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Trucks, Trailers and Hauling for Shows The ins and outs of setting up a show trailer and getting it to and from the engine show. Please be fully aware of our web site Terms of Use Disclaimer as you read. Safety first!

Trucks, Trailers and Hauling for Shows

To trailer or not to Trailer? That is the question

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Old 08-03-2003, 01:35:06 AM
Adam Cottrill
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Default To trailer or not to Trailer? That is the question

Hi Guys,

Been looking at some of the posts (as you do) and noticed quite a few of you have your engines perminantly bolted to a trailer of some type and run them from that.

This is a fairly new concept (fixed engines on trailers) to me being in this part of the world and I havent decided yet if I like it or not.

Ok I can see the big advantage of not having to unload as you just drive in drop the trailer and drive off.

But also I see the problems of bolting them down in the first place and would 60 to 80 year old cast survive flying along at 100kmh (appox 60mph). In survive I mean from the road vibration and pot holes. Id be afraid I'd crack the casting base I mean these engines where never stressed to take that kind of punishment. Yes portable engines where taken along the road to, but not at the speeds we travel now days.

I see some trailers have as many engines bolted on and running on as can fit this to me apart from the asetic apearances poses a saftey risk as if you slipped or fell you'd be intangled in more than one engine.

Also from the prespective of being the one who sets up compounds a huge amount of space being taken up by the goose necks or hitches in the compounds would be huge.

Still on space I noticed some guys had one or two engines on their trailers, for the same space you could fit at least ten?

In closeing please dont think im knocking anyone who owns or uses a fixxed trailer thats not the case im just trying to draw my own conclusions on this and wonder what you guys think.

Maybe old habits die hard and I prefer seeing an engine on a nice set of cast wheels sitting on a freshly mowed lawn or grassed area, hey im open to change... tempt me.


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Old 08-03-2003, 06:53:21 AM
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Default Re: To trailer or not to Trailer? That is the ques

Adam: I for one always leave my engine(s). 1 or 2, on the 16 foot trailer and usually only run one at a time. I do this for several reasons. The main reason is "SAFETY". No one gets on the trailer close to the engine running unless invited. It keeps a second line of defense from those don't have a clue as to the dangers involved with a running engine(ie. even us who are experienced can get caught up in it like John H. did a few weeks ago), and just walk under/over the roped spectator fence and get dangerously close. The portables get chained down, and the others get blocked on all four sides with 2 x 4's screwed into the wood deck, and then straped down tight. All the other reasons are basically, it's just easier, and less chance of something unexpected happening. I only load, and unload the trailer at home, at my leisure. Never had a problem loosing anything (maybe a loose muffler once), or having anything broken from the road trip. If I can't leave it on the trailer at a show, it doesn't go. I consider it their loss, not mine . Ever hear of empty trailers being stolen at a show ? I Have, and that can be expensive as well as a real pain in the neck locating a trailer a few hundred miles away from home, etc... I go to several as a spectator only just for that reason. I guess it comes down to what one is comfortable with. That's my Sunday's Over/Time $2.00 worth. Paul .
Old 08-03-2003, 09:46:46 AM
Joe LeBlanc
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Default Re: To trailer or not to Trailer? That is the ques

Trailering old engines can uncover problems that otherwise would not show up. I had a Domestic hopper fall off of the engine while travling over an Interstate highway. Fortunately I also had several auto tires next to the engine which served as a cushion and avoided any damage to the hopper. Turns out that over the many years of its life the bolts holding the hopper down were very nearly rusted in two, but were still holding enough where it had no leaks.

Traveling along at highway speeds often the entire trailer is airborne, resulting in a very hard landing for the engine, which is on a cart with no springs to help absorb the impact. I have some concern about the larger engines with massive flywheels being damaged in such a landing. If you travel at a slow enough rate of speed to avoid bouncing the engines too much you become an obstruction to traffic, and get a variety of greetings from other drivers as they go by. Some don't seem very friendly.

Having said all that, if you are going to get more engines to a show than can be loaded on your truck they end up on a trailer. The safety and ease of display on a trailer is certainly a plus, besides avoiding the potential problems in unloading and loading at the show grounds.
Old 08-03-2003, 01:30:30 PM
Engine Nut 1
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Default Re: To trailer or not to Trailer? That is the ques


I agree that there is good sides and bad sides to the "trailering engines" idea. I have lost small pieces off of engines on a trailer before, but I don't feel that it has been a big problem. It is much easier at the show to drive up, park the trailer, and start up engines.

I have recently bought a new trailer that I intend to dedicate to my collection of Sparta Economy engines. I think this will make a really nice display, especially since all the engines are almost identical except for their size. Having them all on the same trailer kinda lets people see the progression of size/hp.

I also agree that it keeps people away from your old (and somewhat dangerous) iron. Most people won't climb up on your trailer to get a closer look without asking, and those that do you see right away!

As to stress on the cast iron..I don't know. It would seem to me that your trailer would have to flex a lot to put much strain on the cast base of an engine, since the trailer floor is so large in respect to the size of the base of most engines. I would also guess that a wood floor trailer would be a lot more forgiving than a steel one, but then again the steel floor wouldn't generally flex as easy as the wood either.

I guess it's just up to the individual. As with all things, there is good and bad sides. One just has to weigh their own options.

David in KCK
Old 08-03-2003, 02:01:37 PM
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Default Re: To trailer or not to Trailer? That is the ques

I have a 16ft tandum axle wood decked trailer dedicated to my engines.(old house trailer frame)It has 7 engines and 3 implaments for the engines to run.(1.5 to6hp.)The engines are bolted around the edge where they are easily veiwed and started with out getting on the trailer. The deck is about 30ins.high so it is hard for little kids to get to. Have had it 5yrs and my back loves it. It also has a pickup tool box on the front for storage. If my tailer isnt welcome then I wont go or only bring one small engine in the back of truck! I usally take back roads when possable were speeds are 50mph and dont have to worry about the idiots on the freeway!! Saving my back and loading time. BobRR
Old 08-03-2003, 05:23:27 PM
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Default Re: To trailer or not to Trailer? Try logic

Adam, Try applying a bit of logic to your query, not always but it usually works. These old engines should never be hauled on a trailer without springs. Anyone doing so should not be hauling engines. The cast will handle more stress than what you may think. Imagine the trailer WITH SPRINGS running down the pavement at 100 kph. while hitting bumps/pot holes. The bumps/holes are going to push the tires/trailer in an upward direction, that direction being transfered to the engine base in which the base is most capable of handling. In those fractions of a second as the tire is being pushed back down to the pavement by the springs, it is doing so to the wheels/axle(s) at a faster rate than the trailer frame/engine base so the engine base is not being jerked in the downward direction. The "slams" from road bumps are most always pushing the trailer in an upward direction and the springs absorb 80 to 90 % of the "slam", not the trailer frame/engine base. To take care of that 10 to 20 % that the engine would recieve is a simple matter... do what another post on this thread suggested, chain or strap the engine down along with bolting the base to the floor, reducing nearly all chances of the base breaking or cracking at the point of the mounting holes in the base. Yes parts can drop off or crack but the stories I have heard, the cause is vibration, not road bumps. Something else that seems a good idea as was also suggested, bolt or nail boards around the base of the engine to be sure it won't slide around on you. BTW, a wood floor trailer absorbs lots more vibration than a metal floor and the flooring is much cheaper to replace if need be. Just my 51 cents worth.
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