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Trailer and towing rig


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   I want to make this post to provide some thought and insight on our trailers and towing rigs. As some may know our towing rig and trailer where involved in an accident on our travels to Brainerd a few weeks ago, first let me say I was driving and Patrick, my son was in the passenger seat and both of us were fine. We had what seemed a long time to think about the impact and credit to our training both relaxed and just took the ride.

 

I have had time now to unload the trailer and review all the parts and pieces, also had time to gather all the pictures to understand how and what moved during the impact. So everyone understands we were in a two lane construction zone running at about 50 mph following a semi at about 200-250 feet back. Up front of the semi a construction truck and trailer came to a complete stop and turned into the construction zone causing everyone behind to stop and I saw the semi lock and slide his brakes. I hit mine and locked the trailer brakes and the truck did not lock as it has abs but slowed as best we could. We only had one good option and that was to impact the rear of the semi as the median had the wire rail and the other lane was head on traffic. The rest is history as we hit but were slowed enough that the airbags did not go off. 

 

The issue is  a stopped semi is a solid wall and an F250 with a 10,000 pound trailer, well something has to give in the compression process and the photo will speak for itself.

Truck was totaled and the trailer is being looked at later today but not much damage to it. Inside is another story and really my purpose of posting this in hopes everyone can learn from our

accident.

 

I will start with a description of how we travel and items in the trailer which is an all aluminum 32' Sundowner. I had the trailer built to my specs when purchased new in 2015 and it has e-track running front to rear attached to the floor. We use e-track rings and strap anchors of different types. I really had not given much thought to this until now as some are rated at 1000 lbs and others at 2000 lbs.

As for straps we have used 3000 lbs on large items and a variety if others from 500 lbs to 1000 lbs. Pretty common practice to just grab what you need with out much thinking involved.

The car is sitting at the very rear of the trailer and hooked to the e-track with four anchor points, to front and two rear. I try to use 2000 lbs clips and 3000 lbs straps. We have always crossed the back

and anchored to the outside end of the Miata a-arms to not compress the suspension. The fronts tied to the two hooks as we can't get to the a-arms with the splitter in place. So from the impact the rear clips which one was 1000 lbs the circle ring was ovalled and the two straps, one was fine but the other straightened one hook but not completely. The big issue is both pulled out of the track!

The change that I will make will be four ties to the rear and all to separate slots in the e-track. Two will go straight forward and two will cross. All will be 2000 lbs or better hardware as I am still researching suppliers on this stuff. I may also consider larger floor recessed rings which blot in with 3/8" hardware but need to look at the under side of the floor first.

 

Moving forward we haul lots of stuff, generator, large fan, dolly pull cart for tires, spare motor, cherry picker, small mig welder, tranny, two diffs, two large tool boxes and two large stainless hospital

carts with plastic tubs of spares. everything down the middle is strapped via rings or strap anchors all rated at 1000 lbs on the anchors and the straps very widely from 1000-500 lbs. In some cases I had double straps holding to the same anchor point. Everything down the center held as far as straps and anchors but got pushed froward from the car going loose and crushed multiple items.

 

The tool boxes and large spare carts had all been tied to the side walls with d-ring anchors which were common hardware and had two number 14 screws each to the trailer side frame tubing. Again all of these had 1000-500 lbs straps. I had 1000 lbs straps on the tool boxes and the heavy parts cabinet but the anchors are another problem and some snapped the screws and others deformed the rings and caused lots of damage. A couple straps also snapped or were cut in the movement.

 

Changes forth coming I will be installing e-track on all sides of the trailer at two different heights and use clip in anchors and all 1000 lbs straps. No more double straps to a single anchor point.

Please reach out to me if you have questions on any of this as it is very important to understand the weight transfer and movement that happens. I really hope people will take some time and think about there trailer and loads.

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So the picture showing the rear of the car you can see no straps or anchors as they are tossed up under the car and the car is about four to five feet froward of its normal 

resting spot.

 

I think all the other pictures speak for them selves. Last if you look at the fuel bottles they were all empty and now for good reason as a couple won't hold fuel.

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Wow, Irresistible force meets immovable object.  Sure did taco that F250.  Yeah, glad everyone is ok.  All in all, things could have been much worse. 

 

Definitely lots to learn from.  Might want to consider locking D-rings for the strap ends as well.  It seems that the strap hooks (even larger ones) probably won't hold up to a significant impact.

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1 hour ago, The Aero Man said:

In the first picture the truck looks like its frame is bent a little from slowing down the trailer. Am I seeing that correctly?

 

Thats ford life...

 

did the trailer get hit from behind? Cause yeah the trailer looks really close to the back of the truck.  Unless the hitch failed.

 

i hit a ford wind star in my 2500 Ram towing my motorcycle trailer with 3 bikes in it plus all trackday gear.  Totalled that Ford and my dodge just needed the bumper straightened.

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The F250 frame went up about eight inches in the middle just behind the cab. 

Nothing hit us from behind it was all weight related and yes could have been much worse.

I have a large list of items to change going forward after seeing what happened with this.

The complete hitch assembly and frame work was pulled and riped down from the F250 frame and pushed up under the spare tire.

The safety chains were still connected and the ball still latched but as you can see from the picture it was not left in tack.

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I'm surprised to see the e-track you have mounted to the floor is the opposite orientation to what I would have expected. I assume you have to be careful about how you attach the clips into the slots? I wonder how much the load ratings are affected by this angle.

 

Edit: interesting read

https://www.autohaulersupply.com/images/content/E-Track-wheel-strap-guide.pdf

Edited by ABR-Glen
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Glad everyone is ok and thank you for posting up and sharing what you saw/learned. I've had a car come loose in the trailer, but not a hit like that.

 

Couple things we do different, figured I'd share:

 

Car is held down with straps like these, hooks are much more robust: https://www.summitracing.com/parts/sum-g7955/overview/ 

Used to use open hook straps before I had a car come loose, but we tracked it down to that being the source of the issue. Couple good panic stops and Michigan bumps could make one come off, and from there it's game over...

 

One trailer we use E-track to hold the cars (now re-thinking that), the other has those recessed D-rings on the floor that through bolt into the trailer frame. For the longer tows we run 4 main tie downs and then 2 more "safety straps" (one front, one rear), but might move to always doing that...

 

For gear, we have E-track on the walls with self tappers into the "studs" and use E-track straps: https://www.summitracing.com/parts/gfr-d513

 

We also use 2x4's with E-track brackets to brace wall-to-wall and create partitions for the heavy stuff like tool boxes: https://www.mcmaster.com/#88525t22/=1dy9res

 

You'd be surprised (and kinda concerned) at how much the walls pull towards each other with a strap from one side to the other and no cross-braces...

 

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^^^^ Thanks for adding your thoughts to this as that was my idea to share with all the group. I have seen some very interesting trailers and packing technics done, some good and some very 

scary.

 

I also have used the style of straps you are suggesting with the different hook ends and lots to think about going forward and on a sad note just heard they may total my trailer.

Being all Aluminum the tongue  has a bow of about 1/2" and waiting for the manufacture to answer to concern.

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