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Discussion Starter #1
I've been researching buying an enclosed trailer for the last few months and honestly, I'm overwhelmed with the amount of customization and "recommendations" from everyone. Unfortunately, I don't know many with small cars that do HPDE or TT events so their perspective is good but somewhat not relevant. Towing a 4,000lb GT500 is a little different than a <2,000lbs Lotus.

One option I'm really on the fence about is the side escape/egress door. Lots of people saying I'll regret not having it, and it looks like an awesome feature for accessibility.
E-Track is it worth it vs D rings?
Bling. Those white interior finished trailers look amazing on the web, but is it worth the cost over just haveing plywood walls?
12v lighting?
I'm planning on a battery-powered winch.
How long do I need? The consensus is towing a 24' with the F150 is doable but not recommended especially in wind/bad weather.
  • If my math is correct, an ATC Quest 20' with the Lotus' engine over the rearmost axle will leave ~36" of usable storage space upfront.
So what trailers are everyone using?
If you could do it over again what options would you say are must vs nice to have?

My usage:
  • 20+ events a year, mainly HPDE / TT with some AutoX for fun added in.
  • I'm not sleeping in it.
  • Must be enclosed
  • Tow vehicle is a 2015 F150. (I'm not upgrading to a 3/4 ton)
  • I'll need room for 1 set of tires, fuel, tools, cooler, misc stuff
  • Trying to keep the costs ~8-12k (Montrose is out, already priced one ~17k)
 

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I had a 7x16 Stealth Blackhawk (looks like they call it a Titan now: Titan – Stealth Trailers) for my Shelby Cobra replica. It was designed as a motorcycle trailer, but I special ordered it from Stealth Trailers and they built the floor to be strong enough for a car. With the options of an escape door, beavertail, and aluminum door hardware, it was just over $5K. 7' wide was a tight fit, but it was much easier to tow than the standard 8.5' wide car hauler. If you want room for tires, probably should go a 20'. V-nose give a lot more room up front for a winch, battery, etc.
 

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I did some searching a few years back and ended up buying an enclosed trailer off one of the trailer companies on ebay (I didn't go through the auction but called them instead). The trailer was a Diamond Cargo sold by Dorsey Trailers (Home | Dorsey Trailer Sales | Your Trailer Dealer in Savannah GA for Utility, Flatbed, Car Trailers and Enclosed Cargo Trailers) in Pooler Georgia. It seems like there are several distributors in the southeast, although I got the impression that most were build by the same manufacturer and just had a different brand name. I saved quite a bit in cost by picking it up directly. Its a 20' with a V-Nose which they claim not only tows better but provides more interior storage.The company offered many options including things like additional tie-down points, extended chains etc. We primarily tow it with a 2018 F150.

I went with the plywood interior for cost savings. However, immediately after getting it home, I painted the interior walls a bright white and put an epoxy (U-Coat It) coating on the floor and ramp. I've received many compliments on the interior after I've dropped the door. I didn't bother with the escape door and haven't had an issue. But, I haven't towed my Lotus with it yet. I use it for several other vehicles we own, none of which sit as low. (I did purchase Race Ramp trailer extenders just in case they are needed.)

The trailer has the standard D-rings and I've never felt the need to add the track systems. For lighting (as stupid as it sounds) I added of a couple those $2 battery operated wall switch looking LED lights. They throw a ton of light and and work even when the trailer is detached from the truck.

Knowing that I would never own or tow a tank, I went with a 7000LB. But in hindsight, I probably should have gone a little heavier as the stuff we store in the V adds up some extra weight. But, so far its towed everything I've owned without issue.

All in I think it was right around $5K. I think I saved something like $1000 in shipping alone by getting it myself (and I used the trip to stop at a car museum while I was down that way). The best part is being able to use it like another garage for parking. (For security purposes, I bought an old garden tractor that I use to tow it adjacent to the garage and park it towed face into the property. So, it would be extremely difficult to steal as you cannot get a truck to the tongue to hook it up without moving it back out with the tractor.)

Anyway, for a basic trailer it has been great. I know there are a ton of trailers out there and many are at a higher cost. But, I have never had an issue with the trailer and have only performed regular maintenance on it (tires etc). With that said, I'm sure some of the members who do a lot of tracking may have more information for you.

1257866


1257867


1257868
 

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Used to have a 2004 F-250 Crew Cab diesel...and I could tow at 80 - Orlando to Roebling Road (Savannah GA. in 3 hours). Wish I had the stronger truck yet but after 14 years blew head gaskets and hadn't saved up for the next truck....so got what was simply a good deal. Now tow a bought used two axle (the only way to go) aluminum (!!) Cargo-Mate flat nose 18 foot tall-enough-to stand-up-inside-of (you'll want that!) box trailer (about 2000 lbs.) with a 2019 6-speed automatic Crew Cab F-150 3.3 liter turbo V-6 and it's barely enough. When I tow the Formula Continental (1000 lbs.) with tools in the nose and a lot of stuff in the truck bed, 65 is about the limit. Towing the Esprit is an exercise in taking it super easy and slower....might make it up some hills in third gear. D-rings and wrap 1000 lbs. each tie downs through all wheels works. The walls came white, floor is wood...….and my oil spots......but really...….so what?...….who cares? Has no A/C on top.....fewer chances for leaks that way. Trailer has shore power (110 only, no 220), banks of lights and is insulated.....during summer I run a one room 110V 'hurricane emergency' A/C unit that's on wheels and a small fan in other corner......winter I can use a small $18 space heater...….a blow up single bed/sleeping bag and leave the car outside under pop-ups and I never pay hotel bills anymore...…...and that way all evening you're by the car to work on it instead of at the hotel bar drinking and ignoring car maintenance. Small removable microwave sits on top of a small cabinet someone else was throwing away. Figure out a way to mount a vice somewhere. My tire rack that holds eight tires is on one side and is foldable...…..down for the Esprit, can remain up for the Formula car. I can just barely squeeze out of the window of the Esprit when it's in the trailer and I remove my shoes because I'll have to stand up in the driver's seat to do it......I drive the Esprit in, push the Continental in....but I do have a winch that can run off my 12V jump battery. The winch is not mounted but tucked in the cabinet. When I need the winch, I strap it in place with my tie-downs and the D-rings. Put a small blackboard on the inside of the door to make notes on to remind myself of stuff to do and parts to order as they were used up...….and a small corkboard/push-pins to post paper schedules and other notes. Small broom inside trailer to always sweep out dirt etc. Take two aluminum panels about 8 inches by a little longer than the width of your side door / fasten hooks inside (so later the unit is removable) to hang the panels above your door....drill many holes in a line in the two panels and using short fasteners and in between the panels you mount the ends of long strips of heavy clear plastic strips - long enough to hang down and just touch the floor at the door...…..bingo!....freeze-door!...….you hold the trailer air in. Mount on the inside of your door your basic hook & eye screen door fastener. Go to ApexSpeed.com and look for trailers for sale.
 

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If you're not planning on working on the car in the trailer, then you want the smallest width trailer that you can manage - it is LOTS easier to tow a 7' wide trailer than an 8' wide trailer. If you ever think you might want to shelter in the trailer (rain, sun, wind, cheap sleeping, cook breakfast on a rainy day, light maintenance), get another 5-8' of length on the trailer past what you think you need for the car. Length just adds to turning circle, and actually makes the trailer easier to back up. It also gives you a place to put stuff like your tool boxes.

Positively do get a side door - you'll regret not having one, because you'll want to get to the stuff in the front of the trailer easily without disturbing the car.

Do figure out weight and balance for your car in the trailer, ideally before you buy the trailer, so they can fix it if needed. Make sure the axles are positioned where you have significant positive tongue weight with the car in the location and orientation you expect to tow.

Interior trailer lights are awesome if properly done. I have yet to see an OEM set that was - usually a dinky hockey puck fixture with a light bulb in it in a corner somewhere. I would do it with a roll of warm white LED strip light in the corner between side walls and roof and a dimmer - very bright if you want it to be, but modest power consumption, and can be dimmed low enough to not destroy your night vision if you're hanging out in the trailer at night bench racing. Total power consumption looks to be 10W or less. Your breakaway switch requires a battery for the brakes anyway, so you might as well get some use out of the battery on the tongue. While you're at it, make sure that the trailer plug and your tow vehicle are wired to charge the battery on the tongue, and put a solargizer on the roof to keep it topped up when parked. Consider a MaxxFan, especially if you will be somewhere hot or you might cook breakfast in your trailer.

Figure out where the spare will be mounted - probably inside. Spares move around and ding things (like your car) and are a wonderful tripping hazard in the dark.

Another thing I would positively put on such a trailer: a rear view camera. Not only do you need it for backing, but it substitutes for the rearview mirror now looking at the nose of the trailer. Get back-up lights, too - they're useful if you have the camera.

BTW - trailers come in one color - white, or maybe bare aluminum. You will regret anything darker.
 

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As stated above, a wood paneled interior can be made to look very nice. When new, spend a little time sanding any outside edges of the trim and fill all inside edges and gaps with caulk. Prime and paint gloss white. E-track is fantastic to allow any car to be trailed without having to worry about places to strap to and clearance under the car. As per the attached picture, no real clearance is needed.

For tire storage, make or buy tire racks to mount along the top side edges of the trailer.

1257869
 

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As stated above, a wood paneled interior can be made to look very nice. When new, spend a little time sanding any outside edges of the trim and fill all inside edges and gaps with caulk. Prime and paint gloss white. E-track is fantastic to allow any car to be trailed without having to worry about places to strap to and clearance under the car. As per the attached picture, no real clearance is needed.

For tire storage, make or buy tire racks to mount along the top side edges of the trailer.

View attachment 1257869
Was is the height of the strap going forward? I've been contemplating doing this but do not know if I will clear my splitter. Also, why the single strap and not the wheel net straps?

Thanks,
Eldon
 

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In the world of racing, trailers can be like currency.....meaning some racer is down on his budget - so they sell their trailer. So go to local tracks with your tape measure and look for someone selling a trailer
 

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Discussion Starter #11
What sort of brake controller are you sticking in the tow vehicle?
I have the OEM Ford 2015 F150 brake controller. It seems good on paper anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Founds some pics of my trailer
Do you find that the escape door is adequate? Most of the ones I've seen (example) fold up to the sky and the wheel well removes completely. The style you have I tend to pass by as I just assume it isn't low enough for my door to clear the bottom.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I did some searching a few years back and ended up buying an enclosed trailer off one of the trailer companies on ebay (I didn't go through the auction but called them instead). The trailer was a Diamond Cargo sold by Dorsey Trailers (Home | Dorsey Trailer Sales | Your Trailer Dealer in Savannah GA for Utility, Flatbed, Car Trailers and Enclosed Cargo Trailers) in Pooler Georgia. It seems like there are several distributors in the southeast, although I got the impression that most were build by the same manufacturer and just had a different brand name. I saved quite a bit in cost by picking it up directly. Its a 20' with a V-Nose which they claim not only tows better but provides more interior storage.The company offered many options including things like additional tie-down points, extended chains etc. We primarily tow it with a 2018 F150.

I went with the plywood interior for cost savings. However, immediately after getting it home, I painted the interior walls a bright white and put an epoxy (U-Coat It) coating on the floor and ramp. I've received many compliments on the interior after I've dropped the door. I didn't bother with the escape door and haven't had an issue. But, I haven't towed my Lotus with it yet. I use it for several other vehicles we own, none of which sit as low. (I did purchase Race Ramp trailer extenders just in case they are needed.)

The trailer has the standard D-rings and I've never felt the need to add the track systems. For lighting (as stupid as it sounds) I added of a couple those $2 battery operated wall switch looking LED lights. They throw a ton of light and and work even when the trailer is detached from the truck.

Knowing that I would never own or tow a tank, I went with a 7000LB. But in hindsight, I probably should have gone a little heavier as the stuff we store in the V adds up some extra weight. But, so far its towed everything I've owned without issue.

All in I think it was right around $5K. I think I saved something like $1000 in shipping alone by getting it myself (and I used the trip to stop at a car museum while I was down that way). The best part is being able to use it like another garage for parking. (For security purposes, I bought an old garden tractor that I use to tow it adjacent to the garage and park it towed face into the property. So, it would be extremely difficult to steal as you cannot get a truck to the tongue to hook it up without moving it back out with the tractor.)

Anyway, for a basic trailer it has been great. I know there are a ton of trailers out there and many are at a higher cost. But, I have never had an issue with the trailer and have only performed regular maintenance on it (tires etc). With that said, I'm sure some of the members who do a lot of tracking may have more information for you.

View attachment 1257866

View attachment 1257867

View attachment 1257868
Thanks for the pictures. The bare wood ones look so dingy compared to the vinyl/aluminum lined ones, but your paint job is spectacular and probably a lot more economical.
 

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And then you've got the question of......how to secure the trailer.....because there are a lot of stolen trailers in the world. A lock thru the hitch handle.....a lock on the nose of the hitch.....chains securing the two wheels on the axles together.....totally removing wheels off one side's axles....remote GPS things.....all or combinations of the above.
 

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Do you find that the escape door is adequate? Most of the ones I've seen (example) fold up to the sky and the wheel well removes completely. The style you have I tend to pass by as I just assume it isn't low enough for my door to clear the bottom.
It worked fine for the Cobra.
 

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I paid $3,500 for mine years ago - had to drive from Florida to Summit Point to buy it from Curtis Boggs...…..of flow bench fame
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Well that's just mean, telling me that :)

I went to my local dealer (Haulmark, United, Formula) and reviewed options. My desire for the "ultimate escape door" and a "V" nose really narrows the options. The UED is less common on steel trailers, whereas it's widely available aluminum.

If anyone is interested here is the cost breakdown for a Formula Triumph(8.5x20TE3, steel, 3300# empty, 3500# spring axles)
  • Base $7,200
  • Ultimate Escape Door +1,600
  • Interior Package (Coin floor, white vinyl walls & ceiling) +1,500
Base + UED + Interior + 5,200# Torsion upgrade = $11,900
- I'm thinking for $300 I could just epoxy paint the interior and forgo the $1,500 interior package. I just want the floor protected from fluids and the walls white to brighten it up.

Other options I priced out just because:
  • 36" Ramp extension (base is 12") $700
    • Not sure I need this, could be useful. 2x12" boards work, but then I have to tie them down and screw with that.
  • Etrack $10/ft
    • Seems like a good idea for ~$400 (2 rows full length). Gives lots of flexibility for securing things & the car.
  • Roof Vent $40
  • Spare Tire $150 Wall Mount is $75
  • 12v lights (includes 2) $30/ea
  • 5,000# winch w/ deep cycle battery $1000
    • I can get a marine battery, box, and wireless 5000# winch for <$600 and install myself. Hoping I'm not over simplifying the install in my head.
  • Base cabinets in "V" nose $1000
    • Pointless in a V, there is hardly any space inside them.
  • 110v package w/ shore connection & 30amp panel $500
    • I have no idea if I would ever use this. Thoughts?
My thought is to get the upgrades I can't add later that I may regret not having. Namely moving up to 5,200# torsion axles instead of 3500# spring and the UED. This would put the trailer right around $10,400.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I would consider Montrose Trailers . I had one of these and never had any issues. They do all kinds of custom made all aluminum trailers.
I've surfed their site too many times to count at this point. Called and talked to Gary two weeks ago who is a super nice guy. @RBH I appreciate you reaching out via PM, but at this point they're just outside of my (wife's) price range.

A similarly configured Montrose 20'L x 88"W is ~$7,000 over the Triumph.
  • Includes the escape doors on both sides
  • The front nose swings open
  • All aluminum! weights ~1,300# less than the Triumph.
  • I don't have to paint the floor/walls/ceiling.
 
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