5x8 Aluminum trailer - 80/20 Extrusions?

Pulled the trigger on several of the major components of my first rig. With size/weight/budget limitations of my small Transit Connect tow vehicle, this is starting as a side hustle but already had some neighbors driveway cleanings with a small 2.3 gal borrowed machine. Really worked for that money - SLOW.

Starting with a 5.5G/3k Honda/GP belt drive, 19-inch Whisper Wash Ultra Clean. For now I’m planning on using an X-Jet, but will also downstream.

I have to select and plan the layout for my small Featherlite trailer for what will likely be a 55-Gal buffer tank (at max). Initially not planning a dedicated softwash system, but would like to build the trailer layout with it’s later addition in mind.

Surface cleaner, lances/guns, ladder, pump sprayers, chem bottles, etc, I’ll throw in the back of my van instead of riding on the trailer, but it will require some mods to mount everything for sure, including securing the cart-based washer to the aluminum deck.

The usable deck space is actually roughly 54x94 inches. This model trailer has been discontinued, they don’t make one this small anymore, so finding stake-sides is proving a bit difficult, so I’m contemplating crafting my own custom frame using the stake pockets for 1.5-inch Aluminum T-slot extrusions from 80/20. I’ve built several portable carts and other projects from the stuff so am familiar with it, and I’d like to avoid putting dozens of holes through the aluminum deck floor of the trailer, since it doesn’t have a wood board base, and since the edges of the trailer are so low and minimal, I’ll need a little more robust framing to just keep everything in the trailer. I searched the forum but didn’t find anything like what I’m describing.

Anyone used this for a similar application of building frames and support structures to secure tanks, reels, washers, etc? I’m leaning towards building with vertical tanks to save footprint size, and for a variety of reasons I have about 1500 lbs to work with.

Stoked and ready to get started.

I can only comment on two things. If that is a 5.5gpm you’ll probably only see about 2500psi or less, get a pressure gauge before you start selecting surface cleaner tips.

You won’t need a 55 gallon buffer tank, even a 25 would be fine unless you deal with a lot of rural accounts. Most spigots put out at least 5gpm anyway. With a small, front wheel drive vehicle and small trailer you won’t be carrying around water regardless.

Oh one more thing, I tried to tow a 5x8 with my Sienna. FWD doesn’t do well on wet pavement towing a trailer so keep that in mind when pulling out in traffic or coming to a stop. Also watch steeper angled driveways, my hitch hangs down too far and I kept scraping the concrete. I had to switch to my 4runner for better clearance.

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Pressure gauge is already in the shopping cart, the machine is rated 5.5g/3k, so we’ll see what it is in reality. Plus when I purchased it, I witnessed the employee at the shop pull it out of the warehouse and subsequently twist the unloader like a dirtbike throttle while doing a test run - so unless he’s the Pinball Wizard for pressure washers, I’ll need to look into this anyway.

My van has a somewhat low tow hitch height as well, so I purchased an adjustable ball mount to level the trailer, but thanks for the heads up, my area does have some steep residential driveways.

The 55g Buffer tank is for future consideration and ease of acquisition of 55g poly barrels more than anything. I know I could likely get by with 30-35g easily for most of my area, at least for the pressure washer, but I may add a DIY softwash system in short order as well, so I’m trying to maximize what I can carry. The good news is the trailer is VERY lightweight on it’s own.

Here’s a photo of the Featherlite brand stake sides for the trailer I bought. $1215 before shipping, with a lead time of several weeks as they have to be be built as a trailer that is no longer in regular production. Not exactly confidence inspiring or economical. :roll_eyes:


Instead, I’ve completed the 80/20 aluminum extrusion rails/frame extension for my trailer. It’s bolted to the stake pockets and through the inside lip of the trailer on the front and down both sides, with a height designed to sit on top of the fenders. 2x 55-gallon drums for Chem and Buffer yet to be plumbed, but are placed in tandem over the axle, with a cage/box frame that not only holds them in place but also provides mounting space for signage on each side of the drum frame roughly 24x48 inches.

I plan on using the frame rails along the passenger side as mounting points for 2x 18-inch manual hose reels I hope to pick up this week. If/when I add a softwash proportioner system I can add it to the front or rear of that barrel cage. Surface cleaner I’m going to secure in the back as pictured leaning up against the rear ramp. There’s space around the sides of the barrels and along the back for more storage, carrying buckets/pump sprayers, fuel can, etc. I plan on rigging guns/lances to the inside of the rear ramp, saw someone else do this somewhere with cheap rifle racks, seems like a decent solution.

The rails provide a pretty robust frame system, with multiple points securing them around the trailer’s frame. I got all the 80/20 from McMaster-Carr, and the ATL warehouse is only about 20-25 miles from me, so I ordered, drove to pick up at Will Call, and saved on shipping too. Just cut to length, tapped threads for assembly, and drilled a dozen holes around the perimeter the trailer frame. 1.5" profiles were used as more lightweight and economical. I saved quite a bit of money creating a custom frame platform vs. just buying the stake bed sides from the manufacturer - which would have incurred more expense, as I’d still have to figure out how to secure everything adequately to those side rails. Even with having to buy some extra tooling, I estimate I’ve saved at least $300 so far, and that’s without shipping of the original stake bed sides which would not have been cheap either. Overall I’m pretty happy with how this has come together.

I can see the finish line approaching. Making a list of the remaining hardware tasks, mainly mounting reels/hoses and plumbing the tanks. (These drums were some pretty clean examples sourced locally for $20 each, only used once originally used for Mt. Dew syrup - which was an interesting sweet smell when I was washing and flushing them out!)


Okay so I have the trailer basically in working order. I’m waiting to order signage that will nearly cover the sides of the 2 drums, and literally one more support bracket for the pressure washer, but all the plumbing (for now) is complete, and everything tested works without leaks and as expected. I’d like some more bells and whistles like a remote DS and bypass, but they will have to wait until I can make some money with this.

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