asphalt_gundam
asphalt_gundam Reader
5/6/21 1:53 p.m.

My trailer gets plenty of love in the mods department and several very recently with more to come. Many of which I'm sure some could utilize on their own trailers for a better experience towing or at the track.

It all started when I decided that "Yup" I'm going to do this track thing and I should probably have a trailer because how reliable is an 80's car really going to be thrashing the hell out of it....

I shopped around a bunch in March and April at different trailers. Wanted a gooseneck after that one time I drove a friends rig (1ton truck and 48ft gooseneck fully loaded) and realized just how great they pull. None of the bumper hitch bounce and sway. Prices for a new gooseneck were at the high side of budget and nearly all over decks that wouldn't allow for the car to get on/off of without a lot of scrapes, so those were out. Lower tilt decks and enclosed were way out of the budget so I was stuck looking at bumper pulls and leaning towards a new one ready to go over an older one that needed tires/brakes/whatever used. Then this one pops up half way across the state, slightly cheaper than a new bumper pull, and appeared to be in regular use, 12k rating, one year old decking..plus a winch. 

As purchased in 2019 for $3200

The road to where I picked it up was winding and twisty. I was immediately pleased with the trailer by how it pulled and followed the truck.  I swear I could run an autocross with this hooked up and loaded no problem. Once home I gave it a more detailed inspection. The trailer is a '98 so unsurprisingly a few cross beams had cracked along the welds which was easy to repair. I also cut up the ramps and turned them into bi-folds for extra length to help that all important approach angle. Wanting to keep it nice for years to come and since I work at an industrial manufacture who has blasting and painting equipment it was an easy decision to get new paint instead of the patina look. I stripped the deck, lights, wiring off it and took it to work. Color choice was "whatever you're already spraying that day" as long as it isn't safety yellow. They must have been feeling a little frisky because they dumped in a lot of root beer metallic flake in the black. Hard to tell in the pictures but it dazzles in the sunlight. They even painted to the wheels silver for me.

Once I had it back home I reinstalled the decking and stained it. Completely new wiring and LED lights with new junction box. 

Another early addition was lights for loading...or more importantly reverse. The reflection of my truck's reverse lights would just bounce off the front of the trailer and I couldn't see anything at night when backing up. The switch is a 3 position...Up for loading light that runs off the battery in the winch box, center is off, and down the lights come on when the truck is put into reverse. They're LED pods off Amazon...were something under $40 and work great for this.

And that's how I ran it all of 2019 and most of 2020 after checking the brakes and repacking the wheel bearings.

Only change in 2020 was noticing that I could see hole above the bolt head on one of the leaf spring shackles when I was airing up a tire....Oh E36 M3! Bolt was also half thickness when I took it apart. So a full bushing/bolt/shackle kit was ordered and installed before going to PPIR last August (about 2400 miles round trip). I had to cut most of the bolt heads/nuts off just to get it all apart and it was much over due for bushings as most of them barely existed anymore. With fresh suspension I set off and made it to Colorado without incident. After 4 days of track time and many fixes to the car I was tired and just wanted to get going. Checking the trailer over slipped my mind and was even worse that I thought I saw the trailer tire moving around funny in the mirror but foolishly didn't stop to check it over as It was still pulling "just fine"...That lasted about 2 hrs before the bolt that lost it's nut backed out and dropped a shackle...which broke a U bolt....which sent a tire into the fender to explode...and lock up causing the trailer to start bucking. This all happened about 60 seconds after I convinced myself that I'm an idiot for not stopping to check that tire earlier and luckily I was already slowed down to 40mph when it happened. So there I am, on an off ramp in the middle of nowhere...legit nowhere, nearest parts store was 50miles away. The "town" of under 100 had a church but no bar??? That just doesn't happen in MN and WI. It's also windy a hell, looks like rain, and an hour till dark. Mad and frustrated with myself I made the assessment that I WILL fix this! Alayne much to here benefit and mine did the right thing and waited in the truck for me to calm down. First thing first was the missing shackle, Alayne walked back about a half mile to maybe find it and not just sit in the truck. I first and foremost tightened the crap out of all the other suspension bolts. Many were loose so I even staked them by smashing some threads over with a punch. Then I got the axle straitened mostly, tire changed, and found some bolts in my stash that would work. Alayne comes back without a shackle (it was a lottery wining long shot anyway) but she did find a 3/16 thick piece of stainless that was just long enough to make one (saved the day she did). By now its long dark and those loading lights have been a blessing. The whole time I was fabricating a new shackle I was praying I didn't burn up my drill bit or I'd be absolutely screwed. But I made it! Reassembled that side of the trailer and now it was down to the broken U bolt. Once lined up on the pin with one good U bolt, it was 2 very tightly wrapped ratchet straps that I used to hold the other side of the leaf spring in. This got us back on the road and the 50 miles or so to a truck stop but no U bolts and parts stores not open till 9am. 2 ratchet straps more and I lashed the rear axle to the front so just incase the other 2 failed it wouldn't twist and tear up another tire. Continued another 40 miles down the road to a town with a store that opened at 6am. At this point its after 2am and it all had gone to E36 M3 around 7:45pm. I sleep till 7:30, go buy a U bolt, change it in the parking lot, and head out. Made just outside Lincoln, NE before that opposite tire blows the tread off. Luckily it was only 5miles to a Pomp's Tire to get two new tires.

Boy that turned into a story. Lessons learned for me and now those suspension bolts/nuts are tack welded on! My mom says I should keep a diary because nobody is going to believe me in 20 years....

By now you've probably realized that I like to be prepared for whatever might happen. Which is why I'm upgrading my trailer more now. Post to follow shortly.

 

asphalt_gundam
asphalt_gundam Reader
5/6/21 2:25 p.m.

I also forgot that I added two pickup box style tool boxes to the upper neck of the trailer last year too. Full size at the rear and mini truck size forward of that one. Worked well. 

Upgrades/maintenance in the last week for 2021 track season.

First off Alayne and I have been discussing a roof top tent for months now and I finally bit the bullet and spent the money on one that I found used. The cover is a little rough in the corners but the tent it self is in great shape and we can patch the cover. It was going to end up too high for easy access to the cover zipper being on the pickup which was fine by me because the original plan was to be on the trailer anyway. I knew I was going to have to add some supports for the tent so I only pulled the forward tool box off and kept the rear (full size) one. It just fits so nice on there too. I used my Rouge Fab bender and some 1.5 x .093 wall tube to make a forward support for the tent after measuring to make sure I wouldn't end up with cab to tent/trailer contact....lots of room.

I also wanted to have the spare tire mounted to the trailer. One less thing that needs to be packed/unpacked from the truck all the time. My dad suggested that I just buy a whole spare hub assembly to mount it to that way I had spare hub and bearings too. I couldn't find a spindle stub local so I used some roll cage tube and a 3/4-10 nut to make a faux spindle and welded it right to the front of the trailer. Sorry about the night pics...it was after 10pm when I finished up.

Another idea I've had for a while now is a bench vise for at the track (would also have been handy to not almost loose some fingers drilling out that stainless plate). I wanted it solid mounted to really wrench or grind on something but not be in the way. Solution was to make it fit into a receiver hitch. Then I can even borrow it to someone else if the need to use it. Knowing it would be ackward with the trailer hooked up I added a square tube to the trailer near the winch box...which works out to be a really nice height.

Looking at these last to pics I realize that I had also added the D ring tie down points to the trailer before paint so that I could use the safety latch style tie down straps. A great upgrade as well over snaking things into pockets where if the loosen up some, could fall out.

The deck needs re-staining and I'm trying to think up different ideas to add a very large (4ft x 7ft min) drawer to the bottom side of the trailer to store the car's aero in. Would be nice to pull the splitter, wing, and side skirts off to load/unload and not have to put them back on for the transport in between. No ideas I'm real committed to yet.

asphalt_gundam
asphalt_gundam Reader
5/7/21 9:42 p.m.

Stained the deck the other day! That's one more thing off the list.

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/8/21 2:06 a.m.

In reply to asphalt_gundam :

I like your tent mount solution. 

Loweguy5 (Forum Supporter)
Loweguy5 (Forum Supporter) Reader
5/8/21 7:10 a.m.

Wow that's good work!  

Asphalt_Gundam
Asphalt_Gundam Reader
5/31/22 12:07 p.m.

More modifications over the weekend. Now that I have a spare set of tires to go to the track it was eating up way too much storage space and had to be packed/unpacked from the car.

As much as I didn't want to give up the tool box from the top of the trailer it was the best solution for tire location. Keeps frontal area to a minimum, out of the way and as a bonus there was room for two fuel jugs too!

DrMikeCSI
DrMikeCSI New Reader
5/31/22 3:34 p.m.

I would add some kind of locking to the wheels and fuel jugs to make sure they are still yours after a trip. 

Asphalt_Gundam
Asphalt_Gundam Reader
5/31/22 4:09 p.m.

In reply to DrMikeCSI :

Agreed. This was quick job yesterday while it wasn't raining. Original plan was a retaining bar that would rotate into place and could be locked but my yard is so muddy right now I couldn't get to where the welder would reach so this is a short term solution. Now I'm thinking about a webbing mesh over the tires/jugs that could have a retaining bar/lock similar to window net.

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