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Author Topic: Trailer help
Fireball Verified Driver

Region: ATL
Posts: 155
Status: Offline
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Hello all,
I'm looking to buy a 14' open trailer to tow the miata to track events.

Since all of you have trailers and tow your cars quite frequently, I'd like a little advice.

I want to keep the weight of the trailer as light as possible. Don't know if a single axle will be enough, or if I need 2 3500# axles. I would like a beavertail and open floor.

Lastly, and most importantly, anyone know of some good dealers in the Southeast? Or if you are looking to upgrade to an enclosed trailer, you may have a buyer

Any other advice or info. is much appreciated! Thanks in advance


Jeff Perine

Region: Finger Lakes
Car #: 63
Year : 1990
Posts: 44
Status: Offline
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I'd like to piggy back on this question - are "trailer tires" required or are truck tire acceptable?

racerboync Verified Driver

Region: NCR
Posts: 387
Status: Offline
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Fireball....good luck finding a 14" open trailer nobody builds them...you will have to have that size specially built. 16" trailers are scarce and 18" trailers are very common. I have a 16" steel trailer that I get my miata and an atv on so it is plenty big enough. It weighs 1600 pounds and cost me $1600 brand new. NC Trailer Sales in Thomasville, NC 336 475-5054. But there are plenty of mom and pop trailer stores in GA.

Jeff I was told that truck tires are acceptable on open trailers where the load is relatively small on each tire. My trailer weighs 5000 pounds with the car and it came with truck tires.....BUT I was told trailer tires are needed when you start heading above 5000 pounds...the majority of your closed trailers have special trailer tires.



Veteran Member

Region: East Tenn
Car #: 06
Year : 1992
Posts: 1196
Status: Offline
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Trailer Source in Atlanta used to handle a lot of racer stuff. Charlotte is also a real hotbed for that type of stuff.
I would prefer to tow using a specific car hauler type of trailer with the axles set up for the weight and location of car. SM is light for most race cars but at over 2000lbs plus spares, gear, tires, etc, you are still towing a fairly heavy package.
You will never wear out trailer tires; they tend to rot from sitting so much. However considering the weight and stress that they bear, you do want to use multiple ply tires.
Play safe; nothing will screw up your race weekend or life like a trailer accident. It is the most dangerous part of racing.

Wayne Henry SM 06

don wiseman Verified Driver Made Donation to Website Series Champ
Veteran Member

Region: Rocky Mountain
Car #: 81
Year : 1995
Posts: 696
Status: Offline
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For 12 or 13 years I had a 14ft open trailer with a single 3500# dropped axle, electric brakes and a vertical tire pole on the tongue that held the spare and 4 race wheels and tires. Towed like a dream and I never had any trouble with it. You'd have to have one custom made. I now have an 18' bed Big Tex with 2 axles, solid steel floor, tire rack for the spare and 8 wheels and tires and a large aluminum storage box for gas cans, straps, jacks and other misc. junk. From my experience, the bigger the better- more room for more and bigger (since the floor is solid I can also put my little narrow Bugeye in it, which I couldn't do with the open bed small trailer) stuff and better resale. Plus, a flat won't send you into the ditch as fast, so the double axle is much safer. Only 2 drawbacks: a heavier trailer makes the tow vehicle burn more gas and I can't manhandle the trailer around in my driveway the way I could the little one. All tires have load ratings on the side, so stay comfortably within them and you'll be OK, although there are tires made especially for trailers, I think for higher loads. Check with Tire Rack or your local dealer.

Phil Mather Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
Insert witty title here...

Region: Detroit
Car #: 06
Year : 1990
Posts: 357
Status: Offline
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I've got a 16' dual axle open trailer from Performance Shop Mfg. in Newark, DE. The trailer weights 1,100 lbs (the lighest car trailer i could find) and tows w/ my Toyota 4cyl truck up to 70mph very well (just hope no one cuts me off ). It also has 4 wheel brakes on it. It's avail. with single axle brakes also. Cost is about $1600 with 4 brakes. Their number is 302-368-9534.

Hope this helps.


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Henry Payne Verified Driver

Region: CCR & SCR
Car #: SM 2 & 93, FP 4
Year : 1990 & 1992 & 1992
Posts: 344
Status: Offline
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Something no one has mentioned is the ramp system - with a SM setup, you need pretty long ramps and a beaver tail on the trailer.

I had been using a car hauler type open trailer with short ramps - just switched to a equipment type trailer (sits higher, has wood floor) that has ramps attached to the back. You've seen em going down the road with their ramps up in the air! What we did was add a double length to it so the ramps fold up, but are still attached to the trailer which is good since they are heavy! Would have used aluminum but the price was too much. Basic trailer, brand new 4 wks ago, two axles etc was $1400.

As to tires, there are differences between car/truck tires and trailer tires. Get some marked ST and load rated according to what you are hauling. I have C tires on the open trailer and E's on the enclosed trailer.

hp - who is still looking for a 40'+ Goose Neck so he can sell his 20' tagalong

Williamston, SC

Ben NER 40 Verified Driver

Region: New England
Car #: 40
Year : 1993
Posts: 136
Status: Offline
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I've had three close calls since I started racing and all were while towing rather than on the track(deer, throttle stuck wide open, and brakes) After cooking the brakes on my Grand Cherokee coming down the hill at the Glen, I switched from a heavy steel trailer to a light aluminum one and think it was best decision I ever made although cost for a used aluminum is probably slightly more than a new steel one.

I have a 10 year old Trailex with a tire rack and dual axles. It weighs around 900 lbs. Fenders are low enough to open the door with the car on the trailer and it's light enought to move around by hand. I don't even notice it when towing without a car on it. Also nice thing about aluminum besides the weight is the lack of rust or paint maintenance.

Best place to find a Trailex used is apparently the porsche club.

Veteran Member

Region: East Tenn
Car #: 06
Year : 1992
Posts: 1196
Status: Offline
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The issue with a custom or home-made trailer is the inspection process necessary to get approved for license. Some folks can handle that and others cannot. Even in the depths of rural East Tenn, the inspectors are pretty tough and wary. Too many log and mowing trailers have gotten loose from Bubba so they are really cracking down. There is even a special report that must be filled out when accident involves trailer whether it was part of accident or not.
All of this reminds me that I have 2 trailer tires at the tire store to replace the 2 remaining original equipment tires on my enclosed. Now if I just had the money to pick them up.

Wayne Henry SM 06

tconkling Verified Driver

Region: Atlanta
Car #: 84
Year : 1994
Posts: 171
Status: Offline
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Here are a couple of web sites that you might want to check for trailers.

There are also several good trailer sales places in the Atlanta area, just check the Yellow pages.

Tom Conkling
Scorpio Motorsports
SM #84


Region: NE
Car #: 73
Year : 96
Posts: 16
Status: Offline
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I went through the trailer buying process last year and ended up with an Aluminum Trailer company open trailer (www.aluminumtrailer.com) As Ben NER 79 mentioned, aluminum trailers have several advantages. The ATC trailers are slightly heavier than the Trailex but are welded toghether instead of bolted and rated for 7000# GVW vs. 5000#. I can still move mine around by myself and they custom sized it so would fit through the single car garage door of my condo. The price was a good $1000 dollars less than Trailex at the time. I am happy with the investment and got a lot of compliments on it this weekend at Summit Point.

davew Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Region: chicago
Car #: 72 and ?
Year : 90 and 90
Posts: 1051
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Trailer tires versus Truck tires

Part of the problem with trailers is the sideways scuffing of the tires. Have you every watched the tires when you back into the driveway at home? Often the front tire will show 3 degrees positive camber while the rear tire will have 3 degrees negative This is flexing of the wheel and puts SEVERE loads on the sidewall of the tire. Trailer tires weigh comsiderably more then the same size truck tire. This weight is all in the sidewall construction to accomidate this loading.

When using truck tires a good rule of thumb is to take the maximum load range (listed on the sidewall) and divide by 2. Then multiply by number of tires to get a total load carrying capacity. Do the math yourself, then go look at a trailer tire(and lift it up)

I spent 7 years in the tire business and feel I know what I'm talking about.


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