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Best Electric Winch & Tie-Downs For Enclosed Trailer?

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I am trying to set up my enclosed 24' Haulmark to make it easy on my Dad when he tows a car alone. The days of Dad crawling under a '37 Buick to attach an axle strap are over. The trailer currently has no winch and no driver's side escape door. It does have a side door located at the front bumper passenger side. So, what do you guys use to make the tie down easiest? Tire basket harnesses? Over the tire straps? E-track?

Also, I think a winch would be easier and safer for one person to load a car and I would welcome any suggestions as to the best winch brand, winch mounting ideas, etc.

Sure appreciate your opinions and advice, Joe

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I've had a 24 foor box trailer for some years. Your Dad should be able to get out the drivers door with a 37 Buick if he's still fairly flexible. The big problem with loading any early car with boards if not getting too close to either wheelwell. I stapled strings to the centerline of the ceiling of my trailer so you can center the car as you go in or out. These strings reach almost to the floor so they will touch the center of the hood. This does work well if the trailer is parked on level ground(side to side).

Basket tiedowns would probably be the best so long as you have tiedown floor plates at the proper locations. You still need to get down somewhat to cinch up the rear tiedowns due to rear overhang.

Winches are no good for load or unload if you need to park with a downhill lie.

2 people is still a good idea for load and unload if you want to aavoid doing the runboards on the wheel wells.

In another trailer I built up the floor in the wheel track areas 3" to bring the runboards up above the wheelwells for a big 36 Lincoln which is pretty wide.

Good luck.

Martin Lum

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<span style="color: #FF6600"><span style="font-family: 'Arial Black'">Your best value for a 12VDC electric winch with BOTH a hand held remote and a wired remote can be found at Greg Smith Equipment:

@ http://www.gregsmithequipment.com/Winches-s/31.htm

Jim tested and approved going on two years now ..... </span></span>

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Dad and I have been loading trailers for a long time. We have Warn winches in both trailers. Mount them low to the floor and we built our own winch plates. They include u bolts that go around the center tongue rail for a absolute solid base. Be aware that with the winch close to the floor it may drag on the floor for a bit until the car comes up off the ramp and beaver tail. Always try to load and unload with the tow vehicle higher than the trailer if flat ground is not available. A down hill load toward the tow vehicle is called a wreck coming. My newer trailer has a electric tongue jack so I can modify the trailer load level a bit.

We still use axle straps because our "stuff" varies too much for over the wheel straps we have seen. Be careful if you decide on e track. Some is for securing freight NOT holding down cars. The hooks and loops need to be load rated.

If it takes you an extra few minutes so what? Don't damage the load or the loader. It is a bad finish for a great day.

Slow and Careful is the best plan for damage free loading.

ps. Make sure your winch cable has a hook with a spring clip and use a strap or eye on the vehicle that is a sure anchor spot.

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I have used a Superwinch 4500. The best price I found was through Summit Racing, they gave the 30' hand held control. Mount a hitch reciever to the floor and fish plate it. They also sell the adapter for the receiver mount. Good unit, I have had it about 6 years and no problems and use it everytime I load

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I use a Superwinch as well and have never had a problem. Handled the 6,000 lbs of the Olds Limited very easily.

Straps. I have never figured out why anyone would not use the strongest strap possible. Only a few extra dollars so I would go with the 10,000# and have the extra safety. They are not that much bulkier.

My curreent trailer has E-track and I like the flexibility of it but with enough basket tiedowns so you can switch up different cars. Hey, you never know when you are going to end up with something diffferent!

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I just knew you guys would come thru with some great ideas and suggestions. Sounds like tire baskets with the proper mounting rings or e-track would be easiest for my Dad. Msmazcol- Is the e-track system difficult to install? Thanks John, Steve & Jim for the winch tips. The Summit catalog is where I first saw the various tiedowns and winches, which got this thought in motion. And Greg Smith does have some good prices, just never heard of their product line-Definitely will be checking them out. Marty, excellent suggestion on the strings-heck I use this in my garage, never thought about using it the trailer! I have to check the the running boards vs. the wheel wells on the larger cars-I'll probably need to use the elevated ramp idea.

Also, FYI, I came upon this excellent "Trailers 101" article written by a frequent AACA contributor:

http://www.monmouth.com/user_pages/friartuck/lincoln/trailer/trailer.html

Also P.S. to Marty, check your PM re: your Desoto restorations.

Thanks to all, Joe

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<span style="color: #CC6600"><span style="font-family: 'Arial Black'">The best place to buy soft ties is at Sam's Club:

Allied XLGrip™ Ratchet Truck Tie Down - 2"x33' is what I use on my trailer

They are DOT and CHP rated and an excellent value at under $15.00

Here is a link:

@ http://www.samsclub.com/shopping/navigate.do?dest=5&item=344945

They also offer a great deal on a Champion 10,000 pound winch package complete with roller fairlead - receiver hitch mount - wired remote for $399

But not all Sam's Club locations carry this winch - so call ahead

Here is a link:

@ http://www.samsclub.com/shopping/navigate.do?dest=5&item=408636

Champion makes a decent winch - that is what I used to use on my trailer ......</span></span>

post-56761-1431380716_thumb.jpg

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I dont trl.often,I drive my cars unless im going to a show out of state and then only if its over 200 miles one way. When I do trl.,like Steve I use HD. truck tie downs,two in front crossed and two in back crossed. I centered a strip of reflective tape inside on the front wall as a guide. Im also old fat and lazy. I went to a salvage yard and removed the rear door (storage) from a Winney. I cut a hole in the front of the trl.the proper size and instaled the door. It has latches to hold it in the open possition while I sit on my butt on the trl tounge and just reach through hook everything up and ratchit that puppy down. Ive had more than one observer ask if the trl. had the door when new,and if not where did I get it? Closed and locked it looks like factory installed.

Im takeing two cars to Gettysburg,so I also hope to borrow a open thl. from our club press. If your going to Gettysburg,stop and say hi.Check out my old mans system.

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Jim, Sam's has some rock bottom prices! No wonder only WalMart and McDonald's were the only Up stocks in this down economy! And Dick, that's a cool idea to create an access up front. I assume you mean a Winnebago-where do you find a junkyard for motorhomes?? Joe

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Hi Windjammer,

My older trailer, a 1978 Tow-Eze came new with a front access door like the one you built -- all trailers should have this access -- really makes life easier.

The new Forest River has a wedge & tapered front with room to walk around, but i have to lay on the floor to tie-down the newer and lower cars.

Life was much easier when we could tie down from outside, sitting as you do, or even standing on the ground, but the benefits of the new trailer are significant.

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Marty,

We have the Forest River also. Our roof was bumped up to handle taller trucks.

So far I love the wedge and slope nose. The overhang on the front end of my Willys fire engine makes it a reach for the front axle. We had two four foot side doors directly across from each other so I can get easy access from them. I sure love the extra floor room in the nose though.

The laying on the floor part is OK with me though. Great chance for a nap!!

ps. We have had no trouble with Sam's Club tie downs. They are priced fair and DOT rated.

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Msmazcol,

We also had the roof raised by one foot, so it is 7-1/2 ft at the sides and slightly taller at the center due to the rounded roof -- that way we can drive in the earty Brass cars without lowering the top.

I wish I had thought of the door in the nose of the trailer, but may ask for that when it goes back to Elkhart for warranty repair next month.

We had ours built with a 4ft curb door and a 54" driver access door, but are expanding the driver-side access with a second door, extending by 2ft forward, so that the biggest cars can still open the door to allow egress.

Ours is a 24ft plus about 5ft nose, and the floor is raised so that the wheel boxes are only 7" to allow car doors to open through the access door.

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Marty,

Sounds very similar to our's. We raised the roof 18" because my Dad's trailer was built with the extra 12" and his Pack-age-car milk truck was so tight at the roof line you could not even look while it went in. I optioned a bit more room and am glad I did. My Divco is a tall one too.

I'm not so sure the door in the wedge will be such a help. I'm not sure the reach will do you any good. My load is not that far forward. I would be concerned about being water tight taking all the wheel spray from your tow vehicle.

Just curious what your tow vehicle is? We're using a 3/4 ton 2000 GMC. It does a nice job but as soon as the money tree gets going better I would like to go to a 4500 Top Kick. My local GMC dealer is keeping an eye open for me. The crew cab and air ride puts a new one in the ouch range!!

Thanks

The photo was taken on our way to Mason City IA.

post-60266-143138076137_thumb.jpg

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MSMAZCOL,

YUP, very similar - ours was special ordered through Trailerworld - they are no longer a dealer for Forest River. A couple of differences - I think mine sits taller over the axles (2@ 6,000# with 235/80-R16 Load Range E tires) to enable a low 7" wheelbox height; access door is over left tires.

You are right about water intrusion at the wedge - I'll leave that alone.

I'd love to see the Divco, as well as thePack-age-car. Some years ago I took some shots of the H P Hood trucks at the Owlshead Museum in Maine, and could email them.

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MSMAZCOL,

To answer your question per our tow vehicle, one is a 2002 Chevy Suburban 2500 Series (3/4-ton) with the 8.1 Litre V-8; the alternate is our 1986 Chevy Suburban 3/4-ton with a 454 ci and Turbo-Hydramatic 400 tranny.

I'd love to try pulling with a Dura-Max Diesel and the Allison transmission, but I've been told that combination will not be available in a Suburban, and I just do not have any need for a pickup at this time.

Marty

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Thanks Marty,

We optioned the 6000# axles also with a 2" blocked axle. Same tire size. I went with the double 4' side doors to allow us to side load a golf cart. As I have voiced before the escape doors never seemed usable for our stuff. We use the winch in and out method.

Both of our trailers were built in Elkart by Cargo Mate. When you pick them up it's all coming from the Forest River plant. Go figure. John Brown is the plant manager and did a great job of working with us on our Equalizer Brand hitch.

I have also heard good things about the Duramax from good'ole GM. I would like just a bit more truck in front of the trailer some day.

Take care.

post-60266-143138077023_thumb.jpg

post-60266-143138077026_thumb.jpg

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Per Forest River and Cargo Mate,

I've been working with Cory who is their Warranty person, and he has been excellent to work with. I'll drop mt trailer at Elkhart for warranty and several upgrades.

I noticed that you have wood floor and walls.

ours is all aluminum - frame, floor, walls, but I wish the floor panels had run front to rear, instead of side to side which mahes it harder to clean out.

seeing the name on your beautiful trucks helps me understand your "handle".

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Marty,

We have noticed that car trailers can get wild in options, etc. Our first Cargo Mate is over ten years old trouble free. I considered the aluminum also. I'm curious if you know what it weighs in at empty?

I like the wood interior a whole lot. I sealed all the walls and floor with some real tough gym floor urethane. As you can see I have drug stuff across it and it marks but stays strong. To us a enclosed trailer is just another parking spot rent free. As long as it tows right and is water tight we can live with that.

Have you considered a yard blower for cleaning out your trailer? Just a thought.

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The trailer is 30ft overall length, and you are right about options:

4 overhead lights, 4 more in the lower sidewalls, and 4 more LEDs in the aluminum floor under the cars axles to tie-down in the dark without holding a flashlight with my teeth.

Left and Right side-wall vents -- 2 crank-open roof vents each covered with MaxxAir boxes

LED lighting - 4 Tail/Brake lights

LED Back-up lights

Electric Tongue-Jack

Electric Warn Winch with remote

The leaf blower is a neat idea, but when we have oil drips, it can only be wiped side-to-side so now we use a solvent

my best guess on the weight is 3320 lb, pretty good for its size and capacity -- easy to pull too.

The list goes on and on

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I use a Warn 9000# winch, which I bought from GoWarn.com. I do not like the wireless controls. I had one which had a mind of its own and I had to quickly disconnect the old winch before it caused damage. As for tie downs, You can purchase J hooks, T hooks or other tie downs used by tow trucks. These go into the frame of the car, and you can tie down a car without crawling under.

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