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Old 05-26-2016, 11:03 PM   #1
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Default Hi from a model railroader

Hi, everyone.

Many years ago, I stopped at a rest stop and saw two men with low trailers. One was a Tow Low, the other a Hi Lo. I thought they were the best way to travel.

Since I live in California, storing a trailer can e expensive, so I like the idea of something I can put in my garage. I could put it outside, since it would be lower than the fence, which is OK.

I am interested in model railroading, and my primary use for the trailer would be to carry modules. A model rail module is a "layout" that is about 2 feet by 4 or 5 feet. And it is connected with dozens of other modules, to form a complete layout. I would be transporting about three dozen of these modules and a trailer is perfect. One of the smallest - say 14 to 16 feet - is sufficient.

I am curious about two things. One is the practicality of towing it with the top extended. Can this be done? Would it be practical to build a fairing for the pickup bed to reduce the wind load on the trailer itself? Should I have auxiliary supports inside the trailer? Would it be top heavy, or should I extend it only partially?

The second question is the amount of room inside. Are these trailers filled with furniture, kitchen, sofa, folding bed? I would like plenty of clear space, but some of the stuff could stay. I would probably only use it for sleeping, and not cooking, etc.

Any thoughts? Anybody else use their trailer to transport music gear, model airplanes, or any other hobby gear?

cheers,
Mike O'Dorney
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Old 05-26-2016, 11:19 PM   #2
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Hi Mike. The trailers ARE filled with furniture and appliances. You could remove some of them, but I don't know that you'd have the clear space you need. And, it would be a bit of a chore, since under the furniture are items like water piping, wiring, furnace ducting, the water heater, the furnace, and the like. All that would have to be dealt with too.

Next, I don't think you should consider towing the trailer with the top up at all. It's not held in place very well when up (just four guide tracks and the four cables that lift it). It would need a lot of reinforcement to be safe to tow in the raised position.

I think you need something like a "toy hauler" for your railroad pieces.

- Jack
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Old 05-27-2016, 12:13 AM   #3
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I hear ya. All that stuff under the counters would be a challenge.

I am wondering how the top is clamped down for transporting? I assume it doesn't just sit there and bounce? I wouldn't let it ride on the cables/lifters, etc. I would have a means of support.

I like the idea of the sealed top, which is why I like the hi-lo design.

Perhaps converting a tent popup camper might be better?
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Old 05-27-2016, 11:15 AM   #4
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Top is not clamped down. It rides resting on frame and outriggers under its own weight.

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Old 05-27-2016, 03:02 PM   #5
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Yes, I'm not sure a Hi-Lo would be the best choice for your intended use. I suppose if you could find a smaller, inexpensive model to gut out it might work, but I wouldn't tow it in the upright position. Kind of defeats the purpose of having a low-profile trailer, no?

On the subject of model railroading, we have a nice little club here in Tehachapi so if you are ever down this way be sure to check them out, as well as a visit to our free train depot museum and the world famous Tehachapi Loop!

TLRC.CLUB

Tehachapi Depot Museum - 36 Photos & 13 Reviews - Museums - 101 W Tehachapi Blvd - Tehachapi, CA - Phone Number - Yelp
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Old 05-27-2016, 04:30 PM   #6
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With 2x5 foot set ups I would consider something like a chevy 3500 passenger van. They can be had used at low miles pretty reasonably , get decent gas mileage for what they are, and you just pull the seats out. Otherwise- I would go with a low profile trailer or toy hauler. They are meant to accommodate vehicles and are pretty lightweight to start with. A van with a cot is do-able for sleeping.

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