Hauling Tractors

For many people the next big purchase after buying a tractor is a trailer to move it around. As soon as you find how useful your new machine is around your home, you’ll soon want it any place you have work to do. There are several different types of trailers; some are better suited for tractor applications than others.

GVW

First, a quick explanation of GVW is required. GVW, or Gross Vehicle Weight is the hauling capacity of the trailers axles. A 10,000lb GVW trailer typically weights around 2200lbs in itself, leaving 7800lbs of capacity left over for equipment. A common misconception of that a 10,000lb trailer can haul 10,000lbs, this is not true. It’s always good to leave some room for error when calculating the weight of your equipment as driving with an overloaded trailer is never a pleasant experience.

Its equally important not to exceed the towing capacity of the vehicle. Trucks and SUV's are also assigned a GVW and a tongue weight. The tongue weight is the amount of weight placed on the truck itself, as opposed to being centered over the trailers axles. By parking the heavy side of a tractor towards the vehicle its possible to overload the tongue without overloading the trailer itself. This is a difficult measurement to calculate and its often just eyeballed by checking the amount of compression on the rear suspension (as a guideline its typically 10-15% of the trailers payload). In extreme cases there are weight transfer kits available that shift trailer weight towards the front wheels and off the tongue.


Licensing and Brakes
Trailer regulations vary by state, however there are some norms. Most states require that trailers over 3000lbs be licensed and inspected, those under 3000lbs do not as they typically do not have brakes. Once you cross the 3000lb threshold brakes become mandatory to help stop the load. A few states require breaks on just one axle, but most require brakes on all axles. Most trailer companies operate regionally and build their product to meet local regulations, always make sure that the trailer your buying meets your local code.


Landscape Trailers

A landscape trailer typically has wheels to the sides of the deck, a low rail around the trailer, and wide mesh ramps. Typical lengths are 12-18 feet, and capacities of 3000-7000lb GVW. Landscape trailers got their name as they are the choice of landscapers. They sit low to the ground so its easy to drive a zero turn mower up the low incline mesh ramps. The low sides also keep small implements inside the trailer and provide ample attachment points to strap things down. The limitations are a lower GVW and a narrower width, large mower decks and loader buckets often do not fit between the wheels. Mesh ramps also do not hold up well when regularly pushed to their limit.


Low Pofile / Skid Loader Trailers 
Low profile / skid loader trailers are typically 10,000-14,000 GVW. Like a landscape trailer, they have their wheels set to the outside of the decking to keep the trailer low to the ground. This is important when loading a skid loader as these machines will bottom out on a steep equipment ramp. Skid Loader trailers typically do not have sides, but often do have fork pockets under them to store a set of pallet forks while a bucket is on the machine. To support the heavy load capacity you’ll usually see a skid loader trailer equipped with a heavy ladder ramp that can support the larger loads.

Deck Over Trailers
A deck over trailer has a heavy, hardwood deck with the wheels set under it. A deck over is an ideal equipment trailer as it’s up to 108" wide because the tires are set under the decking rather than beside it. Most deck overs range from 16-22ft, and capacities of 10,000GVW and up. The rear of the trailer is usually equipped with a beaver tail. This is a slopped area at the rear of the trailer that lowers the backend to provide a shallower angle for loading equipment. The length of a deck over is normally measured as flat area, not including the beaver tail which adds about 4 feet. Ladder ramps are exclusively used, sometimes with spring loading to help lower the heavy ramp. Deck overs can be problematic when loading tractors with smaller tires, 2WD machines, Zero Turn Mowers, and Skid Loaders all because it can be difficult to get these machines to crawl up the long steep ramps. However it usually is the best choice for larger tractors and backhoes, and machines with implements attached.


Gooseneck Trailers
A Gooseneck trailer shares the construction of the deckover trailer, but has a hitch that rests in the trucks bed rather than on the rear hitch. Centering the load over the suspension can allow for more weight setting forward on the trailer without crushing the suspension of the truck.


Dump Trailers
A dump trailer is usually used for moving mulch and debris, however landscapers have turned them into multipurpose tools by loading equipment into them as well. Typically found in 7000-12000 GVW varieties, dump trailers have solid metal floors and sides suitable to carrying loose material. With the proper ramp, its also possible to load small tractors and the occasional skid loader. Dumps are available as either deck over or low profile depending on your needs. Low profile its better suited for loading equipment, but because of its low height it’s difficult to dump any material into a large pile.


Tilt Trailers
Tilt trailers have a hydraulic tilt or balanced deck that can be lowered for loading. No ramps are need as the rear edge of the deck is lowered to the ground. Common capacities range from light 3000lb tilt models, up to heavier 10,000lb models with hydraulic systems. The appeal of a tilt trailer is the very shallow loading angle which makes it easy to load the most stubborn pieces. When equipped with a winch, a tilt trailer is ideal for moving disabled tractors. The downside is expense and the time required to tilt the deck every time you load and unload. The battery powered hydraulic systems are relativity simple, but do require maintenance. Normally the tires are set to the sides of a tilt trailer limiting the width of your equipment.


Electrical Connections
A flat 4 pin plug is used for light duty trailers where brakes are not required. The connection simply powers the trailers lights so it can be seen in the dark.

A 7 pin RV plug or a round 6 pin plug both power the lights and activate the trailers brakes electronically. If your vehicle does not have this plug factory installed it can be added by equipping your truck with a brake controller. Adapters are readily available to change between these two types.