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Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/5/20 6:23 p.m.

I've been browsing trailers for months & was really considering a new wood-deck car hauler this spring when prices were down to $1800, but with the uncertainty of the pandemic I held off...and prices went up considerably. I also wasn't really keen on another open/wood deck trailer.

I registered the Miata for an autox tomorrow. Aeromoto is busy, but was going to let me borrow his trailer. Until he went to use it yesterday & discovered this:


 

I could have driven the Miata there, but a 100-miles each way & 6-7 hours out in 96-degree heat without any a/c isn't much fun. We really do need a trailer for eventual evacuation, or event extended vacations to visit family, to have room for all our critters' stuff. I was talking to SWMBO yesterday about all this & she replied "You should just buy a trailer, we really need one." - no need to tell me twice!

I called around every dealer within an hour, not only were they out of stock, their manufacturers can't event give them an eta because they're so backlogged. The one exception was a 20' wood-deck built with 3' channel & 5500# axles, which is a bit more heavy-duty than I need. It was $3800. 

I'd been watching this trailer on marketplace, the enclosed front seemed like it would provide the extra storage we need & the open deck should be a bit lighter. 
 


 


 


 


 


 

It didn't have any ramps so I borrowed Aeromoto's. It also doesn't have a title - but apparently that's not a problem in MS. All you need is the registration from the PO & a witnessed bill-of-sale with all the correlating details. 

Cooter
Cooter UberDork
9/5/20 6:30 p.m.




NOW  you're legit.

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/5/20 6:54 p.m.

Do yourself a favor and get some lightweight aluminum ramps. I'm always amazed people still lug around the terrible and heavy AF steel ladder ramps when aluminum ones are so cheap.  Check this place out, these are what I use. Cheap, light, and have held up to lots of abuse 

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

 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/5/20 7:02 p.m.

In reply to Cooter :

I figure the locals will see that, then see the Miata, and be very very confused. 
 

So here's what I know/figured out so far. It has a winch, but no clue if it works. It's wrapped in plastic, but the quantity of spider webs I can see from the outside suggest that I should investigate it carefully, and with gloves on. I have a brand new battery in my dead HF jump-pack/compressor, so I'll have to hook it up & see if it works at all.

There's a home made extension cord that runs out the front of the box, to an outlet box inside. It's heavy cable, but not grommeted, the box isn't attached to anything, and there's no outlet cover on it. Not sure if I'll have any reason to keep it. 

It has brakes on one axle, but only a 4-flat plug, so I'm presuming they're compete junk if any of the parts still exist behind the backing plates. The axles look straight though. 2 of the tires are shot & cracked. Fortunately they're on opposite axles & opposite sides, and I have ratchet straps, so if E36 M3 goes sideways I can hopefully limp it there & back tomorrow. 2 of the bearings are kinda loose too. 

I found new wheels/tires on Amazon for $86-shipped each, so that's probably the easy button there. I'm going to pull a wheel off in a week or 2 , figure out what size bearings it takes & replace them all, installing some grease-buddy's too. 

Only one tail light worked when I hitched it up. Investigating at home I discovered that's because it was missing a bulb. So I have both working tail/brake lights, which is good, since the box completely blocks the van's lights. I'll be ordering a complete set of LED lights & rewiring the whole trailer eventually too. 

It has pockets for slide-in ramps, so I'm going to search for some that will fit, then figure out a way to secure them in place. It only has 2 D-ring tiedowns for the RF tire, and another 2 for the LR tire, so I'll definitely be adding more. I'm contemplating cutting off the tire rack, since I'll never use it.

I'm not sure I'll bother with painting it though, that just seems like too much work. 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/5/20 7:04 p.m.

In reply to irish44j (Forum Supporter) :

Those are nice & not a bad price, about 2x what I'm seeing steel ones for, but totally worth it. 

Patrick (Forum Supporter)
Patrick (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/5/20 7:12 p.m.

Don't cut off the rack, it might come in handy one day or be a selling point in the future, and it's not like it's costing you mpg or anything 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/5/20 7:31 p.m.

In reply to Patrick (Forum Supporter) :

I'm just afraid I'll forget it's up there & drive under something too low. 

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) UberDork
9/5/20 7:34 p.m.

It occurs to me that the tire rack might provide some protection for the car when stones and other debris get kicked up by the van.

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/5/20 8:13 p.m.

I should tell you guys about the seller...

He lives up in the pine forests about 20-miles from the coast. The first thing I notice is everything's named "Farve": "Sam Farve Rd", "Jim Farve Rd", "Farve's on the Bayou", etc. His last name wasn't Farve, surprisingly.

He live up a short, narrow road, about a 1/4-mile back in the woods. The first thing I passed was a small private junkyard, a couple acres in size or so, an his place was just past it. He told me it's his brother-in-law's.

The seller himself reminded me a bit of The Count from Counting Cars. He seemed like a good guy, but a bit over the top. His wife's GMT800 lowrider was parked in their carport, bagged & all the way down on the ground the green-on-black flames almost looked 3D. He had another truck up on cribbing in front of their porch that he was working on. I could tell it had aftermarket control arms, but didn't ask him details about it. He had a couple older compact Nissan trucks that he mentioned were future projects. Then he told me that his truck is in FL getting a $12k paint job right now. 

He was familiar with autox though & was glad to see the trailer would be put to use. 

Stampie (FS)
Stampie (FS) MegaDork
9/5/20 9:47 p.m.

In reply to Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) :

Is this what he looked like?  You sure he didn't give you a fake one night stand name?

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/5/20 10:34 p.m.

In reply to Stampie (FS) :

This guy, but with lowrider pickups & no bandana. 


 

The tag on his DD read "WHTTRSH", I think you'd dig him. 

Stampie (FS)
Stampie (FS) MegaDork
9/5/20 11:13 p.m.

In reply to Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) :

LOL what you trying to say?

ClemSparks
ClemSparks UltimaDork
9/5/20 11:59 p.m.

Good deal on getting the trailer!  Looks like it should be a good one with a little care.

Chesterfield
Chesterfield Reader
9/6/20 12:58 a.m.

It actually looks better than the homemade trailer that was part of the deal when I bought my street stock many years ago. Mine was painted blue, and basically free. Yours looks like a good foundation. I thought all used trailers have questionable lights and need tires. 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/6/20 5:40 a.m.
Chesterfield said:

I thought all used trailers have questionable lights and need tires. 

It's also the questionable(lack of) title history. 

I just realized I didn't post the price. He'd originally listed it at $2200 but dropped it to $2k. I brought it home for $1800, which is about $600 more than I think it's actually worth, but I'm seeing most open haulers priced around $2k being snatched up within an hour or two so I guess I'm happy to have found one. 

I'm about to roll out for the autox, so there might be pics of this thing stranded alongside the highway shortly. 

keithedwards
keithedwards Reader
9/6/20 6:10 a.m.

Ramps: a pair 8' wooden 2X12s should work, and store wheel. I used them on my trailer, when I loaned it out and it returned with only 1 metal homemade ramp. I also used shorter wooden ramps for my towdolly, now and then.

I used appropriate length carriage bolts and wing nuts for my ramps, to secure them for both transport and when loading/unloading.

Patrick (Forum Supporter)
Patrick (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/6/20 7:35 a.m.

Honestly it's probably worth what he was originally asking, i think you did fine

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/6/20 7:15 p.m.

Shockingly, I made it the 200-mile round trip without losing a tire. I'll have to get a pic of how bad 2 of them are...

When I got it yesterday we were only on the interstate for a few miles, but it was a real struggle to get up to 70. I was thinking there's no way it could be that much heavier than Aeromoto's overbuilt trailer I've borrowed, and that van basically blocks the entire front storage box, so it shouldn't be due to aero drag. 
 

Well leaving home this morning with the Miata on it, it was all I could do to maintain 70 on the interstate. The van was downshifting on the slightest inclines, and I couldn't keep at 60 topping overpasses. After about 50-miles though I started thinking maybe I was just getting used to it, or maybe it was actually pulling easier. The MPG reading on the ScanGauge confirmed the latter. 
 

I think the wheel bearing grease is just so old that it was damn near solidified until I got some heat in them? 

TurnerX19
TurnerX19 SuperDork
9/6/20 9:02 p.m.

Check the toe in as well. Zero to 1/16 in for both axles, and be sure they are square to each other and the chassis. Trailer alignment has enormous effect on drag.

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/6/20 9:25 p.m.

In reply to TurnerX19 :

Thanks!

I ordered 4 new wheels/tires off Amazon a bit ago for $365, they should be here this week. 
 

I also had a crazy(and likely bad) idea earlier. I was thinking about eventually hitting the visible & easy to reach parts with a wire-wheel, then coating them with *something*. Brush/roll-on Rustoleum would be the cheap & easy answer, but that E36 M3 gets slippery when wet. So I was thinking a gallon of plasti-dip might work for the deck & fenders?

Though realistically I'm going to need to screw a couple 2x12s to the deck - getting out of the Miata requires the top to be down, then I have to roll the windows most of the way up, latch the top, then stretch/reach in to crank the windows up the last bit. Or maybe look into making the fender removable or swing forward. 

ClemSparks
ClemSparks UltimaDork
9/6/20 10:47 p.m.

Or...you could just get the winch working and forgetaboutit. ;)   (this is in regard to the door/fender interference issue)

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/7/20 3:25 a.m.

In reply to ClemSparks :

I definitely need to get a battery hooked to it & check it out, but if it actually works I'm gonna buy a lotto ticket. 
 

Oh, and I definitely need to find a better/more permanent ramp situation. The car scrapes...more like solidly hits...when using these. I'm going to put some boards under the van's rear wheels when I unload in the morning & see if that's enough to help. 

ClemSparks
ClemSparks UltimaDork
9/7/20 9:33 a.m.

My trailer is fortunately so low that I don't usually have to worry about bottoming the car while loading.  But that means the trailer fenders are so tall that the doors won't open on most cars.  So...I get to climb though a lot of windows.

Of course, when you're hauling race cars you expect to climb though windows.  But it gets old on cars with functional doors and real interiors that you don't want to tear up.  

The ramps on my trailer are simple 1x1 square tubing.  They don't look like they'd hold up to the weight (they especially don't look like it half way through loading a car) but they keep working.  They are pretty long...I'll have to measure but they're taller than me.

I'm happy to take some photos even if just for brainstorming help for you on yours.  

You'll probably have to reverse engineer what the trailer was built with based on the dimensions you have to store them and how they attach.

Oh...I've also seen some guys jack the front of the trailer up (and thus the back of the tow vehicle) to help keep the car from dragging while loading.  Not sure if that might help here...just an afterthought.  

 

03Panther
03Panther HalfDork
9/7/20 9:40 a.m.
Patrick (Forum Supporter) said:

SADLY “it's probably worth what he was originally asking, i think you did fine

Fixed it for ya!

03Panther
03Panther HalfDork
9/7/20 9:45 a.m.
irish44j (Forum Supporter) said:

Do yourself a favor and get some lightweight aluminum ramps. I'm always amazed people still lug around the terrible and heavy AF steel ladder ramps when aluminum ones are so cheap.  Check this place out, these are what I use. Cheap, light, and have held up to lots of abuse 

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

 

I still have to drag around the heavy steel... got 30 bucks in the last pair, so I haven’t found any cheap al ones. 

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