2004 Cargomate 16X7 enclosed tandem hauler. Made by Forest River, Model# is TB716TA2

First picture is what it looked like after just dragging it home. Bottom of this page is what it looked like after everything was done. In the middle is everything done to it in the "remodel" stages along with my sources for the equipment. I have included links (in blue) to direct you to the exact source where I bought the item in question.

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Last updated on 04/24/11

This is a documentary of some mods I did to make a cargo trailer suitable to sleep in for those overnight rides. I call it my "dual sport" trailer. OK, due to the overwhelming request for pictures, I figured it would be easier to just put up a web page with each step in my conversion or modifications to the trailer along with my sources where I purchased some of the gear. It all started back in December of 2003. I went in and order my trailer from a local dealer. Its a Cargomate® model TB716TA2 which means its a "Trail Blazer" series, its 7 feet wide, 16 feet long and is a "TA" or tandem axle" and a "2" for brakes on both axles. I say ordered because I wanted a 16 foot long unit, tandem axles, but I wanted it in 7 feet wide. Usually 16 footers are around 8 feet wide, or maybe the max width of 8,6" wide. I wanted the narrow one because I used to tow it with a 1998 Tacoma truck rated for 5000 lbs. I have since purchased a new 2010 Ram 2500 with the diesel engine. I wanted it to be out of the windstream, and didn't want to have to add those mirror extenders. I just sold a 14X8, so I know all about this. I also chose the gray color. I wanted a color that went good with any tow rigs color. Silver, white and black were other options, but black was out of the question. First picture is unmodified. Basically stock and weighed in at 2,400 lbs. I did order the "northwest package" which included the diamond plating, ventilation, roof vent, inside light, radial 15" tires. Also ordered the RV type side door. Better for sleeping in then the cam lock types like the rear doors have.

Trailer did tow like a dream. Doesn't even feel like its behind me. Balance/tongue weight was perfect. I use a Tekonsha Prodigy electric brake controller which is the cream of the crop. Its has the rear jacks to keep it secure when loading and from rocking
OK, next photo is the build phase. Starting the forward overhead hanging cabinet. The first item I did was to remove the forward inside plywood panel up front and run a phone line, cable for TV, 2 wires for battery/inverter. I used red and black, in 6 gauge to handle the demands of the converter (60 amps) and the 2000 watt inverter which I bought from Costco for $69.95, made by Xantrex model is a "prowatt 1000" (if I did it over, I wouldnt do the inverter again, just havent used it but once to charge a video camera battery). I have never found them that cheap since! and I also ran 3/8" copper plumbing for the propane gas furnace. Notice the "plumbers tape" (plumbers tape is the perforated galvanized strapping you see), I used this in 4 places to support the cabinet from the overhead trusses which were located every 2 feet. I went back to the first truss. Build the cabinet high enough to clear your tallest dirt bikes handlebars!

 

All the utilities were centrally located. Each side on the cabinet would end up as storage pockets. Furnace is from "Suburban" and its rated at 20,000 BTU's. Model number is a NT20SE. The SE is a direct vented type, but you could duct it elsewhere. I wanted to keep it simple and not take up too much room. This furnace consumes right about 1.9 amps when running, has no pilot as its electronic ignition. The same type is also available in 12,000 BTU and 16,000 BTU, model number for the 12,000 is NT12SE and so on. Cost for the furnace was about $480. The 12,000 BTU was $399.

OK, had to modify the tongue to accommodate the furnace and other goodies. I used a standard propane cylinder and a group 27RV deep cycle battery. Break away battery box has been removed, I now use the "house battery" to operate the trailer brakes during a break away. The battery box was replaced with a junction block or interface to tie the trailer cord to the trailer wiring. All this required welding. I have a 220Volt Matco Tools MIG welder. This whole project consumed about 10 lbs of weld wire.

Work still in progress. This was spring (04) and I was doing inside work and hanging the awning. This awning is the "bag" type made for pop up trailers from Shademaker®. I purchased the 12 foot premium one. Almost the only route as the roof line is low in relation to the door and the skin is limited to where you can mount it. The roof radius on the Cargomates is thick aluminum. A must for awning mounting. Some use a plastic radius. Not good! Check this out of you want an awning. I keep the awning at 12 feet so it wouldn't interfere with the rear cargo doors. I chose cargo doors over rear ramp door because it was easier to open and grab gear. Flip down doors will cost extra!

Flip out step. I bought this from PPL Motorhomes online. Nice addition. Also added a grab handle to the left of the door opening. Wife complained about the step up. It wasnt much, but it does tire you out if you are in and out all day. I have dropped axles which made for a low deck, but the step is super nice!

OK, so how does one store his ramps without consuming space in the trailer and keep them from sliding all over the place? Easy, mount them under the deck and out of the way. I bought these ramps from Harbor Tools and then hand picked through Home Depots "Master Locks" for all matching locks so one key does it all. But you can get them from "masterlocks.com" and order them all keyed alike. I used 2 on the ramps, one on the rear door and one on the trailer tongue. The model number for these locks are #40 and are real tough to open without a key and also have a 3/8" hasp, while many others use 5/16" and they don't swing around and chaffed up all your paint. The ramps were shortened because of the trailer axle and with the low deck, a long ramp wasn't needed. Steel cost for the carrier was close to $200. It was a bit heavy, but this weight was behind the axle which offset the weight I added in front of the axle.

This is the finished overhead cabinet. All wiring was protected by a fuse box, one for low voltage (12VDC) and one for high voltage, (110VAC). The gauge is for battery condition. The stereo is a Kenwood AM/FM/CD player. I installed a 12V acc jack to the far left. Metal rectangular (galvanized) grille is furnace inlet filter, the brown square one is the heating outlet. This makes a nice access panel to get to the wiring for the utilities. Inside the center is an additional 2000 watt AC inverter , Model was the Pro Watt 1000! I also have an Intelli-Charger 9100 which is no longer available. Charger/converter (cost was about $199 from Camping World at the time) and I have added the "smart wizard" (cost for the wizard was $25 and also discontinued) to aid in keeping the battery fresh and fully charged and runs all accessories when plugged into shore power. Also under the cabinet I have added a bunk light. I sleep under it with a army cot. Each side has a nice storage cabinet which go 2 feet deep and clean to the roofline. Overhead vent is barely visible, but I did add a 12V exhaust fan to it along with the MAXX AIR cover. This allows me to keep the vent open while in transit or setting without fear of wind ripping it off.

This next picture is all the utilities located in the LH side cabinet up on the wall. In the cabinet, you will see the Intelli-Charger 9100, (silver chassis) this is rated at 60 amps. Its a super smooth (little AC ripple) flat DC plus a charger/maintainer of the battery. Top right in the Xantrex 2000 Watt AC inverter (black chassis, 1000 watts continous) . Below that is the 2 space fuse block. I have 3 breakers in it, the RH space, I'm using the "mini" breakers. Below the AC fuse box is the DC fuses (6 spaces) and to the right of that is the "smart wizard" used to make the batter chager/converter a special battery maintainer. It operates in a way to keep the sulphating battery to a minimum. It hits it hard with a higher charge (almost 15 volts) for about 15 minutes, does this once every 3 days or so.

Shore power is tied into the system using a Marinco® inlet. They come in either 15 amp or 20 amp and both come in white or black. Cost for the 15 amp was about $20. I have mine mounted under the trailer and not in the skin. Its protected from the weather and debris when going down the road. If you use a 15 amp, you must use 14 AWG wire minimum and the 12 amp, you must use nothing smaller than the 12 AWG. If your going to have any electric heat, you MUST get the 20 amp unit.

This picture is of the roof mounted AC unit made by Coleman. Model is called the Polar Cub and is from the Mach series. Its rated for 9000 BTU and consumes 9 amps max, less when running. Cost for this was around $560, which included the roof control/vent setup for "COOL ONLY". There is also a heater unit as an option for this AC unit, but I would recommend against it unless you have no interest in the gas furnace. But if you do use the AC unit for heat also, you will need to be on shore power or have a big generator. I use a Honda EU2000i generator which is rated for 13.5 amps (Surge rating is 16.3 amps) and it handles the load easily. I purchased my Honda generator from "Big Sky Power" but they are no longer in business, so I'd recommend "Wise Sales" for the best price around. Also notice the blue roof, this is 1.5" insulation from Home Depot. A 4X8 sheet weighed no more than several ounces. And sure helped keeping it cool/warm inside. Notice the metal ribbing to the rear of the AC unit between the roof bows. I had to weld in 1 1/2" in a 14"X14" frame for the AC unit and more box tube to support the rear of the AC unit. Another good excuse to get that MIG welder. It was a life saver for me!

 

I ran two runs of e-track down each side to secure cargo. One run at 36". the other at 16". I have built a flip out table which hooks into the e-track and can be moved anywhere or removed all together. I have also added "in the floor" flush mounted "D" rings. It came with 2 up front, 2 in the rear. I have added 3 more in the front and 3 more in the rear so I have 5 across at each end and one every 4 feet down each side. I have made everything "modular" for quick removal. Only the cabinet is permanent. I paid $13 (normally $25 for the steel e-track) for each 10 foot section of e-track. I used a total of 50 feet. This stuff can be spendy. I have a buddy who works for a trucking outfit and got it wholesale for me. It also can be purchased in aluminum, from areas like Pit Pal (pitpal.com) but cost a small mint! Mine was steel and painted green. It can he had in galvanized steel also. There is L-track also, but the e-track is the most popular and easiest to get all the attatching straps etc for!

Here is a picture of the inside during out last big group campout/ride with freinds and family over the memorial day weekend. The bunks are army surplus and can find them for a very resonable price from $5 from a garage sale to $40 for a new civilian version. I do recommend a pad for the cot, they are pretty hard as they are drum tight and you will wake up with stiff joints. Notice the forward bunk, fits right under the cabinet which has a bunk/reading light under it. This makes it easy as one doesnt have to climb in bed in the dark. The TV is a 9" Sylvania Model# 6509DD, its a flatscreen with DVD player built in. It runs off of either 12VDC or 110VAC. I use cargo nets to hold stuff on the walls. This makes the it easy to see what your after and can be removed by just popping them off of the knobs. There is a small cargo net mounted under the cabinet. This holds magazines, pillows and what have you. Notice all the wood now looks a little darker since the first cabinet photo? Its because I sealed all the wood with Thompsons water sealer. Not because I thought it was going to leak, but to seal the wood from stains. Easier to keep it clean that way.

Here is another photo of us out group camping with freinds and family and the Cargomate® cargo trailer, now called the "DualSport®" trailer.


Some of you had requested to see it being pulled with my Toyota Tacoma. Here is a current photo of it in tow at the local race track. My truck does have the 3.4 V6 and the 5 speed manual transmission with the 4.10:1 axle ratio (TRD Off Road Package) and 31X10.5-15 tires. We use is for race support for my grandsons racing. He raced KTM 50's, KTM 65's KTM 85 and a KTM 105. He is now on a KTM 250SX/F. I have since sold the Tacoma and bought a brand new 2010 Ram 2500, Cummins 6.7 liter turbo diesel, 6 spd manual shifter in crew cab, long box and it tows the trailer like its not even there.

*Note: Black forward nose cap was made of plastic and with a few years of sunlight, it broke down and developed large cracks which would of leaked water had I not caught them. I contacted the mfg, I was out of warranty, but barely and they did send me a new fiberglass nose cap and all materials, sealer, fasteners for free. (way to go Forest River! Thanks). I did get it installed. Much thicker than the plastic nose cap by about twice as thick (fiberglass vs original plastic). But I lost the forward 3 middle lights, only have the ones on the outer edges. Just less places for leaks anyway. So if you are looking at used trailer, make sure the nose cap is fiberglass not plastic. It appears they all went to platic then realized the UV from the sun was destroying them making them brittle and prone to cracking and went back to the fiberglass nose cap.

 

This is the finished product as it sets today, conversion/work all done. You can see the roof mounted air, air max vent cover, fully diamond plated nose, porch light, assist handle and the bag awning rolled up. Also, something you cant see, each screw on the side I removed and installed those water proof rubber washers like whats used in metal buildings. It grabbed the aluminum skin better and did seal it from leaks. If you have any questions on this, drop me an email by clicking on the mail box below!