golfduke Reader
Feb. 20, 2013 12:23 p.m.

This is being gifted to me tomorrow from a family friend. It needs the following-

  • decking
  • ramp system with some sort of ramp storage
  • Lights and brakes wired
  • some sort of tool/strap storage setup
  • D-rings/anchors of some sort
  • A hoist point to attach a come-a-long of some sort
  • Wheel rack (can wait til later I suppose)
  • Tongue jack
  • Hinged drivers side fender to extricate myself from the car

I'm asking you for suggestions in design, layout, and materials.

I'd also like to beavertail the back 2'. Here is my thought process on doing so- portaband the back 2' off at a 90 to the ground, remove 1/4-1/2" or so off the bottom of the removed section, tapered to nothing at the top, and re-stitch back on. I was going to use flat plates to reinforce the sides of each frame rail as well at the joint. Any problems with doing it this way?

I'm well versed with a welder, and I can get stock through work. I was thinking something like .060 diamond plate runners with a hollow center. I'd run angle iron under the ends of the runners to eliminate sag. I might also brake a 45 or 90 degree turn up on the outboard sides for a little extra strength. The ramps, I honestly don't know how to attack them. My car has enough trouble with a 3" jack, let alone driving onto any trailer. Might have to get creative.

Any advice is appreciated.

81cpcamaro HalfDork
Feb. 20, 2013 12:42 p.m.

How low is the trailer? I had a beaver-tailed trailer and the back was fairly close to the ground, but my deck was higher than yours. Just check to make sure it won't drag the tail too much.

914Driver MegaDork
Feb. 20, 2013 12:48 p.m.

I used angle iron and aluminum plate, worked well. Ramps were lumber stored underneath until I had time to make something better, also stored underneath. Later version was 2" angle iron frame and diamond plate.

Ring on the center of the tongue for a come along attachment.

To ease the height problem on the car, is there some way to lift the front of the trailer up and hold it while loading? You'll have to disconnect from the tow vehicle.

I later installed an aluminum tool box at the front of the deck, meant for the bed of a pickup,

yamaha SuperDork
Feb. 20, 2013 12:51 p.m.

How long is the framework? By my guess its a 14-16ft deck frame.

I would also advise against a "ramp trailer" with an open center......with a full deck you can use it for something other than cars.

golfduke Reader
Feb. 20, 2013 1:00 p.m.

It's 6'5" between fenders and 15' deck length.

The only reasoning for an open center is ease of undercar maintenance honestly. I used to use my dads open center to change oil, diagnose clutch issues, inspect bushings, etc right from the trailer. It'll probably get some gasps from the safety sticklers, but it worked effectively in saving a lot of time and hassle.

Not to mention, I have a 102" x 12' enclosed trailer for sleds that I can haul most everything else with as needed otherwise, so I really think I'm sold on open center.

golfduke Reader
Feb. 20, 2013 1:03 p.m.

In reply to 914Driver:

My current method of loading my car onto a borrowed trailer is to drive my truck up onto about 6" of blocking to reduce the AOA. It works, but it's a little jury-rigged. I'd love to not have to do that if at all possible anymore.

fidelity101 HalfDork
Feb. 20, 2013 1:06 p.m.

put a 7 way holder in so its not exposed to the elements, and don't cheap out on the wiring

golfduke Reader
Feb. 20, 2013 1:09 p.m.
fidelity101 wrote: put a 7 way holder in so its not exposed to the elements, and don't cheap out on the wiring

I'm an EE, so cheaping out on wiring is not an option, haha. I don't understand what you are saying about a 7 way holder though? The trailer will be 7 pin due to electric brakes anyways, that's not up for debate. Is there something I'm missing in addition to that though?

yamaha SuperDork
Feb. 20, 2013 1:09 p.m.
golfduke wrote: It's 6'5" between fenders and 15' deck length. The only reasoning for an open center is ease of undercar maintenance honestly. I used to use my dads open center to change oil, diagnose clutch issues, inspect bushings, etc right from the trailer. It'll probably get some gasps from the safety sticklers, but it worked effectively in saving a lot of time and hassle. Not to mention, I have a 102" x 12' enclosed trailer for sleds that I can haul most everything else with as needed otherwise, so I really think I'm sold on open center.

Ahh, proceed then......I'd probably look at adding 2-3ft at the back for a dovetail. It would end up leaving you more room for options later on. As 15ft should barely(within a foot) your M3 on there. I've gotten my ti in my 14x7 enclosed before, but there wasn't much space left.

fidelity101 HalfDork
Feb. 20, 2013 1:15 p.m.
golfduke wrote:
fidelity101 wrote: put a 7 way holder in so its not exposed to the elements, and don't cheap out on the wiring

I'm an EE, so cheaping out on wiring is not an option, haha. I don't understand what you are saying about a 7 way holder though? The trailer will be 7 pin due to electric brakes anyways, that's not up for debate. Is there something I'm missing in addition to that though?

excellent! A lot of those generic trailer wiring kits have cheap wire and fail prematurely from my experience, especially due to the elements (but we live in Michigan here).

You can find these at a lot of trailer shops.

you bolt it to the trailer and shove the 7 way up in it and there is a spring load to it so it pushes down and keep moisture from getting in ruining the contacts. Usually got for about 7 bucks, well worth it and then you have somewhere to store the plug when you are not using it.

golfduke Reader
Feb. 20, 2013 1:27 p.m.

I'm ashamed I never found one of those to begin with... Definitely being ordered.

patgizz UberDork
Feb. 20, 2013 7:27 p.m.

winch. you'll need it one day. the $50 harbor freight 2000lb winch will pull a dead circle track car with flat 15" wide tires up onto a car trailer.

novaderrik UltraDork
Feb. 20, 2013 8:59 p.m.

depending on where the wheels are located, i'd definitely add the beavertail to the end.if the wheels are too far forward to work well with a longer deck, then i suppose it wouldn't be too hard to cut the mounts off and move them back...

a 15' trailer would be just about useless for the stuff i do, but a 17'-18' trailer is getting up into the useful range.

patgizz UberDork
Feb. 20, 2013 10:01 p.m.

oh yeah i've never heard of "beaver tail"

i've only ever heard them called dove tail.

anyway - why chop it completely off? cut a narrow triangle out of the rail leaving the top of the channel uncut, and push it down until the triangle/vee is closed, then weld/plate it.

hinged fender good idea. i built 11" sides on my trailer for work use and normally i tow big stuff so that is ok, but today i towed my sister's cavalier and had to dukes of hazzard myself out of the car then back in when it was time to drive it off.

SVreX MegaDork
Feb. 21, 2013 6:31 a.m.

I've never seen a trailer that is only 15' long with a dovetail (beavertail), and I am not sure there is an advantage. Dovetails are usually used on trailers a little longer (I've got one that is 18').

So, my first vote is to lengthen it. However, I'd first look at the size of the frame rails and the ratings of the axles. If they are 3000 lb axles (5 lug) with 4" frame rails, not a lot of point in making it bigger.

moparman76_69 HalfDork
Feb. 21, 2013 6:40 a.m.

It looks low enough to the ground I wouldn't bother with a dovetail. Also get a winch, you'll thank yourself later.

golfduke Reader
Feb. 21, 2013 8:18 a.m.

Frame is 2x4x1/4 tube, which is rugged enough to accomodate a dovetail if needed. We'll see. I may just quick screw some plywood on just to do some test driving the car on, to see if/how much it should be lengthened, the CG of it, and other such important bits before chopping it all up.

Keep in mind, this has to be completed by 4/8, and I've got another 3 weekends for snowmobiling booked between then. Some of the more involved projects may have to wait until next season. at the very least, I know my car will fit on the trailer as is, even though it may not necessarily be ideal.

golfduke Reader
Feb. 21, 2013 8:21 a.m.

Also, I'll be posting pics of some other bits, namely the tongue which has me baffled. He insists it is a standard 2 5/8 ball, but it looks nothing like I'm used to seeing.

golfduke Reader
Feb. 21, 2013 9:01 a.m.

This guy-

moparman76_69 HalfDork
Feb. 21, 2013 9:11 a.m.

Only time I've seen those tips of tongues were on farm trailers. I should know how they work but it escapes me ATM.

tpwalsh Reader
Feb. 21, 2013 9:16 a.m.

I've seen that style of ball hitch before. It's pretty simplistic, with a sleeve that slips over the tongue and incases the lever that holds the ball in place. Works pretty well. Now the junk behind that? Not sure, maybe a mount for the hydraulic brakes that are activated by the weight of the trailer? Uhaul uses that style. Master cylinder in that box, and when the weight of the trailer pushes on the box(because the towing vehicle is stopping), it compresses the master cylinder. I haven't used a brake setup like that in a LONG time.

Feb. 21, 2013 9:17 a.m.

golfduke Reader
Feb. 21, 2013 9:30 a.m.

well, whatever it is is getting cut off and swapped to conventional. It has electric brakes anyway.

Spinout007 SuperDork
Feb. 21, 2013 9:48 a.m.

That's a surge brake setup, weight of the trailer compresses the master, pressurizing the brakes. Works decently with 8k worth of trailer behind you. usually there is a breakaway chain that acts as an e brake if things go bad.

yamaha SuperDork
Feb. 21, 2013 10:01 a.m.

Honestly, that is a heavier hitch than the "normal" style.....our 1600 gallon water trailer and grain scale cart have them. And yes, both of ours take 2 5/8ths balls.

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