Eat Sleep Woof

Hands-on gear & build talk.

6x12 Cargo Trailer Conversion

22 January 2023

This project started in October 2022, with the purchase of a 2017 Mirage 6x12 cargo trailer.

Follow along as I convert this into a full-blown travel trailer!

First order of business was too remove all interior paneling. I also replaced all original door hardware with proper carriage bolts and nylocks, ensuring it cannot be removed by someone wanting to break in.

I sealed all joints in the original, plywood flooring, and then added another layer of 3/4" plywood.

Cut an opening for a 30x24" window on the passenger side, cut & welded-in framing for the window.

Removed every single exterior screw in the trailer, drilled-out each hole, sealed each hole with sealant, then installed a 3/16" stainless rivet. Also installed sealant between every exterior panel.

Bolted-in the window with stainless bolts and nylock nuts, through the steel framing I previously added.

Replaced roof screws with bolts and nylock nuts and covered the entire roof with several layers of Herculiner truck-bed liner. This completely waterproofs the roof, all fasteners & joints, and adds a rubber-like layer to the roof which will help dampen noise from raindrops. Sealed the edges with Sikaflex 291, a superior marine sealant.

Installed a 10'x8' awning. Welded-in steel studs as necessary to ensure all awning components are mounted into solid steel.

Made a 7'x2', folding table from 1/4" aluminum.

Opened up the structure of the rear doors, filled all empty cavities with 3/4" plywood. Sealed all components upon re-assembly. Removed original bar lock, sealed holes with new hardware and sealant. Installed new door gaskets, butyl tape, and other sealers. Rivited doors to frame with over twenty 3/16" stainless rivets.

Installed three, 4' long s-tracks on exterior of doors. Welded a storage rack that mounts on the tracks.

Had the rack sandblasted and powdercoated.

Mounted the spare tire.

Installed an RV-style door lock with dual dead-bolts. The strike plate is recessed in the exterior aluminium skin and riveted to a steel stud with 1/4", stainless rivets.

Installed a 2kw diesel heater into a waterproof hard-case, ducted heat output into trailer through rear wall, routed wiring through waterproof connectors, added extra fan for combustion air intake, mounted case to storage rack.

Tested heater and it kept the trailer (with zero insulation) at a steady 17C while it was 2C outside.

Installed 2mm, butyl-based noise-deadening on the rear wall, cavities, entire roof, and a few of the side wall panels.

Installed mass loaded vinyl (further sound deadening) on rear wall, followed by rigid insulation (R5), and fibreglass insulation (R12) in side cavities.

Framed rear wall with 2x4 studs, installed fibreglass insulation (R12) and vapour barrier. Wood suds are screwed to the original, steel studs, floor and rear doors. Sprayed expanding foam between all original studs and panels.

Added another layer of left-over mass loaded vinyl.

Installed 5/8", pine tongue & groove panels on the rear wall.

Installed a marine access-hatch on the passenger side. Hatch is bolted to welded-in steel studs.

Passenger-side wall framed, insulated (R12) and covered with vapour barrier. Wood studs screwed to original, steel studs and floor. Finished with pine panels.

Installed another 30x24 window and marine access hatch on driver's side. Everything is bolted into steel studs with stainless hardware.

Added four, 2ft long sections of s-track; rivited (1/4") into original studs. Also added a drip cap above the window.

Driver's side wall framed, insulated, covered with vapour barrier.

Cleaned up poorly done electrical work in front of the trailer. Before & after.

Finished installing panels on driver's side wall and remainder of passenger wall.

Installed an LED strip under the awning and routed wiring through a waterproof connector.

Made brackets from 1/4" aluminium and mounted a 23Zero shower enclosure.

Framed the front wall and made a recessed box for the propane water heater. Heater is bolted to 1/8", diamond-tread aluminium, which is spaced 1/4" from the wood behind it.

Also added two PVC conduits for running wiring, and left pull-ropes inside each.

Bent another piece of 1/8", aluminium diamond plate and mounted it above the heater to redirect exhaust air away from the recessed box and towards the (future) fan.

Finished insulating (R12) the front wall. Ran PEX for water heater's input/output lines.

Started installing paneling on front wall. Mounted two switch panels, three dimmers (two pictured), and Renogy battery monitor.

Made and ran wiring harnesses. Hooked up all electrical panels, controls, etc.

Made "trusses" from 1.5" plywood (2x 3/4") and screwed them into original trusses. Installed 2" (2x 1") of rigid insulation (R10) and overlapping layers of reflectix insulation (R3.7 - R7.4).

Installed ceiling paneling and twelve, 2" LED lights. Rear ten lights are connected to one dimmer, front two lights to a second dimmer; the idea is to be able to light up the front of the trailer (which will have the kitchen and washroom) without having to light up the rest of the trailer where someone may be sleeping.

Framed in the opening for the fan and started installing trim to hide seams.

Installed trim around the door.

Installed trim around the passenger side window.

Installed trim around the driver side window.

Took a quick break from working on the trim to make a zero-clearance insert for my mitre saw.

Installed trim between the ceiling and vertical wall on driver side.

Installed trim between the ceiling and vertical wall on passenger side.

Sprayed entire intrior with two coats of Varathane Diamond finish.

Installed flooring (10mm, waterproof vinyl plank).

To be continued...