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I'm in the market for another trailer. My current one is actually a utility trailer, and while perfect for the Abomination, it's too narrow for the G35. I'm probably going with a new trailer. Used is almost as expensive as new, so I might as well buy new. 

It's also going to be a open trailer. I had an enclosed trailer for a while, and nice as it was, it was just too much. This is going behind the motorhome, so I don't need the enclosed space for sleeping or tools.  

There are a million of them out there with prices from reasonable to ridiculous. Aluminum to steel. Metal decks to wood decks. Huge to just barely big enough for a car. 

Tell me what you like about your trailer and why. What have to have options do you have? If you were starting from scratch, what would you change?

  

Cactus
Cactus HalfDork
6/16/20 2:13 p.m.

If I were buying a new one I'd pony up for a nice one, which probably means aluminum. I recently bought a '99 Classic dominator enclosed trailer and I love it. Aluminum floor is super nice, and I appreciate that it's put together well. I'm currently borrowing a buddy's steel open deck trailer, and it's somehow still about half the weight while being 10' shorter and much less well assembled. I wouldn't shy away from a cheapie, just be prepared to weld on the features you want. I'd add a spare tire carrier and a tongue box for the straps etc. Winch is very nice to have too.

bearmtnmartin
bearmtnmartin GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
6/16/20 2:26 p.m.

Mine has no suspension which brings the deck height down substantially. You can drive a very low car on with no issues. And surprisingly it rides and tracks just fine.

alfadriver (Forum Supporter)
alfadriver (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/16/20 2:28 p.m.

My favoite feature is that mine weighs 800lb, and can still carry 3000lb.  Since all I would ever trailer is either an Alfa or a Miata, that means that my tow car can be a small SUV/CUV or even car.

Most important feauture I would look for is to know what you are going to pull.   

frenchyd
frenchyd PowerDork
6/16/20 2:43 p.m.

In reply to Toyman01 (Moderately Supportive Dude) :

In the end I made my own, after a while I started a company to make them because none of the trailers reflected my needs.  
There are still a few floating around out there.  
S.I.R.    I started with thin wall steel tubing and did them in 4 foot segments ( still have the molds ) the nose mold is pointed and has the front access door  The radius I used is perfect for 65 mph in that air flows around it perfectly and doesn't lift and start to tumble.  
The reason for enclosed was I was tired of spending many hours cleaning the race car only to arrive at the track after rain, bugs, dust,  etc.  caused me to have to reclean them. I tried various car covers etc  without success.  In addition when I checked into a motel it was nice to have that temptation out of sight.  Not just Motels but stopping to eat someplace and coming out to have kids jumping around in the car  while parents took pictures. 
Realize I traveled nation wide and even to the Bahama's. It was my way to get out of the  cold and Blizzards up north.  

If were  buying a trailer in my opinion other than my own I'd buy a feather lite. They are used by many pros. NASCAR, NHRA,  World of outlaws., various sports car groups etc.  They really are durable and still look great years later. 

frenchyd
frenchyd PowerDork
6/16/20 2:49 p.m.
bearmtnmartin said:

Mine has no suspension which brings the deck height down substantially. You can drive a very low car on with no issues. And surprisingly it rides and tracks just fine.

 

My early trailers were that way.  Single axle suspension less. Used the same hubs, brakes and tires as the tow car so I didn't need to carry a spare. Surge brakes so if my tow car died I wouldn't be stuck without brakes or rewiring a controller. 
 As basic as possible.  Towed all around the country. 

enginenerd
enginenerd Reader
6/16/20 2:50 p.m.

I went through the trailer buying process a while ago. I initially planned to buy a new steel wood deck trailer and ended up buying a used 18' aluminum. I have zero regrets. The obvious perk is that it is super light so I can tow heavier vehicles without having to upgrade my tow vehicle. I also love not having to worry about the deck or frame rusting like my old steel trailer would.  

The cost was about ~$1200 more than a comparable steel trailer but it looks like I will recoup the purchase cost when I decide to sell it. 

Cadman5
Cadman5 Reader
6/16/20 3:07 p.m.

My favorite feature is the winch mounted to the front end of the deck. Numerous times I have pulled cars onto the trailer (damaged racecars, parts cars, dead daily drivers alongside the road, etc). Gotta be able to pull stuff that isn't running onto the trailer.

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/16/20 3:17 p.m.

I've been casually shopping for a trailer for several months, but haven't found what I want for the price/condition I want.

What I think I want is the typical old-school stock car trailer - 2 channels to roll the car on, fenders, and a 4'-5' tall storage box on the front. I don't have any need for a full wooden(steel/aluminum) deck, and the access to the underside of the car could be convenient occasionally. The storage box could house a winch, battery, and some of the bigger/heavier tools I don't want clanking around in the van.

I've been looking at traditional wooden deck car trailers too. One place in Mobile had them listed for $2k new during the peak of quarantine, but I wasn't ready to jump at that time. It looks like the same seller is asking $2500 now. Conversely, I've seen 2 used trailers for under $2k recently, which is rare here. All-3 would have been over $2500 by the time I fixed whatever they needed. All-3 were sold within a couple hours too. I just don't see the economics in that, but it's also pushing me to just buy a new one. 

Tom1200
Tom1200 Dork
6/16/20 3:20 p.m.

Mine is the compactness; it only weighs 800lbs and fits in the small area on the side of the house.

I've only got about 12ft between the house and the wall. We had a slab poured so I could store the trailer and we intentionally made it a small slab so that we could have some actual landscaping rather than having the whole side of the property concreted.

Additionally I can put the trailer in the garage so the cars don't sit out in the driveway overnight.

My trailer is also a tilt trailer, I like that feature a lot was well. It is also an open deck in the center, which is convenient for check the underside of the car.

Note I have the camper van so all the stuff goes in the van. 

Sonic
Sonic UltraDork
6/16/20 3:36 p.m.

Having a full deck turned out to be much more important than I thought when I bought it.  The trailer than becomes usable for so many things: picking up building material with forklift load, getting bulk mulch, moving yard debris, moving furniture, small/narrow cars or motorcycles/atv/side by side.  

it also needs to have a sturdy and out of the way spare tire mount.  I welded an S10 cable winch style under the floor of mine.  
 

The ramps that slide right under the deck are great, don't want to have to have a rack on the side for them or whatnot.  
 

Lots of tie down points.  

imgon
imgon HalfDork
6/16/20 5:11 p.m.

I have an 18' wood deck  with a beaver tail. Not sure the tail makes much difference but at helps keep tamp angles down. I got 5' aluminum ramps, steel ramps weigh a ton. They slide in under the beaver tail. Like others have mentioned a full deck allows for other uses. A good winch up front and you are good. If you have thr cash, go aluminum for  durability.

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/16/20 6:19 p.m.

6000-lb winch and a 45-amp circuit from the truck.

When I wired my 7-pole trailer connector, I put an 8-ga wire (through a self-reset breaker) to the 12v + post and 8-ga wire to ground.  I wired up a second trailer plug end with 8-ga leads to my winch.  Unplug the trailer lights, plug in the winch, do your business, move on.    My only problem is that the pins in the connector are only really good to about 30A.  If you work it really hard you can melt the plastic around the pins.  I drag the front axle up, let it sit for a few minutes, then drag up the rear axle.  A dedicated connector would have been better and I could have used 6 ga and an 8000-lb winch.

Ranger50
Ranger50 UltimaDork
6/16/20 6:27 p.m.

My 18' open trailer's best feature was being free. 
Then I promptly crunched the drivers axle trying to obliterate a gas pump in White Sulphur Springs, WV after picking up the Miata I just sold.

Before:


After some heat to fix the fender and attachment point:

Paul_VR6 (Forum Supporter)
Paul_VR6 (Forum Supporter) Dork
6/16/20 6:29 p.m.

I borrowed a tilt trailer for awhile before I bought mine. It was great with a winch, but I wouldn't want it without one if the car ends up with an oops. Nearly impossible to get on. 

My open trailer had a really short tongue, which I really didn't like. The load distribution bars were pretty near the deck and no room for a toolbox/winch, etc without getting creative. Managed to add winch, battery box, breakaway, etc which are always nice to have. 

My favorite mod for that trailer was selling and getting an enclosed cool

Stampie (FS)
Stampie (FS) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
6/16/20 6:54 p.m.

My favorite thing about it is it's broke right now so I'm not tempted to go buy more cars.

cbaclawski
cbaclawski Reader
6/16/20 7:35 p.m.

"What is the favorite thing about your car trailer."

I hate my trailer.  It has a short 14 foot deck, and I had to cut the drivers side fender off to be able to open a car door on it. The ramps are too short so I have to carry heavy, home made wooden ramps with me to load/unload low cars.  It's EXTREMELY heavy(I can barely move it by hand even when empty), and the tie down points are in the completely wrong locations so I had to add chains to the corners to securely hold down a car.  It's so short it's impossible to safely load by driving on to it without damaging something.  The tires are complete crap.  It's also steel with a wood deck, so it's sitting outside rusting right now.

I bought it on the assumption that a 14ft trailer would fit in my garage with a car on it for storage, and I wouldn't be using it all that much.  It doesn't, and I use it all the time.  It wasn't all that cheap either.

Other than the fact that it get's the job done, there is nothing to like about it.

Starting over, I'd spring for the lightest, lowest 16ft+ aluminum trailer, with well placed tie downs, fenders designed to be removable or out of the way in order to open doors,  decent tires, and loading ramps that are both lightweight and long enough to load any car without doing gymnastics.  

 

 

 

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/16/20 7:39 p.m.

The favorite thing about my trailers is they don't belong to me and instead to friends I can borrow them from (assuming I get the wiring in my van done at some point).

In reality, when I get to the point where I want to buy a trailer, it'll either be a 20'-24' enclosed trailer (assuming I eventually buy something to tow it) or a lightweight aluminum Trailex trailer (since that's what my minivan can tow)

slowbird
slowbird SuperDork
6/16/20 7:57 p.m.
Stampie (FS) said:

My favorite thing about it is it's broke right now so I'm not tempted to go buy more cars.

Similarly, my favorite thing about my trailer is that it doesn't exist.

If I had a trailer, I'd probably be in court by now trying to fight the local "how many broken cars can be parked in my yard before I get fined" laws.

I buy license plates for five trailers.  blush

For hauling the race car long distances, in bad weather, over night, etc.  I love my 20 foot V-nose.  Already 17 years of great service.  Hauls the car, tools, Zuma, spares, rain tires, etc... all locked up.  Nice when you roll home at 1 in the morning.

For shorter trips in nice weather, and when i want the car to be seen i use the custom tilt-bed i built last year for $1,500.  4" drop axle, brakes, spare rides under deck up front.

 

keithedwards
keithedwards Reader
6/16/20 8:53 p.m.

800 lb, no suspension, tandem axle. Perfect for towing sub-2200 lb LBC or 1800 CRXs. I couldn't find one, so I had to build it.

30+ years of reliable service before I sold it.

Woody
Woody GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/16/20 9:00 p.m.

I have an aluminum Trailex that I bought from the original owner. It's nice and light and still looks good even though it's a 1984(?). The fact that it's bolted together gives you a lot of adjustability and it's easy to add accessories. He added an aluminum diamond plate floor between the runways, so it's a lot more usable. I added a small HF winch to the front. It came with a tire rack, but I removed it and sold it.

I'd buy another Trailex in a heartbeat, but I have a neighbor who has a steel trailer with airbags. He can drop it right down to the ground and load a car without ramps. Really nice.

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UberDork
6/17/20 11:02 a.m.

I've heard great things about trailex, they seem like the ideal solution for "I want to tow my Miata race car to the track without buying a real truck".  Only downside is they're kinda pricy.

What I like about my current trailer is that it's enclosed. :)  I can store all my track gear in it, no longer does it take an hour plus to load (and then unload) crap when going to the track, it's just hitch up and go.

fidelity101 (Forum Supporter)
fidelity101 (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
6/17/20 11:54 a.m.

when it hails, the team is safe. 

 

I loved my open for its simplicity but it became a time save with the enclosed, the nice thing with an open you can pretty much tow with any truck, I would have liked to had a winch on it but I never needed one so thankful on that. 

Tom1200
Tom1200 Dork
6/17/20 11:55 a.m.

One of the main reasons for me not going to an enclosed (besides the weight) is that I've known multiple guys who've had theirs stolen.....with all their stuff in it.

Admittedly a bit of paranoia on my part, thieves would have to move my Outback, then move the 7000lb camper van before they could get to the trailer. I've got things down to load the car, grab my driver's gear bag and go.

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