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Trailering suggestions:

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  • mrcooby
    R Lewis wrote: Here are a couple of trailering suggestions. I don t claim to be an expert on this subject but I have hauled quite a few cars
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 28, 2007
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      "R Lewis" <merliniac@...>
      wrote:

      Here are a couple of
      trailering suggestions.
      I don't claim to be an
      expert on this subject but
      I have hauled quite a few
      cars around over the
      years.

      First, if you plan to haul
      a few cars on your trailer
      you will want to buy or
      make the trailer bed 2 to
      3 feet longer than the
      longest car you plan to
      haul. The first time I put
      a car on the trailer, I
      will move the car back and
      forth until I get 75-100
      pounds on the hitch end of
      the trailer. Consult your
      hitch and trailer
      instructions for
      recommended tongue
      weights. Have a friend
      help you do this so you
      don't end up pulling
      a "wheelie" with your
      trailer.

      Keep your car anchored
      with tie-downs as you move
      it back and forth. You can
      use wooden blocks on a
      bathroom scale if you are
      not sure. If you have the
      weight of the vehicle too
      far back so the hitch is
      light, or even pulling up
      on the car, this can
      result in a wild ride as
      the trailer can steer the
      back of the car.

      I now have reference marks
      on the trailer bed so I
      can put each car wherever
      the proper balance point
      is.

      The previous trailer I
      purchased was a folding
      trailer kit from a
      large hardware store chain
      (Harbor Freight) and about
      4 x 8 feet long. I
      extended it to 9 feet to
      make it work, and I
      discovered that bolt-
      together kit trailers are
      just not a good idea. The
      bolts seemed to vibrate
      loose (even with nyloc
      nuts I installed) and the
      center of gravity was very
      high. It made me nervous
      to think I might lose my
      precious load.

      As far as cost, I had
      spent about $300 to tow
      cars that were worth many
      times that amount. I know
      we all want to minimize
      what we spend on our
      trailers, but don't let
      your false sense of
      economy result in a
      trailer disaster. If your
      trailer let you down
      at a bad time, you would
      be inconvenienced at the
      least - and at the
      worst, you might have
      totaled your car.

      Some people find that
      their trailer balances
      better backwards - and
      pulling a car forwards or
      backwards is fine, if you
      just remember that the
      wind force at 60MPH can
      tear convertible tops, rip
      out clear plastic windows
      in convertible tops, and
      tear off windshields (VCs
      and FORs) when the car is
      pulled in a reverse
      direction at speed.
      Anything that can catch
      air *will* catch air like
      a big scoop or parachute.

      As far as suspension, I
      have heard some people
      make a case for not using
      suspension on auto-hauling
      trailers. The thought is
      that if the trailer leans
      and the car *also* leans,
      you can get swerving.

      I constructed a trailer
      for a racing Mini that
      consisted of an A-frame
      and just two ramps mounted
      directly to a dropped
      axle. This worked very
      well, and allowed a very
      low center-of-gravity. It
      was very stable and easy
      to load and unload.

      The last area of
      consideration are the tie-
      downs. I discovered that
      my muffler is very low as
      the car rolls off the rear
      of the trailer and down
      the ramps. I was using
      twin 2" eyebolts that were
      bolted to the trailer
      floor, and these stuck up
      just enough to dig into
      the muffler as the car
      dropped over that back
      edge of the trailer.
      Also, I found that each
      time I put a different car
      onboard, the eyebolts were
      not in an ideal location.
      It would have been nice
      to be able to shift them a
      few inches from side to
      side to get a good angle.
      I found some adjustable-
      track tie-downs that work
      perfectly in both ways;
      they allow quick removal
      of the tie-down mount to
      solve clearance problems,
      and they can be moved from
      side to side to make for
      optimal pull angles for
      each car.

      The last thing I did was
      buy some axle straps to
      use to tie a car down.
      These have some extra
      padding to reduce chafing.
      They work perfectly to put
      around the front and rear
      axles.

      On the main ratchet
      straps, I would recommend
      you use ones with snap-
      hook ends. If you use the
      cheaper and more common
      open hook-ends, and the
      straps stretch, your car
      might be able to get loose
      and have the open hook end
      fall out.

      As far as ratchet straps,
      I only use two, criss-
      crossed on the front of
      the car. At the rear I
      have twin pre-measured
      chains that hook to the
      axle straps. When I load
      the car, I pull it forward
      against the chains, and
      I'm done. The car ends up
      in the right spot (front
      to back) automatically. In
      the event of a rear-ender
      accident it is likely that
      your trailer and car will
      be seriously damaged or
      destroyed anyway.
      In the event of you rear-
      ending another car, the
      chains will probably have
      a better chance of keeping
      your car from ending up on
      the trunk of your tow
      vehicle.

      The last recommendation I
      have is to not put your
      car in gear when it is on
      the trailer. This not only
      does little to restrain
      the car from moving but
      can have unintended
      consequences. We were at
      an SCCA race one day when
      one of my friends
      indicated that they had
      put their formula car in
      gear and trailered the car
      for some distance only to
      discover their oil sump
      was diluted with gasoline.
      What they figured happened
      is the car rocking back
      and forth slightly had
      turned the engine just far
      enough to create enough
      vacuum to pull raw fuel
      into the intake manifold.
      By the time they reached
      their destination enough
      fuel had been pumped into
      the engine to leak past
      the rings and fill the
      engine sump. I know it
      sounds impossible, but
      these guys did know their
      stuff, and that is what
      they claimed.

      I have also heard that
      transmissions can get
      damaged by the car being
      left in gear and having
      the wear take place on the
      few teeth that are
      engaged. I've got no real
      scientific info on the
      validity of either claim.
      I never put my cars in
      gear on the trailer
      anymore - I just use the
      parking brake. You really
      are relying on the tie
      downs to hold the car
      anyway.


      Thanks,

      Richard Lewis
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