I won't be able to find what I want without ordering it, which will take too long to come in because of covid. Special order is at least 4 months out.
Help me decide?
General freight, occasional car, I will not load more than 10,000 pounds cargo.
I can get a brand new 35-foot hydraulic dovetail or I can get a 2020 big Tex 22gn with 50,000 miles on it, it's 40 ft long with Max ramps. Problem with the big Tex is that with my truck I am at 67.5 length overall. So I'm immediately over length.
I'm leaning towards the brand new hydraulic dovetail, but I've heard some people say don't run a trailer with less than 40 feet of deck available...
if these were the only options that you had that were realistic right now which would you choose?
Poll between two HS trailers
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You do not want a hydraulic dovetail on a non-cdl setup it adds too much weight. You need the trailer to be light as possible so you can carry more weight. Also, have you checked insurance rates with cars on your policy? That occasional car will add a lot to your insurance cost depending on what state you base out of.
Also for the record for freight HS the standard trailer is 40ft for auto hauling HS the standard trailer is a 3 car. What you will find is trying to put together loads is really tough if you don't fall into either of those two categories.
HS freight = 40ft trailer can run non CDL or CDL (more weight the more loads are available)
HS auto = 3 can minimum you really need a CDL to run 3 cars consistently at good rates.
Don't try to go too far away from either of these basic formulas. They are kinda the standards because they work.
Freight off the spot market is all geared around a 40ft trailer be it prices for LTL or full loads. Auto's for hotshot really need 3 cars to be consistent on your rates. I'm running a 2 car right now and even with good rates, it's a struggle to put loads together out on the road.
One other thing, be wary of going too big as auto hauler HS if you decide to go that way. Meaning don't just assume a 4 or a 5 car trailer is better than a 3 car. Yes, you stack more money per mile by adding more cars but also that means pick up and delivery times get longer which means more time between reloads. Meaning what happens is guys start just trying to fill the trailer with 4 or 5 cars going to the same place but don't end up with the best rate per mile whereas if they pick and choose 3 separate cars they can end up with much better money per mile for nearly the same time invested. I'd say stay away from bigger car trailer until you have experience under your belt because it's also a lot of weight sitting high off the ground with those trailers.
Just my take anyway.. if you want to do non CDL stick to the 40ft but you have to meet that legal 65ft length.. so find 40ft that lets you be legal. dovetails and ramps on them are ok to load tractors and trucks, suvs but cars will probably struggle to get up them and will likely need car ramps. (but double-check the insurance rates because adding cars to your policy can add a very big expense)
Anyway, I just added a bit of extra info there that I know you didn't ask for but I wanted to give you the logic behind my reasoning of staying with a standard set up at least when you 1st start. In short Jack of all trades is expert at none.. Be an expert at least one or the other with your truck/trailer set up.
I agree with crocky. I'd want 40' of deck. In the end, it's choice only you can make. You're giving up payload for a heavy spec trailer. In turn it's causing you to consider giving up deck length to get that payload back, cause you don't want 7k axles. 8k axles are really the best choice for under CDL hotshot. I digress..
So if these were my only options, I'd have to go with the 22gn. I'd expect a deep discount being that it's used. Like $7-$8k off sticker, especially with the current state of our country.. Also is there really anyway to verify the said 50k miles on the wagon.? I doubt that.. Check the build date, can easily be a year old with 100-120k miles depending how hard the previous owner ran..
Now the big tex will put you over, but only by inches. Never seen anyone ticketed for inches. All the DOT enforcement I've personally asked said they start handing out citations at a foot over length..
Now I'm making some assumptions about you truck, so correct it if not accurate..
Going to assume crewcab, longbox, factory front bumper..
Big Tex, 40' deck, 8'1" neck= 577"
2017 f350 crew, longbox wheelbase=176"
2017 f350 center of front axle to front bumper=36"
577+176+36=789" or 65' 9"..
If you can get the goose ball mounted a couple inches ahead of the rear axle you can shave off another 2-4" depending.. Either way, if the trailer is priced right, 9" or less is a gamble I'm willing to take..
I went through this exercise a while back and ended up with a 38' Fmax due to the 65' rule. So far that 2' of deck space hasn't cost me any work yet. Can still haul containers if needed with just 2' of overhang which is a big plus. So keep that in mind before you commit to a 35' trailer.
The 40' pj, big Tex, and Lamar I saw all had standard necks which put me over 65' overall. So those are out. I couldnt let myself buy something that potentially gives me a fine every time I pull into the scales from the get go.
Couldn't find a straight deck diamond c 40' anywhere, not within 2000 miles. They're 6 months out on orders :/
I was able to find one 35', without the max ramps which I don't want. This one had the 12' hydraulic dovetail, and weighed in only 300lb more than the same with the max ramps. Curb weight: 7780, over 1k less than the other 40's I looked at.
Ultimately, I made a turn-around trip to Utah today, 13:25 hrs, 798 miles and got the hydro dovetail.
Is it my first pick? No. Was it the best of the options available? I thought so and hope I can make it work. I plan to run it the next 3-6 months, possibly lots of local, and see how it fairs. I know that after 6 months I'll want to swap my truck for something different anyway, so that trailer should hold it's value hopefully until then and I can reassess.
The big Tex put me at 67' 5 inches, stock bumper to rear of trailer. Don't know why it was more than the 9" from spec sheets.
In the end, I'm excited but now anxious due to basically having purchased against everyone's more experienced suggestions... A bit embarrassing actually to write this! Anyway, it felt like the right decision after search these last 2 weeks, here's to the start of my trial with this set up..
PS, the big Tex is still for sale I think, 22gn Down rated to 14k due to driver not having a CDL, has a YouTube channel where you can see the last year of travel he's had with it. So verifiable to an extent. That one I was uneasy about though because I don't want a down rated trailer. That thing weighs 8500+, with a gvw of 14k it doesn't let you haul much without going over rating .. it's a steal, at $11,000..Last edited: Aug 16, 2020
Reason for edit: Auto correct text here is terrible.
I generally never advise anyone to intentionally break the law, but I was pretty confident on this. As I asked at least a handful of DOT that were inspecting me. They all said "we'll give you inches, but a foot is where I draw the line."
I had my hotshot built as 39' deck because I was nervous about it 1st getting started. That's why i asked the lawmen all the time. Was always kicking myself because they said they'd have let me get away with that. Oh well, I made the correct decision in the end I guess..
All the best to you. I've yet to find anyone give a bad review on a Diamond C, as for the others, well you looked at 'em 1st hand so you know. I see no mention of Kaufman out of NC. I've been looking hard at their 40' tilt decks, at some point I might have to take a trip down there 1st hand...
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