Results 1 to 15 of 15

Thread: Harbor Freight/Ironton folding utility trailer

  1. #1

    Harbor Freight/Ironton folding utility trailer

    I'm getting one of these trailers and looking for advice on modifications. Intended use would be trips to home improvement stores and hauling a dirtbike and gear up the mountains occasionally. I plan to replace the tires & wheels right away with radials that can handle highway speeds.

    I'll be repacking the bearings also, but it appears there are different hubs on the steel vs aluminum version?

    Will also be installing decking, possibly with some short walls. Tiedown hooks of course. Which version would be easier to attach these things to? Any other reason for picking one over the other (steel vs aluminum)?

    Basically just looking to make it safe, reliable, and useful.

  2. #2
    I'm not sure why you'd want to go to HF and buy a trailer that you completely revamp when you can head off to a trailer place and buy one ready to go. They'll even make sure your vehicle/trailer hookups are proper and get you rolling. In my state, trailers needs to be license plate and registered.

  3. #3
    Because I can fold this up in my space challenged garage. Any additions will be removable. I looked at one of those trailer hoists for a normal trailer, but ceiling is sheetrocked with a bedroom right above.

  4. #4
    A fold up trailer is ok for extremely light stuff and limited highway use. 4x8 tires bounce all over creation and wear out incredibly quickly. 4x12 are better but not as good as 5x12 or even real vehicle tires. Larger tires, less spin on the bearings but more side to side wear on the bearings. Mrs. says I collect trailers. I do. road legal trailers alone, I have 48 inch x 40 (HF trailer), a 4x6 homemade Aluminum trailer, over built, a 4x8, a 5 x 8 enclosed trailer., a 6.5 x 13 with dual axels, a 7 x 15 enclosed with dual axels. I started with the little 4x6 which had 4.8x8 inch tires. I used it to haul stuff between my house annd the farm 100 miles away when we went on weekends. Not enough weight capacity, and bounced all over the place because the tires were too small in diameter. Then i got the big 6.5 x 13, which unfortunately weighed 1,200 empty and had a GVW of 8,000 lbs. Definitely a good hauler, but too heavy and large for box store runs. The 4x 8 has a tilt bad which I never use, but my FIL used for a few years. He could fold the tongue and prop the trailer up on end against the wall so it took up less room. Just too heavy for one person to lift. The little 40 x 48 was covered with brambles and leaves in my neighbor's yard. When I helped her clean up the yard, she gave me the trailer. Little 4x8 tires just too small for highway. A marine ply deck and sides and with golf cart tires and wheels is great for behind my 4 wheeler. it is also narrow enough to pull out through the woods. The 4x6 was completely redone with a pressure treated deck and sides. The whole trailer can easily be tipped up on end to lean against a wall. I put 5 x 12 tires and wheels on that. I would not haul a dirt bike on it though. Hitting a bump, would likely catapult the dirt bike to the nether regions, even if tied down. There are two types of bearings systems for the tiny trailers, 1 has simple straight axles and take straight center bearings. Those wear out faster. The better ones have tapers and take bearings that ride on a tapered race on the axles. They last longer when cared for than the straight bearing even when cared for. Frankly, getting a trailer with full size auto tires, would make hauling and trailering much easier. a short tongue on a short trailer makes backing up a royal PIA. I tend to agree with Bill about getting a "big boy" trailer to start with. consider your time and materials and remember that bearings, tires and wheels are not cheap. Just in my area on craiglist, metal mesh trailers for landscape folks are relatively inexpensive, and even Tractor supply sells them. My enclosed trailers all have 15 inch wheels and I can put an LT tire on them and never wear the tire out. I haul farm equipment, hay, scrap, machinery, lawn scrap, branches, firewood, rocks, etc. I can hook them behind, the truck, the tractors, the ATV, or I have even been known to move them with a lawn tractor. I can get 30 bales on hay on the 4x8 trailer, and 120 bales of hay on the 6.5 x 13. each has it's advantages and disadvantages.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Monroe, MI
    Posts
    11,896
    A friend of mine bought one for the folding and garage storage. It seemed pretty decent. He brought it over to me and we ground the paint off all the joints and welded them which really stiffened it up. He got transferred overseas so not sure about longer term.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Coastal Virginia
    Posts
    635
    I have one... As others have said they are very light weight. Seriously, it's not made for highway use, the frame and tongue are too thin and flexible even if you do upgrade the tires. Kinda like putting lipstick on a pig. At the end of the day it's still a pig. And, I sure would never ever put a a motorcycle on it unless you're looking to upgrade the bike and had the insurance paid up.

    If you're local I'll give you mine as long as you promise to stay of the highway

    Mike

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    West Lafayette, IN
    Posts
    6,474
    Iíve got the 1720 lb rated 4x8 HF trailer and love it. Iíve carried mulch, big plastic kids Playground things, a couple Unisaws, a 1000lb jointer, and my biggest load was my 1300lb planer. It handled it all just fine and on highways to boot. Sure it says donít exceed 55mph but come on. With a heavy load I purposely maxed out at 60-65 which is fine. Unloaded iíll go up to 70.

    Plan for about 8 hours to assemble it and lay down a sheet of 3/4Ē PT plywood. The wiring package for the lights is complete trash, plan to rewire it. I used split loom and tie wire and itís been great.

    I also built some simple side rails that slip into the stake pockets for hauling mulch and stuff.

    Plenty of guys load up the same trailer with multiple sport bikes, and Iíve seen up to I think 4 MX bikes.

    I didnít add any hold downs or anything. Itís easy enough to hook onto the outer c channel frame with a ratchet strap.

    Folding is the only want I could have a trailer because I donít have a place to put a normal trailer. Speaking of folding, I had to replace the casters after they blew up from rolling on not so smooth concrete.

  8. #8
    Thanks for the user feedback! I think I'll upgrade the wire/lights as mentioned. And I have a couple friends who can weld the corners to tighten things up. For that reason I think I'll just go with the steel version.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Vadnais Heights, MN
    Posts
    1,610
    I had a Northern Tools version of that trailer for many years. Other than buying new tires and repacking bearings occasionally it was a great trailer. I put a lot of miles on the trailer (probably close to 20,000) and it served me well. My trailer had the 4x12 tires and they work just fine. Never had a problem with them towing my dirt bike or four wheeler to Montana from Minnesota. I did revamp the trailer twice by putting a new plywood on it and repainting it but that was about it. I had the space so I never folded the trailer up. When I bought a new, larger trailer I gave it to my father-in-law for use at the farm. The trailer finally met its demise when it was run into by a dump truck that was delivering gravel for the driveway.
    I ended up buying a Harbor Freight version to replace it for my father-in-law and have no regrets....
    Doug Swanson

    Where are John Keeton and Steve Schlumpf anyway?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Modesto, CA, USA
    Posts
    7,228
    I did not think radial tires are trailer legal in the USA? If you use regular car tires and get in any wreck I doubt your insurance will pay, regardless of cause.
    Bill D

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Posts
    60,595
    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Dufour View Post
    I did not think radial tires are trailer legal in the USA? If you use regular car tires and get in any wreck I doubt your insurance will pay, regardless of cause.
    Bill D
    Not sure what you're talking about. My horse trailer has radials (and did from the factory) and my utility trailer has them, too. They are not "car tires"...they are specifically for trailers.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    E TN, near Knoxville
    Posts
    11,656
    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Dufour View Post
    I did not think radial tires are trailer legal in the USA? If you use regular car tires and get in any wreck I doubt your insurance will pay, regardless of cause.
    Bill D
    We can use radial tires on trailers here. However, I understand the advantage might be limited. The tread on radials will last longer but for trailer tires the sidewalls often deteriorate before the tread. When I think of it (rarely) I spray armor all on the side walls. (I don't know if that really helps) The radials do cost more so I usually buy bias ply trailer tires since i'm cheap.

    Sorry, I know zero about light duty folding trailers so I am no help on the folding trailer question. My trailers are bigger.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by John K Jordan; 03-01-2018 at 7:52 AM.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    McKinney, Texas
    Posts
    84
    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon Thill View Post
    I'm getting one of these trailers and looking for advice on modifications. Intended use would be trips to home improvement stores and hauling a dirtbike and gear up the mountains occasionally. I plan to replace the tires & wheels right away with radials that can handle highway speeds.

    I'll be repacking the bearings also, but it appears there are different hubs on the steel vs aluminum version?

    Will also be installing decking, possibly with some short walls. Tiedown hooks of course. Which version would be easier to attach these things to? Any other reason for picking one over the other (steel vs aluminum)?

    Basically just looking to make it safe, reliable, and useful.
    Good luck finding one. All the harbor freight trailer tires have been recalled and they are not currently selling the trailers.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Falls Church, VA
    Posts
    2,064
    Blog Entries
    1
    I had one of them for a while but only used it a few times.

    Modifications:
    I put rings all around to attach bungees.
    I put in a 3/4" bed (duh).

    One potential problem you might have if you used it a lot would be that the casters that come with it so it can roll when folded up are pretty light. If you are going to use it a lot, get better casters with brakes.
    Also, changing it from vertical to horizontal can be difficult for one person. You might consider some block and tackle for safety.

    Don't go very fast with those itty bitty wheels and don't overload it and you should be fine. It's a good compromise.

    I sold mine for what I paid which means that the buy got my mods for free.

  15. #15
    I ordered the steel one from Northern Tool. Also got some 12" Kenda radials and aftermarket LED kit. Probably going to have a buddy weld the corners to stiffen/strengthen it up some. It'll do the job and hopefully not take up much room when stowed in the garage.

Posting Permissions

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