Sunline RV Forum
Sunline User Photos

Go Back   Sunline Coach Owner's Club > Model Specific Forums > Sunline Travel Trailers
Click Here to Login

Join Sunline Club Forums Today


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 06-25-2018, 10:50 AM   #1
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 71
SUN #10636
holmzie is an unknown quantity at this point
Travel Trailer to Tower Trailer conversion

Hi ya, Sunline Coach Owner's Club members! I hope i am in the right place for such a post...



The saga begins. For a kick, and some background see my first post where I introduced my self. You may want to kick me out of the club for what I want to do to the Sun Ray. Hope not.



I feel real lucky to get my hands on a scrap trailer. It’s a 1990 17” Sunline Star Ray T-170. Has a TITLE, that should arrive from PA this week. Gotta work on the tires, lights, and haul it home with a bootleg trailer plate at night. No brakes yet, but it’s empty. Hope to wash it first so as to not attract attention. Going from Morris Plains to Farmingdale NJ, about 60 miles.


I have started to scour through the forums here and have already picked out much useful information. Very glad to be here.



I have attached the only outside pic I have so far. AND a .pdf of a typical Tower/Trailer (having no integrated shelter) AND a sketch of my plans, out of scale of course.


My tow vehicle is a 2010 F150 with tow package. I just finished installing a pair of 1900 lb rear leaf springs, original (1500 lbs) on left side was broken.


The more I look at the trailer box, the more I want to keep front 2/3s of it. I DON’T have experience digging in to walls and floors on a trailer like this, I don’t even know how it attaches to the frame. I will learn.


So I haven’t made a decision yet on how I will proceed, other than getting her home ASAP. What I see is what I get.


I THINK I’m a pretty darn smart feller, so I can figure out the wiring harness on the trailer…?!? or CAN I ? To challenge me, somebody just cut the end off, right against the frame. I know there are brakes, lights, perhaps a break-away circuit. May be a 12 volt battery charging circuit. That means there’s a battery and a charger/power supply around somewhere, (which you folks call a “converter”?).


Priority is lights for now, to get her home. If I could also roll the wheels and listen for noise, I will. Don’t know how much my “seller” will tolerate my pulling hubs off and given’r some grease. May have no choice, but he towed it from PA two years ago without a problem.


So, If you tolerate me or at least humor me, I sure would like to get some direction, comments, suggestions from you all.


Weight limitations: How much stuff, ie weight do or can folks carry in the trailer when you travel in a 17 footer? (dry weight said to be 2230 lbs?, GVWR 4000 lbs.)


Help!….I am to re-do the brakes. Service the hubs, check the bearings. I’ll look for posts but if you have a few in mind, love to see ‘e. Is there a wiring diagram post for a T-170 around? Also any pictures or diagrams of framing, flooring and the like, and suggested posts?


Hope you like my sketch, (!?!?) good for a laugh, anyway>


I am very grateful for your comments and suggestions! <holmzie> N2EXG
p { margin-bottom: 0.1in; line-height: 120%; }
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Star Ray trailer.jpg (157.0 KB, 15 views)
File Type: jpg TowerTrailerSketch.jpg (43.6 KB, 20 views)
File Type: jpg TowerTrailer example.jpg (23.6 KB, 20 views)
__________________

__________________
holmzie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2018, 11:06 AM   #2
Member
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 31
SUN #9421
UNIXdude is an unknown quantity at this point
I don’t have much to offer for advice, however I understand what you are trying to achieve. Looks like something for Field Day and other amateur radio operations and mobile contests ...

The only advice I can think of is be very careful with weight, balance point and center of gravity. The structure that will be required for that tower being that high when the tower is at rest and that far back would scare me too much. If you look at the trailer you are seeking to build, when at rest the tower components are very low to the ground and stable. Your sketch moves that weight much higher and would probably flip much easier than a standard trailer.

I’m really interested in how this turns out.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
__________________

__________________
UNIXdude is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2018, 11:10 AM   #3
Member
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 31
SUN #9421
UNIXdude is an unknown quantity at this point
Another thought .... a telescoping mast, like they use in mobile TV news vans might be a safer conversion. I doubt it would give you as much height as the tower you are trying to build, but it would be structurally easier to buildand would keep the weight much lower.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
__________________
UNIXdude is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2018, 12:25 PM   #4
Moderator
 
Sunline Fan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Michigan
Posts: 5,763
SUN #123
Sunline Fan is an unknown quantity at this point
Quote:
Originally Posted by holmzie View Post
You may want to kick me out of the club for what I want to do to the Sun Ray. Hope not.
Not at all, this is a cool project! We love those, especially when there's a lot of engineering involved. I do ask that you try to make your old parts available to other members when you're done. Does the trailer have an owner's manual in it?
__________________
2007 T-286SR Cherry/Granola, #6236, original owner, current mileage: 9461.2 (as of 10/01/16)
1997 T-2653 Blue Denim, #5471
1979 12 1/2' MC, Beige & Avocado, #4639
Past Sunlines: '97 T-2653 #5089, '94 T-2251, '86 T-1550, '94 T-2363, '98 T-270SR
Sunline Fan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2018, 05:37 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Maine
Posts: 2,579
SUN #2097
mainah is an unknown quantity at this point
70' is a really big lever with antennas on top of it. I don't think weight will be your issue unless you intend to ballast it and that may not be a bad ideal. I have been in bucket trucks in high wind and that's not a lot of fun even a 30' feet with a 5 ton truck under it. N3LYT here pretty familiar with towers and wind.
__________________
mainah is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-27-2018, 09:19 AM   #6
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 71
SUN #10636
holmzie is an unknown quantity at this point
Hey there mainah, Sunline Fan and UNIXdude, Tks for your interest. I hope you don't mind my rather verbose style, I tend to run off a the fingers...



Say, UNIXdude, Sound like u didn't see the pix's I attached on your iphone?



Incidentally, I'm writing this on one of 3 Linux Mint box I manage (18.3). All Dual boot to Win7 which I hardly use.



And Yes about Ham Radio and Field Day, etc. Our club just finished Field Day at Marucci Park in Spring Lake NJ Sunday! For those who don't know, Field day is a national exercise encouraging communications preparedness (and a contest) we Hams do on the last full weekend of June each year. Most of us set up our radios and antennas in a campsite-like scenario, independent of the grid. Using batteries, a generator or a vehicle for power, we make as many contact in a continuous 24 hour period as we can throughout North America and internationally. Other comments below, UNIXdude!



Sun Line fan: I will make the parts available If I don't need 'em. I don't know about the manual, would be nice!



mainah: Oh Yah, a BIG lever. Check out the bottom pix, thats a commercial trailer tower with the same tower I have!



Regarding the tower/trailer, etc: Yah its not a rig that ya would drag to just any old camp site. The Original "Tri-Ex Tower company" manufactured this tower in the 80's -90's as a free standing crank up tower with a tilt-over option, (which I don't have, I have to build it).



The tilt-over eyelets are 8' up from the base, to where I bolted the boom I welded up to tilt her down onto some 20' logs (so as not to crush the winch). The 1200lb tower produced an estimated 3000 lbs at the tip of the boom at the lowest angle!



This commercial triangular tower winches up to 70', has a positive power down to about 23'. That commercial trailer/tower in the bottom pix has my same tower on it. I am fashioning my design after this example. The tower will have a "laid to rest height" of 9' from the ground, with the point of the triangle pointing down, incorrect in my sketch, showed it up. Balance in stowed position is critical, yes.



When vertical, the tower BASE is about 1 foot off the ground: Outriggers and jacks are designed to RAISE and LEVEL the trailer, which is the first step before deploying the tower to the vertical position. Guy wires are used to support the tower when it is raised. I wouldn't raise it more than the 35' level without 'em.



Trailered vs/ Free-standing tower:


When installed freestanding with a concrete base, the 70' tower presents around 10 tons of pressure at the bottom of the structure at rated wind load! They are very clear about this!



A trailer/tower, on the other hand, manages lateral loads created by wind via guy wires. The trailer base and outriggers predominately manage the vertical load and the torsional (twisting) load.



So...I am set to construct this setup with the parts I have, not the parts I wish I had. If the frame is substantial, and I want more weight capacity, someday I can upgrade axles, suspension, and wheels.



Ahhh, the words keep flowing...Somebody STOP ME!


Why Ham Radio? It's fun, especially when your out there in the middle of nowhere. Ya don't need a tower, really. you can just string a wire up in a tree or use a mount held down by your tire. There are camper groups and round tables (nets) out there. We have repeaters you can use a handheld radio with. We have digital modes that you can use low power or with your computer soundcard or tablet. We even have our own ham satellites up there. The technology and camaraderie make it cool.



I also fiddle with routers and long distance wifi antennas, terrestrial and satellite TV, If anyone needs some help. Ok, thats enough! C U soon.
__________________
holmzie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-27-2018, 10:49 AM   #7
Member
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 31
SUN #9421
UNIXdude is an unknown quantity at this point
I'm also a HAM, so is mainah. Just got back from using my Sunline as the GOTA station for SJRA in Marlton, NJ for Field Day. K2AA is our club call and we used W2EA for our GOTA station.

I did see your drawings. The commercial trailer you pictured is exactly what I assumed you were attempting to merge into a Sunline trailer. Burlington County has one and I've seen them at Hamvention. Weight and balance are crucial on a trailer. Get it wrong and you become a statistic .... and not in a good way. I would be really nervous with having 1200#'s at 8' on a travel trailer in the folded position on the road. If it starts swaying or during a panic maneuver, which happens easier than you think, I can easily imagine that falling over and taking the tow vehicle with it. Hence my comments in my original post. BTW, we use several AB-577 former military towers.

It will be an awesome mobile station when you can work out the weight and balance. Your Field Day site is about a 1-1.5 hour drive from me. I'm on the NJ side of the Delaware River, across from Philadelphia. I would be curious to come up and see your progress in person.

As for UNIX ... I started out with FreeBSD 2.1.5R and Solaris 2.6; I use M$ when I have to, but I'm not M$'s biggest fan. Congratulations on
__________________
UNIXdude is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-27-2018, 11:24 AM   #8
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Maine
Posts: 2,579
SUN #2097
mainah is an unknown quantity at this point
I only have a very dumb flip phone. Field day was a bust for us it poured buckets and the bands were flat. I generally run the GOTA (get on the air it's for people that have never tried radio) station for the club on 15 meters with a deep cycle and a 100 watt solar panel no sun this time but it really didn't matter no one showed up! A tower that size really should have 3 guys and dead men it would be considered "free standing". I see a good deal of cell tower trailers more in the 25' range with a lot less wind load. I think the trailer frame would be fine they are rated for a full load and at least 2,000# of "house" on it's back it's the height and wind load that I question. Your outriggers should be able to lift the suspension off the ground to take any suspension sway out of the scenario such as they do with crane trucks. One more thing to think about is liability just in case it does come down on someone's house or them! If you intend to use this as a club tower the ARRL has some pretty good prices on insurance for clubs, our club is insured for 2 million. We have a pair of 2 foot Ubiquity dishes for our DMR and Fusion internet links gives us access to the world with our handhelds. W1MWV.com
__________________
mainah is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-27-2018, 11:37 AM   #9
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Maine
Posts: 2,579
SUN #2097
mainah is an unknown quantity at this point
Here is my rig on the sunline it's in a hinged reciever bolted to the back of the camper. The dipole is set for 17 in the photo. it is the remains of an old 10 meter beam the elements slid inside one another it can be used on 10,12,15 and 17. The poles are 24 feet they are guyed and the entire rig is about 25# My usual camping antenna is a screwdriver with a cap hat just easier to assemble and take down but if I really want to reach out the dipole is best.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_1802 (683x1024).jpg (86.9 KB, 17 views)
__________________
mainah is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-28-2018, 10:03 AM   #10
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 71
SUN #10636
holmzie is an unknown quantity at this point
My Signed Title is in the MAIL!

Hey folks, My Signed Title is in the MAIL! Whow BOY!

Good to have some Hams in the group, Mainah and UNIXdude!

Some of this is redundant. Sorry for that:

Yah, the outriggers are for raising and leveling the whole trailer off the suspension. I have the instructions for the deployment of the commercial trailer unit with the same tower on it. They and any other jacks have to take the full vertical load of the tower, antennas, and the GUY WIRE load!

The tower/trailer will be mostly in my 1 acre back yard. When OMARC goes for an outing, we carry insurance.

I am sure that because of the age and neglect of the trailer, and the massive carpenter ant invasion, we'll end up stripping it down to the frame, which I will do carefully. I'll save everything but the wood.

"It's like getting a big grab-bag on wheels: ya never know what ya get until you open it up"

Here are some pics of the tower before removal including my tilt-over boom construction. I know, a little off subject, ain't it?

The last PIC 7742 has the tower's eyelets or "Hinge Points" visible, used for tilting the tower down around 8' up from the base. The tower front would be supported by a V shaped cradle at the front of the trailer just as the commercial unit does. In other words, the "flat" side of the triangle is on top when the tower is laying down. Since that's the hight point, the tower's mass would be somewhat below that level in the center of the triangle.


Can't wait.

<holmzie> N2EXG
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 7730Reduced.jpg (176.6 KB, 10 views)
File Type: jpg 7727Reduiced.jpg (204.5 KB, 10 views)
File Type: jpg 7735Reduced.jpg (201.0 KB, 9 views)
File Type: jpg 7742Reduced.jpg (153.7 KB, 9 views)
__________________
holmzie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2018, 08:36 AM   #11
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 71
SUN #10636
holmzie is an unknown quantity at this point
Question fer ya folks:

Searched n found folks rebuilding Sunlines and actually starting from scratch, everything on top of the frame. Very interesting... I didn't realize the outer skin is aluminum, not fiberglas. Learned a lot, but still not sure about some things:

Question: How is the aluminum skin attached to the trailer? It's not obvious to the casual eye from the outside. Is it possible to remove the "skin" without damaging it?

Comments?: Any warning how to remove stuff that "we" want to save. Not looking to sell for big bucks. Windows, door, tanks, converter (mite be too noisy for a Mobile Communications Platform). Are there intact cabinetry items someone may want? I did notice dampness and mildew inside, and I did not step past the door, but cabinets looked ok from the outside.

I noticed our posters rebuilding whole walls, attach to a sill plate base, attached to the trailer frame. I have pics of the guy ripping some lumber to size, like 1"x 1 1/2" instead of 2" x 4" s, and make the wall framing with that. Really good craftsmanship, like building fine cabinetry!

Question: Is it the plywood (lauan?) (plywood?) covering the wall (and ceiling) frames that gives the structure rigidity? am I missing something?


<holmzie> N2EXG
__________________
holmzie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2018, 10:07 AM   #12
Moderator
 
Sunline Fan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Michigan
Posts: 5,763
SUN #123
Sunline Fan is an unknown quantity at this point
The siding is stapled along the bottom edge. Start by removing the corner moldings- remove the vinyl insert trim that covers the screws, and remove the screws. If you don't have a socket attachment for a drill, I highly recommend getting one. There will be A LOT of 1/4" head screws to remove. Once all the screws are out of the trim, peel it back from the corner. It may take a little force because the putty will hold it.

Next, remove the plastic fender skirts and any other accessories screwed on the siding. They are all screwed on too, likely with putty tape.

Then, start removing the staples along the bottom edge. The bottom siding panel should drop out- it interlocks with the panel above it.

Every panel going up from there is stapled on the interlock part of the metal, that the panel below it hides. They are stapled at every wall stud. When you remove all those staples, the next panel will come off.

Once all the aluminum is off, you can unscrew the cabinets. They are very likely screwed from the outside, through the wall panel and into the cabinet. This is the easiest and cleanest way to remove the cabinets.

At some point, you'll want to find a way to remove the A/C unit, before the framing becomes too weak.

I believe the roof metal is stapled on just like side metal, and then the sealant is "painted" on top of all the seams.

I'd be interested in a cutout of the best StarRay decal, as well as the owner's manual binder, if it's in there.

Anything furniture and appliance wise, if no one on here is interested, put it on Craigslist. People seem to have decent interest in items like this for building their own trailer, building a shed, etc.

It may make you think, with all the work that it'll take to strip this down to the frame, why not just clean it up, sell it, and then buy a flatbed trailer that would give you the same thing? I would bet an open car trailer or utility trailer of about the same length would be worth about the same.
__________________
2007 T-286SR Cherry/Granola, #6236, original owner, current mileage: 9461.2 (as of 10/01/16)
1997 T-2653 Blue Denim, #5471
1979 12 1/2' MC, Beige & Avocado, #4639
Past Sunlines: '97 T-2653 #5089, '94 T-2251, '86 T-1550, '94 T-2363, '98 T-270SR
Sunline Fan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2018, 05:25 PM   #13
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Maine
Posts: 2,579
SUN #2097
mainah is an unknown quantity at this point
Yes the entire thing is put together from the outside cabinets counters etc. before the insulation and siding goes on. The roof is folded over the edge of the siding then fastened with something approaching 10,000 staples then the rain gutter is put on with several dozen screws.
__________________
mainah is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 07-02-2018, 08:29 PM   #14
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 71
SUN #10636
holmzie is an unknown quantity at this point
Hey Mainah, Hey Sun line fan, Happy 2nd of July...

Wowzer. Lots of staples, lots of screws, and how else could disassembly be done? Wowzer.

Sunline fan, If i thought I could get a return for the trailer that would cover the cost of a flat bed without the extra time and effort...then?

Indecently, The Star Ray decal has the bottom of the "y" missing as you can see by the photo. Believe me, I will make and and all print and photo materials available, so much as to allow anyone to make a print to provide to a printer for a decal for their Sun Ray.

The other thing, Mainah, is that I don't expect that this is viable travel trailer, I'm expecting rot, no floor left, damage from 15 years of carpenter ants, interior water damage. Once it has a water leak, it rots from the inside out like a fish. Now I'm not sure about this as I was just seeking a viable flat bed trailer, If my assessment of the trailer as a whole is different I will let everyone know.

Now I know how it is assembled, I see that staples (or screws*) would have to be picked out one by one with flush cutting "dikes" (diagonal cutters) (wire cutters!) which I have already, or can make by grinding the face of some conventional dike cutters. If questions, ask me. We use flush cutting dikes to cut leads on circuit boards back in the old days.

Mainah: Tks for your info too...Great.

The fact of the matter is: I need a trailer that can get this tower off the property. Now! It is my own sweat equity that will produce this trailer in a timely fashion, and I may indeed EVENTUALLY recoup some of my expenses by selling parts that I removed carefully, (at a reasonable price?) I have lots of expediting, packing and crating experience , Light and strong... Foam, Baby! FOAM!

SOOO...I just received the title, and will "walk" the trailer "home" at some day soon at happy hour or the dead of knight here in jersey.

Rogue? Yah, Im a big tough guy. not.
but I'll get it done.
<holmzie> N2EXG
__________________

__________________
holmzie is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Power conversion problem Budman Repairs and Maintenance 10 07-15-2015 10:42 AM
Propane conversion awellis3 Sunline Community 6 11-02-2011 05:35 PM
Quick cool AC conversion ??? Sunline1 Modifications 2 06-01-2010 02:12 PM
Dexter Axle Over-Under Conversion Kit Sunline Fan Modifications 12 07-04-2007 09:24 AM



» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by Sunline RV or any of its affiliates. This is an independent, unofficial site.


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:30 AM.