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Old 12-06-2002, 01:25 PM   #1
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Default pros-cons: open vs. enclosed trailer

looking at getting a one car bumper hitch Featherlite trailer. Besides cost, what are the pros and cons of an open vs enclosed hauler? TIA
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Old 12-06-2002, 02:12 PM   #2
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Default Re: pros-cons: open vs. enclosed trailer

Open pros: Light weight, so it can be towed behind most larger vehicles/SUV's etc. Lower cost to buy, easier to sell when you get sick of it. Can be used for lumber etc. hauling when not in car-transport duties. Easy to hide in your back yard.

Open cons: Lack of storage space. If you're hauling a race car, it means that you probably have to immediately unload it when you get home. Lack of storage space. If you have an open car, or a race car with no windows (which is most of them these days...), you get a wet ***. Lack of storage space. Everyone wants to borrow it all the time.

Closed pros: Storage space for all your racer crap. Can be used as a garage when it's not at the track. All your stuff stays locked semi-securely inside, away from prying-thieving eyes. Doubles as a cabin/party center at the track. Storage space for all your racer crap. No wet *** at the track. Storage space. Nobody wants to borrow it, ever, 'cuz it's too freakin big and they don't have a vehicle big enough to haul it and backing it up scares the CRAP out of them.

Closed cons: Must have LARGE vehicle to tow. LARGE. You're not gonna tow a 22' enclosed with a Jeep Wagoneer, at least you won't if you want to live thru the experience. Does your budget include a LARGE tow vehicle ? Costs more to purchase an enclosed trailer (duh.). Harder to sell when you realize that you should have taken up bowling rather than racing, 'cuz people looking for enclosed trailers are generally more picky about options & config (ramp door ? beavertail ? length ? side door ? axle weight ? etc.). Your neighbors will be hacked if you leave it parked in your driveway all the time.

I currently own both an enclosed 24' and an open 18'. Both have their place in my fleet...different trailers for different tasks. Tell us what you want to do with it, what you're hauling and what you're hauling it WITH, and we'll give you more opinions, since we definitely have opinions.
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Old 12-06-2002, 02:55 PM   #3
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Default tried bowling but got kicked out of the alley for smelling of motor oil

It will be used to haul a car (one of S4, 90q or Urq) to track events. And if the sickness really takes hold, to rally events. Tow vehicle is a Dodge 2500 HO Cummins turbo diesel with a GTW rating of 13,000 lbs.

Being in the northeast, the weather hits all the permutations. I see your point regarding the shelter benefits of an enclosed trailer. It sure would a nice place to hide gear and people from the elements. The idea of using it to store a car is great, especially if garage space is taken up by pieces of other cars. Fortunately, my house is not visible from the street so I don't get much grief from nosy neighbours.

With an enclosed, are some of the options like side doors really essential? Or is it cooler to drive the car into the trailer and get out of it Nascar style? How do you get a wrecked car back into an enclosed? Do you recommend sway control? Electric brakes on all axles and a break away system are must haves, I think.

My only towing experience thus far has been a 24' 6,000lb boat in the early nineties on a surge braked trailer. With it, I killed the posi diff and clutch on the Chevy Astro tow vehicle.

Your experiences and advice are much appreciated.
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Old 12-06-2002, 07:35 PM   #4
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Default some info.

If your going to track event. An open trailer is probably okay and what you want. If your going to a rally event, a closed trailer with room for spares, fuel tank, etc is something you should consider.

When I bought the rally car from Bruno. Included was a 24' enclosed Wells cargo trailer that used to be owned by Hoppen. It was pretty cool. Said ABT motorsports on the side. Bruno had it setup with mounts for extra tires in the front as well as a fuel drum. He had a powerfull wench bolted to the front of the trailer to pull in an injured car. The trailer had aluminum tire bolsters to keep the car centered and prevent it from rolling back and forth. It just made it a pain to get in and out. It was nice, but I cut the top off because I wanted a lighter trailer that was easier to pull and to get the car on and off. The cover was old and a bit rusty and needed paint so.. no loss. I think it looks hardcore homebuilt now.
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Old 12-07-2002, 05:37 AM   #5
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Default Real diesels don't have glow plugs

Nice truck =) You can haul around anything from an open trailer (which is what I do) to a 20-22' tag along in the Dodge. You'll need an equalizer hitch if you're running something that big though, and it would be best if you had the long wheelbase (extended cab + long bed).

I have a friend that used to tug around a 22' behind his non-HO Cummins powered 2500. It did a good job, though you will feel it if you get buzzed by an 18 wheeler. He is sick though, and ditched it for a 3500 and bombed it out. It's got 940 lb/ft at the wheels... :0

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Old 12-07-2002, 10:10 AM   #6
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Default Real race cars don't have doors...

...or windshields, or more than 1 seat. So there :#)

Crashed/broken car into a closed trailer ? Make friends before you need them...

My enclosed trailer has a big honkin winch in the front for yanking stuff in, but I've only used it once and it's a PITA. It's easier to find 5-6 people and shove the car in. No matter what kind of enclosed car you have, you'll end up climbing out the window if you drive it in the trailer. The trailers with the street-side door for escaping driver give up too much structural rigidity, IMO. Forward curb-side door very important, as it allows access to storage without having to unload or climb over the car. I have a 48" wide curb-side door, as it allows me to load/unload the ATV first/last at the track thru the side door. Paddock transport is sometimes very important.

Ramp door, with extensions and a beaver-tail also critical if you ever contemplate a real race car, as wings/nose pieces/low suspension clearances make loading difficult otherwise. Even if this isn't in your plans, it may be in the plans of the person you will someday sell it to...do not underestimate the value of that.

Sway control depends on the trailer and the tow vehicle, and you can add it later. You will want a load-equalizing hitch with an enclosed trailer, so plan on that for your truck hitch mount. You can't buy a new (legal) car hauler (open or closed) without brakes or breakaway anymore, so those aren't really options to decline. If you're getting an enclosed, make sure your braking system works perfectly all the time. Nothing sucks more than being pushed off a cliff by your trailer.

As you may have discovered, surge brakes suck. Try backing up a hill with surge brakes, if you don't know you have surge brakes. You have enough truck for probably up to a 22' or 24' enclosed. Most people try towing with too small a tow vehicle. They usually die young.

Towing year-round in the NE is an adventure. Make sure your tow rig is properly connected, tires properly inflated, brakes working, wheel bearings adjusted and lug nuts properly torqued before EVERY trip, and you'll save yourself a lot of grief.

Warren's just jealous that he doesn't have a Recaro race seat for the driver in his diesel tow vehicle. I've taught him everything he knows....I just haven't taught him everything I know....
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Old 12-08-2002, 03:47 PM   #7
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Default You know you're sick when you have an ATV as your padock run around and toolbox tow vehicle.

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Old 12-09-2002, 08:56 AM   #8
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Default Tip of the iceberg, kid....tip of the iceberg....

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Old 12-09-2002, 10:08 AM   #9
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Default feature creep

Hmm..and I originally started looking at open tag trailers.

Someone local has this for sale for under $7K:

26' Carmate, new tires, heat, air, observation deck, racer pkg, w/full wired lighting

Seems like way overkill for someone who is just starting down the garden path to ????? Probably needs a 3500 dually to pull safely.

To further demonstrate my ignorance, what's the difference between a ramp door with extension and a beavertail? I thought beavertails were the twin fold down ramps on open trailers, and a ramp door extension is that 2'-3' foot fold out thing at the end of the door/ramp to make it longer.

Warren, I tried to corner you at the Audi national event at Summit Point to pick your brain but you were constantly in and out of cars.
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Old 12-09-2002, 10:19 AM   #10
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Default that's what I'm afraid of. :-(

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Old 12-09-2002, 10:19 AM
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