Paul Cotter

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Why Did I Build a Teardrop?

After deciding that we wanted to get off the ground when camping, the search started for a decent camper trailer. Being a bit of handyman, I wanted to make a project of it so I was looking for something to build myself.  My main requirement was that there was no canvas folding into the sleeping area and it had to be suitable for off road work. I searched the Web for alternatives and stumbled across Teardrops.

Building My Teardrop

The next 3-4 months were spent looking and searching for what we wanted. Once I had decide on the Benroy shape, the purchasing of materials and actual construction began. It took me about 12 months working on weekends to bring it to completion.

Chassis 50X50X3mm square tube. All Mitre cut and welded at home by my son in law and myself.
Tow Tube 75X75X3mm square tube. Cut to length and welded by myself.
Axle 45MM square, 1.5tonne, with 6 stud Hilux hubs and heavy duty bearings
Springs 750kg Universal Springmakers with rebound spring (no shocker required), eye to eye.
Hitch Treg off road hitch
Wheels 31X10X15 with rims to suit Hilux
Lights All exterior lights are LED type. Allows between 10-30volts.
Mudgaurds Custom Made
Extras Bumper to rear consists of 50X50X3 tube attached directly to rear of chassis. More of a bump stop than a full bumper. Bracing to tow tube from just in front of main chassis back to just in front of each spring hanger. Chassis bracing at each spring hanger.
Walls 16mm ply with 50X16 studs and apple rose veneer interior cladding. Fully insulated
Roof 6mm waterproof MDF with 50x32 stringers and apple rose interior cladding. Fully insulated
Floor 16mm ply with 30X16 spacing studs covered with 12mm waterproof MDF. Fully insulated. Exterior cover: 1.6mm fibreglass sheeting glued with contact adhesive.
Windows Fiamma double insulated with inbuilt curtain and flyscreen Roof vent: Fiamma with reversible 12v fan Inside lighting: 12v quartz halogen caravan lights with inbuilt switch Radio/CD/MP3 player with 6" speakers for entertainment.
Battery 12v1000A/H Deep discharge wired through a master switch to Marine style switchable fuse panel. 1 only 12v cigarette lighter style accesory plug in battery area( for extra lighting or fridge)
Jockey Wheel Old Style with inbuilt side winder purchased from Maytow Caravans. The underside of the chassis and floor has been double coated with Orminoid Brush on roofing/sealing tar.

As this was my first build, and I relied on my own wits to fathom most of it out, a lot of what I did was trial and error. I would not use the 6mm MDF on the roof again as it is too heavy and does not like being bent too tightly. I would probably go for 12mm on the walls rather than 16mm to achieve a lighter build. Even though our trailer will be used offroad, I do not think that heavy equals strength. With the axle, my next build will definitely have some form of braking. Only to limit the amount of push from the trailer when negotiating steep terrain. I will also be having a full galley on the next one. The only reason I did not do it on this one is because our main touring vehicle is fully equipped in this regard.

I must thank Larry and Diane Sorrensen in the States. Because of the offroader they built I was able to see that what I wanted was possible and practicable. (see Larry's web page)

Taking It Out And About

At this point in time we have baptised our van by taking it to Beachport (South Australia) for our first time out. Over the next few months we will be doing the Offroad thing with it to see how it stands up to the rigours of rough work. What surprised me with building our own was the help available via the Web for any problems that I needed to sort out.

More Photos

Storage and power

Newer Model

Paul has since made another two teardrop campers.  Here are some pictures of #3, built in 2007.



Paul Cotter's Teardrop, built in Adelaide, South Australia, 2005. Email Paul

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