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How much wood can I safely haul in a trailer ?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by HDRock, Nov 13, 2012.

  1. HDRock

    HDRock Minister of Fire

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    The trailer is a single axle, rated at 3000 lbs,5x10', 14" tires.
    Pulling it with a Jeep grand Cherokee, class III hitch.
    A full cord of wood weighs approximately, 3600, LBS, is this correct?
    I had a bad experience with the same trailer, three or four years ago,with a big load of wood, but pulling it with a car, almost flipped the car and all.

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  2. Standingdead

    Standingdead Burning Hunk

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    I find that a cord of green wood can weigh between 3500-4000 lbs. it depends on the species. Dense wood like locust and oak can get pretty heavy. I am always very careful in not overloading any trailer I take on 45 mph + roads. I worry about tires overheating under load. Now on my own land, well that's another story :). On my land i always told my sons the same line for years "stack it high, hook up to tow, stand back far and watch the show". The guys still laugh when i say it and just shake their heads at their nutty old dad. That poor little trailer sure has taken a beatin over the years!
  3. WhitePine

    WhitePine Feeling the Heat

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    That 3,000 lb rating is probably a gross rating, which includes the weight of the trailer itself, so you have to deduct the trailer weight from the 3,000 to find out how much wood you can haul. You also have to make sure those tires are rated to carry the weight, the coupler, hitch and ball adapter have suitable ratings, and the load is balanced properly, putting about 10% of the gross load on the hitch while still being within its rating.

    In short, you have to load and balance the trailer for the lowest rated component. If the tires aren't rated high enough to carry the trailer fully loaded, you must lighten the load.

    A trailer that causes a tow vehicle to lose control is usually tail heavy because of improper loading or grossly beyond the tow vehicle's capacity.

    Don't forget to cross your safety chains so that the tongue will ride in the chains if the trailer comes loose. I still see trailers hooked up without the chains crossed. Makes me wonder why that isn't being enforced by the LEOs.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  4. HDRock

    HDRock Minister of Fire

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    I always cross my safety chains ,saved me one time to.
    The time the trailer was whipping all over , I think the tires were a little low on trailer, I had to much wood in the front, and to much weight period, and I took off down the freeway.
    It scared me so bad I haven't been right since ;lol
    I'm just trying to figure how much wood I should throw in there, by the weight of the wood , so maybe 3/4 or 1/2 a cord
  5. Bocefus78

    Bocefus78 Minister of Fire

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    Different species of wood weigh different amounts. Oak will be twice as heavy as some softwood. http://www.chimneysweeponline.com/howood.htm See this link and you can probably decide. Your axle/trailer isnt your limiter. Its your brakes. I bet theres no brakes on your trailer so with that said, always be on the safe side. You never know when you are gonna have to lock 'em up...9 times out of 10, it because of someone else! Im not trying to scare ya, trust me, I have been known to test errrrrrr overload my trailer if close to home and not highway bound.
  6. blwncrewchief

    blwncrewchief Burning Hunk

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    Realistically a single 3,500# axle (5 lug) trailer can haul about 1/2 cord. Your trailer is most likely rated at 3,000# as some states require trailer brakes on any trailer rated over 3,000#. My little 5x10 with a 3,500# axle is rated at 990# empty weight and a maximum 2010# payload rating. If you shoot for a honest 1/3-1/2 cord you should be ok as long as your vehicle is up to towing it. With a tow vehicle that has a short wheelbase like your Jeep I would not want to push it very hard as an unstable trailer would be very bad. If towing it very far I would be looking and thinking about what wood and how much I was loading as 1/2 cord could be pushing 2,500#.
  7. HDRock

    HDRock Minister of Fire

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    I bought my trailer 19 years ago, for 600 bucks, it is still a good trailer, from a small trailer fabrication shop , so I'm not positive of the rating, and there is no tongue weight stamped on the tongue, but sounds about same as yours.
    Anyway I think I have a good general idea how much wood I can throw in there now.
    I would rather be using the Tahoe but it is in need of intake gaskets causing ,coolant leak

    Becfus , Great chart thanks
  8. gzecc

    gzecc Minister of Fire

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    I never come close to overloading a trailer. For $150 in wood its not worth, ruining the transmission, trailer, or having an accident. Go slow, take small amounts (1/2 cord max), don't go far.
  9. Stubborn Dutchman

    Stubborn Dutchman Member

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    I judge the loaded weight by the position of the rear spring shackles and how far the fenders are from the tires. Once I've loaded a trailer a couple times, I believe I have a pretty good feel for how it is going to tow. Of course, good tongue weight is critical.
  10. WellSeasoned

    WellSeasoned Guest

    When your trailer is throwing sparks, its too heavy. As others have said green oak depending on the species can weigh anywhere from 4500 to 5200 already split.
  11. HDRock

    HDRock Minister of Fire

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    !!! ;lol
  12. blwncrewchief

    blwncrewchief Burning Hunk

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    Yea, well, apparently you are allot better at judging than I am. :p

    My trailer is very easy to overload. Single axles really kind of suck for wood hauling as my 5x10 is a pretty small floor and if you calculate it out as little as a 16-18" high load could be overloaded. Also keep in mind this is not the light duty version you would find with the lighter axle and 12 or 13" rims and tires like at most of the big box stores or farm stores. It has the full 3,500# 5 lug axle with 15" rims and D load range tires. Well, I did just that and misjudged last year. I bucked up a big trunk into 16-18" long rounds. Carted them on the trailer standing up in just one layer tall and "thought" that should be an ok load. As soon as I pulled out on the road and stepped on the gas I knew it was very heavy. Luckily it was back roads all the way home so I just took it easy. Once split and stacked it was about 3/4 of a cord and by how heavy the wood was (green fresh cut sugar maple in the spring) it was probably about 3500#. The rear gate on the trailer has never quite closed right since then.;sick I was also on a scrounge last year grabbing some black walnut. It was close to home, getting dark, and I had to work the next day so I was cutting and throwing it in the back of the truck as quick as I could. I filled it up to the bed rails and headed for home. Took off down the road and suddenly realized my F150 felt like a 1950 Buick with four flat tires:oops:. I really didn't even want to drive 2 miles home it was so bad. Split and stacked that out to a little over 1/2 cord or about 2500# in my poor F150. No, it actually was not squatting in back at all, but upon closer examination when I got home the whole truck was sitting 4-6" lower than empty and looked like a 2wd instead of a 4x4. I just thought it was easier to get in the truck when I left because I was on a hill.
  13. gzecc

    gzecc Minister of Fire

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    Just because there is more room doesn't mean you can load more. Wood is cheap, tranny work, brake work, roll overs aren't. Next time take 1/2 as much as you think you should. Better to make two trips. Bigger single axle trailers are for bulky items, not heavy ones.
  14. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    There's a lot of good advice in this thread. If you intend to regularly load that trailer to capacity, especially with a smaller tow-vehicle, I'd highly recommend looking into some electric trailer brakes. Stick your head under the trailer sometime and look at the axle. If there is a square flange with four holes in it behind each hub, then your brake-ready. It's not as expensive or difficult as you think.

    One thing that hasn't been mentioned is the angle of attack regarding the tongue and tow vehicle height. The tongue should be level or slightly lower for best stability. I see a lot of single axles with their tongues sticking up like a Howitzer barrel going down the road clinging for dear life to whatever is draggin' 'em.

    Doesn't matter how big or small the tow-vehicle is, an improperly loaded trailer is a serious danger to not only you and your property, but the lives and property of others along your route as well. Best not take those chances.
  15. HDRock

    HDRock Minister of Fire

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    That's exactly why I'm asking some people with more experience, so I don't tear stuff up, or die

    Back then,when I almost flipped, my first fire wood haul, I had no idea the wood was that heavy.
    I had this filled to the top of the second board from the top,/ about 24" from floor, and in the front even a little higher.. DSCI0397.JPG
  16. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Me thinks I spot the problem. That axle is damn near centered under the load floor of that trailer. Yank it back 12"-18" and I bet it would surprise you how much better it tows.
  17. HDRock

    HDRock Minister of Fire

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    Well ,now you made me go measure, it is centered, 5' each side of axle,on load floor, 8' from tongue to axle
  18. gzecc

    gzecc Minister of Fire

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    That will greatly increase the tongue weight of any load. Next time load it only to the top of the metal trailer rails. The extensions are not going to double the capacity of this trailer, unless your loading cotton balls. Be sure not to have more weight in the back, behind the rear axle or you will fishtail. Have a little more weight upfront. As your loading balance the weight between front and back, when finishing add a little more to the front to increase tongue weight a bit. When done right you can tell when the weight is balanced over the rear axle.
  19. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    General rule of thumb for fresh cut wood is 5000lbs a cord.

    I generally put 2 to 2.5 cords on my trailer, but it's a 12k rated trailer and I pull it with a 1 ton diesel truck.
  20. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    I get a little over 1/2 a cord & an ATV per trip with my single axle.
    I moved the axle back 9" or so, it helped allot & still load the front heavy for stability.
    Green birch is over 5,000 per cord, some wood over 7,000 green . Wood type maters

    Reference (not exact but a starting point):
    http://www.consumerenergycenter.org/home/heating_cooling/firewood.html

    My single axle loaded: 2 rows up front, a row down th sides & room for the ATV, full load for me:
    Ld-trlr4.JPG
  21. WhitePine

    WhitePine Feeling the Heat

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    You bet. That's the whole idea. If that trailer is loaded evenly, which could easily happen with a long uniform load, it would have virtually no tongue weight, which is an accident waiting to happen. Look at any decent commercially built trailer. The axle(s) is behind the center of the load floor. That way, there is certain to be positive tongue weight, unless the trailer load is grossly biased rearward.

    That axle really does need to be moved back. There are formulas out there for calculating the proper location.
  22. HDRock

    HDRock Minister of Fire

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    When I originally bought the trailer, I was getting ready to move to a new house and I put the expansion sides on then, ( they look pretty good for being 19 years old) they slide right out when I don't want them, and they worked great The other day when I filled it up with pallets standing up.
    I always do load over the axle with more weight toward the front, I have hauled heavy stuff like roofing tear off, bricks, rocks, etc. and I've never had the problem I had that day, when I filled it up with wood,but I have never filled it that full with heavy stuff, so yes I know the error of my ways on that day, and I don't want it to happen again,cuz it scared the crap out of me.
    I had too much weight, and I think I did have too much weight in the back also.
    I may just consider moving the axle back.
  23. HDRock

    HDRock Minister of Fire

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    As a matter of fact I did look under the trailer and find the square flange with the four holes in it, because after I posted this thread, I went out today and put all new wiring and lights on the trailer.

    If I had known what I know now I would have bought a double axle back then.
  24. WhitePine

    WhitePine Feeling the Heat

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    I put brakes on a trailer with a 3,000 lb single axle myself a few years back. Did it right after an idiot pulled out directly in front of me when I was doing the speed limit with a full load behind me. I was barely able to stop in time. That trailer never made another trip until it got brakes.

    If that's a Dexter axle, which is the most common brand, brakes are readily available from a number of sources. It's basically a bolt up job, plus the wiring, of course.
  25. Adkjake

    Adkjake Member

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    Depends on what your are hauling, cut and split, rounds or logs. I have access to a big pile of logs. I would cut them to a length I could load on the trailer. Depending on the species and the diamater, might be 8 ft might be 3ft. After the first few trips, I wondered what weight I had on the trailer. I use this link as my guide.
    http://www.woodweb.com/cgi-bin/calculators/calc.pl?calculator=log_weight

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