U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Automotive
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 1.5 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
Jump to a detailed profile or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Business Search - 14 Million verified businesses
Search for:  near: 
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 12-16-2009, 06:41 PM
 
16 posts, read 43,382 times
Reputation: 10
Default converting a small car into a two wheel trailer

hi im a new poster but have been reading parts of the City-Data forums for a few months now and i must say it is such an awesome resource. i have a pretty odd idea and i don't really know where (here or elsewhere on the internet) to ask, so i figure since i am planning to move in the future and will be asking questions later, why not register now

some background: i am a 19 years old dude living in New York, about halfway between NYC and Albany. i have a Chevy Astro van that is nearly ready to be put on the road. i plan to make a trip to Alaska and possibly move up there next summer. well enough about that, let me get to the point.

i have a 95 Honda Civic hatchback in my back yard that got into a front-end accident and has had it's engine, transmission, and other under-the-hood stuff removed. the front end is beyond repair and this thing (with no rust anywhere) is destined for the junk yard if i don't do something with it. currently i can put on front tires and dolly this, but part of the front end is screwed up in such a way that i couldn't roll this all-four-down for any real distance.

my idea is to chop off the front end just forward of the firewall and attach a trailer tongue on the front, probably bolted up where the steering components used to be. that isn't too hard for me to do. then wiring the taillights to a trailer harness, easy as pie. the car should be very lightweight, i am guessing around 1000lbs (these things have a 1700lb curb weight normally i am told). i am confident i can do the physical conversion.

my problem is though, after i do that, how do i register it as a trailer in New York? i have been over the DMV's website but their forms for homemade trailers are for things built from scratch. asking for things like receipts for materials and a BOM. i don't really know what i would put, or if i am even looking at the correct forms. im not sure it is even possible in New York.

the car was bought from a private party as a parts car for a hundred bucks. i am not sure if i have a title or not. i am wondering how this would affect how i go about registering.

i have spent a week at Google for answers on this. maybe i am not using the right terms, idk. the closest thing i have turned up is a picture of the rear-half of a Dodge Caravan with a tongue attached, with no helpful information.

also. when i go (and possibly move to) Alaska, how will this fly with their DMV?

one more thing, i have heard of long-term registering trailers in the state of Maine as a way of saving money on registration. is this something to look into?

sorry for the long post. i look forward to any info or help that may be offered. thanks!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 12-16-2009, 08:27 PM
 
Location: Planet Eaarth
8,958 posts, read 7,133,923 times
Reputation: 7193
Most farm supply, lowes, home depot, etc. sell really nice trailers for around $200 or less depending size so why mess with cuttin' up a car to make one ?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-16-2009, 08:58 PM
 
Location: West Michigan
12,152 posts, read 20,570,282 times
Reputation: 16133
Maine doesn't have a long term trailer registration. They had talked about it for some time, but they only offer a 1 year or 2 year registration for small trailers.

While I have never seen anyplace sell a new trailer for $200, I have to agree that just buying a pre-built or kit trailer would be much better. That hacked Civic body isn't going to give you much in the way of capacity for a trailer.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-16-2009, 10:04 PM
 
16 posts, read 43,382 times
Reputation: 10
part of the reason i would like to do the car is because i need it to be enclosed. new enclosed box trailers start at about $1800 from what i have seen and go up to 3500+ depending on dimensions and weight capacity.

it would be a place to keep tools and maybe haul small amounts of scrap metal. and for a long trip, a place to put extra stuff that won't fit in my van. i don't really require a whole lot of vertical room. i won't be hauling a lot of weight, at least i don't think.

a cargo trailer won't do me any good. if i do end up buying new, i will probably get a tow dolly instead. but thanks for suggesting.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-16-2009, 10:16 PM
 
1,632 posts, read 2,076,440 times
Reputation: 520
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tightwad View Post
Most farm supply, lowes, home depot, etc. sell really nice trailers for around $200 or less depending size so why mess with cuttin' up a car to make one ?
Oh boy, that was helpful!

The young man obviously has a plan to 'recycle' existing stuff, he is not asking for 'what is my cheapest way to have a trailer'. Duh.

To the OP: The folks I know that have turned parts of vehicles into trailers have simply gone to their local DMV and had it inspected and licensed. Granted, they knew what the DMV was looking for and I think you could find that out with a call or visit to them to find out those things, and that would make you legal for NY.

Since you do not know what the rules are in Alaska but are visiting first, you could check with them on your arrival with a 'legal' out of state trailer. If you don't stay they should honor the out of state registration. If you do stay and they do not accept your set up, you are not out much money and you have done your part to re-use and recycle.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-16-2009, 10:50 PM
 
16 posts, read 43,382 times
Reputation: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by deepcynic View Post
Oh boy, that was helpful!

The young man obviously has a plan to 'recycle' existing stuff, he is not asking for 'what is my cheapest way to have a trailer'. Duh.
yea thats me from the cars that pass thru here i try to strip out anything useful, wiring, heater cores, aftermarket speakers that people usually leave (never the amp tho they always take that =/), got a small mountain of fairly heavy wires and cables here that are always useful to have laying around.

Quote:
Originally Posted by deepcynic View Post
To the OP: The folks I know that have turned parts of vehicles into trailers have simply gone to their local DMV and had it inspected and licensed. Granted, they knew what the DMV was looking for and I think you could find that out with a call or visit to them to find out those things, and that would make you legal for NY.
my big thing is that this car has a VIN on it, possibly in more than one place. and i do not have the title as far as i know. i do have a receipt from the girl who sold it to me along with how much i paid. what should i do about that? rip off the VIN plate in the front window? do they assign you a new one?

i am to be honest, a bit afraid of calling the DMV because i don't want them to get the wrong idea or something. plus, i don't really know what to ask. i do know what makes a road-legal trailer and i am positive i can make this work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by deepcynic View Post
Since you do not know what the rules are in Alaska but are visiting first, you could check with them on your arrival with a 'legal' out of state trailer. If you don't stay they should honor the out of state registration. If you do stay and they do not accept your set up, you are not out much money and you have done your part to re-use and recycle.
thats what i was thinking, if i managed to get it registered in New York i would simply tow it with me to Alaska, and have them look at it. maybe i would stop in other states, time permitting, and let their motor vehicle departments take a look just for the heck of it.


i would like to thank you, very helpful post
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-17-2009, 11:10 AM
 
1,660 posts, read 2,367,634 times
Reputation: 585
Part the car out or sale it as a parts car, and then use the money to buy an enclosed trailer. That or you could maybe trade the car to a scrap yard for a truck with a camper and then make that into a trailer.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-17-2009, 11:38 AM
 
16 posts, read 43,382 times
Reputation: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Continental View Post
Part the car out or sale it as a parts car, and then use the money to buy an enclosed trailer. That or you could maybe trade the car to a scrap yard for a truck with a camper and then make that into a trailer.
sadly, its been parted out already. whats left of it nobody wants. as it is, if i do this i will actually be buying a RH door and a rear hatch for it.

i wouldn't bother with a camper because there are too many by-products of such a conversion that cost money to get rid of, not to mention the work.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-17-2009, 11:44 AM
 
Location: Planet Eaarth
8,958 posts, read 7,133,923 times
Reputation: 7193
Quote:
Originally Posted by deepcynic View Post
Oh boy, that was helpful!

The young man obviously has a plan to 'recycle' existing stuff, he is not asking for 'what is my cheapest way to have a trailer'. Duh.
Back in your hole dude! My opinion is as valid as anyones.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-17-2009, 12:17 PM
 
16 posts, read 43,382 times
Reputation: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tightwad View Post
Back in your hole dude! My opinion is as valid as anyones.
small cargo trailers at Lowes start at about $350

i also have the rear-end out of a pop-up camper, i considered doing something with that but then i thought, what the heck am i gonna do with an open flatbed?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:


Over $79,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Automotive

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2014, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 - Top