New Towing/Trailer Solution!!! - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
 
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-08-2009, 08:32 AM Thread Starter
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New Towing/Trailer Solution!!!

As many of you know, I tow the XP car to various autocrosses in California/Arizona as well as nationals. I have just purchased my 3rd trailer in 3 years. I thought I would share my experiences for others.

First I had a Featherlite open trailer, which is awesome. Seriously the way to go (or trailex open) if you want an open trailer. The problem was that the car was getting more and more serious and once the windows came out, I needed a new enclosed trailer.

I looked around and I did what most everyone does, which is get a box trailer. Mine was a Haulmark Edge, which is their race trailer with cabinets and fluorescent lights etc. 24' long. Of course I needed a new vehicle to pull it as the 4runner wouldn't cut it. Here are a couple of pics.....
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-08-2009, 08:35 AM
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I didn't know the Elise could pull such a big trailer! I was planning on just getting a small one from Harbour Freight. I might have to consider a Feather Light too.

Nice trailer!
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-08-2009, 08:54 AM Thread Starter
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The net result with the Haulmark is that I bought a 2007 Tundra with the 5.7L V8. This in my opinion is a fantastic gas tow vehicle. Diesels undoubtedly tow better, but I didn't want an F250 truck as a daily driver. If Chevy didn't cancel their 4.5L diesel for the Silverado 1500..... but that is another discussion for another day.

Anyway, I also got a Reese Anti-Sway/weight distributing hitch system, which is really awesome, helping the vehicle in the wind and leveling the load.

With the haulmark I would have to drive without cruise control. If you use the cruise it will not hold 6th gear and pop into 5th, killing mileage. If I had no wind, I could manually hold 65mph and get, at best 11mpg. Up hills I would have to slow down to 45-55mph to maintain decent mileage. If I hold the speed, mileage would suffer to about 8-9mpg. Going to nationals the last 2 years I got 9-10mpg. In the wind, the sway control helps, but you still feel the "tail wagging the dog". Semis passing, suck you into their lane etc. Lastly, just from a stability standpoint 70mph is the limit of how fast you want to go straight and level in 0 wind. Once the wind kicks up or the hills start 60mph or less.

Last year at nationals the Haulmark was about 7700lbs towing 1200 miles. Logically it made no sense to haul an 1800lb car in a 4200lb trailer. So I was looking for a solution.

First place I looked was Trailex. I looked very long and very hard at this trailer. It is less than half of the weight as the Haulmark and has a V-nose. I actually test towed one with my street lotus in it. It is very nice. The aluminum extrusion construction is top notch and it is the lightest thing on the market.

The downsides as I saw them were the lack of a loading door on the rear. You have to pull out the ramps and fit them every time. One thing I noticed getting to and from an event is that minimizing the loading and unloading time makes it much less painful. The other thing is that it doesn't use a sprung hub axle, but a leaf that is shared between each wheel on 1 side. This doesn't handle as well or give you true independence if you lose a tire i.e. with a sprung hub you can run on 1 tire. Additionally it puts the trailer floor up very high and thus a higher CG and long ramps needed to load a low car like mine.

When I towed it, it towed very well, but you still seemed to hit an aerodynamic wall at about 70mph. A V-nose is better than a box, but not much. Lastly, Trailex knows they have a good product and they charge for it. By the time I got the options I needed, it would be north of $20k for the trailer.

So what to do?


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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-08-2009, 09:08 AM Thread Starter
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Chris Harrison of Harrison Auto Dynamics in New River AZ helped get the XP car in national comp level of prep. Chris went to a racing trade show and saw a trailer called the BRE Aerovault. "BRE" is Brock Racing Enterprises. Peter Brock is the designer of the Cobra Daytona Coupe that won LeMans for Carroll Shelby as well as the corvette stingray and Datsun 510. Peter was as frustrated as I am with the Box trailer situation and decided to do something about it.

Essentially, he decided to do a lightweight aluminum semi-monocoque design. The trailer has a rounded front and a sloped roof to reduce wind drag. The floor is low for better CG and loading. Once I found out it had a smooth skinned bottom (undertray), well that about sold me. The semi-monocoque design uses .125 aluminum vs. .040 skin for most upgrade trailers. You can't easily dent it like a conventional trailer. It weighs in at a sveldt 2340lbs. Keep in mind most open steel trailers are 2200lbs! This cut the weight of the Haulmark by almost half! Additionally, the semi-monocoque only has one frame member at the front. Thus no banging one's head!

The trailer has everything you want and nothing you don't. It has convenient tie-downs and trays and a shelf for tires and gear. The wheels come with the aluminum moon discs and Goodyear marathon tires(which are the top-off the line in trailer tires) They even include a WARN synthetic cable winch with wireless remote AND deep-cycle battery! The whole thing is done 1st class. I opted for the optional extention ramps which just flip down off the door.
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Last edited by fzust; 06-08-2009 at 11:22 AM.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-08-2009, 09:13 AM Thread Starter
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Gayle Brock, Peter's wife, is the BRE business manager. She patiently answered many, many emails of questions. Ultimately, I decided to go for it. It took me a while to sell my trailer, but it worked out well as I got the 1st production unit(Another buyer custom-ordered #2). As the Brock's live in Washington state, I was able to meet them out in Orange County, CA to pick up the trailer. The needed to be there for something else and I paid their expenses to deliver the Aerovault. Since I got production unit #1, I had to have Peter sign it!
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-08-2009, 09:21 AM
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And the price tag for one of those little gems would be? Or will there not be a #2 in the series?
Inquiring, "in need of trailer types" need to know.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-08-2009, 09:25 AM Thread Starter
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Since then I have had a number of opportunities to compare the mileage, driveability, etc with the Aerovault compared to a box trailer.

#1. No more spring bars and anti-sway to hook up. Just hook it to the hitch ball and drive.

#2. Driving with it, I can use the cruise control. Even at 75mph, I get about 13.5mpg vs. about 7.5mpg at that speed with the box trailer. At 65mph loaded I get 15mpg+ vs 9-11mpg with the box. When I drove the aerovault back from OC empty and slowed down for the speed cameras in Phoenix, I got 17.2mpg at 65mph over the flat windless 40miles crossing phoenix!

#3. Wind and handling. I had 40mph cross winds last weekend. You don't even notice them. The angled sides of the Aerovault may help this, I didn't even notice the wind. The truck gets blown around more than the trailer!

#4. Handling. Driving back from Taylor AZ to Phoenix You go from 7600' down to 1200' all of it in curvy 6% or better grades. Not a problem. Downshift the truck to 3rd or 4th and 65mph, utterly no drama. I was PASSING people! Rock stable, probably helped by the lower CG. This was NOT fun with the far heavier haulmark.


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Last edited by fzust; 06-08-2009 at 12:01 PM.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-08-2009, 09:28 AM Thread Starter
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Here is the setup I did which contains everything I need except 1 more set of wheels. I typically will only take 2 sets of wheels to nationals. There is room to strap the second set to the floor in front of the car.
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-08-2009, 09:29 AM
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It looks like the sides open. Is that correct? What's the weight? What's the cost?

My car both sucks and blows.




Now with added all natural smoky goodness!
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-08-2009, 09:38 AM Thread Starter
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Full-disclosure time:

#1. I like the trailer so much and I think it is so appropriate for the Lotus crowd, that I approached the Brocks about trying to raise awareness. So Blackwatch is going to offer $100 merchandise credit to anyone that pre-registers with us that ultimately purchases an Aerovault. This is NOT a moneymaker for Blackwatch. They will give us a very small amount to cover our expenses. I am strictly doing this because I believe in the product and I think Lotus owners would benefit. This is NOT a moneymaker in any sense for BWR.

#2. I paid full price for this trailer. I didn't even ask for a discount. It is very well priced at $16,900.

That's it. Their website is Brock Racing Enterprises. Click on car trailers.

Click on our website link at the bottom for Aerovault promotion.

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Last edited by fzust; 06-09-2009 at 05:59 AM.
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-08-2009, 09:40 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slaughtr View Post
It looks like the sides open. Is that correct? What's the weight? What's the cost?
2340lbs. Yes there are curved doors on both sides so you can reach in and strap the car down or pull stuff out.


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Winning Suspension
- Larini Exhaust - BWR Close Ratio Gearset
We build the toughest Lotus Transmissions for the Elige. From Stock to SCCA-NASA-World Challenge Winners.

6UL wheels

Last edited by fzust; 06-08-2009 at 11:22 AM.
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-08-2009, 09:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fzust View Post
2400lbs. Yes there are curved doors on both sides so you can reach in and strap the car down or pull stuff out.
Looks great. If I didn't love my Featherlite so much, I'd buy one.

Does that $16,900 include the winch, spare tire and shelves? If it does, it's a very reasonable price for the whole thing. I noticed your endorsement in the PDF brouchure.

My car both sucks and blows.




Now with added all natural smoky goodness!
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-08-2009, 10:18 AM
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a great write-up.
makes me wish i needed a trailer again.
thanks, sam

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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-08-2009, 11:02 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slaughtr View Post
Looks great. If I didn't love my Featherlite so much, I'd buy one.

Does that $16,900 include the winch, spare tire and shelves? If it does, it's a very reasonable price for the whole thing. I noticed your endorsement in the PDF brouchure.
It sure does! The only options are an extra ft longer version(which we don't need) and the ramps which the XP Car does need.


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Blackwatch Racing - Better for the Street, Proven on the track

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- Larini Exhaust - BWR Close Ratio Gearset
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-08-2009, 11:21 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slaughtr View Post
Looks great. If I didn't love my Featherlite so much, I'd buy one.

Does that $16,900 include the winch, spare tire and shelves? If it does, it's a very reasonable price for the whole thing. I noticed your endorsement in the PDF brouchure.
That's funny, I didn't see that until you told me. That is a direct quote from an email I sent back to Gayle. I told her she could use it, but I didn't know she changed the brochure.


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Lotus Performance Parts and Accessories

Winning Suspension
- Larini Exhaust - BWR Close Ratio Gearset
We build the toughest Lotus Transmissions for the Elige. From Stock to SCCA-NASA-World Challenge Winners.

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post #16 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-08-2009, 11:43 AM
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They make a 3 car version?
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post #17 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-09-2009, 06:00 AM Thread Starter
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Aerovault promotional link is active!

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post #18 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-06-2010, 07:10 AM
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I saw one of these at the Mitty, it's an amazing looking trailer. A bit expensive for me right now, better start saving.
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