Solo Vehicle Dependent Exploration, Travel & Adventure

The Overland Trailer (The Rig)

While the 90 has the payload and capacity for short duration overland travel through Europe, it does not quite have the payload for an extended trip to remote regions. Rather than sell up for a long wheelbase vehicle, we have taken the decision to tow a trailer allowing us the option to take it or leave it at home depending on the nature of our travel destination and required capacity. It will likely house all spares and fluids, cooking gear and a few other bulky items such as  mountain bikes, kayaks etc.

The trailer is an Ex-military Widetrack ‘Sankey’ MKIII (actual manufacturer is Reynolds Boughton) designed for the military to tow behind the Snatch/Wolf 110 Defenders. These are well made trailers with overrun hydraulic disk brakes, leaf springs & NATO coupling device among other things. For those importing these trailers with the rotating Nato pintle hitch the following TUV approval document may prove useful if the authorities are not playing ball FV987958 TUV.

The chassis, springs and axle will need a sand down and re-painted. I will renew the dampers, service the brakes and start to customise it to our needs. The 1st thing will likely be a roof rack system to take the roof tent, large table and waffle boards. I will also get the body sprayed Epsom Green to match the D90 and then start on the interior.

August 2012 – I have finally installed a 50L water tank complete with sink unit which slides out from the front compartment. An on demand pump is plumbed in to two taps (1 unfiltered & 1 filtered via a Nature Pure unit). A 75ah leisure battery sits in a battery box with attached ancillary fusebox. There is a little room left to house our 40 x 30cm storage boxes in this area. 50cm LED strip lights have been installed using courtesy light switches on the door openings.

April 2013 – After 3 months on the road the trailer is proving to be a very capable accessory to the D90. It got finished off in Epsom Green not long before we left Bristol and everything installed as I wanted it with exception to a sliding rear drawer. Instead we opted for 2 lengths of lashing rail (cheers Alex) to hold down boxes. The main reason for this was lack of time but in hindsight it has kept it very simple and it is easy to remove about 50% of the total trailer cargo (and weight) in less than 5 minutes. It will also allow the trailer to be filled with other items like fuel and water jerry cans should they be required for future trips. Everything has held up well with only the latches requiring tightening. I should have re-wired the electrics before leaving as they are in a bit of a mess but they are all now functioning fine. The other minor concern is the door seals which can sometimes let in a little bit of water but this is only a minor inconvenience (until the Siberian river crossings!). Roof tent, rack and mounts for the table and waffle boards are all holding up fine after 10,000 miles on the road. I will try to get some new photos up at some point in our trip to show the detail.

2015-2016 Major Overhaul (The Rig MKII)

After our 42,000 km journey towing the trailer from the UK to Australia in 2013 a number of items required attention:

  • full service of wheel hubs/bearings
  • New brake pads and fluid
  • Replacement of two leaf springs, all U bolts and resetting to include a lift
  • Replacement shocks
  • Full rewire of electrical circuit

Design faults requiring attention:

  • weight of original roofrack design (solid but to heavy)
  • fracture of metal (fatigue) at door apertures of body
  • Spare wheel on A frame contributed to metal fatigue of body
  • Awning bracket continually failed through 2013
  • Floor of front compartment fracturing from water tank brackets flexing base.
  • Door seals not adequate
  • Door latches not robust enough

The majority of the work is now complete and the trailer is, in many ways a lot better prepared than it was when we left the UK early in 2013.

The roofrack has been replaced with a track/rail system from Rhino Rack with HD bars supporting the rooftent. We no longer use the table or waffle boards and in doing so removed about 28 Kg from the roof. All hairline cracks and fractures have been welded/repaired and the 2nd spare removed. We no longer plan to travel with a 2nd spare. The awning bracket has been replaced with two telescopic poles bolted to the body of the trailer. This keeps the weight of the awning vertical and allows it to be stored lower when in transit. This was the only major fault with the original trailer design. Door seals have been replaced with single piece lengths and latches upgraded.

Whilst this work has been ongoing I have added ply sheeting to the base of the trailer to add rigidity and spread the load. For the water tank I have added 17mm ply to the base and sandwiched it with another board on top. the chassis and axle has been painted also.

Work left to carry out includes rewiring the inside (lights, 12v outlets, inverter, water pump) and repairing the rear door lock mechanism.

Some Trailer Statistics

Overall Length – 325cm

Overall Width – 165cm

Overall Height – 182cm (Inc. RTT)

Weight – 700kg (with RTT)

Payload – 559kg

Gross weight – 1259kg

Wheelbase – 223cm

Hitch Height – 70cm

Wheel Size – 255/85r16 (on HD Rims to match D90)

6 responses

  1. Richard

    Does the pintle hitch not crash and bang every time you brake/accelerate, go up/down?? And is the suspension too stiff, so causes the trailer to bounce over bumps rather than drive over them?? Just interested.

    16/07/2014 at 07:04

    • No it is pretty good. The truck is noisy enough to not hear it, but I would imagine you would hear it in a TD5 with road tyres. Suspension was good, but it was old, you can easily remove leaves though. Just got mine re tensioned and added in another 1.5″ lift here in Australia

      21/07/2014 at 04:00

  2. Graz

    Is the trailor originally from ClancyDocwra?

    03/01/2013 at 04:52

    • Sadly not, it is a scale replica 😉

      03/01/2013 at 11:40

  3. Hi

    When you say increased the length do you mean the chassis or just increased the body?.


    07/05/2012 at 15:18

    • Chassis length was increased at the A frame by about 300mm. The overall body is the same size as the original tub except it is narrower due to it not extending over the wheel arches. The increase in length means it now has a similar wheelbase (hitch to hub) as the 90 therefore its turning circle is the same. This means it does not cut corners like other short trailers. You can tow this thing and forget about where it is going because it tracks so well.

      07/05/2012 at 19:09

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