Is it crazy to buy an enclosed trailer to move with? - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
 
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-18-2016, 07:18 PM Thread Starter
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Is it crazy to buy an enclosed trailer to move with?

Please tell me if I'm crazy or not... My family is relocating for work after only 2 years in our house. Because of the timing of everything, we want to get (most) everyone out of our current house so we can start showing it before we can close on a new house.

We looked into putting an 8x8x16 storage pod in our driveway, then having it delivered to our new house, but it would probably cost around $2500.

A storage unit would be much cheaper, but it would be a huge hassle to move everything twice.

So the idea occurred to me, why not get an enclosed car hauler, store our furniture there, and then when we close on the house, haul it up to the new house, come back and pick-up my cars?

A few years ago I bought a Toyota 4Runner (towing capacity 7500lbs), and my plan was always to get a lightweight open trailer. It looks like if I'm careful I can get a light enough enclosed trailer than I could tow it loaded with my Evora and still be under weight limits.

I was thinking of an 8x16 or 8x18 trailer.

Is this idea crazy?
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-18-2016, 07:24 PM
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Sounds like an epic road trip. Are you experienced at such towing? If not, even better. Please document this adventure (with pics) for us.

Anyone can make something complicated. It takes genius to make it simple. Einstein.
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-19-2016, 04:08 AM
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Sounds like a great idea to me. I've often thought that when I sell my house and move, I would use my own enclosed car trailer (I have a 20' v-nose) to move myself. Its really no different than what a moving company does (aside from moving the items yourself). Plus, if you decide to, you can sell the trailer when done and re-coupe most of your investment.

My only suggestion is to get the biggest trailer you can. You may be thinking more about the weight, but a lot of what you put into the trailer won't weigh that much and really only takes up space. So, the trailer will fill up faster than you think. Get the biggest you can get your car into and still be able to tow while staying under the weight limit.

And, as XHILR8N! states, keep us posted!
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-19-2016, 04:12 AM
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Not necessarily crazy... There are a lot of factors to consider. How nice is the "stuff" you plan to store temporarily in the trailer? How long will it be there? Will it stand up to the heat and humidity it will get sitting in the trailer for that time period? A good trailer will keep the stuff dry.

A Forerunner will pull the trailer with a car in it. However, I don't think that is a setup that you would want to use a lot over much distance. A typical enclosed trailer is 8' x 18' and weighs almost 3000 lbs (unless you buy and Montrose, Featherlight, etc). The aerodynamics are terrible and it is like pulling a house. If you put a 3000 lb Evora in it you get over 6K. That is really a job for a diesel. The forerunner will technically pull it, but you will dread every slight hill. Also, plan on single digit mileage.

I pull a lightweight open trailer and an Elise with my Sequoia and it works very well. I would like an enclosed trailer, but would really want something designed more for towing to pull it.

If you get a good deal on the trailer, worst case is that you can sell it close to what you paid for it and have free storage.

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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-19-2016, 06:52 AM Thread Starter
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I agree about the weight issue - I was originally planning on an open trailer for towing the car. Another idea I had was to get an aluminum open trailer, and maybe someday retrofitting one of the Serpent Express tops onto it HOME.

One of the issues I'm up against is lead time, I'd like to get a solution in the next few weeks so I can start packing. Stuff would be on the trailer 2-3 months maybe. As long as its dry, I think it would be ok. An open trailer would make that difficult for most of our stuff, but we could tarp it...
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-19-2016, 06:59 AM
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Not crazy. I have a 20' trailer with a left door that makes it easy to open the Elise door all the way. It is a Wells Cargo, and the catalog weight on it is about 2600 (I have not had it on a scale). It has steel-tubing superstructure framing and an added upper V-section to soften the aero. Floor is beavertail, so I didn't need Race Ramps until I lowered the Elise. I paid a friend (he's on this forum) 4200 bucks for it because he got it in a car deal and really wanted an all-aluminum V-nose.

I previously had a 20' with no left door. This was a Pace American that some farmers in Iowa used for their oval racer. It had had two extra layers of plywood flooring. Wood-framed superstructure. This sucker was heavy. I never scaled it, but I would not be surprised if it was 3500 pounds. This trailer served me well with a rented motorhome, but my tired 350 Suburban was often full-throttle trying to make speed limit on hills and headwinds. I bought a 496 gas Suburban and had no trouble maintaining speed limits except on long mountain grades. This trailer was used to carry all my daughter's furniture from Minneapolis to Washington DC. We did leave it all stored in the trailer for three months while she found a permanent place to live near DuPont Circle.

My next trailer may be a full toyhauler/racetrailer with living quarters, and if that happens I will be going turbodiesel pickup for fuel economy, 5th-wheel capability and ease of refueling (getting gasoline for a big rig can be real problem sometimes, whereas every truck stop has easy access to diesel).

What does this mean to you? A Toyota 4Runner is a bit light for serious towing. An Evora weighs even more than my Triumph Stag.

I think you can buy a cheap run-of-the-mill 20-foot trailer and get by, but I don't think you should plan on towing above 50 or 55 MPH. Make sure your truck and trailer brakes are both top-notch. If you don't regularly go long distances this could be OK. Just remember at all times that you are pushing the safety envelope.

If you are in this for the long haul (pun intended) and are not afraid to spend some money, you should either get an all-aluminum enclosed like a FeatherLite or get a cheaper trailer like mine and real truck.

Light trailer: I'd go with a used FeatherLite or the like unless you can afford a new one. New ones will be easier to find quickly. Left doors are not easy to find. Solve that problem with a cheap electric winch you can run with a jump box. Get one with the wireless remote like from Harbor Freight. You can walk the Evora in with your left hand on the remote and your right on the steering wheel through the driver window.

I would not go Montrose. They are fantastic for what they are designed for, but ungood for the furniture thing. I also like the ability to walk around in the trailer.

If you can live with a pickup, a turbodiesel will tow anything, but they are not cheap.

A couple of cheap dollies from Menards and I was able to do all the furniture moving myself except I needed a pal with real muscle (which I don't have) for stairs. That ramp for car use is fantastic to roll furniture in.

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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-19-2016, 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Cantdecide View Post
Is this idea crazy?
Yes, but it's the *right* kind of crazy. Seriously, this adheres nicely with the ethos of "simplify, then ..." Looking forward to seeing your updates.

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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-20-2016, 06:22 PM
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I have a Montrose, and I agree that as a furniture mover, it is more for cars. I would definitely go with an aluminum as your tow vehicle is not going to handle a heavy trailer. I would buy a enclosed Trailex trailer.
I have also had one those and great. Expensive but great. You have to look at the 1000 pound difference in weight as loadable weight. Regular enclosed trailers are just too heavy.

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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-21-2016, 12:49 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the advice. I'm sort of sold on the idea, but right now I'm having trouble finding any name brand (Haulmark, Featherlite, ATC, Trailex, etc) trailer in the size I'd like 8.5x18 or 8.5x20 anywhere remotely close to me. The one Featherlite I found doesn't have a beavertail.

I agree aluminum would be the way to go, but after this move the trailer will probably see occasional use at most, so right now I'd settle for anything available in the short term.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-21-2016, 01:07 PM
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The one Featherlite I found doesn't have a beavertail.
Don't worry about no beavertail. A pair of race ramps will take care of that.

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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-22-2016, 11:20 AM Thread Starter
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I've narrowed my options down to the following:

A Featherlite 8.5x20 for $10,500, (with a V-Nose, 2800 lb)
An ATC 8.5x20 for $9,275, (flat front, 2300lb)
Various steel trailers in the $5,500-$6,500 range - the best of these are lower-end Haulmark or Wells Cargo brand.

I'm still undecided on the whole idea, but I'd prefer the extra safety margin of a lightweight and a brand-name Aluminum trailer. Its interesting the ATC is lighter than the Featherlite.

I've read good things about both ATC and Featherlite - is the extra cost of the Featherlite worth it?

Will an aluminum trailer hold its value enough to justify the extra cost over a steel one?
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-23-2016, 12:53 PM
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I already own an 18 foot trailer and when I built my current house and moved I was unable to find a local moving company to move me on short noticed. I packed all of the large stuff that would go into a car or pick up truck and moved it all myself (with a few friends) using my car trailer. Worked great.

Of course, you gotta have a tow vehicle too.

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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-23-2016, 01:14 PM
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Holy hell, I don't know alot about the 4runner, but really 7500 lbs? Thats pretty significant, I didn't know they got up that high... Seems like a quick search yields 5,000 lbs, but maybe your model is different? I've got a giant truck for towing, it's rated for 12k but is a heavy duty truck. I'm not saying your wrong, just seems surprising to me.

I'm sure you would be fine, unless you have some heavy stone furniture or something that weighs a couple tons. I'd think aluminium trailers hold their value fine, but for how little your going to be using it, is the premium worth it? A used steel one for much less would probably be fine if your capacity is really 7500.

Okay seems like wiki says 7k for a rwd v8 model 4th gen.

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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-23-2016, 01:26 PM Thread Starter
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Turns out the trailer I'm looking at doesn't have any plywood on the walls. Does anyone have a good idea how you attach plywood or e-track to aluminum studs?

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Originally Posted by Hextavo View Post
Okay seems like wiki says 7k for a rwd v8 model 4th gen.
I have a 4WD V8 - the capacity is 7000lb, the RWD is 7300, with a weight distribution hitch. Without the WD hitch, the limit is 5k. Here's a shot of the manual: https://goo.gl/photos/sdvG9sRtFMJYw7oH7

Good question about the aluminum premium: I'm not sure. I can store my track car in the trailer, and I'll use it to go to the track a few times a year. Is the worth it? I don't know.
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-24-2016, 03:37 PM
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If you are in this for the long haul (pun intended) and are not afraid to spend some money, you should either get an all-aluminum enclosed like a FeatherLite or get a cheaper trailer like mine and real truck.
This was my dilemma. I kept my Ford Ranger and bought a new FeatherLite. In hindsight I would have been financially better to buy a full size pickup and a used steel trailer.

Good luck.
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post #16 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-01-2016, 07:16 AM Thread Starter
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Just an update - I've decided not to pursue this, at least for now. The Featherlite I was looking at wasn't quite right, and it was expensive, so with the market in the crapper I don't want to invest the money in something like that now.

After the move, I think I'll be picking up an 18' aluminum open trailer - it's less flexible for utility hauling, but it will be light and practical for track days. I've got my eye on the ATC model because you can put the ramps on the sides and load other toys, not just cars. I'm thinking of getting the Serpent add-on cover for it as well.

If anyone knows a good open car-hauler that can double as a utility trailer (hauling lumber, furniture, etc) in a pinch, let me know. It seems the difference between the two is a utility trailer will have pockets for stakes on the side, and the rear ramp is usually not sports-car friendly.

Anyway, thanks for the advice, I do believe this would have worked out well, it just doesn't make financial sense right now.
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post #17 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-01-2016, 09:25 AM
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It's a great idea - but the question is how much weight can the trailer handle of 'moving stuff'.

I will say this - I did a family vaca with a rented enclosed to bring my Mini Moke. Was SOOO easy to load the Mokie in and all of the 'crap' in the enclosed - bags, fishing stuff, dog stuff. Nice to have just the family in the actual car and all the crap in the trailer.
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post #18 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-01-2016, 10:46 AM
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Personally, I think it is a great idea!
A most creative solution and you gain a car trailer in the process too.
Definitely a win-win solution!

The only negative I can think of, which hopefully won't be a problem (with proper precautions), is that trailers get stolen or broken into all the time. You would have to find a way to make absolutely sure that someone does not come up to hitch up in the night, lest the trailer and all your conveniently packaged special belongings disappear in a matter of seconds. That would be an absolute nightmare!

Depending on the safety/security of the surrounding areas, you might want to look into some way of disabling the trailer so that it cannot be easily stolen or broken into. Maybe remove a wheel or something? Motion-activated security lights too, if possible.

I will never forget something I saw years ago when I lived in a high rise on Broadway in Pacific Heights. A person was moving the next day, so they loaded their SUV with all their belongings the night before so that they could leave bright and early the next day. The garage was gated and thought to be pretty secure in one of SF's best neighborhoods. When they came downstairs the next day, everything was gone! Ever since then, I have been extra careful since I have so much art, statues, and sentimental belongings.
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post #19 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-01-2016, 12:42 PM Thread Starter
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I live on a dead-end private dirt road, so left wouldn't be a problem.

One of the things that scared me off the idea is that the Featherlite I was looking at is actually pretty heavy - 2800lb. It's still managable, but it didn't even have plywood panels on the walls. When I factored in the weight of those, it pushed the trailer over 3k, and I wasn't enthusiastic about that.

In contrast, the ATC trailer I was looking at claimed to weight 2300lb and already had walls installed. The one of the reasons I shied away from it is the instock ones don't have a V-nose.
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post #20 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-08-2016, 02:14 PM
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If anyone knows a good open car-hauler that can double as a utility trailer (hauling lumber, furniture, etc) in a pinch, let me know.
Both of the small, light, open-top utilities I've considered are by Aluma, their model 7712, and UT12. Mind you, these are my choices based on nothing other than back-of-the-envelope calculations of known S2 dimensions, I have yet to try loading my Elise on either.

And speaking of crazy, I brought my baby to LOG last year on, no joke, a tow dolly.

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