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to those who use trailers

Posted: Sun Apr 17, 2016 11:15 pm
by drmike
hi guys

i need to sort out a transporter for my race cars.

my options are limited to getting a truck that i can crane the cars on an off or getting a trailer.

trailer price and old truck price would be similar here, but truck would take up a little more space and have much higher running costs. ive never towed before and was wondering how hard it is? i have an old chevy pickup i could probably use as a tow vehicle, but im sensing having it on the back of a transport truck would be a lot nicer and safer to drive - thoughts

some of the tracks are 4hrs drive away mostly all highway

how stable/safe are trailers?

cars are F3, F3000 and Super 7

by transport truck i mean a stock 4m long low bed truck and making up some ramps/adding a hoist

Re: to those who use trailers

Posted: Mon Apr 18, 2016 8:36 am
by andrewcliffe
Trailers - going forwards is easy. Reversing is harder, but that comes with practice - and its easier with a bigger trailer than a small garden trailer.

Certainly here, you've got to be aware of total weights - car + trailer + race car + tools / stuff can exceed the amount permissible that the tow car can tow.

Re: to those who use trailers

Posted: Mon Apr 18, 2016 12:57 pm
by RedRedWine
How nice the trailers are to tow depends on the loading. When it was open, my Brian James 2 wheeler was superbly stable but when covered in it got a bit frisky until we changed the weight distribution a bit. A 4 wheel trailer is usually a lot easier to tow than a 2 wheeler, though I stick with a 2 wheeler as it's easier to manhandle on the drive at home.

Re: to those who use trailers

Posted: Tue Apr 19, 2016 3:41 am
by drmike
Thanks guys

Over here in japan you can drive a 5000kg GVW truck on normal license so theres no issue with weight. i was looking at buying a flatbed truck with a 4.5m bed and adding ramps, maybe a hoist. something like this...

Im not sure i fancy towing a trailer.....

i dont have any experience with towing but im guessing driving a truck is much-more-better with less stability and handling issues to work about?

Re: to those who use trailers

Posted: Tue Apr 19, 2016 8:55 pm
by schomosport
I have had a variety of 4-wheel trailers, open and covered, which I have always towed with whatever the family estate of the day was, usually big Audis. Note one downside of towing a box trailer with a car is poor rear visibility as your mirrors are not far enough a part to see close behind the trailer. You do occasionally get surprised by someone who has come up fast from behind, tucked themselves in behind the trailer and then pulled out to overtake at the same time that you do. I am happy to about 65 provided I have loaded it right, sometimes 60 feels more comfortable. Some go much faster and good luck to them. Biggest instability issues in my experience beyond loading are unintentional over-speed and going over motorway brows too fast. You know its going wrong when the wagging of the the trailer gets the steering wheel oscillating......correct by lift and moderate braking is my preference. Received practice is just to slow gently but I reckon if it has gone severely pear shaped then the slower you are going when you have the accident the better.

Its a cliche but wherever you go the trailer follows - allow extra width on tight corners, watch your braking distances, take great care around cyclists and act as though you are driving a big lorry on motorways. But I'll pass on being 6 foot behind the rear end of a 38 tonne container trailer, I like to see where I am going. I'm carp at reversing, a good banks man makes life much easier.

All that said, if I was starting again and had the space to park it I would go the truck route although whether or not I could stomach the choice between bumbling along at 50 versus the fuel costs from going faster I don't know. Although if you get one with sleeping then that would be cheaper than hotels and doesn't disassociate yourself from the social scene at the circuit if that's your scene. Cheers.

Re: to those who use trailers

Posted: Tue Apr 19, 2016 11:43 pm
by drmike
thanks mark,

one consideration is ..i dont have an estate car - i have space for parking a truck, or a trailer but not a new estate car and a trailer.

now if i could use my old pick up as a tow vehicle that could swing things...

but im not sure my old pick up would make a good tow vehicle. not really sure what does.

its old straight 6 probably does 10mpg max lol, just about enough power to pull the skin of a small rice pudding (around 110bhp, 200ibsft), leaf springs, at least brakes are good i put corvette discs up front

im not sure that would be a good idea at all lol

(and no its not pink....its....ok its a bit pink)

your last paragraph was interesting, that you would go the truck route if doing it over and had space.

I think my two options boil down to,

1) Buy trailer and buy suitable tow vehicle, provide parking spaces for both, pass trailer licence (japan requires)


2) Buy 5t truck, provide parking space (japan can drive up to 5t on normal license)

Re: to those who use trailers

Posted: Mon Apr 25, 2016 5:57 am
by stevengriffin
I have tried the trailer thing both covered and open. Open tows nicer but the car gets covered with road dirt and for open wheel cars this is not nice. A saloon can be filled with all the stuff you need for racing whereas you need to find somewhere to put it all with a single seater. For the last few years I have used a lovely old Iveco 7.5 truck plus caravan. It carries everything and the caravan makes Mrs G comfortable at races. It is very big and expensive to run though. I really enjoy the Yorkie Bar trucker thing and the big rig is fun to drive. I am away at present and I have given my truck away but when I return I think I am going to go beavertail and caravan route, smaller, cheaper to run and generally less hassle than a truck.

Re: to those who use trailers

Posted: Mon Apr 25, 2016 5:09 pm
by Wingnut
Wingnut Racing Solution:

One second hand large bodied Luton ramps to go over the wheel arches.

Work bench at the far end with tyre rack. Awning and generator fit under the car, wheels and tool boxes fit under the internal ramps.

Took about a weeks worth of labour to put together and gives both storage for the car, security as its not towable, reverse against a wall and it cant be broken into and I don't need to unpack it if I chose not to. Returns 34mpg when not towing a caravan and 26 when I am. Can use back as a place to sleep as well.

has a winch to pull car into van - can get a Westfield / Caterham / Dallara / Mini in vehicle as well - a Jedi with its wings is as big as many "larger" cars as the front end doesn't come off (there is a chassis under the nose moulding that's not removable).

Has LED lighting from the winch battery so it doesn't drain the start battery. Workbench at the end has a vice and a spotlight and is the width of the van and 20 inches deep - acts as the wheel rack and the spare engine carrier in transit.


Re: to those who use trailers

Posted: Mon Apr 25, 2016 5:19 pm
by Wingnut
Oh - a few legalities...

-Towbars now have to be euro approved so "just sticking one on your car" may not be entirely legal.
-7500kg trucks "Not for hire or reward" can now do 70mph on the road motorways (its an ECU mod for about £50)
-Only people with licenses from before 1997 have entitlement to tow a trailer
-Only people with licenses from before 1997 have entitlement to drive a vehicle over 3500kgs
-If you have a 7500kg truck on an older license with Grand Father rights you can only tow a trailer or caravan up to 750kgs (unbraked). The law states the "maximum train weight" is 8250 and that's plated weights - not a weight on the scales. If you remove the plate off your caravan they will impound for overweight and fine for removing the plate.

Data here: ... ou-can-tow

VOSA and the Police are fairly astute to the above - they know what license the registered keeper has and they will impound overweight trailers / trucks / caravans and combos!

All the above are often ignored and I know many people who get away with it... Till you have an accident. Many of the offences related to "home made towbar breaks and a loose load" have possible prison sentences attached to a conviction. This is in addition your insurance company nullifies your policy for driving without the appropriate license.

Re: to those who use trailers

Posted: Tue Apr 26, 2016 6:46 am
by drmike
thats a nice set up wingnut,

btw how do you get the car on and off the truck?

Re: to those who use trailers

Posted: Wed Apr 27, 2016 8:10 am
by RobManser
Just a few things to check and in answer to your questions:

1) Most vehicles will have a safe towing limit stipulated by their manufacturer. For modern cars this will just be listed in the back of your handbook, but I'm not so sure for your truck!! In the absence of that, or in addition to it, common advice for towing found in books and on the web etc talks about the weight of your trailer compared to the kerb weight of your tow vehicle; some people recommend no more than 85%, whereas some say they're fine up to 100%.

2) Add up everything you need to take to a race meeting, i.e. spare bodywork, wheels, fuel, jacks, stands etc. For those of us with cars and a trailer it's often a squeeze.

3) Look at loading angles. Even with the nose removed, some single seaters will struggle to be loaded up ramps onto a trailer, but may cope fine with a truck tail-lift. My trailer has a hydraulic tilt on it to ease this angle and I have seen people with extra large wheels they use for transit, although bear in mind this will mean carrying one extra set of wheels, which with a trailer and a car may be an issue.

4) Research and measure the weight that the laden trailer will put down through your tow vehicle's tow bar. Again, most manufacturers have recommendations, but in the absence of that just research general advice. Obviously this always needs to be positive! (i.e. pushing down on the back of your car).

5) Stability. This can depend how you load the trailer (i.e. item '4' above) and on its laden weight relative to your vehicle. Most people who are sensible about weights and loading manage fine and stories of weaving etc are reasonably rare.

As for the decision of a truck vs a trailer, I guess much of that depends on how much vehicle transporting you're doing and whether the maintenance and insurance costs of a truck are worth it.

I hope the above helps in some small way!

Re: to those who use trailers

Posted: Wed Apr 27, 2016 11:15 am
by andrewcliffe
Our truck is a converted 7.5t lorry. In theory it takes two cars, one on the floor, another on parallel benches at waist height. In practice we find its best to put one car on the upper deck and all the accumulated stuff necessary for running a car underneath - rolling tool cabinets, boxes of spares, awning poles and so on. This has a full length tail lift so you are not having to push or winch the car up a slope.

We also have an additional covered trailer which can take two cars. As mentioned by the previous poster, ultra low ground clearance cars often requires the use of additional ramps and/or removal of nosecones or nappies before fitting. Monoposto cars at 40mm are better than F3 cars at the intended low ride heights.

If whatever you get requires the car to traverse any kind of slope, a powered winch would be a very sensible precaution as you can control the pace properly. Pushing requires man power and if you have additional inclines due to a sloping paddock, this can make loading or unloading more of a drama. I'm not sure I'd want to crane a car on and off each time.

If you have a weight limit of 5000kg I would probably be looking for a lightweight but covered trailer, and as capacious a tow vehicle as possible - or to consider additional driving tests for the next level of vehicle weight up, as that will give more options.

Re: to those who use trailers

Posted: Thu Apr 28, 2016 9:41 am
by Wingnut
DrMike - I use long ramps and an electric winch to pull the cars in.

Re: to those who use trailers

Posted: Mon May 02, 2016 10:01 am
by stevengriffin
Re truck and towing. I, and I know many others, have got away with truck plus caravan without the unwanted attention of the constabulary and their representatives. I think it helps to travel at nights and weekends as these people are civvies who work office hours. I can think of at least one member who pulls a huge caravan and has a truck full of cars and tools who so far has managed to evade trouble. Not that I'm advocating breaking the law of course.

Re: to those who use trailers

Posted: Mon May 09, 2016 12:11 am
by drmike
thanks guys some good food for thought.

appreciate the advice

looking into the trailer license here its 12hrs of lessons and around 3600 GBP......

trailers are considered `cars` and have a two yearly MOT and annual insurance/road tax etc etc, circa 3000 GBP per year.....

(i suspect they really dont want people towing trailers in japan)