Purchase Lotus hitch/tire trailer or Featherlight type open trailer support question? - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
 
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-23-2010, 09:03 AM Thread Starter
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Purchase Lotus hitch/tire trailer or Featherlight type open trailer support question?

This year I really started loving open track day events and now have two sets of wheel tires for my track days along with more tools I would like to bring.

So now I am looking to either go the small tire/tool box trailer behind the Lotus or look to getting a small single car trailer.

Some background;

I plan on about 10-15 max track days a year. 75% of the track events are a two and half hour drive each way. 85% of the use of my Lotus is the track events with limited weekend cruise fun. My Lotus is lowered 110mm front 120mm rear with Nitron Doubles. I also have a Katana SC and GUTs front spoiler. (OK I also have almost all the Sector 111 stuff available on my Elise ) My daily drive is a company car or truck that I rotate every 4mo. to test evailuations. So I never know if I will have something to tow with but with a weeks’ notice I can normaly trade with someone at work for something to pull a trailer.

If I go the single car trailer I would need to park the trailer in the garage with Lotus on the trailer. So would like to store if possible so that back of the trailer is to the garage door opening so I could drive Lotus on and off in the trailer in garage. If this is even possible? This garage storage issue is what is leading me to the small tire trailer option. But I thought other might have done this trailer in garage under Lotus before me? Or I am I nut’s to think I could drive my Lotus on a trailer in the garage?


OK here are my pro cons that I have and looking for some advises.


BOE Lotus hitch and Harbor Fright trailer

Pro, Easy trailer storage
Pro, overall cost
Con, In a year’s time wish I had bought a full car trailer?
Con Un known on how my Lotus will drive on the highway with a tire trailer
Pro; Last minute track event opportunities (two events this year already where 2 day notice)
Pro Don’t have to ask the wife if I can purchase


14’ trailer- Featherlight type open trailer

Pro, Can bring more stuff to track
Pro, If something bad happens at track I can get Lotus home
Con Storage in garage. I am in Michigan so summer toys have to compete with snow blowers for garge space in winter
Con; about 4K-5k more expensive (Requires wife approval)
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-23-2010, 09:12 AM
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I have been thinking about this also...but also thought about renting one first to see how it works out. Not sure on rental cost ??
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-23-2010, 09:52 AM
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I would go with the trailer if you have enough space at home to keep it.

My brother bought a small enclosed trailer and was keeping it next to his garage to store lawnmover equiptment, ATV's and his jetskis in during the winter. He lived on a lagoon and kept the jetskis in the water during the summer, but didnt have enough room in his garage to store everythign during the winter

He bought a bigger house and it was great having the trailer to move a lot of the furniture. He has a bigger garage and it has room to store everything and he was thinking of selling it. The he decided to cut down some dead trees in his yard, but was afraid that it would take forever for the wood to dry out if it rained or snowed. So now he is using it as a storage container for extra firewood during the winter, and using it to transport the jetskis to a nearby lake during the summer, and also letting friends borrow it to move stuff in between.
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-23-2010, 10:22 AM
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If you plan on storing the trailer in the garage and routinely parking the Lotus on it you will need some way to anchor the trailer to the garage floor. You could put jack stands under the tail of the trailer to keep the nose from flipping up when you drive on it, but I wouldn't trust the trailer not to shift forward when you try to drive on it. Maybe if you had some type of wheel chock that was fastened to the floor. The trailer will be much wider than the Lotus (8' 6" for most) so take that into account when figuring storage space in the garage.

What do you have for a tow vehicle?

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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-23-2010, 11:26 AM
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I LOVE LOVE my little HF trailer that I pull behind my Lotus- particularly on closer events. The lotus pulls a few hundred pound trailer as if it weren't there. Seriously. We have "excess power", great brakes, and stiff suspension... It's practically a truck.LOL
I usually load 4 tires/wheels, a tool box with an alum HF jack, a 10x10 tent (weighs 50lbs or so), and some chairs on my trailer. I typically pull at 80mph with no problems for a few years now...

My track car is very low with GT3 triples, a bespoke diffuser, etc... If my car can do it with ease, then I think any car could...

That said, I have a "real" trailer for the longer trips. Why? Because I'm lazy. When driving 4 hours to a track event, I find that a) I don't "feel" like driving my car home afterwords because I'm just "tired" and b) If I wreck the car within a couple hours from home, then it's no big deal to pick it up. But if I wreck the car 4 hours from home, then I like the POM of having the trailer with me to cart the wreckage back to the shop...

Hope that helps a bit...

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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-23-2010, 02:20 PM
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I have the 14' featherlite trailer. Your first two "pros" are the main reason I bought it. One my second track day with the trailer, my motor blew. My house is 2 hours from the track and my mechanic is another 2 hours away. Having the trailer was a god send.

Don't forget three other pros associated with having a trailer: 1) less miles racked up on your car, 2) ability to run Hoosiers or Yoko slicks, and 3) it is generally a lot more comfortable to drive the tow vehicle than the Lotus (especially on the way home from the track).

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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-23-2010, 02:21 PM
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How long will you be satisfied with spending most of your time at only the local track?

As I've gotten deeper into HPDE's and such, I find I'm going further from home to experience different tracks. An aluminum open trailer allows me to go wherever I want without the risk of being stranded due to a breakdown or the fatigue of a full day's return drive in the Lotus. I already own the tow vehicle, so that added expense did not figure into my personal calculations. I have plenty of space on my property to store the trailer out of the way when not in use.

You should note that the minimum weight for the Lotus/trailer/gear combo is going to be about 3k lbs. While not required in every jurisdiction, trailer brakes are a big plus at that weight. Most open trailers are rated for 5-7k, and will come with e-brakes and a 7-pin connector that requires a brake controller in the tow vehicle.
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-23-2010, 02:56 PM
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I bought a new 20 foot enclosed trailer for 6k and could not be happier with my purchase. It`s like a mini garage while at the track. Remember you can`t get out of the rain with an open trailer.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-23-2010, 03:05 PM
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Look at the Trailex trailer, it's light and easy to tow.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-23-2010, 03:57 PM
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I built a small trailer to use with Phil's hitch.

I have the tool box loaded with tons of crap, 4 wheels/tires (naturally), a special bracket to store Race-Ramp wheel-cribs for working the car after it's jacked up and an easily dis-mountable air tank also mounted to the bed of my trailer.

I have it balanced for a tongue weight of between 35 and 40 pounds.

I recently drove the car to Boston and back - thats 8+ hours each way at 80mph. This set-up was soooooo easy to drive. You won't know it's there.

I didn't do the trailer because I don't have a convenient place to store it and I don't want to drive a truck or SUV which I would need to pull the thing.

Maybe when I'm in my 70's I can move to an enclosed trailer? Nah...

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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-23-2010, 05:52 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone. But I am still on the fence between the two. Lotus on top of trailer in Garage or little tire trailer behind Lotus option

Looking in my garage a 14' TOTAL length for a car trailer would work. I do have a step up curb in the garage that would allow a total 18' trailer but I need that space open for a walk way and tool storage. The Featherlight 14' if I am reading correct is really 18' total. Anyone know of a total 14" open trailer that will work for a Elise?

I do like the idea of a car hauler trailer but it's not looking good for my storage needs. I live on a in land lake with little property around home, home association is very strict on trailers in drive way let alone even thinking about storing it outside.

I do also have a ski boat and pontoon but having a hard time with wife on how much we are pay to store the boats in winter, so I don't even want to bring up paying to store a car trailer. The wife thinks I have too many toys now, so I don't want to go there as I might end up with less toys then I have now

So i am still at find something that fits in garage total 14' trailer or simple tire behind lotus trailer? Again thanks!
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-23-2010, 06:30 PM
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Garage
I store my Featherlight (14") about a mile down the road for $40/month. My community does not allow storing outside, and my only garage is full of hopeless projects. I drive by every day and look over longingly. I'd love to have a garage big enough to contain truck with trailer attached, and drive through, while I'm dreaming.
I crashed once and pulled her 5 hours to the best place to have her repaired. They say that having a trailer takes 2 seconds off your lap time, since you don't have to drive her home.
Trailer is useful to haul stuff, whether furniture or yard supplies.

Also, you can transport the car when it's just too cold to drive her.

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Then, tow vehicles are another issue.

Anyone can make something complicated. It takes genius to make it simple. Einstein.
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-24-2010, 05:14 PM Thread Starter
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OK thanks all. I am going to look into getting a real trailer and look into some local storage if I can't fit trailer in garage.

But not giving up on finding a 14' trailer that has a short or swing out of way hitch to fit in my garage.

Any one have any recommendation on trailer dealers in mid /south east Michigan? I am in Lake Orion MI

Thanks again for the help
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-24-2010, 05:50 PM
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I currently tow my Exige using a 12 foot trailer. If interested I can post a pic with the car on the trailer.

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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-24-2010, 07:49 PM
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I should add that I store my 14' trailer off site as well. I stored it in my garage for a year, but decided that the extra space was worth having.

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post #16 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-25-2010, 03:08 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erubin View Post
I currently tow my Exige using a 12 foot trailer. If interested I can post a pic with the car on the trailer.
Thanks! Please post your trailer set up

Alan
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post #17 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-28-2010, 09:45 AM
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Here's a pic of my Lotus on a 12' aluminum trailer.
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post #18 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-06-2010, 09:47 AM
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BOE Trailer

I got Phil's trailer (from BOE) and it is great. First time I've run with slicks and they are awesome. I do have a pickup and could have gotten a full size trailer but I didn't want to deal with the expense. I go up to 3 hours to the track and I have had to have had my car towed back via AAA when I blew the motor and when the alternator went out. But even after that, I am choosing this route. The issue is that I just don't have a place to put the full size trailer. I think it would be a pain to store in some place. A friend does that. He pays $80/month and then has to go get his car and trailer when he wants to go to an event. I guess it all depends on what you want and are willing to put up with.

Scott
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post #19 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-06-2010, 10:08 AM
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Quote:
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Here's a pic of my Lotus on a 12' aluminum trailer.
Is that a Featherlite? approx. cost?

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post #20 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-06-2010, 12:12 PM
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Is that a Featherlite? approx. cost?
No, the trailer is a Middlebury. The deck measures 12' x 6.5 feet.

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