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Flat-bed trailer: all sorts of questions, please and thank you!

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  • Flat-bed trailer: all sorts of questions, please and thank you!

    This is sort of shutting the barn door after the horse is out since I had a horrible day Sunday hauling hay with a trailer that apparently wasn't up to the task. But more hay needs to be hauled so as dumb as I feel about skipping this stuff, better late than never.

    I have a flat-bed trailer, bumper pull, 8'x18' deck. It is very heavy and sturdy, homemade (not by me but by the person I bought it from several years ago) and in outwardly good shape.

    For about three years I have used it for one purpose only: getting big (4'x4'x8') square bales from a supplier about a mile from my farm, driving them home, parking under cover, and feeding from the trailer until the bales were gone at which time the cycle was repeated.

    Well we don't get that hay in the summer so I figured that freed up the trailer to do some longer-distance hay hauling (small bales).

    The big bales weigh about 700 lbs each so I'd be hauling 4200 lbs. There was no problem with the clearance over the tires and it hauled well but remember it was just a mile or so. On Sunday I got 100 bales that are about 60 lbs. each, so 3 tons on the trailer. It drove OKAY, not great, but it could be just something I need to get used to. The tires are toast though (one blow-out and three sad looking but still whole tires).

    Enough with the history. Here are my questions, hope someone can help:

    - I need trailer tires according to Sears, though the trailer didn't have trailer-rated tires on it. Is there a rule of thumb regarding load being carried? Where would I get trailer tires? Would a lesser class of tire be dangerous or just not last as long? On Sunday/blow-out day, I spent $200 getting a tire that was better than what I had on there but still not trailer-rated... can't imagine what I'll have to spend to get the real McCoy.

    - How would I know what weight the trailer can hold? I guess by that I mean the axles, right? The deck and the metal structure are rock-solid and thick, no flimsy construction. I think (IIRC) that the two axles are each rated 5000 lbs but if I wanted to confirm that, how could I do that (cannot contact seller, no idea of name/number any more).

    - Would it be better for the ride and balance if I put X bales in the bed of the truck?

    - I think I'd also like to have the trailer "looked at" -- what type of service person would work on a trailer? I'm going to look up the guy that serviced my horse trailer last year but in case he isn't available/interested...

    Anything else you think I should do to be safe and smart? Thanks for your time!
    Shall I tell you what I find beautiful about you? You are at your very best when things are worst.

  • #2
    1. Tires age. Look on the sidewall of the tire, there will be a DOT date code. See here >> http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tirete....jsp?techid=11 << on how to read it.

    2. load, speed and distance matter. Haul heavy, slow and short is very different than heavy, fast and far.

    3. Tire max weight ratings matter. In a given size, load ratings make a difference. Different load ratings require changes in tire valve stem, pressure, and wheel rating.

    Trailer (ST) tires are okay but are rated at a lower speed than truck tires. I would get LT tires if available in your size. Look at the load rating and max tire weight rating. Don't go less than original tire rating. Blow outs are very bad at highway speed. Don't mix radial and bias ply tires.
    Equus makus brokus but happy


    • #3
      No way to give you a trailer load rating. A structural engineer would have to study the trailer. You know 6000 pounds is okay on the trailer, stay around that limit. Don't skimp on tires. Check that 6000 + trailer weight in pounds is well within the sum of the tire max weights.
      Equus makus brokus but happy