Go to previous topic
Go to next topic
Last Post 24 Jul 2017 04:00 PM by  charles33579
Open aluminum trailer. Featherlite vs Aluma vs ATC (or any others)
 30 Replies
Author Messages
racnmni
Basic Member
Basic Member
Posts:106


--
07 May 2014 02:39 PM
    Looking at new aluminum trailers to tow the Vette. Probably towing about 5-7k miles per year, so I'm thinking its time to upgrade to something a bit lighter. The old steel trailer has been great, but the time to move on has come. (Yup, it's for sale!) Anyone here have any experience with more than one manufacturer as far as these trailers are concerned? Looking at 18' or so, open trailer low enough to load a C5 without too much difficulty.

    If anyone has had a particularly great, or terrible experience with one, I'm sure that would be helpful as well.

    In doing some internet research, this is what I've learned so far...

    Aluma seems a bit lighter, and less expensive.
    Featherlite seems a bit more stout, but you ap a price in weight and $$$
    ATC it's as if no one has ever owned one, very little info available.

    Thanks for any help you can offer!

    132 ASR/SRR
    WrongWheelDrive
    New Member
    New Member
    Posts:26


    --
    07 May 2014 03:26 PM
    My dad bought a "new" used open featherlite, pretty sure its the 17.5' one. Some guy bought it, brought it home, and it sat in his barn for 4 or 5 years. We paid less than half MSRP for it, super lucky deal, I suspect he had trouble selling it because he lived in the middle of nowhere on the border of Canada.

    Thing tows like a dream, and after 4 years towing 5-8k mi annually it has needed nothing but regular wheel bearing maintenance. We mostly tow a 2200 lb CRX on it, but have used it for things as heavy as a boosted s197 mustang, which we dragged from Atlanta back to NH.
    OasisTan
    Veteran Member
    Veteran Member
    Posts:1355


    --
    07 May 2014 08:37 PM
    I bought an Aluma 18' tilt trailer last year.  I absolutely love having the tilt as opposed to the ramps that I had on my past car haulers.  This is my first aluminum trailer and it towed my Audi TT perfectly last year to several events with zero issues.  I have yet to use it to haul my Mini, but, will do so here in 2 weeks up to Lincoln.  The tilt option also works very well for zipping my riding mower on and off all around town to mow several yards per week.  If I remember, I paid somewhere around $5700ish for it....
    P. Lier
    Basic Member
    Basic Member
    Posts:394


    --
    08 May 2014 04:00 PM

    I have a 2000 Featherlight and have over 50k miles on it with just wheel bearings and brake service, I got it used in 2008.  If you aren't in a hurry you can find them used for around $4500 or a little less. I also had a Trailex for around 40k miles which was OK except for the surge brakes, they suck. 

     

    Peter

    racnmni
    Basic Member
    Basic Member
    Posts:106


    --
    09 May 2014 08:56 AM
    Thanks guys!

    Craig, I just watched the video for the aluma tilt, and it looks interesting. Do you think it's low enough to load the Vette without additional ramps? The Mfg. stated weight is almost identical to the Featherlite without tilt! I'm definitely going to go look at one in person as soon as I get the chance. The only turn off for me is the 14" wheels. Seems like it would be harder to source a replacement on the road.

    Thanks again everyone for all the input.
    mtuhro
    New Member
    New Member
    Posts:76


    --
    11 May 2014 01:22 PM
    I have an open ATC.  I bought it new in 2006, so be warned, that some of my information my no longer be relevant.  It was a good value for the money.  The side load ramps are a bit cumbersome.  I have the shorter ramps, and I suspect that you will have a problem loading a Vette.  At the time ATC did offer a longer ramp, which may be enough to load your car.
    S2kTas
    Basic Member
    Basic Member
    Posts:144


    --
    11 May 2014 09:08 PM
    I had a H & H 20 foot Aluminum Speed loader (Hydraulic Tilt Bed), and loved it. Sold it last year and there are times now that I wish I had it back. Although I could load my Mini on the trailer without using Race Ramps, you will need them with lower profile cars with longer wheel base. Little youtube video below showing the trailer and loading a car using Race Ramps.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6bXSc8mhjQA

    You can have these built to order in both 18 and 20 foot models. And get treated wood or aluminum deck. There are pros and cons for either type deck, and I prefer the Treated Wood version.

    Also, when I was ordering this trailer I was advised that I would like the 20 foot model better than the 18. And they were right, little more working room and less ramp angle.

    And like Oasis Tan, I used mine to haul a lot more things than Cars - Lawnmowers, etc.

    Joe 

     

    http://joetas.smugmug.com/HH-Trailers/Speedloader-by-H/i-rgJnDBN/0/XL/IMG_0712-XL.jpg

     



    acrace
    Basic Member
    Basic Member
    Posts:210


    --
    12 May 2014 10:05 PM
    I'll throw another brand into the mix for consideration.

    R&R, out of southern Michigan:
    http://www.aluminumtrailers.org/qua...-trailers/

    I've had my 20' R&R since 2004. It's been used to haul my C5 Z06 and C6 Z06. I probably have about 60k miles on it, and no issues other than replacing all four tires at 40k miles. Replaced the breakaway battery every second or third year and I probably grease the axle bearings more than I need to, but they're still the original bearings on the traier.

    A few features that I like about it:
    1) The ramps double as a stone guard. The downside is that you have to lift and move the ramps to load/unload your vehicle. The upside is that you save the few hundred bucks it costs to buy a stone guard if you bought a Featherlite.
    2) The fenders are low enough so that you can open the door of your car and egress easily. My Z06s are stock category autocross cars, with a mile lowering. I don't like having to egress through a window or back hatch, and don't like removeable fenders. You might need to double check with the latest R&R trailers. Mine has 14" wheels, the newer ones have 15" wheels, and I don't know if that causes the fender to now sit higher.
    3) With the 20' version, I have another set of D-rings mounted so that if I want to, I can put an extra set of wheels/tires at the front of the trailer (against the ramps), and the Corvette still sits in a location so that I have good weight distribution/tongue weight.
    4) The "neck" is long enough that it tows really really nicely. I use a GMT800 platform Tahoe (2000 Tahoe).
    5) Price was about $700 lower than a Featherlite. This was 2004 pricing, though.

    Downside is that R&R is more of a regional player in the trailer market. I live close enough so that it was an afternoon drive to/from their factory.
    racnmni
    Basic Member
    Basic Member
    Posts:106


    --
    13 May 2014 08:54 AM
    All great info! I like. The idea of the ramps acting as a stone guard on the R&R. All things considered, I think I'm leaning towards the Aluma 18' tilt. I just need to go see one in person. I've been moving heavy ramps and extension ramps for the last 6 years to load and unload, and I'm ready for a change. My Corvette is also stock class, but with the death of R comps in stock I guess I'd better make sure the new trailer can handle something lower and SPish if needed in the future. I'm addicted to grip!
    texlbs
    New Member
    New Member
    Posts:40


    --
    13 May 2014 10:38 PM
    I'm in the market as well. Have you looked at JimGlo?

    http://www.jimglo.com/tilt-bed-trailers.html#
    TeamRX8
    Veteran Member
    Veteran Member
    Posts:2405


    --
    14 May 2014 01:59 AM
    best price vs weight vs features when I bought mine back in 2007:

    http://www.montrosetrailers.com/
    ltborg
    New Member
    New Member
    Posts:87


    --
    15 May 2014 07:38 AM

    I love my Featherlite. I went with that because everyone I talked to said the parts were super easy to find on the road since they have standardized everything and they have a good number of dealers across the country. That said, I've had it for two years and haven't had to do a thing to it. Tows really, really well and I usually get over 13 MPG in my 6.2L Silverado. Actual measured weight on mine was 1440 lbs so with the Corvette and gear, it's under 5000 lbs. The torsion bar axles are nice too, especially if you get a flat. You just have to spend a little more time making the trailer as level as possible, which is a little tricky because the ball hitch is so low compared to every other trailer I've looked at.

    F125AXer
    Basic Member
    Basic Member
    Posts:253


    --
    30 May 2014 06:17 PM
    I have towed three aluminum car haulers, unfortunately none of which I owned...
    Each has/had features that I really thought were excellent, some a little less so.

    1. Trailex. Since those are bolted together, in theory they are easier to repair. The one I towed stayed at my house for a long time, as the owner did not have a good place to store it. Aluminum "plank" style deck, not a plate. Hauled a 2600# FWD, and a 2600# RE/RWD. Absolutely stable at any speed the Astro would attain. As far as the Surge Brakes.... I maintained them, and they worked excellent when I needed them: Insurance scammer pulled in front of me on a Sunday morning, in very light traffic on I-75, and slammed on the brakes. His driving just before that made me wary, and I had the left foot over the brake pedal. I out-stopped him, never coming closer than 4 feet! A@@hol*!

    2. For work this year, one unmarked except for the selling company, but it looks ever so much like the Everlite. I can find out if you want to know for sure. Features under-the-trailer ramps, and was ordered with extensions for very low cars. Loaded a couple of C-7's without any drama! Has a locking box on the tongue, which holds a deep-cycle battery, a winch, and all tie-down equipment. Beaver tail, stone guard, center-post jack with a removable wheel, wired slide-mount for the winch. Post-mounted spare, extruded beam deck with under-car lights. 15" Load Range D tires! It is a LOW trailer, and that brings good and bad features: Removable fenders... + can open the doors on a Very Low car. -- They rattle and chafe all of the time. Have to be careful going in and out of lots, it is easy to drag. The ramps are stowed in hidden channels with doors, which is good, but they rattle around in there, and chafe against the doors. If it were mine, I'd put some rubber bits in the doors as a cushion. Tows GREAT (with a Chevy 3500 dually - yes, overkill, but nice in the mountains of PA). Have put on perhaps 20K miles this year. Good brakes.

    3. A trailer by R&R, like arace has, above. Hauled a '93 Bonneville 100 miles 2 weeks ago, loaded backwards (long story). This one is nearly new, less than a year old. Ramps as stone guard is nice, but an aggravation, and I would worry about finding them missing some morning, as wing-bolts hold them in place.... The method of ramp attachment on the loading end is odd, and I can see that they chafe the LED taillight bars during loading/unloading. Tows GREAT, stable even with the load a little improper. Only one wag; a light touch of the trailer brake actuator solved that pronto. Diamond plate floor, beaver tail, fixed fenders. This trailer has a higher deck. No problem opening doors on the car I had on there, but still might be an issue for some lower sports cars. 15" Load range C tires. Brakes are really effective, I had to dial back my controller quite a bit.

    I really like all of those trailers. Each has some really good features, and they all towed very well for me.

    If I were to be in the market to order one new....
    First, I'd know what was to be the #1 vehicle hauled. Second, how that car would be tied down, either by the wheels (through or around), frame, axle, or a combination of the above. Third, ensure that an easy setup for strapping is built in. Standard locations for tie-downs are always a compromise. Having them exactly where you need them is so nice...

    Some of the things I'd get if the buget allowed: 20' length. The winch, with a quick install/remove setup, and pre-wired, with either a battery onboard, or a connection built-in to the tow vehicle. The ramp extensions. How nice that works for a low car! (but, they have to be hauled, and don't have a spot on the trailer) The deck lights.... (On a dark, and rainy night.....!) The stone guard. (note: you might think it would help to keep a car clean in the rain.... and you would be wrong, at least if you are towing with a dually) A couple of different types of straps, so that more cars could be accommodated.
    OasisTan
    Veteran Member
    Veteran Member
    Posts:1355


    --
    30 May 2014 07:33 PM
    Posted By racnmni on 09 May 2014 08:56 AM
    Thanks guys!

    Craig, I just watched the video for the aluma tilt, and it looks interesting. Do you think it's low enough to load the Vette without additional ramps? The Mfg. stated weight is almost identical to the Featherlite without tilt! I'm definitely going to go look at one in person as soon as I get the chance. The only turn off for me is the 14" wheels. Seems like it would be harder to source a replacement on the road.

    Thanks again everyone for all the input.
    Sorry for the slow reply.  You would definitely need some wood blocks or additional ramps for the vette.  My Mini, which is lowered quite a bit, scrapes very badly on the front bumper and the wheels are much further forward than the vette.  For my Mini, I would think  two 1x8's or 2x8's roughly 12-24" long would be sufficient just to get the front bumper up before it reaches the trailer incline.  Not sure on the vette

    GTB/ZR-1
    Basic Member
    Basic Member
    Posts:195


    --
    30 May 2014 09:50 PM
    Been enjoying my aluminum Texas Rollback for the past 5+ years (purchased used from old Corvette acquaintance) & been very pleased w/ it.
    They may be hard to find these days, as the TR company is out of business...
    Joseph Carozzoni
    New Member
    New Member
    Posts:22


    --
    17 Jun 2014 08:41 PM
    Last year in July 2013 bought a 2014 Aluma 18' with ramps.  Weight is 1350 lbs and paid $5,400 delivered (got lucky and piggy-backed on an existing shipping lot).  The $800 more for the tilt option was a deal breaker at that time.  But now I wish I had gone with the tilt option.  Trailer has hauled Evo X MR (3,600 lbs) on six 250-350 miles trips and we've been happy with it.  The trailer performs much better than the driver ;o)
    RBH
    New Member
    New Member
    Posts:7


    --
    03 Jul 2015 11:23 AM

    Removed!

    RBH
    New Member
    New Member
    Posts:7


    --
    05 Sep 2015 04:15 PM
    Removed
    lowside67
    Basic Member
    Basic Member
    Posts:273


    --
    21 Jan 2017 01:27 AM
    Why is this person being allowed to simply spam the forum for years on end?
    Dave Schotz
    Veteran Member
    Veteran Member
    Posts:2424


    --
    21 Jan 2017 09:38 AM

    Posted By lowside67 on 21 Jan 2017 01:27 AM
    Why is this person being allowed to simply spam the forum for years on end?


    Fixed, thank you
    F125AXer
    Basic Member
    Basic Member
    Posts:253


    --
    21 Jan 2017 10:29 AM
    DRASTIC measure, deleting posts like that. Did you also BAN the poster?

    @lowside 67: Why do you use the word SPAM here? A single post about a specialty trailer maker once every 6 months or so does not qualify in my mind.
    Some of us may have liked looking at the photos of higher end trailers, if for no other reason than knowing what can be built.

    Considering the dearth of activity on this forum for the last several years, an occasional post of any sort should not raise such ire.

    @Dave Schotz, a single complaint from a "basic member" can get such unilateral action? Wow.
    Dave Schotz
    Veteran Member
    Veteran Member
    Posts:2424


    --
    21 Jan 2017 11:42 AM
    Posted By F125AXer on 21 Jan 2017 10:29 AM
    DRASTIC measure, deleting posts like that. Did you also BAN the poster?

    @lowside 67: Why do you use the word SPAM here? A single post about a specialty trailer maker once every 6 months or so does not qualify in my mind.
    Some of us may have liked looking at the photos of higher end trailers, if for no other reason than knowing what can be built.

    Considering the dearth of activity on this forum for the last several years, an occasional post of any sort should not raise such ire.

    @Dave Schotz, a single complaint from a "basic member" can get such unilateral action? Wow.

    No, I just cleaned up the posts, and limited the 15 in  a row that were all advertisements.  

    Best Regards,
    Dave


    RBH
    New Member
    New Member
    Posts:7


    --
    21 Jan 2017 01:16 PM
    @Dave Schotz & @lowside67 I have remove the few that was left.
    F125AXer
    Basic Member
    Basic Member
    Posts:253


    --
    21 Jan 2017 04:27 PM
    Posted By Dave Schotz on 21 Jan 2017 11:42 AM
    Posted By F125AXer on 21 Jan 2017 10:29 AM
    DRASTIC measure, deleting posts like that. Did you also BAN the poster?

    @lowside 67: Why do you use the word SPAM here? A single post about a specialty trailer maker once every 6 months or so does not qualify in my mind.
    Some of us may have liked looking at the photos of higher end trailers, if for no other reason than knowing what can be built.

    Considering the dearth of activity on this forum for the last several years, an occasional post of any sort should not raise such ire.

    @Dave Schotz, a single complaint from a "basic member" can get such unilateral action? Wow.

    No, I just cleaned up the posts, and limited the 15 in  a row that were all advertisements.  

    Best Regards,
    Dave


    Yea, well...

    Pardon my dissenting opinion, but the trailers/towing sections have and will always be one with peaks and valleys in activity.  I viewed the presence of the apparently unseemly (as viewed by someone other than myself) posts as effectively keeping the pilot light on for the subject.

    Of concern to me is that one complaint, with the misuse of the term "spam" was enough to trigger a unilateral trash-binning of one person's submissions.  Those, BTW, included great photos, showing some features in trailers that I had not seen before.  I don't know of anyone who would really classify perhaps half a dozen relevant posts over nearly 3 years on a single topic as spam.

    Reality is, that for this Forum, I am one of those people who comes to view some topics that I am subscribed to.  Those connections have likely occurred because I have commented at one time or another under the subject heading.  So what I conclude now is that instead of being pulled here a couple of times a year to view photos of trailers, there will likely be a cessation of automatically generated contacts on the subject.

    I much preferred the very occasional linked notifications of postings to none at all, which will likely be the result.  The latter is apparently what one forum member is after.

     

    Xau
    New Member
    New Member
    Posts:30


    --
    09 Feb 2017 09:17 AM
    Back on Topic

    I'm considering getting a trailer, my real question is. does the weight of the trailer save enough money over time. to offset the higher cost. numbers:
    open car steel trailer @ 2373 lbs costs $4200
    open car aluminum trailer @1460lbs costs $7300
    would you save enough money in fuel over say 10 years.
    to justify the extra expense?
    friends tell me not to spend more on the aluminum, but i want a broader opinion. Thanks
    lowside67
    Basic Member
    Basic Member
    Posts:273


    --
    09 Feb 2017 10:44 AM
    I am not sure why you feel the need to so personally attack me or my "member status".  I have no "agenda" but I disagree that it is valuable to the forum to simply have a new post every time his company has a new product.  You can very easily keep a bookmark for their website if you feel it is such valuable information to you personally.  More importantly, this site has paying advertisers - if we allow people to spam or advertise for free, then why would anybody ever pay for advertising?  If people stop paying, the whole site ceases to exist.  It's simple in my eyes.  http://www.sccaforums.com/advertising
    lowside67
    Basic Member
    Basic Member
    Posts:273


    --
    09 Feb 2017 10:46 AM
    Posted By Xau on 09 Feb 2017 09:17 AM
    Back on Topic

    I'm considering getting a trailer, my real question is. does the weight of the trailer save enough money over time. to offset the higher cost. numbers:
    open car steel trailer @ 2373 lbs costs $4200
    open car aluminum trailer @1460lbs costs $7300
    would you save enough money in fuel over say 10 years.
    to justify the extra expense?
    friends tell me not to spend more on the aluminum, but i want a broader opinion. Thanks
    The fuel cost associated with the weight is likely less than you think.  They have about the same aero drag and that's much more relevant to fuel consumption.  However, you will also have a much higher resale at the end of the 10 year time period so your out of pocket cost is likely lower.  However, I expect you can buy a steel trailer for a lot less than $4,200...

    F125AXer
    Basic Member
    Basic Member
    Posts:253


    --
    10 Feb 2017 09:59 PM
    Posted By Xau on 09 Feb 2017 09:17 AM
    Back on Topic

    I'm considering getting a trailer, my real question is. does the weight of the trailer save enough money over time. to offset the higher cost. numbers:
    open car steel trailer @ 2373 lbs costs $4200
    open car aluminum trailer @1460lbs costs $7300
    would you save enough money in fuel over say 10 years.
    to justify the extra expense?
    friends tell me not to spend more on the aluminum, but i want a broader opinion. Thanks
    What do you intend to tow it with?  While that extra half ton *might*not have much of an effect on your fuel economy, the strain on your tow rig might be a consideration.  Hauling around an extra 1000 pounds may cause issues with bearings, gears, engine and transmission temperatures, etc., plus hill climbing might get challenging.  Just something to consider.  Having towed both, I'll opt for aluminum from here on out.

    Xau
    New Member
    New Member
    Posts:30


    --
    13 Feb 2017 07:13 AM
    Right now the tow rig is a Nissan Xterra, the Car being towed would be a 89 Civic.
    F125AXer
    Basic Member
    Basic Member
    Posts:253


    --
    13 Feb 2017 12:49 PM
    https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.re...or_towing/

    From what I have read, the X-Terra is rated at 5000 pounds towing capacity. Depending on the generation of your Civic, it alone will be 40 to 50% of that. Add in the normally carried tools,spares, and autocross or racing equipment, and the weight of the trailer becomes critical.
    How hard are you willing to work that 4.0 litre V6, and the rest of the drivetrain? If the plan is for only local use, and the topography is relatively flat, a steel trailer would probably be ok. But if you desire to tow interstate, perhaps through mountain areas, then keeping the total weight as low as possible should be the goal.
    charles33579
    New Member
    New Member
    Posts:1


    --
    24 Jul 2017 04:00 PM
    Posted By Xau on 13 Feb 2017 07:13 AM
    Right now the tow rig is a Nissan Xterra, the Car being towed would be a 89 Civic.

    I've been towing my ~2,400lb 240sx for a few years on a 17.5 1,600lb trailer and it's close to the max I would recommend. A weight distribution hitch with sway control is a must as the Xterra has a really short wheelbase and any sway from a trailer that is longer than your truck will get sketchy real quick.

    In flat Florida I've never had an issue with power and average a tick over 14mpg @ 65mph.  Truck has plenty of power to pull this load at 65mph in 5th gear with converter locked up.

     

    Overall if you don't have a choice in tow rigs, buy yourself an equalizer WDH hitch and pick up a tongue weight scale to make sure you have the rig balanced well. If you have a choice, buy a full size SUV/truck.

     

    This all assumes you are talking about a 05+ Xterra on the most recent platform with the 4.0 Liter, the previous gen has no business towing a car unless it's around the block.



    ---