Author Topic: DIY car trailers  (Read 2725 times)

Offline hayesey

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DIY car trailers
« on: June 27, 2011, 05:30:25 pm »
I'm currently looking for a small car trailer to use for taking my polo to and from track days instead of driving it there.

Ebay is littered with home-made/DIY trailers.  Some of which look pikey as fuck, some of which look well made.  None will have data plates though!

So my question is, what's the legality in using these things on the road?  I know that with a proper trailer, they have data plates on which state the max permissible weight on them.  Given that I passed my test after jan 1997, I can only tow up to 3.5tonnes total max permissible weight of tow car + trailer.  There's plenty of small "clubman" style trailers that keep me under this limit but what happens with a home made trailer?  It has no max weights on it....

Yeah I know I could just wing it and hope I never get pulled but it's a risk I don't want.  If I lose my license I'll end up not being able to get to work, pay mortgage etc... aint worth it....

Offline Nick_S

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Re: DIY car trailers
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2011, 07:36:30 pm »
I would reckon it likely to be a fixed penalty and points for exceeding the gross weight etc, doubt you'd loose your licence unless it was extremely dangerous. I think you need a tacho nowadays too if >3.5 tonnes. Another thing to note is that an uncertified trailer will very likely void your insurance. You wouldn't use a homemade crane to build a tower block.....

I'm lucky enough to have C1 on my licence :P
« Last Edit: June 27, 2011, 07:41:56 pm by Nick_S »

Offline scotsjohn

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Re: DIY car trailers
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2011, 08:24:10 pm »
Long term, you'd be better off building your own trailer. Going to a reputable trailer parts supplier will get you all the legal answers and quality build parts. The country's full of one off boat trailers which are a good indication of what's allowed in the way of roadworthiness. Problems only come in when you use your trailer for commercial purposes. You can drive an HGV without an HGV licence believe it or not; think of little old ladies driving big horse boxes. You'll need a braked trailer, but certainly won't need a tacho.

Offline Yoof

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Re: DIY car trailers
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2011, 10:47:39 pm »
Not worth it at all- frowned upon by the law and most are old caravan chassis, to build you're own I guess you'd get on for £1k if you galvansied it, proepr light board, decent tow hitch and proper wheels/tyres.

There's plenty for under £1k, you've just got to be quick!

http://www.pistonheads.co.uk/sales/2965022.htm

And a Brian James with tyre rack, boxes etc:

http://www.pistonheads.co.uk/sales/2895740.htm

Ain't so bad!

Offline hayesey

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Re: DIY car trailers
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2011, 11:03:13 pm »
Never thought to look on pistonheads!

Offline Puncharado

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Re: DIY car trailers
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2011, 11:27:04 pm »
Don't buy the Brian James one! I'm hoping he'll take my Polo for paint on it before it sells, it's currently in 'our' unit with my car (I'm sub-letting space from him). You can just about see my red car through the open door behind the Land Rover!

Seriously though, I can vouch for that trailer, it's in great condition. Stu bought it for classic MGs and Spitfires etc. but it has hardly been used.

Offline scotsjohn

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Re: DIY car trailers
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2011, 09:48:39 pm »
How about a front wheels only trailer? It would be a damn sight lighter than a full ride on job and take up a fraction of the space. You can get a new braked axle and coupling for about £400. Then all you need is your own drawbar, ramps and winch. £800 tops.

Offline hayesey

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Re: DIY car trailers
« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2011, 08:18:07 am »
Does the towed car have to be road legal though?

Offline scotsjohn

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Re: DIY car trailers
« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2011, 11:38:53 am »
As long as tyres in use are road legal and the vehicle is well secured to the tow unit, there shouldn't be a problem. Your running a leisure trailer, not subject to the scrutiny of commercial use. The name of the game is to make a solid roadworthy job of anything you put on the road with regards to mudguards,lighting, reflectors and general build quality. The Indespension people used to do a good book on what's required. Ultimately, as long as your all up weights are OK(visit your local council weighbridge for a printout) and your rig looks solid, you're not likely to fall foul of Plod.

Offline hayesey

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Re: DIY car trailers
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2011, 10:52:50 am »
well I've decided to get a definitive answer on this, if only out of curiosity.  So I've emailed an address I found on the Directgov website which is supposed to be for questions regarding trailer construction.

Offline scotsjohn

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Re: DIY car trailers
« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2011, 03:15:45 pm »
I don't think you'll find anything too prohibitive in what they have to say. If you like to make a decent job of anything you build, then I reckon you can get a lot of satisfaction out of building your own trailer. It's also tailormade to your requirements. If you want an example of what's legal, a few years ago, I was looking at a small boat trailer made from, would you believe, laminated marine ply. It was,quite simply, a work of art. Drawbar and axle all in one piece, moulded to meet ground clearance and towball height etc. Indespension units and mini alloy wheels. It was carrying a 600lb dinghy. Admittedly the guy who built it used to work for Fairey Marine.

Offline hayesey

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Re: DIY car trailers
« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2011, 03:41:16 pm »
what confuses me is that the regulations all talk about MAM - Maximum Allowable Mass.  How do you know what this is with a DIY trailer with no data plate on it?

Offline Yoof

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Re: DIY car trailers
« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2011, 07:19:35 pm »
Hitchs also have a weight limit on them, as do axles, generally I think DIY trailers will be judged on these, and tyre load ratings, also a degree of common sense with what's being towed, and what's towing it.

All in all, it's far less hassle and cheaper to buy a second hand professionally made (and plated) jobbie.


Offline scotsjohn

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Re: DIY car trailers
« Reply #13 on: July 12, 2011, 07:10:20 am »
what confuses me is that the regulations all talk about MAM - Maximum Allowable Mass.  How do you know what this is with a DIY trailer with no data plate on it?

MAM's just the weight acting vertically through the axle of the trailer itself plus any load. Just the usual bulllshit. Your tow vehicle's got the data for braked and un-braked loads. Your not likely to be exceeding them towing a Polo if you're using the Volvo. Don't get too paranoid about it Paul, whatever you get , as long as it looks right, will probably be right, plated or not.

Offline DMWG40

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Re: DIY car trailers
« Reply #14 on: July 12, 2011, 10:17:11 am »
with the cost of trailers mate, i would buy one rather then make one.
the problem with some stuff its all up in the air if you get pulled over. nine times out of ten its down to the copper who stops you.

its not worth the hassle. just need to buy a trailer at the right time of year.