2004 Cargomate 16X7 enclosed tandem
hauler. Made by Forest River, Model#
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.
Email me by clicking on the mail
box at the very bottom of this page!
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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!