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Old 05-09-2013, 08:45 PM   #100 (permalink)
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 98

Lincoln #4 - '93 Lincoln Town Car Executive
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Aw, the vicissitudes of state legislatures. Probably nothing more bizarre.

But regarding utility trailers, here's a couple tips for folks in similar situations.

First, a trailer should have the fenders mounted to the axle and not the body. That way they will never rub the tires.

Second, a trailer's tires, suspension and shocks are very important considerations; even on a small one. This guarantees the proper handling characteristics of, particularly, smaller trailers.

Third, invest in the best hitch for your car. Get a load-leveling type if any serious weight will be pulled. Without it, a heavy trailer, especially one with dual axles, will tend to lift up the rear of a car when braking. The car must control the trailer; never the other way around, regardless of speed. And don't forget that tongue weight goes up by a big factor when braking, especially without trailer brakes. Also make sure that load is properly distributed.

Fourth, love those tongue-mounted brakes that work when the weight of the trailer pushes against the hitch. No fancy wiring or controls to install, and nothing to do when driving. They work automatically.

Fifth, adding a plywood floor can be done with most utility trailers. However, make sure that there are enough cross members to support it, and you get rid of any steel mesh. But you will likely need 3/4" pressure-treated plywood, which is a little heavier than non-treated. Weigh the different options to see which actually saves weight and fuel down the road.

Finally, a big car often has a big trunk. For small landscaping jobs around the house, one only needs to get a heavy tarp to line the trunk and over the fenders when loading or unloading.

Believe it or not, I used my TownCar trunk to haul some gravel. I went to the gravel yard, weighed in, then drove to the gravel pile. I got out, opened the trunk, and stretched out the tarp to cover everything, including the outside fenders, body and bumpers, etc.. The loader came up to the trunk and gently started to pour in. Half way thru, we stopped to make sure that the air ride suspension was fully lifting the load, and slowly finished loading, making sure the car remained level. Then I folded in the tarp, closed the trunk and weighed out. Simple.

Sorry, but I don't remember the amount, but would guess at one and a half or two cubic yards. Anyway, the car ran great and the brakes worked fine. (No hot-rodding, please.) One could reach in and shovel out with a big bucket or a short-handled shovel. When you get to the end, you just get a friend to help lift out the tarp and all the remainder.

Bottom line; only get a trailer once the job gets bigger than that (which is, admittedly, often). But get a trailer before a pickup.

In any situation, the important thing to remember with increasing load capacities, is to drive a little slower, increase stopping and following distances so as to save the brakes. Make sure the trailer weight, loaded or unloaded is appropriate for proper tow vehicle handling of it, and that tongue length is increased enough to stop any fishtailing action. At every stop, check wheel bearing temperature on that trailer!

There is nothing more utilitarian than a utility trailer.
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