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Open Trailer options

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Hi all, So I'm going to buy an open trailer to haul the car around. I have zero experience with owning a car trailer, so the one question i have is wood or steel?

I know wood rots but it lasts a long while, I was just thinking the heat and the slipperiness of the metal when wet would be of some concern.

Thanks in advance.
 

TMSBOSS

Spending my pension on car parts and track fees.
7,574
5,311
Exp. Type
HPDE
Exp. Level
10-20 Years
Illinois
Or aluminum? Feather lite and others make great trailers.
Slippery metal and be fixed with the addition of expanded steel on the deck. Tack it on and paint. You can also add something like skate board tape to the surface as needed.
 
Or aluminum? Feather lite and others make great trailers.
Slippery metal and be fixed with the addition of expanded steel on the deck. Tack it on and paint. You can also add something like skate board tape to the surface as needed.

Yeah, I figure line-x or something of the nature could fix the slippery part. I was just curious on people's experiences.

Don't want to spend the money on aluminum as I don't think the weight savings is worth the cost, roughly 700 pounds for double the money.
 

TMSBOSS

Spending my pension on car parts and track fees.
7,574
5,311
Exp. Type
HPDE
Exp. Level
10-20 Years
Illinois
Bang for the buck is with Steel and planks. Inspect the wood occasionally and don't go cheap when replacing it. Be sure to check distance between fenders on the inside. Splitters can be wider than we assume.
I am looking at the event at Barber next week. Any chance you will make it up there?
 

carver

breaker of wrenches
447
607
ontario
stang2.jpg

I have a wood deck on mine which works just fine . I have found steel decks can be very slippery if they get any fuel or oil spilled. Watch for fender height . Nothing worse than not being able to open the car door.! Also beaver tail is nice for easier loading . :hellyeah:Also a hand or power winch is a life saver if the car won't start.
 
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I've bought cheap steel frame / wooden deck trailer in Feb this year. Wood gives you an option to install d-rings where you want them to tie the car down. I'll treated the deck with sealer and plan on doing that every year. So far it's been working out great.
 
1,212
1,213
Exp. Type
HPDE
Exp. Level
5-10 Years
Lenoir City TN
I bought aluminum last year. I got a good deal buying direct from the manufacturer and had my order in before the COVID shutdowns. It was delayed, but worth the wait. It pulls great and the ramps pin across the front instead of sliding under and double as a rock guard.
 
4
9
Exp. Type
HPDE
Exp. Level
Under 3 Years
95993
I'm doing a front wheel loader tow dolly which tilts down and drive up on it. Towing with a Toyota Sienna. It's my 2nd season so this is a good step up for me vs driving the car to each event. I'm a long way from a rig and full size trailer. just fyi as an option.
 
531
364
sfo
wet wood is pretty slippery too. Steel trailers need almost no maintanance. You can also paint them with cheap home depot paint and a brush to spruce them up like new. You can also weld stuff to them with ease. I would get Al if your tow vehicle is marginal. But honestly if you got a marginal tow vehicle you really should not be towing. I have had 3 tow vehicles and my current a ram 2500 diesel. OMG! It is the only way to go. Diesel baby. It is so comfortable to tow with something that overpowers what you tow. You never want the tail wagging the dog. So my #1 rec is to have head room on the tow vehicle side. I think the ford f150 ecoboost for a light gas tow vehicle bares looking into with a 10k lb capacity. Anyway I think steel trailers are best. They are the brick sh!thouse that will never die. Get dovetailed so back is bit lower and ramps that side out the back not the side. The stock s550 will go right on but a lowered one will need extended ramps. I welded up ramp extensions and bolt them to the dovetail area sort of like how the towtruck drivers mount their floor jacks on their rigs.
 
Bringing this thread back, I know nothing about trailers but looking to get my first. I don't want to spend a lot but also don't want junk components. Would love a Futura, but not in the budget. So if I'm not getting one of those, I just want to keep cost as low as possible but still reliable.

First Question, is there a big difference in quality of axles, hubs and brakes across makes? What do you look for and what do you avoid?

Looking at this for reference:
 
Far from being trailer specialist but this looks like a fairly generic wood deck trailer and this is a good price for it.

I bought Big Tex 70CH at the beginning of covid for $3,200 and they're currently about $5k.

Few things to look it :
- 16' is not a lot and does not give you any room to balance the load (assuming 16' is the deck length without the dovetail - if it's with it, then Mustang isn't really going to fit on it - remember you need room for tie downs).
- Removable fender so you can open the door ? Unless you like climbing out of the window or build something on the deck so car sits higher and clears it (increases CG of everything while you're towing).
- Axles are probably Dexter that makes just about all of them - fairly standard. Torsion axles are supposedly better but not something you'd get at this price point - axle itself is also what you get as a hub and brake.

I put 10,000 miles on my trailer since I've bought it and it was completely problem free (bought TPMS for it just in case) - I opened hubs after 5k miles and they looked like new, grease wasn't even dark.

Tires are typically the weakest point and at some point blow out unless you replace them on regular basis - you'll have a blow out before you're out of tread on it. Most trailers come with some no names, I plan on replacing mine with Goodyears Endurance after year 3 or so.

I'm sure others here are more experienced towers but this is mine with similar price point trailer.
 

TMSBOSS

Spending my pension on car parts and track fees.
7,574
5,311
Exp. Type
HPDE
Exp. Level
10-20 Years
Illinois
K_z

Good advice.

Brakes are from one or two manufacturers, no clear winner.

Removable fenders are a must.

Length…..well as the say, size matters. Longer is better. Room to balance the load as well as tie down spares are Important.

Deck. Metal solid deck is preferred, but not budget friendly. Solid wood would be a close second.

Tie downs. An E track system is the most versatile. A track flush with the deck which runs below the tires makes securing the car easy.

Winch. You never know when you need to pull a car on to your trailer.

TPMS is a great idea. If you have a puncture going down the road the only indication you usually have of the problem is when the tire flys apart. 3-5 years on original (read junk) tires is stretching it. Goodyear or Chuck Schwab trailers tires are best.

Tying down an S550 I have found is best done by installing a kit like the ford tie down hooks/loops. They bolt to the body/frame in factory holes. Stay away from straps around the suspension. It’s easy to attach the straps on an open trailer once the car is on the trailer. Not so much with an enclosed trailer.

Watch tire pressures and lug torque specs. Most trailer wheels are not hub centric and rely on the studs to carry the whole load. Too loose or too tight and they will depart the hub. Ask me how I know:banghead:

Good luck with your search.
 

Dave_W

Cones - not just for ice cream
1,016
1,326
Exp. Type
Autocross
Exp. Level
20+ Years
Connecticut
Opinions on open deck (just wheel tracks) vs. closed deck (floor full width of trailer)? I've not used either, but friends have an open deck. I'm guessing open deck is lighter (and cheaper?), but closed deck keeps car cleaner and gives more flexibility loading other items. Closed deck can also be used for hauling other items - furniture, applicances, dump runs, etc. But I've thought having an open deck would be like having a small 4-post lift at the track - you can work on the underside of the car if needed. Not sure if open deck makes hooking up tie-downs any easier.
 

JDee

Ancient Racer
1,819
2,020
Exp. Type
W2W Racing
Exp. Level
20+ Years
5 miles from Mosport
I've had both open and closed, currently closed.
Closed deck is easier putting on tie downs, you can just throw them and they skid along the deck. Also simpler to mount a winch. I feel safer as well since you don't have to worry about stepping into an opening accidentally and potentially having a seriously bad fall. Adding stuff, like a tire rack or storage cabinetry is easier as well since you've got a flush deck to work off. As mentioned, no road junk coming through the open deck is nice.
Open deck you can work under the car if you need to, though I can't remember ever having to do so (that was back in the early 1990s). Open deck should be lighter, though with my present tow vehicle the weight of the trailer is not a limiting factor at all.
Beyond that I can't think of anything one way or the other. Once the car's up there and tied down they're the same.
 
8
9
Exp. Type
Autocross
Exp. Level
20+ Years
Maryland
Aluminum vs steel: Aluminum does not rust if you park it over earth. Aluminum never need painting. Steel is easier/cheaper to configure. Both can be light.
My current steel trailer is an open deck 2002. No issues with ease of tying down. I prefer open for weigh/cost savings. I did have to repaint (por15) the trailer in 2018 and replace the wiring. Steel will rust. Open steel trailers are affectionately know as flexible flyers. Get a low deck trailer with long ramps if you have that option.

I had and towed with both for decades (7-10K miles per year). If you tow any long distances, carry two spares if you let the tires get over three years old; regardless of the tread depth. The faster you tow, the more likely they will blow. Even though I tow with a 2500 now, I still prefer load leveling bars. They really keep the trailer behind you when changing lanes. If you tow with a 1500, consider sway control.

lot more good advise earlier in thread, so I'll stop here.
 

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