FLYER15015

How do YOU balance YOUR trailer ?

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post-70733-143142802355_thumb.jpgHaving just acquired a new 24' tandem axle enclosed car hauler, and adding an escape door myself, I trial loaded the Buick (1940 series 90) for the first time.

I found out that the balance point of the CAR is just about under the dash board (by using 2 jack stands as a teeter todder).

So my question is, where should the balance point of the car sit in the trailer ?

Obviously there should be some "tongue weight" and this is done by adjusting the tie downs and chocking the wheels, but how do you all measure this ? And how much tongue weight should there be ?post-70733-143142802198_thumb.jpg

I have since added 2x2 wood rails as tire guides and my winch has a 30' lead plus a switch on the door, so I can either drive the car in or pull it in.

Looking for some experienced haulers to jump in here and help a first timer..............

Mike in Colorado

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Edited by FLYER15015 (see edit history)

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ok Mike I'll take a start. Looks like you have a 10,000 pound sticker trailer so.... you should have about 1,000 pounds tongue weight for good towing. Your teeter toter example is good for finding balance. You just need to move the car forward until you get 1,000 on the tongue with the trailer level(important). There are many ways to scale that if your bathroom scale doesn't go that high, as all won't, using fulcrum points. I hope your escape door will be in the correct spot when you get the car correct. That door location won't work with my 61 or 62 Impala's.

Next question is what are you towing with? I strongly suggest one manufacturer's equalizer/sway control system as it works! You can't adjust that system until you achieve your tongue weight though so one thing at a time. Too bad you aren't on the east coast as we could get it done in a few hours.

Robert

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Edited by Robert Street
messed up picture (see edit history)

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Mike:

I decided to show this photo. I have a 24 foot 10,000 aluminum trailer and to achieve the proper tongue weight the 61 and the 62 have to be almost out the back door! But my weights on the tongue are correct! Luckily the manufacturer realized that and moved the "D" rings during build to accommodate that issue. I have towed several other cars for friends but all have been very close in placement to the area of mine. I have no experience with the weight of your classic Buick.

Robert

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The poor man's way of doing it is to drive the car into the trailer while someone watches the hitch, it should deflect down an inch or two, depending on the tow vehicle. Find that spot, tie down the car, then carefully take it for a test drive and see how it handles. I've towed trailers enough that I can "feel" when they aren't loaded correctly, usually you'll feel some wandering or squirreliness if car isn't loaded properly. Better to have a shade too much weight on hitch, versus too little.

Then, if you have only one car you're loading, you can put a stop in the trailer at that spot.

With my different cars, I just sort of remember where the car door ends up compared to the side door, and it works out. Good luck! And yes, an equalizing hitch is excellent for long runs, on short trips I don't use it.....

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................ And yes, an equalizing hitch is excellent for long runs, on short trips I don't use it.....

I will add one point here that I learned a long time ago. Towing a heavy antique car without an equalizer takes a lot of weight OFF your tow vehicle's front tires. (assuming non-dually here) In a panic stop you will be surprised at how far those front tires slide down the road while trying to stop a vehicle combination with only rear tires doing the braking. Ask me how I know. ;)

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Good point....any large enclosed car trailer should have electric brakes, and the newer smart controllers, which sense speed and deceleration and adjust accordingly, really help the stopping!

And yes, I've squealed some tires while braking too!

Just make sure your brakes don't break, they brake....

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I will add one point here that I learned a long time ago. Towing a heavy antique car without an equalizer takes a lot of weight OFF your tow vehicle's front tires. (assuming non-dually here) In a panic stop you will be surprised at how far those front tires slide down the road while trying to stop a vehicle combination with only rear tires doing the braking. Ask me how I know. ;)

HaHa! It can work the other way too! I used to pull a 17' travel trailer with a 69 Pontiac LeMans. Naturally I had an equalizer hitch with tensioning bars. To keep the car somewhat level, I had the spring bars pretty tight to compensate for the tongue weight on the relatively light car suspension. On a hunting trip in New Mexico, the back roads were rock and dirt and I found that I didn't have enough weight on the rear wheels to maintain traction and could not slowly pull grades without losing traction. That left me in a predicament to reduce hitch tension and drag the ground with my bumper or run at the hills faster than prudent pulling a trailer. I wound up busting the springs on one side of my trailer getting to camp and throwing all the dishes out of the cabinets onto the floor.

I could overtension the bars enough to put nearly all the cars weight on the front wheels if I desired leaving the rear jacked up at a ridiculous angle. That is just an example of how efficient the equalizer system is. Naturally, I don't need that with my 3/4 ton Suburban, it has a more robust suspension to handle the tongue weight.

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There is something fishy about that picture. Although it is certainly possible to transfer weight to the front wheels, why has the rear suspension not dropped the axles to the ground? The rear suspension must be supported by something unseen to prevent traveling to maximum travel. If the rear axles were not supported, the rear of the car would have to be another foot higher and the axles would be at full travel, not at normal ride height in the wheel openings. Those brake drums should be sitting on the ground unsupported.

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Hi Guys,

Sorry for the long delay, but this salesman has been on the road.

To scroll down the list here;

The only tow vehicle is an '06 Jayco Seneca 33s class "C" motorhome, built on a Chevy Kodiak C-5500 chassis w/ a Duramax 6.9 diesel, complete w/ towing "tune" chip.

I do have an equalizing hitch, and buying the Jayco in Florida, and the trailer from Arizing Ind. in Fitzgerald, Ga. we loaded mama's '02 Dodge minivan in it, and pulled it back to Colorado last fall. Just guessed at the tongue weight by how easy it was to use the jack stand on the trailer, but I know there was some weight up front.

The trailer has 18" tall inner fender wells and the running board for the Buick is only 10.5" off the floor, so we drive/pull her in to the stops on the floor, drop her in low gear, and get out the 75" wide door, and winch her back to where the car's balance point is just a bit ahead of the front axle of the trailer.

To unload, we winch her forward a bit to the stops, climb in, start her up, and back out.

Yup, the rear bumper is about 18" from the rear ramp door, but there is plenty of room up front for the cooler, chairs and maint. tools.

Robert, I have a question.

How do you staple down your sacrificial cardboard drip pad to your aluminum tread plate floor ?

'40 Buicks don't leak oil, they just mark their territory.

Mike in Colorado

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How do you staple down your sacrificial cardboard drip pad to your aluminum tread plate floor ?

'40 Buicks don't leak oil, they just mark their territory.

Mike in Colorado

I use incontinent pads, that they use under bed ridden people, bought at the drug store. I place them at the appropriate spot and duct tape the corners to the floor. Replace as needed, my cars usually make it a year between changes.

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Wow, incontinent pads for leaking old vehicles, the ones losing control of their seepage.....in some kind of weird way, I like this....two new trailer ideas to me this week, the other painting big letters on top of trailer "COCO" in case it's stolen...

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I hand painted foot-high letters of my TX drivers license number on the top of my trailer. The idea came from a retired State Trouper.

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The poor man's way of doing it is to drive the car into the trailer while someone watches the hitch, it should deflect down an inch or two, depending on the tow vehicle. Find that spot, tie down the car, then carefully take it for a test drive and see how it handles. I've towed trailers enough that I can "feel" when they aren't loaded correctly, usually you'll feel some wandering or squirreliness if car isn't loaded properly. Better to have a shade too much weight on hitch, versus too little.

Then, if you have only one car you're loading, you can put a stop in the trailer at that spot.

With my different cars, I just sort of remember where the car door ends up compared to the side door, and it works out. Good luck! And yes, an equalizing hitch is excellent for long runs, on short trips I don't use it.....

Agree

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Larry yes your method works as when I have to tow a car not mine that is the method It use! I don't have any experience with non old muscle cars so will leave them to you!

Mike your tow vehicle will easily compensate for a few pounds off so sounds like you are good to go as I enjoyed your explanation as adjusting the vehicle to the door. I haven't used the diapers and have just used cardboard or a large pan I found at Walmart. They don't move around too much on a diamond plate floor in my experience. I actually don't use anything under the 62 but use large size when hauling the 61 as it is a great marker of territory. Seems to be typical as it has power steering and an old iron cased power glide and the 62 has manual everything. Seems the original person ordering that car just ordered the big motor to go fast with no optional convience items.

Robert

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Mike just thought of something. Make sure with your big rig your hitch is adjusted so the trailer is level as an unlevel loaded tandem trailer is tough on tires and suspensions.

Robert

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Mike just thought of something. Make sure with your big rig your hitch is adjusted so the trailer is level as an unlevel loaded tandem trailer is tough on tires and suspensions.

Robert

Yup Robert, I had to use an 8" drop hitch to get the trailer level behind the Jayco !!!

Mike

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A couple of tips to share on this topic.

I use the equalizer hitch, anti-sway bar, 4 wheel electric brakes all the time.

Because I carry several different cars, I have movable wheel chocks for each car. I use two 1"X12" aluminum angle irons with bolts thru them into threaded inserts in the flood, marked with each car. Only need to locate it the first time!

For the dripping (Because Fords mark their spot too,) I have a 2' X 6' pieced of dark colored indoor/outdoor carpet with stainless snaps the hold it to the floor. On the Aluminum open trailer, I take it off when the trailer is stored.

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I always use the Equalizer bars, but have never had the need for anti-sway bars. Proper loading with correct forward weight distribution essentially eliminates sway. I did have an anti-sway set-up when I first started trailering, but passed it along to a friend - back around 1969, I think. I'm sure some will prefer to use that device, and that is fine.

All of my open and closed haulers have brakes on all axles, AND remember to adjust those brakes regularly !

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I am wondering about the location of your escape door. It is nice and large, and you did a very professional job of installing it, but I have owned (and have 1 now) several 24 ft trailers with factory installed escape doors and they were all located over the trailer's wheels. My neighbor has one also. Most cars' drivers' door will fall somewhere in that area when the trailer is properly loaded as shown in the post by the previous gentleman with the 62 chevy. I believe that you will have far too much weight forward if it is even possible to park the car far enough forward to use that door for egress from the car. I wish you success, and will be genuinely interested to hear what your thinking was, and how it works out for you. Enjoy your new trailer! You will find you use it for many things besides hauling your collector cars!

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Another alternative to locating a driver-side access door when hauling differing cars of differing size is to create an extra long door, and to have it hinged to open upward, using gas struts. Sorry I don't have a photo of the door when open. It also helps to have a 4-foot curbside access door with fold-out steps when loading all the items you store in the nose of the trailer, or when accessing either of the two spare tires mounted to the sidewalls.

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I am wondering about the location of your escape door. It is nice and large, and you did a very professional job of installing it, but I have owned (and have 1 now) several 24 ft trailers with factory installed escape doors and they were all located over the trailer's wheels. My neighbor has one also. Most cars' drivers' door will fall somewhere in that area when the trailer is properly loaded as shown in the post by the previous gentleman with the 62 chevy. I believe that you will have far too much weight forward if it is even possible to park the car far enough forward to use that door for egress from the car. I wish you success, and will be genuinely interested to hear what your thinking was, and how it works out for you. Enjoy your new trailer! You will find you use it for many things besides hauling your collector cars!

I chose my location after a "trial load".

Noticed that the inner wheel wells of the trailer stood 16" tall and my running boards were only 10.5" tall.

So an "above the wheels" location was out of the question.

We developed a loading procedure of driving or winching the "baby" in to the stops, exiting the car, drop her in low, and winching her back with the two rear tie downs.

We now know where to put the rear chock on the left front wheel based on the balance criteria and when she is up tight on the rear chock, we just slip the front one in place.

To unload, we remove the front chock, winch her forward to the stops, unhook the winch and just back the car out.

I did make a winching bracket for the front cross member with a BIG "eye" and I also made a set of rear tie down brackets at the bumper/frame bolt area. See attached pic's.post-70733-143142909875_thumb.jpg

Just to add more info, we discovered the balance point of the "Baby" is under the radio, by using 2 jack stands as a teeter todder.

We load her so that the radio is at the back edge of the access door, and that gives us 300# tongue weight with the back bumper 16" from the rear ramp when closed. This gives us all kinds of room up front for the lawn chairs, tool box, cooler and other stuff.

That big Jaco does not know there is anything out back when the equalizers are hooked up.

Added some construction pic's FYI.

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Mike in Colorado

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Edited by FLYER15015
more info (see edit history)

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