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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-02-2006, 01:18 PM Thread Starter
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Advice on car trailer

I am looking to buy a car trailer. One use will be hauling a 97 TBird.
Looking for some advice on a trailer with the following specs to see if it is appropriate for the car or not.
6.5'x16' with 4' dovetail
7000# GVW
2 axle one with electric brake

I will be pulling it with a fullsize half ton GMC ext cab pickup for now. But looking to move up to at least a 3/4 ton in the near future.
Thanks for any advice you can give or experiences.

Regards,
James
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-02-2006, 03:50 PM
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I would go with a 18' deck, a 16' may be a little short, but managable. Try to get a full deck (not open in the center). Also consider haveing a anattached, locking tool bin at the crank near the tounge jack to keep your straps, chocks, etc. in. And one final word, consider adding a power winch for those times that the car may break and you have to push her up onto the deck.
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-02-2006, 07:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncaged 94
I would go with a 18' deck, a 16' may be a little short, but managable. Try to get a full deck (not open in the center). Also consider haveing a anattached, locking tool bin at the crank near the tounge jack to keep your straps, chocks, etc. in. And one final word, consider adding a power winch for those times that the car may break and you have to push her up onto the deck.
Couldn't have said it better myself.I had a 16' trailer for my Mustang and it was a tight fit for the Tbird.I only had it on there once with no bumpercovers to take it to the paint shop and it barely fit.I also agree with the other points also.

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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-02-2006, 07:57 PM
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BTW,the 1/2 ton pickup will be fine for towing if you have electric brakes.I think a 3/4 ton would be nice but not required.I towed my Mustang with a 4.0 Ranger and it did quite well but a full size 1/2 ton truck would be much better for me.To mention again,electric brakes are your friend!

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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-03-2006, 09:10 AM
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ya, with brakes on the trailer a 1/2 ton truck is fine. One thing to watch out for is the fenders on the trailer. After I installed 1.5" lowering springs on my car I CAN'T open the door on the car without hitting the trailer fender. I had to cut short 12" long lengths of 2x10 lumber to screw down to the deck of the trailer to raise my car up a bit.

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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-03-2006, 09:36 AM
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Here's my homemade 16' trailer with the Cougar on the back of it:



That should give you an idea of how a MN12 will fit on a 16' trailer.

The main thing I don't like about it is that with the heavy front end of the MN12, it puts a fair amount of weight on the tongue.

Here it is unloaded:



You can see how it makes the truck squat. But I have not installed any helper springs or load levelers.... yet.

And I'll second the statement about a winch....

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Last edited by 94 Daily Driven 4.6L; 03-03-2006 at 10:10 AM.
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-03-2006, 10:02 AM
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You have a wench to pull the car on the trailer?

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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-03-2006, 10:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 94t-birdlx
You have a wench to pull the car on the trailer?
No, but I REALLY wish I did.

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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-03-2006, 11:54 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the advice.
My primary reason for buying the trailer now is to get one of my Birds from SoCal to Ks when we move next month. At that time I will most likely just pull it behind the moving truck.
Once I get back to KS I will most likely just be using the trailer as a utility trailer for hauling firewood and making trips to Home Depot.
As little as I will be using it for the car I think I will go ahead and go with the 16'.
Does anyone have a comment about the pros or cons of a wood deck compared to a diamond tread deck?
And also pros and cons of having the ramps slide in to the back or in to the sides at the back?
Thanks again.

Regards,
James
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-03-2006, 12:57 PM
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A 4' dove tail is quite long for a car trailer like that. I think you will be just fine because your dovetail won't have much pitch if it is long (that is if the trailer is 16 + 4, and not 12 +4). Remember you can park your car so your bumpers hang over the dovetail there is nothing wrong with that.

I had my cougar on a straight deck 16' and it was tight, but workable. If the dovetail is in addition to the 16' (I'd hope, I can't imagine a 12' deck with a 4' dove) you will be fine.

Check with your dealer though, sometimes that extra 2' doesn't cost a whole lot more. I know with our mfg's (we are a trailer dealer) it doesn't cost much, you only pay for the extra material (4' of frame material, and one more crossmember). You will always wish you had more once you buy it, I don't know how many times we are told: "I should have got the longer one."

Valid points were made. Winch = good, watch fender height as it was mentioned (you might want to consider removable fenders). Brakes are good, brakes on both axles is much better, again some might dissagree but with just a 1/2 ton you will be thankful when you aren't replacing warped rotors. Plus to put two more sets of brake assemblies on isn't that expensive. ($150 max, and to me it is worth the peace of mind)

Uncaged has it all right with what he said. I want to stress his point on having a full deck and not just spots for your tires. Once you have this trailer you will find things to haul with it. Lots of things, the full deck will allow you to haul anything.

You asked about a wood deck vs steel floor. By any means the steel deck is better. It will last longer. You won't ever replace it. But the cons are this, cost and weight. If you don't care about that go for it. They are nice, but most people aren't willing to spend the extra $$$. If you go with a wood floor, make sure the wood is treated. Most mfg. companies will cut corners and use non-treated lumber. Green treated lumber will last much longer and look better after a few storms.

Ramps. Take your pick. The side ramps are nice for a few reasons. They are less likely to fall out going down the road if the latch that holds them in fails. (Make sure they store on the ditch side, if they fall out you don't have to worry about them lying in the middle of the highway, which would happen if they were also out the back.

Also if you put them out the back sometimes you can't get the ramp out completely because you might have backed up to an incline. So you will have to pull forward to get them out, then backup again (if it applies). The plus to having them out the back is you don't have to carry them as far to set them up. I don't mind carrying them 5 extra steps to set them up, so if it were me I would go with side storage for the ramps.
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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-03-2006, 07:23 PM
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Hey Donald... can I call you Donald??

What material did you used to build your trailer? I really dont want to pay 6k for one when I know I can build one for like 1k or less if I look hard enough for the parts. I have a welder so that's not a problem at all Every info will be greatly appreciated, Donald

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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-03-2006, 11:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tx_Cat
I really dont want to pay 6k for one


6k isn't for your everyday car hauler (7000#). I would understand if it was tilt-bed and 5200# axles and heavier framework. But I don't think you can safely build a trailer like that for 1k.

A basic everyday trailer like he is looking at shouldn't cost a person more than 1,800 or so, all depends on features and so forth.
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-04-2006, 12:23 PM
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Well that's why I asked for info...


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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-04-2006, 01:12 PM
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DOH!

What you lookin to build? How big? Payload Weight? Features?
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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-04-2006, 09:28 PM
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Enough to hold and fit my cougar no more... Prolly at first make it open but with the opportunity to close the trailer in the future.


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post #16 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-04-2006, 10:41 PM
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For a car, you don't need much. Car trailers are really cheap like that. You might want to check around. Sometimes it is almost the same costs if you build it yourself or buying it. Then you don't have to get it inspected, you don't have the hassle of building it (unless you are a very bored person) and you have a warranty. There are ton's of companies out there that make trailers like that, so the market can be cut throat (good for consumer, bad for retailer ) I can think of three companies that are out of Texas (or close to) off of the top of my head. Big Tex, PJ and Loadtrail. We don't sell them for a few reasons. Mainly because freight trom TX to ND is killer. We have a MFG in ND here that builds trailers just as nice or even better (stronger built in my opinion). Since they are built in TX you have very low freight costs. I do not see why you can't get into a basic model for under 2k.

If you insist on building one here is just a crash course of materials. Frame materials (some use heavy 3-4" angle others use 3-4" channel), crossmembers most use usually 2" angle ( you need enough for 16" on center, some go further apart, but you have a much more solid trailer if you go 16") You need channel to build the tongue at minimum 4". Material for ramps (usually 60" long)

You need axles, two 3500# axles will be fine. Most states require at least one have brakes, some states require brakes on both. Suspension (spring, hangers, equalizers, shackle straps, shackle bolts - That is if you do not go with Torsion Axles) You need a coupler, you can probably get by with a 2" coupler, would reccomend a 2 5/16" though. Lights (two tail lights, and at least 4 clearance lights - check with local laws on that though). Fenders, tires/wheels, lumber (for floor when you decide to put it in, go with 2x8" green treat (Easy to install, strong and longer lasting) Floor screws, Primer, Paint, Safety Chains, Break-Away Batter (might not be required for inspection in TX, I don't know), Electrical Wire and Connectors, Band-Aids, Beer and Time

It can be done... and has been done lots of times with patience. Just sit down and draw out a plan of the trailer you want. Length, width etc. and then go price shopping for parts.

I don't want to discourage you from building one, I am all for building your own. I just don't want you to end up like some guys here that think they can build their own but by the time they are set and done they could have bought one with a warranty for less. Just make sure you do your homework. If you have more questions be sure to ask!!
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post #17 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-04-2006, 11:21 PM
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Before I bought my trailer, I looked at several. Due to the car being lowered, most ramped trailers are just too steep not to drag. So I started looking at tilt-deck models. 18' - 20' trailers started around $1700-2000. I looked at a couple that were the best of what I'd seen at most dealers and they were $2100 with used tires and single axle brakes. Then I started looking online. I found the same price range, $1800-2100 for a 20' wood deck. Then I came across H&H.

My trailer cost $2360 (2003 model....prices are a bit higher now due to steel price increases). That bought me a electric/hydraulic tilt deck, 3500# axles with dual electric brakes, 6" channel frame, treated wood deck with lifetime anti-rot warranty. Expoxy painted frame to resist corrosion. 10 year warranty on all the welds. 6000# drop leg jack up front. DOT break-away kit. Brand new trailer-rated tires and wheels. 50 state legal DOT lighting. The only thing I want to add is a winch (battery already onboard so it'll be easy) and perhaps a stone guard up front.

I've hauled several cars, a van, a truck, a John Deere tractor, cheerleaders in a parade, and countless amounts of stuff. H&H is one of if not the biggest trailer manufacturer in the country. You really can't go wrong with it. But that's just my opinion.

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post #18 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-05-2006, 03:49 PM
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I am not sure about H & H being the biggest. But one of the biggest. I will vouch for Sir Will he is right. H & H is a really good trailer, especially for the buck.

Oh and Sir Will brought up another point. Once you build/buy a trailer you will not only haul your car, as soon as people find out you own a trailer you become everyones friend and they want to either borrow it or have you haul something. Be it parades, a buddies car, furniture, sheds or god knows what. You will never just haul your own car, you will haul everyone elses and their dogs as well.
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post #19 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-06-2006, 02:18 PM Thread Starter
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I looked at a Big Tex trailer on Sat.. An 18ft with a wood deck, single axle electric brake with a option to upgrade to two for about $160. The cost of this one was about $2300.
On SW recommendation I have started looking at H&H. I cannot even get my local dealer to quote a non-tilt trailer over the phone. He quoted an 18' tilt at $2375. I am assuming this is a manual tilt according to prices on the web site. I mentioned I was looking at a Big Tex and did he have any comments about them compared to H&H. He said they are crap. I asked why and he only said take my word for it. From that point on he did not seem to have the time for me. I was treated much nicer at Big Tex.
Very difficult to compare just looking at the web sites. The basic specs are the same.
Will continue to do my research and see if someone at H&H will talk to me rather than this dealer.

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post #20 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-06-2006, 02:47 PM
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I haven't set the two beside each other, but I have seen both of them at different times. Both used, average use.

I would say that, in my opinion, the Big Tex is a heavier built trailer. Again this all depends on what models from each company you are comparing.

To me it sounds like the H & H dealer is yanking you around. First off, they should price what you request, not what they think you should buy. By all means a tilt deck is better for loading than a straight deck, but not everyone can afford it.

Second, just saying that the Big Tex is crap without backin it up makes him look like an idiot. He can have his opinion about competitors trailers (we do) but he needs the facts to back it up. Saying it is crap because someone else in town sells them doesn't cut it, saying it is crap because they use flat bar for crossmembers, used lumber for the floor, and lighter steel does.

If I were you, get detailed specs about each trailer. Be sure you try to compare apples to apples as much as possible. Decide if you want a tilt deck or straight deck, what length, how sturdy (most mfg's will have an econo model for hobbyists, and a heavier duty trailer for daily use).

Then once you know what exactly you want get detailed specs from each dealer. Type of framework steel (size, weight, etc), how far apart the crossmembers are. Then compare warranty's (not just structural compare suspension, paint, welds etc.) Make sure that the warranty doesn't have a deductible (Some companies will offer a good looking warranty, but anything under $250 is covered by you... pretty sleezy if you ask me).

My best advice, get the details and do a side by side comparison. That will tell you which one is better than the other. The prices you mentioned are about right on for today's steel and fuel prices. So you aren't getting run though the mill there.

As far as the grumpy dealer, check the H & H website and find another dealer near you. Some dealers are willing to work with you on delivery. Good luck!
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post #21 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-14-2006, 10:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Royalblu
I looked at a Big Tex trailer on Sat.. An 18ft with a wood deck, single axle electric brake with a option to upgrade to two for about $160. The cost of this one was about $2300.
On SW recommendation I have started looking at H&H. I cannot even get my local dealer to quote a non-tilt trailer over the phone. He quoted an 18' tilt at $2375. I am assuming this is a manual tilt according to prices on the web site. I mentioned I was looking at a Big Tex and did he have any comments about them compared to H&H. He said they are crap. I asked why and he only said take my word for it. From that point on he did not seem to have the time for me. I was treated much nicer at Big Tex.
Very difficult to compare just looking at the web sites. The basic specs are the same.
Will continue to do my research and see if someone at H&H will talk to me rather than this dealer.

WAY too much for the BigTex. I have one, it's an 18 foot full diamond plate deck with spare tire mounted on the side and a 4 foot tall aluminum rock guard in the front, and that's about what I paid for it. That dealer must really suck.


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