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Noob here, question about gathering and a trailer

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by area_man, Feb 23, 2013.

  1. area_man

    area_man Member

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    I have a 98 Ford Explorer 4WD manual and was thinking about using it to scrounge. After reading a bit on the board it seems like it might be a good idea to buy a trailer . I don't know how much wood I could haul in the back, but I could probably break windows or have wood fly into the front in the event of a collision.

    My house is on a hill... it's pretty steep. I don't think there's a way up that's less than a 7% grade, but it looks steeper than that to me just eyeballing it. Going the back way I usually keep it in 2nd gear to make sure I don't lug the engine, or I could go through downtown for a slightly less steep climb.

    With a trailer I would have to keep that in mind on my way up. I bet wood could roll off the back unless I stack it with the wood oriented front to back.

    I don't know which way would be safer. My primary concern is to make sure I don't bounce a log out of the trailer into trailing traffic, somebody could get hurt. Would roping it down help, or is that not realistic with a trailer full of wood?

    What would you recommend to use for hauling wood? There have been a couple of craigslist ads for free wood lately, it seems like it comes available around here fairly regularly.

    Thanks for any ideas!

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  2. Jon1270

    Jon1270 Minister of Fire

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    The right sized trailer would probably be fine. A 4WD Explorer can probably pull quite a bit, but a steep hill obviously makes things harder. Look into the truck's towing capacities, calculate the likely weight of various volumes of wet wood and see where you come out.

    The more you can haul, the more worthwhile scrounge opportunities there will be because the travel time and cost will be lower for a given volume of wood, but if you live in an urban or suburban area with limited space, think about where you'll store the trailer.

    Recently cut, wet wood is heavy enough that I wouldn't be too worried about it bouncing out. You could tarp the load as insurance for the smaller, lighter pieces. Some trailer suspensions are better / more stable than others.

    I've been hauling wood in a much less robust vehicle: a 1994 Volvo station wagon. I don't have a trailer, as there's nowhere to store one on my property, and roads in my area tend to be narrow and winding. The Volvo's rear springs can only handle about 1/5-1/4 cord, which is roughly what fits if tightly stacked to the bottom of the windows. With such small loads it doesn't make sense for me to drive more than a few miles for wood, but that's okay because I live in an urban area that's been built up for several decades, with lots of mature hardwood trees. I have what on this board probably qualifies as an ultralight wood scrounging arrangement: a plastic utility sled for dragging wood out of inaccessible yards, a Fiskars splitting axe, a steel wedge and a 4# mechanic's hammer, an 18" chain saw with a couple of bucking wedges, a spillproof gas can and some work gloves. Oh, and a tarp to put down in the back of the Volvo to keep the chips and dust somewhat under control. When the car is fully loaded with wood, there's still room to carry all the tools. I imagine this setup would be rather silly if I lived in a rural area and had to drive further for wood, but it works for me. If you don't mind getting the inside of your truck a little dusty, I encourage you to start with what you have, before you spend too much on equipment you might not need.
  3. blacktail

    blacktail Minister of Fire

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    I think it will depend on what kind of trailer you get and what form the wood will be in. Will the trailer have sides and a tailgate? Will the wood be in logs, rounds, or splits?
    I've never seen anyone stack wood in a pickup or trailer with the logs sitting side to side. Put it front to back, and in rows if it's in rounds or splits. You could put a rope across each row if you're that worried. I've also seen people haul large rounds standing on end. A trailer with sides shouldn't be any different than loading a pickup bed. Look around on the site for pics of trucks loaded with wood to see how others do it.
  4. ozzy73

    ozzy73 Member

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    See if you can get something with high sides. I got a good deal on an old rusty farm trailer, put a little money and tons of elbow grease into and I got a decent trailer. Nothing fancy just a nice wood hauler.

    The high sides are great toss stuff in there, no tie downs/tarps required.

    http://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/new-wood-hauler.87771/
  5. gzecc

    gzecc Minister of Fire

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    IMO your first trailer shouldn't be too big. I suggest you look for a single axle no bigger than 6x10 with sides. Never over load it. Its too hard on all involved (trailer, vehicle pulling it and you).
    Post some trailers from (CL) that you have interest in in the "Gear" forum. You'll have plenty of recommendations.
    What size receiver do you have on your vehicle?
  6. Fire Breathing Dragon

    Fire Breathing Dragon Member

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    Hello, that is a good idea that you are seeking saftey fist as there are many variables in the equation NOT in your favor from the start. See the pic in my avatar, it's a 4' x 8' trailer with 16" sides which will hold approx 1/3 cord which with green freshly cut wood is about the weight limit of the single axel trailer as well. As you can also see from the pic i load the bucked pieces on their end and they don't slide or roll anywhere. If I have a little extra time at the free wood site I will quarter or further split some rounds to fill in the gaps and further lock down the load. With smaller tree top pieces I would stack in a row side to side and secure with a tie-down strap. Anyway, this set up with the light small trailer works great for me as I can easily manuver on the site. Good luck!
  7. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    I live on top of a similar hill and most of my wood comes from yard trees in the city. I throw a net over it and drive slow. I'm somewhere around 60 cord into the game without an issue.

    Attached Files:

  8. Josh Hufford

    Josh Hufford New Member

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    A trailer will work fine, this is all I have to haul wood in,

    http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8326/8432331537_d3f9d74800_h.jpg

    It is a 5x10, I added the sides which are 2' high all around. It has a 3500 lb. axel. If you get a single axel trailer DO NOT get anything lighter than a 3500lb. axel. I'm sure I'm at the limit with a full load. If the wood is wet I don't fill it as full as I could. I pull this with a Jeep Liberty that has a 3.7 liter V6. Power to pull is no problem at all, but it has an automatic transmission which I'm not a fan of in any situation, but especially pulling heavy loads. In my opinion your ahead of the game with a manual. Check what your vehicle and hitch are rated to pull. When your taking off be careful how much you slip the clutch, its easy to overheat the clutch when pulling a heavy load, use the lowest RPM from the motor you can without killing it or lugging the engine while your slipping the clutch to start out. When your climbing a steep hill, I would just leave it in first gear and crawl up it. Worst case would be shifting to second then not having enough power to maintain speed, then trying to downshift back to first, you might end up stalling and have to back down the hill and start over. Is your explorer 4x4? If you have a low range that would make climbing hills a piece of cake. However do not use 4x4 on dry pavement if you have any kind of a turn at all. Unless your explorer has a center differential you can do damage to your drivetrain if you turn on dry pavement while in 4x4. One other thing to keep in mind when pulling a heavy load, not only is it harder to pull it, it is also MUCH harder to stop it. Give yourself way more distance to stop, and a long way behind any other vehicle. Downshift to a lower gear if you have a long hill to descend, it will help prevent overheating your breaks.

    I'm keeping my eye out for a good deal on a 3/4 ton truck to haul wood with, but for now this is how I haul it and it works great. I've never had a problem with wood falling or bouncing out, I can't image it is any worse than using a truck bed.

    Hope that helps,

    Josh

    Edit, I just noticed that you did say your explorer is 4x4.
  9. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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  10. Mr A

    Mr A Minister of Fire

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    I would like to see your plastic sled. I did a scrounge last year on a steep lot. The slope was downhill from the street. I loaded a few logs on a plastic tobogan, snow sled, and pulled it uphill with a rope. I decided it was too much work and gave up.
  11. fabsroman

    fabsroman Minister of Fire

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    The tow vehicle is always the limit to the amount that can be towed. So, the amount that can be towed is limited by the specs on the Explorer. If you have the 4.0 liter engine, you are looking at around 5,500 pounds. With the 5.0 liter V8, you are looking at around 6,500 pounds.

    http://www.explorerforum.com/ntrprize/spec1998.htm

    You should really refer to your owner's manual though for the exact stats.

    A cord of green oak weighs around 6,500 pounds. Before you start jumping up and down thinking you will be able to haul a cord of wood if you have the 5.0 liter engine, you will need to deduct the trailer weight from the 6,500 pound towing capacity of the vehicle. Guessing that the trailer will weigh 1,000 to 1,500 pounds since it will most likely be a tandem axle. So, you might be able to get 1/2 to 3/4 cord on a trailer.

    Here is a 7,000 pound GVWR utility trailer that can haul 5,400 of cargo, so it weight 1,600 pounds.

    Other things you need to pay attention to are the tow rating on your hitch, tongue, and ball. Just because a vehicle is rated to tow 6,500 pounds does not mean the hitch, tongue, and ball are.

    Then, there is the functionality of your vehicle. Can the brakes, engine, transmission, etc. in their current condition handle hauling 6,500 pounds. Maybe get a trailer that can handle the max vehicle payload, but start hauling in small quantities until you figure out what you and the vehicle are comfortable with.

    FYI - the 6,500 pound reference in the above examples assumes you have the 5.0L V8.
  12. area_man

    area_man Member

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    I have the 4.0 liter, don't know what my hitch is rated for. I guess I'll go with a smaller trailer. That's fine, I'm certainly not going to buy a new truck to haul wood. I'll make do with what I have. Unfortunately my 4WD is the type that doesn't turn on dry pavement so I will be driving it in 2WD while hauling. Maybe I'll load some wood in the back to weight down the back axle on the truck.

    I'm really looking forward to scrounging and cutting, this is going to be my replacement for going to the gym.
  13. Jon1270

    Jon1270 Minister of Fire

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    This is the sled I have. It's tough and a good size for firewood hauling, but going up a steep hill would still be a problem.
  14. geoff1969

    geoff1969 Member

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    a good trailer is best = easier to repair and less damage to your vehical ive got a twin cab ute wich is good for small stuff but use the trailer for bigger stuff my trailer is only 7 x4 with 4 foot high cage but its suprising the weight of it even when only half loaded , when your all ways on the look out for wood and even the small finds add up fast to a good volume . not sure how to up load photos other wise i would . cheers
  15. blacktail

    blacktail Minister of Fire

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    Why would you try to add weight to the rear of your Explorer? If conditions are slick, then you can use 4wd.
  16. fabsroman

    fabsroman Minister of Fire

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    Exactly. Just to clarify, the vehicle does not need to be in 4WD to use the tow rating in the manual for a 4WD, it just has to have the suspension, etc. of the 4WD model. With the tongue weight from the trailer, you should be just fine as far as traction goes unless you are in snow and/or mud.

    Your hitch should have a rating of class I, class II, or class III. I seriously doubt it is higher than a class III but who knows. There should be a rating somewhere on the hitch, the tongue/ball mount, and the ball. My truck is rated to tow 12,500 pounds, but the hitch on it is only rated for 10,000 pounds as is the ball system that I am using. So, 10,000 is the max GVW of any trailer I can haul. The weight limit is that of the lowest rated item in the list.

    Class 1 (Class I) trailer hitchTrailer hitch with capacity of up to 2,000 lbs gross trailer weight and 200 lbs tongue weight.Class 2 (Class II) trailer hitchTrailer hitch with weight-carrying rating of up to 3,500 lbs gross trailer weight and 300/350 lbs tongue weight.Class 3 (Class III) trailer hitchTrailer hitch with weight carrying rating of up to 5,000 lbs gross trailer weight and 500 lbs tongue weight. Also sometimes used to refer to a hitch with any 2" receiver, regardless of rating.Class 4 (Class IV) trailer hitchTrailer hitch with weight carrying rating of up to 10,000 lbs gross trailer weight and 1,000 - 1,200 lbs tongue weight. Although many times any hitch with a capacity greater than 5,000 lbs gross weight is referred to as a Class 4.http://www.uhaul.com/Trailers/HitchGlossary/

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