General Trailer recommendations

Just had an interesting conversation with the local (east of San Diego) Haulmark dealer. He says don't buy anything longer than 22' for resale becasue 24' is too long (legally) for a full-size RV, and that those guys are the biggest market for resale. Also, that full-size RV resale consideration calls for an extended tongue. I wonder if this is a SoCal thing.

Given that, maybe I'll just assume I'm keeping it forever. I stood in a 24' and visualized my 14' car at the back. That 10' open floor space in front sure looks huge. OTOH, a 20' trailer leaves only 6' which seems too small. So resale aside I'm thinking 22' looks like the goldilocks "just right" size.... ??

Also learned that the "Edge" model was just "unbundled" so all the racer stuff (power, cabinets, etc.) is extra cost now. Overall cost is about the same though, just a lower entry price.
I wonder if that isn't either sales talk- or a local phenomenon? On the East Coast, 24' is the sweet spot, and the minimum the oval track boys will consider. I think I've seen RVs with longer than 24' trailers-- but at least that size. I imagine there is no max trailer length, but rather a max overall length for both the RV and any appurtenances, so this would be something that might vary by RV size?

Remember that the car will normally need to be centered (more or less) over the axles, and so you likely won't have 10' of open space in the front, but rather some in the front and some in the back.

If you are really buying it forever, I still would suggest that few people have been heard to head to the track saying "Gee, I wish I had a smaller trailer."

A longer trailer may be harder to park and tow, so perhaps the local dealer will let you hook one up and drive it around for a bit to get used to the length. Try a couple lengths so the first one doesn't put you off if you haven't done this before.

My 20' was perfect for my needs, but when it came time to sell my "lifetime" trailer, many buyers passed it by for a lesser, but bigger trailer. Just my 2 hex bytes.
 

Tim Kay

Lifetime Supporter
P-nut's right, California maximum legal length (overall) is 65 feet. Majority of coaches are 40 feet, so a 20 foot box trailer (plus 4' tongue) lies just under the limit. With that said, 'size matters' and how lucky do you feel. Even a 22' box would be overlength in this instance so my thoughts are what's the difference if your 1' or 5' over. In the unlikely event you get pulled over you'll be dropping the trailer and calling for a tow either way. I've had my 24 stacker box for seven years here in Calif and no issues. That's not to say, I do pick my routes and fly under the "radar" whenever possible, the pic below explains why it does stress me a little.

I agree with P-nut that a 24' box is a prefered length even for resale and I've never heard "Gee, I wish I had a smaller trailer" either.

Also, from what I've see the majority of track days are not like Nascar where everyone drives a 40' coach. It's more dually's, pickups and smaller tow vehicles.
 

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Tim Kay

Lifetime Supporter
Does the GT40 door (about 16" off the ground) clear the trailer wheel wells?
On my box trailer - Floor to top of wheel well measures 12.5" and on my open trailer it's 9.5" The prloblem opening the door is not the wheel well but the wall.
 

Alan Watkins

Lifetime Supporter
Thanks guys, you convinced me. In scouring the net for used trailes I've seen lots of 24s, a few 20s, but no 22s. So that's a pretty strong hint right there. And I think you're right on the philosophical point; I can't think of a time when I bought a little beyond what I thought I would need and then regretted it.

I think I'm heading toward buying a new one (good used ones are surprisingly rare) and this raises the question of options. In particular, it raises the question of which options does it make sense to add afterwards? Are there any things you've done to a trailer where you wished was built-in by the factory? Converseley, are there any where it's enough cheaper or user specific that it makes sense to DIY after delivery? The reasons I can imagine for the latter are either that DIY is incredibly cheaper, or there are likely to be user specific decisions (eg light placement) I'd rather make myself.

An example where I think I would let them do it is $15/ft welded in E-track so i=that's nicely flush with the surface.

An example of the latter might be winch and battery, where my cost could be considerably lower than theirs.

White interior panels? Cabinets? Flooring?
 
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Alan Watkins

Lifetime Supporter
Just pulled the trigger on a brand new ATC 24' "Fast Lane" with 5200# axles, 2' wedge nose, winch & battery, walk-on roof w/ ladder, 48" side door, ramp extensions, E-track on the walls. "Fast Lane" is a package with cabinets, AC wiring, lights, coin rubber floors.

Thanks very much for all the help and advice guys, I really appreciate it. Couldn't have done it without you. Let me know if you need a car moved.
 
Just pulled the trigger on a brand new ATC 24' "Fast Lane" with 5200# axles, 2' wedge nose, winch & battery, walk-on roof w/ ladder, 48" side door, ramp extensions, E-track on the walls. "Fast Lane" is a package with cabinets, AC wiring, lights, coin rubber floors.

Thanks very much for all the help and advice guys, I really appreciate it. Couldn't have done it without you. Let me know if you need a car moved.
Sounds like a great trailer! The only problem I can see is that it is across the country from me, so I won't be able to take a look. :)

AC wiring only is a good choice- you can add the AC yourself (I did) for much less.
 

Alan Watkins

Lifetime Supporter
Sould I put on a brembo kit? :)
OT: I said the above in jest about my 3-ton Lexus LX-570 suv. But come to find out there really is a brembo kit for it: 16" rotors (vs 13" stock). So it would have rotors larger than the wheels on my GT40....
 

Alan Watkins

Lifetime Supporter
Just pulled the trigger on a brand new ATC 24' .....
After moving the key elements of the household (P2160, my wife and the four cats) 500 miles north in one 9-hr drive, here are some pictures of the trailer with P2160 still unloaded. Thanks again for the great advice.

Trailer Front.jpg Trailer Rear.jpg Trailer Inside.jpg

BTW my original color choice was silver to match the tow vehicle, but couldn't get that with 0.050" skin (which I preferred over more wavy 0.030"). So now I'm going to "wrap it." With wrapping providing nearly total freedom, looking for suggestions on a color scheme....
 
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Alan Watkins

Lifetime Supporter
Alan, Good looking trailer. How much does is it weigh unloaded?
Ah, this is where it gets ugly. After having taken delivery I discovered it weighs 4,700 lb empty. About 1/2 ton more than I expected, but then I don't recall where I got my expectations. So riight now i'm curious but also ignorant about how "aluminum" was an advantage in empty weight. :) I did option the s**t out of the thing, going from a base price of around $13K to $30K, but don't know precisely how that set of options impacted weight. I may ask the mfr. to break that down for me.

But the moral to anyone doing this who cares about weight is to ask about the weight of every single option and track it the way you track the purchase price. Overall I'm not unhappy; my LX-570 towed it with the 2600 lb GT40 and a bunch of household stuff just fine. I just had fantasies (but not plans) of being able to load a much heavier car before hitting my tow vehicle's limit.

Here, FWIW, is the configuration somewhat earlier than final but pretty close to what I got; everything I marked in red would add significant weight relative to a basic trailer so I may just have a "nickel/dime" problem....


Trailer Type: 2012 ATC Quest Car Haulers
Color: silver frost exterior, silver frost cabinet door color.
Cabinet Color: white
Axles: (2) 5200# Torsion Axles



Width: 8.5
Length: 26
Height: 7t


Model #: ATCQST8524TA$13,300.00
Standard Features:


FRAMEFULL PERIMETER ALUMINUM FRAMEALL-TUBE CONSTRUCTIONTORSION AXLES WITH EZ LUBE HUBSSPREAD AXLE DESIGN WITH FENDERETTESELECTRIC BRAKES - ALL AXLESGEL CELL BATTERY BREAKAWAY KIT2-5/16" COUPLERSAFETY CHAINS & HOOKS5000# ZINC PLATED MANUAL JACK16" O/C FLOOR CROSSMEMBERS16" O/C ROOF CROSSMEMBERS - 1"x 3"48" BEAVERTAIL16" O/C WALL SUPPORTSSMOOTH ALUM. RADIUS WHEEL BOXESFLAT FRONT DESIGN


INTERIORADVANTECH SUB FLOORFLOOR COVER IS OPTIONAL ADVANTECH RAMP ADVANTECH TRANSITION FLAPOPEN STUD WALLS OPEN STUD CEILING(4) 5000# D-RINGS WIRE GROMMETS (1) ROOF VENT (2) RECESSED DOME LIGHTS WITH (1) WALL SWITCH
 
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That does seem a little heavy for an aluminum trailer. I'm sure its built well tho. My 20 ft. long Haulmark race trailer is 3558 lb. but the interior is fairly spartan with only one overhead cabinet.
 

Randy V

Admin
Lifetime Supporter
Wow... That weighs 1200# more than my 26' Classic Dominator does at 3500#

my Classic was a $9,000 trailer when it was new in 1998. It also has the 5200# axles and alloy wheels, but the frame is all steel, the only aluminum (other than wheels) is the diamond plate decking on the ramp door and the skin itself. Also I installed Rubbermaid cabinets (lightweight plastic - but they are holding up very well), a compressor, winch and a big-a$$ battery under the work bench.

All I can think of was all that bubble-foil insulation you have!

Must be a darned nice trailer though....
 
Or you could do what I did and make your own.
After looking for a trailer for a while, I found nothing under $aus20,000 that did not required some serious compromise. And, under $aus10,000 meant serious compromises or modification work to be done.
So in accordance with how I do things I designed and built my own, to my own specifications.
It is just on 6m long, (will fit in a standard shed). Obviously enclosed and if you look closely at the pictures below you will see it Necks in at the rear for reduced drag. It has air bag suspension, that is independent, and means regards of the load's weight (or empty trailer) I can adjust the springs' pressures to ensure they are just right (including raising two wheels when turning the trailer in a tight spot). Also it can be lowered down to allow them to be loaded without having to change suspension settings.

Some pictures.




Now lowered:



The slight slope once lower means that the car is towed and eased out with the winch. No longer do I need to undertake precision driving each time I load it on the trailer, and risk panel damage.
 
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