Towing a utility trailer

  1. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

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    I’ve had that exact trailer, from before owning a Jeep. A little extra capacity for light landscape hauling. I was a pro that had several big trailer for the bigger trucks and I pulled it behind a Chevy 1500, nothing serious, and I know I didn’t overload it.

    Yes, incomplete welding of the mesh floors. Sharp points where it was cut, I tapped them down with a hammer and touched up the paint. I added 1/2” marine grade plywood on the floor.

    Generally speaking these department store trailers are not durable, long term investments, be aware of that. Mine held up poorly and my industry friends had similar experiences. I only used mine ten or so times a year when logistically the bigger rigs were not available and I had to make a small run on my own. Again, I state that my occupation had me owning and loading trailers for 20 years, and I stayed within all the appropriate limits. Still, after just a couple of years I didn’t consider this little trailer highway worthy anymore. The long tongue had sagged noticeably, with a twist to one side. The tailgate was bowed between the beams. Wiring is very flimsy and the paint is just thick enough that you can’t see through it. Local, low speed trips only.


    If you are a “buy quality and it will last” kind of guy, I’d step up to something more substantial from a true trailer center for a few hundred dollars more, and even then research brand carefully. It doesn’t sound like you’re going to overwhelm your Jeep so a more stout 200lb heavier trailer shouldn’t hurt, and then you won’t be junking it and buying another in the near future.

    Just my two cents. Good luck.
     
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  2. EZMFE

    EZMFE Well-Known Member

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    Fold away trailer is a very cool option but the price is what kills it for me.

    Trailers tend to be used for all kinds of things and sometimes borrowed to friends/family members that don't necessarily have the trailers weight limit restrictions in mind. They will throw the washer, dryer, fridge, etc all in one load and while that is fine for heavier trailers, it might just damage a smaller trailer. If I was going to purchase a trailer like the one that you want, I would be going for something that was going to last through some abuse.

    If it's ever taken on dirt roads you may want a little bit more ground clearance and a wood floor so rocks/dirt/crap isn't thrown all over the bikes. Even on pavement you are going to have tons of stuff being thrown back on those bikes. It might be beneficial to look at something with a short wall that would protect the lower portion of the bikes or cover them all together. Also powder coated frame instead of painted in this case.

    The one you are looking at ($900 with tax) is not that far off price wise from something considered a real trailer... something that doesn't have limitations of what roads/speed you should pull them on. The trailer you are looking at is roughly 400lbs and one that is a bit heavier duty would be roughly 700lbs. It would be stronger and be able to handle more weight/abuse. The start around $1200.

    I would suggest something with a heavier duty axle (look up torsion vs leaf spring).. most likely in the 3500lbs range. Look for a heavy duty wind jack (2000lbs), wires protected through conduit (not exposed), 15" wheels/tires min, DOT lighting, treated wood on the floor. Solid sidewalls or rails 16-20" high so you can build your own walls.

    Examples of sidewalls version:
    Trailer4.jpg
    Trailer2.jpg Trailer3.jpg
     
  3. DesmoDog

    DesmoDog Well-Known Member

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    Not for nothing but that diagram shows 80% of the load in front of the axle.

    I'll go against the grain here and suggest most of the trailers shown are overkill for what I think you want to do. I may have already posted this but I'm too lazy to go back and look, forgive me if I'm repeating myself... back in my younger days I bought a foldable trailer from one of the typical places. I also bought the largest wheels they had for it, including a spare. Whenever I used it I had a dedicated lug wrench and a jack that would work with it.

    I bolted a 1/2" plywood platform on it, and had a 2 x 8 cross braces under what we were using for front wheel chocks. The brace went under the metal the plywood was on, so the trailer frame was basically clamped between them.

    Most of the times it was used it had 400-900lbs worth of motorcycles on it, and we hauled on the interstates all the time. We weren't speed demons but didn't poke along either. Kept indoors when folded, I never had a mechanical issue with it in the five years or so it saw regular use. I still have it (25 years later) but truth be told it's such a pain in the butt to unfold and set up that it only gets used in emergencies these days. I have MUCH nicer motorcycle specific trailers available now. In other cases I have rented trailers when I have known ahead of time I'll need one. For the $25 or whatever it is a U-Haul costs, it's not worth dealing with the one I have. I keep saying I'm going to sell it but so far haven't... I still have one "old" Ducati that I ride and it's nice to know if all else fails I've got something in the garage I can use for a rescue...

    Anyway, IMHO 200lbs of trikes don't require a pro-grade trailer.

    I just looked at the Kendon link They make the bike dedicated trailer we use now, it's great but for your use it sounds like complete overkill. I would go with the tractor supply version, with a plywood base on the non-ramp part. Bolted to the trailer frame. Even if it does flex, so what? They're trikes, they won't fall over. I'd get more than four tie downs though, and they don't all have to be ratchets. Like I said before, you can never have too many tie downs.
     
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    jlrocks

    jlrocks Well-Known Member

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  5. cohocarl

    cohocarl Well-Known Member

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    I purchased a Sure-Trac tube top utility trailer quite a few years ago.
    It was only about $150 more than the big box stores comparable trailer, but it's built like a tank. Step on one of the front corners on some trailers and it twists like a pretzel. This one barely moves.
    The 7' wide was a little wide, and a 5' was too narrow for my 60" mower deck, so I picked the 6'x10'. 3500lb cap, 990lb trailer weight.
    The Camaro in the pic was what I traded in for the Mojito. Actually the Camaro pulled it very well. (gate on rear had been removed at the time)

    trailer.jpg
     
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  6. JLUin818

    JLUin818 Well-Known Member

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    I have the same Lowes trailer originally shown. Ive had it probably 12-13 years now. Ive used it for all kinds of stuff. It still had the mesh floor. I moved two large refrigerators on it. No issues, ever. Its been on the freeway plenty of times. Same original stock tires.

    One thing to keep in mind, it doesnt have any suspension, at all. So it bounces around a bit at highway speeds. Ive had ratchet straps work their way loose as a result of the bouncing. I would recommend a combo of ratchet and tight bungee cords.

    You could also look for a higher quality used trailer. Ive seen them with leaf springs and large tires before which certainly helps.
     
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  7. EZMFE

    EZMFE Well-Known Member

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    That is much better in my opinion. Pretty much exactly what you need and only a couple hundred more than the original.

    Carry-On Trailer - 6X8GW2KPT
    • 3" Channel A-Frame Tongue
    • 2" x 2" x 1/8" Angle Main Frame
    • 2-3/8" Pipe Top Rail
    • 2" x 2" x 1/8" Angle Uprights
    • 2" A-Frame Coupler with Safety Chains
    • 2,000 lb. Rated Top Wind Jack
    • 3,500 lb. Rated Idler Axle
    • 3-Leaf Springs
    • ST175x13 Tire and Wheel Assemblies
    • White Mod Wheels
    • Steel Round Fender with Back
    • Treated Wood Floor
    • 72" W x 49" H Rear Ramp Gate

    I really like that rounded top rail. Would be nice if that rail was higher to provide more protection but for the price it looks pretty nice. I would place a piece of wood in the front up to the top of that round rail. Also, would put a locking box on the tongue to keep some stuff in.
     
  8. EZMFE

    EZMFE Well-Known Member

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    I was looking at the reviews, which there are hundreds of 4+ star, and someone said that the gate folds into the trailer if you don't want to travel with it up. This thing just keep getting better.

    gate_fold.jpg
     
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  9. cohocarl

    cohocarl Well-Known Member

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    You wouldn't think those mesh gates would block much air, but they're like a parachute. My Sure-Trac can fold flat on the bed, or easily removed by two hitch pins.
     
  10. Jondrew

    Jondrew Well-Known Member

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    I picked one of these up for like $1000 on Craigslist. I think it’s the 10’ model. Weighs under 500 pounds, will carry 1500 pounds. Super easy to maneuver by hand. I use it for motorcycles, my golf cart and general hauling. Jeep tows it nicely. Only downside is it’s so light that it spends most of its time airborne on bumpy highways when empty!CD50C995-A165-4994-A9E9-A91BD7903EB2.jpeg
     
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    jlrocks

    jlrocks Well-Known Member

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    Just thought of something. Without a mesh floor how will I attach the straps? Using the trailer rail on the outside of each bike will work but what about the inside sides of the two bikes that face each other. On that side I could try to route the straps through the bikes but could be tricky.

    Also this trailer must be left out in the rain. Not sure if that means the wood floor won't work as well.
     
  12. DesmoDog

    DesmoDog Well-Known Member

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    Eyebolts are your friend.
     
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  13. PowerGuy

    PowerGuy Well-Known Member

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    I have tie down plates on mine. you can even use e-track system bolted into the floor. The wood floor (2x6 pressure treated) will hold up better than the corrugated metal floor.
     
  14. cohocarl

    cohocarl Well-Known Member

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    Mine has 2x6" treated lumber bolted to it. Would last as long/longer than a wood deck.
     
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