I will need to buy a trailer to transport my Roadster to shows and events. There are superb articles on the forum on towing safety. AFTER READING THEM, I will buy dual axle, electric brakes, brake away system. The pictures of jacK knifed trailers and ruined cars made me believe even though I have a single axle dolly, (AND THANKS FOR THE ADVICE I NEVER TOWED MODEL T ON IT and ruined the car. ) its time to get a dual.
I will appreciate comments on your trailers what you like and dislike about them, and should I go minimum size or larger? Open deck or enclosed.
Also what is the minimum width and internal length you have found to be useful?
I have seen 16 foot dual axle trailers new 1300
Enclosed more expensive 4000
Any advice in the next few weeks is appreciated. My tow vehicle (dont laugh) is a superb 1994 Ford Aerostar extended 4 WD towing capacity is listed between 4400 and 5500 pounds so I will go minimum
If you're willing to stack the top and fold the windshield, a low roof, narrow, enclosed trailer is best in my estimation. You have free garage space, there is no chance of losing a windshield or headlamp lens to road debris. Any loose bits that shake off the car are found on the floor. If you park at a hotel, you're less likely to find someone from the lobby bar sitting in your car or poking under the hood.
The reason I say low roof is that your roadster needs a very tall trailer if you want to keep the top up. My trailer was built one foot over height and has a beavertail ramp inside. My son's 12 touring misses the top of the doorframe by fractions of an inch. This tall and wide of a trailer will tax your Aerostar due to wind resistance instead of weight.
If possible, get a ramp door. I almost crushed a friend's foot when a ramp let go on my old trailer.
I have a 25 coupe. I bought an Aluma, 16 foot with a V nose, all aluminum enclosed trailer, with an extra 12 inches tall. It has 2 axles, electric brakes on both, torque flex suspension, and an electric winch to pull the T on and off. Mine has "barn doors" and ramps as I use the trailer for other things and didn't want a fold down door/ramp. I scaled everything on the local recycling facility scales, so I know what everythng weighs. The empty trailer is 2580 lbs. With the T on the trailer it weighs 4380 lbs. I adjusted the position of the T so that I have 440 lbs on the tongue. I pulled it to Florida and back last year, and last fall to Indiana and back. I live in Iowa. If you look at the front of the trailer and see all the nicks, dents and scratches, and then translate that to what would have occured to the car if it had been an open trailer, it wouldn't be very pretty. Given your limited towing capacity, an aluminum trailer might be your only option. I bought mine last year. It was $10,000..
I to once owned a Ford Aerostar extended 4 WD van like yours, to tow a 16 foot enclosed car trailer for my model T. In the few years of towing I went through two transmissions, even though I had a transmission cooler installed. I started out with an open trailer for about 4 years and switched to an enclosed trailer. I feel an enclosed trailer is better,you don't have to worry about, obects blowing out of your T, or the bad weather while hauling your car, better security, you have a place to maintain your car while on tours. My tow vechile is now a 1999 Ford Expedition, had it since 2001 and never had any troubles. You can pick one up for around $4,000-$8,000 range.
David,If i read correctly your on your second Model T in about a month so i would Not buy a Model T only trailer.A longer trailer handles better both forward and backward pluss gives you extra room/space.The taller and wider will pull harder and use more fuel but in anything it has allways cost more to go first class.The weight savings between Alum& Steel is Expensive so?? At a Bare Min i would go 16' enclosed stone gaurd ramp door and roof vent. Your Aerostar should do but rember you will be a [combnition]and usually truck speed limits apply.??? Bud.
Thanks for the advice. I never thought of security. I can see why an enclosed would be good I would hate to have people in My 1917
It looks like Aerostar wind resistance eliminates enclosed or I drive real slow 50 mph back highways
Other thought is I am going to collect some more T's hopefully and need to look at high roof Oh well time to save money for a truck I suppose
Having been there, done that and had three trailer towing accidents (my wife was driving for one), I can assure you that trailer towing can be very hazzardous to your health. There is nothing more exciting than going down a steep hill, losing the trailer brakes and having your rear wheels picked off the ground by the trailer, while it is swaying from side to side and gaining sway in every see-saw. That was all done at 30 mph.
I would not even pull a four foot utility trailer with an Aerostar van or any other light van with a crosswise engine and front wheel drive. The front weight is too far foward and the rear wheel's weight is too little.
One of our club members had a similar Japanese van and a big crinkle, in front of the rear wheels, that went up and over the top from a sudden stop and extra trailer push.
I too have an enclosed trailer. I went to a Wells Cargo 20 foot with 1 foot extra height. This provides the ability to haul some longer cars than a T. In addition, I wanted to put some cabinetry in the front that could store tools, parts, air compressor, winch, etc.
I strongly recommend getting a small winch to pull in dead cars. A Master Lock 12V DC portable winch with 2000# capacity (2953AT) is only $59 from Northern Tools. Or go with the $99 one - 1120210. At this price, well worth the money.
A boat tail is very useful to allow tall cars to get in without requiring the top to be lowered in bad weather. This eliminates any chance wind gusts grabbing the top as you try to get it down when getting it into the trailer in a hurry.
Concerning tow vehicles, with all the used large SUV/trucks on the car lots, you can probably pick up one pretty cheaply. If you get a more robust tow vehicle, you would have more flexibility in the type / size of trailer you choose. I have towed trailers/boats that have weighed near the limit of the tow vehicle - not a fun activity . Maybe you could rent something near the weight / size you expect it to be and test tow with your car to see if that is what you really want to do.
While you may want to go aluminum, a stronger tow vehicle would let you go with a larger, non-aluminum, less expensive trailer. Aluminum trailers are nice but they definitely cost more.
OTOH, if you install an aux tranny such as a Warford in your T, dolly towing is no problem, and you can keep your Aeroscare.
Some clarification is in order. An Aerostar is a rear wheel drive van that originally came with a 2.3l or a 2.8l engine. When the 3.0l Vulcan engine became available, the Aerostar adopted that engine in early 1986. So most have the 3.0l pushrod engine. All Aerostars are RWD but some were offered with the AWD option. So this is not a transverse engine front wheel drive truck. Due to its size, it is limited as far as how much trailer frontal area it will tolerate outside of its silhouette. This is why I recommended a short narrow trailer. If the gent wants to buy a new combination, then I would recommend the current production E-150 wagon which when equipped with a 5.4l tows in excess of 9000 pounds, And I recommend a 24 foot Wells Cargo tandem axle Auto Hauler with beavertail and ramp door and one foot overheight. I would recommend this because I know it holds two Ts or an A and a T. If in doubt on capacities, consult the Ford towing guide which is available on line and at any dealer.
The Aerostar would probably be moderately sufficent towing a lightweight open aluminum trailer. The one I own weighs about 900 pounds, has two wheel brakes and was custom built for a Model T. With a touring on top the whole thing is less than 2800 lbs.
Any kind of enclosed trailer big enough for a T is going to be too much for the Aerostar.
If you go with a narrow trailer be sure it has a side door so you can get out of the car once you load. I don't have one but my trailer is 101" wide It gives me plenty of room to squeeze my rotund physique around my truck, and even do a little maintenance,etc. Whatever you decide on make sure you have good brakes with a properly adjusted brake control. Especially if you're skimping a little on your tow vehicle. You can start a bigger load than you can safely stop.
It depends a lot on where you live, what you want and what you want to do. I think an open trailer is much easier to load, and easier to pull and easier to see around when you back up.
However, if you live where it rains or snows a lot, and you want to go long distances where you need to spend a night or more on the road, an enclosed trailer would be much safer. Also I tow my T's with the top down and once got caught in a rain storm which warped the inside upholstered door panels and they are still warped.
I take the car with the worst body, but the best engine on long tours. That way unexpected storms or road dirt etc are not as much a concern.
I have decided that I will only trailer my cars the distance I can cover in one day so don't go on tours farther than about 500 miles from home.
I also don't have "show" cars.
If I did have "show" cars or if I lived in a very wet part of the world, or if I wished to travel longer than one day, I would definately want a closed trailer.
I use a 17' X 7" open trailer,when trailering my coupe a long distance i wrap it with shrink wrap and it keeps the dirt,rain ,bugs and anything else from making a mess, when i get where i am going i just peel it off and go,i have a 3000# winch to pull the car on or whatever.it is versatile for hauling other items like brush and loads of mulch.It is a dual axle with four wheel brakes and a large tailgate.I use a Silverado with a 5.3/327 V-8 and it does a great job and gets about 17mpg on the highway at around 65mph.It is very similar to Norms
Norm, I agree. Buying a trailer is not a "one size fits all". I live on a gravel road (crushed limestone). Besides being very dusty,when you meet someone they shower your vehicle with rocks. Its not unusual to have broken headlight lenses, rock chips in the windshield,and dings in the paint. I don't exactly have a show vehicle but the paint is respectable and I try to take care of it. It doesn't matter how slow you drive on these roads,when you meet someone running 50 to 60 mph, you get a shower and it looks like your vehicle has been dusted with flour. It works well for me to have an enclosed trailer. I like the fact that if a storm would blow up, or I would have mechanical problems, I'm never extremely far from my "mobile garage". The tow vehicle wasn't a problem because I have a ton truck that I use in my work. I have a 101" X 20', 7 1/2' inside height 10,000 lb. H&H flat-top. I use it for a number of different uses,besides T hauling. Every body's situation is
different as night an day.
I do know one thing, no matter what type of trailer you choose, you will probably make a lot of new "friends" when someone needs a moving van, I know I have.
I use (and recommend) the enclosed "Vortech" series of TPD trailers. Mine is 18' and weighs in at just over 2,000 lbs. Without any issue, I can load our '14 Touring with the top up, or our '27 Coupe. Our tow vehicle is an import SUV and this combination handles very well.
Wow thanks I thought I got an education reading the past threads on TOWING including lessons from expert truckers. This FORUM and members is just so neat. This thread should be useful to other members reading Just some questions
Mr. Goetz I have seen trailers shrink wrapped for shipping using a hair drier to shring plastic. Where do you buy shrink wrap?
Mr. Kling I have seen trailers like yours for $ 900 to 1200 with a extruded metal ramp. Is yours a 16 foot by 8 foot? Thanks again all.
Mr. Hart looking around I can not find a "Vortech trailer dealer Am I off base? Any idea of where to look? Thanks
David, its not really "shrink" wrap its stretch wrap, like heavy duty Saran wrap and is available at Lowes,Home depot etc. it is 24" wide and you wrap it several times pulling it tight.
David,here is my 2 cents.As far as trailers go I have nothing useful to add.But here are my comments on your tow vehicle.When your Aerostar was new I was in the car business.I and another guy were partners in a Ford-Lincoln-Mercury store in Wabash,Indiana.I would never have recommended an Aerostar for this job when it was new.Or for that matter the similar platform Ranger pickup.For several reasons.For one,it is not just a matter of go,it is a matter of whoa.I don't remember what the combined gross vehicle weight rating was/is for your Aerostar but I would wager a considerable sum any trailer with a T on it will exceed this weight.These are fine for towing a small outboard,etc.Another point is the extended Aerostar is extended in body only,not wheelbase.Even with a frame mounted hitch you will get some interesting oversteer problems due to the extra body length levering your rear wheels sideways.Ford got to participate in many lawsuits due to terrible multiple fatality accidents because the extension of the bodies and not the wheelbase on both the Aerostar and Econoline.Somebody would load a bunch of heavy band,etc,equipment behind the back seat,load up with kids,head out on slick roads and the rest is history. Now,the AWD facet of this.Speed sensors in the rear axles sense wheelspin.That automatically engages the transfer case.Also it has a center differential.We had trouble with these when new,under warranty.And not pulling a trailer,either...now,I am not Ford bashing.If you want me to Ford bash,get me on the subject of the specially, cheaply built OEM Firestone tires.But on the whole, Ford,in my opinion, has built fewer pieces of junk than GM or Chrysler ...And,yes,I know there are people that have pulled a cabin cruiser with a Yugo...
6' 4" x 14' I paid $900. It was used. The previous owner used it for a Model T and he died in an accident (not in the T). He had some longer ramps, but his widow could not find them. The short ramps is the only drawback. It is a bit hard to load, because I have to go quite fast to get up the ramp without stalling and then can't see a thing until I get to the top. Have to aim right and be able to stop as soon as it is up. I am fortunate to have Ruckstell in all my T's and so can use low low and have the power to ascend a bit more slowly. If I get around to it some day would like to build longer ramps.
David, the question in the subject line is "Which trailer do you prefer?" In my case, I have always joked that Plan A was to win the lottery, buy an enclosed trailer and a Navigator or Escalade as a tow vehicle. Fortunately, there was a Plan B. Since we didn't win the lottery, we have a 12' flatbed open trailer (tandem axle and electric brakes) and we pull it with an Explorer.
It has worked well for us. If the lottery win happens some day, we'll consider upgrading.
David,There are differances between springs and torsion axels,and i think most will agree the later is better.Torsion usually rides lower and lower is better. Many start with a open trailer then switch to enclosed.Rember whichever you decide Longer will handle better and give you more options as to where,what,how,and on and on.Bud.
For what its worth I have been towing various trailers for about 50yrs. My advice is to use the best towing equipment available.(hitch, brake control, sway control). An enclosed trailer is the best in my opinion for all of the things that have been mentioned but one thing that was not mentioned was the pressure put on a windshield at hiway speeds. I had to have my T hauled on a rollback & I insisted the driver hold the speed to no more than 50mph (I was in the truck with him).The windshield would probably take more but I felt comfortable at 50. I built my trailer using a 16ft car hauler. I built it as narrow as I could using steel for the skelton & used aluminum for the skins & corners. I would liked to have used aluminum for the skelton but I am not equiped to weld aluminum. I put guides in the floor & use a 12volt winch to load my T. When I am ready to unload I get in the trailer & push it out. I slanted the front to cut down on wind resistance. I pull it with a 07 Avalance. but I don't get 17mpg. One other thing . I talked to Layne's about towing on a dolly & they did not recomend doing it. Nelson
Much has been said about which trailer to buy and I will not repeat it here. A couple little nice tidbits I did add to my enclosed trailer was an outside electrical hook up socket which allows me to hook up to power (if available) when parked. On the inside I added on each side in the top corner a 4 ft flouresence shop lite that gives me plenty of light for night time on tour repairs.
Second I had 4 floor tie down installed off center to the left. This gives me more room on the right side to get in and out of the car while in the trailer.
You can drive a roadster into a lower roofed trailer than you can a touring car because the top of the roadster is inside the trailer while the rear wheels are still on the lower ramp level. JP
If you have a closed car you will either need an 8 foot wide trailer or a 7 footer with a door on the side for exiting. If you use a 7 footer you may have to purchase a winch to get it in because you can't get out once the car is in. A trailer with a factory installed winch will have a battery in it and the correct wiring for keeping the battery charged. Out here in California a garage can rent for as high as $160 a month. the trailer will pay for its self in no time.
If you get an 8 footer get a slope nosed one. I got 20 miles to the gallon with my Dodge Cummins with an 8 foot slope nose and 18 mpg with a 7 foot wide flat nosed one. Put the top up on you car and see if you can drive it into your garage. If it fits measure the height of the door and get a trailer with an opening that size.
The beaver tail is very nice and a ramp door is good for old men. Paint some epoxy paint on the floor with a double coat on the ramp. I throw sand into the paint as I am rolling it and I never skid when I am pressure washing the inside. Bolt a drip pan on the floor with four lag screws and grab washers. then you can remove it for cleaning real easy. I paint the inside of the trailer with prime and then gloss white for better visibility. I have had my Haulmark out of Springdale Utah for over ten years and love it. I bought it from A and R Portastore out of the Vintage Ford. Send them $1000 and they will start building it any color you want. It takes six weeks to get it built so don't order it in the dead of winter. I orderderd mine in March and picked it up in late April. I think all the trailer companies each have several factories. scattered around the Country. The more you pay the better the trailer and more trick you add to it the more you will enjoy it. Order the trailer as a bare bones and get a receipt for it. Then get another receipt for the accessories. They don;t belong to the trailer so why pay license fees for them if you live in a State like California where the tax your taxes. The companies give you the correct temporary convoy paper work so you can take it home without buying a license for it where it was built.
Get the trailer spare mounted on the side wall up high. Do not mount it in a well under the Model T car unless you like to play in and out on the side of the road. Get a good jack and a good hitch. I like an 18 inch draw bar because I don't kiss the corners of the trailer on tight corners and when moving around in close quarters in parking lots. They usually put the floor tie down D rings where you don't want them. Be sure to cross strap the belts when you place your car in there for towing out in the big world.
If you get a new trailer you can save as much as two dollars a mile if you pick it up at the factory. Get a stone guard and have them give you some extra running lights when you go pick it up. Trailers have a lot of clearance lights on them. A lot of the wiring is simply grounded to the aluminum side sheeting with pop rivets and after a while corrosion sets in and then you have a lot of fun tracing down faulty circuits. You pays yer money and ye takes yer chances. Keep the dirty side down and the shiny side up.
The items you pointed out are the same walk that I walked. I also added Boggie rollers under the rear, LED lights, a winch and electric front jack. Sure makes lowering/raising the tongue much easier. I also had flush mounted tie down track running the full length (secured to the metal frame). Having it in the V-nose is great for securing things. You provided David much good advice.
Les what are Boggie Rollers? Jerry
My trailer is like Norm's. I opted for an open traler with utility sides, rather than a flatbed carhauler. My trailer ends up being useful for swap meets and auction treasure hauling too. I pull it with a 3/4 ton pickup and rarely notice that it's there. The advanages of open tralers are many: Versatility of use (swaps, lawn debri, lumber, etc.), low drag, less conspicuous storage, cost. There are drawbacks too: You ALWAYS have to lower your top, secure your hood, seats, floorboards and your car is at the mercy of the elements.
My father went the other route. He bought the big, tall, Wells Cargo with the beavertail and ramp door. He stores his T or his ATV in it sometimes. He enjoys that fact that he never has to have Mom stand in the rain helping him put the top down at the end of a tour. He also likes that his car is safe from the weather and road debris when he's hauling it. On the downside: He could have bought an additional T with the price difference between his trailer and mine, he still needs to keep his other trailer for hauling brush and toting his ATV around and that big traler pushes a lot of wind.
As for tow vehicles, I would nver consider an enclosed trailer unless I was planning to pull it with a full-size pickup, Suburban, Tahoe, etc. Those smaller outfits might be able to get by, but they'll never pull a big enclosed trailer safely or efficiently. In my experience ( I'm a proffessional driver who's pulled virtually everything with wheels, including a 110'long 12-axle rig, grosssing 226,000lb with a 72 ton payload), you have to match the trailer to the job and the towing unit to the trailer. You've taken good advice in deciding that a tandem axle trailer is best for hauling your 1500-2,000 lb Model T. A single axle trailer will work in a pinch, but it's maxed out and doesn't leave much safety margin.
Jerry, try googling "boogie rollers."
Frank says 7 or 8 foot but you can also go 8'6' on the outside for even more inside room.One advantage of the 8'6" outside is when i haull the enclosed in back of the 5'th wheel i can easly see the back trailer.13' Wide and about 130,000# is the most i ever haulled but i have seen Press Express come in the Olds plants with 200 Ton press crowns in one pice.Bud.
And another thing about trailer width. Out here on the left coast we need more traffic lanes. So the transportion wizzards take two and a half feet off of each 12 foot wide lane and move the white lines closer together to make each lane 9 1/2 feet wide and then take the shoulder and make an extra inside narrow lane for a nine and a half foot wide slow traffic lane. Then they put a concrete rub rail on the right side and your 8 foot six trailer now has nine foot six inches in which to travel. Don't sneeze or you will bump something. I have dealt with six inches for many years but I don't like only six inches when it is making sparks on the rub rail at night.
Another squeeze with the wide track 8 ft 6 inch trailer are some area back roads ranging from 16 to 18 feet wide. The right side will many times be running on some rough berms and edges depending on the width. The trick is to stay in your lane with oncoming traffic in the event oncoming vehicle should hit the trailer, so the dirt, dust and rust falls in your lane to avoid a left of center ticket
My open aluminum trailer is wide track and there have been a few instances I had to be on my toes bringing it back on the hard surface. Have a closed one 8 feet wide no real problem, the extra six does make a difference.
I would think if a person is going to be traveling on a lot of narrow roads and is somewhat concerned about pulling a trailer; it might be to their ease of mind to stay with 8 feet wide or less
Here's another choice:
Some of your choice depends on what other use you have for the hauling rig. Older 14' box vans are cheap, so won't depreciate much more.
Then, when you get rich, you can tow another behind, having a tow vehicle that's up to the job at less risk. I won't say Safe, because towing has risks, no matter how you do it.
No doubt about it there are places that add a signifigant pucker factor with the extra wide.If i was to use any truck i would want air suspension to adjust the ride to the weight haulled.Another good thing about air suspension on trucks it is easy to install a dump valve so you can lower the truck when loading/unloading.Ramps are proably the most dangerous part of haulling so i think i would want a bifold ramp door.Almost anything anyone has suggested will work,some just better than others!Bud.PS,Yup seen lots of pictures but the trick is to learn from mistakes before we make them ourselves.
Kenneth, I would have to guess you were probably in the military because the last time I heard the term "pucker factor" was by my old tank commander, referring to an orifice of the human body I should probably not mention on this forum. I have experienced an increase in the "pucker factor" several times in my life and at least two of them were involved with towing. Twice, when I was a young man,I went backwards down a hill with a bulldozer on a tractor-trailer lowboy, spring brakes on, no trailer brakes. I'm not real religious but I prayed all the way down the hill that no one was behind me. I found a new job the second time It happened. I guess where I'm going with all this is, when in doubt, go a little up-scale or have a friend move your vehicle. David,don't try to take the family van and turn it into something it's not. This is after all, just a hobby and It's certainly not worth getting you or someone else hurt or killed.
Yup i was,But it was so long ago i was the one who cleaned up after Grants horse!! While TC ing a Ammo Truck the driver froze instead of gitting off the road when a M-88 came down a hilly road at about 30mph with 3 M-60's on tow bars behind it!!! Getting home from about a 130 mile haull with the 18' enclosed in back of the 5'th wheel UNLACHED!! The Wife helped hook up when i backed to hook both for the tripp home and Shame On Me i did not re check!! Once forgitting to put air to my 4 axel low boy with No spring brakes!!! No,I aint smart i just have allready made most mistakes! Bud.