Buying Off Road, Fiber Splicing Trailers, and Enclosed Cargo Trailers
Buying a trailer can be a daunting experience; Central Trailer Sales of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma have tried to break down the most critical components of purchasing an enclosed trailer to make your decision process easier by coming into the game with an extensive understanding of options, what to look for in quality, and helping to inform you to select the appropriate options to guarantee a great experience, and purchase the appropriate equipment for your specific hauling application. https://www.centraltrailerok.com/all-inventory/cargo-trailers
There are many types of enclosed trailers out there ranging from car haulers, to fiber splicing trailers, off road trailers, and enclosed work trailers. Even though all of these trailers Are different in their application the overall construction process and materials and details below mentioned are all the same.
Not all cargo trailers are built the same, nor do they have the same options, or the same building materials. It is critical to ask about the items mentioned when buying a trailer, and verifying that they “really exist.” As Ronald Regan said, “Trust but verify.”
Steel Frame Construction:
First of all we want to take a look at the structural Foundation of an enclosed trailer. It's critically important that you select the correct frame and structure for your application. This address is both weather conditions, as well as the payload that you will require. There are both steel and aluminum frames available for enclosed trailers. The difference between the two is that the load capacity of steel is greater than that of aluminum. However on the flip side aluminum enclosed trailers are better in that they resist corrosion much more so than steel enclosed trailers. This is a great place to begin our journey. Aluminum trailers are considerably more expensive than steel trailers. This is a result of the commodity pricing on aluminum and actually welding aluminum together. Steel trailers are less expensive and heavier but also have a larger hauling capacity. In addition to aluminum being lighter they offer you more resistance to corrosion when you live in places where they salt the road frequently. Steel trailers have a propensity to rust over time, however they hold more payload capacity. Although steel trailers do rust over time, you can also do things to prevent this type of deterioration by hosing down the underside of the trailer structure. When you finish using the trailer in a hostile environment such as salt or sand after the road has been treated with sand and salt for snow and ice. This will greatly reduce the oxidation process by removing the salt and minerals from the steel components slowing the process.
Beyond the steel structure which supports your enclosed trailer the structure also encloses your cargo load, protects your possessions, and provides you with a protective barrier from the environment. The external structure is typically made of aluminum skin over plywood and steel tubing which runs across the bottom frame structure and up along the walls vertically, then ending horizontally to form a roof structure. The steel tubes are encapsulated with aluminum, treated plywood fastened to the vertical steel tubs, and then skins which provide the exterior barrier. This aluminum can be chosen in numerous colors and thicknesses. Most trailers are made with .25 mm thickness aluminum skin. There are other skins that are available with greater density and thickness up to .40mm. Increasing the thickness provides more protection from the environment, rocks, hail, and also potential theft. The aluminum skin is fantastic because it provides a barrier while reducing the amount of overall weight on the trailer. Aluminum skin is available in both glossy and matte finishes. Central trailer has sold both the basic point to .25 mm skin as well as the .40 mm skin. We really prefer the thicker aluminum skins as they provide a much stronger barrier from potential damage. Additionally, .40mm provides more structural integrity as they are denser than the basic .25 mm skin. The cost of this upgrade is no more than $900 today in 2022 and well worth the spend. It will ensure a long life of service, and also protect you from hail, rocks, tree branches and any type of road hazards. Below the aluminum skin you can create an additional barrier by adding insulation to the walls, and roof to provide warmth, cooling, reduce sound, in the event that you are using the enclosed trailer or off road for camping, ATV, working, side-by-side hauling, hunting, or the day out at the race track. This insulation will allow any heater or air conditioning unit to perform at its optimum capabilities, reducing noise as there will be a nice protective barrier between the exterior skin of aluminum and the internal wall of the trailer. Typically when you add Insulation to your trailer it is very common that you will add an additional interior barrier. The interior barrier can be made out of vinyl and or aluminum. The vinyl is very nice looking and works well and provides a very clean and tidy look. It is not as resistant to damage as the aluminum wall skin on the interior. We prefer the aluminum barrier on the interior wall as it is as rigid and stiff as the outer skin. Additionally it is very easy to clean this surface and provides an excellent interior barrier wall for the insulation, and reduces noise.
Brakes are critically important while Towing. The brake options are numerous, but the most common are drum brakes that are triggered by electromagnetic pulses that control the braking mechanism on the trailer. Brakes on a trailer are very important as they take the inertia created from the additional payload, and transfer them to the axles on the trailer where the load is placed to help slow the loaded trailer. When you do not have trailer brakes you are relying on your tow vehicle break to perform braking for your vehicle plus the additional load in your trailer. This can be a safety issue, and also increase the wear and tear on your tow vehicles brakes, or transmission; in the case of a manual transmission. Having brakes on your trailer greatly increases the level of safety while towing, reduces wear and tear on your tow vehicle, and allows you to stop your vehicle and trailer much faster; especially in the case of an emergency stop. There are other types of brakes available for trailers. You can order electronic disc brakes which are very easy to service and have essentially the same type of brakes that are on your vehicle that are actuated electronically. The benefit of the more expensive brakes are they are easy to change out the pads and relatively inexpensive replacement parts. In the case of drum brakes you will replace the drum and the brake pads which can be a little more work and a little more spendy in terms of parts and labor. Either option is an extremely good one as brakes on a trailer are a critical safety factor for your load as well as your family and others. Braking systems are also equipped with an emergency break away system. This device provides an extra layer of protection in the event your trailer were to come loose from the hitch by activating the brakes on the trailer, and bringing the trailer to a stop hopefully before it were to harm anyone or anything inside. Trailer brakes are extremely effective, however they do need to be maintained, and they work in unison as a system with good tires, proper air pressure, tight lug nuts and a trailer that is inspected prior to departing on play Journey.
In addition to Breaking axles are critically important and distribute the weight load across the trailer. The axle is critical because it determines the payload capacity that you may safely transport in, or on your trailer. The trailer type does not determine the payload, it is the axle gross weight capacity minus the actual weight of the trailer that determines your load capacity. For example if you had two 3500 lb axles and a trailer that weighed 2500 pounds your towing capacity would be 4500 lb of load capacity. The GVWR Gross Vehicle Weight Rating or axle capacity <minus> the trailer weight equals your load capacity. In the event you were to go above this given capacity you would be overloading your axles and your trailer which could potentially be a tremendous safety hazard. It is critically important to purchase the appropriate size axles considering what you will be hauling today and in the future, additionally if you should loan your trailer to someone else it is very important that you explain and consider this one allowing your tow vehicle to be used by other persons or companies. Axles come in numerous sizes from 3500 lb each axle all the way up to 25000 lb axles. The greater capacity of the axle, or axles, the greater payload capacity you can safely transport. Axles come in several different styles such as spring axles, and torsion axles. They are available in drop axle configuration which means that you slightly lower the trailer height. Unlike spring axles, torsion axles rely upon a rubber insert the equivalent of a spring on the inside of the axle; providing a smoother riding surface and a lower ride height. Torsion axles are fantastic, however they have a slightly reduced life expectancy vs. straight axles with springs. Torsion and spring axles may also be placed further apart which is referred to as spread axle configuration. This allows for the load to be distributed over a greater surface area. Additionally the axles in the spread axle configuration typically tows or pulls very straight; with less wiggle and sway with the extended axle placement. The downside is that the turning ratio is slightly less as you lose some of the maneuverability. In metropolitan areas and slower speeds the best choice would be the closer axle configuration. On highways, long straight distances the spread axle position is preferred and provides less sway. There are several manufacturers of axles. The two most reputable names are Dexter axles and Lippert. These two manufacturers set the industry standard and manufacture straight axles, torsion axles, and air ride axles in varying weight capacity, spring, or torsion suspension configuration.
Structural Frame Uprights
The trailer industry enclosed trailers refer to up rights as the vertical structure that supports the walls and roof. This is another area in which all manufacturers are not the same. Many manufacturers will take sheet metal and bend it in a form to create a vertical support structure. This is basically taking something and manufacturing it into a support beam as a cost-savings measure. This is not providing a true solution for structural integrity. The alternative is to actually utilize steel tubing and continue the steel structure throughout the walls and roof structure. To our knowledge only cargo craft trailers of Texas manufacturers their enclosed trailers with real Steel 1 inch square upright tubes every 16 inches, similar to the existing construction in your home throughout the wall structure and roof structures. This creates a truly strong structure which can be felt when pushing against the vertical beams. You can find the vertical upright beams by following the screws up the outer wall of the trailer. This fabrication process and configuration is the strongest and most durable for an aluminum trailer. A full steel trailer with full steel skin Is the strongest most durable trailer out there. The trade-off is that the gross weight of the trailer is substantially higher, and therefore causes a reduction in hauling capacity due to its gross weight. Trailers that are manufactured with real steel uprights with a minimum structural size of 1 inch by 1 inch are by far the most structurally sound trailers in the market. The quality of the structure can be felt when you actually push on the trailer or gently pound on the sides or front of the trailer. You can feel the structural Integrity with your hands. Additionally it is critical that these structural uprights are no less than 16 in apart which provides a similar structure to that of your actual home where you would have two by fours placed every 16 in vertically.
LED lights have quickly become a popular replacement for incandescent light bulbs. The led lights are extremely bright, last longer, consume less power, and typically have a smaller size then the old incandescent bulbs. The beauty is they put out a lot more brightness, Occupy less real estate, provide more illumination, and last much longer. LED trailer lights are amazing at night, and can really make your trailer stand out in bad weather, or fog. Additionally they enhance the overall look of the trailer, and provide other drivers more visibility to your trailer, and overall make your trailer safer on the road. Today's LED lights have also incorporated incredible features such as rear backup lights. Imagine, when you're backing up your trailer in the dark, as soon as your vehicle is put into reverse the reverse lights on the back of the trailer light up to illuminate the road making it safer to back up your trailer and easier for you to navigate. LED lights can be added to any trailer at the factory or after the fact. It is extremely easy to install them, however it is easier to run the wires at the factory than after the fact. Again the cost is very low so it is a small investment for a great deal of safety, and enhances the looks of any trailer.
Trailer Jack and Stabilizer Jacks
Trailer jacks are in a central part of daily life when using a trailer. The trailer jack allows you to easily connect your trailer to your tow vehicle. If you did not have a trailer jack on the tongue of the trailer it would be extremely difficult to lift the front of the trailer. The trailer weighs a lot unloaded. Imagine trying to lift the tongue onto the tow hitch of your vehicle without any help. The Jack allows you to pick up the tongue to a level which is equal with your tow hitch and then lower the tongue onto the tow hitch without having to do this with your body. There are different types of jacks available. The most common is a manual Jack with a crank handle that you turn clockwise to lift the trailer, turning it counterclockwise lowers the tongue of the trailer. In addition to manual crank Jack's there are also electric and hydraulic jacks available. The second most common is an electric jack which is connected to a battery with a simple press of a button the tongue of the trailer will go up and down and be attached or detached from your tow vehicle. The third type of Jack is a hydraulic jack that is for substantial weight and is typically used in conjunction with other types of mechanisms such as dump trailers, car haulers, and equipment haulers. It is not uncommon for a very heavy duty trailer to have hydraulic jacks installed connected to a battery which raise and lower the tongue of the trailer. This is by far the strongest type of Jack system available and typically used on extremely heavy duty trailers and loads. In addition to jacks there are also stabilizer jacks. Stabilizer Jacks perform a different duty than your standard trailer jack. The stabilizer jack is used to help maintain a trailer in its loading position when it is not attached to the tow vehicle. Imagine that the tow vehicle provides a ground force,and an anchor point for the trailer. When you are loading on the back of the trailer on the ramp, or loading pallets through the barn doors there would be a propensity for the trailer to want to tilt backwards and have the tongue / front go up in the air. The stabilizer Jacks provide downward force by maintaining contact with the ground in the rear of the trailer and keeping the tongue down with the front jack also secure against the ground. This is critically important as the tongue could easily fly up in the air with a heavy load in the back of the trailer and cause an accident, damage equipment, and hurt somebody in the process. Stabilizer Jacks are very useful for loading when not attached to the tow vehicle. It is critically important to remember that when you are finished using them to raise them up before towing the trailer. if you forget to raise the jacks you will most probably rip them off of the back of the trailer and need to replace them. We recommend putting decals in different parts of the trailer as a reminder telling you to raise the stabilizer jacks before towing. This helps remind you that they are down. I have accidentally done this before and it is a real pain in the butt to replace them.
All types of internal lighting is available for your trailer. Typically today led lighting is used inside of trailers to provide illumination for loading, or while accessing your tools or supplies inside the trailer cargo area. The internal Lighting in the trailer can be switched on and off either at a wall switch, or on the actual overhead dome lights from switches. For most lights to work will need to be plugged into the tow vehicle so that you draw power from the tow vehicles battery. An alternative is to have an onboard battery inside of the trailer in a battery box that allows you to have constant lighting regardless of whether or not the tow vehicle is attached. When you have a battery box providing power you can have many more lights in the trailer, and you do not need a vehicle attached. Additionally you can use the battery box to power exterior loading lights if you would like while loading cargo, tools, motorcycles, or camping gear into your enclosed or off road trailer.
Insulated walls in your trailer provide an excellent barrier between you and the outdoors. insulation provides the same protective barrier that you have in your home. The trailer without insulation only has the exterior skin, and treated plywood between the inside of the trailer and the outside environment. This is a very important barrier which works extremely well to protect your goods, inventory, or things from water. If you are planning on using your trailer as a place where you could occasionally sleep, or work, it is essential to have insulation put into the walls and then covered on the inside. Just like your home this insulation or barrier between the exterior and interior keeps the heat in in the event of heating, or keeps the cool inside if you are running air conditioning for work or sleep in the summertime. In addition to providing an insulative barrier for climate control the insulation also quiets ambient noise. Thicker walls help deaden sound from outside. Insulation is amazing and really makes a big difference in the trailer when you use it for work or occasional sleeping.
Vinyl or Aluminum Walls
Upon installation of your insulation it will be necessary to add an interior barrier to your trailer. This barrier is typically made of vinyl, or aluminum. The interior barrier sandwiches the insulation between the exterior skin and the interior and provides you with a layer of quality insulation from heat and cold. The cost of vinyl is the least expensive covering option for your insulation. The vinyl is typically white and covers the entirety of the wall and ceiling of your trailer. This is a good option however the better option is to use aluminum If it is within your budget. The benefit is that you can clean it very easily with a cloth and cleaning fluid over a long period of time without any deterioration. It is typically made of aluminum of the same thickness as the exterior wall on the inside. Regardless of material the interior wall should be covered in white as it provides greater illumination then a darker color of treated plywood. Both vinyl and aluminum provide a good interior barrier. It can be expected that the life of aluminum wall will be far greater than that of vinyl. Additionally the aluminum is not susceptible to rips, or tears which can take place while loading the trailer with your equipment, or cargo. The aluminum also provides more rigidity and structure to your trailer.
Ramp door vs. Barn Doors
Enclosed trailers are typically offered and equipped with two different styles of loading doors in the rear of the trailer. We refer to them as ramp doors (single fold down type) or barn doors ( two doors on the rear that spread open left and right). The two styles are very different and provide different uses for four different applications. A barn door system is a set of doors at the rear of the trailer that open outward and open in the middle. The barn doors allow the door to be completely out of the way and leave space for a forklift to come up behind the trailer and lift a pallet of material into the trailer. This is extremely convenient as many loads are very heavy and too cumbersome to be able to go up a ramp. The barn door configuration allows flexibility so that you could still load on a set of portable ramps, and still use a forklift for extremely heavy loads that would be too heavy to pull up a ramp door. The ramp door is also a very useful loading door. It allows the person loading the trailer to easily drop down the ramp with a spring assisted loading mechanism to the ground, and roll their load up the ramp onto the trailer platform. The ramp door is quite convenient for loading with a handcart, dolly, and very useful when loading rolling tool boxes, zero turn mowers, motorcycles, ATVs, tools, and golf carts. The ramp door can support a massive amount of weight and allows the user to simply drive up the platform into the enclosed trailer space.
Extended Tongue Hitch
Extended tongue hitches provide a tremendous amount of benefits for your trailer. Some of the benefits are the ability to install a generator platform, tool box, storage box, or simply provide a more stable ride, and easier maneuverability with extended-length. Trailing a trailer with an extended tongue provides more stability in the tracking of the trailer down the road. It also reduces the amount of bounce as the length of the trailer is longer so the bumps and imperfections in the road are distributed over a longer surface area. Additionally, when you are backing up a longer trailer it is much easier to control than a shorter wheelbase. Extended hitches are really fantastic as they provide a much more controlled maneuverability of your trailer moving down the road in a forward direction, going through turns, and most importantly when backing up. Any trailer that is over 12 ft end links it is highly recommended to have an extended time to make your towing experience more pleasurable.
Air Conditioning / Bracing
Modern-day conveniences are available for enclosed trailers. To make some of them available it is necessary to do some modifications to the trailers. Most enclosed trailer manufacturers have the ability to add structural bracing to be able to support an air conditioning unit on the roof of the trailer. Some trailers actually have multiple air conditioning units on the trailer and multiple bracing points. It is not possible to add an air conditioning unit to the trailer without bracing the structure for the additional weight of an air conditioning unit on the roof to move the trailer. Typically the bracing will be done at the factory level and prepared with a steel tubing structure To support the air conditioning unit. The air conditioning units range in BTU output and are capable of cooling down an enclosed trailer to a very comfortable temperature. Additionally you can also use the AC unit with a heat pump to provide you heat in a cold environment. As mentioned earlier, these air conditioning units will function a lot better with an insulated wall for both heating and cooling your trailer.
The industry standard is to utilize three-quarter inch plywood on the floor as a structural Foundation. This three-quarter inch plywood is cut and laid over the steel frame structure. The wood works very well and can be replaced when needed. Additionally it absorbs liquids that leak from time to time on the surface. The wood floor can last much longer if it is treated with plywood which is also the most popular in our industry. Many manufacturers will take it one step further and actually paint the treated wood with a high-quality epoxy gray paint. This protective barrier prevents liquids from entering into the wood and allows for easy cleaning of spills. You can expect many years of service out of a three-quarter inch treated plywood floor. The gray epoxy paint provides you with an even better barrier and a clean look which is easy to clean up and keep tidy.
NUDO Flooring / Rubber Coin flooring
In addition to wood flooring there is also an alternative. This alternative is called Nudo flooring, or rubber coin flooring. This type of flooring has a very specific use. It is used very commonly in work trailers, car haulers, and concession trailers. Although each of these trailer types is very unique and different the flooring plays a critical role. New do flooring or rubber coin flooring allows for the surface to be cleaned to a very high degree. It is also a soft surface for walking, securing equipment, or providing an anti-static environment. This flooring is commonly used to prevent oil spills in a car hauler, provide a clean germ-free environment in a concession trailer, and a static free and a clean roomIn the fiber splicing trailer application. This flooring looks great and really holds up well. It is an upgrade from three-quarter Inch treated plywood. However when you get into concession trailers it is actually a requirement of the health department, it is almost an industry-standard in the fiber splicing trailers oh, and it is very common in the car haulers as it provides a nice tidy surface that can be cleaned and looks extremely nice.
Tires are a critically important component of the trailer. Not all tires are the same. Trailer tires and normal automobile Tires should not be interchanged. Trailer tires are designed for specific loads and temperatures. They are often made with options for the number of ply that are on the surface area of the road. The thicker ply allows for a greater weight capacity, and also protects you and your load from road hazards ranging from nails to pieces of metal along the road. When purchasing the trailer the typical tire is a 10 ply tire. The greater the axle size and capacity the more important the tires become. If you are carrying heavy loads it is highly recommended to utilize a minimum of a 14 ply tire. The tire plys run from 14 ply to 16 ply for most trailer manufacturers. Most trailers are sold with standard 10 ply tires to keep the price low. Reality is that the thicker ply 14 or 16 ply hold up much longer and protect from road hazards.
The higher the ply the more thickness and durability you have between your trailer and road hazard. Additionally when you are turning the tires maintain rigidity on the vertical surface and allow for easier turning as the 10 ply tires dont; especially when loaded. When you are loaded and have 10 ply tires, the tires sidewalls will actually bend and in some cases collapse or blowout as the side structure cannot support the load while turning on a sharp angle. Ultimately a better quality tire can prevent an unfortunate mishap, blowouts, or flats due to road debris. Most trailer owners will end up upgrading their tires in the long run. If it is possible to get a higher ply tire it is better to do so from the beginning as you will be safer and prevent possible blowouts from road hazard, or tight turns on a tire that is not equipped with proper side walls to manage the load.
If you have any questions or comments about enclosed trailers, off road trailers, toy haulers feel free to reach out to Central Trailer Sales for more information 918-251-4496. https://www.centraltrailerok.com/all-inventory/cargo-trailers