Truck vs trailer

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bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
29,088
central pa
The problem with this question is that there is no right answer everyone's situation and preferences are different. I have trailers but generally prefer not to use the for hauling wood. I prefer the dump truck
 

salecker

Minister of Fire
Aug 22, 2010
1,827
Northern Canada
Plates and insurance for my dump/plow truck are really pretty cheap. It is the 4th truck on the policy and gets very little mileage. I need a plow truck and dump truck anyway so it really isn't an extra expense. I attach a topside tool box on each side ontop of the bed rails up from when getting wood. That holds my equipment
same here
plates $36.00 a year
insurance $119.00 a year.
Dents and abuse ,priceless.
The truck that actually hauls all the wood i cut is free as it never gets on the highway.And there is no way you are getting a trailer where i go with this truck,i get 1/2 cord of dry wood on it.

load 3 b.jpg firewood 2021.jpg
 

firefighterjake

Minister of Fire
Jul 22, 2008
19,593
Unity/Bangor, Maine
I would think the answer to this question is . . . it depends.

And of course the answer would be specific to the person, where they get their wood, how they use the truck/trailer, etc.

What I mean to say is that for me a truck works best -- namely because I tend to either get my wood off a buddy's nearby wood lot which involves driving down a tote road and then finding a place to turn around (not as easy with a trailer) or I will scrounge a tree or two at a time from trees brought down by a storm. For me -- a short ride, not moving a lot of wood at one shot and having areas where a trailer might be a challenge to maneuver, a truck tends to be the best answer. For a person who is picking up bigger loads, having to drive further away and wanting to reduce time spent driving or if they are able to get their wood in an area where they can really jockey things around having a trailer (cheaper costs generally in terms of buying, maintaining and registering) would work best.

I also find it's easier for me to either a) leave the saw in the truck in case I come across a scrounge while going to work (if I take the truck that day vs. the WRX) and b) grab the truck vs. taking the time to move the trailer from where I store it out back to the front of the house (with my ATV) and then hook up the trailer . . . obviously if someone parks their trailer in a more accessible location this would change things.

Now . . . that all said . . . I have and will continue to own a trailer as it is much easier to load the sled on to the trailer vs. truck . . . same goes for the ATV, although there is something to be said about loading the quad into the back of the truck and not having to deal with tow straps or paying the penalty in terms of gas mileage loss when towing.
 

mar13

Feeling the Heat
Nov 5, 2018
491
California redwood coast
Similar scenario here. I let my truck go because I couldn't fit kids + would have to sit out in the weather. Trailers are cheaper to maintain, license, and insure. They haul more. What trailers lack, however, is spontaneity. If I want to go get pallets or a small load of wood, a truck was fast & easy to use rather than hooking up the trailer, etc. For small back roads, a truck is easier, if not the only way.

If you can afford both, keep the truck and get a trailer. If you find yourself not using the truck much, then sell it.
 
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salecker

Minister of Fire
Aug 22, 2010
1,827
Northern Canada
I solve the question by having lots of both
You saw my small truck i also have a Mack 5ton wood truck with a dump deck/box made for hauling 6 cords of loose fill wood,a Mack tandem dump truck which i have scrounged wood in log lenght a few years,a T800 Kenworth semi tractor with a 3 axle log trailer, super B log trailer.a few lowbeds,Btrain tanker.
Will be putting a dump deck on my 2000 dodge dually and buying a dump trailer of some sort.i already have a couple of tandem axle deck trailers as well.
In a couple years i plan on being in the firewood busines as a side hustel to keep me busy in semi retirement.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
16,947
Philadelphia
Geez... you guys are already talkin dump trucks, and if I recall, the OP was asking about a small utility trailer on a minivan! 😄

It appears @wishlist and I have nearly the same setup. But one thing to add, the wagon I mentioned in the recent thread about brining wood into the house is actually a dump wagon. So, if you're just towing behind a tractor, this might be a more practical solution than a highway-rated dump trailer.
 

Isaac Carlson

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2012
804
NW Wisconsin
I have a heavy 3/4 ton that will carry a cord. I also have a 5x8 trailer that will carry ~1500 lbs. The truck is my heavy hauler and the trailer is used for smaller runs. I have a tandem trailer to get going and that should increase the wood haulage to 2-3 cord per trip.

Dump trailers are nice, but heavy. Hard to get in places too.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
16,947
Philadelphia
I have a heavy 3/4 ton that will carry a cord. I also have a 5x8 trailer that will carry ~1500 lbs. The truck is my heavy hauler and the trailer is used for smaller runs. I have a tandem trailer to get going and that should increase the wood haulage to 2-3 cord per trip.

Dump trailers are nice, but heavy. Hard to get in places too.
That must be a pretty serious tandem, unless you're drying the wood before hauling, or going after softwoods. Figure on roughly 5000 lb. (+/- 15%) per cord green, for most good hardwoods worth fetching, and a payload around 70% of GTWR. You'd need a 15,000 lb. GTWR to haul 2 - 3 cords of most good hardwoods, which is a pretty serious beast of a trailer, not to mention some means on-site to do the loading (think log stacking).

I usually figure about 1.0 - 1.5 cords per trip, in my tandem with 3500 lb. axles. It's always an issue of weight, way before space.
 
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wishlist

Minister of Fire
Mar 28, 2011
618
Corunna, Michigan
That must be a pretty serious tandem, unless you're drying the wood before hauling, or going after softwoods. Figure on roughly 5000 lb. (+/- 15%) per cord green, for most good hardwoods worth fetching, and a payload around 70% of GTWR. You'd need a 15,000 lb. GTWR to haul 2 - 3 cords of most good hardwoods, which is a pretty serious beast of a trailer, not to mention some means on-site to do the loading (think log stacking).

I usually figure about 1.0 - 1.5 cords per trip, in my tandem with 3500 lb. axles. It's always an issue of weight, way before space.
I’ve hauled a lot of dead ash on my 20ft trailer with 5000lb axles . Usually space is an issues with ash as I use side post to stack higher . In the last year or so I’ve hauled quit a bit of green hickory and oak . Big difference in weight . Don’t need the side post as weight is a big factor .
 

Crowkiller

Member
Jan 6, 2020
26
RubZeuHerZeb4
I’ve never been without a pickup (work vehicle not a pretty ride). Nor have I ever been without a trailer. Keep your truck and get a trailer if you can afford one. You’ll be glad you kept your truck.
 
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Isaac Carlson

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2012
804
NW Wisconsin
That must be a pretty serious tandem, unless you're drying the wood before hauling, or going after softwoods. Figure on roughly 5000 lb. (+/- 15%) per cord green, for most good hardwoods worth fetching, and a payload around 70% of GTWR. You'd need a 15,000 lb. GTWR to haul 2 - 3 cords of most good hardwoods, which is a pretty serious beast of a trailer, not to mention some means on-site to do the loading (think log stacking).

I usually figure about 1.0 - 1.5 cords per trip, in my tandem with 3500 lb. axles. It's always an issue of weight, way before space.

I put a card on the truck and about 2 cord on the trailer.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
16,947
Philadelphia
I put a card on the truck and about 2 cord on the trailer.
Fresh felled oak and hickory run 5000 - 5500 lb. per cord, ash runs 4500. Assuming a round 5000 lb. per cord, then you're at 5000 lb. in the bed + another 1500 - 2000 lb. tongue weight on the hitch. Must make your 3/4 ton truck squat pretty hard to have that much weight on the rear.

Lesser woods weigh less, but then you're just wasting gas and miles. 😜
 

Isaac Carlson

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2012
804
NW Wisconsin
Fresh felled oak and hickory run 5000 - 5500 lb. per cord, ash runs 4500. Assuming a round 5000 lb. per cord, then you're at 5000 lb. in the bed + another 1500 - 2000 lb. tongue weight on the hitch. Must make your 3/4 ton truck squat pretty hard to have that much weight on the rear.

Lesser woods weigh less, but then you're just wasting gas and miles. 😜
The truck takes it pretty well.
The first two loads are sopping wet maple and the one with the trailer is oak. I ran out of wood or I would have had more on the truck.
If you look at the second picture, you will see that a lot of the logs ar 12 footers.

2F0EE8A1-4F3B-4876-A0A3-DDB4FA08E025.jpeg B0ED3518-740F-4BD0-B00C-683E82219213.jpeg EC932DF9-643E-4C0B-B17A-ADB8DBD2CCE6.jpeg
 
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salecker

Minister of Fire
Aug 22, 2010
1,827
Northern Canada
I have hauled excessively heavy loads on trucks,on trailers behind trucks or both.
I learned watching my Dad load and haul heavy over the years,learned from his mistakes as well.
Don't rush,make sure the load is secure.
Use common sense when you are overloaded and things usually go as planned.Plan of the unexpected the whole trip,then it will not surprise you .
 

Tar12

Minister of Fire
Dec 9, 2016
1,820
Indiana
It does indeed depend upon the situation..sometimes its the 4 wheeler and small trailer..sometimes its just the truck and other times its all 3! lol
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
16,947
Philadelphia
I have hauled excessively heavy loads on trucks,on trailers behind trucks or both.
I learned watching my Dad load and haul heavy over the years,learned from his mistakes as well.
Don't rush,make sure the load is secure.
Use common sense when you are overloaded and things usually go as planned.Plan of the unexpected the whole trip,then it will not surprise you .
Yep, I suspect most wood burners have hauled a few loads over their vehicle or trailer weight ratings. I know I’ve been guilty if it, but never intentionally.

What I worry about, having heard the horror stories and having one friend who killed a kid who happened to shoot out of a driveway into his vehicle’s path, is how you’ll feel and what you’ll say if things do go wrong. If a situation arises, in which you’re unable to stop and injury or death is the result, you’ll have an awful tough time explaining to the jury that you felt it was safe to violate your GVWR or GTWR.
 
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bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
29,088
central pa
Yep, I suspect most wood burners have hauled a few loads over their vehicle or trailer weight ratings. I know I’ve been guilty if it, but never intentionally.

What I worry about, having heard the horror stories and having one friend who killed a kid who happened to shoot out of a driveway into his vehicle’s path, is how you’ll feel and what you’ll say if things do go wrong. If a situation arises, in which you’re unable to stop and injury or death is the result, you’ll have an awful tough time explaining to the jury that you felt it was safe to violate your GVWR or GTWR.
I overload my dump with wood regularly but I am also only ever a mile or two from the house most of the time I drive home on almost all tractor paths at low speed. So no danger to anyone else. And little danger to me.

But I absolutely agree with you otherwise
 
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bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
29,088
central pa

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
29,088
central pa
I couldn't find a good picture of it. It's hiding behind the bronco (the bronco looks much better now btw)

20180520_154102.jpg
 

Isaac Carlson

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2012
804
NW Wisconsin
Speed is the enemy when loaded, or any time for that matter. The heavier I am, the slower I go.
The truck stops pretty well when loaded. You can hardly tell it's that full.
Trailers are a different animal. They can bite you if you turn your back.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
16,947
Philadelphia
Speed is the enemy when loaded, or any time for that matter. The heavier I am, the slower I go.
The truck stops pretty well when loaded. You can hardly tell it's that full.
Trailers are a different animal. They can bite you if you turn your back.
Different strokes for different folks. Given the caveats of properly maintained, functional, and correctly adjusted trailer brakes, I actually feel safer with a heavy trailer than an overloaded truck. Trouble is, so many trailers are NOT well-maintained. Also, in PA we are forced to have brakes on ALL axles of a any trailer with 3500 lb. axles or greater, so my tandem stops pretty damn fast. Very few trailers ship with this configuration by default, and few states require it, trailer dealers in PA are always adding this as a required dealer upgrade.

On the subject of having your brake controller properly adjusted the load, it should be just a few tenths of a volt shy of locking up at 25 mph, when you push the proportional lever to full max without touching the brake pedal. If not properly adjusted, then yes... that trailer could bite you.

I will grant you that the one time I was forced to pull the tandem loaded to the max with concrete block, behind my lite 1/2 ton truck in heavy snow on un-treated roads, I was really nervous about having the trailer come around on me in a stopping situation or rounding a bend in the road. However, it actually pulled, cornered, and stopped just fine. I guess guys pull 55,000 lb. trailers with 25,000 lb. semi tractors in the snow everyday, not sure why I was so nervous about it, but it was an experience I'm not anxious to repeat.
 

salecker

Minister of Fire
Aug 22, 2010
1,827
Northern Canada
Yup brakes on a trailer make pulling them a breeze.
I grew up not knowing a trailer with brakes.
I was 30 yrs old before i got to pull a trailer with brakes other then the semi's i drove.
 

TheGriz

Member
Dec 4, 2010
65
Candler, NC
I've done it with F-150s, single and double axle trailers, but this setup is what I have come up with after 25 years of splitting and burning wood. F-250 with a dump insert, saws go in the cab, splitter towed behind. I split and throw right into the truck. I don't travel more than 10 miles for wood, mostly under 2 miles. I can drop the splitter and dump loads easily. If I had to choose between truck or trailer, I'd keep the truck forever. You can haul the splitter behind you and make it a one stop operation. Also, that whole load is black locust, I'm guessing around 3/4 cord (actually nicely stacked underneath).

firewood.jpg
 
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Isaac Carlson

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2012
804
NW Wisconsin
Yep, and yep. A trailer only increases what you can haul, but it can't pull itself. I have been tempted to fuse a truck and tandem flatbed to make a 20 ft pickup bed. Still thinking about it.

I am planning a dumping flatbed for my pickup. It saves the weight of a bed plus insert and gives more space for what I'm hauling while allowing any cargo to be quickly dumped off. It also allows quick loading and unloading with a forklift or loader, which I have more access to now more than ever. One source of logs for me loads with a grapple or forks, so a flatbed is perfect.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
16,947
Philadelphia
I am planning a dumping flatbed for my pickup. It saves the weight of a bed plus insert and gives more space for what I'm hauling while allowing any cargo to be quickly dumped off. It also allows quick loading and unloading with a forklift or loader, which I have more access to now more than ever. One source of logs for me loads with a grapple or forks, so a flatbed is perfect.
I'm having some trouble following you, here. How on earth would a dumping flatbed weigh a lot less than a stock sheetmetal pickup bed? Seems to be it would have to be heavier, factoring in the upper and lower structures required for dumping, the hydraulics, and the decking. Also, while a flatbed would be awesome for unloading with a grapple, I'm not sure I see the advantage on loading. My trailer has solid sides, and is deeper than a pickup bed (by almost 2x), but it's still no problem to load it with a grapple.

If loading with a grapple or forks on a very regular basis, I'd want a 20' tandem axle trailer with removable or fold-down stake sides. Remove the side from which you're loading, load against the far wall, re-install the near wall after the first row is loaded. Perfect.