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  1. #1
    1000+ Posts michaelr's Avatar
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    Default Teardrop Campers

    I am sure there must be some experience in Aussie frogs with Teardrop Campers.



    For those who don't know they are small aerodynamic camping trailers. Usually they contain just enough space for a bed, a little storage and an outdoor galley kitchen, but do not have standing headroom. they originated in the 1930's, and boomed in the 40's and 50's. They were designed to be easily towed behind the low powered cars of the time and were usually amateur built, often from war surplus materials.

    If anyone is interested here is an article from a 1936 magazine:

    http://www.tinytearsteardroptrailers...cans/Dec36.pdf

    Anyway, I have come to the conclusion that a Teardrop is an ideal addition to my DS. Light and aerodynamic, a step up from tent camping. I intend to build one.

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    Does anyone here have any experience with these and knowledge to share? I have seen a photo of one built I believe in South Australia towed behind a Simca.

    I am also looking to buy a trailer base to build it on, maybe someone has a rusted out box trailer or bike trailer to dispose of?
    Michael
    Member, Citroen Car Club NSW

    DS23 Pallas 5 sp. "Francoise" , BX19TRi Auto "Jacques Dutronc" , Teardrop Trailer "The Toad", BMW R65 "Rosamund"
    In the past: Renault 750, Dauphine, R4, R8, R10, Peugeot 504 Familiale, ID 19 (x2), Safari (x2)

  2. #2
    Contented Peugeot Driver addo's Avatar
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    Would you be better off building from scratch and just buying an older trailer for the compliance plate? Most small trailers here have slipper springs, marginal axles and no handbrake, so you'd be replacing a bunch of the more critical bits already bought...

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    Fellow Frogger! andrepug's Avatar
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    Do not start with a cheap trailer base! We bought a second hand home built tear drop where the builder had done that and guess who had to replace the whole axel/hub assembly. Most DIY builders start with a new base then you know there are no problems in that area.
    Most TDs seem to be in Queensland because you do spend more time out of them than with a caravan. There is a bit of a 'community' with an annual get together somewhere and a Yahoo forum. Here are some useful web sites;
    http://www.aussieteardrops.com/
    http://www.campertrailers.org/
    http://www.campingearth.com/teardrop/
    http://www.tnttt.com/
    http://vintagecaravans.proboards.com...ay&thread=2058
    http://www.gonebush.org/

  4. #4
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    Icon14 Build for $50

    Hi,
    I looked at that article from Mechanics and Handcrafts and said to myself, $50 that's for me, all I have to do is find the 26-28 Chevvy axle to get started. I might have to put guards on those sexy narrow wheels too. Ok $51 then

    Sounds like a great idea to put behind an old car. However I have got too old to crawl into a bed. A proper caravan which I can stand up in is the minimum now Seems like a lot of good information out there on those referenced web sites to build your own.

    In NSW if you keep the weight for rego less than 250kg the rego cost is better and there are no brake or inspection requirements. Seems like some people "over spec" them a bit. With a modest load they would tow very easily.
    Jaahn

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    1000+ Posts jo proffi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by addo View Post
    Would you be better off building from scratch and just buying an older trailer for the compliance plate?
    No.
    You dont need a compliance plate for a trailer, in fact i dont even think such a thing exists.
    I have never seen one on any trailer I've had blue slipped or have owned.
    What you need is a vin, and the RTA prefer that to be either stamped or welded on.
    I agree with the others here, start fresh and have it made up from new, then galvanised.
    I've restored numerous trailers and its easy peasy to get them blue slipped, as long as they are not over weight or rusty and do have a good vin.
    You'll need a vin and a weighbridge ticket to get one blue slipped.






    Jo
    Last edited by jo proffi; 23rd November 2012 at 09:17 PM.

  6. #6
    Fellow Frogger!
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    The South Australian tear drop was built by a member of the Simca Car Club, believe he built two, each on a new fully complianced trailer and I think one may be for sale. Send me a PM if you would like a contact number.

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    JBN
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    Make a mold of your DS. Use this to make a fibregalss shell. Incorporate this shell onto your trailer base. Voila! The pefect teardrop for a DS.

    John

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    1000+ Posts michaelr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBN View Post
    Make a mold of your DS. Use this to make a fibregalss shell. Incorporate this shell onto your trailer base. Voila! The pefect teardrop for a DS.

    John
    Or just hack the back off a 2CV? I agree though John, it would be lovely to do a proper moulded DS trailer, but so much work for a one-off I fear. I have all the skills to do a flop mould as I was in the business for many years so it did cross my mind.

    I will need to do this on a fairly strict budget though, so I will consider a few options. In any case my first build is really a trial as I think a second more ambitious one may well follow.
    Michael
    Member, Citroen Car Club NSW

    DS23 Pallas 5 sp. "Francoise" , BX19TRi Auto "Jacques Dutronc" , Teardrop Trailer "The Toad", BMW R65 "Rosamund"
    In the past: Renault 750, Dauphine, R4, R8, R10, Peugeot 504 Familiale, ID 19 (x2), Safari (x2)

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    Real cars have hydraulics DoubleChevron's Avatar
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    I don't htink even a tiny person like me would fit in one of them I'd be looking for a vintage esteral folding caravan or something like that

    I think there is skandika camper trailers in australia too ... something old, big that matches the french car
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    Fellow Frogger! Alastair Browne's Avatar
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    Hi Michael

    I have a friend up the Blue Mts who is currently restoring one and may have finished by now. He would be willing to assist you if you pm.

    Alastair

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    1000+ Posts jo proffi's Avatar
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    One thing that is worth doing if it is at all possible is to match the PCD of the the trailer to the car.

    I have that system running now, and it means I dont have to carry two spare tyres on a country trip, and in my case i have stacks of rims with aged out tyres that fit.
    I have no issue with running over-age tyres on a light weight trailer, but have huge issue going out and buying new tyres for the trailer when there are so many barely legal tyres in my tyre piles.
    Jo

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    1000+ Posts michaelr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jo proffi View Post
    One thing that is worth doing if it is at all possible is to match the PCD of the the trailer to the car.

    Jo
    Ah, now that might be difficult with a DS. I believe that the PCD of these Citroen rims is unique. Making it harder is the fact that the rear hubs on a DS are one piece with the stub axle. The bearings are housed in the trailing arms so not really feasible to build a trailer with.

    Now, if I had a Holden or Ford tow car......
    Michael
    Member, Citroen Car Club NSW

    DS23 Pallas 5 sp. "Francoise" , BX19TRi Auto "Jacques Dutronc" , Teardrop Trailer "The Toad", BMW R65 "Rosamund"
    In the past: Renault 750, Dauphine, R4, R8, R10, Peugeot 504 Familiale, ID 19 (x2), Safari (x2)

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    COL
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    Quote Originally Posted by michaelr View Post
    Ah, now that might be difficult with a DS. I believe that the PCD of these Citroen rims is unique. Making it harder is the fact that the rear hubs on a DS are one piece with the stub axle. The bearings are housed in the trailing arms so not really feasible to build a trailer with.

    Now, if I had a Holden or Ford tow car......
    Hi Michael

    All you need to do is cut the sub axles out of the trailing arms, careful use of a gas axe and a clean up in the lathe and they will be ready to weld into your new axle.
    Regards Col

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    if you wanted to get creative you could run some hydrolic hoses back there ,i can just see it Starting up in the morning the trailer would rise first, then the back of the car, then the front of the car ,ready to proceed ,just like a camel PUGS. PS. ON THE TEARDROP YOU WOULD HAVE TO BE REAL PARTICULAR ABOUT WEATHER PROOFING

  15. #15
    1000+ Posts jo proffi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by michaelr View Post
    Ah, now that might be difficult with a DS. I believe that the PCD of these Citroen rims is unique. ...
    No worries.
    AL-KO sell un-drilled trailer hubs.

    Jo

  16. #16
    1000+ Posts jo proffi's Avatar
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    How about something like this.
    http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Boat-trai...#ht_500wt_1200
    I cant quite work out how it is all bolted together but it looks like the the suspension cradle can be moved around.
    Its not hard to make a boat trailer shorter if its too long.

    One thing i just thought about, what happens when you park your car and the car ride height drops?
    You might have to unbolt the trailer and run the third grounding point on a jocky wheel or else the van might have issues with not being level.
    Alternatively if you design it to be level when parked it will drag its ass when the car is at ride height.
    These of course are peculiar issues with a citroen that normal cars dont suffer.
    I'd imagine a small teardrop camper is not the most stable vehicle when its not attached to a car.
    A non attached trailer without brakes on anything but the flattest surface is a major liability, especially with you asleep inside of it.

    Jo
    Last edited by jo proffi; 25th November 2012 at 01:26 AM.

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    1000+ Posts fnqvmuch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pugwash View Post
    if you wanted to get creative you could run some hydrolic hoses back there ,i can just see it Starting up in the morning the trailer would rise first, then the back of the car, then the front of the car ,ready to proceed ,just like a camel PUGS. PS. ON THE TEARDROP YOU WOULD HAVE TO BE REAL PARTICULAR ABOUT WEATHER PROOFING
    semi-trailers plug/unplug hydraulic lines don't they? i had been thinking of using the rear subframe of a GS - 'wholus-bowlus"
    for a similar project ... (am i missing something - regarding weather proofing - by the way?)

  18. #18
    Real cars have hydraulics DoubleChevron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jo proffi View Post
    How about something like this.
    http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Boat-trai...#ht_500wt_1200
    I cant quite work out how it is all bolted together but it looks like the the suspension cradle can be moved around.
    Its not hard to make a boat trailer shorter if its too long.

    One thing i just thought about, what happens when you park your car and the car ride height drops?
    You might have to unbolt the trailer and run the third grounding point on a jocky wheel or else the van might have issues with not being level.
    Alternatively if you design it to be level when parked it will drag its ass when the car is at ride height.
    These of course are peculiar issues with a citroen that normal cars dont suffer.
    I'd imagine a small teardrop camper is not the most stable vehicle when its not attached to a car.
    A non attached trailer without brakes on anything but the flattest surface is a major liability, especially with you asleep inside of it.

    Jo
    Boat trailers I've touched have the axle assembly attached with U bolts. You loosen them off and give the axle unit a good whack with a sledge hammer to move it back (every boat my brother has bought, we have moved the axle back on 'cos I've lifted the trailers nose and said "shit there's no nose weight here". You don't leave a caravan hooked to the car, you disconnect it, level it with the jockey wheel, then wind down the corner jacks so it doesn't rock around,.

    seeya,
    Shane L.
    'Cit' homepage:
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    '63 ID19 http://www.aussiefrogs.com/forum/showthread.php?t=90325
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    '78 GS1220 pallas
    '92 Range Rover Classic ... 5spd manual.

    Yay ... No Slugomatics


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  19. #19
    1000+ Posts jo proffi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleChevron View Post
    You don't leave a caravan hooked to the car, you disconnect it, level it with the jockey wheel, then wind down the corner jacks so it doesn't rock around,.

    seeya,
    Shane L.
    Yes thank you, I do understand how a regular van works.( I have a vintage millard 16 footer in my yard)
    Does a lightweight teardrop van have brakes and rear skids???
    I suspect not, hence the reason i mentioned the issue of stability and safety when not attached.


    I suppose every one is going to have a different approach to vanning, but I'm guessing a lightweight teardrop van is closer to sleeping in the back of the car to full on caravanning, where you set up for a few days or more in a good spot.
    Leaving the van attached the the towball (when you dont have brakes) is like a massive anchor for a boat.
    I can assure you you sleep better when your boat is on a mooring then when it is attached to a lightweight sand anchor.


    Jo
    Last edited by jo proffi; 25th November 2012 at 11:57 AM.

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    Fellow Frogger! Bruce Llewellyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by addo View Post
    Would you be better off building from scratch and just buying an older trailer for the compliance plate? Most small trailers here have slipper springs, marginal axles and no handbrake, so you'd be replacing a bunch of the more critical bits already bought...
    Not in queensland. Single axle trailers without brakes and less than 700 kg GVM can be registered using a 'self assessment' process.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by jo proffi View Post
    One thing that is worth doing if it is at all possible is to match the PCD of the the trailer to the car.

    I have that system running now, and it means I dont have to carry two spare tyres on a country trip, and in my case i have stacks of rims with aged out tyres that fit.
    I have no issue with running over-age tyres on a light weight trailer, but have huge issue going out and buying new tyres for the trailer when there are so many barely legal tyres in my tyre piles.
    Jo
    See the code of practise for light vehicle modifications. It is permissible to weld up and re-drill stud holes. Also if you use GS bits for the trailer, 403 404 pug sedan wheels fit the GS stud pattern...Just remeber to put the range of tyre sizes on the trailer VIN plate!

  22. #22
    1000+ Posts michaelr's Avatar
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    Well, I have made a start. I am planning on building a 1930's style Teardrop. It is 8ft x 4 ft with a single axle.

    I got an old registered box trailer via my AF posting (thanks mate!), though it was nerve wracking getting it home as it was more than a little rusty!

    The new chassis I welded up from 50 x 50 gal tube and used the draw bar, hitch, axle, springs and wheels from the donor. It is now at towable stage so tomorrow I will use it to pick up some plywood sheets to commence the superstructure. Nothing better to do over Christmas

    Teardrop Campers-rusty-trailer_800x450.jpgTeardrop Campers-trailer-rolling-chassis-_800x450.jpgTeardrop Campers-scrap-metal_800x450.jpgTeardrop Campers-first-tow_338x600.jpg
    Michael
    Member, Citroen Car Club NSW

    DS23 Pallas 5 sp. "Francoise" , BX19TRi Auto "Jacques Dutronc" , Teardrop Trailer "The Toad", BMW R65 "Rosamund"
    In the past: Renault 750, Dauphine, R4, R8, R10, Peugeot 504 Familiale, ID 19 (x2), Safari (x2)

  23. #23
    the famous 18E pug206gti's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBN View Post
    Make a mold of your DS. Use this to make a fiberglass shell. Incorporate this shell onto your trailer base. Voila! The pefect teardrop for a DS.
    John
    G'day,
    how would I go about doing that? One of my first ideas was to buy a wrecked 206 and fit it to a chassis. But your idea would seem to save some weight.
    regards,
    Les W.


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  24. #24
    dvr
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    Good progress there Michael.

    Interested to follow this and how you make it.

    Cheers

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by dvr View Post
    Good progress there Michael.
    Interested to follow this and how you make it.
    Cheers
    G'day,
    what's happening ?
    regards,
    Les W.


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