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Old 03-02-2012, 12:29 PM   #41
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What is the price range for those? I would think shipping might kill it though. They are all the way in Michigan and I am in CA near LPI.

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I've had these guys build me several trailers over the years. They are extremely light (700-900 lbs) and can customize pretty much anything.

http://www.montrosetrailers.com/gall...obile_trailers
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Old 03-02-2012, 12:40 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by tblackey View Post
I've had these guys build me several trailers over the years. They are extremely light (700-900 lbs) and can customize pretty much anything.

http://www.montrosetrailers.com/gall...obile_trailers
Thanks; I found those guys through some old posts on the Lotus forum. I just got off the phone with them. Nice guy, builds pretty much everything custom to your specs.

Pricing is about in line with the Aluma stuff (figure ~$5500 for a 13' trailer). I would definitely give that a good look if I was closer but he said ballpark shipping is about $1.25/mile.

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I've rented Yukons from Enterprise before. They do have hitches.
Risk management. If something were to happen while towing and that was explicitly prohibited, I don't want to be liable. I prefer to offload that risk to my insurance providers. I'll double check that, though.
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Old 03-02-2012, 02:21 PM   #43
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That Featherlite is a $6000 trailer. You'd be better off buying a used $1500 wood+steel trailer and a $4500 Suburban. Don't want to drive the Suburban to work? You don't have to -- drive whatever it was you were going to tow the $6000 trailer with and treat the Suburban like it's permanently attached to the trailer.

--Ian
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This is a perfectly reasonable suggestion and something I did look at. I will have to price it out, but the complication for me is storage. I do not really have a place to keep a $4500 Suburban or cheap wood & steel trailer*. So, I would have to figure in the cost of a storage unit or some other option (not really sure where you would even store a Suburban/panel van/cheap tow truck).
I got a quote from one vehicle/RV/boat storage place. $89/month for indoor SUV or truck storage (they don't do outdoor for "automobiles") and $79/month for outdoor storage for the trailer. That's an extra $2k+ per year for storage, plus insurance on the truck, plus any maintenance costs on the truck.

Probably makes that one unviable. I'm going to have to start a spreadsheet for these scenarios and brush up on my game theory...
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Old 03-03-2012, 02:37 AM   #44
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I've come across this for $700. Landscaping trailer most likely, but it's rated for a payload up to 2300lbs. I can get my Miata under that weight, but should I even consider a trailer like this?

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Old 03-03-2012, 09:03 AM   #45
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I think most everyone will tell you that a tandem axle with electric brakes would be much, much better.
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Old 03-03-2012, 09:06 AM   #46
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I've come across this for $700. Landscaping trailer most likely, but it's rated for a payload up to 2300lbs. I can get my Miata under that weight, but should I even consider a trailer like this?
I don't see why not really, perhaps genesplicer can post pictures of his trailer, but it was similar. might have been rated for more. Does it have brakes?
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Old 03-03-2012, 09:10 AM   #47
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Looks like a nice trailer for $700, but I wouldn't want to put a Miata on it. And have fun getting in/out of the car if you do get one loaded.

It would be a great trailer for dirtbikes and atv's.
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Old 03-03-2012, 10:07 AM   #48
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I don't see why not really, perhaps genesplicer can post pictures of his trailer, but it was similar. might have been rated for more. Does it have brakes?
Much more, and ain't light either - all steel. I had my trailer made for hauling large 800# upright freezers.... but had also made sure It'd easily haul my miata. Dual 3500 drop axles with brakes on one of them. 8x14 with steel deck, solid 5' heavy-*** drop ramp. My guess is it weights around 2500# Here's an old pic - maybe I can find a better one.



Not long ago, I loaded up my buddy's dropped 240 and BARELY squeezed it on, but it rolled up so easily, didn't rub or bottom out anywhere, that he took his wood decked hauler and traded it in for something like mine - just 16', no uprights, steel deck, pull-out ramps, drop axles, with a wheel hauler from for 2 sets, and a spare trailer tire. Much like the featherlite open haulers, just ain't so 'lite'. Costing him $2400 new, mine was about the same years ago
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Old 03-03-2012, 11:53 AM   #49
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I am having the same struggle as Scrappy Jack. I don't have the space for a second tow vehicle nor do I want to drive a PU/SUV for the other 355 days a year.

I have a 2006 E55 for a daily driver. In the UK they tow 4k with them. From the research I have done it's very doable to tow my 1k trailer and 2k Miata with the E55.

Here is how I see it.

Benz sells a factory hitch for the W211 (E550) platform rated at 4k.
The 2003-2006 E55 has one of the strongest trans ever built by Mercedes. It was designed for the V12tt.
The car to trailer weight split is more favorable than most PU/SUV's when they are fully loaded.
Brakes are awesome!
Lower center of gravity for better control.

All of my friends think I am nuts to do this. I honestly feel it's safe. I have a light 2 axle trailer so that has to help the situation as well.
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Old 03-03-2012, 12:41 PM   #50
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most folks set up their two vehicle and trail at the max capacity... wrong way to do it. you want as much a saftey margin as possible. it's not about pulling the loaded trailer it's about STOPPING said trailer. tiny *** suv's were NOT made with this in mind. can they be used... sure... should they be used... NO.

for instance max tow capicity on the new f-150 ecoboost is right at 10,000 pounds. the damn thing rides like a cadillac. hell any post 2005ish truck has a very nice ride, and will be much better suited to hauling your track car AND all it's associated goodies. (tool, tires, fuel, so on and so forth.)

lighter vehicles just flat don't have the breaks to reliably put the woah on a heavy load.
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Old 03-03-2012, 01:12 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by offsprg01 View Post
most folks set up their two vehicle and trail at the max capacity... wrong way to do it. you want as much a saftey margin as possible. it's not about pulling the loaded trailer it's about STOPPING said trailer. tiny *** suv's were NOT made with this in mind. can they be used... sure... should they be used... NO.

for instance max tow capicity on the new f-150 ecoboost is right at 10,000 pounds. the damn thing rides like a cadillac. hell any post 2005ish truck has a very nice ride, and will be much better suited to hauling your track car AND all it's associated goodies. (tool, tires, fuel, so on and so forth.)

lighter vehicles just flat don't have the breaks to reliably put the woah on a heavy load.
I agree with everything you said.

Tow capacity of the Mercedes W211 is 4k and I am going to tow 3k.

Trailer is 4k+ load capacity and I am at 2k.

My brakes are far better than any of the above mentioned trucks.

While towing with a car seems obserred in this country I still believe I am well within the safety parameters of the equipment design.

When I ran the idea by a friend who owns a trucking company his first question was how much does my car weight. He then looked at the brakes. He came to the same conclusion I did.
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Old 03-03-2012, 03:44 PM   #52
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wasn't talking specifically about your situation. but it's good that you are well within the limits of your vehicle. you also want to make sure that you do not exceed the tongue weight and that your trailer is properly loaded. if so then have at it.

side note: yes your vehicle has better breaks, but those breaks were never designed to stop a load outside of the manufactures recommendations. so long as you are now where near that 4k lbs mark then you should be good.

one other thing folks don't think about is a trailer break controller. a tongue break is absolute crap. a proper break controller is essential to proper towing.
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Old 03-03-2012, 10:20 PM   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by offsprg01 View Post
most folks set up their two vehicle and trail at the max capacity... wrong way to do it. you want as much a saftey margin as possible. it's not about pulling the loaded trailer it's about STOPPING said trailer. tiny *** suv's were NOT made with this in mind. can they be used... sure... should they be used... NO.

for instance max tow capicity on the new f-150 ecoboost is right at 10,000 pounds. the damn thing rides like a cadillac. hell any post 2005ish truck has a very nice ride, and will be much better suited to hauling your track car AND all it's associated goodies. (tool, tires, fuel, so on and so forth.)

lighter vehicles just flat don't have the breaks to reliably put the woah on a heavy load.
Or.....you could slow down...?

Why does no one consider driving slower? I've got a 6x12 enclosed that I load full with 3 sportbikes and gear, and haul 4 people to the race track with living accomodations for 2 days - in a 3.0L Montero Sport.

I've carelessly towed a miata on a u-haul trailer with it - not a worry in the world.

Would I drive either of those rigs at freeway speeds? Well maybe with no traffic and a tailwind I might... usually 60mph max though, in light traffic and pristine conditions.

Semis pass me regularly on the freeway - but guess what, at 55-60mph, there's not many people slower than I am. I never have to worry about changing lanes to get around someone!!! It's actually a relaxing drive once your "fast enough" is slower than everyone else's "fast enough".

If I were going down a long, steep hill, you bet your *** I'm going to drop it into a gear low enough - which means going slow enough - that I don't have to ride the brakes down the hill.

My point? If you've got a small SUV or a small pickup, stop worrying so much about whether your vehicle is going to be heavy enough to keep from swaying (you can also buy sway stabilizers) or stop on a dime. Drive slower, leave yourself more space, and just.... *be careful*. It's not like it's a difficult concept to grasp. I don't drive as fast as 80,000lb tractor trailers or Dually F-350s with 30 foot goosenecks on them...because I know my vehicle wasn't designed to do that. For the drivers who DO want to drive 90mph in their miatas, you're a godsend, because you're the one thing in the road that is making the idiot driver in front of/beside them actually pay ATTENTION to what's going on in front of them - and the lane in front of you is usually a clear place for them to pass the idiot they've been tailgating for the last 3 miles but can't pass because he's too busy trying to make the leaves grow on his instrument cluster.

Your vehicle was "engineered", which means that if someone said it can safely tow 4,000 lb - it can probably actually safely tow 6,000lb. No engineer in their right mind is going to tell you that your vehicle can safely tow 4,000 lb, and then expect it to fail if you tow 4,001 lb...and when they say it will tow 4,000lb, those engineers KNOW that the posted speed limit in west Texas is 90mph. "News Release: Three fatal car accidents in just as many months because drivers were towing trailers at nearly 100% of the rated capacity of their chevy avalanches at the posted speed limit when the trailers caused their vehicles to careen out of control..." Heard that lately in the newspapers? I'm sure there are people who overload their siht by 50% or more every day all around the world, because they can.

Is it safer to tow your miata with a Peterbilt? Sure it is. Does it make sense? **** no.
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Old 03-04-2012, 12:23 AM   #54
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Well, here is something to consider.

In any country other than the U.S (and maybe Canada) bigger pickup trucks are just not available. Most of the rest of the world, use Utes, vans and SUV's for towing race cars,boats etc..... literally hundreds of thousands of people around the world do it safely and succesfully without the gi-nourmous trucks (some of) you guys are saying is the minimum.

Sure it would be nice and the safety margin "may" be higher but it's not the be all and end all of towing......

Most boats are A LOT Heavier than a miata on a trailer.......

Just a non U.S perspective to add to the mix.

edit - WELL SAID FOOGER. perfect advice!!!
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Old 03-05-2012, 01:27 AM   #55
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Would I drive either of those rigs at freeway speeds? Well maybe with no traffic and a tailwind I might... usually 60mph max though, in light traffic and pristine conditions.
This is the difference between the mini-SUV crew's definition of "safe" and my definition of "safe". When I say "the smallest truck I would tow with is a half-ton pickup", I mean that I would use a 1/2-ton Silverado to tow a 4000lb Miata/flatbed in the snow, hail, over 10,000ft passes, up and down 7%+ grades, on dry flat ground at 80mph, and in 30+mph crosswinds, without giving a second thought as to whether the rig was capable of doing it or not.
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Old 03-05-2012, 12:38 PM   #56
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Sort-of-an-update:

I ran numbers for several different scenarios and I am leaning towards:
  • Buying a 3rd generation (e.g. 1999) V6 4Runner for about $5k. I think I can find one presentable enough to park on the street outside the house. Alternatively, it's short and narrow enough to fit in my garage with the Miata.
  • Renting a U-Haul trailer for events.

I am eliminating purchasing my own trailer for now due to logistics. I am not even sure I could physically maneuver it in to my garage. It opens on to a narrow alley with a very short but steep "driveway" (a concrete pad that is only about 3' long but with close to a 30 - 40 incline).

Storage costs for a trailer are too expensive to justify at this point. I'm guessing I might tow to 6 events per year, max. Trailer storage looks to be about $80/month (~$960/yr) on top of the purchase price. U-Haul rental is ~$55/day and I am estimating about $500/year in rental fees. Eliminating lightweight trailer ownership takes the sporty wagons like a 540i Touring or Magnum SRT-8 as compromised dual-purpose vehicles off the table.

The 4Runner will be a compromised tow vehicle that can also haul our dogs to the park and vet as well as give us a little more utility if we need to grab plants or mulch or anything like that (versus dirtying up my wife's new car). I doubt it will see much more than 2k miles per year. I expect running costs to be somewhat lower than a V8 cargo van or Yukon of similar price range.

While they would undoubtedly be better tow vehicles, I don't think either an Econoline E250 with the 5.4L or an older Yukon (or comparable full-size SUV) will fit in my garage with the Miata. The 4Runner is significantly narrower (~10 - 12") and shorter (~21 - 34"). In fact, a '99 4Runner 2WD is narrower than my S2000 (66.5" vs 68.9").

That option frees me up to take utility and towing out of the equation when looking for my next daily driver. It also takes a timeline off the table for replacing the S2000. For example, if I wanted to start towing to events in April and I planned on having a single dual-purpose commuting/towing vehicle, I would have to find one by then. With this scenario, I can pick up the 4Runner first and then either replace the S2000 with something I want to drive or keep it.


While not ideal, I think that combination is the best compromise for my particular set of circumstances.
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Old 03-05-2012, 12:43 PM   #57
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You might want to give Penske a call and check on trailer rental costs from them. I believe Hustler has said locally they are only $25 a day. Could be a good amount of savings over Uhaul if you can also get those prices.
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Old 03-05-2012, 01:45 PM   #58
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UHaul car trailers are very heavy.
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Old 03-05-2012, 02:32 PM   #59
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You might want to give Penske a call and check on trailer rental costs from them. I believe Hustler has said locally they are only $25 a day. Could be a good amount of savings over Uhaul if you can also get those prices.
I will check a few places other than U-Haul but I have confirmed the Penskes in my area do not rent automotive trailers for local use (i.e. pick up and return in same town with no rental truck).

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UHaul car trailers are very heavy.
Approximately 2200 lbs on average from what I can find. My Miata and gear should be about 2300 - 2400 pounds, conservatively. The V6 4Runner I am looking at is rated to tow 5000.
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Old 03-05-2012, 06:06 PM   #60
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The problem with U-haul car trailers is that they don't have very many. So you reserve one, drive to the U-haul place the day before your track event to pick it up, and it's not there. The previous renter didn't get it back on time, or they loaned it to another store, or whatever. Then you're screwed -- you have a track event and hotel reservation that you've paid for, and no way to get the track car there. U-haul isn't gonna refund you the track fee for their screwup. I know a couple people this happened to -- one of them drove out to buy a trailer that morning after the second time it happened.

The other downside to U-haul trailers is that they have surge brakes, which are significantly less desirable than electric brakes for a car trailer. (can't back up with them on, can't activate the trailer brakes by themselves to cancel out trailer sway, etc). There are probably other trailer rental places around, I'd suggest looking up "tool rental" and commercial vehicle rental places.

If the criteria for parking it on the street are simply "looks nice enough that it doesn't **** off the neighbors too much", then that's pretty easy to do with a late 90s Suburban or Expedition. Lots of people bought those during the SUV craze and now that gas is expensive the bottom has dropped out of them.

--Ian
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