build Progress and “How to setup a Trailer Frame“, we’ve been working on a new trailer design that has a few quirky design enhancements. (Maybe we can stretch it to design innovations?) Anyway, the garage is busy and there hasn’t been time to catch up on the posts. Sorry, we’ll get to that in the coming weeks.
Since some of the features are new, we definitely want a trailer test before taking the parts in for powder coat. And, we made a few adjustments in order to do the testing. You’ll see in the video that there are large clamps holding the suspension on. (Not a recommended technique, but fine for a quick test.) We wanted to be sure it all worked as expected before finalizing the axle position and welding.
So, after testing the portions we could in the garage, we pulled it out and hooked it up. You can see some of the unique things like the long tongue and the walking beam suspension with torsion axles. Other than the clamps, loose wiring and magnet lights, we think it has a pretty nice look. Let us know what you think in the comments below.
Good thing the “wrong” people didn’t notice the lack of a license plate !! Most would be pretty understanding, I think. I hope, anyway.
The Test Ride Video
Here is some video from our first drive. Unfortunately, with the truck moving and the trailer moving, you can’t really see the suspension motion in the video. The camera shutter speed is just not fast enough to capture the action. You can definitely see it with your eye, so maybe soon we’ll hook up the GoPro on the trailer and see what we get. I’m sure that camera will give a more accurate view.
Anyway, here are a few short clips of the first trailer test drive.
The video is not too impressive, though the “rubber” frame rails are kind of funny looking. I think the refresh rate of the camera compliments the motion of the trailer just enough to make the frame rails look like jiggly rubber. 🙂 Good thing it’s not about the video quality, so we can focus on the test instead.
Update: Check out the GoPro video taken of the suspension. It’s better quality video for sure, and placement of the camera lets you see a bunch more. That trailer test is a lot more demanding as well. And, it shows the torsion axles on the walking beam much better. Much better video, for sure.
What Did We Learn?
The big takeaway from our first trailer test drive is the smoothness of the ride. Over about 40 mph, the trailer just disappears — meaning you can’t feel a thing from the drivers seat. (With the exception of big bumps and potholes, of course.) Smoothness is one of the objectives we set out for, so I’m pleased. The suspension helps with that, and so does the long tongue. The long tongue is probably too long in many practical ways, but it fills a need for this trailer, and it’s a great experiment. In this simple trailer test, we definitely feel the stability contribution.
The folding portion of the tongue is also an experiment, but that doesn’t really apply to this test. It certainly helps with storage space, but we’ll need to test that with regular use and much higher loads. That’s a different kind of trailer test.
Need more? Here are more posts about how the walking beam suspension works, and how the long tongue folds. Sometime soon we’ll also write a follow up about how we like each of these features (or not), including the weight balance. Check the Mechanics Post for a lot more information about this trailer, about building this trailer, and more. There’s even a good article on what we’d do different if we did it again. Worth thinking about even if this trailer doesn’t exactly apply to you.
By the way, If you want to build this walking beam suspension, plans are available. We have two sizes (two capacity versions) in the Mechanical Elements plans store.
Thanks for watching the video with us.