Featherlite trailers

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2015: Featherlite trailers
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steven G. Williams on Friday, March 27, 2015 - 11:33 am:

I am going to take the plunge, and get a new enclosed car hauler trailer. Having read the various threads on this forum and researched several companies, I was wondering if anyone had any experience, good or bad, with Featherlite Trailers?
Thanks!
Steven


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By John Doolittle on Friday, March 27, 2015 - 11:40 am:

They can't be beat! Be sure to go tall enough and wide enough- plan for future Model T's.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Michael Garrison - Rice Minnesota on Friday, March 27, 2015 - 12:00 pm:

They have the reputation of being one of the best. When I bought my 20 ft enclosed trailer with a heavy steel frame and 5000 lb axles. I pulled it with a half ton Ford. I learned to appreciate my equalizer hitch. That being said, if I was going to do it again I'd spend the extra money for the aluminum frame, 5000 lb axles and tow with a 3/4 ton truck.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Gilbert V. I. Fitzhugh on Friday, March 27, 2015 - 12:49 pm:

I have a 24-foot Featherlite and love it. I can pull my '13 T runabout and another car - Buick, one-lung Cadillac or small Stanley - with a VW Touareg. But it still takes a helluva lotta feathers to make something that light!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steven Thum on Friday, March 27, 2015 - 12:57 pm:

Steven,
I am jealous. Good luck and show it to me when you get it.

Steven


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steven G. Williams on Friday, March 27, 2015 - 01:15 pm:

To haul a torpedo or a touring car, I figure all I need is an 18' trailer.

Michael, for that type car, why would I need the 5000 lb axles? I would upgrade from the 3500 lb to the 4000 range, but 5k? Curious.

Steven, may or may not, all depends on the $$. And if I get it, I may charge admission to show it off....gotta pay for it, you know! ;-)
Regards to all,
Steven


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Andy Oldman on Friday, March 27, 2015 - 01:39 pm:

I bought a 16 foot used one with a car. Super trailer. Their customer service is good. Had to replace a skylight dome which they handled efficiently

Mine has wood floor which is great as I bolt down a 2x4 against each rear tire to prevent hopping sideways on our crap New England roads. Someone stole the big balance hitch unit off my truck when the trailer was elsewhere. It does not need a balance hitch always tows nicely. It's worth the investment and does not need to be all tricked out except for the electric foot and inside winch!! Goodluck!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dennis Seth - Ohio on Friday, March 27, 2015 - 05:53 pm:

Be sure you check how high rear door opening is; excluding the tension spring, track, and cables. Some folks have posted that they can't get their car in the trailer with the top up. Extra high doors are required for Coupes.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Timothy Kelly on Friday, March 27, 2015 - 06:02 pm:

I have a spec built 2011 40 foot long 8 foot tall Featherlite gooseneck trailer that I purchased in May of 2010. It's not my first Featherlite, but it'll likely be my last.

While it has many great features, and tows great, the trailer racks while traveling down the road. The racking, which was due in part to the incredibly poor fitting ramp door, resulted in among other things the hinge for the ramp door breaking leaves loose. I took the trailer back to the dealer in May of 2013 to have it repaired, presumably under Featherlite's eight year structural warranty. The dealer contacted Featherlite about the problem and sent pictures depicting the issue. Featherlite's reply was a two sentence email message to the dealer which I have copied and pasted below:



Dealer name removed

"I just looked at the pictures and pulled up the date of purchase. The trailer was purchased 5/10 and we cover hinges for a period of one year, therefore, this trailer is out of warranty for this issue.

Thank you,

Bruce McConnell

Customer Service Manager

Featherlite Trailers"



Featherlite's response was in my opinion both disappointing and dismissive, especially with respect to a trailer that was spec built and relatively expensive.

At the suggestion of the dealer I continued to use the trailer and the racking continued. The hinge continued to deteriorate and the rear box frame of the trailer started cracking and breaking apart. In late 2013 I took the trailer back to the dealer once again. This time, after explaining that I wasn't going away until Featherlite fixed my trailer, Featherlite agreed to do so. They added gussets and remanufactured the rear door so that it fit better. They also replaced the hinge.

The racking has been significantly reduced, but small cracks are appearing once again.

While I was disappointed that my trailer was breaking apart, I was shocked by Featherlite's initial dismissive response conveyed in a two sentence email message.

There are other issues as well, which I'll not bother mentioning. On balance, while the trailer tows well etc, I don't feel like I received value for the price paid. As such, I'll likely not be spending any more dollars with what is in my opinion a high end trailer manufacturer that only reluctantly and after a hassle stands behind its product.

Your experience may vary.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By P. Jamison- PA on Friday, March 27, 2015 - 08:09 pm:

You should check this site out, Timothy:

http://complainer.co.uk/


Phil


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Michael Garrison - Rice Minnesota on Friday, March 27, 2015 - 08:25 pm:

Steven, it's a sad truth that when you own an enclosed trailer your friends and family come out of the woodwork and you can end up hauling a somewhat heavier load then you expected. Especially if you have kids around that are college age. Appliances and a worn out "collector" car can add up and create a bit of a pucker factor. But, at 18 ft there's a pretty good chance you won't need much more than the 3500 lb axles. At any rate, after losing my enclosed trailer through divorce I'm envious of anyone who gets one. I'm even tearing up as I'm writing this. Maybe a photo or two on the forum would be a nice gesture? :-) It would be a good reminder of what was and maybe someday could be again. :-) Oh and as someone else said be aware of height considerations.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steven G. Williams on Friday, March 27, 2015 - 08:42 pm:

Michael, thanks for the clarification. I've discovered how easy it is to overload an open flatbed trailer lolol and at my age and with my back, I don't move friends any more... family is another matter tho.

I am very aware of height, having read on the various threads about that. My touring and torpedo appear to be 7 feet tall with the top up, so I've been inquiring with dealers about an opening that will accommodate that. There have been other highly regarded companies mentioned on the forum that I'm checking out, in addition to Featherlite.
Regards,
Steven


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Michael Garrison - Rice Minnesota on Friday, March 27, 2015 - 08:49 pm:

WANTED: GOOD WOMAN!!

Must know how to clean, cook, sew, dig worms, fish, change oil and fix flats. Must own boat and enclosed trailer. Please send photos of boat and trailer.

Phone: (800) BIG-MIKE


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Walter Higgins on Friday, March 27, 2015 - 08:53 pm:

I have had several different enclosed trailers come through and like to study the differences in all of them. Three are Featherlites, two of which are owned by a professional hauler. All of them have cracks (or have cracked and been repaired) in the corners of the rear door opening. The professional hauler owns one bumper-pull and one gooseneck. He has had to repair cracks at the gooseneck attaching points a couple of times.

Whether these issues are common to all aluminum trailers or just Featherlites I cannot say. There must be a way to correctly engineer an all aluminum structure without these problems if the railroad can use aluminum coal cars.

To contrast that, I know a heavy rigging contractor that only buys Wells Cargo trailers after having tried a lot of other options. He beats the crap out of them and buys new ones every five years. The are cosmetically spoiled, but still structurally sound. I know it's not aluminum, but from a durability standpoint I haven't seen anything better.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Les VonNordheim on Friday, March 27, 2015 - 09:12 pm:

When I had our trailer custom made at RC Cargo, it cost $7200. A Featherlite trailer with not as many extra's was more than $14,000. The difference in weight was approx. 1500 lbs. I discussed with RC Cargo the differences between having an aluminum trailer built vice steel with aluminum skin (roof and sides). They would also build me an aluminum trailer but did not feel that it was cost effect for the normal customer. In addition, I was told that building an aluminum trailer required additional bracing and thickness to make it comparable to a steel trailer in strength. Both aluminum and steel construction use steel axels.

Also, a friend had the tongue fall off a nearly new Featherlite trailer. Featherlite repaired the trailer at no cost but my friend did not keep the trailer out of fear it would break again. This happened approx. 15 years ago.
When welding aluminum.....such as 6061-T6. the heat effected weld zone anneals the aluminum which reduces the strength in each weld zone. To off set this, the aluminum material thickness is increased which adds to the over all weight.

Besides Featherliie, there are other manufactures that also produce aluminum framed trailers.

Not trying to bad mouth Featherlite....there is more to consider when buying a car trailer than just weight.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By mike_black SC/FL on Friday, March 27, 2015 - 09:15 pm:

Steven,
The next step up from 3500 pound axles is 5200. Go with at least that! You may want to haul more than a T someday, or the person you are trying to sell it to may have other than a T. For the small difference in money, get the heavier axles.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Freighter Jim on Friday, March 27, 2015 - 10:00 pm:

Steven,

I am on the road every day hauling ....

I am having a custom 34 ft. trailer being built now.

I did a lot of research before deciding on a manufacturer.

Send me an email or PM or call me ...


Freighter Jim


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Freighter Jim on Friday, March 27, 2015 - 10:11 pm:

Timothy,

As you know - the roads are in bad need of repair that you tow a trailer on.

A fully tubed steel framed trailer that uses no outriggers on the base frame is the only way to go.

In the real world - rarely do you load & unload on a perfectly flat smooth surface - all kinds of roadway surfaces and angles are what I encounter every day.

Rear ramp doors fail because they warp in addition to being not adequately framed for structural integrity.

That is why I opt for rear cargo doors & a four piece aluminum ramp system rated at 5000 pounds per axle.

This is more expensive than a ramp door = but also more versatile for cargo management.


Freighter Jim


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Les VonNordheim on Saturday, March 28, 2015 - 10:19 am:

I included Dexter 5K torque flex axles on my trailer. The down side of heaver duty axles is the trailer may ride harder compared to 3.5K axles when only towing a model T. Also, just adding 5K axles does not mean the trailer chassis is designed to handle the extra load. Hauling a model T does not require 5K axles. The reason I bought a trailer package having 5K axles is that it should sell easier when that day comes.

When buying an enclosed trailer, many things need to be considered. An aluminum chassis trailer is much more expensive compared to a steel chassis. Most enclosed trailers have aluminum skinned sides and roof(If Ordered). If 1500 lbs. more weight makes the difference between your tow vehicles capability....you may be on the edge!

Research before buying.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steven G. Williams on Wednesday, April 01, 2015 - 10:58 pm:

Research is done! Thanks to a pm from a forum member, I checked out colonycargo.com, comparing them with Featherlite, Haulmark, Interstate, Pace, Wells Cargo, and a couple of others. I compared frames and construction, length, then the options I wanted, and they beat all others by at least $1500. Plus it appears the quality is as good as or better than most of the others. The order has been placed, and they tell me there is a three week build time.

I went with the soft v nose, 20' box, 5k axles, 6 D rings plus E track on the walls, D rated radial tires, and an extra 18" in interior height to give plenty of room to drive a T into the trailer with the top up. ;-) Plus some other things, but those were the basics.

Thanks to all for your assistance.
Steven


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Freighter Jim on Thursday, April 02, 2015 - 08:26 am:

Steven,

Good to hear that - I get no commission by the way .... :-)

I was really impressed w/ Tim when I stopped by a few years ago - both him & Barry are great to deal with.

My trailer should be done next week & of course I will be in California - have to figure out how to get to Georgia ....



Freighter Jim


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kenneth W DeLong on Thursday, April 02, 2015 - 08:45 am:

Steven,I hope you also got a roof vent? Bud in Wheeler,Mi.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Eugene Story on Thursday, April 02, 2015 - 10:01 am:

I think you people who are having trouble with ramp back doors,you will find when you load on uneven ground, and let the door down one side may be off the ground as much as four inches or more. Put a block or wedge under the high side so you won't twist the door. Also put jacks under the back frame rails so if you drive in when unhooked it won't raise up in front, and if hooked to pull truck it won't come off ball and ram the tong in the tail gate. If your trailer door is just high enough to just sneak in,if the front of trailer comes up you will crush the top on the car, if your half way in.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steven G. Williams on Thursday, April 02, 2015 - 01:56 pm:

Bud and Eugene,
Got roof vent, and two side vents for flow thru ventilation to exhaust gas fumes while driving. Also got the rear stabilizer jacks. Interior spare tire, trailer is fully lined. two ceiling 12 volt lights on switch. 6 D rings, to haul either a T or modern car. I'm going to really like this trailer... ;-)

Thanks Freighter Jim! Ask them for a commission, or at least lunch. ;-)


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