1 2
WonkoTheSane
WonkoTheSane Dork
8/11/17 12:35 p.m.

As the title says, I'm looking to buy my first trailer to store my spec miata and tow it to further events (I currently just drive it to the local tracks). I was thinking an 8.5 x 20'-24' if possible.

I'm seeing cheap new trailers starting in the mid 5k range, and very used trailers starting in the mid.. well, 5k range for the the most part. WTF?

Where do you guys shop for trailers, 'cause Craigslist seems to think that their 10 year old trailer is worth what a new one is.

What are some good brands, and what are bad ones, etc? Any must-have features I should be holding out for?

The budget is pretty low for now, as there's a few other expenses and life changes coming in the next few months. Ideally I'd like to sit on this one for a few years and then sell it to get something nicer (say, with AC and a finished interior).

Thanks!

JBasham
JBasham Reader
8/11/17 12:42 p.m.

As you can see, even the cheapo plywood-side models tend to hold their value pretty well in the smaller, one-car double-axle sizes.

WonkoTheSane
WonkoTheSane Dork
8/11/17 12:43 p.m.

Yeah...

How concerned would you guys be about buying an old one? I found this one, it's a 93 Haulmark that's already finished and whatnot.. I think he's about 1 grand overpriced, but I can work on that..

Craigslist link

Robbie
Robbie UberDork
8/11/17 12:46 p.m.

check to make sure it doesn't owe any back taxes in GA?

81cpcamaro
81cpcamaro Dork
8/11/17 12:47 p.m.

That one in the link looks decent, but would need a very close inspection. Note, it is only 8' wide, which can cause some issues with bigger cars. I had an 8' wide trailer and my 81 Camaro just did fit in it. My 2012 Camaro wouldn't though, mirrors were too wide for the door opening. I would look for an 8.5", easier to resale down the line.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
8/11/17 1:02 p.m.

I've got a 7x16 for my Miata. It suits a Miata, not much else and not room for many spare parts. Harley guys like this size.

We have a 7x24 for the shop. Tows pretty well, carries a good bit of gear. The 8x28 seems dramatically bigger, but also can carry two cars.

Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett MegaDork
8/11/17 1:07 p.m.

At this point in my life I wouldn't buy a used trailer unless it was cheap enough I could afford to replace...well, pretty much everything but the VIN...and come out ahead. Between slightly bent axles that are difficult to notice, questionable and/or intermittent wiring problems, unknown quality of wheel bearings, questionable cheap trailer tires, etc. you'd be better off buying the cheapest new trailer that suits your needs. As you've seen, you could sell it in a few years before all that stuff goes wrong with it, and you'd probably still damn near break even.

WonkoTheSane
WonkoTheSane Dork
8/11/17 1:09 p.m.

Keith - Glad to hear a 7' will fit a miata or two.. I'm assuming you include an NC in that (just in case I want to winter over my Rx-8 in there too).

Good observation on the width, 81CP! Maybe $1500 less, then :)

Robbie - I'm not sure if you're being sarcastic.. Is that a problem with trailers? If so, is there a site I can check that?

Pete - I'm with ya.. I'd prefer not to spend 6k on a trailer right now if I can avoid it. If it were a few years from now, though...

codrus
codrus UltraDork
8/11/17 1:10 p.m.

I'm not an expert on this, but what I've been told by a couple friends who've done a LOT of towing is that cheap enclosed trailers don't tend to last all that long. If so, then I'm not sure I'd want to buy a 25-year-old one.

And yeah, the 6 inches in width doesn't seem that significant, but consider that it can be the difference between being able to get the car door open vs climbing in through the window.

I have a 24-foot, 3-axle TPD that I bought last year -- a few random thoughts form 8 months of ownership: I really like the triple axle, there's less drama from it, and it handles tire blowouts pretty well. 24 foot is comfortably spacious for a Miata -- not insanely big, but plenty of room to move around in even when the car is loaded. I could put an air mattress on the floor in front of the car if I wanted to. I added a backup camera system to mine (4 cameras, 1 on the truck, 3 on the trailer) and it makes it much easier to park the trailer in my side yard.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
8/11/17 1:17 p.m.
Pete Gossett wrote: At this point in my life I wouldn't buy a used trailer unless it was cheap enough I could afford to replace...well, pretty much everything but the VIN...and come out ahead. Between slightly bent axles that are difficult to notice, questionable and/or intermittent wiring problems, unknown quality of wheel bearings, questionable cheap trailer tires, etc. you'd be better off buying the cheapest new trailer that suits your needs. As you've seen, you could sell it in a few years before all that stuff goes wrong with it, and you'd probably still damn near break even.

Funny, we bought a cheap new trailer and had to spend a bunch of cash on alignment, flooring, upgraded suspension parts and tires that didn't have construction screws stuck in them.

I think we've had the NC in the 7 footer. Probably have to fold in the mirrors. It's a lot easier to get out of the car on the 8'.

JBasham
JBasham Reader
8/11/17 1:33 p.m.

If you can squeeze in a 7-foot I've heard there are a ton of Harley guys that buy them, use them three times, and then sell them cheap on their way to the retirement pad in Phoenix or Ft. Meyers. Worth a look.

jimbbski
jimbbski Dork
8/11/17 2:10 p.m.

I've been looking at enclosed too. I have seen the same thing. Used ones, even 15-20 year old ones still sell for more then half what a "good" new one goes for. WTF! I'll keep looking at used but I'm not seeing any deals.

I may end up getting one custom built in regards to the level of finishing done to the inside. I want to insulate the walls & roof so why buy one with plywood walls that you have to remove to insulate?

A 20 footer will haul most any car but it really depends on how much extra "stuff" you bring with you when you're hauling that car which will determine how long a trailer you need? A 20 ft with a "v nose" may give you that extra space you need without going to a 22 or 24 ft!

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
8/11/17 3:01 p.m.
JBasham wrote: If you can squeeze in a 7-foot I've heard there are a ton of Harley guys that buy them, use them three times, and then sell them cheap on their way to the retirement pad in Phoenix or Ft. Meyers. Worth a look.

That's exactly the history of mine. It made one trip to Phoenix with Harleys inside, then came back. Took a bit of looking to find a 16'. Luckily, mine didn't have ugly chrome alloys or orange stripes on it. I keep it as low-key as possible so it looks more like it has a lawnmower inside than an exotic little race car.

The high buy-in means high resale if you go to sell it.

When looking at widths, remember that your main source of drag on the highway is aero. A wider trailer has more surface area and will cost more to pull. I'd love to get one of those low profile Harley units (Low Hauler?) and have even considered chopping mine down because the wasted effort bothers me intellectually.

kevlarcorolla
kevlarcorolla Dork
8/11/17 3:29 p.m.

I had mine built,its still 7x16 with V-nose and a lower end unit but with an internal beaver tail and low height of around 5'-6" inside.

I winch the miata in and out with no drama,mines a full EP style nose and 6" projection on the splitter so the additional drop the beaver tail offers is needed.

I built a full width shelf that sits just above the hood of the car and holds a bunch of the usual race day crap and also holds 4 wheels and tires on the vertical section from the shelf to the ceiling.

I also built mounts for an additional 4 wheels and tires to hang on the walls of the V nose,its cozy but does the job well enough.

I would consider moving to a 20x8 though if the right deal came along some day.Be nice to fit a pit bike in the trailer

JBasham
JBasham Reader
8/11/17 4:26 p.m.

In reply to kevlarcorolla:

Nice build, way to make the most of it.

JBasham
JBasham Reader
8/11/17 4:27 p.m.
Keith Tanner wrote:
JBasham wrote: If you can squeeze in a 7-foot I've heard there are a ton of Harley guys that buy them, use them three times, and then sell them cheap on their way to the retirement pad in Phoenix or Ft. Meyers. Worth a look.

That's exactly the history of mine. It made one trip to Phoenix with Harleys inside, then came back. Took a bit of looking to find a 16'. Luckily, mine didn't have ugly chrome alloys or orange stripes on it. I keep it as low-key as possible so it looks more like it has a lawnmower inside than an exotic little race car.

The high buy-in means high resale if you go to sell it.

When looking at widths, remember that your main source of drag on the highway is aero. A wider trailer has more surface area and will cost more to pull. I'd love to get one of those low profile Harley units (Low Hauler?) and have even considered chopping mine down because the wasted effort bothers me intellectually.

Uh, Keith, there's a decent chance you're the guy I heard about this from in the first place . . . .

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
8/11/17 4:30 p.m.

Then at least I'm consistent!

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
8/11/17 4:51 p.m.

The "starting price" for a new one isn't anywhere near what you will actually pay. You'll be upgrading the axles, adding E-track (at $15 per foot), etc, etc.

The actual price (with taxes, etc) is probably gonna be 25-30% higher.

The value in a used one is in the extras that get added over time- cabinets, winch, power panel, etc. You will pay through the nose for this stuff in a new unit.

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
8/11/17 4:59 p.m.

Don't buy a 24' unless you REALLY need it, and have a serious truck to pull it, or if you are a novice st trailer hauling. They are much harder to tow.

The 24' has a long tail. It's easy to loose track of when backing up and hit things.

Plus, the temptation to load the trailer badly with too much weight on the tongue will be overwhelming. You will have about 12' of cargo space that you will load all the crap you can into, and all that weight will be in front of the axles.

Balancing the load might mean having to load the car backwards, which is annoying. And the minute you take the car out, 100% of the cargo load will be on the tongue.

I have a 24'. Ask me how I know.

Robbie
Robbie UberDork
8/11/17 5:04 p.m.
WonkoTheSane wrote: Robbie - I'm not sure if you're being sarcastic.. Is that a problem with trailers? If so, is there a site I can check that?

Forum jokes

https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/grm/holy-crap-that-pisses-me-off/131634/page1/

WonkoTheSane
WonkoTheSane Dork
8/11/17 5:35 p.m.

Thanks for the insight, SVreX!

Robbie - Doh! I should have caught that...

Rodan
Rodan Reader
8/11/17 8:59 p.m.

I looked for quite a while, but couldn't find what I wanted used for what I thought was a reasonable price. The only real 'values' I found were aluminum trailers, but they were a lot more than I wanted to spend even at a 'good' price.

I ended up with a new 8.5x24 Look Ignite. The good side is being able to outfit it exactly the way you want, but it will end up more expensive than the base price. And you don't have to deal with someone else's mess. Trailers are often neglected and in pretty bad shape by the time they end up for sale.

I went with 24 to give me room to build a workbench and install a winch in the front, as well as loading my motorcycle in front of the Miata. It fits both our NA and NC with ease, and has room behind the car for 'stuff' as well. The nice thing about a Miata is the weight distribution, so, if you have the room, you can move the car to affect the tongue weight. A tongue scale is pretty useful in figuring out your loads. We took the trailer to a large nearby lot with both cars and my bike, and spent a couple hours working out several configurations to get the tongue weight right depending on what we were hauling.

Basil Exposition
Basil Exposition SuperDork
8/11/17 9:03 p.m.

I'd second what SVreX says about a 24 footer. I had one and it towed fine with a 3/4 ton Dodge Ram diesel, but I had a friend that tried to tow one with a half ton Ford and it rolled him off the road. 24' is overkill for a Miata, anyway. I carried a golf cart and my MG Midget in mine and had space left over. The extra length also means you have to swing out when you turn. A 20' will pretty much follow the truck so you aren't putting holes in tire sidewalls on curbs, etc., etc.

oldopelguy
oldopelguy UltraDork
8/11/17 11:34 p.m.

Up in the frozen north you can sometimes get a v-nose enclosed trailer where one side of the front folds down so snowmobiles can drive straight through. It's a really nice feature for being able to roll a pit bike or toolbox in and out while the car is loaded, and it's life-changing for getting to front tie downs or a winch.

Aside from that, enclosed trailers suffer from all the problems of every used trailer plus most of the problems of a used camper all while suffering from everything that ruins a garage floor.

WonkoTheSane
WonkoTheSane Dork
8/12/17 12:04 a.m.

Thanks for all the advice, guys.. Maybe I'll swing down to the friendly neighborhood trailer dealer and see what the going rate on a new one is tomorrow. It'll be a good test to see if I fixed the check engine light in the flip-miata..

1 2
Our Preferred Partners
alhYOCRo2TeU2NonBTFxtDNehCdRKh0I73DGton40VWckxmWJuL8HnTiEHqUXbU6