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Covered car trailer "needs" vs wants.

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225
177
Exp. Type
Autocross
Exp. Level
Under 3 Years
Colorado Springs
Looks like I will be moving in a couple months. Currently I drive the 30 miles and don't go much further out. New area has many tracks in the 3-6 hour range, so looks like I am going to be towing more and renting is a PITA. Im also thinking of getting a RallyCross toy. Im curious what features yall think are nice vs must.

I am looking to get a covered trailer, only needs to fit one car, trailer weight isn't an issue with my truck. I'd really like to keep it $15k ball park. 20ft is a minimum? But don't need more than.... ? 24ft? Definitely bumper pull.
How necessary is a wench? Nice to have or really should have?
I do want something with or I will install murphy beds as I do see scenarios to camp or have kids sitting area. I have skipped track days without a trailer as I was solo on the weekend and didn't want to subject the kids to sitting in the sun at PPIR (not a tree in sight).

Is a door on each side a life saver or is 1 door enough? Just seems a driver side door would make life easy.

What does the more experienced car haulers say? Something simple like this as a starter is what I was thinking. I don't have an aversion to "used on weekends only". Save a little $.

St Louis. We are moving to the IL side of St Louis. Flying this weekend to look at houses.
 
1,247
1,253
Exp. Type
HPDE
Exp. Level
5-10 Years
Lenoir City TN
The trailer you linked looked like a good starting point. You can outfit it the way you want. Mustangs are wide and difficult to get out of once the car is in the trailer. A winch is a must for me. I can't climb out the window. You walk next to the car steering through the window while winching it in.
 

TMSBOSS

Spending my pension on car parts and track fees.
7,603
5,357
Exp. Type
HPDE
Exp. Level
10-20 Years
Illinois
I have had two enclosed trailers. One was 24’ with ramps over wheels wells. Current trailer is 28’ I would not go shorter that 24’. I always carry spare tires, tools, fuel cans etc.. can you put a car in a shorter trailer, yes.
I would consider an escape door on the drivers side as a must. A door on the trailer which the door from your car can pass, open through is best. I am long past sliding in and out of a drivers window Inside an enclosed trailer. YMMV. Lol.
winch? Less than a want with an escape door. The several hundred dollars needed to buy the winch, battery, wiring and install is not worth the price for me. I carry a cable come along I can use with straps if my car is on life support. Both of my trailers have had escape door which allowed me to open the drivers door on my Mustangs and step out.
Spare tire, yep. One at least. Expect the “New Tires” on your trailer to last 3-5 years Max. Trailer builders do not install the best tires.
Ramp over wheels are nice to have. Would I spend money on that option? Not likely. If you find a trailer that fits you and has the ramps over the wheels, it’s a plus.
Murphy bed, nope. I bought a queen size inflatable cot made by Coleman. With the car out at the track the bed and chairs turn the trailer into a livable space. Cheaper and more flexible. In my 28’ trailer I can set up the bed with the car inside. It’s tight but doable.
Extra tie downs, yes. I added “L” track along the floor and on the walls. It’s a bit pricey. You can get by with the 4 D rings most trailers come with along with a few added D rings for tying down tires, coolers tools etc.. A small supply of light duty 1000 lbs straps will come in handy. A four pack will get you started without breaking the bank. If you want to spend a few dollars more, there are self winding straps which are handy.
lighting. The minimum lighting that comes with a trailer without an interior is just that, minimum. A few extra LED lights added to the ceiling will likely come in handy.
flooring. Plywood will work. Paint it or add vinyl “Coin” flooring. If you go this way, pay for the vinyl product which is 8’6” wide. Splicing is a pain and often done poorly by a first time installer.
Race Ramps. Depending on the amount of clearance you have front and rear on your car, splitters, defusers etc. you will need a ramp of some sort. Race ramps are great but you can make a ramp from 2x6 or wider lumber. Not as easy to move around but easier on the wallet.
Shopping for a trailer can be eye opening. A nice 24’ trailer will start in the low teens and can head north of 45k.
Good luck with your search.
 
6,576
8,577
All of my stuff is open, but I've used enclosed trailers over the years, 2 doors are nice, an awning (or pop up) is handy and definitely make it at least a 24 footer, That way you can store fuel cans away from the tow vehicle, and there is room for a tool box, I would recomend a winch, I have used mine several times, You will also need some kind of ramps, (I don't like race ramps, IMO they are expensive for what they are and cheaply made) you may have to fab up some aluminum ramps or use some 2x12s or some similar scheme. You can hole saw them to lighten them up. both axles braked is also a nice option, my current trailer has brakes on both axles and it has come in handy. Those plywood floors are great, but jack the thing up and slop a bunch of wood preservative on them, If you can, specify marine grade plywood, The bottom of the trailer is always the problem because the wheels sling road crud up on the flooring.
 

PatientZero

@restless_performance
825
866
Exp. Type
Autocross
Exp. Level
10-20 Years
Kansas City, Missouri
A good friend of mine lives in St Louis and drives over to KC Region for our autocross events. We have a super competitive CAM class over here.

I've also wanted to upgrade to an enclosed trailer for a few years now just so I could sleep in it at the track. But, that hotel shower hits different after a long day in the sun, not to mention I'd need a bigger tow vehicle too.
 

Bill Pemberton

0ld Ford Automotive Racing Terror
8,566
8,695
Exp. Type
Time Attack
Exp. Level
20+ Years
Blair, Nebraska
Just sold my 26 foot enclosed trailer and after having had enclosed trailers over the past 20 years I would not go back to open. The disadvantages are it will use more fuel getting to the destination, but once there you have a place to get out of the sun, you can carry more tires and tools, and for me the worry about bad weather damaging my car while there or on the road is not an issue. Check all the boxes noted by TMS and you are fine, and like all the others I would suggest a 24 footer is ideal. I did not need all the extra weight and length of my 26 foot trailer, hence I would concur on the 24 length.

Side door , pretty damn nice, and I had one, which made it easier for this ole arthritic body to wiggle in & out, ha!
 
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JDee

Ancient Racer
1,830
2,031
Exp. Type
W2W Racing
Exp. Level
20+ Years
5 miles from Mosport
Except with a flat deck trailer there's no contortions to wiggle out, since you're already out and standing on terra firma. I can get my tie down straps hooked up pretty easily. I watch guys at the track slithering around inside their trailers and I remember again why I don't have one. It's also nice that the flat deck has less wind resistance than a box trailer has. That is harder to quantify but for sure there is less frontal area and side drag. If I was doing a lot of long hauls it might make sense, but since Mosport is only 15 minutes from me it makes no sense at all.
 

Bill Pemberton

0ld Ford Automotive Racing Terror
8,566
8,695
Exp. Type
Time Attack
Exp. Level
20+ Years
Blair, Nebraska
I understand JDees 's thoughts, but since I have traveled 3-20 hours away to play, an enclosed is the only way to operate in my estimation. Now if I was 15 minutes from the track I would go the route of Mr. Speedy Canuck, JDee !

Once one is far away you need extra stuff to cover your butt if things break down and there is just no way to get everything there with an open trailer in my humble opinion.
 
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TMSBOSS

Spending my pension on car parts and track fees.
7,603
5,357
Exp. Type
HPDE
Exp. Level
10-20 Years
Illinois
I was one of the guys crawling around in my trailer attaching straps to the underside of the car, until……
Now I attach straps before I pull into the trailer. Run the ends through a tow hook or into the truck and close it. Drive the car in and attach straps to ratchets, ratchets to d rings and tighten. Reverse when uploading. Attaching or removing straps while the trailer is on the ramp gives you extra room.
 
225
177
Exp. Type
Autocross
Exp. Level
Under 3 Years
Colorado Springs
I completely get @JDee 's thought process, but doesn't account for a couple factors....
1) In for a penny, in for a pound, my truck gets bad mileage unloaded, barely loaded or fully loaded.
2) ability to bring extra and just have it locked up secure
3) ability to give the kids a safe place to play when at the track. 9 and 10 is old enough to not wander off, but young enough to need a defined boundary. And be shaded.

And similar to Bill, longer hauls seem to be in my future. PPIR was 25 miles down the interstate. When I moved from an open to a covered trailer in my motorcycle days, it was weekend altering. Even at the expense of getting in and out of a loaded car.

The driver side portal seems to be pretty dang important.

I really wish I was in a spot where I could trade in the camper and get a toy hauler, but my allowance doesn't stretch that far. For now.
 
1,247
1,253
Exp. Type
HPDE
Exp. Level
5-10 Years
Lenoir City TN
I'm with JDee on this one. I looked at everything out there for trailers and ended up with a 20ft aluminum open with extended ramps and a tire rack. I tow anywhere from 3 1/2 to 12 hours for the tracks I go to. The open trailer is easier to load, tie down the car and pull. Also no need for race ramps. I like the protection that an enclosed trailer gives, but not the cost and the drawbacks loading. The idea of being able to camp in the paddock was appealing, but my wife is not into camping. The $18k difference in price pays for a lot of hotel nights. I did pick up a used Leer fiberglass topper for my truck to give me covered lockable storage. The 8ft bed holds everything I need for a long weekend at the track.
 

Dave_W

Cones - not just for ice cream
1,025
1,337
Exp. Type
Autocross
Exp. Level
20+ Years
Connecticut
The big side door in the Craigslist ad from the first post is hinged at the front. One that's hinged at the top doubles as a canopy.
1688000044514.png
 
1,247
1,253
Exp. Type
HPDE
Exp. Level
5-10 Years
Lenoir City TN
When looking at enclosed trailers with escape doors pay attention to door clearance. Many of the less expensive trailers have escape doors that open over the wheel box on the trailer. Most Mustang doors will not open when parked on the floor. You will need to build a ramp over or at the very least park on a couple of 2 x 10's to gain clearance. Premium trailers with full escape doors and removable wheel boxes get expensive real fast.
 

TMSBOSS

Spending my pension on car parts and track fees.
7,603
5,357
Exp. Type
HPDE
Exp. Level
10-20 Years
Illinois
I have an ATC with the large side door. You open the side door, drive in, park and open the car door. For us full figures types this is essential.
I get better mileage pulling the 28’ ATC than I did the 24’ steel trailer it replaced. The rounded corners and light weight must be why.
 

Fabman

Dances with Racecars
6,625
8,315
Exp. Type
W2W Racing
Exp. Level
20+ Years
Pleasanton: 1/2 way between Sonoma and Laguna Seca
I used to have an Interstate enclosed trailer with a side door, never used it.
Now I have a TPD without one and couldn't be happier.
You couldn't open the car door on the Interstate and with the escape door open there was nothing to brace your body against as you climbed out the window so I would just fall out on my head.
With the TPD I just lean against the trailer wall as I climb out and it just works. Just make sure you get an 8'6" wide trailer and not an 8' wide trailer.
Those extra 6 inches mean a lot....at least that's what she said.
 
317
411
CA
I bought a 1997 enclosed trailer ~6 months ago and have been happy with it. It's 8.5' x 24'. I would absolutely not go anything less than that for our cars.

I lost track of if this is an enclosed vs open thread,
or what do you look for in an enclosed trailer thread….

One thing you must consider is where you will be storing the trailer, and what will be in the trailer when you store it. You need to invest in proper locks for all doors, a tracker and wheel locks. All of that will run you ~$600.

Winch is a must imo, you need something that can get a broken down car into the trailer. All our cars have tow hooks anyways... Also, the feeling of winching the car into/out of the trailer is one of the better feelings of the track day......maybe that is just me?

I am young and not overweight, so I have no issues getting around the trailer to put the wheel straps on. Tracks which are far away, I get to the track the night before, pull the car out, set up the mattress and I've got a nice little space. A heater is a must depending on when you are at the track. I get an extra 2-4 hours of sleep depending on which track it is; that has done great things for my lap times and overall focus.

A big one, depending on your truck is a WEIGHT DISTRIBUTING, ANTI SWAY hitch. Nobody talks about these. When the winds pick up, enclosed trailers can be not fun. I have towed mine with an older gas F250, as well as a brand new F150. The F250 lacked power, but stability wise was great. The F150 has more than enough power, but in high winds the stability leaves a little to be desired. That's WITH an anti sway hitch. I can't imagine what it would be like without one.
 

Fabman

Dances with Racecars
6,625
8,315
Exp. Type
W2W Racing
Exp. Level
20+ Years
Pleasanton: 1/2 way between Sonoma and Laguna Seca
I bought a 1997 enclosed trailer ~6 months ago and have been happy with it. It's 8.5' x 24'. I would absolutely not go anything less than that for our cars.

I lost track of if this is an enclosed vs open thread,
or what do you look for in an enclosed trailer thread….

One thing you must consider is where you will be storing the trailer, and what will be in the trailer when you store it. You need to invest in proper locks for all doors, a tracker and wheel locks. All of that will run you ~$600.

Winch is a must imo, you need something that can get a broken down car into the trailer. All our cars have tow hooks anyways... Also, the feeling of winching the car into/out of the trailer is one of the better feelings of the track day......maybe that is just me?

I am young and not overweight, so I have no issues getting around the trailer to put the wheel straps on. Tracks which are far away, I get to the track the night before, pull the car out, set up the mattress and I've got a nice little space. A heater is a must depending on when you are at the track. I get an extra 2-4 hours of sleep depending on which track it is; that has done great things for my lap times and overall focus.

A big one, depending on your truck is a WEIGHT DISTRIBUTING, ANTI SWAY hitch. Nobody talks about these. When the winds pick up, enclosed trailers can be not fun. I have towed mine with an older gas F250, as well as a brand new F150. The F250 lacked power, but stability wise was great. The F150 has more than enough power, but in high winds the stability leaves a little to be desired. That's WITH an anti sway hitch. I can't imagine what it would be like without one.
Agree with all here. ^^^^
 

Fabman

Dances with Racecars
6,625
8,315
Exp. Type
W2W Racing
Exp. Level
20+ Years
Pleasanton: 1/2 way between Sonoma and Laguna Seca
I welded loops on the front subframe and rear squat brackets so hooking up the car is a snap. Takes a lot of the drama out of loading up.
 

Bill Pemberton

0ld Ford Automotive Racing Terror
8,566
8,695
Exp. Type
Time Attack
Exp. Level
20+ Years
Blair, Nebraska
I just sold my trailer as I will now borrow my son's ATS one -- well, heck, he borrowed mine for many of the past years! I lost 15 lbs. so I can probably crawl out the window again, since he does not have a side door. Just in case I better lose 10 more as age fudducks flexybilly - er flexibility!
 

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