I Bought a Trailer - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-17-2013, 09:39 PM Thread Starter
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I Bought a Trailer, HELP!

Any idea where the best place to buy those "wheel nets" used to secure a car to a trailer is? What else do I need? I feel like such a newbie!

I was looking at Toy Haulers and found out that my Avalanche lacks the tow capacity to haul what I want, so for this season I am going to go au-natural and I bought this flatbed open trailer.
Now the question is: What do I do with it? It looks rough and it is definitely used. Actually the base is in surprisingly good shape. But Monday I am going to take it into my trailer shop and have them do several things:

1. Fix the winch properly It looks like the OEM solenoid failed and it was "fixed" by a meth addict.
2. New fender skirts - just because.
3. Add trailer brakes to the Avalanche and check the trailer's brakes out.
4. Have the wheel bearings inspected and re-packed.
5. Add tie downs at the appropriate spots - whatever those are.

Then I will:
1.Mount a fire extinguisher. With luck like mine, I should install a halon gas system.
2. Paint to match the car. I have the following week off and it seems right.

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So what else can you suggest?

My son says I should paint a BIG Lotus logo on the deck. I was thinking about some subtle yellow accents on the fenders.

Short of using my Race Ramps, I am not sure what to do about ramps. Suggestions?

What else do I need? A tire rack?

With your help, I promise to make it worthy to haul a Lotus or sell it (still hesitant to sink real money into it!)

Thanks.

Last edited by R4Racin; 05-17-2013 at 10:45 PM.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-18-2013, 04:04 AM
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It's hard to see the back half of your trailer from these photos, but if it does not have a dovetail, you will probably need really long ramps to load your car without scraping the lower front clam.

Before spending money on winch repair or a fire extinguisher, I'd make sure the tires are in good shape (i.e., recent enough that they are not going to cause problems on the road). I usuallly have to replace mine long before the tread shows much actual wear.

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-18-2013, 12:35 PM
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Nice find! A tool box is something to think about.

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-18-2013, 05:00 PM
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My priorities would be to address safety and reliability first. That means bearings (replace them - parts cost is negligible - unless you are sure they are recent), brakes (while you have the hubs apart to do the bearings), tires and wiring (you don't know what's been chewed through until you look). A new break-away battery couldn't hurt. And I would splurge on a proportional brake controller if your vehicle doesn't already have one. I'm very happy with my Tekonsha Prodigy.

After that, the next key to making towing life easier is to get the car loaded on it such that the tongue weight is about 15% of the total trailer weight. Once you have that figured out, mark the deck so that you can park it repeatably. Because the Lotus is short relative to the length of the trailer, you have plenty of range to move the car forward or back, which affects the tongue weight. I tow my car on a 1600lb aluminum open trailer with an '05 Tundra (7100 lb tow rating) and I could tell when I didn't have the car positioned quite right.

Best of luck with it!
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-18-2013, 05:44 PM
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Wheels gotta match


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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-19-2013, 08:40 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input.
I am still trying to figure out what exactly to do with the ramps. I have Race Ramps and am looking to see if they might be a part of a SAFE equation.

The axle is pretty far back so the good news - I will load the car facing forward! lol
There is a a very knowledgeable welding shop that specializes in trailers just down the road so I'll ask him about all of this Monday. Today I am going to power wash the thing.

And yes, the wheels already match each other. If you meant match the car, probably not with this trailer.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-19-2013, 10:51 AM
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i agree with what others said - don't worry about cosmetics at first. just get the thing reliable and work out your "thing" to tie down the car. so hubs, brakes, tires, wiring, lights... then once you are getting some use out of it - worry about the cosmetic things. you "might" find that you want to cut and weld a little on it (i did) the first few months...

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-03-2013, 05:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Bowman View Post
It's hard to see the back half of your trailer from these photos, but if it does not have a dovetail, you will probably need really long ramps to load your car without scraping the lower front clam.
Race Ramps to extend the regular ramps.

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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-03-2013, 06:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R4Racin View Post
Any idea where the best place to buy those "wheel nets" used to secure a car to a trailer is?
You don't need nets. Lotus cars have wide tires and single strap over each tire does it.

I get my tiedown stuff from

Ratchet Straps, Tie Down Straps, E Track Tie Downs, Cargo Straps - U.S. Cargo Control

Wheel Nets, Car Tie Downs, Tow Dolly Straps & Car Trailer Straps

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-03-2013, 07:05 PM
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Focus on reliability first........tires, bearings, brakes, lights.

Any set of tie downs will work with a fairly high rating. 4 1800 lb straps work nicely. I loop mine thru the wheels.

Remember not to hook up to the suspension. And criss cross the back.

Your going to need a 10 ft long set of ramps!

Last.....it's an open trailer. Get some Rock Tamers.

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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-03-2013, 09:35 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks to all for your suggestions.
Turns out the that particular trailer was less suited to what I want and more for equipment. I was amazed at how much attention that junky old trailer got. I had at least three people offer to buy it while I was driving it around to see about tires and welding work on it.
I decided to list it on Craigslist to see what would happen and sold it in one day for a profit to put towards a trailer that is better suited to hauling the Lotus.

I want a Toy Hauler but can't seem to find one suited to my Avalanche's 7900 pound tow limit (with car and sundry items). It looks like I will probably end up with a new low-boy open trailer so your comments still apply quite nicely.
Thanks
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-03-2013, 10:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R4Racin View Post
Thanks to all for your suggestions.
Turns out the that particular trailer was less suited to what I want and more for equipment. I was amazed at how much attention that junky old trailer got. I had at least three people offer to buy it while I was driving it around to see about tires and welding work on it.
I decided to list it on Craigslist to see what would happen and sold it in one day for a profit to put towards a trailer that is better suited to hauling the Lotus.

I want a Toy Hauler but can't seem to find one suited to my Avalanche's 7900 pound tow limit (with car and sundry items). It looks like I will probably end up with a new low-boy open trailer so your comments still apply quite nicely.
Thanks
I think that was a wise choice. It really wasn't for hauling a Lotus.

I don't think you should have a problem with your vehicle's tow limit if you buy a decent trailer. Trailer should weigh around 2500 and your car is another 2000. That leaves you a decent amount of sundry items without getting to your maximum (which I would avoid). I would also recommend a metal trailer bed (as opposed to wood).

San
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-03-2013, 10:53 PM
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Good move.

An 18 ft. dove tail with dual axles will do you fine. I picked one up brand new for $3200.

A set of race ramps or home made ramps will make loading easy.

I tow mine with a Tacoma V6 and have no problems.

Or you can spend some more and do a featherlight.

Trailers are abused by most people and you get what you pay for. It needs to be maintained just like a car.




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