Trailer Winch

I absolutely adore my 6# flywheel, but it does make getting the car over the hump onto the trailer a challenge. The last couple times I had to make¬†course corrections part way up, I could smell that the clutch wasn’t happy. Since Harbor Freight had a sale going for their 2500# winch, I figured, for $50 and a bit of blood and sweat, why not?

This is my highly technical concept diagram on how I wanted to mount it. Given how short the legs are, I opted to keep both legs straight because…I had scrap pieces that were the right length ūüėČ



Here’s my starting point. I snagged a 6″ receiver tube, and since I didn’t have any 2″ tubing long enough, cut up a Harbor Freight 1 ball hitch:



The black-on-black makes it difficult to see, but here is the trailer-side mount, along with the 2″ hitch welded up to the winch mounting plate:



The trailer-side mount welded in place:



It fits with the fuel jug, but it wouldn’t take much wiggle for it to rub, so I’ll likely end up hooking the…hook… to the back side of the receiver tube.



I decided to run the winch off of the truck instead of having another battery on the trailer. It’s sort of a 6 of one, a half dozen of the other situation, but I mostly didn’t want to have another battery to buy, maintain, and maybe get stolen. Because of that, I needed a couple of small mods on the truck side. In the engine bay, the main things needed are a Circuit Breaker (just in case) to protect the truck-side wiring:



About 50′ of 4 ga battery wire, and a pair of very large Quick-Disconnectors for the rear of the truck. This shows both the truck and trailer sides hooked up while I was hunting around for somewhere to put them, and discovered a very convenient M6 bolt hole on a metal bracket that secures the bottom of the rear bumper in place. It couldn’t be more perfect. The shiny bit on the right is one of the valves for the rear helper air-springs:



After running most of the wiring for the truck (save the jumper from the battery to the circuit breaker, to keep the harness ‘cold’ so I could safely work on the wiring) it was time to work on the trailer side.

The winch comes with some pretty uninspired 10gauge wiring, so job one was replacing all of that. I’m also crimping *and* soldering all of the wire terminals. You can see the difference in size between the 4ga wire I’m running, and the stuff it comes with here.



With all of the wiring in place, I could build the jumper between the circuit breaker and battery:



And finally it was time to plug everything in and run a couple system checks. First off, everything was in fact dead with the circuit breaker tripped, which is a good sign. Next, plugging the winch into the truck didn’t let any smoke out. And last, I gave it a pull off of the 12,000 lb D-ring on the back of the trailer to make sure my welding is as extra medium as I thought it was. I still don’t have a ton of trigger time on it, and this is really the first thing I’ve fabbed up that could potentially kill or maim if it comes unmoored. So…I wanted to make DAMN sure the whole thing wouldn’t end up flying across the workshop. And it didn’t, so…win one for the good guys! Or…at least, for me.

Chasing the Dragon Hill Climb is this weekend, so it’ll get some use loading the trailer at home and after (hopefully….) the event. Also: SO EXITED! ūüėÄ


Trailer Fuel Jug Carrier

I’ve been meaning to do this for a while, and now that The Dragon nears, I really need to get to it because there aren’t any fuel stops on the Hill.¬†Having fuel on hand is going to be a must.

I bought a VP Fuel Jug many moons ago for keeping the race car topped up. Now it needs a home on the trailer.

The first challenge would be getting the trailer into the workshop. The shop is at the bottom of a steep hill, that also has a slight rise as you enter the shop to keep water out. The trailer bottoms out not far from the base of that rise. I ended up using a pair of wheel dollies under the rear frame rail of the trailer so that it would ride them up the rise into the shop. That was¬†definitely an interesting experiment that I still can’t believe worked as well as it did. ¬†At least now working on the trailer will be a good deal easier.


Since I plan, still, to add a winch to the trailer, I wanted to keep whatever I made below the frame & deck level so that with the fuel jug removed, a winch cable could be played out.

I had some 1″ box tubing kicking around the shop, and that seemed like the perfect took for the job. The 2″ wide tongue member makes¬†a good base for the jug to rest on.


A quick test-fit to help determine where the ratchet strap tie points need to go:


I used a pair of chain links cut a little longer than in half for the tie downs. D-rings on swivels on the side of the tubing would be moderately better. If it bugs me on my first outing with it (this weekend), the chain links will get lopped off and replaced.




EDIT: I’ve already cut off my chain-link tie downs as there wasn’t enough room between the tie-downs and the fuel jug to get the hooks out effectively. I swung by Home Depot Racing Supply and picked up a set of D-ring tie downs, and cut the ‘legs’ off so that the D-rings would swing through the vertical axis instead of the horizontal, and will swing out of the way so the hooks can far more easily be removed.


Trailer Spare Tire Mount

I plan in the future to put a Weight Distributing hitch on the tow pig. The trailer has the appropriate equipment for it, but the spare tire sat directly in front of one of the trailer mounts, and also in the way when securing the front tie-downs for the car.

After a few measurements, it was clear that it would fit inside the C-Channel that makes up the frame. So I drilled 4 holes for the mount, climbed underneath the trailer on the wet driveway, and hooked up the mount. EASY! ….except that the tire interfered with the frame enough that the wheel studs didn’t even touch the rear-face of the wheel. So, back to the drawing board. A couple mock ups later with some angle iron, and it became clear that the upper and lower lips of the c-channel is bent pretty severely outwards, so welding in angle iron to those lips would lead to some seriously cattywampus fitup, so that was out. Some more chin scratching and ¬†measuring, and I figured out that¬†a couple of leftover pieces of 2×2 box section from the trailer ramp¬†storage project would sit against the flat face of the C-Channel perfectly, and give me a great place to drill holes for the mount. After some cleanup work with the angle grinder, and backing the trailer partially into the workshop so the welder would reach, the box section got stitched into place:



A little work with the drill and some paint:



A few M10 nuts & bolts:



And she’s on!



Trailer Ramp Storage

My trailer was built up from a modified RV chassis, and not built from the ground up as a car hauler. As such, it’s never had a very good solution for ramp storage. The previous owner would toss them into the bed of his truck, which worked, but in the passenger compartment of an SUV it becomes problematic. I’ve come up with¬†a few kludged solutions of varying levels of success, the latest of which had¬†the ramps stowed between the decks, above the frame. I had some angle-iron to retain them at the front, and a ratchet strap that involved me getting underneath the race car’s hot muffler¬†to secure them. It worked (most of the time…) but it was sub optimal.

With the offseason in full force, the time was right to fix this properly.

After a few mockups, it was apparent that the ramps could fit below the frame & above the axle tubes. Any higher  puts the retaining rains at risk of hitting the car while loading, and any lower reduces ground clearance and would also probably involve cutting into 1 or 2 of the frame rails.

The first order of business was to pre-fab a pair of rails for the ramps to live in. I made them out of 6.5′ lengths of 2″ steel angle iron, and 1-1/2″ bar to tie them together. They’ll be hung from the frame by lengths of 2″ box tubing.



A buddy allowed me to use his shop’s lift to do the welding, so that I wouldn’t be doing it on my back in the garage, which helped a lot. If you need any work done in the Athens / Winder area, give Ken at OTP Automotive a shout. After a lot of mockup, grinding off old paint and other general unpleasantnesses, the rails were hung. The ramps will be secured at the rear by a set of d-rings, and a couple lengths of angle iron at the front, and the frame rails above them ensure they can’t bounce high enough to hurt anything important.





And as always, a coat of paint to keep the rust at bay.