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Love the new trailer and will be watching for k power. 

Rodan SuperDork
5/24/23 3:50 p.m.

Thanks, guys!  

On another note, I came out of a store today and got a laugh.  The Touring was sitting between an Expedition, considered a large vehicle today, and a Kia Soul, considered a small vehicle today.  They both dwarfed the E36... 

Which, of course, is a big part of why I bought it in the first place.  smiley

CarNutty New Reader
5/25/23 12:34 p.m.

she's a beauty!

Rodan SuperDork
5/25/23 4:19 p.m.


Today's project was the trailer tongue...

Our setup with the motorhome will require the use of a weight distribution hitch, which I already have and had used with our old trailer when we had the camper loaded in the truck.  It's a 14k setup, plenty stout for the job.  The only problem was the stacker has a diamond plate aluminum tongue cover, which was in the way of attaching the mounting points for the WD arms.

It was riveted on, so I had to drill out the rivets to remove it.

Next up was locating the mounting points properly.

Then I could figure out where to cut the diamond plate so it wouldn't interfere.

Once it was cut, it got riveted back onto the tongue.


docwyte PowerDork
5/25/23 5:15 p.m.

I want your E36 touring when you're done with it, lol!

Rodan SuperDork
5/25/23 6:02 p.m.

In reply to docwyte :

There's one on Cars&Bids right now...  wink


Mileage is a little on the high side, but it's a great color...

Rodan SuperDork
5/27/23 4:51 p.m.

Since it was clean and spiffy, I took the NA to our local C&C this morning, first time I'd taken it in quite a while.  Good turn out, and quite a few very cool cars, here's just a couple:

Lancia Delta 

Very clean 300ZX TT

This Charger looked like it just drove off the set of Bullitt (pre-explosion, anyway)

Finally, a spectacular 240Z... original owner, but clearly restored.


Rodan SuperDork
5/27/23 5:03 p.m.

After C&C, it was time for Part 1 of "weights and measures"...

I hooked up the stacker and pulled it to the nearest truck scales for an 'empty' weight.  Once I got the numbers I was able to compare them with previous weights on the truck.  The trailer is 7580lbs 'empty'...  which in this case includes the spare tire, race ramps, 10x10 pop up, the spares kit I carry, etc.... all the usual stuff that goes with us to the track except for cars, extra wheels/tires and fuel.  Tongue weight was 960lbs, right at 12.6%.  Good news is I should easily come in under my 13k weight target with the NA and E36.

Tomorrow is Part 2... loading cars and measuring tongue weights to figure out where exactly the cars need to be in the trailer.

And for that, there's not a lot of wiggle room for the NA as the lift isn't a lot longer than the NA.  We loaded the NA today and there wasn't enough room to use the rear tow hooks I normally use to tie the car down in the back, so I had to use straps around the control arms.  Not ideal, and I will be figuring something else out once I determine exactly where the car needs to be.

The escape door is a really nice upgrade from our trailer.  Makes getting out of the car a heck of a lot easier.

Rodan SuperDork
5/28/23 3:47 p.m.

Part 2 of 'Weights and Measures' started this morning with adjusting the brakes on the stacker.  Definitely needed to be done... trailer brakes are much more effective now.

Next I broke out the tongue weight scale and started playing with car positions... and immediately ran into issues.   Even after adding the tool box/tools, and putting a set of wheels/tires in the attic against the front wall, the most tongue weight I could get was a little over 9%... I just couldn't move the cars forward enough to increase the tongue weight.  This was with the NA on the lift, and either the NB or E36 on the deck. 

Even at that I'm going to need to install new tie down points close to the front cabinets.  The factory tie down points on the floor are behind the side entry door, which is way to far back to tie anything down.  I'm now wondering how the previous owner managed to tie down his Charger...??  At least with the heavy V8 up front, it probably had some tongue weight...  I guess most people don't do any of this and just load up and go.  I once asked a guy at the track how his steel frame stacker compared to the tow rating on his hoopty class A motorhome, and his answer was "who the berkeley knows... I've been towing it for 10 years and it's fine."  Crazy.

This trailer is a spread axle, and it's the first time I've owned one with spread axles, so I don't know if that affects the tongue weight %... I'm going to give ATC a call this week and see what they have to say.

Of course, I got busy with all of this and forgot to take pictures until we were nearly done.  Here's the NA and E36 stacked...



Rodan SuperDork
5/30/23 9:03 p.m.

More trailer work today...

One of the reasons I had trouble with the tongue weights was the location of the factory installed front tie downs in the trailer... basically in the same location longitudinally as the front tied downs on the lift, even though there's about another 4 feet available.  So I added two tie down spots at the front and two at the rear.  I didn't gain much length in the rear, but did gain about a foot of width on each side, which will help with cars that are tied down through the wheels.

One advantage of having a lift in the trailer is having access to the underside of the car on it.  The previous owner made some plywood panels to go in the lift openings, which will keep any drips or debris off the car on the bottom.

Another small project was setting up a backup lift control...  the control has a button for up, button for down, and a button to release the locks to allow the lift to go down, similar to many shop lifts.  The previous owner had 'hot wired' the control with spade connectors to bypass the lock release button, which he said had broken and he'd been unable to find a replacement.  

The lift control is an off the shelf part, but the lock release button was added by the trailer manufacturer.   I was able to contact them and get a part number for that particular button, and ordered a few.  Then I ordered a second control so I would have a backup.  Got both wired up and tested today... everything works.

Lift control...

The guts...

Rodan SuperDork
5/30/23 9:12 p.m.

While I was working on the trailer, my Trailer Toad arrived...  this is a hitch extension/dolly that a friend of mine invented specifically for motorhomes pulling large trailers after he damaged a motorhome frame pulling this around the country:


The idea is the Trailer Toad takes all of the tongue weight, so all of the up/down flexing forces are taken off the motorhome frame, and all it has to do is pull.

Still getting the setup dialed in, but this should make for worry-free travels.

DrMikeCSI Reader
5/31/23 6:20 a.m.

Does the Trailer Toad affect tolls?

Rodan SuperDork
5/31/23 8:13 a.m.

In reply to DrMikeCSI :

Good question... in theory, it's an additional axle.

CAinCA GRM+ Memberand Dork
5/31/23 3:45 p.m.

Maybe it's just the pictures but it looks like the hitch is behind the axle centerline. Wouldn't that make it want to rotate and take weight OFF the RV's hitch?

Rodan SuperDork
5/31/23 4:11 p.m.

It uses a weight distribution hitch, and when actually hooked to a trailer, it takes all the tongue weight.  I didn't take a pic, but it will sit there level, hooked to the trailer, without being hooked to the tow vehicle's receiver.  The torsion arms are adjusted just to level the Toad, not like you would normally adjust them for a trailer.  In fact, I had to get longer chains to get the setup right.

CAinCA GRM+ Memberand Dork
5/31/23 7:56 p.m.

In reply to Rodan :

OK. That makes sense.

Rodan SuperDork
6/2/23 5:42 p.m.

Yesterday was fabrication day for a couple of final details on the trailer.

First up was adding some tie down points to the rear subframe brace to give a little more reach between the car and the lift.  The tow hooks I had been using for tie downs ended up almost directly over the tie down points on the lift.


Rodan SuperDork
6/2/23 5:45 p.m.

Next up was the spare tire mount on the trailer tongue.

Mount is designed so the weight of the tire is on the tongue, and it just snugs down on the mount to keep it in place.


Rodan UltraDork
6/2/23 5:47 p.m.

Finally, after a wash & wax, got the NB loaded up... stacked Miatas.

DrMikeCSI Reader
6/2/23 6:42 p.m.

That's what I need a double Miata burger. 

Rodan UltraDork
6/4/23 4:15 p.m.

So today was full up systems test on the RV + toad + stacker.  Started by blocking all the pumps at Costco to get a full tank of fuel.

I try to fuel there on Sunday mornings to avoid the crowds...  It's very slow fueling at regular pumps, but it was $.50/gal cheaper than the closest Loves. 

After fuel, we filled the water tanks, and then back to the storage yard to hook up the stacker... we're now 72'9" overall.  Lost 2 feet of trailer, but gained about 3 1/2' back with the Toad.

Here's how the Toad looks with the WD torsion arms attached.  Remember, they're not there to distrubute weight in  the normal manner, just to keep the Toad level.  There's very little tension on the arms.

Next, it was a 50 mile round trip to the above mentioned Loves for a trip across the CAT scales.

Total coach weight is 38,700lbs with full fuel and water and both of us aboard.  Still have to add in clothes, food and dog, but well under the 46,700 GVRW.  Total trailer weight (with Toad) is 12,600, which brings us up to 51,300lbs combined... again, well short of the 57,600 GCWR.

Behavior on the road was excellent.  You can definitely tell the weight is there under acceleration, but the Toad takes all the tongue weight off the coach and you can really feel the difference going down the road.  Much less 'wag the dog' effect without the tongue weight of the trailer acting on the coach's suspension.

Very happy with how things are coming together, and looking forward to the trip to FM.

Rodan UltraDork
6/7/23 10:20 a.m.

The only glitch we had during our test run was the brake controller quit working about halfway through.  I originally thought it was a bad controller, and I wanted to replace it with a proportional controller anyway, so I picked up a new one.

Old controller...

In the process of changing them out, I discovered the PO had wired the controller on a 5A fuse.  When I adjusted the gain up, it apparently blew the fuse, which was why it stopped working.  The other issue that needed to be addressed was the mounting location.  The old controller was mounted under the dash on the driver's side, so I had to look under the steering wheel and move my leg out of the way to see it.  Not great.  So I made up a bracket to move it to the side console in front of the transmission control panel, where it is both easily monitored and manipulated.

With the power supply addressed, I'm not expecting any more issues... fingers crossed...

Rodan UltraDork
6/13/23 1:00 p.m.

Got home from Flyin' Miata Summer Camp in Grand Junction, CO late yesterday... it was a GREAT weekend!  laugh

This trip had a lot going on for us... 1st time back at Summer Camp since 2018 (with lots of changes to the NA in those 5 years!), longest trip so far in the motorhome, and of course, 1st time hauling the stacker with two cars.

Grand Junction is a little over 500 miles for us, and we usually take the route across Northern Arizona into Utah up through Moab then East into Colorado on I70.  The weather was nice for the drive this year, and the scenery was great, with everything greened up from an unusually rainy spring.

Arizona, along hwy 160

Utah on 191 south of Moab

The motorhome + stacker drove really well.  The trailer toad makes it feel like there's no trailer attached, except for the extra weight.  And the weight was definitely noticeable on the grades.  This motorhome is a hot rod without a trailer, but on the longer, steeper grades, we were down to 35-45 mph.  The nice thing is being able to put it in 4th gear and set the cruise at 45, and it just goes up the grade with temps remaining stable.  Same with 3rd and 35mph for the steepest grades.  Going downhill, the exhaust brake allows stress free descents without using the service brakes.

Also, definitely paid a penalty in fuel mileage... with the big trailer, and all the grades, mpg was in the mid 5s.  First leg on the way home, with a nasty headwind added into the mix, dropped to 4.9... surprise  Oh, well... what do expect driving a house w/ 2 car garage down the road... LOL.

Anyway, as I've mentioned before, one of the things I love about RVing to track events is waking up in the pits, and enjoying my coffee as everyone starts to roll in.  At sunrise, we were still alone in the pits...

But, things filled in pretty quickly...



Rodan UltraDork
6/13/23 1:34 p.m.

I felt kind of bad this year, as I didn't take enough pictures at the track.  This event is a Miata event, not really a track event, so there is a wide variety of experience and modification levels.  As a full-on track car, the NA was the subject of much attention, and I spent a lot of time talking tracking a Miata with folks.  I'll post more track pics when the pro pics are available in a few weeks.

The original plan was that I was going to drive the NA, and my wife was going to drive the NB.  She wanted to avoid dealing with a cage for this event.  After she came in from her first session in the NB, she was ranting about it!  "This thing is really wishy-washy, and it has no grip!  It tried to kill me twice!"  cheeky  I guess she's spoiled by the NA... which she decided to drive for the remainder of the day.

In my first session the NA had gone ~1.5 seconds better than our quickest time in 2018.  But I wanted more.  I knew the second session was usually my quickest, with the increasing heat of the day slowing later sessions.  So, session two was the time to send it, and I did, coming back another 1/2 second quicker, with a best of 1:03.8 compared to my best time in 2018 of 1:05.8.  This also put me squarely into territory usually occupied by the turbo and V8 cars.  Breaking into the :03s had been my goal, and we made it, so I was ecstatic.

It did turn out that I was second fastest for the day... the driver that beat me ran 1:02.7, in this:

LS3 powered and on 275 A7 Hoosiers... I was more than happy to finish second to that! laugh

Both of us slowed down as the day progressed after that, but the delta remained at ~ 1 second.

Rodan UltraDork
6/13/23 1:44 p.m.

The NA ran like a top, as usual, except for a minor issue with a loose screw on the Skunk2 throttle body causing a 3500 rpm idle.  It took a bit of investigation to locate the problem, but it was an easy fix.

After my wife's dissatisfaction with the NB's track prowess, I decided to take it out in my last session.  The Conti ECS tires were easy to overwhelm, and it was a little tail happy, but it was still a fun drive (I thought, anyway!)...

The NB was about 7 seconds slower than the NA, which is about what I would have expected.

After the track day concluded, we packed everything up, and relocated to a nice RV park on the west side of Grand Junction.  In the past, we've stayed on FM's property, but I felt our new rig was a little large for that.  It was a longer drive, but a very nice park, and located fairly close to a number of amenities in GJ.

That evening, we took the NB for a nice drive (with about 30 other Miatas) through the Colorado Monument, went back to the RV and collapsed.


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