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SPG123
SPG123 HalfDork
2/17/19 8:28 p.m.

Well then, The old Diesel F250 failed to start yesterday so off I went about an hour an a half away in the trusty Mazda5 to go see the parts truck F100 on Craigs. It does have the black interior that I have been searching for. A little negotiating and we're on. Came home, scratched my head . Stared at the 1/4 tank of fuel showing on the gauge and decided to put a few gallons of diesel in just in case. Fired right up. Put sending unit on the list. So today after church and in the berklying rain off I go with the old Demco tow dolly. Yes, I am am grownup and should know better but the parts truck is just a shortbed F100 right? Took three hours to dig it out of the guys back yard, mostly unstick the frozen brakes and drag it onto the dolly. Free at last right? Oh No. Halfway home and on a two lane in BFE I hear BANG and then the thing behind me turns into jello. Followed by trails of sparks as the wheel turns in a pretzel before I can get it safely off the roadway. Scratch my head some more,unhook the dolly then off to the house for jack and more tools. Then back to BFE to get the wheel off. Still raining and now dark. Walmart tire and Northern now closed of course. So here I sit wondering if the truck and dolly will still be there when I miss work in the morning to go retrieve them. Time for a proper trailer. Thinking 18' steel or maybe wood. Strangely New or used are about the same price and wood and steel are not far apart either.More head scratching...     

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
2/17/19 8:38 p.m.

Did the dolly blow or the F100 a tire? 

nutherjrfan
nutherjrfan UltraDork
2/17/19 8:45 p.m.

I've noticed in previous discussions here about the closeness between new and used pricing. When the time comes I most likely won't look at used. smiley

I'm interested in wood vs steel a debating points though.

djsilver
djsilver Reader
2/17/19 8:48 p.m.

The prices are pretty close because it takes a certain amount of material and time to build them and it's a pretty cutthroat business.  The 16' x 82" wood deck car trailer with a 2" ball, 3,500lb axles, electric brakes on one axle, and a beavertail is the basic starting point.  If you go up in width, length, axle capacity, the price will go up incrementally.  An 8x20 trailer with 2-5/16" ball and 7k axles will be 50-75% more, but will handle a 1 ton truck or a moderately sized tractor.  If you go for an aluminum trailer or a kneeling trailer, the prices start to double and triple.  If you shop carefully you may find a used trailer at a discount price, but remember the price of a new set of tires might put you in the range of a new trailer.  It's a commodity market.

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
2/18/19 6:01 a.m.

Wife got mine way back when for $600. Best money she has ever spent. 7 years later and it needs a new wood floor and a set of tires and I have to do something about those heavy ass ramps....

Tyler H
Tyler H UberDork
2/18/19 8:08 a.m.
djsilver said:

 The 16' x 82" wood deck car trailer with a 2" ball, 3,500lb axles, electric brakes on one axle, and a beavertail is the basic starting point. 

I bought an 18' version of this with treated lumber decking.  Went new because of the similarity in pricing with used trailers.  I think with cash and a little haggling I paid right at $2k. Now it's 5 years old and about ready for tires, but it has towed cars all over the southeast. It's gets borrowed at lot.

Never had to do anything but keep the light bulbs replaced and lube the bearings.  Now that it's ready for tires, I'm debating whether to just sell it and buy another new one for $1-200 more than just doing tires.

Every time I've needed a trailer, I've had a lot of other things to worry over than whether the trailer is going to work.  Highly recommend a new one.  A solid truck and trailer leave a lot of time to play with cars.

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair MegaDork
2/18/19 8:20 a.m.
John Welsh said:

Did the dolly blow or the F100 a tire? 

that was my first thought as well.   i'm guessing tow dolly because (1) they are generally not a well-maintained tool, and (2) if F100, a GRM'er would have put the blown wheel/tire on the front and moved the *assumed good* front onto the rear.

ddavidv
ddavidv PowerDork
2/18/19 8:53 a.m.

Not really a fan of wood decks. They rot eventually and are heavy.

I have an all steel open deck trailer. I love the open deck because I can use it as a sort-of lift. My creeper and I can roll right under it and change oil, do some work, etc.  A closed deck would make hauling mowers and motorcycles easier but since I haven't had to do either it's been a non-issue.

In a perfect world I'd have an aluminum trailer but the cost difference is huge, too much for my wallet. My steel tows beautifully. I bought it used from a buddy for $1100 and did repaint it with a roller and a brush so it looks decent. It also fits inside my normal size garage door opening so I store it indoors with the race car on it when not in use.

tr8todd
tr8todd Dork
2/18/19 8:57 a.m.

I've had my pressure treated, wooden deck, open trailer for 28 years now.  I know this because I stumbled across the title yesterday while looking thru seat foams that have been sitting on my desk in the garage for just about the same amount of time.  That trailer has earned its keep many many times over.  I like the wooden deck because I can build wooden structures on top of it.  I've built 2X4 frames to carry sliding glass doors and such upright.  I've built wooden boxes to carry the roofing shingles I've stripped off of several houses.  Built a wooden box to carry an entire garage full of TR8 parts.  I even mount my JD2 tubing bender on the deck and make cages in the driveway.  Lots of room to work.  Hauling away junk cars is its greatest accomplishment.

maschinenbau
maschinenbau Dork
2/18/19 9:17 a.m.

I can relate. I just finished my first weekend of racing with a tow dolly and I already want a real trailer. The worst part is unhooking the driveshaft, working on your back on a wet parking lot. The other worst part is not being able to back it into my driveway and just leave it on the dolly for next race. It's like shooting pool with rope. So you have to park facing in, fully unload (driveshaft again) and turn the car around, then back the truck and dolly out and turn that around, then load everything back up. Which means 2x driveshaft work, on the floor, in the rain...which it did this weekend.

Not only that, I think the dolly is tows pretty poorly. It has almost zero tongue weight no matter how I load it, so the dynamics are constantly changing. The low tongue weight is kinda nice in the driveway, because you can literally lift the tongue off the hitch, with a car already loaded. Even though my "truck" is just an El Camino, I'm starting to think a heavy steel dovetail with electric brakes would actually be safer. 

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
2/18/19 9:30 a.m.

Ours is wood deck. Empty trailer weighs just over 1700lbs currently without the ramps. The wood looks to be 15+ years old and is just now to the point of replacing. We'll do that and rerun the wiring again and put on some more new tires this year. It'll be good for another 10-15 years. 

Curtis
Curtis UltimaDork
2/18/19 9:49 a.m.

I have an 18' wood deck.  It's about 15 years old and I just recently replaced the lumber with more PT.  I had a steel deck trailer and (rust belt) it started getting weak spots in the deck.  Replacing wood costs $50 and takes an afternoon.  Replacing steel costs lots of dollars and effort.  That really only matters if rust is a concern.

They're all the same price because there is very little difference.  They are all a big combination of steel welded together with axles and a hitch.  Find a good one and buy it.  I prefer flat beds with stake pockets.  That way I can turn it into a utility trailer for mulch, firewood, or gravel.

SyntheticBlinkerFluid
SyntheticBlinkerFluid UltimaDork
2/18/19 9:57 a.m.

I wanted a car trailer and had a budget and was dumbfounded when I couldn’t find one within my budget. 

I have a 18’ dovetail Utlity trailer with a wood deck that needs new wiring and tires along with fenders, no clue what the brakes or suspension looks like. The wood deck was replaced about 10 years ago but is still in good shape. 

I’m considering dumping money into that instead, but it’s a really heavy trailer because it’s meant to carry a tractor on it. 

SPG123
SPG123 HalfDork
2/18/19 10:02 a.m.

Both the F100 AND trailer tire blew< When the F100 tire went down, its rim then ate the trailer fender which then ate the trailer tire.   I will not ever tell what I did to get the whole thing back to the house but its here. Yes there are pictures but first I have to forget that this fun started 24 hours ago. I can see a car hauler/trailer in my future!

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
2/18/19 10:10 a.m.

In my experience, cheap new trailers need some investment before too long. They're always delivered with a screw in the tire, it seems - but more importantly, they're built to a price. You'll have to add your own tie-downs and accessories. You may have to upgrade the suspension eventually, as the various linkages will be the cheapest possible option and may not be up to tens of thousands of miles. It may need an alignment. So while new and used might look to be pretty close in price, there are hidden costs in the new.

Also, trailers are like pickup trucks. They can be used to make money, so they retain value much better than things that cost money.

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse UberDork
2/18/19 10:25 a.m.

When I went trailer shopping, a bit of patience and luck scored me a 1-year old trailer for $300 cheaper than the cheapest new one I could find.

Agreed that with trailers, you get what you pay for, especially when buying new.  Tires, electrical stuff, materials...it all costs 'x'.  Better stuff costs 'x+y'.

I did get a trailer with a 20' deck, instead of 18', which makes a big difference when hauling the race car as it will also fit some storage bins, engine hoist, etc on the trailer.  I also got two 5k axles instead of 3.5k.  Which also got me better tires and sturdier springs.  

Wood deck, but it's 2x6 PT and I plan on staining it this year.  I had a steel deck trailer a while back and the wood is less slippery, which is nice when walking around on it.  It also doesn't get stupidly hot in the summer.  

imgon
imgon HalfDork
2/18/19 2:14 p.m.

I have an '05 18' open wood deck that I've had since 2006. Its a bit heavy but good overall. It will need new boards this year, mostly because I added planks and that sped up the rot. I like being able to haul anything because of the full deck. I have a friend that has borrowed mine to haul home all sorts of odd stuff. Get a good one and buy it once. I've gone through 3 sets of tires , just re did the brakes this summer, if you take decent care of them they last forever. I have an enclosed trailer for the car now, but kept the open because it is so useful.

frenchyd
frenchyd UltraDork
2/18/19 3:16 p.m.
djsilver said:

The prices are pretty close because it takes a certain amount of material and time to build them and it's a pretty cutthroat business.  The 16' x 82" wood deck car trailer with a 2" ball, 3,500lb axles, electric brakes on one axle, and a beavertail is the basic starting point.  If you go up in width, length, axle capacity, the price will go up incrementally.  An 8x20 trailer with 2-5/16" ball and 7k axles will be 50-75% more, but will handle a 1 ton truck or a moderately sized tractor.  If you go for an aluminum trailer or a kneeling trailer, the prices start to double and triple.  If you shop carefully you may find a used trailer at a discount price, but remember the price of a new set of tires might put you in the range of a new trailer.  It's a commodity market.

I found that out the hard way. I started building and selling trailers.  My brilliant idea was to make enclosed trailers out of Fiberglas ( regular steel frame etc. but Fiberglas enclosure) 

Im brilliant at buying stuff at rock bottom prices but discounts abound in axles and other components and how deep the discount is is totally dependent on volume.  List price up to 10 units but the really deep discounts start at 1000 units.  Once you add shipping costs, volume really has to be there in order to show a profit.  Then new brands need to inventory trailers on dealers lots in order to sell.  

Bottom line the bigger manufactures skim the gravy while new brands barely stay afloat. 

Boris3
Boris3 New Reader
2/19/19 7:07 a.m.

Bobzilla, I swapped out the heavy steel ramps on mine for a set of aluminum ramps. Much easier on the back.

https://www.discountramps.com/car-trailer-ramps/p/CTR/

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
2/19/19 8:20 a.m.

In reply to Boris3 :

WOW! Those would be less than HALF the weight of my current setup. Mine are steel frame with a 2x12 wood center and about 6' long. They're about 60lbs each. 

Vigo
Vigo UltimaDork
2/19/19 9:51 a.m.

I think car dolleys are a lot like window tint and automatic transmissions in the sense that I think if you aren't going to do it enough to get good at it, you might as well just have it professionally done. In the case of a car dolley that just means using a trailer or paying for a $100 tow.  I've got thousands of miles on my tow dolley and have gradually learned all its pitfalls. I will say that once you know everything that can go wrong, you don't get caught out much. 

Every once in a while I need a trailer and i borrow one, but I've never regretted buying my car dolley! 

Boris3
Boris3 New Reader
2/19/19 10:13 a.m.

In reply to bobzilla :

Wow, that's an injury waiting to happen. The ramps that came with my 18' full steel deck trailer were 5' heavy steel frame and cross pieces plus steel mesh for traction. Pulling them out from the storage racks under the trailer and storing them back away at the end of the day was doing me in. When I starting looking for younger folks/backs in the paddock for help I came to my senses and ordered the new ramps. Able to carry/lift these with one hand. Also sold the old steel ones on CL so recouped some costs.

SPG123, deals are out there but you have to be willing to wait and move quickly.  I found mine used on CL in late 2012 for $2k. PO had bought it new, 2013 model, to transport a car from IL to WI and after he got home realized that the 3500 lb axles wouldn't work for his business use so he put it up for sale at a loss. I was the first one who answered the ad.    

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
2/19/19 10:29 a.m.

Our trailer was put together in '98, so it's damn near old enough to drink. I'm certain the original ramps are long gone and it's never had any on trailer storage. I've contemplated mounting them like this:

JBasham
JBasham HalfDork
2/19/19 12:56 p.m.

What I really want is one of those tiny little flatbed tow trucks they have in the EU.  It would be so nice for a track car.

Cotton
Cotton PowerDork
2/19/19 1:36 p.m.
Boris3 said:

Bobzilla, I swapped out the heavy steel ramps on mine for a set of aluminum ramps. Much easier on the back.

https://www.discountramps.com/car-trailer-ramps/p/CTR/

I have the same exact ramps and love them.

 

For my car hauler I prefer a steel deck.  

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