Enclosed Trailers, who do you love? Any advice?

ZX3ST

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Below is the sticker.
Received email from Trailex... trailer sounds awesome but start at $20k which is a bit stiff but then again I’m not all that knowledgeable on the trailer market.
Thanks for the info, I’ll take some time to digest and look into that weight distributing hitch.

BB249459-7B6B-45D7-B21F-135EC51F55E7.jpeg
OK so this reinforces the tow rating. You have 1050lb payload. A loaded trailer at 7000lb with 10% tongue weight means you have 350lb left to play with (2 adults will squash that in a hurry). And you will also need to be careful not to exceed your GFAWR and GRAWR. They will be shown on the other sticker in the door jamb.

Which engine?

As a data point, I have a work buddy with a late model (non-grand) Cherokee who recently bought a small camper. 3000lb GVWR and 16ft long. I'm not 100% sure of his loaded weight, I'd speculate about 2400-2500lb. His particular configuration is rated for up to 3,500lb towing. He hauled it 1 time, and said never again. He just brought home a 3/4 ton Ram. lol

I'm not saying it can't be done. It HAS been done. But if you're hauling long distances I think a bigger vehicle will be a lot less stressful. YMMV.

I will 2nd (or 3rd?) the earlier ATC/Intech suggestions. They are nice.





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anacar312

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OK so this reinforces the tow rating. You have 1050lb payload. A loaded trailer at 7000lb with 10% tongue weight means you have 350lb left to play with (2 adults will squash that in a hurry). And you will also need to be careful not to exceed your GFAWR and GRAWR. They will be shown on the other sticker in the door jamb.

Which engine?

As a data point, I have a work buddy with a late model (non-grand) Cherokee who recently bought a small camper. 3000lb GVWR and 16ft long. I'm not 100% sure of his loaded weight, I'd speculate about 2400-2500lb. His particular configuration is rated for up to 3,500lb towing. He hauled it 1 time, and said never again. He just brought home a 3/4 ton Ram. lol

I'm not saying it can't be done. It HAS been done. But if you're hauling long distances I think a bigger vehicle will be a lot less stressful. YMMV.

I will 2nd (or 3rd?) the earlier ATC/Intech suggestions. They are nice.
engine is the 5.7L

I did tow my 20' Grady White from Charleston to Wisconsin with the Grand Cherokee. Not to say a 3/4 ton truck would not make that (and this) job easier but.... I feel like the tail is starting to wag the dog if I buy the HEP R, and then the trailer to transport the HEP R... and now a now tow vehicle to two the trailer with the HEP R.....

Plus I have owned the Cherokee since new and was planning on keeping it for the long haul. It's been good truck for me. Plus at 5 years old I'll get killed on resale... it just does not make sense to trade the GC for a 3/4 ton vehicle that I would also need to daily drive.

Maybe I'll just have to settle for an open trailer and a place holder until I can upgrade the tow vehicle to handle an enclosed trailer......
 

ZX3ST

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engine is the 5.7L

I did tow my 20' Grady White from Charleston to Wisconsin with the Grand Cherokee. Not to say a 3/4 ton truck would not make that (and this) job easier but.... I feel like the tail is starting to wag the dog if I buy the HEP R, and then the trailer to transport the HEP R... and now a now tow vehicle to two the trailer with the HEP R.....

Plus I have owned the Cherokee since new and was planning on keeping it for the long haul. It's been good truck for me. Plus at 5 years old I'll get killed on resale... it just does not make sense to trade the GC for a 3/4 ton vehicle that I would also need to daily drive.

Maybe I'll just have to settle for an open trailer and a place holder until I can upgrade the tow vehicle to handle an enclosed trailer......
I completely understand.

I'm currently running a 20ft open Aluma tilt trailer. Towing with a F-150 with the max-tow package (rated 12,700lb with my particular options and cab/bed/wheelbase config). I've been considering the possibility of going enclosed, and even with my situation I'm concerned I wouldn't have enough truck. Regardless of what Ford advertises for tow ratings, I just would not feel comfortable putting more than about 9,000lb behind a 1/2 ton truck.

Researching this is where I found the WDH limitation of many aluminum trailers. According to Ford, I'm supposed to run one when hauling anything over 5,000lb total weight or over 500lb of tongue weight. Aluma says don't do it, at least with my particular trailer. So I'm running about 5400lb loaded without a WDH. I figure I'm close enough, but I occasionally have nightmares about potential liability in case of an accident. But on the flip side I also don't want to sequester myself into having to own a 3/4 or 1 ton pickup.

Which reminds me. Check for a sticker on your draw bar to make sure it doesn't have any extra limitations we're not thinking of.
 
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anacar312

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excellent point with the draw bar.

Grand Cherokee tow rating (5.7L with tow package) 7700 lbs
GT350R weight 3700 lbs

Open aluminum trailer looking more likely.... maybe trailers should be like diamonds... leave room for the upgrade.
 

Gray Area GT350

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I contemplated this very issue for several months. Open trailer versus enclosed trailer. And what could my Tahoe pull without major effort. My open trailer options were Featherlite, Aluma and Sundowner all in 22 foot lengths. My enclosed options were Featherlite, Aluma and Sundowner in 22 foot lengths. Aluma recently stopped producing enclosed car trailers while they work on RV and utility trailers so that eliminated that option. Sundowner and Featherlite trailers are very nice but out of my price range. Then this ATC brand appeared and I found a deal down in Hiawatha Iowa. Made for a good road trip this past Thursday. All in was $14,300. Trailer weighs 3000 pounds. The weight distribution hitch I need is on back order for 5 weeks. My track day Boss 302 fits in there very nicely and I have room for some gear. Not to mention some room to move the car around for proper tongue weight loading.

IMG_7407.jpg
 

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I've towed a 5000 lb boat with a 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee a few times in the Idaho mountains and had some white knuckle experiences. The compliant Jeep suspension is great for sucking up off-road bumps, but is too soft on steep highway descents if turning while braking. I had to let the vehicle mostly run free in the turns and brake hard in the straights. I learned to slow down before beginning a down-grade.

I recently acquired an ATC 8.5x24' enclosed hauler. I tried towing with my 2015 Durango (tow rating 7200 lbs) and found that to be a very unpleasant and necessarily slow experience. I now use a Ram 2500 diesel crew-cab and barely notice the trailer.

An escape door is highly recommended. Make sure your car door will clear the trailer fender well or that the fender well is removable and your door will clear the tires.

I also would suggest a winch in the front of the trailer. The GT350 is very wide and a bit scary to load under its own power because there's only a couple inches of room on either side. Taking time to carefully drive the car up the ramp overworks the clutch (OK, my clutch - YMMV). The winch makes loading much less stressful.

I originally tried to find a good used aluminum trailer, but they seem to rarely come available. Those leads provided by Honeybadger looked good to me.
 
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anacar312

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I contemplated this very issue for several months. Open trailer versus enclosed trailer. And what could my Tahoe pull without major effort. My open trailer options were Featherlite, Aluma and Sundowner all in 22 foot lengths. My enclosed options were Featherlite, Aluma and Sundowner in 22 foot lengths. Aluma recently stopped producing enclosed car trailers while they work on RV and utility trailers so that eliminated that option. Sundowner and Featherlite trailers are very nice but out of my price range. Then this ATC brand appeared and I found a deal down in Hiawatha Iowa. Made for a good road trip this past Thursday. All in was $14,300. Trailer weighs 3000 pounds. The weight distribution hitch I need is on back order for 5 weeks. My track day Boss 302 fits in there very nicely and I have room for some gear. Not to mention some room to move the car around for proper tongue weight loading.

IMG_7407.jpg
Thank you so much for your reply!

Did you go with the Raven or Quest for the trailer?
What axles?

TIA!
 
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anacar312

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I've towed a 5000 lb boat with a 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee a few times in the Idaho mountains and had some white knuckle experiences. The compliant Jeep suspension is great for sucking up off-road bumps, but is too soft on steep highway descents if turning while braking. I had to let the vehicle mostly run free in the turns and brake hard in the straights. I learned to slow down before beginning a down-grade.

I recently acquired an ATC 8.5x24' enclosed hauler. I tried towing with my 2015 Durango (tow rating 7200 lbs) and found that to be a very unpleasant and necessarily slow experience. I now use a Ram 2500 diesel crew-cab and barely notice the trailer.

An escape door is highly recommended. Make sure your car door will clear the trailer fender well or that the fender well is removable and your door will clear the tires.

I also would suggest a winch in the front of the trailer. The GT350 is very wide and a bit scary to load under its own power because there's only a couple inches of room on either side. Taking time to carefully drive the car up the ramp overworks the clutch (OK, my clutch - YMMV). The winch makes loading much less stressful.

I originally tried to find a good used aluminum trailer, but they seem to rarely come available. Those leads provided by Honeybadger looked good to me.
Full size escape door is a must. No doubt about that. As is the ramp extension and winch.

If enclosed I’ll be limited to 22’, likely with 3500lb torsion axles.

I could go with 5000lb axels but then I’d have to go down to 20’ to keep the weight ratio where I need it.

Going through the smokey mountains with my boat in tow also provided for slow going at times but I have found they the GC has been a pretty stable tow vehicle given its diminutive (relative) size. The air suspension seems to handle my Grady... which is close to 5000lbs trailer and engine... and also has a T-Top so also a tremendous amount of drag. Save for a 3 hour nap in southern Indiana I drove it straight through. Just took my time and loped along in the right lane.
 
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Gray Area GT350

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Thank you so much for your reply!

Did you go with the Raven or Quest for the trailer?
What axles?

TIA!
This is the Raven line with 5200 lb axles. Inside is unpainted wood. I don't mind finishing it out myself. As "Bugs" noted it will be getting a winch and some Etrack for securing the Boss in place.

IMG_7408.jpg
 
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anacar312

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This is the Raven line with 5200 lb axles. Inside is unpainted wood. I don't mind finishing it out myself. As "Bugs" noted it will be getting a winch and some Etrack for securing the Boss in place.

IMG_7408.jpg
Ah yes, E track too. That is on the “must” list as well.
 

ZX3ST

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Going through the smokey mountains with my boat in tow also provided for slow going at times but I have found they the GC has been a pretty stable tow vehicle given its diminutive (relative) size. The air suspension seems to handle my Grady... which is close to 5000lbs trailer and engine... and also has a T-Top so also a tremendous amount of drag. Save for a 3 hour nap in southern Indiana I drove it straight through. Just took my time and loped along in the right lane.
Something to consider, many boat trailers are pretty light in the tongue. 5-7% is fairly common. You may find the stability isn't as great once there's more weight involved.

EDIT TO ADD: I don't want to sound like a debbie-downer or that I'm trying to talk you out of it altogether. I've had a handful of scary experiences in the past, thankfully with smaller loads, and I'm just trying to help.
 
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anacar312

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Something to consider, many boat trailers are pretty light in the tongue. 5-7% is fairly common. You may find the stability isn't as great once there's more weight involved.

EDIT TO ADD: I don't want to sound like a debbie-downer or that I'm trying to talk you out of it altogether. I've had a handful of scary experiences in the past, thankfully with smaller loads, and I'm just trying to help.
You commentary is much appreciated. Safety is always the first priority. The entire point of the trailer is to be able to involve the family. Track days/weekends (planning on joining the Northwoods Shelby Club) can suddenly be for the whole family if we can put the car on/in a trailer and have the twins in their car seats in the GC. Otherwise it's Dad ditching mom and the kids to go play with his toy..... not to mention one of my two 4 year old twin girl is already showing signs of being a driver. You would think we were visiting Santa's workshop when we go to the Autoshow (was not able to get her to any car shows this summer, bummer). The girl also happily sits and watches F1 early on Sunday mornings before her mom and sister get up.... which is why I also want to go enclosed for a trailer eventually because I want to get her (and I) into carting.

In all reality I don't "need" the trailer at all but would not use it until spring anyway... so have time to mull it over and wait for the right deal.

Is the right call to stay light as possible and stick with an open aluminum? The popular opinion are the higher end/nicer trailers have better resale... so start with the open aluminum (top-of-the-line) and use that until such a time when a 3/4 ton vehicle is added to the stable and then at that point upgrade to enclosed?
 

ZX3ST

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You commentary is much appreciated. Safety is always the first priority. The entire point of the trailer is to be able to involve the family. Track days/weekends (planning on joining the Northwoods Shelby Club) can suddenly be for the whole family if we can put the car on/in a trailer and have the twins in their car seats in the GC. Otherwise it's Dad ditching mom and the kids to go play with his toy..... not to mention one of my two 4 year old twin girl is already showing signs of being a driver. You would think we were visiting Santa's workshop when we go to the Autoshow (was not able to get her to any car shows this summer, bummer). The girl also happily sits and watches F1 early on Sunday mornings before her mom and sister get up.... which is why I also want to go enclosed for a trailer eventually because I want to get her (and I) into carting.

In all reality I don't "need" the trailer at all but would not use it until spring anyway... so have time to mull it over and wait for the right deal.

Is the right call to stay light as possible and stick with an open aluminum? The popular opinion are the higher end/nicer trailers have better resale... so start with the open aluminum (top-of-the-line) and use that until such a time when a 3/4 ton vehicle is added to the stable and then at that point upgrade to enclosed?

Based on what you've shared so far, my opinion is that you're at the upper limit of what you can get away with, if you were hauling by yourself. I believe that having the rest of the family in the truck (+ gear/luggage) will preclude you from towing a 3000lb trailer + car.

If I were in your shoes, I'd go open.

My 20ft tilt is 1600lb unloaded. You could shave a little more weight if you went 18ft or a fixed (non-tilt) deck. The extruded aluminum decks seem to run roughly 50lb per foot, if you're comparing lengths. So the 18ft version of the same trailer should run about 100lb lighter.

Resale on the nicer aluminum trailers appears to be quite good, at least in my area. I was shopping used for a while, and the ads reminded me of people selling diesel trucks:

10yo trailer, needs brakes, needs wheel bearings, 1 fender is crunched. I'll take $1000 under MSRP of a new one. Seriously? Holy crap. Anyways it wasn't worth the hassle to me so I bought new with warranty.

diesel-owners-be-like-ee-15vo-truck-for-sale-487k-5897271.png
 

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