This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 18th, 2010 at 17:44 and is filed under Product Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
I needed a trailer to replace my XF falcon ute. To be flexible enough to replace the ute, I wanted a flatbed with removable sides. That would let me carry longer loads, larger loads, and store it where I wanted. I did not want a box trailer – too many limitations for my needs.
I own a large heavy car trailer, so this was to be light and simple instead. Up to the legal un-braked limit of 750kg. As I am legally limited to this weight, it made sense for the trailer to be as light as possible. This would leave more room for payload. Making it extra heavy duty wouldn’t let me carry any more load. I wasn’t planning on using it off-road.
The flat bed with sides would let me use it in more ways. I also wanted to store it winched up to the roof of my carport, over my cars. This would get it out of the way when not needed and keep it out of the weather.
Shopping around at various trailer manufacturers offered almost nothing in the way of flat trailers with removable sides. Several quotes where well over $2000. I considered making my own using an alloy ute drop-side tray, but the cost was still up there. Several manufacturers actively laughed at me when I said I didn’t want a “heavy duty” trailer. I laughed at them when they said their trailers weighed 200+kg, leaving less for payload.
Then I came across Easy Trailer. A company that gave me lots of options, made a lightweight trailers, and encouraged their customers to customise their trailers. They order over the web and deliver to you.
They specialise in folding trailers, but for me that wasn’t a critical feature. Mine would be stored on the roof, not folded against a wall.
What I wanted would cost me about $1000 from them, and about $400 in extra bits. With rego that’s under $1500, not bad.
I selected a 8ft x 4ft trailer that could tip as well. I added a spare tyre and tie down loops. I recommend 8 tie down loops.
The floors have an option of steel or ply. Aluminium is not an option. Plywood is very good as it gives a “softer” surface that won’t damage what you are carrying. I had 5mm alloy checkerplate at home, so didn’t need a floor supplied.
The sides are the optional heavy duty sides. The front and rear gates double as loading ramps for anything you want to roll onto the trailer. They can come open or with a steel skin. No aluminium option.
Again, for weight and corrosion reasons, I went with 2mm aluminium from a local supplier.
The jockey wheel they have as an option didn’t do what I wanted, so I grabbed a lightweight folding one locally from Repco.
The lights supplied are conventional bulb types – that means unreliable. I threw them in the bin and bought better sealed LED lights from eBay. Lights on trailers are a constant source of problems and I hate chasing dodgy light peroblems on my trailers.
To mount them properly, the LED lights I used do need a small backing plate made up to cover the rear. 1.6mm alloy is fine for this. You’ll also probably have to move the number plate and get a light for it. Whilst most conventional lights have a number plate light built in, this is uncommon for LED lights.
As far as I could find, on this size trailer, clearance lights are not required. Despite this, I fitted a set of low profile LED clearance lights to replace the clearance lights supplied with the trailer.
The wiring supplied uses the trailer as an earth – a likely problem spot. As such I used some of my own wire to run a full earth, ensuring all connections where sealed. I don’t solder vehicle connections anymore, finding a soldered connection less reliable than a well sealed crimped connection. The heat causes more fatigue on the wire and corrosion seems to get into the wire further.
The trailer comes in lots of bits, with a lot of bolts. Plan on 4-6 hours to assemble it for a first time user. It’s easy enough, just a little tedious.
My assembly tips would be
a) Watch the direction of the C channels, it matters
b) Don’t fit the brackets for the timber stakes, you’ll just have to remove them later.
c) The tie downs replace bolts, figure out which ones as you assemble to save re-doing it.
d) Consider fitting nutserts / captive nuts to hold the sides on. Much less tedious than nuts and bolts.
The trailers are imported from Taiwan, and in some ways it shows in the quality. They are obviously sold worldwide, as I saw one used on the tyre throwing rig on episode 80 of mythbusters.
The powdercoat finish is ok, but the corners are sharp and will rust there where the coat is thin. I personally wouldn’t leave it out in the weather for too many years, but I say that about any trailer that isn’t hot gal dipped.
The frame is folded U channel steel, bolted together. This gives some flex that should relieve some point strain issues. Unlike a welded trailer, it is unlikely to crack from fatigue. The nuts are all nylocks, so it shouldn’t rattle apart too easily, although it would pay to check the bolts every so often.
The axle is folded steel, not solid bar. It would not stand overloading well. The drawbar is also C channel, so I wouldn’t overload it.
The compliance plate on mine was for 500KG. I spoke to Easy Trailer and they sent me another one for 707kg, the advertised max weight. The design is clearly for a distributed load, so if you are planning on carting large rocks or engines, be careful where you load them.
The wheels are 12” cross ply tubeless tyres on cheap steel rims. This is good for me as they keep the trailer low to the ground and keep the overall weight down. Cross ply tyres have a much heavier load rating, – these are a small narrow tyre. The studs on the hubs weren’t drilled particularly square, my only complaint. Some people worry about small tyres at highway speeds. Mini’s work just fin on 10″ wheels at much higher speeds than this trailer will ever see. A wheel bearing’s RPM has nothing on a tailshaft.
I added an extra brace for the spare wheel to stop it twisting when stood on. I also added a swing up jockey wheel and extra tie down points. I tend to modify my stuff though.
The assembled trailer with sides on weighs in at just over 100kg, leaving 600kg of payload.
I have used it to transport my 200kg motorcycle, mates bikes, mulch, cane mulch bales, timber and other random items so far. I would not overload it badly. I would not take it over 1000km of corrugations and expect it to survive.
I like it, I love the lightweight design, I like the suppliers attitude to customising it, and I like the price. It tows well and is very flexible. It’s unfortunately invisible behind the Landcruiser, I’ll need a reversing camera to see the thing.