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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-06-2011, 09:53 PM Thread Starter
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Elise & Trailer

Since I have found the truck of my dreams to tow my car to the track I need to know a couple of things.

I was initially thinking about a Touareg or 4Runner but I got a pretty good deal for a 2004 Ram (Rumble Bee edition). Since that thing will pull everything and its mother, I'm planing on buying an enclosed trailer. At the beginning, I was leaning towards a open trailer, aluminum for lightness but that's now a moot point and an heavier, enclosed trailer seems to be better.

I have found something that goes along those lines:

8.5ft wide
16ft long (just the cargo area)
2 axles
2700lbs & 7000 GW whatever

I had found a 20ft trailer for $4600 but it's just seems too darn long for my 13ft long car. So, I decided to get a 16ft trailer.

Now, the question is: How will I put the car inside?

Can I drive the car inside and then hope that I can get out somehow? and how will that work to take the car out of the trailer?

I haven't looked at how much space I would have to open the door, but I'm guessing something between 'not a whole lot' and 'very little'...

How do you guys do this?

Last edited by GronkDaSlayer; 07-06-2011 at 09:54 PM. Reason: I kan't spel...
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-07-2011, 09:30 AM
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I have an elderly and shabby-looking Pace American 20-foot. This is a good idea. A beautiful trailer is too attractive in hotel parking lots and the like. The extra space in the trailer is nice for tires, tools and general bric a brac. To trim the balance, the Elise sits forward of where other cars go: My Stag sits at the back so the exhaust barely clears the tailgate. The Elise sits forward enough that I can stack up and tie down my Race Ramps (yes, you want Race Ramps to load an Elise!) behind the car.

Tying down cars in my trailer is easy because I installed E-Track on the floor and have two different types of straps: Straight straps with integral E-Track connectors on strap ends and idler work fine on the wide tires of the Elise. The Stag prefers strap-baskets that cradle the narrow tires, especially since the car's track is narrower than the E-track. Worked for the TR4 and the Super Seven. In any case, I never hook to the chassis or put a strap through a wheel. Tires don't get scratched like wheels or paint.

I keep the Elise hardtop on all the time. The Elise doors swoop up a lot, as you have noticed. They therefore easily clear the fender space inside the trailer. Something my TR4 and Miata didn't do. To pick up just a bit more door space, I cut a big rectangular hole in the plywood inner trailer wall. I drape a clean soft towel over the car door and open the door out to the outer aluminum trailer skin. It's a squeeze, but I can get in and out. It helps to take off my shoes. Really!

Mark the center of the trailer clearly. Lean your head to the center of the car and sight down the foredeck rib.

Another way would be to use a winch on the tow ring and not get in the car at all. You would want a power winch with a cabled remote so you could walk with one hand on the remote and one on the steering wheel.

Towing hint: I tapped a hole in the hitch receiver. Putting a big bolt in as a setscrew to clamp your hitch is noticeable in tracking improvement, ride improvement, and noise reduction.


Quote:
Originally Posted by GronkDaSlayer View Post
Since I have found the truck of my dreams to tow my car to the track I need to know a couple of things.

I was initially thinking about a Touareg or 4Runner but I got a pretty good deal for a 2004 Ram (Rumble Bee edition). Since that thing will pull everything and its mother, I'm planing on buying an enclosed trailer. At the beginning, I was leaning towards a open trailer, aluminum for lightness but that's now a moot point and an heavier, enclosed trailer seems to be better.

I have found something that goes along those lines:

8.5ft wide
16ft long (just the cargo area)
2 axles
2700lbs & 7000 GW whatever

I had found a 20ft trailer for $4600 but it's just seems too darn long for my 13ft long car. So, I decided to get a 16ft trailer.

Now, the question is: How will I put the car inside?

Can I drive the car inside and then hope that I can get out somehow? and how will that work to take the car out of the trailer?

I haven't looked at how much space I would have to open the door, but I'm guessing something between 'not a whole lot' and 'very little'...

How do you guys do this?
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-07-2011, 10:07 AM Thread Starter
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Awesome! thank you.

Would you have any picture of your setup by chance? I'm having a bit of a hard time picturing the tapped hitch receiver part. Do you mean that you made a hole through the receiver and the ball thingy and then used a large bolt in order to prevent the assembly from moving too much inside the receiver?
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-07-2011, 10:23 AM
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I have a 16' v-nose and found it was adequate for the Elise for track days. I would put the track tires on the car before heading out so I'm not carrying any other tires, but I did install a couple of 2x4's running across the back of the trailer using e-track to use as a tire rack if needed. They are just high enough I can get the Elise in and out without removing the tire rack. I bought the trailer used so it had overhead cabinets built into the nose so the floor was unobstructed. I bought a cheap winch from Harbor Freight and had a welder make me a little frame to go in the nose of the trailer and hold the winch up about the same height as the took hook on the Elise. It has a battery box on top. Works like a champ and you don't have to actively steer the car as you pull it into the trailer. Just line it up straight and you should be fine. Depending on the height of the trailer and your car's ground clearance you will need some longer ramps as the door ramp is not enough. E-track is the way to go for securing the car. Just make sure you are running the straps over the tires or through the wheels. Do not grab anything else on the car for securing it.

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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-07-2011, 12:23 PM
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A few things:

1. IF you can get a lower enclosed trailer, it will drastically help the mileage and stability towing.

2. Have more tow vehicle than you need.

3. Shorter length trailer helps. 16-18" is great

4. Lower weight as we all know if better. Far easier to maintain speed up hills.


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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-07-2011, 01:37 PM Thread Starter
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I'm currently looking at something like this: CarryOn 8.5' Wide Cargo Trailer Located at TrailersPlus Gilroy - 4YMCL1623BT022897

78" tall (106" from the ground), which I guess ain't too bad considering that my truck is prolly almost as tall.
At 2700Lbs and adding the car, I'll stay just under 5K which doesn't seem too bad.

I'm also thinking about getting a smallish winch but I'll have to figure out how to fasten it to the trailer. Then again, I'll have a try at driving in and out first. I'll stick a couple boards on the floor if the door doesn't clear the wheel well.

Good point about the race ramps too, which I'll get for sure since the car is lowered a bit (117mm/123mm).

I'll go check them trailers over the week-end.
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-07-2011, 04:09 PM
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[QUOTE=GronkDaSlayer;1615086]I'm currently looking at something like this: CarryOn 8.5' Wide Cargo Trailer Located at TrailersPlus Gilroy - 4YMCL1623BT022897

That trailer looks good ! Is the consensus to get an enclosed trailer rather than an open trailer?

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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-07-2011, 04:33 PM Thread Starter
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Since the weight is no longer an issue, an enclosed trailer seems a little more secure.
You can put your car plus your tools, helmet and whatnot. Also the car is not exposed to everyone to see. I suppose that it makes no difference in regards to stealing it, enclosed or not would be the same.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-07-2011, 05:31 PM
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Touareg TDi + Trailex enclosed trailer FTW

The Trailex has a large side door that reminds most people of a food truck... there's plenty of room to open the car door and get out... just make sure that you open the door before driving in. It's also a low profile trailer; that coupled with the Touareg's diesel and I get good mileage: 17-19 mpg towing.
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-07-2011, 08:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GronkDaSlayer View Post
Awesome! thank you.

Would you have any picture of your setup by chance? I'm having a bit of a hard time picturing the tapped hitch receiver part. Do you mean that you made a hole through the receiver and the ball thingy and then used a large bolt in order to prevent the assembly from moving too much inside the receiver?
Hmm. No pix just now. I was considering drilling a clearance hole in the receiver and drilling a tapped hole in the hitch. Since my hitch is solid (not the heavy tubing often used), this seemed too much like work. So I decided to try an easier way first.

I drilled a hole through the right wall of the receiver, a bit forward of the rear. I tapped this for a coarse-thread bolt. Don't recall the diameter just now, maybe 3/8".

I install the hitch normally, with the 5/8"(?) cross pin to secure it in the receiver. When you do this with most setups, you can then rattle and clunk the hitch even by hand. I could actually see the front of the trailer move in my rearview.

Enter the bolt. The bolt threads into the receiver wall. Tightening it presses the hitch up against the left wall of the receiver, taking out all the rattle. I don't get that clunk when I start out. I originally intended to put a second hole and bolt near the front of the receiver, but this single one seems to stay tight. I drove all the way to LOG30 that way. I did the run home from PA to MN without fooling with it, as I recall.

While there is something to be said for not hammering on your cross pin all the time, I'm sure the rattle/clunk is well inside the engineering requirements for a hitch setup. But this additional bolt just makes it a lot more positive, essentially demoting the cross pin to a back-up job-description.

My daughter has my Suburban just now. I will try to remember to shoot this and measure when I get the truck back. I will not be offended if you remind me, so go ahead and bug me about it if I have done nothing for a couple of days. We have a Triumph club picnic and I'm autocrossing this weekend, but this should not take long.
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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-07-2011, 08:53 PM
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Quote:
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Is the consensus to get an enclosed trailer rather than an open trailer?
I won't go back. Car stays clean. Nobody knows what I'm hauling. I fear no hail.
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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-07-2011, 09:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GronkDaSlayer View Post
I'm currently looking at something like this: CarryOn 8.5' Wide Cargo Trailer Located at TrailersPlus Gilroy - 4YMCL1623BT022897

78" tall (106" from the ground), which I guess ain't too bad considering that my truck is prolly almost as tall.
At 2700Lbs and adding the car, I'll stay just under 5K which doesn't seem too bad.

I'm also thinking about getting a smallish winch but I'll have to figure out how to fasten it to the trailer. Then again, I'll have a try at driving in and out first. I'll stick a couple boards on the floor if the door doesn't clear the wheel well.

Good point about the race ramps too, which I'll get for sure since the car is lowered a bit (117mm/123mm).

I'll go check them trailers over the week-end.
Gilroy, eh? We stayed overnight at a big RV park and stopped into Garlic World when were there en route to the Vintage Triumph Register convention in SLO. We had a rented motorhome and the TR4 in the aforementioned Pace trailer. The advantage of motorhome travel is that you can keep your garlic ice cream frozen... My 8.1 Suburban tows a heck of a lot better, though.

Hint on the Race Ramps: Mark your trailer ramp for where they fit for the width of your Elise. Cut a board a little wider than the height of the Race Ramp step. Keep the board in the back of your truck or the front of the trailer. When you go to open the rear, bring the board with you. Pull the trailer ramp open and put the board edgewise under the ramp. Then you can walk up the trailer ramp, unstrap and grab your Race Ramps. Walk back down, place the Race Ramps under the trailer ramp lined up with your marks. Lift the trailer ramp and knock over the board. Rest the ramp on the Race Ramps.
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-07-2011, 09:46 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks a lot, appreciated.

@apk: That, is a super nice trailer!
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-08-2011, 06:26 AM
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I went for a small trailer. It used to be taller but I cut it down. Much better MPG now. I winch the car in and out.
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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-08-2011, 07:47 AM
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Height is a big killer on gas mileage. If you don't plan on hanging out in the trailer to get out of the weather, then get the lowest trailer you can. Also remember when you are looking at tow vehicle ratings, I have found them to be a bit optimistic for my personal comfort. I generally try to stay 1000 to 1500 lbs under the tow vehicles limit. It will help the life of the vehicle and will help give you a bit of extra margin if something goes wrong such as trailer brake failure. If your truck is a short wheel base consider getting a sway control added to your load distribution.

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post #16 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-09-2011, 04:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by apk919 View Post
Touareg TDi + Trailex enclosed trailer FTW

The Trailex has a large side door that reminds most people of a food truck... there's plenty of room to open the car door and get out... just make sure that you open the door before driving in. It's also a low profile trailer; that coupled with the Touareg's diesel and I get good mileage: 17-19 mpg towing.
Hi there...great trailer. I have been looking for something like that. Found montrose trailers in Michigan....they are nice buy expensive. $11k.

How much was your trailer and where did you purchase it?

Thanks!

Jeff
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post #17 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-09-2011, 05:25 AM
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Hi there...great trailer. I have been looking for something like that. Found montrose trailers in Michigan....they are nice buy expensive. $11k.

How much was your trailer and where did you purchase it?

Thanks!

Jeff
Trailex trailers are not cheap, but they're very well made, and they do retain their value well...

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post #18 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-12-2011, 08:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GronkDaSlayer View Post
Awesome! thank you.

Would you have any picture of your setup by chance? I'm having a bit of a hard time picturing the tapped hitch receiver part. Do you mean that you made a hole through the receiver and the ball thingy and then used a large bolt in order to prevent the assembly from moving too much inside the receiver?

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post #19 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-13-2011, 07:33 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the pic. I was thinking about this yesterday and I realized what you were talking about. That's smart and I can see the advantages of doing this.

I'm probably go tomorrow to the trailer place and order a trailer. I decided to get an open trailer because they tend to run narrower and I won't need a 20ft long one either. The 16ft looks to be a tad to short since the car would seat very close to the front (not a V shaped nose). Also, 8.5ft wide is just daunting. I don't have to care about the weather as there's no hail around here, well, there can be but when there is, my car is in my garage

I'll get some race ramps in a sort while too.
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post #20 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-18-2011, 03:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GronkDaSlayer View Post
...I'm probably go tomorrow to the trailer place and order a trailer. I decided to get an open trailer because they tend to run narrower and I won't need a 20ft long one either. The 16ft looks to be a tad to short since the car would seat very close to the front (not a V shaped nose). Also, 8.5ft wide is just daunting. ... I'll get some race ramps in a sort while too.
FYI, sounds like you have made a decision for what fits your needs best, but an Elise definitely fits in a 16 foot flat-nose enclosed trailer with no problem. I've been using an enclosed 16 footer for several years, and there is even space in front of the car to hold all my fuel jugs, toolbox and spares box, plus a winch bolted to the floor behind them to pull the car in. I personally like the enclosed route because I can leave stuff in there - I also have two tire racks mounted up high in front to hold a set of rains and and a set of intermediates; plus a workstation on the door, folding chairs, etc.

P.s. Race ramps are so worth the money. Gets my car in and out with ease even though it is lowered with a deep diffuser and a large front splitter.

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