What are the various ways, if any, that folks protect their open cars on an open trailer if you don't have a boot for the top on a long trip? (rocks, sand, rain, wind wear on the folded down top fabric...)
I am looking for an enclosed trailer but don't have one yet. AND I'll be getting a new top with a boot later but won't have it done in time and don't want to incur excessive wear on the journey to MT.
Trying to reduce any wear from rough fabric, tarps, or bungees rubbing or scratching the paint.
Other folks may say differently but I think the best thing to do is to just leave the top up and make sure it's secure and then only use straps on the running gear/frame to hold the car in place. I wouldn't cover it up or anything. You'll get the least wear just letting the car ride along as if it were driving - just a little faster than it normally goes is all. That's just my opinion though.
If you try to wrap it up in a tarp or something that's how you get paint rubbed off and all kinds of horrible things.
I have a 1924 Touring and have trailer-ed it a couple thousand miles inside of the last ten years with the top up on an open trailer at around 70mph with no issues. HOWEVER, the top was properly made, installed and all the wood that it fastens to on the bows and body was in excellent condition. If your tacks are not secure and/or the top job is baggy, you will likely damage your top if you leave it up.
If you put a tarp over the car you will damage the paint. The wind won't damage the top if the bows are securely strapped to the saddles and the top material tucked in.
I probably tow my touring at least 3000 miles year on an open trailer. This includes an annual trip from Buffalo N.Y. To Florida and back in the winter. I tarp the car enough to protect the interior. I try to position the tarp and straps to minimize contact with the paint. Since this is not a show, I accept the paint damage that does occurr and address it occasionally.
The first time I trailered my touring to Uvalde, I tried with the top up. I put a tarp over it and held the tarp down with 24 bungees. Half way to Uvalde the tarp had disintegrated and the hooks on the bungees chipped paint off my car and the top blew out and was torn to shreds. about $4,000.00 later with my new top and the second boot I now tow it with the top down with a boot over the top, straps around it and two long bungees go from two holes under the back seat over the boot to the back of the trailer.
I take up the two front floorboards and the mat and reverse the top of the windshield.
this has worked so far.
A option to consider; make set of "bows" out of 3/4" ridged electrical conduit (not EMT). Probably need 4or 5. Set them into holes drilled into the perimeter sides of the trailer deck. Go to a commercial tarpaulin maker and get a custom fit tarp made. Pair of zippers at the back. About 20 or maybe more good heavy black rubber tarp straps. It probably works best with about a 3' high X 5' wide screened "headache rack" welded to the front of the trailer. I have hauled thousands of miles with this. Nice thing is running empty you just knock it down and strap it to the deck and then burn a lot less fuel. Probably takes 10-15 minutes to set up once you get practiced. A bit of the best of both worlds. You still have a flatbed for hauling big ugly stuff and enclosed when you need it
Lots and lots of threads on this topic.
Google search "trailer open car mtfca".
It can hail in Montana just about any day of the year.
There can also be severe thunderstorms just about any day of the year.
I just ran into 4 inches of hail on Saturday along 395 in Oregon near Battle Mountain.
You are rolling the dice ......
Les - do you have any photos? Your trailer quanset hut sounds interesting. I have stake pockets and had thought of making some sides but was concerned about size and bulk of stiff board things when not in use.
Jim - yes unpredictable weather. 2 years ago it poured and snowed all during the MT 500.
All good suggestions. Thanks guys.
Well, there you go .... sell the car, stay home, and roll your dice ! .... too dammed easy !
Andria I would strap the top and boot down securely and let it go at that. I'm not in favor of having the top up like a kite/parachute doing 60+ down the highway. Just make sure your straps don't touch the paint and screw up your car
I can see that I'll never be able to afford the kind of trailer and tow rig that will be able to tow my T to tours safely.
I guess I'll have to give up the idea of going on tours, or just drive the T everywhere like Dean.
Photo taken last year in Judith Gap, MT on way to Calgary, AB.
A perk of using an open trailer is the promotion of our hobby.
If you have stake pockets you have a really good beginning. My experience is that 3/4" PIPE (not tubing) which is 1-1/16"OD is strong enough. Buy it at Home Depot in 10' lengths. Get some electrician to bend them so they join with a threaded connection in the middle. Do your math carefully here so you get the correct width and height. The electricians pipe bender should be able to provide a exact "centre to end " 90 degree bend This should give you a full 6' (and maybe a bit more wall height). Figure out how to mount them in your stake pockets. Then take it to the tarp maker and have them do their "magic ". Sorry I don't have any pictures of mine. Sold it 5 years ago
Les, that's a good idea. In my mind, it makes me envision a Conestoga Wagon.
The corners are about a 6-8" radius, so the roof and walls are flat. The tarp is close fitting and LOTS of good trucker quality black rubber tarp straps. Hard to have too many!!!
I feel the rigid "headache rack" at least 3 ' high and at least 5' to full width wide is important. You then slope from the rack to the first bow which will be 2-3' back. I eventually fitted a reenforced piece of 1/4" plywood from the top of the rack to the first bow to spread the wind forces. Just 1/4 plywood with some pieces of 2x2 screwed on the inside. To fit to the bow some pieces of 1" plastic pipe with a third of a side cut out so it would snap in place. Screwed to another strip of 2x2. Maybe a pair of slip pin hinges with half screwed to the 2x2 and the other half attached to the headache rack. I always wanted it easy to set up but also strong and durable
Looking at Kirk's trailer if his front construction was about 2' higher he would be almost ready for my method
Kirk I like your wall-to-wall cover is NICE!!!!!!
I trailer a lot locally and almost lost my seat and now put it in the suv so that cover helps keep wind out. My top has really taken a beating in the sun and wind (always folded down) so I like the fact it's a boot and a well cover. And the windshield too.
Did you make it yourself? Have a referral to who did? Have a pattern? What material is it? What are the straps made of?
I can drag the sewing machine out.
I took the car to a local upholstery shop and left it. I told him basically what I wanted. He used the same vinyl covering the top boots and spare tire covers are made of.
There is a loop that tucks into the front of the tonneau cover under the windshield. Then I put a 3ft PVC pipe through the loop to secure the cover in the front. A strip of felt was put on the inside of the cover where the cover touches the top of the body (doors) for paint protection. Make sure the cover hangs down on the sides about 4 inches to keep the rain out. You may need only 1 or 2 4in loops on each side. I am now using light duty ratchet straps to secure the cover from the loops to the running boards. They tend to keep the cover from moving too much on the body. The 4in loops keep the hooks (bungee or ratchet) from getting too close to the body.
The windshield cover is made of the same material. The top of the cover has a 4in "pocket" that slides over the top of the windshield. The sides of the cover are open and fasten to each other with Velcro. Female lift a dot fasteners are sewn into the cover to snap into the side curtain lift a dots on the windshield. There are openings in the cover for the mirrors. I put black socks over the mirrors to eliminate the sun reflecting on the traffic behind. I use my wife's little black band hair goodies to secure the socks.
I am sure there are better ways of covering the car. You could use boat snaps in place of ratchet straps.
I just noticed, your roadster may not use lift a dots for the side curtains. Put on a loop and secure it to the running board too.
When we stop for gas, my wife only allows me 30 minutes to talk with interested parties.
Hope this helps
Andria, this may not be applicable to your car, but when I build mine, I always make the rear curtain with detachable fittings so the top can be removed. I fold the top and carry it in my tow vehicle.
The car has a tonneau cover like Kirk's. I like his idea re fixing it at the front. Mine is not tied on. rather it is held in place by the fixings for the side curtains. No extra holes drilled.
I protect the radiator and windscreen with coreflute sheets held in place with cable ties.
It works for me.
Allan from down under.
Thanks Allan - Yes I had planned on the new top rear being roll-up and detachable is a good idea too. Not period correct but will be nice for hot summer driving days.
The biggest problem I have experienced while trailering my T is having people pass me on the freeway and then cutting in front of me and hitting the brakes so I will pass them so they can get a photo of the other side. This has happened twice. I built a frame of 2x4s that fit in the stake pockets and used a bit of ole hay tarp (plastic polytuff material that is about 4 times as heavy as the cheap ace hardware tarps) and secured it with 1x2s screwed down with sheet rock screws. I took me an afternoon to construct it and cost a couple hundred in materials but I have not had a smartphone idiot cause me trouble since. And it is protected from the weather too.
I might point out that ole hay tarps are just slightly better than old hay tarps.
This is how I open towed, wrapped up tight and no wear on the paint at all.
Top down with a boot is best, but since you don't have a boot, and to protect the paint, Don's suggestion with the shrink wrap is best. It won't shift and mess up the paint, it's relatively cheap and will protect it very well from the road dirt and weather.
Don Booth....I have also Shrink Wrapped a model T on an open trailer when traveling a long distance. It worked great! Not that expensive. Better gas mileage towing with an open trailer vice enclosed.
Just my humble experience.
Thanks guys, this is shipping wrap that can be purchased at most rental places. It comes on a roll and stretches nicely so you can get it good and tight. I have never had a problem with it unraveling but I do stick some tape on the end to help prevent that. I think it is cheap insurance against rain and stone chips. It also takes the stress off the top of the car by holding the ballooning to a minimum. I have since picked up a enclosed trailer, however the open trailer was much more aerodynamic and felt safer while towing.
Don and Gary, I like the shrink wrap very much. I thought about asking about it but thought I might get a few guffaws. I also like promoting the hobby with it being visible.
If I were to "wrap" my open body roadster would I leave the top up? Don's car looks like an enclosed car.
Surprisingly my husband got interested in looking for an enclosed trailer (occasionally some T or T related activity sparks his interest) and we are going to look at trailers tomorrow after the Queen's-English car show & swap.
I'm thinking 16' V-nose. However I dread the mpg calculation.