Harbor Freight Trailer

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by Thinc2, Mar 5, 2006.

  1. Thinc2

    Thinc2 Paciugo

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2004
    Oddometer:
    4,667
    Location:
    Seattle
    A few months ago I added a DRZ400 to the stable. Soon thereafter, I realized this was the perfect excuse to finally get a trailer.

    Since I live in the usual HOA controlled suburbs, I needed something I could store in my garage. I decided to go with the collapsable trailer from Harbor Freight as I felt it was the best value for the money (as compared to trailer in a bag, etc).

    For $229 I got the 12" wheels and chassis for a trailer rated at 1400 lbs. It comes in a box, and took sometime to assemble. It was well constructed, the instructions were excellent and there were no parts missing. The instructions include specs for the plywood planking and building your own railings.

    Because i was brand new to trailers, it took me a little longer to assemble than someone who has experience. I had to figure out that receivers had different levels of drop, and that I would have to buy my own ball, hitch pin etc. All said, I invested probably just over another $100 in the trailer. That includes rails, plywood, paint, ramp materials and associated HW.

    I had a trailer hitch installed on my Element by UHaul. Sure enough,the electrical connector from Harbor Freight did not match the UHaul connector. I was able to cut the outside rubber of the Harbor Freight connector completely off and make it fit.

    Once assembled, it is a total of 4 x 8 feet (true dimensions) and looks like this:

    [​IMG]


    I used a locking hitch pin and safety pin on the tongue:
    [​IMG]


    It sure felt like a big trailer when i was assembling it in my garage. It felt even larger as I awkwardly pulled it behind the car the first time.

    But add a motorcycle on it and suddenly it seems pretty small:
    [​IMG]

    I used 2x10's for the ramps and kept them from sliding off by attaching a strap to the bottom and the using a temporary bolt to hold it to the trailer floor. This is working really well, but I'm now using the two planks side by side in order to have a wider platform.

    When not in use, the ramps are bolted to the floor of the trailer:
    [​IMG]

    Note above that I added the chock block using bolts secured with wing nuts for easy removal (Rather than spend the $50 for a removable chock).

    THe rails come off in sections. I attach the rails to each other at the corners using a hinge - with one side secured permanently, and the other with a bolt/wingnut combo.

    Finally at the end of the day, it gets put away in the garage. It folds in the middle, so the rear half of the trailer folds over onto the front. Keep this in mind when selecting the placement of your eye bolts for the straps.

    Once folded, find a friend and lift from the front. At this point i think the thing weighs about 300lbs. The whole trailer then stands upright on a set of caster wheels so you can roll it around the garage. The caster wheels are not terribley sturdy - OK for the garage, but not for moving it around on uneven surfaces (like gravel paths).

    [​IMG]

    Overall I'm very happy with this purchase - it seems like a good solution for anyone that needs a lightweight trailer and has limited storage space.
    #1
  2. Sevoman

    Sevoman Ever Vigilant

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2006
    Oddometer:
    906
    Location:
    Tampa
    Strong work on the trailer. :clap How stable is it at highway speeds with the bike on it? I am looking to get a slightly larger bike (GS 1150 ADV) and will need to take it when the entire gang travels together. Looking for trailers and appreciate you taking the time to post this on ADV.

    J
    #2
  3. G-Force Junkie

    G-Force Junkie Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,328
    Location:
    Castaic, Ca (So.Cal.)
    Keep an eye on the bearings and tires, they are of the lowest quality, and tend to self destruct. Ive seen 3 or 4 do just that. At least pull and repack the beaings with some quality grease, they probaly come from the chinese factory with very little in them. Keep a eye on all the nuts and bolts, they tend to rattle out and loosen up. Several people I know who have those eventualy had all the joints welded up.
    #3
  4. GoNOW

    GoNOW Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,588
    I have the same trailer, but without the folding option. It works great and it's never given me any problems. I can get 2 quads and 1 dirt bike on it.
    #4
  5. koncha

    koncha .

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2005
    Oddometer:
    10,045
    I know of a few people that own these trailers. DEFINITELY pull and repack the bearings. They come with very little grease and low quality bearings.

    Put LocTite on everything threaded.

    Since you are pulling it with an Element, you won't ever have to worry about exceding the max speed on the tires. :deal
    #5
  6. Thinc2

    Thinc2 Paciugo

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2004
    Oddometer:
    4,667
    Location:
    Seattle
    To answer several of the comments - yes, you absolutely have to pack the bearings before installing them. They do not come with enough grease. However the instructions do tell you to add grease (although not necessarily to pack the bearings).

    I think an 1150GS would be a seriously heavy load for this trailer. I would only do it in emergencies.

    I haven't taken it out on the highway, but suspect one probably shouldn't go much over 55mph. Hate to think what people are out there doing with the same trailer on 8" wheels.
    #6
  7. ktrjc

    ktrjc Displaced Yooper

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2004
    Oddometer:
    3,628
    Location:
    South of Where I Wanna Be
    What is the max speed listed for that trailer? Or do they have one? Thinking of getting one of these, that way we will actually have room inside the truck for the kids, dogs and us.
    #7
  8. motogon

    motogon Like wind

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,058
    Location:
    Philly, PA
    I used to have such trailer. Use to put two street bikes on it, drive 75 mph - no problem. Trailer had about 50000 troublefree miles on it. Sold it just because I don't need it anymore. It's great trailer! :thumb
    #8
  9. Freddiefudpucker

    Freddiefudpucker Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2006
    Oddometer:
    88
    Location:
    Western North Carolina
    Okay guys,

    I am now onto my second trailer that is being questioned. The first one I gave to a buddie and bought a new one last summer to help us move from NY to NC.

    In it I had a 450lb motocycle and numerous other items, with a total payload of about 700lbs. I did put on larger tires from new. We criused at 70 mph no problem, didn't know we were pulling a trailer, smooth and no wiggles at all. I have the optional rails with my own way of securing them and they have hooks to take tie-downs. all is well. It has been used quite a bit since being down here and the wheels are rotating smoothly with no side play.

    I managed to get a trials bike and a BMW boxer in place at the same time....with care!

    I must say that the supplied grease looks a bit iffy so i will do something about that.

    A GREAT buy. Get one if it suits your needs.

    Regards Fred
    #9
  10. goblin

    goblin pig rider

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2005
    Oddometer:
    371
    If you were going to pull the bearing's why not just replace them with some temkin bearing while you have them out?
    #10
  11. ozrockrat

    ozrockrat Ozrockrat

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2004
    Oddometer:
    394
    Location:
    Phoenix
    Looking at your photos of the hitch area I would suggest you replace the safety chain hooks with real shackles

    [​IMG]

    I have had the ones on my trailer (the same one) shake loose while towing.

    Also consider a set of Bearing Buddy caps. They will save repacking and ensure that the water ingress will be reduced if you ever take it through any puddles.

    [​IMG]

    I also drop the A frame on mine and put it behind the axle when storing. I learned from experience the hitch sticks out enough to give your shins a fair wacking.
    #11
  12. GB

    GB . Administrator

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    57,326
    Location:
    Toronto
    a great report, thanks for posting. :thumb
    #12
  13. Wheedle

    Wheedle I love inflatable fun!

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2004
    Oddometer:
    3,778
    Location:
    Villa Rica, GA otherwise known as Ala-damn-bammer
    I dont know what its supposed to be, but mine has done 75-80+ from Douglasville GA to Jennings Fl repeatedly , once with two SV650s and a GSXR750 crammed on it (but mine already ate its wheel bearings and they were replaced )
    #13
  14. Thinc2

    Thinc2 Paciugo

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2004
    Oddometer:
    4,667
    Location:
    Seattle
    Geat advice - thanks!
    #14
  15. markgsnw

    markgsnw WTF?

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2002
    Oddometer:
    3,592
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon US
    the light foldable trailer is listed as having a 990 lb payload and 8 inch wheels. The larger one is listed as 1175 lb payload with 12 inch wheels.
    #15
  16. ktrjc

    ktrjc Displaced Yooper

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2004
    Oddometer:
    3,628
    Location:
    South of Where I Wanna Be
    Good info on this trailer, the wife and I have been looking at this for some time, now I just need to make space in the garage for it. :wink:
    #16
  17. wibby

    wibby BrotherFromAnotherMother

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2005
    Oddometer:
    10,651
    Location:
    Grass Pants Orygun
    I have the same trailer, the bearings are crap and pricey if you can find them. I could only find three without the races and it cost me $57

    I went to a local trailer parts shop and bought a whole new straight axle for $99. No bearing buddy's needed, it has the zerks attached to the end of the spindles

    I bought the trailer in '96, I mostly use it to haul a small boat. Once hauled 2,500 lbs of topsoil in it, and another time I hauled a unit of 12 foot plywood home in it!:eek1 Damn tires held up somehow!
    #17
  18. switchback

    switchback Eatin' Dirt Since 1982

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2002
    Oddometer:
    1,485
    Location:
    SLC, UT
    I bought a trailer of the same design with rails. Bearings did self destruct but I didn't maintain them so that was my fault. I did however break the whole trailer in half hitting a large unexpected pothole and the axle disconnected. I managed to bolt it together with parts from other portions of the trailer and limp back to town at 10 mph and found a welder. Very cheaply made but I will admit they are nice to store in the garage.
    #18
  19. Thinc2

    Thinc2 Paciugo

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2004
    Oddometer:
    4,667
    Location:
    Seattle
    I agree and I thought I was buying the 1175 one. But the manual said 1400 something.

    Not that it matters, because i don't intend to ever get close to loading 1100 lbs on the thing. i just wanted the 12 inch wheels.
    #19
  20. Spam16v

    Spam16v Squid Rocket

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2006
    Oddometer:
    862
    Location:
    B-lo, NY
    did you have yours shipped or go to a store? i need to do the math and calculate sales tax vs. shipping charges. there's a store by my rent's house back in ny and i live in CT. do you think you could use a 1 1/4" hitch with this safely? i have an Element also, and have a lil hitch on it for my bicycle rack and debating weather or not i should get the 2" reciever. just gonna put my DRZ on it too.
    #20