How To Carry A Generator Behind Your Trailer’s LP Tanks
In the last entry, we looked at how I reinforced my travel trailer’s battery rack in preparation for carrying a heavier generator behind my LP tanks. Several readers requested information on how I mounted and supported the generator over the battery boxes, which I will cover in this entry.
First, a short recap on why I carry my generator where I do. For years, I carried the generator in the bed of my pickup truck as many RVers do. However, as I began to carry more items in the bed of my truck (motorcycle, ATV, ramps, fuel cans, firewood, etc.), it became inconvenient for me to get the generator in and out, or the generator was in the way when I wanted to access other items.
Plus, being a boondocker, my campsite is seldom level, which created problems with the oil alert system on my Honda generator when the unit was run unlevel (either on the tailgate of the truck or on the ground). With the generator on the tongue of the trailer, it is never in the way, and the oil alert system is happy because the trailer is level.
Our DIY method
Here is the simple way I built a “table” that spans my battery boxes to support my generator above them, and how you might do the same:
- Determine how wide and high the table needs to be to span the battery boxes and where the feet of the table are going to rest on the battery rack. In my case, the table legs slide right in next to the “wire port ears” on the battery boxes, keeping it from sliding in any direction.
- Weld up the table using steel of your choosing. In my case, I used ½” rebar for legs and angle steel turned up to connect the four legs and accept a plywood top.
- Cut a piece of plywood or other material to form a top to the table to support the generator. Fasten in place.
- Determine where the generator will need to rest between the front of your trailer and your LP tanks. Then cut a second piece of plywood or other material to form a perimeter for the generator base to drop onto the tabletop to keep the generator centered where you want, and fasten the perimeter piece to the top. Not only will this keep the generator in position between the front of the trailer and LP tanks, but it will also prevent it from sliding off the table in transit. (If you are tight for space, you may have the option to move your LP rack up an inch or two for added clearance.)
- Place the generator on the table.
- Route a ratcheting strap over the generator and under the battery rack with the table sandwiched in between and gently tighten the strap to keep everything in place.
- Add a cable and lock between the generator and trailer frame as a theft deterrent.
- To protect the generator from rain and dust, place and secure an inverted Rubbermaid container over the generator.
- To secure the cover, I drilled the flanges, cut a bungee cord in half, and placed each half through the hole in the flange, using a knot to keep the cord from pulling back through the hole. The bungees hook to a small crossbar I welded to my battery rack. The crossbar also helps keep the table legs from sliding side to side.
Now I have a convenient, out-of-the-way place to carry my generator without getting it in and out of my vehicle when needed.
Considerations and observations
- Carrying your generator on the tongue of your trailer is much safer than the rear bumper, where it is likely to be damaged by collision. (Someone rear-ending the trailer or you backing into something.) In addition, it is less likely to cause your trailer frame to separate from the box of the trailer due to the weight of the generator bouncing up and down on the bumper.
- Consider the extra weight on the tongue of the trailer and be sure not to exceed the rated tongue weight of your vehicle’s hitch. (Very unlikely, but better to be safe than sorry.)
- Carrying the generator on the tongue is a great option for those that use an SUV as a tow vehicle, as it is never safe to carry a generator (or anything with combustible fuel) in the passenger compartment.
- Be aware of the possibility of carbon monoxide gaining access to the living portion of your RV. Keep windows and vents near the generator closed and always have a working carbon monoxide detector inside your rig. Know the signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning and immediately shut your generator off and vent the interior of your RV if you experience them.
- I aimed the panel of my generator to the roadside (driver’s side) of my RV, which gives me greater access to the pull start, choke, and on/off switch. It also makes it easier to extend my shore power cord to the generator outlet.
Carrying your generator in a less obvious spot, just another adventure in RVing! For more tips, check out our previous post on How To Reinforce Your Trailer’s Battery Rack To Carry More Weight
Dave Helgeson’s many roles in the RV industry started before he even had a driver’s license. His grandparents and father owned an RV dealership before the term “RV” had been coined, and Dave played a pivotal role in nearly every position of an RV dealership. He and his wife Cheri launched their own RV dealership in the Pacific Northwest. The duo also spent 29 years overseeing regional RV shows. Dave has also served as President of a local chapter of the Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), worked on the board of advisors for the RV Technician Program of a local technical college, and served as a board member of the Manufactured Home and RV Association. Dave’s reputation earned him the title of “The foremost expert on boondocking,” bestowed by RV industry icon, the late Gary Bunzer (The RV Doctor). When he’s not out boondocking, you’ll find Dave in the spotlight at RV shows across the country, giving seminars about all things RVing. He and Cheri currently roam in their fifth travel trailer, with Dave doing all the service, repair and modifications to his own unit.