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bills
bills New Reader
9/8/12 4:53 p.m.

New racer and I have a racecar (Spec Miata) and tow-capable truck (Silverado 2500HD), but no trailer. Starting to look at trailers, and been wondering about open vs enclosed trailer.

Does anyone here have any strong opinions on which they prefer and why?

The racecar can be stored in my garage, and I do not have a lot of storage space in my yard (standard 1/4 acre neighborhood).

Bill

ncjay
ncjay Reader
9/8/12 5:12 p.m.

It's not even a contest. The only reason people own open car trailers is because they are cheaper then enclosed trailers. With an enclosed trailer there's a ton of benefits. You can keep your car, tools. and equipment safe from the elements. I have an open trailer now and every time I get back from the track, no matter how late, I still have to unload and put anything of value back in the garage. With an enclosed trailer, I can park it and walk away without worry. Enclosed trailers offer more room for storage as well. I can go on but I won't. In the long run, an enclosed trailer is the only way to go.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
9/8/12 5:29 p.m.

Open trailers tow more easily - less wind resistance. They're also lighter so you can move them around the yard easily enough. Otherwise, there's no big advantage. I don't regret selling my open trailer for an enclosed.

HiTempguy
HiTempguy SuperDork
9/8/12 8:01 p.m.

Way easier to get a wrecked car onto an open trailer. Ask me how I know

Considering you are towing with a 3/4 Chebby, mpg isn't probably a concern for you. But I can tow 7000 pounds with my 1/2 ton on an open trailer and get 15L/100km (15USMPG). I sincerely doubt I'd see 10USMPG with an enclosed trailer and the same towing weight. If you really want to a place to store everything besides the car, get a topper for your truck.

Just my 2 cents. I am a big fan of open trailers, but then I am also a big cheapass

whenry
whenry HalfDork
9/8/12 8:55 p.m.

buy the enclosed; you will never regret it. My wife resisted at first due to cost but the first weekend we used it, it rained and she was sold. It became her office on race weekends.
Seriously though, try not to sell your open trailer if possible. Local trips are a real chore with the big box and the open trailer is just much easier to manuver. Long trips on the interstate will sell you on the enclosed. You already have the capable(with plenty of reserve) tow vehicle so just do it.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
9/8/12 9:40 p.m.

With regards to fuel economy - on one of our trips to the Mitty, we had two Toyota trucks pulling two Miatas on trailers. One Miata was in an enclosed trailer (16x7) and was towed by a 2000 Tundra. The other was on an aluminum open trailer and was being towed by a 2005 Tundra. In the headwinds through Kansas, the difference was 10 mpg vs 13.

tr8todd
tr8todd Reader
9/9/12 6:07 a.m.

There are a ton of things you can use an open trailer for other than race car transportation. Great for scraping parts cars and general junk removal. I mount my roll cage tubing bender to it and use it in the driveway instead of in my shop. More room to bend long tubes and it's mobile. If you have a wooden deck, you can screw down/build wooden things on it. I've used mine as a rolling dumpster on roof and other construction projects. Picked up a 6 foot slider door by building a rack to carry it on out of 2X4s. Put a tarp down and carry mulch or stone for yard work. Great for carrying things that are too big for the pickup truck like ladders, roll cage tubing, pallets of plywood. My open trailer finds a way to pay for itself over and over.

Teggsan
Teggsan Reader
9/9/12 7:56 a.m.

For an enclosed trailer, seems like bigger's better but where do you draw the line? 20'? 24'?

unk577
unk577 Reader
9/9/12 8:07 a.m.

I have had both. Like has already been said the open is great for short easy trips but at the track enclosed is the way to go. I have a 2500hd as well and pull a 28ft+vnose and the difference between the flat front Ihad is 2-3mpg. I highly recommend a v-nose if you're going with an enclosed-less drag and more room. Also A/C is absolutely worth the $500 it cost.

Karl La Follette
Karl La Follette SuperDork
9/9/12 9:30 a.m.

Ralph Zbarsky's Open with sleeping quarters /storage

curtis73
curtis73 SuperDork
9/9/12 10:52 a.m.

I had a 20' open trailer and traded it for a 24' enclosed to help us move from TX. One trip took all the stuff and the second trip took some left over stuff and a car. It was fantastic. I tow with a Powerstroke Van, so I didn't notice any difference towing the enclosed vs. the open. I got 12 mpg with both.

Now I'm considering trading this enclosed for a two-car open - mostly because I need to go get two more cars in TX. Then I would sell the two-car and get a motorcycle while the riding season winds down.

Honestly, the enclosed is nicer. If for no other reason than your car doesn't get pelted with rain, road junk, bugs, that fine mist of oil spray coming from my rear axle, stones, etc. I've towed with one of those open trailers with a shield on the front and it kept the stones and bugs off, but in the rain it makes just as much of a mess.

I also have found great utility with the enclosed trailer. Our new house doesn't have a garage yet. I've been using it as tool storage. Lockable, dry, works great.

I would say it depends on what you want. If you want it just to tow a car, get enclosed. If you use a trailer for multiple things throughout the year, I'd strongly consider open.

Teggsan
Teggsan Reader
9/9/12 11:00 a.m.

I am trying to figure this out now. Open/closed; cheap or more full featured.

I'm seeing trailers like this one brand new for $4-5K or so. http://gatortailtrailers.com/factory-specials/item/23-gt9242-v-nose-5k

Anyone sleep in his trailer at the track? Starting to think that a reasonable enclosed trailer + a little labor to fix up the inside = savings on hotels. At ~$200 a weekend that adds up over the expected 5-7 year lifetime. Of course that would require A/C and a generator.

Though if I were to bring the family there's a snowball's chance they'd sleep in the trailer.

patgizz
patgizz UltraDork
9/9/12 11:06 a.m.

it's not at all about price or being cheap.

it is all about what you use it for. i use mine to haul other stuff and junk cars sometimes. there is no way i could fit a dually dump truck in an enclosed trailer, nor would i want to put some of the greasy nasty stuff in one. so i got an open trailer.

Giant Purple Snorklewacker
Giant Purple Snorklewacker MegaDork
9/9/12 11:14 a.m.

You have the truck to pull it - and you will regret the open trailer the first time it rains the whole weekend. Or paying money for a hotel room when you could have camped in the trailer at the track. Or having no place to lock the fuel jugs and tools when you have to stay at the hotel on the way. Or when you want to change out of your sweaty ass race suit and then lay bare ass naked with the AC blowing on your yam bag until you cool off.

Enclosed ALL the way.

Tom_Spangler
Tom_Spangler HalfDork
9/9/12 1:34 p.m.

I had an open, then an enclosed, now I'm back to an open. It depends what you want it for. Enclosed is bigger, heavier and requires more truck. It's also more of a pain to pull, park, and maneuver. However, it is really nice to have at the track, and as mentioned, can function as an extra storage area when not in use. When we got new carpet in our basement, we put all the furniture in the trailer for a few days while it was being installed.

But in the end, I only do a couple of track days a year if I'm lucky, and I mostly use my trailer for that, or to haul large loads of lumber, or for stuff like bringing home parts cars and such. The for that kind of limited use, the open trailer is easier to deal with and maintain, and it's cheaper.

amg_rx7
amg_rx7 Dork
9/9/12 1:54 p.m.

I'm in my second season of Spec Miata and have a F250. Been renting open trailers from uHaul and another enclosed trailer rental place. Been thinking of buying a trailer but don't have a place to store it so been holding off.

Open trailer is easier to tow. Enclosed trailer works the truck harder and uses more fuel. If I were to own an enclosed, I'd need to upgrade the tranny cooler and replace the tired shocks on the truck.

If you plan on keeping the car in the garage, then get an open.

Open Trailer
Pros:
- cheaper to buy
- easier to tow
Cons:
- Not as secure if you use it to store car

Enclosed Trailer
Pros:
- Great for storing car
- you can leave all your junk in there so you don't have to constantly load and unload.
- you can sleep in it
Cons:
- Higher buy in cost
- More difficult to tow
- Works the truck harder

Both retain their value quite well. Eventually I want an enclosed b/c I really hate the constant loading and unloading but the price is holding me back.

Wally
Wally UltimaDork
9/9/12 4:16 p.m.

At some events everyone talks to the guy with the open trailer. Mostly to make sure you really do have passes to be there. Here we are waiting to park at the Busch race in Daytona many moons ago.

fasted58
fasted58 UltraDork
9/9/12 4:21 p.m.

mad_machine
mad_machine MegaDork
9/9/12 6:36 p.m.

here is a thought.. which is more likely to be stolen? An open trailer with a "ratty" (to them) miata on it.. or an enclosed that might have anything in it?

I would dare say the enclosed the closed is more likely to get stolen.. on the crapshoot that the thieves think there might be something really nice inside.

I think if I had to compromise.. a sprinter with an open trailer would be the best of both words

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH PowerDork
9/9/12 6:48 p.m.

If you have the money a "work and play toy hauler" is the best short of a big fancy team tractor/trailer setup. 44Dwarf has one IIRC.

Behold:

http://www.forestriverinc.com/workandplay/

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
9/9/12 6:49 p.m.
Tom_Spangler wrote: I had an open, then an enclosed, now I'm back to an open. It depends what you want it for. Enclosed is bigger, heavier and requires more truck. It's also more of a pain to pull, park, and maneuver. However, it is really nice to have at the track, and as mentioned, can function as an extra storage area when not in use. When we got new carpet in our basement, we put all the furniture in the trailer for a few days while it was being installed. But in the end, I only do a couple of track days a year if I'm lucky, and I mostly use my trailer for that, or to haul large loads of lumber, or for stuff like bringing home parts cars and such. The for that kind of limited use, the open trailer is easier to deal with and maintain, and it's cheaper.

^^This^^

I have a similar history.

The enclosed trailer is a much better dedicated track use. The open trailer is more versatile.

If you want something you can use as a mobile shop, with tools, spare parts, coolers, etc stored semi-permanently inside that you can take to the track every other weekend, you want an enclosed trailer.

If you want something versatile that you can also haul around building materials, help your neighbors move their playset, easily load with a forklift, maneuver easily, and take to the track twice a year, you want an open trailer. Taxes are cheaper too.

Toyman01
Toyman01 PowerDork
9/9/12 7:02 p.m.
SVreX wrote:
Tom_Spangler wrote: I had an open, then an enclosed, now I'm back to an open. It depends what you want it for. Enclosed is bigger, heavier and requires more truck. It's also more of a pain to pull, park, and maneuver. However, it is really nice to have at the track, and as mentioned, can function as an extra storage area when not in use. When we got new carpet in our basement, we put all the furniture in the trailer for a few days while it was being installed. But in the end, I only do a couple of track days a year if I'm lucky, and I mostly use my trailer for that, or to haul large loads of lumber, or for stuff like bringing home parts cars and such. The for that kind of limited use, the open trailer is easier to deal with and maintain, and it's cheaper.

^^This^^

I have a similar history.

The enclosed trailer is a much better dedicated track use. The open trailer is more versatile.

If you want something you can use as a mobile shop, with tools, spare parts, coolers, etc stored semi-permanently inside that you can take to the track every other weekend, you want an enclosed trailer.

If you want something versatile that you can also haul around building materials, help your neighbors move their playset, easily load with a forklift, maneuver easily, and take to the track twice a year, you want an open trailer. Taxes are cheaper too.

This again.

I've got one of each. I have a 16' open trailer and a 20' enclosed. I've probably put 3000 miles on the open trailer this year, the enclosed has been storage for that long.

When I was running autocrosses every month and had no garage the enclosed was the only way to go. This year, I've run two, and the enclosed is just too much of a PITA to tow. I've since sold my van and use the open trailer behind my Roadmaster. I get 15 mpg rather than 7-8.

pirate
pirate New Reader
9/9/12 8:12 p.m.

I'm not affiliated in any way to this company: http://www.serpentexpress.com/ but have been interested in their trailers because they are lighter then a hard sided enclosed trailier but do offer protection from the elements and also the possibility of using as an open trailer. Certainly the security is not the same as an enclosed trailer but there is probably some advantage of "out of sight out of mind" to most people. If someone really wants to steal they will find a way one way or the other. They can be built for cars other then just Cobra replicas and probably could be camped in . I suppose this cover could be added to other trailers with a little grassroots hands on approach.

logdog
logdog Reader
9/9/12 8:31 p.m.
pirate wrote: . I suppose this cover could be added to other trailers with a little grassroots hands on approach.

There have been many times I have stared at my open trailer and wondered what I would have to do to combine it with some sort of heavy duty easy up cover to create something like this for when its parked. I never thought of doing it for when its moving. Genius!

bills
bills New Reader
9/9/12 9:39 p.m.

All,

Thank you very much for your comments. Really appreciate the advice. My primary use will be towing to races, so leaning towards enclosed.

Next question, how big? Miata is ~13' long. Some extra room for wheels and other gear, so I was thinking 17-20'. A 24' seems like a lot of extra weight to drag around.

Bill

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