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Thread: Pac-Rat Fat-Rat/UTV Trailer

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    Member northriver21's Avatar
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    Default Pac-Rat Fat-Rat/UTV Trailer

    I am hours away from pulling the trigger on a new Pac-Rat/Fat-Rat UTV Trailer.

    I am going to use it to pull behind my Argo and this one is designed to be the same wheel base as an Argo.

    I have done my research on aluminum/glass trailers, but don't want to be sorry about my choice.

    I pulled one of the smaller single axel Pac-Rats last year and aside from it not being designed for what I was using it for, I was really impressed.

    My question is....Does anyone have any stories about why I should not pick the Pac-Rat? It's quite a bit of $$$$ so, if I'm walking off a cliff, let me know.

    Thanks in advance.

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    I just went through what your going through, with the research you've done you should be good to go with the Pac-Rat. I had Dave at Tagalong trailers make up a 46-60AT with waking beam, 3500# spindles and 25" atv tires and I know I'll be good to go with it........To be honest I almost went with the Pac-Rat, they're both great. Congrat's on your new meat wagon!

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    Member northriver21's Avatar
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    I never looked at the tag along trailers. Looks like a nice rig and it appears to have quite a bit of ground clearance.

    Curious now what his price is apples to apples.... 25" tires, lid, 2 gas can holders, hinge kit and rear D ring. You can PM it to me if you like.

    I need to order in the next few days to be sure I have it for hunting season. That is probably the case no matter where you go now.

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    Member oldakcop's Avatar
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    I have the Pac-Rat Outfitter. It's been a great trailer! Lighter than the aluminum ones and hauls just as much weight, making for a better pull when full. However, you have to be more careful not to crash it through the rocky stuff, it is plastic after all. It would depend on how rough you plan on treating it. The aluminum will definitely hold up to more abuse, but the Pac-Rat is extremely tough and easier to repair, in case you do put a whole in it. I love mine!

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    Member oldakcop's Avatar
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    ....ahem....that's supposed to read "hole" not "whole"

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    Pac-Rat no longer offers the 25" tires as an option due to the clearance of their walking beam and it was an "upgrade" to the TagAlong ($30 a tire), 3500# spindles are also an upgrade @$80.00 and he's also installing a "rear D ring" and gas can holders. If you go with standard 1000# spindles and 22" tires it'll be $1750.00 (check with Dave) or the $2100 mark that the Pac-Rat is with the "lid", mine is $2100 without the lid (might add later) with the upgrades I had him add. I'll post some pic's in a week or so, I have alot of work ahead me this next week.

    Dave also includes a "Lifetime Repair Warranty" with his trailers.

    oldakcop, I'll disagree with you on the remark concerning the ease of repair as fiberglass is a PITA, for me anyway, and I've done a fair bit of glass work on boats in years past.

    Leaving in the early AM for dipnetting so I'll see ya'all next week.

    -Adios!

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Considering that the trailer will be towed behind an argo I doubt that it will be really beaten like it would w/ a wheeler. I am sure that terain bad enough to damage the trailer would certainly do the same to the argo and thus be avoided. If I had an argo I would go with the pac-rat, but for my wheelers I was leaning to one of the aluminum walking beam setup's like the tag-along

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    First off, I have a pac-rat outfitter and love it. No problems. I have 16" of ground clearance because I requested that Randy put the center beam on top of the walking beam instead of centered. This added about 2.5-3". He has done this for a couple guys so he'll know what you're talking about if you ask for more gc. I have not found it to be too top heavy and I usually stack two or three action packers on top.

    I also wanted the 25" tires for increased gc but they were not offered the year that I got mine - 2008. However, I have not had any problems with the 22X11X8 tires and now that I have them its not worth the extra money to change over. If you can order the trailer with 25" then why not.

    I was in Randy's shop the other day and he told me that they were working on extending the walking beams to allow for 25" tires. They may or may not provide them, but you could definitely get your walking beam custom made to fit 25" tires. Because of the "rat torsion" system its not the tires hitting the tub that is the problem is the distance in the middle that makes 25" tires rub so that is fixed by adding an inch or two to the walking beam.

    There are alot of good trailer designs out there, aluminum and fiberglass. Bottom line IMO is get a walking beam. Next, I would prefer a free floating walking beam over the torsion beam that pac-rat has. I notice my trailer bounces alot whereas my buddy has a free floating walking beam and his hugs every contour of the trail. I've talked to Randy about this and he says I'm not loading my trailer heavy enough, which I believe is why the pac-rat is designed the way it is. The pac-rat is made to be loaded with a 1,000 lbs+ of gear/meat, and by having the torsion suspension the trailer and load weight is never 100% loaded on any one piece of the trailer, hitch, tongue, etc.
    There is always some resistance provided by the torsion.

    Randy with Plaschem provides good service and stands by his product. I don't think you would be jumping off a cliff or not getting your money's worth, but a free floating aluminum walking beam made by a skilled welder would not be bad either.

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    Member northriver21's Avatar
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    1S1K, Great post! Thank you for that info... I will call Randy and discuss it with him. I thought it came with 25" tires. I will check on getting that and the GC.

    One advantage for me is the 25's will go on the argo as a spare if ever needed.

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    Supporting Member AlaskanSD's Avatar
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    I just went down this SAME road last week. Of course everyone is going to have a slightly different preference, but here are my thoughts.

    1. I don't like fiberglass. It's heavy, messy to fix, and ROUGH on abrasion. I also don't like the "rat-flex" torsion.
    2. I like things NOW. I want to buy from stock in hand, then mod later. Tag a long has to build them, so they're usually 4 weeks out. Also, while I have swung by Dave's shop, he seems a little too busy (during the summers) to follow through and provide good customer service. Getting returned calls and timely estimates seems challenging.

    There are other guys too, but not close to home. Mike Kunz in Sterling (Mike's Welding) makes a good product, as well as others in the valley, etc.

    3. I went with a Bosski 1600 from White Spruce for under $2,000. 25" tires, lid, aluminum, etc. And it was available NOW. Come winter, it's going to get worked over. V-style walking beam, rear 1.2.5 hitch receiver, tilting tongue, possible tailgate, and bedliner. I'll probably do the mods myself and buy some components for the walking beam from Dave at Tag-a-long.

    I figure with the mods on the Bosski, I'll probably have $2,500 into it. I think I'd be breathing on $3,000 if I had Dave at Tag a long build me a trailer from scratch to all my specs.

    Grizzly - Just a note. The Pac-Rat and Bosski trailers are 72" long. Dave's 46-60AT is just that - 60" long. He can build the 72", but that's about $150+ more. Just wanted to clarify the apples to apples prices.

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    AKSD, If you are looking for walking beam axles give gary's welding a call. They don't do trailers out of respect for a friend that does. They do have axles though.

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    Just to preface my comments. AlaskanSD and I have met and he came to my house and looked at my pac-rat. And he and I discussed all the pros and cons. The ATV Wagon is a good tub design, but like AlaksaSD I'd get rid of the independent torsion suspension and go with a free floating walking beam. Also, I agree with AlaskaSD that the inside of the pac-rat is rough and with bouncing around will cause abrasion rubs/holes in tent bags, chair bags or any other heavy item that is placed inside. I would argure that spraying bed-liner in an aluminum tub would cause the same problem so you might want to think about not doing that and just keeping your aluminum smooth.

    I disagree that fiberglass is heavier. I can only go off of published website weights and ATV Wagon advertises that their 1600 UL is 337 lbs empty. Plaschem advertises that the Outfitter is only 300 lbs.

    Also, the point of the trailer being available NOW is not necessarily true because to compare apples to apples AlaskanSD will have to mod his trailer's suspension to the tune of about $500 to make it a walking beam whereas the Outfitter comes standard with a walking beam, although it is not free floating.

    Imitation is the highest form of flattery however, I don't believe neither I nor AlaskanSD are looking for confirmation on our choice of trailers. Like I said, bottom line is whatever trailer you get the best suspension IMO is a free floating walking beam. After that its a matter of form vs. function and to some degree workmanship and durability of the product. I personally like the way the Outfitter looks (form). I also saw AlaskaSD's ATV Wagon on his trailer in Kenai and it looks bad ***** as well, but I prefered the PR. I like that the PR it is arguably 37 - 50 lbs lighter than an aluminum trailer of equal size, but has IMO equal durability. 37lbs is a 5 gallon jug of gas.

    Lastly, repairing fiberglass may be a PITA, but a normal guy with a bit of instruction can do it and there are no expensive tools needed. Fixing aluminum requires a welder and some knowledge of metalurgy, which I don't have.

    The only absolute that I will repeat over and over is walking beam, walking beam, walking beam. Other than that its really up to personal preference and cost. To your original question, is the PR Outfitter worth $2,100, YES. Is the ATV Wagon worth $2,000, YES. I chose PR.

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    Supporting Member AlaskanSD's Avatar
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    Good stuff.

    Thanks Lujon for the Gary's suggestion. I'll definitely shop around a bit, but I do know I want those hubs to be beefy. Preferably in the 2,500 range. Also, I think I could make some skis to bolt onto that walking beam hub and use it with my snowmachine too. Fun projects!

    My guess on the weight difference is the full second axle/additional steel/tailight/brake compenents under my wagon. I'm not positive, but I'd bet $5 that if you unbolted the fiberglass tube and the aluminum tub ONLY, the fiberglass would be a tad heavier. That's only my guess though.

    I'm definitely not sure on the bedliner yet, however depending on the formula, I think the bedliner could be soft and rubbery unlike the hard fiberglass. The bare aluminum could leave black spots where it rubs. Powdercoating is another option.

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    Also, I'll add this. If my pac-rat gets a hole in it or anything else breaks on it I can take it to Randy and he will fix it. He is local. Not sure about ATV Wagons warranty, but does White Spruce here in Anchorage do the warranty work or would the trailer be sent to their Fairbanks store? Or do they have a welding shop on retainer for such work? Does the warranty cover just repairs or transportation to the repair place? Plaschem is a local Alaskan business. ATV Wagons are made somewhere else and carried by White Spruce Trailers so I'd look into how the warranty is handled if you have to make a claim. This may not be an issue for AlaskaSD since he has told me and indicated on here that he can do some of his own welding. AlaskaSD might be able to answer this, but my inclination is to say that White Spruce Trailers here in Anchorage is NOT going to fix your ATV Wagon if it gets broke. You buy from Plaschem you deal with Plaschem, if it breaks Plashcem will fix it. You buy from White Spruce Trailers and it breaks you may be dealing with some third party that did not sell you the trailer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlaskanSD View Post
    Good stuff.

    I'm definitely not sure on the bedliner yet, however depending on the formula, I think the bedliner could be soft and rubbery unlike the hard fiberglass. The bare aluminum could leave black spots where it rubs. Powdercoating is another option.
    Rubbing will be an issue with any kind of torsion suspension. You'll notice the rubbing almost go away if/when you change over to free floating. My buddy has zero rubbing issues on his free floating walking beam.

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    Supporting Member AlaskanSD's Avatar
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    White Spruce seems to be a stand up operation even if they are just a retailer.

    Verbally, Mike Brown told me they can and do cover warranty work for the brands they sell. But he said the only time he can remember that happening was a weld cracked on an Aluma trailer, and they cut, cleaned, and rewelded the seam where the crack occurred. The never heard from the customer again (which is a good thing!).

    But you're right, I'm a do-it-yourselfer. In the event of a problem, I would likely fix it myself rather than load up the trailer, drive across town, wait for an hour (or drop it off) then go pick it up. I'd just turn on my Miller and strike an arc! It might NOT be a pretty weld, but it should be plenty strong.

    All the welds on the aluminum box look TIG'd with good penetration. Rumors say the weak link on the Bosski's is their torsion axles, and that's what's getting cut out when the snow flies.

    Here's a link to some of Mike's Welding trailers: http://www.alaskabushsleds.net

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    Member northriver21's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by northriver21 View Post
    1S1K, Great post! Thank you for that info... I will call Randy and discuss it with him. I thought it came with 25" tires. I will check on getting that and the GC.

    One advantage for me is the 25's will go on the Argo as a spare if ever needed.
    I talked to Randy today and he assured me that the trailer would take 25" tires with no problem. He told me that they quit putting them on because guys were having trouble with rolling them off the bead due to the style he uses. They are not beadlocks.

    I asked him "what if I find my own tire & rim combo"? He said no problem and he will credit me for the tire rim combo he would have used. At this point I think I am going to just take 4 of the Rawhide III tires/rims off of the buggy and put them on the trailer.

    They discontinued that tire anyway so they are getting tough to find. I will probably end up putting some new shoes on the Argo and I'm looking at the ITP Mudlite 25x12-9.

    As far as the ground clearance, I have decided to leave it as is. I will be adding some with the 25" tires, but I don't want so much that the trailer is pointed down. GC should be a little over 13" and the Argo is only 12" or so.

    Thanks for all the good info in this thread..... I must admit that this is my first trailer. I have always used argos and never really needed one. In our group we try to stay with 1 guy and gear per rig then you always have room for a moose on the way out.

    Last season my son finally got old enough to do longer moose trips and I couldnt believe how much bigger my load got. Oh well I just want him to be comfy for 7-10 day trips that are farther than he used to go when he was younger.

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    I just ordered a Pac Rat today, the outfitter. Looks like a scookum setup, my buddy has a sportsman PR and we beat it last year, wheelin and hunting, with no problems so I had to pick one up. Plaschem still has the original outfitter in their yard, claim it hasn't missed a hunt in 16 yrs. Looks faded but otherwise in great shape. And did I mention mine is in Mossy oak cammo.

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    I stopped by there yesterday to order a gas can rack for my Outfitter and saw a Mossy Oak camo pr in the yard. I don't think it had any running gear though, and I didn't get close enough to see if it was an Outfitter or Fat-Rat. How much extra is the camo dip? I thought it was like $400 more or something.

    If you thought the Sportsman PR was nice you're gonna love the walking beam.

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    Member 2dawgs's Avatar
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    It was an outfitter. The Mossy oak was a $400 option, mine has two small flaws where the outer gel coat bubbled so I got it for regular price, they had to point it out to me. Mark said they arn't making any more because it takes too long to inlay the cammo patern (a full day to make 1 tub vs 2 to 3 in a day for the normal tubs). I got the hinged top, gas rack, and D ring hitch in the back. They are waiting for the walkin beam parts to get back from powder coating. I should have it by next week.

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