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Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
7/20/22 11:58 a.m.

[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 …

Read the rest of the story

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. 

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