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Old 04-07-2013, 12:30 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Buy a trailer (instead of a pickup truck)

I have found that owning a trailer has some advantages over a large pickup.
Sometimes your line of work calls for a giant 4wd pickup but thats not the case for most of us.

This is a thread for anyone thinking about getting a large pickup truck as a second vehicle or replacing their smaller pickup with a bigger, much lower MPG pickup when adding a trailer would do.

Check your vehicles tow rating here:
Tow Ratings Database - Tow Vehicle Ratings | Camping Life Magazine
You may be surprized. My camaro can tow up to 1,000lb and our lincoln town car (crown vics too) can tow 2,000lb.

And here:
http://www.automobilemag.com/feature...s/viewall.html

Used trailers can be cheap, they are cheap to register, most states don't require insurance or inspections unless your trailer has brakes, no one ever asks to barrow your trailer and as long as you don't take it to work every day, no one askes you to help them move with your trailer.
I have noticed when you have a pickup it seems every one wants you to help them move something.

So buy a used trailer, you wont lose any money unless you completely destroy it. If you scratch or dent the trailer, who cares.

I bought my hinged fold up "bolt together northern tool trailer" for $360. That may not sound like a good deal but It came with a full 4ft x 8ft deck made of 5/16'' aluminum dimond plate that alone must have cost the guy who built it $400 or $500, it also has a northern tool trapazoid shaped aluminum dimond plate tool box, $200, aluminium dimond plate fenders ($50) and LED tail lights ($50).
It gave my enclosed suburban more open top pickup truck abilities.

To register my trailer in the state of Maine for 2 years it only cost me $21.

You may need to mod.
My trailer was only rated to carry about 500 to 700lb. I knew I was going to need a lot more.
When I bought the trailer in 2009 it had cheap little 8 inch rim load range B tires good for about 440lb each, springs good for around 500lb each and a C chanel axle that looked real sketchy just holding up the weight of the empty trailer.
EDIT: I tore apart the A-frame on my trailer to convert the last little bit of bolt together construction to weld together construction, when I pulled off one of the leveling jacks I found the original name plate. Says it rated for 1180lb. I removed the name plate since original manufacturer data no longer applies.

My friend and I went in 50/50 on buying 12'' rim load range C tires that are rated for 990lb each, 1,000lb each springs and a 1,800lb axle.
I think it all cost about $180.
He would use it to haul wood for his girl friend with his tacoma when ever he wanted, it has carried almost a half cord of wet black cherry wood weighing up wards of a ton, no problem.
Also the trailer is at least foot lower than the bed of an older pickup and about 2 feet lower than some of these newer pickup I see riding around, a big help if you move a lot of weight around.

I let my friend use it to get fire wood with his truck and he broke a tail light, I up graded the tail lights to better LED units with reverse lights for $60.
They are easy to repair.

Trailers are fully rebuildable too.
Here last week I tore my trailer apart to convert it from bolt together to solid fully welded construction. The back half of the trailer was starting to sag. I took that as an indication it was time to rebuild it. Turns out the frame was really rusted, almost rusted through in a few spots and the way it was designed it was really only held together with 8 bolts, if 2 or 4 of those bolts failed the trailer would have fell apart. It was a lot more work then I thought it would be. Now its held together with 2 pounds of flux core and solid core welding wire and many feet of welded seams. I also wore out a 7 inch grinding wheel and a week of hard work its just about back together, is now around 10 inchs longer, the axle sits about 4 inchs further back and is much more solid than before.
I might even add a hitch to the back of it before I put it all the way back together.
EDIT: I did add a hitch to the back of my trailer, $30 got me a reese hitch that was laying on the ground at the junk yard. As of now I put my hitch caddy back there. I could pull a second trailer if I wanted to, since I installed a flat 4 connector at the back of my trailer.

So trailers are:
Cheap to buy.
Cost almost nothing to register
No inspection.
Very low to the ground.
Cheap to mod.
Cheap to repair.
Fully rebuildable.

Must see NHTSA pdf:
http://www.nhtsa.gov/cars/problems/E...ing/Towing.pdf

The new standard J2807.
http://www.tundraheadquarters.com/bl...ngs-explained/

2017 Edit:
When using a full size car to tow on the highway I highly recommend keeping the gross trailer weight under 800lb regardless of the vehicle rating with out trailer brakes.
On a smaller car even less.

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Last edited by oil pan 4; 05-08-2017 at 12:49 PM..
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Old 04-07-2013, 04:01 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Picked up a cheap little utility trailer on CL a few years back for 50 bucks. Haven't used it yet as I bought a Ford Ranger not long after. But the Ranger has its issues and may not be around that long in which case I will likely register the trailer and put a hitch on the wife's Sonata.
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Old 04-07-2013, 08:03 PM   #3 (permalink)
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When my parents moved up north to retire, they asked me to get them some stupidly big crew cab 4x4, so they could "move around dirt for the garden, etc". I told them two things - 1. get a cheapo utility trailer to tow behind their S10 style Jimmy 4x4, and 2. trailers are lower to the ground, and easier to load. Point 2 has been the biggest thing they like about the trailer, though I like point 1 in that they already had a decent 4x4 that was paid for, and for the $600 they paid for the trailer, and the 3 times a year they actually use it, it has saved them a pile of cash in both truck payments, and fuel costs.
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Old 04-07-2013, 08:08 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Trailers can be more cost-effective than repairing a damaged pickup bed

Nobody seems to care if a trailer gets ugly...
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Old 04-08-2013, 12:51 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I am a convert

I bought a second hand trailer 15 years ago, don't know how I ever managed without one for so long. It is 4 x 6 galvanized steel, I had to replace the floor at one point with 3/4 inch ply and I built a cage for it so I can haul green waste. It has thirteen inch wheels. I have used it a lot over the years and it has paid for itself many times, without a doubt best 200 dollars I ever spent. The only issue is having a space to park them but now a days they make ones you can hang on walls.
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Old 04-08-2013, 09:29 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I was really torn between getting a trailer and just using my 97 Ranger as is. At better than 31 MPG, unless I am hauling a half yard of rock or something like that, I can just use the Ranger. If I need to haul anything else I just borrow my youngest brothers truck and 10k GVW dual axle hydraulic dump trailer he uses for doing roofs and removing other construction debris.
Haven't had to borrow it in many years, but if I did I would at least fill his tank.

regards
Mech
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Old 04-08-2013, 02:26 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pete c View Post
I will likely register the trailer and put a hitch on the wife's Sonata.
We have a sonata too, cant find a published tow rating (might be in the owners manual. Keep it under 1000lb.
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Old 04-08-2013, 03:16 PM   #8 (permalink)
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A lot of cars today don't have towing capacities at all because the manufacturers don't want the liability of someone trying to overload their Hyundai Elantra, for example, or they want to sell you a F350 instead of a Ford Fusion to pull your lawn mower around once a month.

Check on E-Trailer - they sell hitches for anything!
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Old 04-08-2013, 03:20 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Sub - '84 Chevy Diesel Suburban C10
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90 day: 19.5 mpg (US)

camaro - '85 Chevy Camaro Z28

Riot - '03 Kia Rio POS
Team Hyundai
90 day: 30.21 mpg (US)

Bug - '01 VW Beetle GLSturbo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by War_Wagon View Post
I told them two things - 1. get a cheapo utility trailer to tow behind their S10 style Jimmy 4x4, and 2. trailers are lower to the ground, and easier to load. Point 2 has been the biggest thing they like about the trailer, though I like point 1 in that they already had a decent 4x4 that was paid for, and for the $600 they paid for the trailer, and the 3 times a year they actually use it, it has saved them a pile of cash in both truck payments, and fuel costs.
I don't know why people are so quick to buy a huge expensive vehicle they really wont need when a trailer will work.
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1984 chevy suburban, custom made 6.5L diesel turbocharged with a Garrett T76 and Holset HE351VE, 22:1 compression 13psi of intercooled boost.
1989 firebird mostly stock. Aside from the 6-speed manual trans, corvette gen 5 front brakes, 1LE drive shaft, 4th Gen disc brake fbody rear end.
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Old 04-08-2013, 03:41 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Sub - '84 Chevy Diesel Suburban C10
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90 day: 19.5 mpg (US)

camaro - '85 Chevy Camaro Z28

Riot - '03 Kia Rio POS
Team Hyundai
90 day: 30.21 mpg (US)

Bug - '01 VW Beetle GLSturbo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miller88 View Post
A lot of cars today don't have towing capacities at all because the manufacturers don't want the liability of someone trying to overload their Hyundai Elantra, for example.

Check on E-Trailer - they sell hitches for anything!
Even my dads 1991 ford escort had a tow rating, it was pathetic, like 500lb and they did not recomened towing any amount of weight more than 50 miles if you had the auto transmission.

Ebay has sellers with hitches for almost everything too. Camaro, sonata, P/T crusier.

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1984 chevy suburban, custom made 6.5L diesel turbocharged with a Garrett T76 and Holset HE351VE, 22:1 compression 13psi of intercooled boost.
1989 firebird mostly stock. Aside from the 6-speed manual trans, corvette gen 5 front brakes, 1LE drive shaft, 4th Gen disc brake fbody rear end.
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