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miatame
miatame Reader
6/22/10 1:19 p.m.

Is it just me or does it feel a little funny picking out a car hauler that costs more than the car you are going to put on it??

I thought I remember seeing good used trailers for $1000 a couple years ago when I thought having a trailer was a luxury. Now that I need one they are $2000 and over for something that rolls.

Yeah sure you find the random ones around $1700 but they sell in a couple days.

So what do I NEED to haul safely? Is two axle elec. brakes necessary or will one axle do? Does a dove tail really make it a lot easier to load? What capacity winch is adequate for 2500-3500 lbs cars?

I want to stay away from hand-built trailers if at all possible. I've found a few brand new "Big Tex" trailers in the $2300-2500 range but they are bare bones. I'm going to look at one today that is only a couple years old and has a winch already but is $2500.

Enlighten me!

Keith
Keith SuperDork
6/22/10 1:31 p.m.

First question is: how heavy is the car? The trailer that I used for my Locost would not have been suitable for my Cadillac :)

Cotton
Cotton HalfDork
6/22/10 1:41 p.m.
miatame wrote: Is it just me or does it feel a little funny picking out a car hauler that costs more than the car you are going to put on it?? I thought I remember seeing good used trailers for $1000 a couple years ago when I thought having a trailer was a luxury. Now that I need one they are $2000 and over for something that rolls. Yeah sure you find the random ones around $1700 but they sell in a couple days. So what do I NEED to haul safely? Is two axle elec. brakes necessary or will one axle do? Does a dove tail really make it a lot easier to load? What capacity winch is adequate for 2500-3500 lbs cars? I want to stay away from hand-built trailers if at all possible. I've found a few brand new "Big Tex" trailers in the $2300-2500 range but they are bare bones. I'm going to look at one today that is only a couple years old and has a winch already but is $2500. Enlighten me!

I prefer dual axles, electric brakes on at least one, and at least an 18 ft deck. I have large cars and small cars.....18ft covers both. I just sold a 16ft car hauler for $650. It was a decent trailer and I sold it because I didn't like the size of the deck. Trailers must be a lot cheaper here than where you are.

My current trailer is a gooseneck dual axle, with electric brakes, and a 20ft deck.

Whether or not a dove is beneficial or not really depends on the height of the deck. Some trailers are low enough it isn't necessary, while other really need it. Also I use an 8k winch on mine. Over the years I burned up several of the small winches, so recently went with an 8k Smittybuilt on a portable platform that I can also mount on the rear of my Jeep.

I also have a car dolly for when I need to get into tight spots and the trailer just won't fit.......or what I'm towing with doesn't have a gooseneck hitch (my Suburban for instance).

Ranger50
Ranger50 New Reader
6/22/10 1:43 p.m.

My current car hauling trailer is an old 23-ish ft landscape trailer I picked up years ago for, I believe, $500. So far I have replaced the lumber for the floor for $100, rewired it once for $20, and built the loading ramps for $40. I have pulled cars from MI to FL and back with it no problems, along with other locales.

When I bought it, the owner said the biggest car he put on it was a 66/67 Riviera.

Brian

Woody
Woody SuperDork
6/22/10 1:48 p.m.

I have an aluminum Trailex. It's less than 1000 pounds and looks and tows great, even though it's 26 years old.

spitfirebill
spitfirebill Dork
6/22/10 2:41 p.m.

Most store bought trailers are going to cost some real bucks. Around here $2000 for something nice with brakes. I have seen some hoopty car trailers for around $1000, but those are going to need fiddling. I have seeen some good homemade trailers that were quite reasonably priced. One was for sale here that I would have bought had the economy not been so shakey.

evildky
evildky Dork
6/22/10 2:46 p.m.

on the number of axles issue, if you have a flat at 70 mph while loaded on a dual axle, it's not a big dea, if you have a blow out at 70 mph wiht a loaded single axle, you have a problem

Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess SuperDork
6/22/10 3:10 p.m.

I paid $950 for my 1990 16' (total deck size, 14' + 2 ft dove tail) tandem axle car hauler about 2003 or so. I just spent $300 putting a new treated lumber deck on it and I painted it for $16 worth of Rustoleum Professional, and redid all the electrical connections. Looks new now. I have brakes on one axle, and I've had a 3000 lb car on it behind my 86 Toyota Truck, from San Jose to Arkansas. Brakes are a must, and that one axle brake works fine for me. The guy I bought it from had a 1 ton dually on it once. I think that about 3000 lbs is as much as I want to tow with my little Truck, but it's nice to know the trailer can handle more.

I, too, have noticed that the prices on used car haulers has gone way up since I bought mine. It seems like two large for used is where they are at today.

pete240z
pete240z Dork
6/22/10 3:15 p.m.

Country Classic Cars always had cheap trailers but they are now running $1,780.00.

I thought they had a NEW steel car trailer for $850???

http://www.countryclassiccars.com/trailers/sptrailers/sptrailers_11.htm

ddavidv
ddavidv SuperDork
6/22/10 4:45 p.m.

Bought my used dual axle with brakes last year for $1100. Oh, it's ugly (needs a paint job) but it tows great. All steel, open deck. Freakin thing is heavy though. But, my budget didn't allow for an aluminum one.

Woody
Woody SuperDork
6/22/10 5:16 p.m.

I paid $1500 for my Trailex about five years ago. It had a brand new disc brake conversion, new tires and a tire rack.

SolLow
SolLow None
6/22/10 5:49 p.m.

Definitely get a two axle trailer with brakes...they're safer overall. Kaufman trailers makes really nice trailers and the prices are very reasonable. My car sits so low that I had other problems to consider such as ramp length. I had to order 9 foot long aluminum ramps in order to have the approach angle shallow enough to get the car on the deck and that's with the rear of the trailer being a dropped tail trailer. The other consideration is that once the car is loaded will you be able to open your door to get out? The fender height on the trailer I bought was too high so I had to modify the trailer by cutting the fender off and then custom welding a system onto the trailer where I can easily unbolt the fender and take it off prior to loading the car. Once the car is loaded and strapped down, I simply reattach the fender and then I'm ready to go. As far as winches go. The rule of thumb is to get something that is capable of pulling 1 1/2 times the weight of the car. In other words if your car weighs 3000 lbs. then a winch that will haul 4500 lbs. is the minimum that is recommended. Keep in mind that you will be pulling your car up a ramp if winching it on so it adds additional strain on the winch motor. A little overkill in this area may save you some bucks down the road.

Paul_VR6
Paul_VR6 Reader
6/22/10 8:44 p.m.

I've been looking for a ~1k-ish trailer with absolutely no luck at all. Anything in that range is a total basket case I wouldn't take for near free! I'm picking up a 'badass' towbar setup for cheap on Thursday out of total spite.

alfadriver
alfadriver Dork
6/23/10 6:55 a.m.

It's really too bad that Travel-Lite went out of business a while ago- many of you have seen my small trailer- it weighs only 700lb, and has a 3000lb capacity- mostly sheet aluminum construction. that would be 1/4" sheet.

It's super nice to pull...

Anyway- dual axle. the only time you'll hate it is when you are hand moving the trailer in your back yard. Other than that it rocks. I prefer both axles having brakes. As it so happens, the axles on my trailer are torsional springs with friction damping- it's quite compact, and keeps the trailer deck low.

For capacity- be honest- how much will you be pulling? For me- the odds of us needing to trailer our former 164 was remote, since we had AAA, and that left just 4 cyl alfas to be pulled around. But not everyone has just small cars. BTW, I've found a little that much of the trailers rating has to do with the hitch on the front as opposed to the trailer. My friend got the LAST Travel Lite- which is identical to mine, except for the neck hitch, and his is rated to 3500lb....

Oh, and get one that's small enough that you can easily adjust the loading by moving the car forward a few inches. Most stability problems with swaying and whatnot has to do with loading and getting the right tounge weight.

Eric

44Dwarf
44Dwarf HalfDork
6/23/10 7:10 a.m.

The biggest questions are.

Whats the future hold? Will you need to move a pick up truck? What will you pull it with?

Me I love twin axle with Electric brakes.

But i do have a single DEAD axle no brakes deticated trailer for my Dwarf car. I've pulled it with everything i've owned except the wife forester. It towed best with my -85 944. Ah towing with A/C and massive car brakes. as seen here.

http://mysite.verizon.net/vzeyjt5o/index.html

Now I've got a f350 with V10 and a work and play toy hauler for going to the track and still use the single axle to haul car over to the shop as the W&P will not make it up the driveway hill to the shop with out draging. then theres no where to turn a 55ft combo around up there.

DILYSI Dave
DILYSI Dave SuperDork
6/23/10 7:39 a.m.

I tried to sell me dual axle car hauler with one braked axle for $1200, then $1100, then $1000, before finally taking $900 for it. Wasn't pretty, but it was a great trailer. Only reason I sold it is that it was a little under sized for hauling the Jeep.

tr8todd
tr8todd New Reader
6/23/10 7:48 a.m.

If at all possible, pick up a dual axle with a wooden deck. The wooden deck makes the trailer much more versatile than a steel ramp deck. You can build wooden structures on the deck then screw them down. In the past I have used mine as a rolling dumpster by building a big plywood box on it. I built a big lean frame to carry a 6 foot sliding door upright. Lay a tarp down and now you can carry stone, loam, mulch,etc. Add a winch to the front. I have had the same trailer since 1991, and it has covered at least 50,000 miles. Wood is getting pretty worn out and needs replacing soon, but still does the job. The number of times I have rented it out to people has paid for the trailer many times over. Saw a trailer exactly like mine the other day for sale for $800. It was gone the next day.

tr8todd
tr8todd New Reader
6/23/10 7:56 a.m.

One other thing to note. Mass now gets $20 per 1,000 pounds of registered weight on the trailer per year for registration, and it always runs out in November. So if you pick up a 7,000# trailer, it will be $75 for title, sales tax at 6.25%, and registration of $140 just to put it on the road. Then another $140 November of every year. Then there is excise tax for your town every year as well. A couple of years ago I gifted my trailer to my dad in RI. Now my registration is $23 every 2 years and no excise tax. Frankly he uses the trailer as much as I do, so instead of him borrowing it from me, I borrow it from him.

Kramer
Kramer HalfDork
6/23/10 7:59 a.m.

I sold my POS home built (not by me) trailer for $400--after just a few hours on CL--and purchased this used trailer. It was only about six years old, but had started to rust and had dented fenders. I already had all the paint supplies (I never painted the POS trailer), so I sandblasted the entire trailer and painted it very well, especially underneath.

I say go for a factory-built trailer, as they've figured out how to build a decent trailer. Skip the home-built crap. Mine is 18' long, which is nice for when I haul something bigger than my Miata (like my neighbor's Firebird). My trailer has 3500 lb axles--my dad has a trailer with heavier capacity (5500 lb axles) if I ever need it, but I haven't yet, and I don't want to haul around his lump of steel. I guess my trailer weighs about 1800, where my dad's trailer weighs 2800.

I added stake pockets where necessary so I could put side boards to haul mulch, etc. I don't like the open deck trailers because they're uni-taskers, not multi-taskers.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Streetwiseguy
Streetwiseguy Reader
6/23/10 8:18 a.m.

I would also check local transport regulations. Around here, if the trailer is capable of weighing more than 3000 lbs loaded, all wheels must have brakes. They also have to have the battery pack breakaway brake actuator.

A DOT inspection can ruin a nice trip to the race track.

Cotton
Cotton HalfDork
6/23/10 8:30 a.m.

I think I sold my 16 footer way too cheap now. It did sell the next day after posting. I should have posted here!

WilberM3
WilberM3 Reader
6/23/10 9:05 a.m.

Just for reference, Jeff's initial post about 1 vs. 2 axles was only regarding how many axles have elec. brakes. anything being considered is a dual axle trailer.

most of the time we'll be towing our 2400# challenge e30 or future projects under 3000#, but would appreciate the ability to bring home something like a grand wagoneer sized beast. would 16' be long enough?

as for towing i have a TBSS which tows great for a midsize suv and we'd use for long haul stuff like the challenge, but he'll be towing with a cherokee for the foreseeable future when he needs to, so shorter=lighter is a pro.

the last question i have is about the specific layout of the trailers ive seen. some roughly center the axles under the deck, others are maybe 3/4+ back, so i'd imagine load placement on a rear-set axle type would be more finicky to acheive proper tongue weight. any thoughts on that option?

miatame
miatame Reader
6/23/10 9:09 a.m.
tr8todd wrote: One other thing to note. Mass now gets $20 per 1,000 pounds of registered weight on the trailer per year for registration, and it always runs out in November. So if you pick up a 7,000# trailer, it will be $75 for title, sales tax at 6.25%, and registration of $140 just to put it on the road. Then another $140 November of every year. Then there is excise tax for your town every year as well. A couple of years ago I gifted my trailer to my dad in RI. Now my registration is $23 every 2 years and no excise tax. Frankly he uses the trailer as much as I do, so instead of him borrowing it from me, I borrow it from him.

Holy E36 M3! That is insane! I was wondering how much it would cost but I never guessed that much!

Since you seem versed in MA trailer laws, do you know if it needs to be registered and insured before I can drag it home? I found one 15 mins from me and I may pick it up tonight if I can get the seller down a hundred bucks or so.

44Dwarf
44Dwarf HalfDork
6/23/10 9:55 a.m.

Ya new Mass laws caught me with me pants down and bent over... My New truck 2010 f350 with single wheels in the back BUT has HD 11,000 GVW has to have Comercail plates = pay per pound and reg expires dec 31st every year, has to get Com inspection too at $120 vs $30

I bought the truck in Dec but didn't pick it up untill Jan cause the STATE wanted 6 months of the reg fee! F that i can wait 5 days...

I can't wait to move just over the NH boarder as i work in NH anyway. No more income tax, no more sales tax, no more exsize tax....the list goes on. Peaple say the property tax is higher Bull crap my dumb a$$ town keeps voting for prop 2.5 over rides "for the kids" to keep funding our under proforming schools...WTF.

OKAY get off the soap box now...

44Dwarf
44Dwarf HalfDork
6/23/10 9:57 a.m.

YES technicaly it needs to be reg but technicly its insured as it's attached to your truck so it only a $1200 fine for un-reg. not $2400 for un-un'ie....BTDT 20+ years ago.

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