Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 27

Thread: Steel or Aluminum trailer?

  1. #1
    Member tccak71's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    2,175

    Default Steel or Aluminum trailer?

    I'm in the market for a new to me 16-18 foot deck snowmachine/atv trailer. I'd like a drive on drive off with a undercarriage ramp in the back and ramps in the front. I'd be carry a few snowmachines in the winter and quite a bit more weight in the summer---a polaris 6x6 which weighs about 1,300 with camping gear (or possibly a side by side in the future), and a polaris 4x4 wheeler and maybe a kids machine, or a combination of those machines.

    I'm a little apprehensive to buy an aluminum trailer due to the shoddy roads. I'd like to be able to traverse the Denali Highway and travel the Rich & Tok cutoff. I'm not entirely sold on buying a steel trailer due to the extra weight for just dragging around a few sno-gos in the winter, it seems excessive. I'm slowly discovering that I need an aluminum trailer for the winter and a steel trailer in the summer, but I can only afford one trailer.

    A little long winded but my question is this: Will an aluminum trailer bend/break, tweak and fall apart with a load traversing the Denali or banging away through the frost heaves on the Rich? I'm apprehensive about buying an 18' or thereabout steel trailer just to drag a few sno-gos in the winter due to all the extra trailer weight.

    Any advice/experience/input?

    Thanks,

    Tim

  2. #2
    Member theultrarider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Soldotna
    Posts
    1,097

    Default

    Steel for me. I can deal with the extra weight vs cracked frames. The aluminum holds up ok on a short 2 place. Most everyone I know with 4 place aluminum has broken them on our wonderful roads.

  3. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Eagle River
    Posts
    282

    Default

    I like aluminum trailers for snowmachines and ATV's, but do not buy a cheap one and expect it to last. I've pulled my 16' Aluma tandem axle all over the Parks, Glenn, Denali, and Richardson highways. The rear ramp on an Aluma snowmobile trailer will be the weak link for a heavy SxS, they are not wide enough and would need re-enforcement. A steel trailer will be stronger, but they rust and are heavy...try moving one around the yard. Either way you go, buy a quality trailer so your weekend isn't spent on the side of the road making unnecessary repairs. And NO little fat donut tires!

  4. #4
    Member tccak71's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    2,175

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MORSNO View Post
    Either way you go, buy a quality trailer so your weekend isn't spent on the side of the road making unnecessary repairs. And NO little fat donut tires!
    Yeah, that's why I'm in the market!! I'm done kicking a dead horse!! I replaced an axle and all the hardware at Lion's Head in 2012 and the fat donut tires are the worse ever. My fear is that the 13-15" trailer tires will be made of the same garbage nylon. Are they that much better?

    Tim

  5. #5
    Member tccak71's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    2,175

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by theultrarider View Post
    Steel for me. I can deal with the extra weight vs cracked frames. The aluminum holds up ok on a short 2 place. Most everyone I know with 4 place aluminum has broken them on our wonderful roads.
    I'm a little apprehensive of the aluminum trailers for the reasons you stated; they look a little long & fragile, plus most only have 2200# axles; prefer the 3500# axles I've seen on the steel trailers.

    Tim

  6. #6
    Member tccak71's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    2,175

    Default

    For my application should I be looking for for electric brakes or hydraulic brakes? Does it matter? Either way I want brakes vs no brakes.

    Tim

  7. #7
    Member theultrarider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Soldotna
    Posts
    1,097

    Default

    Electric brakes are the best way to go. And idealy disk brakes. Both axles. You dont want surge brakes on snow and ice. They beat no brakes, but the the trailer still has to give the truck a push before they will activate. Once you've run electric you won't go back to a surge brake.

    I agree with the tires too. Get real tires under it. Taller the better and make sure they are trailer rated tires. 8 or 10 ply depending on just how big a trailer and heavy of loads. Tire and axle problems on the side of the road 10 hours from home really suck.

  8. #8
    Member tccak71's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    2,175

    Default

    When I'm looking at used trailers, is there a way I can test/check the electric brakes and assure they work? I agree, I'd rather have any sort of brakes than no brakes. Neither of my current trailers have brakes and they both have the short/fat donut tires. Ugh.

  9. #9
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Mat-Su
    Posts
    1,181

    Default

    Steel for me! If something happens to break on a steel trailer most all places have a 'buzz box' so repairs can be made, not so with aluminum ones. The trailer we have now is over 14 years old and other then 'normal' maintenance items we have had no issues with it. Yes it is 'heavy' but that I can live with. Like a lot of people we tend to load our trailer a 'little' heavy. During the summer months we will have a Arctic Cat Prowler, two Arctic Cat 500 ATV's, fuel and other items. During the winter we will have two long track wide track snow machines and fuel to go with them.

  10. #10
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    3,246

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tccak71 View Post
    When I'm looking at used trailers, is there a way I can test/check the electric brakes and assure they work?.
    I would connect the trailer to a truck that has electrical brakes. Jack up the trailer and see if the controller will stop all the wheel with brakes from turning. I would then remove the tires and hub in order to inspect the bearing and brake pads.

    You also need to check all the wiring and welds for cracks (use a light) are the tires warn on one side?
    If you need the ramp to be wider make sure the ramp and trailer can be modified or a 2nd smaller ramp can be added.

    If you want a trailer to last a long time and not brake down buy a trailer that will carry 2x the maximum load you will put on it and inspect the trailer once a year.

  11. #11
    Member tccak71's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    2,175

    Default

    [QUOTE=MacGyver;1469215
    You also need to check all the wiring and welds for cracks (use a light) are the tires warn on one side?
    .[/QUOTE]

    What's up with that? Last year I saw a 2x axle trailer where ALL 4 tires were worn on one side? What does that indicate? Bad axle?

    Tim

  12. #12
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    3,246

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tccak71 View Post
    What's up with that? Last year I saw a 2x axle trailer where ALL 4 tires were worn on one side? What does that indicate? Bad axle?

    Tim
    It could be one or more problems cause by bad bent axle to much weight, or the tongue is off center and the trailer is crabbing (I think that what it called). Cause by The distance from the center of the tongue to end of the spindles are not exactly the same length.

  13. #13
    Member ADUKHNT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Eagle River
    Posts
    503

    Default

    Steel trailer, two axle with electric brakes is my vote.
    I have such a hard time trying to decide which outdoor activity to do every chance I get!! Living in AK is a mental challenge

  14. #14
    Member tccak71's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    2,175

    Default

    Went to the Mat-Su sportsman's show and found a trailer I'm interested in through a vendor. Steel, 2x axles, drive on/drive off, brakes on one axle. Drum brakes, not disc. Not sure if it's worth adding drum brakes on the second axle or not. If disc are available, I'd rather go that way. Drum brakes seem more problematic to me, but I'm not a mechanic. Seems like they'd have issues freezing up driving on snowy roads. Maybe not. Idk.

  15. #15
    Member theultrarider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Soldotna
    Posts
    1,097

    Default

    The problems with drums more so are on down the road as they get older. The water and road salt affects them more than the disc brakes. Most budget trailers are going to be drums. They do work quite well actually. Just do the needed maintainance as required.

    Are the brakes electric or surge? Electric is the only way to go if you haul often on snow and ice! Especially in the mountians. That imo is more important than drum vs disc.

  16. #16
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    1,763

    Default

    most of the trailers go by weight limit if it is 3300 lbs or more you are required to have 2 Axles one with breaks , there is a law about that
    [about 3300 lbs] next is cost , add-ons most people that buy a trailer look at $$ drum is less $$ Disk is $$$ , next is tires $$
    cheep ones, 8 or 10 ply $$$ compare to 2 or 4 ply if you want all the above that you stated go to a trailer MFG an order just what you want an get it over with , if you are lucky to find a trailer you are looking fore they all can have cracks in the frame , but do look very care fully in the area around where the tongue is attached to the bed , it is not the only place, but it takes the most beating , SID

  17. #17
    Moderator bkmail's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Palmer, AK.
    Posts
    4,124

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid View Post
    most of the trailers go by weight limit if it is 3300 lbs or more you are required to have 2 Axles one with breaks , there is a law about that
    [about 3300 lbs] next is cost , add-ons most people that buy a trailer look at $$ drum is less $$ Disk is $$$ , next is tires $$
    cheep ones, 8 or 10 ply $$$ compare to 2 or 4 ply if you want all the above that you stated go to a trailer MFG an order just what you want an get it over with , if you are lucky to find a trailer you are looking fore they all can have cracks in the frame , but do look very care fully in the area around where the tongue is attached to the bed , it is not the only place, but it takes the most beating , SID


    I'll Add to it, torsion axles seem much better than leaf springs. Look over the shackles and running gear if you go this route, after some use the holes wear, bolts are worn, cracked or broken leaf springs, etc.... I much prefer torsion on my sled trailer.
    Bk

  18. #18
    Member tccak71's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    2,175

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by theultrarider View Post
    Are the brakes electric or surge? Electric is the only way to go if you haul often on snow and ice! Especially in the mountians. That imo is more important than drum vs disc.
    They'er electric brakes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid View Post
    if you want all the above that you stated go to a trailer MFG an order just what you want an get it over with , if you are lucky to find a trailer you are looking fore they all can have cracks in the frame , but do look very care fully in the area around where the tongue is attached to the bed , it is not the only place, but it takes the most beating , SID
    Thats where I'm at right now. Just going to order what I want and avoid trailers with brake, tire, frame and other issues. Gotta see if I can get disc brakes vs drum though.

    Quote Originally Posted by bkmail View Post
    I'll Add to it, torsion axles seem much better than leaf springs. Look over the shackles and running gear if you go this route, after some use the holes wear, bolts are worn, cracked or broken leaf springs, etc.... I much prefer torsion on my sled trailer.
    Bk
    This has straight axles and leaf springs. I'm okay with that. I've never had a trailer with torsion axles so I'm not familiar with them.

  19. #19
    Member tccak71's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    2,175

    Default

    Any input about a pintle hitch?
    This is a big (to me) and heavy trailer. A pintle coupler/hitch seems foolproof to hook up. Too many times I have to push/pull my current trailer and try to lock down the coupler on the ball at the same time.

    Is the pintle hitch as easy to use as it looks?

  20. #20
    Member theultrarider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Soldotna
    Posts
    1,097

    Default

    You DON'T want a pintle hitch on anything you pull on the highway.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •