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advice on utility trailer

Post in 'The Gear' started by martel, May 17, 2006.

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  1. martel

    martel Member

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    I have done several loads of wood inside my subaru forester (silly I know).

    I would love a pickup, but with a wife and a 14 month old my wife is skeptical of a truck. I am now looking at a trailer and to put a hitch on the forester to haul wood. Naturally I am trying to stay affordable. Any suggestions? I have perused penny savers and classifieds and I cannot find one that is used and worth the $$. The big box store trailers are really expensive (and well made it seems).

    I am considering the trailers from Harbor Freight- gotta put 'em together (some assembly? my friend spent 8 hours putting his together)- but save a lot of dollars and you need to add plywood and make your own stake sides.

    here are the ones I am considering:

    4X8 1175 lb capacity $249:

    http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=90154

    4X8 990 lb capacity $195
    http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=42709

    they both come with lights, fenders, jack, ball grabber (teehee) etc.

    suggestions? other options?

    also, I assume I simply apply for a title and plates for this? I am in PA.

    My friend bought the first one, built it up, gave it sides, used it for 3 years and resold it for $300- not a bad deal. I have been looking at some trailers that are old, frankenstein looking things for $350.

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  2. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I can't comment on trailers, but for what it's worth, a full cord of green red oak weighs about 5,500 pounds. An air-dried cord checks in at about 3,750.

    On the other end of the spectrum, a full cord of green white pine weighs about 2,900 pounds; 2,000 when dry.

    I routinely haul 1,500-pound loads on a Ford Ranger (1/2-ton) pickup that has a beefed up hauling capacity. But I take it real easy. Last year I broke a rear shock mount, which happens to be a non-replaceable frame part on this particular truck. I had to get it welded but so far, so good.
  3. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    For sure don't go hauling anything behind the Subaru heavier than those HF trailers are rated to carry. You have a max towing capacity of 2,400 pounds with that vehicle. I wouldn't tow anything heavier than half of that because of wear and tear on the drive-train and controllability issues. With those old trailers you are looking at, they probably weigh more than the wood you would be hauling.

    I personally would never tow anything behind a front wheel drive vehicle but I am sure a lot of people do it. Uni-body construction was not designed with towing in mind.
  4. martel

    martel Member

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    thanks eric- I will be hauling primarily cherry as that is what I get for free. do you have a link for wood weight? I assume it is a bit light. my site is close by and I figure I would run 1/2 cord loads as I work- this way I would cut, haul, split and stack a 1/2 cord at a time. would make for a good evening's work and would keep the weight down.

    I figure 4X8 trailer (and I am guessing 2 foot high) woulld give me 64 cubic feet- half a cord. maybe do a bit less.

    It is interesting that 1,500 pounds blew out your shock mount. This encourages me to get a trailer with leaf springs.
  5. martel

    martel Member

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    Thanks for this BB. And yes, some of the monsters I have seen wiegh A LOT! Now when you mention hauling with frontwheel drive would you lump All wheel drive into this category? I assume yes.
  6. Harley

    Harley Minister of Fire

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    I agree with Brother Bart - if you do it... have to keep it pretty light. If you are going to put a hitch on the subaru, make sure it is designed for that model, so the mounts are in the right place, rather than just drilling somewhere and may not support the weight or pull.

    If you do but one of the harbor freight ones, or any new one for that matter - make sure it comes with a manufacturer's "Certificate of Origin" I'm not familiar with the PA Reg's, but I know without it, you would have a heck of a time trying to register or title it here (MA)
  7. martel

    martel Member

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    going to call AAA today and see what I need. Anyone out there have actual experience using a trailer with a similar vehicle?
  8. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I don't think it was the weight so much as the weight combined with a pothole that did the number on my shock mount. And yes, that truck has leaf springs.

    No link for wood weights. I'm getting mine out of a book. Black cherry checks in at 4,100 pounds, green. Dried it's about 3,000.

    I'd be happy hauling 1/3-cord (face cord) loads if I were you. Like BB said, more weight means more wear and tear on brakes and drive train.
  9. martel

    martel Member

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    yeah, at that weight a third would be about right. thanks all.
  10. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Outside of all the extra wear and tear on the drive-train I suspect AWD will tow just fine. Most of the time the traction will only be going through the front wheels unless slippage occurs. I just did some looking and that 2,400 pound figure only applies if you have the manual transmission. It drops to 2,000 with an automatic. That is the trailer and load combined.

    Another thing to look at is that the max towing weight is for a trailer with electric trailer brakes. It is cut in half without trailer brakes. If you have an automatic with a trailer like the HF without trailer brakes you are now down to 1,000 pounds of weight. With the floor and sideboards the 1,100 capacity HF trailer is going to weigh in a little over 300 pounds so you are down to around 700 pounds of wood that you can haul.

    I am not trying to kill the idea. I just see too many people trash nice cars because they don't take this stuff into account. I did the same analysis before deciding not to put a trailer hitch on my wife's car. It turned out we could carry as much in the truck as we could on a trailer, all things considered.
  11. yukiginger

    yukiginger Member

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    Martel, if you have a Harbor Freight store near you (check their website) be sure to sign up online to receive their emails. You will get coupons for 20% off any single item (at their retail stores) every week or so.

    Here is a website with the wood weights you are seeking.

    http://www.volko.com/firewood.htm

    MarkG
  12. carpniels

    carpniels Minister of Fire

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    HI BB and others,

    I can see your point, but martel said it was only a short distance. Does it really matter that much for a few miles?

    I am asking that because many manufacturers add these large safety margins that sometimes make no sense for a short distance on a level road. They just don't want to get sued!

    Moreover, I have hauled plenty of wood in my 1995 Geo Prizm. It is a small sedan (like a Toyota Corolla). I would fold the back seats down, put a tarp in, lay my aluminum windshield sunscreen over the passenger seat and load it up as high as it will go. It take 1/2 a face cord. Works fine for a few miles.

    Carpniels
  13. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    I saw some pretty nice little trailers over at the local Farm and Country store for $375. Capacity was listed at something like 1900 lbs (just shy of the amount where you MUST have trailer brakes) Certainly you do not attempt to haul 5500 lbs inside your subaru anyway. Even if you put twice the wood in the trailer that you've been putting in the car, you'll be really reducing the wear on the car. Especially the interior dirt etc... I have a GMC Safari I haul wood with and I'm thinking small trailer too. Seem's like a good alternative to a pickup anyway. If I want to haul dirt or stones or what ever, I'd rather ding up a 400 dollar trailer than even a 15,000 truck. (What about them Caddilac pickups.....Anyone throw splits in the back of one of them ya think?)
  14. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I think a trailer is a great idea if you have the right kind of vehicle to pull it and the right kind of access to your wood. In my case, I'm backing into tight spots all around a woodlot trying to get close to the wood. A trailer wouldn't work at all for me. Sometimes a pickup barely works.
  15. yukiginger

    yukiginger Member

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    Whatever you get, Martel, I suggest a rear gate/ramp so you can roll up large rounds. My buddy and I roll up huge rounds of hardwood onto his trailer that no one in a pickup could possibly touch.

    Mark
  16. SeanD

    SeanD New Member

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    Martel,
    You asked if anybody had pulled a trailer with a similar vehicle. For several years I towed my sailboat with a 1999 Subaru Outback. Boat and trailer weighed 1,200 pounds. No problem at all. I bought the Outback with the factory installed trailer hitch. You should be fine if you keep the total weight being towed less than 1,500 pounds.
    Sean
  17. martel

    martel Member

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    Thanks for all the replys. In fact they were even more helpful than I expected. I let my wife read the thread and she seemed to change her mind regarding what may be the best decision. This year I think we will be begging and borrowing a pickup to haul for the winter and next spring when I am done commuting for school we will invest in a pickup (also because I think her Nissan which is about to round 200,000 may be on its last legs- helluva car!).

    I am looking into the Toyota Tacoma with extended cab for kiddos. Looking for low gas mileage and longevity. Seems the toyotas have a lot to offer. I am sure there are probably some pickup suggestions out there- yes, I am hijacking my own thread...
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