Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
7/5/23 10:10 a.m.

It's hard living in the first 2001 GMC 2500HD crewcab longbed truck, 1997 14' enclosed trailer, 1999 24' enclosed trailer, and 18' 1999 flatbed trailer are all getting to the point  where I'm not as comfortable taking them on long trips. So I'm evolving the fleet. My plan is to go to a newer truck with more towing capacity, keep the 2001 GMC and the flatbed trailer, and replace the smaller trailer with a slightly bigger one and the 24' with a longer gooseneck that will fit two cars. Both my sons are racers and sometimes a 2nd truck is handy. Sometimes we're at the same venue, sometimes not. 

I usually buy this kind of stuff used and let the first owner take the depreciation hit, but the current marketplace is so weird that I decided new is better. I bought a 2024 Chevy 2500HD crewcab short bed with a Duramax. I hope the pain of the price will be amortized over 20 years, but I'll never do as well as my 2001. I paid $19K for the 2001 in 2003 and didn't think I'd get 20+ years out of the truck. I did get the 2024 below invoice at least.

I live 90 minutes from Elkhart, IN, which seems to be the trailer/RV capital of the world. I found a pretty good deal on a 20x8.5' square+2' vee  Rance all-aluminum trailer to replace the 14' enclosed. It's nice on the outside with seamless aluminum and bare bones on the inside--bare 3/4" plywood floor, 4 D-rings, unfinished ceiling, and 1/4" unpainted lauan on the walls.

Here's my plan to finish the trailer and I'd appreciate any advice, especially on vendors. Lots of stuff on Amazon, but I don't know who to trust:

  • E-track on the floor and sidewalls
  • Rubber coin floor
  • Either 1/2" plywood painted white on the walls or dairy board.
  • Camera inside trailer and on back, ideally compatible with the slick Transparent View on the truck. The truck has six or seven built-in cameras (it's crazy) and two camera inputs on the bumper and has a 13" display. 
  • 2" vertical hitch pocket at the front for a winch (I have a winch mounted on a 2" vertical hitch piece that I switch to whatever trailer needs a winch).
  • 12V LED lighting inside, maybe a battery, maybe an inverter, maybe solar charging (I have a friend who loves solar charging his stuff).
  • Maybe ramp/loading lighting
  • 120V lighting and outlets (sometimes we get power at the track, sometimes we borrow generators from friends)
  • Folding tire rack
  • Little rollers under the back of the trailer for when it bottoms out.
  • Awning--does 18' sound right for a 20' trailer?

Whew! Long post. What advice do you have? Thanks in advance.

p.s. I'm not buying a new gooseneck (wow, new ones are expensive) and have never towed a gooseneck. I'll take advice on goosenecks if anyone has it. I've joined several Facebook groups to find used goosenecks for sale so I'm getting an idea of the marketplace. I'm leaning toward all aluminum in the 36' to 40' range.

Sonic UberDork
7/5/23 8:59 p.m.

My first COVID project was outfitting my new-to-me aluminum enclosed 20' trailer.  I basically did everything you mention except for the rollers, camera, awning and solar.  I would do it all again the same way if I did it again.  

Some additional suggestions: 

-Insulate it now, before the etrack goes up.  Gluing in the R6 foil lined foam panels wasn't that hard and it makes a difference, I'm glad I did that. 

-Wire it for a rooftop AC/Heat unit now, even if you don't have one,  I didn't, and should have. 

-Some sort of storage solution, I have upper cabinets and later built some shelving out of aluminum and plywood for half of the front wall and then have a rolling tool box for the other half which gets rolled out between races.  

-For power, I'm really happy with the RV power box we have, it is for a small camper but is all designed to have a 120v input that will charge a 12v battery also also has the spots for the AC breakers, etc.  This is a problem long ago solved and it was cheap.  

I can't see from your picture, but if you don't have a power tongue jack, then you should add that to the list as well, it is excellent to have, and if you have a 12v battery then also easy to wire in. 

Asphalt_Gundam HalfDork
7/6/23 5:07 p.m.

In reply to Carl Heideman :

Biggest difference with a gooseneck is the towing experience. You barely know it's there and it never sways. Once was all it took towing one for me to never want a bumper pull again.

And yeah they're expensive. I got a deal on the new to me one but it'll be another several thousand before it's outfitted and ready to go to the track.

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
7/6/23 6:46 p.m.

I replied about cameras on your other thread.  As far as the other stuff goes:

- the more places to tie stuff down the better, IMHO.  Just make sure it's anchored well enough.

- I didn't insulate mine, partly because I don't ever plan to sleep in it.  (I also have a TPD which is gel-coat plywood construction and has better base insulation characteristics than many other types.)

- I agree with covering up the bare plywood floor.

- IMHO winches aren't that expensive -- personally I would just buy one for each trailer rather than having to screw around with moving it.

- You definitely want a battery to run the winch, and then solar on the roof to keep it charged is a great idea.   "set and forget" is my motto for the trailer, I want it to be ready to go to the track with as little prep work required as possible.

- I have some LED floodlights at the back and have only used them once or twice.  Not a bad idea, but not critical IMHO.

- Skip the 120v lighting, IMHO 12 volt LED is just better in every way.  2 kw inverters are cheap, buy and install one of those and you can skip the generator for anything other than running a rooftop AC.

- Tire rack is super useful.  Mine is folding, but I basically never fold it up, it's always got some tires on it.  Go big -- mine holds 2 sets, and I have occasionally wished for enough tire rack space for a third.

- Mine has steel rollers at the back, I would probably try urethane next time.

- I haven't done an awning for mine yet.  I keep thinking about it, but every time I get close I see someone else's get ruined by the wind and I decide to skip it. :)

Other stuff:

- as mentioned an electric tongue jack is super useful.

- trailer TPMS

- make sure the spare tire is mounted somewhere that you can get it out without needing to unload the car.  Also consider having 2 spares for it, trailer tires suck.

- The previous owner of my trailer installed a "pit pal" combo helmet rack and clothes hanger rail, which is super useful for race suits and the like.

Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
7/20/23 3:54 p.m.

Thanks for the tips so far everyone. I'll keep you posted as I start adding things.

Spearfishin New Reader
7/31/23 9:32 a.m.

My only contribution is that the first time I towed a 40ft gooseneck (tandem dually), I was shocked at how quickly the trailer tires, 30'+ back from the truck, started coming the direction of the turn. Bumper pull, you go wide when turning with a trailer, but the trailer is generally still following the arc/path of the truck...gooseneck, when the truck starts turning, the trailer is going that same direction, right then. You go as far as you can go past the turn, until you think the truck won't make the turn, and THEN you turn, OR you have to be able to swing fairly wide away from your turn.

Just my $0.02 on what proved to be a fairly humbling first trip with a large borrowed trailer. Many more trips were taken after that where far fewer curbs were harmed.

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