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Old 06-25-2013, 11:52 AM   #1
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Default Trailers: Any lessons learned out there?

Well, I think I'm going to go ahead and make my car a pure track car. Harris county has made me jump through too many hoops already and they still won't title me for road use. Plus the car was never meant to be a daily driver and is lacking many creature comforts, so may as well make it a pure track car.

So I need to get a trailer. Something simple, but useful. I'd like to keep it light weight (tow car is a Jeep Wrangler ~3,500 lb capacity). Anyone have any suggestions? Any regrets out there on certain purchases?

I'd love to hear some stories and learn from the experience of other before I buy.
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Old 06-25-2013, 01:50 PM   #2
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Search the race prep section and there are several threads about trailers in there. The common consensus will probably be that using a Jeep Wrangler to tow a miata is a bad idea.
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Old 06-25-2013, 02:04 PM   #3
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Short wheelbase = poor trailer control. I towed my Miata on a full size car hauler with a Jeep liberty. It tends to want to sway back and forth, taking the rear of the Jeep with it. Kinda scary.
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Old 06-25-2013, 02:35 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shuiend View Post
Search the race prep section and there are several threads about trailers in there. .
yep
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Old 06-25-2013, 03:16 PM   #5
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There are plenty history of why towing a boat with a Wrangler/CJ is a really bad idea. They lack the weight and wheelbase to safely manage. Jackknife is a realistic possibility.
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Old 06-25-2013, 09:31 PM   #6
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advice: sell the jeep and buy something else that CAN use to properly tow.

as weve all say, 1: look in the race section for this topic and 2: really short wheelbase + towing is a really bad idea.

sucks to hear, yes, but youll be putting yourself and everyone around you on the road in danger. to put this into perspective, towing a car trailer with a wrangler would be the equivalent of a loaded semi truck swaying side to side in a crosswind...but this would be at a low speed.
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Old 06-25-2013, 10:14 PM   #7
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If you must keep the jeep, buy a hitch with weight distribution and load leveling and get one of those 900 pound trailex car haulers. I've got no experience personally with them because I tow with a Crew Cab long bed 4x4 1997 7.5liter big block F250 super duty. And even with the miata on the 2000 pound porky pig uhaul trailers I have no problem. Even when getting cutoff by suicidal idiots. I'm in the hunt right now for a cheap used open deck trailer preferably with a dove tail.
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Old 06-25-2013, 11:07 PM   #8
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A pickup is substantially safer to tow with, a longer tow vehicle helps a lot.

Jeeps were not optimally made for towing, there is a reason my neighbour tows with his caravan instead of his 350 powered 77 AMC Jeep.
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Old 06-26-2013, 02:02 AM   #9
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Why not flat tow? Especially with such a limited towing capacity.

I know some people say it's bad for the transmission, but lots of people do it without trouble. I've been doing it for almost 2 years now, with no problems. My tow is about 50 miles each way once a week, but I've done 200 mile (one way), too.

You can get towbar brackets from Rennenmetal.com (no affiliation, just a satisfied customer)
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Old 06-26-2013, 07:53 AM   #10
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I use a tow dolly behind a Tundra, which is even lighter than an aluminum trailer, and I can tell you if the load is incorrectly positioned (tires of vehicle being towed behind the dolly axle centerline) it will still try to take you to the woods. As with any trailer, you must keep plenty of weight on the tongue to give proper authority to the vehicle doing the towing. Weight distribution is the difference between triumph and tragedy.
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Old 06-26-2013, 08:23 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jay524288 View Post
Why not flat tow? Especially with such a limited towing capacity.

I know some people say it's bad for the transmission, but lots of people do it without trouble. I've been doing it for almost 2 years now, with no problems. My tow is about 50 miles each way once a week, but I've done 200 mile (one way), too.

You can get towbar brackets from Rennenmetal.com (no affiliation, just a satisfied customer)
What happens when you break the suspension? I would flat tow an auto-x car that races on street tires or in stock class. But on the track or with BIG hoosiers to likely hood of breaking the suspension is too high for me.
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Old 06-26-2013, 09:44 AM   #12
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In my experience, proper tongue makes all the difference in towing with a single axle trailer. I've towed Miatas on two different single axles that were just longer than a Miata after figuring out that the tongue weight was critical with a single axle.
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Old 06-26-2013, 12:27 PM   #13
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Old 06-26-2013, 03:38 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leafy View Post
What happens when you break the suspension? I would flat tow an auto-x car that races on street tires or in stock class. But on the track or with BIG hoosiers to likely hood of breaking the suspension is too high for me.
Good question. I was concerned about the same thing when I first started towing. So far I haven't hurt the car bad enough where I couldn't tow it. I'm sure it will happen someday.

I've thought about it and I figure if I break it at the track I can do one of the following
  • fix it there
  • call AAA
  • leave it at the track and come back with a trailer
  • find someone with extra room on their trailer
  • find someone towing a miata on a trailer and trade - I flat tow his car, he tows mine on his trailer
  • pay a tow truck to tow it
  • If there's someone doing trackside support, have him tow it back to his shop and fix it.
  • call a junkyard to pick it up and I start building a new race car

I'm not too worried about breaking it so bad that I can't tow it home. I've got about 80 days at the track, including 11 or 12 days of racing without it happening, so it's not a big concern. I'm more worried about my tow vehicle breaking than the race car being damaged.
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Old 06-26-2013, 04:21 PM   #15
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Will do some more searching.

FWIW, I have a Sahara Unlimited. It has a longer wheelbase (116") than Jeeps of the past. Jeep Liberty has 104" wheelbase. For comparison an F150 is at 125". I wouldn't try to tow anything serious with the 2D wranglers for reasons mentioned above.

Curb weight is ~4,300 lbs, which is not as heavy as a fullsize pickup, but heavy enough imho.
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Old 06-26-2013, 09:16 PM   #16
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Get a conversion van with a v8. I got mine with 47K miles for less than 5k.

Plus, all the kids love it (haha) and you can take the fam out for a trip. Plenty of interior room to sleep in too.
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Old 06-26-2013, 09:51 PM   #17
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My $.02, but put LED lights on any trailer you buy.

As someone with out of state plates, you're already a target. Throw a race car on the back, and all it takes is one loose bulb, shitty connection, etc. to get pulled over.

I've also been trapped in VERY heavy rains. Folks behind me could see my trailer LED's, but I couldn't see the lights of my buddy in front of me with standard bulbs. The difference is truly night and day in terms of visibility and reliability.
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