hauling empty trailer

In two weeks I will be in Maine building a Tenderly Dinghy which I will then cart back to Nova Scotia for completion. Problem is, I have to haul an empty trailer all the way to Brooklin, Maine from Liverpool, NS, roughly a seven and a half hour drive. I considered removing the wheels and car-topping it on the Ford Explorer but it is not light and I don't wish to put my back out pre boat-building. Has anyone hauled their Trailex empty for long distances, and if so, any advice? I worry about it bouncing at high speeds or shaking itself apart. Another possibility would be to car-top the Tenderly hull but it looks like that might be more adventure than I am up for, given the 52" beam and 130lb weight. Any suggestions appreciated.

Judy P

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RE: hauling empty trailer

Get the wheels balanced. It won't shake so much. It should be fine. Its always good to have a spare tire.


RE: hauling empty trailer

 I agree with Grumpy, but if you're really concerned about it, it wouldn't take many sandbags to add 130lbs to the weight of the empty trailer.  For the return trip, you could leave the sand in Maine or haul it in the explorer.


RE: hauling empty trailer

You should have no problem towing the empty traler.  Probably the biggest issue will be visibility.  You may not be able to see the trailer while driving (I can't see my empty trailer when towing behind my truck).  If so, consider adding some kind of a pole so you can see it.  I added a set of "goal posts" which also make the boat easier to load.

As Grumpy said, make sure that you have a spare.  Also make sure that you have a lug wrench and jack that will work on the trailer.  I doubt that those standard with your Explorer will.

A nice test drive with the empty trailer is a good idea.  You may notice a bit of vibration at highway speeds.  Balancing the tires is a good idea but in my area, none of the tire places want to do it because galvanized rims tend to throw wheel weights.  I rotated my tires around and found the culprit.  It is now my spare.  When the trailer is empty, you can also run the rire pressure a bit below max to reduce vibration.

Lastly, do all the standard trailer stuff.  CHeck the tire pressure and make sure the lugs are properly torqued with a torque wrench.  My owners manual says to retorque after the first 500 miles.  Make sure that the bearings have grease but do not overfill. 


RE: hauling empty trailer

   Thanks to all for your advice.  I hadn't considered the jack. It seems that, as with boats, John Vigor's Black Box theory applies to all of our stuff. 

I tried the trailer at highway speed yesterday and it seemed to do well. What I could see of it, which was nothing. I will experiment with posts for visibility; thanks for the photo. 

RE: hauling empty trailer

Mark said,  "  Balancing the tires is a good idea but in my area, none of the tire places want to do it because galvanized rims tend to throw wheel weights. "


Mark, Sun Tire, Mandarin always gave me good service patched and balanced any trailer tire I brought to them, galvanized or not.

RE: hauling empty trailer

Thanks Grumpy, the two places closest to me did not want to do it.  I added balance beads which seemed to work.   

RE: hauling empty trailer

  Just a quick follow up:

Thanks for all of your input; I didn't have time to check into getting the wheels balanced but they seemed to be fine. Before I left I constructed a little tripod using driveway markers, a colourful rubber ball and duct tape. This improved visibility because except for when going over bumps (lots of those in northern Maine), I didn't know the trailer was back there. The device drew much attention from the guard at the international border crossing but thankfully it was curiosity rather than suspicion. Other than that, the trip down empty and back with the partially completed boat, was uneventful. I wouldn't hestiate to haul it empty again, at least on paved roads. 

For the record, the V bunks were a poor fit for the Tenderly Dinghy and they didn't seem to be adjustable. I got by with a contrivance of pool noodle and duct tape but I will need to make some changes for the boat to be properly seated in hte future. 


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