17 Comments

  1. jorge alonso
    May 27, 2018 @ 9:36 PM

    sir I read all your articles and understood most of it , I have a 5×10 utility trailer with wood on the floor I’m driving to texas, so my question is , if I place 80lb bags of cement in the center of the trailer in front of the tires but not to far to the front will this give me more stability, or should I place one bag all the way to the front and follow it to the center of the tires and stop there for better stability , also I’m going faster 65 to 70

    Reply

    • The Mechanic
      May 29, 2018 @ 8:22 PM

      Good questions. If the tongue weight — the force from the trailer tongue on the hitch ball — is in the area of 10-15% of the total trailer weight, it should be good. There is more than just weight balance in the stability equation, but that’s a big part of it. If you have a choice, like with bags of cement, then low and in one tight group is a little better for bounce (as opposed to spread out all over the trailer), assuming the weight balance is exactly the same. That said, it’s not really a factor so much with stability. Enjoy your trip.

      Reply

  2. Car trailer
    December 17, 2018 @ 11:43 PM

    Nice reading. Well written article. Thanks for this.

    Reply

  3. Gillian Babcock
    February 3, 2019 @ 5:11 PM

    My dad wants to have a flatbed trailer that he can use to carry things when he goes camping. It was explained here that the trailer bounces when the suspension is too stiff. Furthermore, it’s recommended to go to trusted suppliers when planning to have a flatbed trailer.

    Reply

  4. Lena Dial
    April 11, 2019 @ 9:32 AM

    Do u make trailers & what is the widest u make. Want to pull from state to state. Have a Ford F150.

    Reply

    • The Mechanic
      April 11, 2019 @ 10:42 AM

      We design trailers and we offer the plans for sale so you can make them. The widest legal for highway use is 102″ width (8’6″) state to state. Your F-150 has towing limits (total trailer weight and tongue weight), so build your trailer below those limits.

      Reply

  5. Jocelyn McDonald
    May 22, 2019 @ 10:55 AM

    My husband want to get a utility trailer for his motorcycle, and your article had great tips to help stop the trailer from bouncing if this becomes and issue. I liked how you said to consider lowering the tire pressure so the tires act more like a partially filled basketball and bounce less. Thanks; I’ll share this with my husband if he gets a utility trailer.

    Reply

  6. David Johnson
    June 10, 2019 @ 2:56 PM

    I had no idea that a utility trailer could bounce when it’s empty because there’s not enough compression to keep it down. Right now I don’t have a trailer but I think that it would be important to look for one that is right for the loads you plan to carry. We like to go camping a lot so I’ll have to figure out what the weight of our equipment is and then look into utility trailers.

    Reply

  7. Aaron
    May 1, 2020 @ 8:28 PM

    Hello and thanks for the info.

    Would welding in some shocks help? My trailer is homemade with an old pickup axle on leaves.

    Reply

    • Mechanic
      May 2, 2020 @ 7:19 AM

      Shocks are not often used on trailers, partly because the suspensions don’t move that much. However, a pickup truck has much longer springs, and they do move a lot more. If your trailer has the pickup truck springs, shocks might help a lot.

      Reply

  8. GM
    September 13, 2020 @ 4:49 PM

    I doubled the length of my tow bar (was 4 ft and now is 8 feet long). I used the same tow gauge steel as the original tow bar and I’m now concerned there my be too much flex in the tow bar that could lead to excessive bouncing. I should have started with the type of trailer I have…it’s a small utility trailer with 48” bed and a max load of 1090 lbs. The trailer itself weighs 150 lbs ( just chassis) but I’ve build a wood box and floor for it so it now weights around 300 lbs. I’m wondering if there is a minimum gauge steel that should be used for an 8 ft tow.

    PS. I have not yet pulled this trailer as I’m still building it.

    Reply

    • Mechanic
      September 14, 2020 @ 7:02 AM

      Sounds fun. I don’t know of any standards to just apply — everything is based on the complex combination of material dimensions (width, height, wall thickness, length) and the loads, loading, etc of the trailer. For your situation, since the loads are pretty small, I’d say if it feels flimsy, that’s a very good indication that it is not enough. (However, that is not an adequate way to always decide what will work.)

      Reply

  9. Dave
    September 17, 2020 @ 2:55 PM

    I have a trailer for pulling up to 4 canoes that has a GVW of 1,200 lbs. The trailer itself weighs roughly 250 LBS and and a typical load is 60 to 100 lbs. It has a single axle with 13″ tires that have a maximum inflation of 60 lbs and a speed rating of 81 mph. I’ve dropped the tire inflation to 35 lbs but the bounce is still annoying and tiring. How much can I reduce the inflation before risking destroying the tires at prolonged highway speeds of 75 to 80 mph? Functionally, the trailer isn’t usable for long drives with the vibration from the trailer bounce. Thank you!

    Reply

    • Mechanic
      September 17, 2020 @ 3:26 PM

      You’re right, there is some danger in reducing pressure a lot. That said, you probably won’t get much bounce relief until pressure gets down around 20 psi. I’d do an experiment. Reduce pressure until the tires begin to deflect a little. Not enough that they look like they’re going flat, but enough that they are not “hard”. Drive a short way and see if the bouncing is improved. If it is significantly better, then find some elastomer link adaptions for your suspension. Ife bouncing is not improved, then your load is probably too far back, or there is something else with the dynamics rather than the actual “bounce”. Immediately after driving your test, place your hand on the tires to see if they are hot. That will tell you more about what you can and can’t do with air pressure.

      Reply

      • Dave
        September 17, 2020 @ 6:08 PM

        Thank you! I’ve never had a light trailer with a light load before but it has been ‘interesting.’

        Reply

  10. Mugruber
    October 3, 2020 @ 4:06 PM

    Are these drawings Engineer Approved & Stamped ?

    Reply

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