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Last Post 04 Dec 2011 04:23 PM by  Dick Rasmussen
12' vs 14' for formula car
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mwood
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26 Nov 2011 07:23 PM

    I'm looking at small trailers for a new (to me) Formula Ford. The car is 69" wide, 144" long and weighs around 950lb.

    Keeping it simple, seems like going with a simple utility type trailer would work, particularly if I custom order it (that way I can get stuff like a drop axle and a single front rail, which aren't the typical build).

    Here's the question: I've been thinking 12' bed, given I want the trailer to easily fit in my garage and to be as light as possible (given it is an angle iron economy job). But, a local dealer suggested I might have problems getting weight distributed optimally without the extra 2' a 14' trailer would provide (given the car is 12').

    Thoughts?

    Kurt Williams
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    26 Nov 2011 07:42 PM
    I have seen where the tongue is hinged, allowing you the extra two feet and also the ability to fit in the garage.
    hklvette
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    26 Nov 2011 07:49 PM
    What's the weight distribution of a FF? You want the trailer's CG to be in front of the axle, or you could easily have problems with trailer sway. If the car's weight distribution is such that ~10% of the trailer's weight is on the tongue, you shouldn't have any problems.
    barryott
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    26 Nov 2011 07:54 PM

    If you can get the dimensions of 12' trailer, you can probably calculate where the car needs to sit for a good tonque weight, and then figure out if the location is ok. It would just be an approximation, but probably close enough. Figure the front wheels carry about 350# and the rears carry about 600#. Wheel base of 96" or so. Shoot for a tonque weight of 15% of the total or maybe a little less, I've use ~12% for the trailers I've made. Don't forget to *not* count the axle weight in you total weight (~200# or so). Ideally, you could measure the unloaded tongue weight, then just figure out where the car needs to sit.

    .....just a thought from a geek mech. eng. :-)

    Barry

    mwood
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    26 Nov 2011 08:13 PM

    I did find the web site page linked below which gives dimensions for one of the generic manufacturers I'm considering.

    http://www.bigtextrailers.com/pdf/30sa.pdf

    The weight difference (12' vs 14') is much less than I had imagined, at 90lb, so that isn't a deal breaker. The garage space aspect isn't really a big deal, either...the 12' just gives more walkaround between the refrig and trailer in the smaller 3rd car slot I have scoped out for the car/trailer.

    Sounds like 14' may be the way to go, but if the 12' would work safely, I'd still prefer to go that route. ??

    Any thoughts on trying to go with a 6' vs 6.5' width? Hey, if I'm going small, I want to go SMALL ;-)

    barryott
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    26 Nov 2011 08:44 PM

    The narrower the trailer, the tougher it is to load the car. You don't have much room to steer the car to get the back wheels in the right place so you'll need to line it up really well before you roll it on. Not that big a deal, but a little inconvenient.

    B

    mwood
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    26 Nov 2011 11:21 PM

    Yeah, if I'm buying a new trailer, might as well go with the 6'5" width.

    I'm also starting to think about keeping the funky looking side rails that are standard on the utility type trailers. My thought is that, in conjunction with a wider deck, it allows options for carrying stuff like pop ups, fuel and other items that can be securely strapped to the rails...emphasis on "securely"! Plus, if I decide to sell, the trailer will be more attractive to ATV/Snowmobile guys and landscapers ;-)

    S2kTas
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    27 Nov 2011 10:41 AM
    H & H Trailers builds these rail side type of trailers to order and they come in sizes ranging from 12 to 20 feet in length, with width sizes from 76" to 82"

    http://www.hhtrailer.com/aluminum.html

    If you are interested in more info or a quote.....the H&H dealer that I have bought my last two trailers from is Croft Rental Center here in Kansas City Kansas.

    "Keith Kaufman" <keith@croftrental.com>

    913-334-5000

    Joe
    atcovan
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    27 Nov 2011 02:04 PM
    Mike, if you have it made to spec, a 12' would be just fine and they can put the axles where you need them. I like 15% tongue. It will follow you very well. Personally, I like the security of an enclosed as it keeps the curious kids away.... sort of.
    Dick Rasmussen
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    27 Nov 2011 02:49 PM
    atcovan wrote:
    Personally, I like the security of an enclosed as it keeps the curious kids away.... sort of.


    Wouldn't we all . . .

    Dick

    CM with open trailer and wimpy tow vehicle and tight budget

    vreihen16
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    27 Nov 2011 03:36 PM
    As others have pointed out, having 10% of the weight on the tongue is important to keeping the trailer straight behind your tow vehicle. If you want to go short on the bed, just make sure that the trailer is built in such a way that the axle/fenders can easily be relocated when you discover the balance is off.

    The previous owners of my FV towed it on a *tiny* trailer that was barely the length of the wheelbase. During their first tow, they discovered the 10% tongue weight rule. Their solution was to load the car onto the trailer backwards, so the engine was near the tongue. The trailer was too short to drive onto, so you might want to plan for a winch as well.

    I second the recommendation of an enclosed trailer if you have the place to park one outdoors. It doesn't cut into your garage space at all, and you can leave your tools and other gear in the trailer between events for a quick hitch-and-go on the weekends.....
    mwood
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    27 Nov 2011 10:45 PM
    ^funny you say that, about enclosed. After looking at my options, that does seem to make the most sense. We have room for one and I like the idea of being able to keep the car and gear "self contained". Only thing, I sold my Suburban, because the wife wanted some pos Lexus SUV, so I'd have to get another tow vehicle for local stuff (just use the RV for multi day events). Should be able to find a good 1/2 ton pick up easily enough.
    Locked
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    28 Nov 2011 10:42 AM


    Both my trailer and Marks trailer are 10'... And barely wide enough to get the tires past the fenders. I wouldn't want bigger.

    Boxologist
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    29 Nov 2011 02:44 PM
    http://www.bruntonauto.com/trailers...ilers.htm, something similar is what u should be looking for.
    RX7 KLR
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    29 Nov 2011 03:20 PM

    A snowmobile trailer might be a good option for a small mod car.


    Dick Rasmussen
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    29 Nov 2011 04:36 PM
    RX7 KLR wrote:

    A snowmobile trailer might be a good option for a small mod car.

    For CM they are too short afaik but the manufacturers make larger custom ones. Bring money.

    RX7 KLR
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    29 Nov 2011 05:45 PM
    DickR wrote:

    For CM they are too short afaik but the manufacturers make larger custom ones. Bring money.

    Based on Mike's question about a 12' trailer, I would think the 12' snowmobile trailer would be long enough.

    Dick Rasmussen
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    30 Nov 2011 09:20 AM

    My CM (1985 Van Diemen) is 150 inches tip of nose to tip of tail.

    Note also that the typical snowmobile trailer appears to use 10 inch wheels. I don't know how well that works in summer weather at freeway speeds.

    There are various sources for custom made snowmobile style trailers. Bring $$$. http://www.montrosetrailers.com/ The enclosed version I want is about $10K (oops).

    Dick


    Scootin159
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    30 Nov 2011 09:49 AM
    How hard would it be to build a clamshell like that for a standard open trailer? Seems something like that (even if it was just pull on/off with something like hood pins for fastening) would be a cheap & easy way to "enclose" an open trailer for a minimal weight penalty.
    pru
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    30 Nov 2011 10:24 AM
    Scootin159 wrote:
    How hard would it be to build a clamshell like that for a standard open trailer? Seems something like that (even if it was just pull on/off with something like hood pins for fastening) would be a cheap & easy way to "enclose" an open trailer for a minimal weight penalty.

    Check out the ApexSpeed thread May '10: Open or Enclosed Trailer. Post #14 contains a link to a photo of Barry Ott's old FF trailer which I find to be one of the best designs I have seen in this regard...

    Dick Rasmussen
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    30 Nov 2011 01:18 PM

    I would love to be able to build a trailer like Barry's or to put a snowmobile type cover on my current trailer. I don't have the fab skills/tools to do it myself and haven't had any luck finding someone locally to build one. Montrose will build an aluminum version but like I said, roughly $10K. Lots of engineering considerations especially if the current open trailer doesn't have the structure to carry any more weight. Steel and even aluminum panels and framework get heavy fast. Any volunteers? I'm in Raleigh.


    In general if the tow vehicle is "decent" (mine is too limited) a standard 7 X 14 or 7 X 16 enclosed trailer with drop axles and other normal options seems to be the most cost effective, available, and saleable solution. Plus you can carry other stuff (like most racers need) and most people can stand in them with little or no bending needed. For many CM drivers, NO bending (grin).

    Keep in mind, however, that for a normal 1 or 2 day autocross there is little or no time to actually use "stuff" that would be carried in the trailer and much lower likelihood that "stuff" will be needed. The big thing with us is security at motels, etc. However, lots of enclosed race trailers get stolen from motels that happen to have cars inside. I cover our car with a cheap blue tarp at motels. Keep rain and prying eyes out and makes it look "cheap" and not worth stealing (so far).

    TeamFRD
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    30 Nov 2011 07:03 PM

    My VD RF88 came with a nifty trailer - 6.5 by 14 with a 'homemade' (by an engineering/fabricator type) clam shell cover.http://flic.kr/p/8ExyvK

    I have just about 2 feet free space behind the car for some storage bins. So a 12 footer would work if you can place the axle where you need it to get tongue weight.

    Consider ramps. This pic shows my ramps. http://flic.kr/p/abDvBE Angle up, then 48" of horizontal so the low ground clearance race car does not scrap. This allows me to leave the trailer level. And with only the horizontal sections, it makes for a nice psuedo lift to work on the back end.

    Sorry to hear that RF88 left Florida. I did not get to see it. Stay in touch. Let's figure these things out to together.



    mwood
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    30 Nov 2011 10:39 PM

    The RF88 hasn't actually left FL...still working out the details of shipping, unfortunately.

    I'm still flip flopping between a small open trailer and a larger enclosed. The small trailer is nice for local stuff, easy to tow, can fit in one of our garage slots and requires no change in our vehicle line up. But, I like the enclosed trailer idea. I'd get one big enough to provide space not only to store the car full time, but also carry all the stuff like a pop up, tool box, bike (actually, I'd like to be able to fit one of my motorcycles) etc. Downside is it takes up driveway space, the neighbors will probably complain, and I'd have to rearrange the vehicle line up...sell a car, buy a truck.

    Good news is that I have time to think about it and see what comes up for sale. I'm not going to complain...having a choice is not having a problem!!

    mwood
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    04 Dec 2011 02:25 PM

    Ordered a trailer yesterday (car should be here by the 16th)

    6.5X12 utility trailer (with rails, which I can use both to mount a tire rack and also allow a 3/4" drop in the deck height, due to use of angle instead of box section steel).

    4" drop axle and 14" wheels brings deck height down to 13.5".

    Weight is right at 1000#. Once I added in a below deck spare/mount, a ramp lip, the drop axle and tax/license it was right at $1700.

    Ordered up (4) 5' sections of E-track and ratchet wheel baskets to keep the car in place, but am still noodling on ramps. I'm looking at various folding aluminum ramps designed for ATV's e.g. http://www.discountramps.com/dual-atv-ramps.htm

    The thought is that I could easily take some 5"X12" square tubing lengths and make transport "sleeves" for the folding ramps that I could either weld in under the deck or (maybe better) stack vertically against the deck/rail on the tongue. If I go the vertical route, that provides the first couple of feet of a rock guard on the front...once I add the tire rack (which will have either sheet or diamond plate on the front), the car will be pretty well protected on the road.

    Of course, I could also just buy a couple of 8' 2X8's ;-)

    Dick Rasmussen
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    04 Dec 2011 04:23 PM
    Mike,

    I sent you an ApexSpeed PM asking for your email so that I can send you pics of my ramp "travel" setup.

    FYI: My car is secured using strong tie-down ratchets and axle straps to D rings welded to the deck. The front D rings are in front of the front tires and the rear D rings in the rear. My deck is 13 feet long. The front axle straps wrap around the camber adjusters at the upright. The rear is secured to a cross member bolted to the underside of the transaxle that serves as the mounting point for the rear track rods and the rear leg of the a-arms. The rear tie-downs crisscross resulting in about a 45 degree angle for the straps. I've towed over 80K miles this way. I've never towed with the film around the tires that guys are using now do I don't know whether the car would slide sideways on the sheet metal deck without the race rubber "traction.

    Dick



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