first step – the foundation… our trailer

we searched for weeks to find a trailer for our new house.  at first we were thinking we wanted to buy a used RV, demo it, keep the trailer platform and all the holding tanks, reuse the electrical, plumbing, fixtures, etc.  but then we looked at a few of them…. and they’re only rated to carry 3500 on each axle, so 7000 lbs.  we wanted more strength than that.

so, new car hauler flat bed trailers go for $3,000 to $9,000 for the gooseneck variety.  we wanted to find a used one.  we finally did find one in Phoenix.  and the price was decent.  of course, it’s one of those deals where you show up and it looks like crap, and you think, uh-oh, guess we didn’t find it.  but then we realized the frame was fine – it was just the deck that was bad, and we don’t need the wood deck anyway.

Carrie and Rio on the trailer bringing it home from Phoenix

and the wheels wells need to get replaced too….  good thing it was a lot cheaper than new!  we got it for $1,900.  after we bought it and brought it back to our shop we realized how committed we are to really doing this thing.  no more cold feet when I start thinking about how tiny it will be!

here’s our rig:

the whole rig - the new tiny house foundation

our trailer in the shop after we removed the rotted decking

it’s rated for 11,250 lbs, so that should carry a tiny house!

next, decking it with plywood, then framing the floor….

Categories: Tiny House Design | 11 Comments

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11 thoughts on “first step – the foundation… our trailer

  1. Shawn Jenkins

    Could you next look at Class A power units/trailer options? An older road tractor with a sleeper (Especially if equipped with an APU – a fuel powered electrical & cooling/heating is a bonus!) and often can be had for less than a diesel pickup truck often fuel economy’s close, but pulling weight is enormously greater. A former employer’s training told of two reefer trailers absconded from a freight yard to be recovered years later with the help of the Federales to evict the folks living in the units that they joined & cut doorways etc by adding diesel fuel they had heat & cooling. A sea container chassis has potential in that it’s rated to legal 80,000 pound limit minus the heavier construction, but wouldn’t that make an ideal home foundation? Side-view cameras & radar could help overcome limited visibility inherent in this combination. In floor radiant heating, air-Crete both insulates well & resists insects, solar roofing & rain-water recovery increase you’re options when stationary. Cab roof mounted fairing AKA Airodyne, rear of tractor fairings reduce drag as do lower-side & inflatable boat-tails, low rolling resistance tires, aerodynamic lights & mirrors all help improve fuel economy, also constant inflation systems & air scales can save a fine.! A product called Air-Tabs reduce trailer movement being buffeted by crosswinds. I’ve seen show trucks where tanker trailers have been converted surreptitious RV’s! This isn’t the one I saw (It was a 1930’s gasoline tanker w/o windows, only open the pot covers, but it was like an Airstream in there!)

  2. Pingback: Buying a Tiny House Trailer: My trailer hunt and tips for finding yours. | Treading TINY

  3. Pingback: Starting the Beehive Mobile Mini Mart . We have the trailer! « Clothesline Tiny Homes

  4. Pingback: Beehive: Floor and Wall Framing and Sheathing | Clothesline Tiny Homes

  5. Cathy Gage

    Are you willing to share how you went about finding your trailer? This is what I’m hoping to build on as well but a short internet search showed they are beyond my means financially (to buy new). One other question I had was whether you had considered building with SIP? I’m curious why someone would choose to build with those as opposed to stick built (except I understand they are really easy to fit together making the building task quicker.) Thanks for any information you are willing to give or point me in another direction.

    • Hi there! We found our used gooseneck trailer on Craigslist – it was a car hauler – we paid $2,000 then spent about $1,000 modifying it for use as a house foundation. (removing side rails, reinforcing axles, new tires, electrical wiring, etc.) Used trailers require a professional mechanic. I wouldn’t recommend it if you don’t have a trusted mechanic who can get the trailer ready for use under a house. (electric trailer brakes, heavy load range tires, welded tabs for connection of wall tie-downs / anchor bolts, etc.)

      we looked into SIPS, but chose to go with conventional framing because that is what we are most familiar with. SIPs would be great if you can find a builder who knows how to work with them, and a company nearby who can fabricate them to your specifications. With SIPs the insulation is intregal, so that’s an extra step you can eliminate. hope that helps!

  6. Pingback: Tiny House Trailer Design Q&A

  7. Erica Seymour

    Interesting! I haven’t seen a tiny house on a gooseneck before. What is the length of that trailer?

  8. I have been looking all over for the dimensions of the gooseneck platform on an 8’x16′ gooseneck flat bed but I can only find information about the height of the hitch level in the bed of the truck. That’s all well and good but doesn’t help me plan for height of the platform and how much space I will be able to have. Until I have the funding and locate the trailer (hopefully this one I spied doesn’t sell) I would like to plan the floor arrangement so I don’t get overwhelmed come build time. I am planning on building it myself with the loving help of my mom and boyfriend and your site has been very helpful with showing me what to expect. I just was hoping maybe you had a rough guess of the standard height of a gooseneck platform or if they vary by length (ie. a gooseneck with 24′ has a hitch-platform height of 4′ off the flatbed where a 10′ only has 3′) ? Seems silly but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to ask. :)

    Thanks for the inspiration, keep living tiny!

  9. our trailer is 48″ from top of trailer deck to top of gooseneck hitch, but that dimension would vary by manufacturer.

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