Author Topic: 'Alf - The Half an Elf cargo trailer  (Read 1098 times)

Offline Red Riley

Re: 'Alf - The Half an Elf cargo trailer
« Reply #25 on: July 25, 2020, 01:28:16 PM »
After some pondering, I decided that the flat boot floor was too floppy for my tastes. So I decided what it needed was an inset box to make it more rigid. It would also give me a place for the big red beer cooler. At this point I didn't have enough steel left over from the garden trailer or the gov't surplus filing cabinet to make a box, so I decided to use this large sheet of flat metal that I found next to the road. I wasn't sure what kind of metal it was, so I decided to pass on the welder for this part. I got some aluminum angle from the farm store, and pop-riveted it all together, then cut an appropriate sized hole and riveted it in. I seam sealed it and threw some paint on it at some later point. The cooler fit perfectly. Too bad I didn't think about trying it with the boot lid on.

     

Online MiniDave

Re: 'Alf - The Half an Elf cargo trailer
« Reply #26 on: July 25, 2020, 01:31:21 PM »
Oops....it's always sumthin, isn't it?

With a cooler that size full of ice and cold beverages, you'll need to make sure you have an appropriate amount of weight in the frunk too, you don't want it light in the front.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2020, 01:33:16 PM by MiniDave »
Complete failure at retirement

1989 Cooper Racing Green
2009 Clubman S
2014 Audi Allroad

Offline Red Riley

Re: 'Alf - The Half an Elf cargo trailer
« Reply #27 on: July 25, 2020, 01:47:06 PM »
The bonnet and boot lid that came with the car were in pretty poor shape. The boot lid had a huge patch of bondo attempting to fill a massive dent, and the bonnet was so scary and twisted it was giving me nightmares. When I found the pair of gray front wings that I used, I had also picked up a better boot lid that came from a Wolesely Hornet, so I had that covered. The bonnet came from the shed of the person who originally sold me the Elf. It started out being picked up by courier in Minneapolis, then when the guy drove directly into a tornado on the toll road in Indiana, ended up inside the car destined for the crusher at a salvage yard in northern Indiana. The driver eventually was able to extricate it from the salvage yard, then carried it with him on a Greyhound bus to South Carolina, and eventually I drove two hours to his home and picked it up from him. All at a cost of 60 bucks. It was still in better shape than the bent one that I had.

Anyway, I needed a way to hold the bonnet and boot lid up, so I made these.

       

   

Offline Red Riley

Re: 'Alf - The Half an Elf cargo trailer
« Reply #28 on: July 25, 2020, 01:54:13 PM »
At this point the majority of the welding and major assembly was done, so it was time to make it all one color, then throw some trim on and see how it would look. I even wired the lights for good measure.

       

Offline Red Riley

Re: 'Alf - The Half an Elf cargo trailer
« Reply #29 on: July 25, 2020, 02:12:00 PM »
I had thought long and hard about how to finish the top, and finally decided to just go for it and try to do a fiberglass dome in one shot, without building a mold. So I started with insulation foam glued up. Way too much. Lots of filing and shaping later I had what I thought would work. I had done a lot of research online and thought that fiberglass directly onto the foam was the way to go. It might have worked if I'd had the right kind of foam. Nope. The first attempt could have been used as a prop for a Flintstones movie.

       

So, second try, this time I reshaped the foam and covered it in Bondo, then painted it in several layers of primer. I put 4 layers of glass cloth on and it came out pretty darn good. After I trimmed up the edges and dug out the foam, I had the final top/dome/roof. I used panel bond adhesive and used all of my clamps. By the way, this blue no-mix skim filler is crap. Don't use it. I wish I had sanded it all off before I painted. Oh well, live and learn.

           
« Last Edit: July 26, 2020, 11:26:16 AM by Red Riley »

Offline Red Riley

Re: 'Alf - The Half an Elf cargo trailer
« Reply #30 on: July 26, 2020, 04:30:12 PM »
Okay, before I get to the end of this build, here is the towing setup. I heard of a guy in Texas making a batch of these Class II 1-1/4" receiver type hitches for Minis, and I asked him to make me one. I'm sorry, I can't remember who it was. Does anyone know?
Since the Elf is about ten inches longer in the rear than a Mini, I knew I would have to make some adjustments. I know there is some argument about the proper way to put a hitch on a Mini. This one attaches to both the body and to the subframe, so it should equally piss off both camps. I look at it as adding another structural element to the subframe, tying it into the body at two more points. Anyway, since the receiver sits forward of the rear valance, it's almost invisible when the draw bar is off. I had a trailer shop make me an extended draw bar, and also added a second hole so it has two pins holding it on. I was slightly worried about the extra length causing some kind of weirdness when towing, but the trailer tongue is so short and the trailer follows so close that I've never felt any evidence of the tail trying to wag the dog. It works really well.

           

As for the wiring, I used a 5 wire trailer harness and tied into the stock Elf lights, plus added the side markers and the headlights into the running lights. I modified a pair of cheap ebay halogen headlight kits to use standard single filament taillight bulbs. I also added a third brake light strip with a blinker module so it pulsates when I hit the brakes. If you ever need to add trailer lights to a car, this module from e-Trailer works really well. https://www.etrailer.com/Wiring/Tekonsha/119177.html It runs the trailer lights off of an independent fused circuit so they don't pull current from the car lights.


     
« Last Edit: October 08, 2020, 01:29:40 PM by Red Riley »

Offline Red Riley

Re: 'Alf - The Half an Elf cargo trailer
« Reply #31 on: July 26, 2020, 04:49:54 PM »
I wanted to run the trailer with similar wheels to the car, and I found these 12 inch Minilites for super cheap. They had some bad curb rash, and I thought I could get them presentable enough to just repaint them, but I wasn't happy with my attempt to sand out the rim damage. I took them into a local wheel repair shop and they did a really nice job welding up the rims and powder coated them. The color isn't a perfect match to the Superlights on Kreacher, but they look pretty good. I had this brand new set of 12 inch Yoko A539s that I had bought specifically for the trailer that had been on the shelf for probably almost ten years. They matched the 13 inch ones on the car at the time, but now I have Nankangs on the car. Oh well, they are pretty dang nice for trailer tires.

         
« Last Edit: July 27, 2020, 12:49:50 PM by Red Riley »

Offline Red Riley

Re: 'Alf - The Half an Elf cargo trailer
« Reply #32 on: July 27, 2020, 01:09:30 PM »
After spending a considerable amount of time with the hammers and dollies, and doing more welding to close up pin holes and gaps, I had it to a point where I started doing some surface filling. I have to say I'm pretty damn proud of how close I was able to get it to being smooth. I spent the most time getting the transition on the sides between the round front wings and the flatter quarters to blend together. When you look at one of these cars closely, you realize that it is wider in the front than in the rear, and the shape is very different front to rear. Getting that transition right took some work. The heaviest areas of filler ended up around the front corners where I had to combine 4 or 5 panels, and the area where the top of the wings and the scuttle come together. Even with all of that, I don't think there is more than about 1/8 inch of filler anywhere. Not bad for a beginner. Once I had it as close as I could get it, I dropped it off with my friend who is the Auto Body instructor at a vocational high school here. For the cost of paint and supplies, the students took it on as a class project. I think they did an awesome job on it. Better than I could have done it, for sure.

             

Offline Red Riley

Re: 'Alf - The Half an Elf cargo trailer
« Reply #33 on: July 27, 2020, 01:20:22 PM »
Over the course of collecting parts and putting this project together, I had come up with a few finishing touches to take it over the top. I wanted to do a custom name emblem, and I thought about just making a sticker, or trying to do some custom painting, or something. I ended up designing a name badge and having it cut out of chrome faced plastic. It turned out pretty good.



I run a vintage 1968 plate on the car, and I wanted the trailer plate to match. I already had a permanent trailer registration but I didn't want to use the new style plate. I found a really great company that does authentic reproduction license plates for collectors and the TV and movie industry. They are https://www.licenseplates.tv/ I had them put the new trailer reg number on a repro 1968 SC trailer plate. I can't imagine anyone ever checking the plate since SC doesn't require trailers to be registered in the first place, but if it's ever checked, the number is valid. And it looks cool. Boom.

« Last Edit: July 27, 2020, 01:22:11 PM by Red Riley »

Offline Red Riley

Re: 'Alf - The Half an Elf cargo trailer
« Reply #34 on: July 27, 2020, 01:29:52 PM »
It just so happened that the Charleston British Car Club's annual show was the day after I got the trailer back from the paint shop, so I called up my neighbor Richie Hartley and he helped me throw it all together in a couple of hours. It's nice to have an extra set of hands to keep the cussing to a minimum when trying to mount the boot lid and bonnet. I already had the wiring mostly run, so it didn't take too much work to get it road-worthy. So we made it to the car show. Woohoo!

             

Offline Red Riley

Re: 'Alf - The Half an Elf cargo trailer
« Reply #35 on: July 27, 2020, 01:44:33 PM »
I still needed to finish up the interior. I made a mount for spare tire in the front and put in some mats and carpet. Then mat and carpet in the boot. I added some tie-downs in the boot and came up with a configuration for a smaller cooler and my spare parts/cleaning supplies bucket. Other than a few tweaks here and there, tidying up the wiring, and fine tuning things like the remote bonnet latch and boot lock, it's pretty much done. I've had it to quite a few local shows, but was pretty bummed that we didn't get to go to Mini Meet East. Hopefully things will open up at some point and we can do some longer distance trips.

             

                 

Online MiniDave

Re: 'Alf - The Half an Elf cargo trailer
« Reply #36 on: July 27, 2020, 02:56:15 PM »
I think it turned out great, most of them are just the back half with a flat front.....this is odd looking with the little white bubble that matches the roof on your car but it's cool how you did the front and back, and kept the lights.

You decided to just leave the inside in red primer?
Complete failure at retirement

1989 Cooper Racing Green
2009 Clubman S
2014 Audi Allroad

Offline Red Riley

Re: 'Alf - The Half an Elf cargo trailer
« Reply #37 on: July 27, 2020, 04:34:10 PM »
I think it turned out great, most of them are just the back half with a flat front.....this is odd looking with the little white bubble that matches the roof on your car but it's cool how you did the front and back, and kept the lights.
The thing is that the shape of the front and back are so different that if I had cut the parcel shelf out, I don't think I would have had the metal working skills to make a panel that would have looked right to fill the gap. I would have had to build some kind of support structure, plus I would have had to come up with a different way to mount the boot hinges since they attach to the parcel shelf. The little roof seemed to be the best option, and something I thought I had the skills to do.

You decided to just leave the inside in red primer?
It's actually the same color as the outside, but the students didn't spend any time on the inside, just sprayed over the green or whatever was there, and didn't clear coat it. I might go back at some point and do some trunk paint or bed liner on the inside.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2020, 04:38:04 PM by Red Riley »

Offline Jimini II

Re: 'Alf - The Half an Elf cargo trailer
« Reply #38 on: July 27, 2020, 11:56:44 PM »
Nice job it turned out great.

Offline Lone Star Mini

Re: 'Alf - The Half an Elf cargo trailer
« Reply #39 on: November 12, 2020, 01:04:59 PM »
just read through the thread.  total respect for your design and work..  simply a great job!
Lone Star Mini
1982 Morris Mini 1000HL (heck of a lot of work ahead of me)
1992(?) Mini Cooper
1964 Austin Cooper
1980 Mini 95 (Pickup)

Offline Red Riley

Re: 'Alf - The Half an Elf cargo trailer
« Reply #40 on: November 13, 2020, 08:16:45 AM »
Nice job it turned out great.
just read through the thread.  total respect for your design and work..  simply a great job!

Thanks! It was definitely a learning experience, but I took my time and I think it came out pretty close to what I wanted.

Offline LarryLebel

Re: 'Alf - The Half an Elf cargo trailer
« Reply #41 on: November 13, 2020, 10:29:38 AM »
Your mirrors are pretty goofy.

Offline Red Riley

Re: 'Alf - The Half an Elf cargo trailer
« Reply #42 on: November 13, 2020, 12:48:49 PM »
Your mirrors are pretty goofy.

Gee, thanks. Have you looked in yours lately?  :-\