Karacticus GRM+ Memberand Dork
2/24/21 12:46 p.m.

Some time in the near future, we need to buy a larger utility trailer, as the tractor/snowblower/weight rack combo we need to move between the house and the clinic is too long for the 5x10 foot single axle trailer we now have.  That trailer is also too small for the larger diesel tractor/loader/mower we've got over at the clinic if we want to be able to take it in for service ourselves.  Likely payload capacity needs/wants are likely in the 3000-4000 lb range (how car like!).  Primary tow vehicle is a 2012 Tahoe, also used for a horse trailer.

I figure we'd be looking at a dual axle rig with a 7,000-7,500 lb gross, probably a 16 foot load bed.  I'm thinking flatbed or at least something with removable rails, so my wife can pick up horse stuff (bedding mostly) by the pallet load.  That does take us down an escalating path though, to a larger  tractor/loader, then a larger trailer, tow vehicle, etc-- it never ends.  Almost makes we want to skip ahead to a pickup truck and gooseneck skid steer trailer.

Any advice on the subject? Anyone have any experience with the tilt bed trailers as opposed to ramps?  Weighted up, the larger tractor is a little too much for the expanded metal gates/ramps you see on the trailers parked outside LowesDepot.


californiamilleghia SuperDork
2/24/21 1:10 p.m.

I would have stake bed sides that can be pulled off ,  or at least pockets to put a 2x4  in to make temp sides when needed,

plus lots of  hooks on each side to tie straps to , 

Thats what I would change on my 12ft trailer if I built it myself today.

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/24/21 2:59 p.m.

I'm in the market right now.  It's nuts out there.  I just had a long conversation with a rep for a couple trailer manufacturers and he is having serious inventory issues.  Every week, the invoice price for trailers is going up by $100-200.  He said that if I wanted to order a new normal-production trailer, I was waiting 18 weeks.  If I wanted an option like tie downs or a different door, 23 weeks minimum.

All of this is driving the price up hardcore.  A trailer model I looked at one year ago (an 8.5 x 24 enclosed) that was $8495 is currently selling for $10,995.  Non-enclosed is not quite as bad, but still nuts.

I say that mostly to let you know, if you find the trailer you want, buy it.  Dealer lots have next to zero used inventory because people are paying crazy prices on FB so no one is trading them in.  This is translating to the used market as people are paying more and more used.

Having said that, you should be able to find a 16' tandem axle 7000-lb flatbed pretty easily.  Concerning the fold-down expanded steel ramp gate, that is wonderful for lawn tractors and light things, but something like a compact utility tractor will destroy it the first time you use it.  They're not a heavy duty option.  Even if you get the heavy duty angle-steel ramps that fold up, I still don't like them.  Consider the picture below:

A fold-up ramp would have meant that I couldn't have trailered this vehicle.   No way to fold up the ramp.  Some of them have braces with multiple holes that allow you to stow the ramps in an angled position, but I don't think I could have done it with any kind of fixed ramp.  The ramps on this trailer stow in a pocket under the bed.  It's a tiny bit more headache, but it makes a far more useful trailer in my opinion.

This trailer is also lacking one other thing that I would love to have - tail jacks.  When you're loading a heavy thing (like this van) you're going to want something under the tail of the trailer.  I just carry some 2x and 4x lumber to space it, but it sure would be nice to have a swing-down jack on each side like the ones on my boat trailer.  If you don't support it while loading heavier cargo, you risk damaging the tires, the trailer frame, or popping the trailer off the ball.  I only suggest that because you mentioned heavier cargo in the future.

By the way... the trailer above is a 7 x 16 deck, total of 8.5' wide, 7000 gvw.  It has stake pockets if you want to make some sides, and many manufacturers offer pre-fab sides if you wanted to go that route.  Another nice feature this trailer has that the fenders are easily removable.  You mentioned forklifting pallets on to it.  The fenders prevent that unless you're loading to the extreme front or rear.  On this one, you just pop the fender off and slide one of the forks between the tires to load in the center.

It's all preference.  I like spring axles, some like torsion.  I like wooden beds, some like steel.



Karacticus GRM+ Memberand Dork
2/24/21 3:43 p.m.

I've noticed the inventory issue as well-- at least three dealers with varied lines around here local with practically zero inventory. Doesn't help that one of them had their lot wiped clean by the derecho last year. 

I like the look of the tilt bed trailers, but heavy and $s. 



Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/24/21 10:55 p.m.

Heavy, money, and things to fail.  They rarely DO fail, but I like my equipment to have as few failure spots as possible.  Most of the passive-tilt trailers are pretty bulletproof as they simply use a hydraulic cylinder to slow the rate of tilt.  Trailers that use active pumping (either hand pump or electric/gas) are just like any other hydraulics and they can fail.  I've also had a few tilt bed trailers that were frustrating and required specific handling to work right.  I tried to load a New Holland boomer with a 3-point brush hog on an Eager Beaver tilt deck and it was impossible.  If I went nose-first, the weight of the brush hog prevented the deck from leveling.  If I went tail first, the deck started to fall before the front wheels were on.  We finally had to go nose first and call the crew over to stand on the front of the tilt deck to get it to lower so we could finish loading.

The area where I live has all kinds of elevation things, so I actually sometimes don't use the ramps on that trailer above.  Dad was also very smart on his farm when he excavated for a pole shed, he had one part of the bank "shaved" behind the shed so that he can back a variety of trailers up to it and load/unload without the ramps at all.  The bank starts with a steep slope and tapers off to a narrow grade.  That van picture I linked above... we didn't use ramps to unload it.  Just backed it up to that bank until the deck hit the dirt and drove it off.

lotusseven7 (Forum Supporter)
lotusseven7 (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
2/25/21 6:10 a.m.

If you are looking for a full-deck car trailer, there is a manufacturer here in PA that builds a nice trailer. Not the most heavy-duty, but very nice considering the price/value. Econo Trailer builds both open deck and full deck trailers. I've had 3 from them and bought a new one about 2 years ago. Worth a look if you aren't hauling a skidsteer! The nice thing is that you can talk to the owner and he can make small changes as needed. 

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/25/21 9:52 a.m.

I have seen those Econo Trailers and they look nice.

I have to double check, but the one above with the van on it is a Diamond Back brand IIRC.  Dad bought it new in 95-ish and aside from one re-decking it has been perfect, and we've abused it.  Of course, there is really nothing to fail.  It's just a big analog chunk of steel with wood on it.

Karacticus GRM+ Memberand Dork
2/26/21 4:05 p.m.

Stopped by one of the dealers today and got a look at the trailer I think I want-- the pending deal on it may fall through and I might be able to pick it up.  Will find out Monday on that.  Otherwise their next shipment is due at the beginning of April.

They said that prices from the manufacturers are going up 10% with every shipment they receive.  Additionally, a lot of the manufacturers are located in the part of Texas that has recently had some weather difficulties.

lotusseven7 (Forum Supporter)
lotusseven7 (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
2/26/21 4:27 p.m.

Steel, if you can get it, is crazy expensive right now. 

New York Nick
New York Nick GRM+ Memberand Reader
2/26/21 6:42 p.m.

I have a friend that owns a tractor company (they sell trailers also) they have moved a lot of trailers since Covid started. I drove the lot this week since I am looking at buying a 6x12. They were thinner than usually but they still had inventory in almost all sizes. Clinton Tractor

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