octavious
octavious Dork
5/29/24 10:30 a.m.

 

In a true FB marketplace, what did I just do, type of trade...last night a guy drove down Chattanooga to Knoxville to trade this car trailer for an old Honda dirtbike. I was thinking I'd use it to take my old Willys Jeep to Windrock Offroad park. Maybe use it to move one of my other vehicles if need be. The tires seem new and I towed it around my neighborhood last night just fine. It does not have trailer brakes. It does have a 2"ball and 7 prong plug and the safety chains look new. It does not have any straps or tie down chains. It does have two ramps that slid into the rear of the trailer. It is full mesh across the bottom with the boards added for extra support. All the mesh looks fine from underneath, and the boards are fit into a channel along the inside edge of the trialer. 

But I also came to the realization this morning that I've never owned or used a trailer like this. The closest I ever used was an Uhaul car hauler. I did a search of GRM for other threads and found several that led me to some questions. 

How do I figure out how much of a load I can put on it? I don't see any weight markings or stickers.

In the pics I saw of y'alls with a vehicle on them, it looks like the front 3/4 of the vehicle is in front of or above the trailer axles, with the last 1/4 behind the axle. I assume this changes based on different vehicles, but what is the proper weight distribution technique?

I also assume I don't want all the weight as far forward on the tongue as possible correct? 

It has no tie down straps or wheel straps. It does have several D-rings all around. What type of straps do I need? If ratchet straps what weight? Also, what is the proper method for securing the vehicle to the trailer? 

It'll be stored outside uncovered in my backyard or on the side of the house. Do I need to do anything specific if it sits for awhile?

Lastly, what's on of these worth? I was into the dirtbike for less than $1000, and from looking on FB these seem to be anywhere from $1800-3500 but that includes a large range of very different trailers. 

Tyler H
Tyler H UberDork
5/29/24 10:52 a.m.

I can't really tell from the picture if those are 4 lug or 5 lug axles.  If they're 5 lug and 72" wide, they're probably 3500lb axles.  I would be more concerned with the overall construction, especially the tongue section, to evaluate how much to load it.  Lacking brakes, I'd say a smallish car would be the most I would want to put on it.  I think a Willys would be fine.

I had a 5x8 utility trailer tongue tear off once on a trailer that I bought new and only used for light residential duty.  Once it failed, it was evident that the load capacity was vastly overblown.  It had c-channel tongue section welded to square tube that was very thin.

We don't have to register trailers in TN, but other states require tags and a registration.  Something to keep in mind if you decide to send it down the road.  (Assume it didn't have a title or bill of sale?)

EvanB
EvanB MegaDork
5/29/24 10:54 a.m.

I would assume they are 3500lb axles with a trailer weight of around 2000lb or less so load capacity would be around 5000lb to be comfortable. 

I tend to just pull forward on the trailer enough to get the rear suspension of the tow vehicle to squat enough that it is level, erring on the side of more tongue weight is better for stability. I'm sure there is a better way to do it. 

I use 2" ratchet straps (3300lb working load) and axle straps, either through the wheels or around the axle/suspension components. 

Complete brake assemblies aren't too expensive and would be good to have on one axle. 

Locally it would probably be listed around $2-2500.

glueguy (Forum Supporter)
glueguy (Forum Supporter) Dork
5/29/24 10:58 a.m.
octavious said:

How do I figure out how much of a load I can put on it? I don't see any weight markings or stickers.

In the pics I saw of y'alls with a vehicle on them, it looks like the front 3/4 of the vehicle is in front of or above the trailer axles, with the last 1/4 behind the axle. I assume this changes based on different vehicles, but what is the proper weight distribution technique?

It has no tie down straps or wheel straps. It does have several D-rings all around. What type of straps do I need? If ratchet straps what weight? Also, what is the proper method for securing the vehicle to the trailer? 

 

It looks like it has normal trailer axles, not the godawful mobile home version.  Typical Dexter axle load rating is 3500 lbs each.  Check the tires for max capacity and run the pressures high.  Street radials ok, trailer specific tires are better with higher load rating.

You'll learn the right weight balance, trust me.  To start, stand back and visualize for level.  You don't want headlights pointed at the sky, that's too much tongue weight.  Too little and the trailer will feel very nervous.  Just like understeer, a little more tongue weight is better at the beginning.

Tons of ratchet straps out there, all with super high load ratings to give you the 5-10x safety buffer for surviving hard stops and maneuvers.  As to how to tie down, it's a religion like oil selection.  I typically do around a meaty suspension piece or diff, straight forward and backward, no criss-crosses but you'll get plenty of other suggestions.

If it was me, I would post-add the Dexter magnetic drum brakes.  Should be an easy addition, and a lot of piece of mind when the trailer is helping to stop itself.

 

Stampie
Stampie MegaDork
5/29/24 11:00 a.m.

Here's the amazon link to the axle straps Evan sent me years ago.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07FT5Y1P7/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

They are longer than what you can get at Habour Frieght and Northern Tool.

EvanB
EvanB MegaDork
5/29/24 11:17 a.m.
Stampie said:

Here's the amazon link to the axle straps Evan sent me years ago.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07FT5Y1P7/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

They are longer than what you can get at Habour Frieght and Northern Tool.

These are still working well for me and show no signs of wear or fraying. They are long enough to strap through a normal wheel and tire (maybe not a large off-road tire if that's what the jeep has). 

It looks very similar to the construction of my trailer but without the full wood deck. Mine wasn't happy hauling a tractor with a loader and backhoe (maybe 9000lb?) but everything else I've had on it has been fine. 

NY Nick
NY Nick SuperDork
5/29/24 11:37 a.m.

I second the motion to put a set of trailer brakes on it. etrailer.com will have anything you will need:

Brakes:

https://www.etrailer.com/Trailer-Brakes/etrailer/AKEBRK-35.html

 

Drums

https://www.etrailer.com/Trailer-Hubs-and-Drums/etrailer/AKHD-545-35-K.html

 

Note: this was a very fast search and may not be exactly what you need but it's probably pretty close. Installing them is pretty easy and makes a huge difference.

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) UltimaDork
5/29/24 11:53 a.m.

The right way to load the car is to measure the tongue weight and place the car so that it's 10-15% of the overall weight of the trailer.  You can buy tongue weight scales, but they're $150 or so.  Perhaps you can find someone locally you can borrow one from?

This probably isn't an issue with a Tundra and an open trailer like that one, but it is possible for the proper tongue weight to still make it squat too much (headlights pointed at the sky).  If so then you want either airbag helpers in the rear of the truck or a weight-distributing hitch.

I agree on trailer brakes -- I would definitely look into retrofitting them if I was going to tow a car on it.

 

buzzboy
buzzboy UltraDork
5/29/24 12:14 p.m.

I usually pull forward just until the truck squats a little. You don't want to be on the bump stops. Play with it a little and mark where you like the front to be if you're commonly towing the same trailer. 

I started off using axle straps and I'm not a fan. I keep worrying that I'm going to tear up a brake line or yank on a shock wrong. We're currently using This style and they're fine and we have towed many thousands of miles. I would love to have this style but our trailer doesn't work with them. 

Get trailer brakes. Game changer

03Panther
03Panther PowerDork
5/29/24 12:15 p.m.

Are you sure the hubs do not have brake drums? Maybe just not hooked up? The 7 pin plug supports that. 
Someone asked about 4 lug... definitely not. I can't tell if it's 5 of maybe 6 lug? 
If you do add brakes, ya just need to know the spindle size - inner/outer bearing size. 
Some folks just put brakes on one axle, and it does help. I prefer both. 
What I can see of construction, including tongue, looks good. 
rule of thumb for loading: forget about distance/visual. 
The weight on the ball, should be 10% of total weight of trailer and load. You can adjust that by where you place the load. But it's that 10% you need to get to. 
The "throw money at it" solution, is a hitch ball with a load scale built in. Expensive, but probably well worth it! 
Lots here know cars better than me... I know trailers and towing well. 
Ask away! We got ya. 

03Panther
03Panther PowerDork
5/29/24 12:31 p.m.

In reply to codrus (Forum Supporter) :

Agreed on all!

GRM tongue scale:

3' long board. Pivot on one end. Tongue jack at 1'. Bathroom scale at other end. 
2:1 ratio - scale reads 300 = 600 lbs Tongue weight.

Just right for 6000 lb trailer and car. 

300 lbs might sag truck... many ways to solve. Best bang for buck is air bags. 

turboshadow
turboshadow New Reader
5/29/24 1:11 p.m.

I got one of these hitches, makes it easy to figure out tongue weight.

 

https://www.weigh-safe.com/product/weigh-safe-drop-hitch/

93gsxturbo
93gsxturbo UltraDork
5/29/24 1:22 p.m.

Looks like a nice trailer.  Couple few things for you:

  • Tire covers if it sits for a long time outside
  • Spray the wood down with oil once a year to keep it happy.  
  • Stake pockets look decent, I would weld on some eyes for straps as well.
  • Make sure the spare actually fits the trailer.
  • I like spares that mount to the trailer so I can't forget them.
  • Make sure you have a jack that works, either on the vehicle or take with you
  • Make sure you have a lug wrench that works.  Confirm your tow vehicle lug wrech is the same size.
  • I like to keep an extra set of bearings and seals along with all the smalls to do a re-bearing in my tow vehicle or even better in a small toolbox on the trailer.  I figure I can always beg/borrow/steal the tools or take it to a shop, but if I am BFE and don't have a bearing, I am gonna be sad.
  • Double axle trailers are nice, make sure you familiarize yourself with the technique to strap one axle up in case something goes bad.
  • When hauling I like to do a few things:
    • Check my straps after 5 minutes or so and every stop thereafter
    • Inspect my chains and hitch at every stop.  
    • Check my wheel hubs by hand for temperature variation every stop
03Panther
03Panther PowerDork
5/29/24 2:02 p.m.

In reply to turboshadow :

Thanks for including a link. That's the one I had in mind. To expensive for me, but definitely a very nice setup. 

octavious
octavious Dork
5/29/24 4:17 p.m.

Thanks guys. 
 

5 lug wheels. Tires are all the same brand TexStar, made in China, and all say for "trailer use only". Dual max load on the tires reads 1610lbs. I don't see any brakes on either axle. 
 

It does have this box too

 


 

 

NY Nick
NY Nick SuperDork
5/29/24 4:26 p.m.

I think you did really good getting that for less than $1k that you had in the bike. 
That box is just a junction box to wire everything from. It makes it very easy to wire the trailer brakes, 2 wires from there to the brake drum. 

DeadSkunk  (Warren)
DeadSkunk (Warren) MegaDork
5/29/24 4:42 p.m.

I put a set of bolt-on wheel chocks on my trailer so the car ends up in the same spot every time. there are multiple sets of holes if needed for hauling different cars.

chandler
chandler MegaDork
5/29/24 7:11 p.m.
octavious said:

Thanks guys. 
 

5 lug tires. All the same brand TexStar, made in China, and all day for trailer use only. Dual max load says 1610lbs. I don't see any brakes on either axle. 
 

It does have this box tho

 


 

 

Use the single weight rating, dual rating is for bolted to each other and is less due to the extra heat that builds up between them.

03Panther
03Panther PowerDork
5/29/24 11:30 p.m.

Chandler covered the dual/single. What you have (and most trailers) is called "tandem"

pet peeve: you have 5 lug RIMS. Likely they are 15" rims, with ST205/75-15 tires mounted ON the rims cheeky

The bro dozer crowd somehow mounts their rims, "on" their tires blush

On a serious note, the others are right - 5 lug hubs are likely 3500 lb axles and springs. 7000 lbs, minus weight of trailer, is max rating. 
That trailer looks well built, without being too heavy. 
Id guess 1200 to 1500.  But easy to weigh. 
Tires can be load range C, D, or above (higher letter is higher load) 

Your tires single rating, is probably good enough... I prefer higher Load Rating tires! 
 

octavious
octavious Dork
5/30/24 7:45 a.m.

In reply to 03Panther :

Ha! I just saw that. I went and corrected it. I was trying to do too many things at once. 
 

My bigger issue now is that it scrapes up my driveway when I try to back into or out of the driveway. The combination of my steep narrow driveway, length of the trailer, and a horrible turning radius on my truck made things interesting yesterday evening. I'm sure my neighbors loved watching that process go down. I felt like those bad Miami boat ramp videos, where the guy can't get his trailer backed up to launch the boat.

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) UltimaDork
5/30/24 11:29 a.m.
octavious said:

My bigger issue now is that it scrapes up my driveway when I try to back into or out of the driveway. The combination of my steep narrow driveway, length of the trailer, and a horrible turning radius on my truck made things interesting yesterday evening. I'm sure my neighbors loved watching that process go down. I felt like those bad Miami boat ramp videos, where the guy can't get his trailer backed up to launch the boat.

It just takes a bit of practice, do it 3 or 4 more times and it'll look OK, 10-15 and you'll look like a pro.  IME the biggest challenge with backing open car trailers is that it can be really hard to see them over the tailgate of the tow vehicle.

dculberson
dculberson MegaDork
5/30/24 1:42 p.m.

I think you did really, really well with that trailer. It looks clean and like it'll be super handy.

03Panther
03Panther PowerDork
5/30/24 9:29 p.m.

By the orig. picture, hitch on truck looks way to high. Might be from the view?

If high in front, naturally the tail well be low, and drag more. Also MUCH mor stable and safer, level. To get level, use a hitch with more drop. After level, if the truck springs allow it to sag to much under load, add air bags. 
I think your gonna find out you got a great trailer for that deal!!!

buzzboy
buzzboy UltraDork
5/30/24 11:03 p.m.
codrus (Forum Supporter) said:
IME the biggest challenge with backing open car trailers is that it can be really hard to see them over the tailgate of the tow vehicle.

I was blown away how much assistance proper tow mirrors added with backing trailers. If you plan to tow often and they exist for your truck, a nice wide mirror helps loads.

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