How the right trailer can make towing not suck | Column

Tim
By Tim Suddard
Jul 21, 2022 | Towing, trailer | Posted in Columns | From the Dec. 2006 issue | Never miss an article

Photography Credit: Tom Suddard

[Editor's note: This article originally appeared in the December 2006 issue of Grassroots Motorsports.]

Making the jump to towing to events is a major one. It adds another whole level of expense and complexity to this game that we play.

It’s not so much the towing itself that is so bad, but the fact that you now need another vehicle that will …

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CAinCA
CAinCA GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
7/20/22 7:04 p.m.

Not one picture of the best trailer in the world? Really? Damn! I really want to see it. 

smiley

Tom1200
Tom1200 UltraDork
7/20/22 9:23 p.m.

I love my single axle trailer but I only tow small light cars.

WillG80
WillG80 GRM+ Memberand Reader
7/20/22 10:36 p.m.
Tom1200 said:

I love my single axle trailer but I only tow small light cars.

This. My light, single axle trailer was the nicest I've ever towed. Now I'm stuck with only a 12k equipment trailer and it's terrible, especially when empty. 

kevinatfms
kevinatfms GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
7/21/22 9:47 a.m.

Id kill for a 16' trailer for the Champ Car and my Fiesta. Just enough to hold the car and have a small rack up front for some wheels/tires. 

But they all seem to be $4000+ for a basic steel one without the tire rack.

APEowner
APEowner GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
7/21/22 11:40 a.m.

I think that it's more like "The right trailer, properly loaded attached to the right tow vehicle can make towing not suck."  Admittedly not the greatest title but the whole combination being matched is the real trick for eliminating towing suckage.

My 24 foot enclosed weighs about 10k lbs with the heaver race car in it and I can tow it at 80 MPH comfortably with my RAM 3500.  In contrast, last year I passed someone towing a Formula Ford on a small open single axle trailer with a 1/2 ton Chevy who couldn't go over 45 MPH because it was improperly loaded and would dance the back of the truck around violently whenever he tried.  If he's simply loaded the car backwards it would have towed easily.

 

 

 

chaparral
chaparral Dork
7/21/22 11:49 a.m.

My trailer is just about ideal. Single jet-ski trailer, with a deck and upper frame, to haul one kart behind a VW GTI. 

 

Now, if I could only get rid of the 55 MPH California towing speed limit, I might get less than 31 MPG...

APEowner
APEowner GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
7/21/22 1:27 p.m.
chaparral said:

My trailer is just about ideal. Single jet-ski trailer, with a deck and upper frame, to haul one kart behind a VW GTI. 

 

Now, if I could only get rid of the 55 MPH California towing speed limit, I might get less than 31 MPG...

I hate the California 55 MPH towing limit.  After hauling through NM and AZ at 75 to 80 MPH it feels like you're just about stopped when you hit the CA boarder.

ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter)
ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
7/21/22 8:54 p.m.

Single axle trailers are great... until you blow out a tire. That scenario may have cost me what little hair I had left. 

Cactus
Cactus HalfDork
7/21/22 9:00 p.m.

In reply to APEowner :

That's mostly why I tow with a dually. It has a lot more tolerance to bad loading. Way too much tongue weight? You'll hardly notice. Not enough? It's gotta be a pretty gross error for the tail to wag that dog.

frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
7/21/22 9:19 p.m.
kevinatfms said:

Id kill for a 16' trailer for the Champ Car and my Fiesta. Just enough to hold the car and have a small rack up front for some wheels/tires. 

But they all seem to be $4000+ for a basic steel one without the tire rack.

Unless you build it yourself.  The cost of doing so is less than half of that.  

frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
7/21/22 9:40 p.m.
ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter) said:

Single axle trailers are great... until you blow out a tire. That scenario may have cost me what little hair I had left. 

The one tire blow out I've had in my life occurred on a single axle unsprung trailer. Heavily loaded ( Jaguar XK150, probably overloaded). I don't know, it was homemade with scrap I found around the Navy Hobby shop. 
  Oh and by the way I was going slightly over 100 mph  on a cheap well used recap tire.  ( by the Bonneville salt flats) 

  It took me about 10 minutes to change the tire ( had to unload the trunk of my Buick ) I think it was $15 to re-straighten the rim in Salt Lake City. and $5 to buy a used recap.  
    My point? A tire blowout does not lead to a flaming  explosion and death.  
      It leads to a flat tire.  
   

frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
7/21/22 9:51 p.m.
Cactus said:

In reply to APEowner :

That's mostly why I tow with a dually. It has a lot more tolerance to bad loading. Way too much tongue weight? You'll hardly notice. Not enough? It's gotta be a pretty gross error for the tail to wag that dog.

But the dually is expensive,  the fuel it uses  is even more expensive. And it can't be used practically as a daily driver.   
  I towed for well over a decade with a S10 Blazer with the little 2.8 V6   The trailer I towed was  a tandem axle enclosed trailer, hauling my race car, tools and spares. About 3500 pounds of cargo. Good mileage, comfortable place to sleep at the track, and my daily driver when not hauling.  I'm guessing  well over 30-40,000 miles.  Over mountains ( east and west)  across deserts  and all over the country. 
     Oh and it regularly put my 6000 pound cruiser in and out of my Lake. 

frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
7/21/22 9:57 p.m.
chaparral said:

My trailer is just about ideal. Single jet-ski trailer, with a deck and upper frame, to haul one kart behind a VW GTI. 

 

Now, if I could only get rid of the 55 MPH California towing speed limit, I might get less than 31 MPG...

I'm sorry, too many Miles on California roads towing at the same speed local traffic was moving.  
  While I respect your obedience to their laws, I recognize too many others who believe in the safety of the herd.   Including those towing.  
   Yes the price of California tickets is shocking. But if that patrolman pulls you over for that, he's just as likely to pull you over for something else. 

frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
7/21/22 10:01 p.m.

Cheap home made enclosed trailer.  Extremely light weight about 20+ years old at this point. Warning; do not just use Gel Coat in leu of  paint if you don't want it to turn Chalky white after  that period. 

frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
7/21/22 10:21 p.m.
Tom1200 said:

I love my single axle trailer but I only tow small light cars.

What I loved about my single axle trailer is I could pull the axle off and lean it against the wall in the garage.  It was also light enough to put up in the rafters of my single car garage  and be completely out of my way.

     In other words storage through the winter was never an issue. 

Tom1200
Tom1200 UltraDork
7/21/22 10:34 p.m.
ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter) said:

Single axle trailers are great... until you blow out a tire. That scenario may have cost me what little hair I had left. 

And becuase of this I buy tires that will handle double the load. I also don't go more than about 65mph. In 32 years of towing single axle trailers I've been fortunate to not ever lose a tire.

APEowner
APEowner GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
7/21/22 11:05 p.m.
Cactus said:

In reply to APEowner :

That's mostly why I tow with a dually. It has a lot more tolerance to bad loading. Way too much tongue weight? You'll hardly notice. Not enough? It's gotta be a pretty gross error for the tail to wag that dog.

That's another approach; use so much truck it doesn't really matter how the trailer is setup.  

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
7/21/22 11:19 p.m.

My search for a small quality trailer for my cars is very real.  Post up what ya got.  I'd love to be able to put it inside my 22 ft garage and walk by it on one end easily.  So I want something 15-19 ft total length not deck length.  I can fit a metric load of junk in the Tahoe so the trailer only needs to hold the car to and from events.  

frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
7/21/22 11:49 p.m.

In reply to AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) :

It's relatively   simple to build a flat deck and bolt a surge brake unit to the tongue and  those rubber torsion axles to the deck. 
     Do be thoughtful though.  Too many trailers are way heavier than they need to be.  Most of those are designed like they are going to haul a bobcat  or other heavy construction equipment instead of a light race car.  .125 wall is plenty thick enough, most of mine were thinner wall.  Space the cross pieces so the axles lands right on top of them.   I MIG welded mine. Still spent a lot of time  cleaning the welding surfaces before welding.  Although my first ones were all stick welded those I wasn't as fussy and I occasionally had to Re weld some connections. 
      I used 1/2 or 3/4 plywood for decking material. depending on anticipated load. But if you don't want to be replacing it frequently paint it really well  with a  gallon of tractor paint.   Keep the deck as low as possible,  more stable and easier to load. 
   Fenders really should be on  but you really have to think about how to mount them. Way too easy to get them flopping back and forth and have them snap off. 
keep them extremely light,  Aluminum, plastic,  or fiberglass.  Don't hang anything on them. No license or taillights. 

Tom1200
Tom1200 UltraDork
7/21/22 11:52 p.m.

This Is my rig in full bloom; the trailer will fit in my garage with the car on it. It is also less hassle to manuever around at crowded gas stops.

te72
te72 HalfDork
7/22/22 1:37 a.m.

I've towed a small variety of trailers over the years. Can't say I've enjoyed even a moment of my time with any of them, apart from knowing I got to have fun with the car on them sooner than later.

 

Parking them sucks. Hooking them up sucks. Storing them sucks. Maintaining them sucks. Securing them sucks. Driving with them sucks. Refueling with them sucks. Notice a theme here? I am no professional truck driver, I freely admit, but trailers in general, well... suck.

 

So what to do? I'm building a ramp truck. Took a 2009 GMC 2500hd long bed 2wd, sold the bed for scrap, bought some c-channel, and extended the bed roughly 5.5 feet. Still working on the framing, but the deck is aluminum tread plate to keep the weight comparable to the stock bed. The ramps are 1x8 feet, and are also aluminum, roughly 50 lbs with a ~2000 lb capacity each.

 

All in all, the truck is about 26 feet long, which, yes, it's long, but it's 14 feet shorter than this truck was with a car hauler behind it... If the tests with the Exocet work well, I will be extending the wheelbase about 5 feet and doing a 4-link / bag suspension so I can haul the much heavier Supra safely.

 

Now, all that said? Camping's a lot easier in an enclosed trailer. =)

03Panther
03Panther UberDork
7/22/22 1:45 a.m.

In reply to frenchyd :

There is a difference in a trailer tire going flat, and a complete tire come-apart. 
While im glad for you that you've only had one, and it just went flat, that is not normal life experience for most folks that tow. 
I tow enough I carry two spares. I've had a couple dozen road hazard trailer tire problems. A single axle Airstream only had one... prolly only did a few hundred dollars damage, so it wasn't bad. My tandem axle Airstream Argosy had one fairly new tire complete blow out. Damaged interior plastic wheel well, galvanized outer wheel well, and outer skin. $2000 estimate, back in '99. 
I've had a road hazard take out the front right tandem on a 5th wheel... metal wire from that tire went in side wall of the brand spanking new rear right tire behind it. Had to throw that $200 tire away. 
Stop assuming your experiences are identical to others, and saying it as if it's a life fact. 
I've never had a blow out lead to flaming explosions (although I've used a extinguisher on 18 wheelers a time or three) and death. But about half have been MUCH more than a tire with no air!

And I missed where anyone said it leads to flaming explosions and death. 

03Panther
03Panther UberDork
7/22/22 1:52 a.m.

I've used duallys as DDs with zero issues, a lot. But I use my trucks, not just showboating. I know a lot of other folks that DD their duallys as well. MPG is not worse than SRW that would do a similar job, either. 

03Panther
03Panther UberDork
7/22/22 2:04 a.m.

In reply to te72 :

"I've towed a small variety of trailers over the years. Can't say I've enjoyed even a moment of my time with any of them, apart from knowing I got to have fun with the car on them sooner than later.

Parking them sucks. Hooking them up sucks. Storing them sucks. Maintaining them sucks. Securing them sucks. Driving with them sucks. Refueling with them sucks. Notice a theme here? I am no professional truck driver, I freely admit, but trailers in general, well... suck."
 

Sorry you've had such bad luck with trailers. I've had many, and some combos have been less than ideal. 
But I disagree with you completely. Other than hooking / unhooking that is, that sucks. I never found MOST gas stations to be a problem. Some get a bit tight, and could frustrate someone in a huge hurry. But most ain't bad. 
my '99 Dodge single cab long bed, with 26'long Airestream Argosy behind it was a tad long in down town San Antonio; it was a few feet to long to fit in 2 spaces, but shorter than three. I found 4 empty spaces in a row, and parallel parked it. Backed in, without hitting car behind, pulled up till I was only in 3 of the spaces, and visited the Alamo. 
Patience, practice, and the right rig, set up correctly, can definitely make them not suck. 

frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
7/22/22 10:22 a.m.
03Panther said:

In reply to frenchyd :

There is a difference in a trailer tire going flat, and a complete tire come-apart. 
While im glad for you that you've only had one, and it just went flat, that is not normal life experience for most folks that tow. 
I tow enough I carry two spares. I've had a couple dozen road hazard trailer tire problems. A single axle Airstream only had one... prolly only did a few hundred dollars damage, so it wasn't bad. My tandem axle Airstream Argosy had one fairly new tire complete blow out. Damaged interior plastic wheel well, galvanized outer wheel well, and outer skin. $2000 estimate, back in '99. 
I've had a road hazard take out the front right tandem on a 5th wheel... metal wire from that tire went in side wall of the brand spanking new rear right tire behind it. Had to throw that $200 tire away. 
Stop assuming your experiences are identical to others, and saying it as if it's a life fact. 
I've never had a blow out lead to flaming explosions (although I've used a extinguisher on 18 wheelers a time or three) and death. But about half have been MUCH more than a tire with no air!

And I missed where anyone said it leads to flaming explosions and death. 

At 100+ the recap came apart.  As in bang!   The result once stopped was a flat tire.  So you change it.   The physical work of changing it calmed me down and it turned into no big deal. 
      I'll grant some people spiral or panic in those situations. Or make things worse.  But tires do fail. Especially on trailers that tend to be neglected. Doesn't matter. If you're prone to panic  a tire failure on tandem axles will be a panic inducement. 
  My comment regarding flaming death was regarding those who tow lite race cars with a big dually on a tandem axle trailer.  They imply that anything less is dangerous  which is simply not true. They just want to be a Macho truck driver. 
   My 1964 Corvette race car never saw a tandem trailer, nor was it pulled by anything bigger than an S10 Blazer.  
       
I've been a professional driver back in the Mid 70's  hauling 80,000 pounds of Wisconsin Cheese. (Yep! Massively overloaded )  to San Francisco  Gypsy a load to Southern California. Pick up a load of Lettuce in Holtville  and back to Minneapolis.  Driving a well worn Cab over Jimmy with a 6/71  every 5 days. 3 days off and repeat.  

  I drove a double bottom trailer arrangement pulled by a top less USA  ( That's the Brand ) truck  from before WW2 from Subic Bay to Manila  and back, in the Philippines.  
    For the last 9 years I drive a school bus. 
 

te72
te72 HalfDork
7/22/22 10:38 a.m.

In reply to 03Panther :

Fair points I suppose. The extra maintenance and opportunity for errors / failures on a trailer (in my experience) is not something I have any desire to deal with or risk.

Parking / gas stations in Utah are a fair bit different than in Texas, from what I've seen. Everything's tight out in this region.

03Panther
03Panther UberDork
7/22/22 5:01 p.m.
te72 said:

In reply to 03Panther :

Fair points I suppose. The extra maintenance and opportunity for errors / failures on a trailer (in my experience) is not something I have any desire to deal with or risk.

Parking / gas stations in Utah are a fair bit different than in Texas, from what I've seen. Everything's tight out in this region.

Now the maint. and errors / failures potential, I can definitely agree! It adds another level, for sure. 
When I worked in Salt Lake City, I did not find anything (excluding downtown) any tighter than most places. 
S. A. and Austin, when I worked out that way, we're both a challenge. But out of downtown, even there, no problems finding plenty of room to fuel up. 

03Panther
03Panther UberDork
7/22/22 11:00 p.m.

In reply to frenchyd :

To sum up to overly wordy reply, the original post did not say what you meant, was not related to what others were talking about, my reply was noted, and your response spent a lot of time off on a tangent. 
Normal. 
 

te72
te72 HalfDork
7/22/22 11:23 p.m.

In reply to 03Panther :

Last couple times I trailered the Exocet to autocrosses, I had issues fueling. First one, the gas station that has ample space on the outer island, I waited (patiently) for some old fart on a motorcycle to do... whatever it was that he was doing. Probably waited 15 minutes for it to clear. There are only two other stations in town that are even the least bit truck / trailer friendly, and one of them only has one pump.

 

The other time was in the SLC area, up by Farmington. I don't know the area especially well, but the station that was closest to the event location had their pumps all of about 20 feet (if that) from a curb. Had to back the trailer out of there after fueling. Backing a trailer, near a gas pump? What could go wrong there with a guy who isn't great at driving a trailer?

 

Meanwhile, I don't anticipate any of those issues with the ramp truck. Admittedly the ramp truck would make a terrible daily driver, but I've never daily driven a truck in over 20 years now, not gonna start now.

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
7/23/22 10:18 p.m.
te72 said:

Last couple times I trailered the Exocet to autocrosses, I had issues fueling. First one, the gas station that has ample space on the outer island, I waited (patiently) for some old fart on a motorcycle to do... whatever it was that he was doing. Probably waited 15 minutes for it to clear. There are only two other stations in town that are even the least bit truck / trailer friendly, and one of them only has one pump.

Is this the town you live in?  Why do you take the trailer to the gas station with you?  I fill the truck up before I hitch up the trailer, and any track that's out of single-tank towing range for the round trip is one I'm going to be staying overnight the night before.  So I drop the trailer at the track, then go fill the truck up on the way to the hotel.

There have been a couple times where I've towed further than a tanks' worth of fuel, but in that case I'm on the freeway and there are usually truck/camper/etc-oriented gas stations on those routes with lots of room.

 

te72
te72 HalfDork
7/24/22 2:34 p.m.

In reply to codrus (Forum Supporter) :

The Exocet isn't registered yet, so I was towing it to the gas station to fill up with fuel. For whatever reason it is a pain to try filling with a gas can. The one time I tried it made a heck of a mess, since gas cans have to be emissions friendly these days too...

 

The truck itself has a 35-ish gallon tank, so as long as I take it easy, it can go quite a ways on a fill. =)

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
7/24/22 3:52 p.m.

I'm thinking of test driving both of these trailers soon.

Any input on either?

1st is standard 16ft wood flatbed double axle hauler.  The 2nd is a shorter tilt bed torsion bar single axle with e brakes.  The cars to be towed are my Subaru WRX and 96 F body.  

https://saffordequipment.com/product/caliber-7x16-car-hauler-trailer/?gclid=Cj0KCQjw8uOWBhDXARIsAOxKJ2Fj883dHN0SJiozJZgPvE1AMDbVBCxRTIMHaozZdOjD0wX86TTuK4UaAtZsEALw_wcB

 

https://saffordequipment.com/product/lt404-load-trail-77x12-scissor-hauler-7k/

frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
7/24/22 4:03 p.m.

I don't understand why towing a trailer a race car trailer  is such a problem to fill?  
     I mean I fill my 40' school bus without a problem. That's usually the one pump that's awkward to get to with a car let alone a 40' bus pulling an activities trailer. 
  For decades I pull into any gas station  and filled up the truck pulling the race car. Never have had  a problem.  

frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
7/24/22 4:17 p.m.
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) said:

I'm thinking of test driving both of these trailers soon.

Any input on either?

1st is standard 16ft wood flatbed double axle hauler.  The 2nd is a shorter tilt bed torsion bar single axle with e brakes.  The cars to be towed are my Subaru WRX and 96 F body.  

https://saffordequipment.com/product/caliber-7x16-car-hauler-trailer/?gclid=Cj0KCQjw8uOWBhDXARIsAOxKJ2Fj883dHN0SJiozJZgPvE1AMDbVBCxRTIMHaozZdOjD0wX86TTuK4UaAtZsEALw_wcB

 

https://saffordequipment.com/product/lt404-load-trail-77x12-scissor-hauler-7k/

The tandem trailer will pull harder.  Plus  it's not something that's not easy to move around empty without hooking to a car.  Very hard to turn.  
 An empty single axle trailer you can either move around by hand or  get one of those Dolly's  to  hook underneath and roll to wherever you want it. It's massively easier to live with a single axle trailer than a tandem axle trailer.   
  Don't believe the myth of a tire blow out   On a single axle trailer a major issue.  There are 5 tires left  keeping everything straight.

      I blew one out on the freeway by the Bonneville salt flats early one morning. I was going over 100 mph.    I slowed down and changed the tire.  
  Same thing that will happen if you blow out a tire on a tandem axle trailer.  You'll slow down and change the tire.  
  If the trailer is properly loaded.  60% of the weight ahead of the axle and the tires are rated for the load  a single axle trailer is just easier to live with. 

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
7/24/22 9:58 p.m.
te72 said:

The Exocet isn't registered yet, so I was towing it to the gas station to fill up with fuel. For whatever reason it is a pain to try filling with a gas can. The one time I tried it made a heck of a mess, since gas cans have to be emissions friendly these days too...

Summit will happily ship VP Racing "utility jugs" to a California address. :)

https://www.summitracing.com/parts/vpr-3522

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
7/24/22 10:01 p.m.
frenchyd said:

I don't understand why towing a trailer a race car trailer  is such a problem to fill?  
     I mean I fill my 40' school bus without a problem. That's usually the one pump that's awkward to get to with a car let alone a 40' bus pulling an activities trailer. 

You live somewhere that land is cheap, so gas stations are big.  That's not the case everywhere.

03Panther
03Panther UberDork
7/24/22 10:19 p.m.

In reply to AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) :

F is 100% correct on all info... in his first paragraph. (Harder to move by hand, etc. ) 

The rest is an opinion formed from his one flat tire.
He has towed a lot, but my towing, and watching others, has led me to an entirely different option. And I'll share mine without slamming others! There is a lot of misinformation in there. 
For advice on those two trailers,  you did mention the load, but what are you towing it with?

As F has mentioned, it is the whole rig ya havta consider. 
A single IS easier to live with. IF it is up to the job. (And yes, some are)

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
7/24/22 11:27 p.m.

The tow vehicle is plenty big with plenty of reserve power.  I will be using a new Tahoe Z71.  No issues there.  

03Panther
03Panther UberDork
7/24/22 11:32 p.m.

In reply to AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) :

Without looking at the links, if you understand (and I'm sure you do) the tongue load importance, and space allows you to balance it, a single will be fine behind that, with those relitivly light cars.

 Watch the axle and tire weight ratings.

Several things about the tandem are positives with a car on them, but the single is easier to own, over all. How far are you typically towing?  

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
7/25/22 1:36 a.m.

In reply to 03Panther :

The single is a 7k axle with appropriate tires and torsion bars.  It also has electric brakes and the Tahoe has a controller.  
 

I will be towing 200-300 miles a few (6-9) times a year or more once in a while.  
 

I'm sick of paying uhaul frequently.

jfryjfry
jfryjfry SuperDork
7/25/22 7:01 a.m.

What's a scissor hauler?

and it looks like the scissor hauler (single axle) does not come painted just primed. 
 

Can you add brakes to the dual axle hauler??

 

 

te72
te72 HalfDork
7/25/22 10:27 a.m.

In reply to codrus (Forum Supporter) :

That does look like a fine utility jug! Where I live isn't the issue with the gas cans, it's more that other states have made proper cans a pain these days, so they don't seem to make simple cans anymore. Mine has a weird spring loaded valve and o-rings in the cap. It works well, except when you're trying to fill a car. Then it either gushes out or drips out, difficult to find a balance when trying to hold the weight of the jug in the air. All because it doesn't have a proper vent. About the only option is a funnel and to remove the fancy nozzle it came with.

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
7/25/22 11:55 a.m.

In reply to jfryjfry :

It's a tilt bed loader.  This builder calls it a scissor hauler.  That threw me off too.  No need for ramps.  
 

APEowner
APEowner GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
7/25/22 1:29 p.m.
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) said:

I'm thinking of test driving both of these trailers soon.

Any input on either?

1st is standard 16ft wood flatbed double axle hauler.  The 2nd is a shorter tilt bed torsion bar single axle with e brakes.  The cars to be towed are my Subaru WRX and 96 F body.  

https://saffordequipment.com/product/caliber-7x16-car-hauler-trailer/?gclid=Cj0KCQjw8uOWBhDXARIsAOxKJ2Fj883dHN0SJiozJZgPvE1AMDbVBCxRTIMHaozZdOjD0wX86TTuK4UaAtZsEALw_wcB

 

https://saffordequipment.com/product/lt404-load-trail-77x12-scissor-hauler-7k/

The scissor hauler looks like it's designed for hauling scissor lifts.  I don't think it's going to work out very well for hauling cars.  I'm not sure the deck is long enough for them to fit.  If it does fit I suspect that it'll run off the back of the deck before it moves the weight far enough back for it to tilt and I think the approach angle is to steep to get a car on it in the first place. 

The other trailer looks decent.  My PT decked trailer needed to be re-decked about every 10 years.  Make sure the ramps are long enough to get a good approach angle and think about where you're going to carry the spare tire.  I prefer removable fenders on car trailers so I can open the car doors.

03Panther
03Panther UberDork
7/25/22 1:58 p.m.

In reply to APEowner :

Old school guys, before treated 2Xs were as common, used to treat their trailer boards with used motor oil. Actually a very "green" use for it. Despite the sounds of it, it does not leave the deck slippery at all. 
Has anybody used oil to extend the life of treated boards? 
Here in the S. E. , we tend to only get bout 5 years out of treated boards. In fact, if trailer is "dot", box store treated lumber is not allowed. 

APEowner
APEowner GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
7/25/22 2:02 p.m.
03Panther said:

In reply to APEowner :

Old school guys, before treated 2Xs were as common, used to treat their trailer boards with used motor oil. Actually a very "green" use for it. Despite the sounds of it, it does not leave the deck slippery at all. 
Has anybody used oil to extend the life of treated boards? 
Here in the S. E. , we tend to only get bout 5 years out of treated boards. In fact, if trailer is "dot", box store treated lumber is not allowed. 

That's only a green use for used motor oil if you discount the fact that it's carcinogenic. 

03Panther
03Panther UberDork
7/25/22 2:29 p.m.

In reply to APEowner :

Used oil is only carcinogenic from skin contact, ingestion etc. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't try to eat my trailer wood (you do know that treated wood is poisonous and carcinogenic right?) and would not let the general public try to eat it either. And you can buy nitrial gloves (no medical license needed, at least where I live) while applying. 
I do hope you would not roll around on in in your skivvies. I know I wouldn't. 

And yes, I still grill beef, even though it's been proven to be a carcinogen.
what I don't do is pore my used oil on the fence line, to control the weeds. 
Let's keep a conversation in the realm of reality. 

frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
7/25/22 2:43 p.m.

In reply to AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) :

Axle is too far forward. Worse the spare tire adds to tail weight.  Depending how he loaded the scissors lift I'll bet it was a terrible swaying thing.   A rough rule of thumb is the axle should be 60% back of the centerline of the deck.   If tandem the center of the 2 wheels should be at the 60% mark.

   Wood decks need a thick coat of paint every year  to protect the wood. 
  
   Depending on your budget an Aluminum trailer may well be worth the investment.  Not only are they lighter but infinitely more durable.  I often see 10 year old or older aluminum trailers go for big money but doubt if it's actually depreciated at all 

While a home made steel trailer needs lots of maintenance  to be worth anything at the 10 year mark.  

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
7/25/22 3:02 p.m.

Okay so my search for a Big Tex 14' double axle auto hauler continues.....  I'm afraid a 16 ft trailer deck with tongue and a frame will be too much in my 22' long garage.  

spitfirebill
spitfirebill MegaDork
7/25/22 3:29 p.m.
ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter) said:

Single axle trailers are great... until you blow out a tire. That scenario may have cost me what little hair I had left. 

That is why I haven't built a custom single axle just for small British cars.   Years ago I was towing a double axle heavy trailer loaded with a tractor down an interstate.  I had no idea that I had a flat on the trailer until a car pulled up beside me and this very pretty lady pointed back to the trailer.   It wouldn't have been the same if it had been a single axle trailer.  

03Panther
03Panther UberDork
7/25/22 3:40 p.m.

In reply to frenchyd :

To clarify some of my earlier statements, our experiences with tires, both shared and seen, have given us totally different opinions on tires, and the damage they can do. 
That being said, the potential for damage is not better with a tandem. In thinking back, I believe that was a part of your point. And that is correct. My difference of opinion came from the words you use to describe that. 
 

03Panther
03Panther UberDork
7/25/22 3:50 p.m.

In reply to spitfirebill :

I've had tires do a lot of damage, on lots of styles of trailers. Tandem can do as you described, but can be catastrophic as well. Singles can be no big deal (as F describes) or can be catastrophic. 
I had a front right steer tire have a complete blow apart doing 80 mph one hand on the steering wheel, and cruse on. On my RV made from a Semi!!! Was lucky and all the tire rubber flew out, and only did minor damage to fender. I just pulled over to side of interstate, and had the tire changed. 295/70R24.5. I have the tools to do it, but didn't have a tire!Only scary part was how loud the "explosion" was! Turned out the be as simple as F discussed. My wife said the coolest part was watching the hundreds of pieces of tire flying past the passenger window!!! " Wow. So that's what that looks like!"

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
7/25/22 3:59 p.m.

If anyone sees a 14' featherlite for sale holler.  I'd love to have one but they seem super rare.  

frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
7/25/22 4:00 p.m.

In reply to 03Panther :

I do agree with you. I have seen complete fenders blown off  and damaged race cars arrive at the track from blow outs.    It can happen. 
   I understand there are people who panic and cause problems.  By over.reacting.  Diving on the brakes etc.  

  I'm maybe a little too casual. I just check stuff rather than assume. Then relax as I pound down the road.  

03Panther
03Panther UberDork
7/25/22 4:00 p.m.

Tandems are a bit more forgiving of the balance of the load. But proper tongue weight still matters. As I said a little bit more forgiving. Tandems are a bit more stable while loading a car. Two tires can (not will, but can) give a slight increase in safety factor. To say there is non, is incorrect. 

For the minus side, buying 4 tires (and two spares if towing more than 100 miles imho) instead of two, and spares. I you buy a $50 dollar trailer tire, or a $500 trailer tire, a road hazard can take it out an hr. later! 
Tandem is harder to move around the yard, if you live in town (not one of my problems, tend to be a bit heavier (not a problem, if you have enough car) and some are longer, if going in a garage. Again, only a problem for some neighborhoods 

frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
7/25/22 4:05 p.m.

In reply to AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) :

Featerlite  Are built south of me , I used to service them for equipment they used to paint and decal.  That's where Dale Earnhardt bought me lunch for the suggestion I gave him. 

APEowner
APEowner GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
7/25/22 4:54 p.m.
03Panther said:

In reply to APEowner :

Used oil is only carcinogenic from skin contact, ingestion etc. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't try to eat my trailer wood (you do know that treated wood is poisonous and carcinogenic right?) and would not let the general public try to eat it either. And you can buy nitrial gloves (no medical license needed, at least where I live) while applying. 
I do hope you would not roll around on in in your skivvies. I know I wouldn't. 

And yes, I still grill beef, even though it's been proven to be a carcinogen.
what I don't do is pore my used oil on the fence line, to control the weeds. 
Let's keep a conversation in the realm of reality. 

They stopped treating PT lumber with chromated-copper arsenate in 2004 so it's no longer carcinogenic.  I don't roll around on my car trailer in my skivvies but I do lay on it in a short sleeved t shirt while strapping down cars on a pretty regular basis. 

03Panther
03Panther UberDork
7/25/22 9:29 p.m.

In reply to APEowner :

I understand, but the change in 04, changed from a publicly known environmentaly harmful chemical, to a less known chemical. If it wasn't poison, it would not do the intended function. 

After the oil soaks in, it probably a lot safer than the treated. No, I have no fact to prove that part, but EPA, as an origination (not every individual) does not care about the environment. The org. only cares about money. And lies a LOT. Again not every individual. I can support that, but we are far enough off topic, so... back to our regularly scheduled forum...laugh

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
7/25/22 9:43 p.m.

This trailer is local to me.  I may go check it out tomorrow.  
 

 

16 ft double axle and steel deck.  

03Panther
03Panther UberDork
7/25/22 9:55 p.m.
frenchyd said:

  I'm maybe a little too casual. I just check stuff rather than assume. Then relax as I pound down the road.  

I'm exactly the same, in my personal use. Different when driving under dot rules, but I hope I don't have to do that these days. 
But giving advice on the internet, based on one blowout (no matter how many miles etc.) that everyone's experience will be exactly like yours, is irresponsible at best, and could even be dangerous. 

03Panther
03Panther UberDork
7/25/22 9:59 p.m.

In reply to AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) :

Will do what ya need, and then some. Overkill is often just right. As long as it fits at property / house. 
That deck will save a lot of money / headaches over the years laugh

ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter)
ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
7/26/22 7:40 a.m.

If your race car is a door slammer, make sure your open trailer has a removable driver side fender. Climbing in and out of the window gets old pretty quick unless you're an acrobat or one of the Dukes of Hazzard. I am neither. 

frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
7/26/22 8:19 a.m.

In reply to 03Panther :

What do you expect a properly balanced single axle trailer to do when it has a blow out?  
Remember there are 5 other tires on the ground pulling it straight. 4 on the car and one on the trailer. 

frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
7/26/22 8:29 a.m.
ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter) said:

If your race car is a door slammer, make sure your open trailer has a removable driver side fender. Climbing in and out of the window gets old pretty quick unless you're an acrobat or one of the Dukes of Hazzard. I am neither. 

If you're not able to climb through a door  then don't get an enclosed trailer.  
     Or you can do as I do which is pull the car in straight standing outside of it steering, out of gear. ( neutral )  and properly tie the car down.  Then when you arrive at your Destination park slightly up hill and let the car coast back out on the winch.  
     Lacking that, use a snatch block to pull from the rear with the front mounted winch.  
 In short you don't have to be in it.  Hint; don't trailer a car in gear  it's hard on the transmission. If you are worried about the tie downs holding  put tire blocks in place.  

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
7/26/22 9:36 a.m.

This trailer has removeable fenders.  I'm going to see and measure it today.  

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
7/26/22 9:53 a.m.

They do sell enclosed trailers with "escape doors" and removable fenders so that you can drive into the trailer and get out without needing to climb through the window.

That said, I'm totally converted to using a winch for loading the car.  Much easier on the clutch if nothing else.

 

APEowner
APEowner GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
7/26/22 10:10 a.m.
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) said:

This trailer is local to me.  I may go check it out tomorrow.  
 

 

16 ft double axle and steel deck.  

That looks like a good solid unit.  I'm not crazy about the bar across the front but I could see how it might be useful for some.  If you find it annoying you can always cut it off.  My suggestion to check ramp lenght and thing about where you're going to carry the spare tire apply to this trailer as well.

03Panther
03Panther UberDork
7/26/22 10:13 a.m.
frenchyd said:

In reply to 03Panther :

What do you expect a properly balanced single axle trailer to do when it has a blow out?  
Remember there are 5 other tires on the ground pulling it straight. 4 on the car and one on the trailer. 

You and I have beat that horse to death. Let it go already.
Your one time going well, has given you a mistaken impression, and despite all the problems you have seen, your one time is the fact for everyone. 
as the court drama say, asked and answered. 
Glad you've only had one tire problem in you entire life, and it didn't turn out badly for you, despite being completely reckless and irresponsible, by your own admission. 
Others have not been so lucky. 
None of the way you tell it, has one iota of relevance to this thread. 

03Panther
03Panther UberDork
7/26/22 10:14 a.m.

In reply to frenchyd :

Excellent tips on load/unload/tie down. 

glyn ellis
glyn ellis New Reader
7/26/22 10:42 a.m.
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) said:

Okay so my search for a Big Tex 14' double axle auto hauler continues.....  I'm afraid a 16 ft trailer deck with tongue and a frame will be too much in my 22' long garage.  

A Trailex 8045 is just less than 21 feet long and is wide enough for most track cars

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