Harbor Freight 4x8 trailer - reviews?

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Harbor Freight 4x8 trailer - reviews?

Postby Fujisawa Rob » Mon Sep 24, 2007 2:50 pm

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=42709

Winner or loser?

I'm looking for something cheap and sturdy to haul parts, nothing very heavy, maybe some lumber or appliances here and there, and an axle or two. Maybe a transmission every now and then ;)

The sell a side panel kit for around $100.
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Postby ephebus » Mon Sep 24, 2007 4:36 pm

I just built one of those a couple of months ago. You have to put the whole thing together bolt by bolt. Took about 3 hourse to build it and about 1 hour to wire it up.

Over all I say winner for light duty work (under 1000 pounds).

I have used it for construction materials, leaves, a dump run etc. been used on city roads, highway and rough dirt roads and handles better than expected. The longer tongue on it make backing up super easy.

Now on to the upgrades that I felt were a must.
1. Upgrade the cupler to a 2" ball ($20), 1 7/8" WTF
2. It grounds through the trailer and it is a piss poor ground at that, so I ran a seperate ground to the ground wire on the electrical plug. (free if you have the wire)
3. Where the side panels bolt in to the trailer frame I put hooks in, so I could bungie to something really solid.

If you have any further questions,I can answer later tonight.

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Postby Fujisawa Rob » Mon Sep 24, 2007 4:45 pm

Considering this one too:
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=2575

Smaller, higher weight capacity. Comes with steel decking. Not sure if it has stake pockets.
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Postby Fujisawa Rob » Mon Sep 24, 2007 5:19 pm

ephebus wrote:I just built one of those a couple of months ago. You have to put the whole thing together bolt by bolt. Took about 3 hourse to build it and about 1 hour to wire it up.

Over all I say winner for light duty work (under 1000 pounds).

I have used it for construction materials, leaves, a dump run etc. been used on city roads, highway and rough dirt roads and handles better than expected. The longer tongue on it make backing up super easy.

Now on to the upgrades that I felt were a must.
1. Upgrade the cupler to a 2" ball ($20), 1 7/8" WTF
2. It grounds through the trailer and it is a piss poor ground at that, so I ran a seperate ground to the ground wire on the electrical plug. (free if you have the wire)
3. Where the side panels bolt in to the trailer frame I put hooks in, so I could bungie to something really solid.

If you have any further questions,I can answer later tonight.

Evan


Did you buy the side panels or just make them?
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Postby ephebus » Mon Sep 24, 2007 8:53 pm

That second one looks a little small to be really useful, yeah the weight limit is higher, but when are you ever going to be loading it down that much and if you need to have the weight limit be higher you might want to look at higher quality trailers.

As far as the panels go I just make some out of 2x4's 1x4's and bolted them together.

Like I said it is best for a light duty trailer, and if you need something that will be a heavy load carrier or will get abused with its contents, you might want to look at something that is solid metal, sides and all. If it is axles here and there and engine blocks stuff like that you should be fine, but multiple refrigerators, and taller /heavy items, tie downs will need to be a looked at harder than I did.

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Postby Fujisawa Rob » Mon Sep 24, 2007 11:21 pm

ephebus wrote:That second one looks a little small to be really useful, yeah the weight limit is higher, but when are you ever going to be loading it down that much and if you need to have the weight limit be higher you might want to look at higher quality trailers.

As far as the panels go I just make some out of 2x4's 1x4's and bolted them together.

Like I said it is best for a light duty trailer, and if you need something that will be a heavy load carrier or will get abused with its contents, you might want to look at something that is solid metal, sides and all. If it is axles here and there and engine blocks stuff like that you should be fine, but multiple refrigerators, and taller /heavy items, tie downs will need to be a looked at harder than I did.

Evan


Thanks, I'm leaning toward the first one, but the model with the 12" tires instead of 8". They're on sale now for $249.

Did you add plywood decking? Is it possible to cut a 4x8 sheet in half, bolt it on, and still be able to fold the thing up?
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Postby ephebus » Tue Sep 25, 2007 12:08 am

I actually bought the 3/4" plywood in the 4' x4' precut sheets, so a 4x8 sheet should work perfect, just cut the line strait. Bolted right on and folded nicely. I didn't notice that the one linked had the 8" wheels, get the 12" that is what I got and am happy with my choice. The instructions that come with the trailer give you plans and a parts list for making the bed and sides. I figured the thicker plywood would just last longer and be more durable.

Folding it is a pain for one person, when you try and stand it up. Other than that it folds to about the size of a ping pong table folded and rolls around on concrete nice and easy.

I have only put about 300 miles on the trailer, but has performed as well as can be expected. The wheels have a similar bearing setup as the front wheel bearings on our Isuzu's so I took the time to re-grease them with high heat wheel bearing grease since the sticky clear stuff they came pre-packed with had just enough to coat the bearing with no excess. The model I have has grease fittings to add to the bearings if needed. From what I hear not all models come with them, so you might want to check.
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Postby Fujisawa Rob » Tue Sep 25, 2007 8:06 am

ephebus wrote:Folding it is a pain for one person, when you try and stand it up. Other than that it folds to about the size of a ping pong table folded and rolls around on concrete nice and easy.



How are the casters holding up? I was reading on a motorcycle board about some guys who bought these trailers . The said they work fine, but the casters were not very sturdy. And they also recommended the 12" over 8" wheels to prolong bearing life, and to regrease the bearings periodically.

I'm sold, I'll pick one up soon since we're moving and it will come in handy. Basically everything I've read echos what you've said: good for the price, serves its purpose, and holds up reasonably well. That seems to be the case with many HF tools! Thanks.
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Postby ephebus » Tue Sep 25, 2007 10:11 am

Can't say too much about the casters other than they have worked fine on nice concrete and I only move about 10 feet it one time. They are positioned in a good spot, so if you decide to replace them it will be a piece of cake.

They are right about the larger tires, it is one of those things if you take care of it and use more than 5 times, it will pay for its self by not having to rent a trailer or pickup.

Speaking of the coupler, there are some at wal-mart that are under $20 that would work nicely on that trailer. Just an FYI.
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Postby Fujisawa Rob » Tue Sep 25, 2007 10:35 am

I think they sell couplers at HF too. I'm pretty sure the ball on my hitch is 1 7/8" anyway. What's the advantage of a larger one? I think it's only a class-I hitch.
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Postby ephebus » Tue Sep 25, 2007 10:40 am

Not too much, but I have always had a class III hitch on all my Isuzu's and usually a 2" ball is standard for trailers ~1500 pounds or heavier. I have seen very few SUV's and trucks that have the 1 7/8" ball. If you have a lighter duty setup, the stock coupler will work just fine. I didn't know they even made lighter duty hitches for Isuzu's. Nothing wrong with it, just a preference.
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Postby Fujisawa Rob » Tue Sep 25, 2007 10:55 am

The 89 Trooper doesn't have a very high tow rating, less than 2000 lbs IIRC...Again, not looking to tow a lot. The hitch I have is the factory one that bolts directly to the frame.

Not like our 2005 Astro...that thing is rated for about 5000 lbs with the 4.3v6! It doesn't have a hitch though.
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Postby ephebus » Tue Sep 25, 2007 10:57 am

Your in good shape then. Post Pictures when you get it all finished!
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Postby Desertbenny » Mon Oct 01, 2007 2:00 pm

I had one flip over on me on the free-way, Very sensitive to load placement and expansion gaps in the road......Anyway got a new washer and drier out of the deal. Great for running around town, dump runs but keep em under 55 I'd say.
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Postby BigSwede » Mon Oct 08, 2007 4:01 pm

1-7/8" ball is fine for that light of a trailer. Lots of smaller boat trailers around here have that size ball.

My buddy has the Northern Tool version of that trailer. I think his comments would echo the others: does a decent job as a light duty trailer that folds up, get the bigger wheels. He occasionally hauls small ATVs around with his.
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Postby Fujisawa Rob » Mon Oct 08, 2007 5:27 pm

Desertbenny wrote:I had one flip over on me on the free-way, Very sensitive to load placement and expansion gaps in the road......Anyway got a new washer and drier out of the deal. Great for running around town, dump runs but keep em under 55 I'd say.


I don't picture myself taking it on the freeway, local roads or US highways only, no interstates.
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Postby Night Wolf » Sun Nov 11, 2007 6:40 am

Check out used utility trailers.

I've got a 1998 Haulin' trailers 5x8 IIRC, 2,000lbs axle, trailer weighs 460lbs, so about a 1,500lbs useable limit. It dumps too, easy to unload gravel/dirt, or drive stuff up it.

I paid $200 for it, but I got it from a friend... still though, I see deals like that all over.... its a very good trailer, and it's been in NY all this time, but now its down in Florida at my parents place... so I'll be glad to get it back.... the Amigo and my small utility trailer means I can haul alot of stuff... as much as any pickup :)

I don't have any pictures of it... but its got a wood floor and wood sides with removeable tail gate... really neat little thing.
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Postby Fujisawa Rob » Sun Nov 11, 2007 7:58 pm

Night Wolf wrote:Check out used utility trailers.

I've got a 1998 Haulin' trailers 5x8 IIRC, 2,000lbs axle, trailer weighs 460lbs, so about a 1,500lbs useable limit. It dumps too, easy to unload gravel/dirt, or drive stuff up it.

I paid $200 for it, but I got it from a friend... still though, I see deals like that all over.... its a very good trailer, and it's been in NY all this time, but now its down in Florida at my parents place... so I'll be glad to get it back.... the Amigo and my small utility trailer means I can haul alot of stuff... as much as any pickup :)

I don't have any pictures of it... but its got a wood floor and wood sides with removeable tail gate... really neat little thing.


Timely post...I bought one of the Harbor Freight 4x8's with 12" wheels on sale for $250 Friday. It's pretty good. The only problem I had with the assembly is that I couldn't get the lights to light without running a dedicated ground wire. I used Weatherpack connectors on all the wiring and blue Loc-tite on all bolts, even though the included nuts are all nyloc. I haven't folded it yet, so I can't speak to that, but the included casters are a bit flimsy. Other than that, it's very solid, about 1/8" steel c-channel.

The trailer has stiff springs so it's very bouncy when empty. It has stake pockets that accept 2x4's but I haven't built the sides yet.

It's red, so it matches my Trooper, which is much better than the ugly HF orange that everything else they sell is colored.

I've already hauled half a dozen sheets of plywood and a bunch of stuff for my mother-in-law who is moving. I'd hesitate to take it on the interstate but its fine around town.
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Postby lowzone » Tue Nov 20, 2007 4:38 am

teh 12" tires are MUCH better, less RPMs on the highway. ive never towed EVER, so when i move to NC, im getting one and going to "practice" in a LARGE lot :)
my buddy bought one in 1991 w/8"....still has it. we had to straighten the axle ONCE already, over loaded it (2000lbs +) all the time for scrap metal and his many many moves. get a Spare, youll be happy you did. he had ONE blow out in all that time and it was overloaded on a highway. HF also has a 1750lb rated one for 349.99 and also a beaver tail mesh one, but thats a 5x8 i think for 499.99....probably get that one, but the folding option on the 4x8 is nice as well as the price....post pics :)
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Postby Fujisawa Rob » Tue Nov 20, 2007 10:20 am

I towed it all the way to Jacksonville from Tampa (about 3 hrs) and back this week with no problems...other than the moron in the McD's drive-through who rear ended me and bent the rear crossmember! Nothing else seems damaged. I will be calling HF to see if I can get a replacement part (not likely). If I can find a section of 3x2 c-channel steel (probably 1/8" thick) I can make that work. We exchanged info but it's almost more trouble than it's worth. I might be able to bend it back into shape. I know it's going to get beat up over time, but I just bought the damn thing!
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Postby Fujisawa Rob » Tue Nov 20, 2007 6:34 pm

Update: I called Harbor Freight customer support, and was pleasantly surprised.

I talked to a CSR almost immediately.

I gave the trailer part number and the part ID from the manual. I will be getting a new rear crossmember shipped to me for $11.60. It may take 6-8 weeks, or 10-14 days if it's in the warehouse. I must say I'm impressed that I was actually able to order the part. And it was cheap.
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Postby PolskiAmigo » Sun Feb 24, 2008 6:57 pm

that is a good trailer for the price. we have one to haul our atv. i dont know how much the atv weighs but id say 700-900 pounds judging by the fact that its a polaris sportsman 700. the trailer handles great even with that weight.
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Postby ephebus » Sun Feb 24, 2008 9:48 pm

that is a good trailer for the price. we have one to haul our atv. i dont know how much the atv weighs but id say 700-900 pounds judging by the fact that its a polaris sportsman 700. the trailer handles great even with that weight.


Where do you usually position the tie downs when you are hauling the ATV? Did you add additional mount points?

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Postby PolskiAmigo » Sun Feb 24, 2008 11:36 pm

we tie it down using ratchet straps to the stake pockets along the sides
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Postby Gizmo42 » Mon Feb 25, 2008 12:15 am

Wish I would have bought one when I bought a trailer. I looked at them but didnt know how well it would do hauling my 600# m'cycle. I ended up getting a 4x6 trailer from TSC, even drove to Kearny Nebraska to get it (thats the closest one). I hated it! The axle was too far forward and I always had to have buckets of sand to keep the tongue weight up or it would fish tail like crazy. Ended up getting towed cuz I didnt get the plate tags on quick enough. They wanted more then it cost for towing and storage fees so I just gave it to them.

If I ever get another trailer it will be the HF one with 12" wheels.
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