new trailer feedback wanted/GVWR/bent axle/side gate?

Discussion in 'Trucks and Trailers' started by watsmi57, Jan 25, 2012.

  1. watsmi57

    watsmi57 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 327

    I have been running a 76" x 12' for a few seasons. It seems I need new tires and an axle at the end of every season. I am not a bad driver and I really don't abuse the trailer. I try to steer clear of curbs and potholes too. I calculate total weight, loaded trailer and equipment, at about 3000lb. It has a 3500lb axle and 15" tires. I bend an axle every year and chew up some tires in the process.

    So now I am looking at 16' tandems with 2 -3500lb axles. Hoping that this will relieve some of the stress on that single axle and solve my problem. It doesn't makes sense to buy new tires and an axle every year.

    This seems all fine and good right? Well GA has adopted the federal motor carrier regulations.{This is different in every state} This means new rules for me if i get a bigger trailer. I tow with an F150 that has a 6000 GVWR. That combined with old trailer GVWR of 3500 has me at 9500 GVWR combined. I am currently considered a Non commercial vehicle in the state of GA. Even though I am obviously running a business out of truck and trailer.

    new rules as follows if i upgrade:

    Required For vehicles and combinations with GVWR of 10,001 lbs. or more:
    1. Vehicle identification (Name and US DOT Number)
    2. medical exam certificate
    3. radar detectors are prohibited
    4. fire extinguisher
    5. stopped vehicle warning devices (reflective triangles)
    6. pre-trip inspection (need not be written)
    7. hours-of-service limits
    8. time records kept on driver
    9. annual mechanical inspection of vehicle (and trailer too i think) inspection (must be in writing but is not required to be carried on board the vehicle)
    11.Trailers equipped with required brakes, lights, and reflectors.

    basically everything but the CDL. more about GA laws here,2094,5635600_54332908,00.html

    I forgot to add the trailer has to have brakes on both axles and a breakaway system as well. Required if pulling over 3000lbs. This means new brake controller, 7way plug, and maybe even a class IV hitch upgrade.

    Basically anyone with a 1/2 ton pickup(or larger) pulling ANYTHING bigger than a single axle trailer will be subject to federal commercial vehicle laws in GA.

    That being said. no one is cracking down on this in my area. There are tons of companies and I have NEVER seen a DOT number on any of them and that's the easiest thing to get(free).

    I wonder if I should stay single axle and just go bigger? 5200 or maybe even 6000lb? I will 'appear' legal since I have a single axle at least lol. I will need bigger hubs, rims, and tires as well.

    I don't really need a bigger trailer. Everything fits just fine now on my 12'. I just want to stop bending axles and eating toed in tires up. I run a 36 WB which is sideways on the front and a 52 ZTR which backs up to that. I plan on running this setup for at least 4 more years.

    I would really like to add a side gate to either the old or the new trailer. Then I can get the WB off without moving the 52. I have heard that they weaken the trailer since a lot of utility trailers gather frame support from the top rail? I have also heard they have to build side gated trailers differently too?

    I guess after writing all this I have figured out the only thing to do is upgrade and stay legal. Sooner or later the state(being broke) is going to come after us too, not just the truckers. Are you guys running legal in your states? Do you know? I really had to hunt this information down.

    What do you guys think? What would you do? Throw a bigger axle on my existing trailer? Or go new tandem 16'?

    What about the side gate? Am I weakening my trailer(old or new) by putting a side gate on it? Am I going to solve my original problem(bending axles) by going to tandem or going bigger single?

    Any feedback is greatly appreciated. sorry for the rambling lol
  2. knox gsl

    knox gsl LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,910

    2 Axles is twice the problem. I would add a 5200lb axle with the heavy duty tires. You shouldn't be bending axles that often unless the roads really suck down there. The E-range tires will also last much longer. The trailer will still be rated for whatever is on the ID plate so the GVW of the trailer will not change. You can also get a 4000lb axle from Dexter and use the same wheels that you have now and then upgrade to D range radial tires which should give you around 10,000 miles of service. Putting a ramp on the side of your trailer will cause the frame to give a little. My trailer sags on the passenger side when I put my ZTR all the way on the front or haul several yards of mulch on it.
  3. knox gsl

    knox gsl LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,910

    Another thing is that a 5200lb tire is on a 16" rim and is about 3" taller than a 15" tire, so the 4000lb axle may be a better way to go if the fenders sit down low.
  4. hosejockey2002

    hosejockey2002 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,195

    You say you calculated the weight of your loaded trailer at 3000 pounds, and yet you are bending the 3500 pound rated axle. Something is not adding up. I would suggest actually weighing the loaded trailer and see if you aren't over that 3500 pounds.
  5. watsmi57

    watsmi57 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 327

    greenstar - thanks for the input. i honestly can't figure out why I keep bending them either. i have been running load range D tires since the beginning. 205/75/d15. i just think if i can stay out of the commercial vehicle red tape I will be better off. Less regulations to follow. your idea was my original one too, until i talked to my trailer builder.

    hosejockey - that crossed my mind too. you never really know until you weigh it out. the only weight i am not sure of is the trailer empty. i just took the man's word that built it on that one. but even with 3000lb on a 3500lb axle when you hit a pothole or something that weight can be greatly amplified. sometimes far beyond the axle rating. the guy that built this one told me i needed tandems when i told him my problems. he may just be trying to sell me another trailer too.

    I think either way I am going to trade in this old trailer toward a new one. I may just get another 12 or even a 14 footer and have it built with that bigger single axle and a side gate too. that way if it needs further reinforcement they can add it during the build.
  6. watsmi57

    watsmi57 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 327

    I also wonder if I should go with a different manufacturer for my trailer. This place is local that I got this one from. Been in business a long time too. never heard anyone complain about them, and they are the cheapest on price. BUT something is amiss here and I am not sure it is me.

    any of you guys got a Big Tex? you like it? they have a manufacturing facility where i can buy direct 30 mins away from here.

    What about an All Pro Trailer? think they are out of Jacksonville FL. anybody got one? like it?

    MMADDUX LawnSite Member
    Messages: 227

    I would try to stay under the 10,001. Dot regulations are a pain. However I personally couldn't run a biz without DOT #. I don't think I will be stopped much, if ever, but it pays to be legal. I hear you about the million of other lco that are running without DOT#. Bigger axles and higher rated tires should help.
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  8. FryDaddy

    FryDaddy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 145

    watsmi - I have a 6.4x16 from allpro in j'ville. I have the 2- 3500# axles but no brakes (want to add some on one axle). its a good trailer so far. I have never came close to maxing it out
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