Clearance between trailer and car?

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Clearance between trailer and car?

Postby jseyfert3 » Thu Jan 09, 2014 10:11 pm

Hey all,
For my build, I'm considering the Austrailian Sportsman Stretched profile or similar (#7 here). I think I'd like the flat part of the profile to take up the 8' frame of the trailer, with the front and rear curves extending forward. However, the question is of clearance while turning. I plan on having a 5' 4" wide trailer, so I can stick a standard queen sized bed inside. Does anyone know the general clearance from the car to the trailer generally required for a trailer this wide?

It's easy enough to test. Once my HF trailer is built (before I build anything of the TD), I simply take it to the parking lot behind my house and turn my steering wheel to the lock, turn until the trailer is fully turned, and measure. This should be the closest the trailer gets to the car, normally, anyway.

But, if I get a different car, or borrow someone else's car for some reason, the width of the car, turning radius, etc affect that, hence the question. I'd like to not have to modify the trailer if it's not required, but if needed, my mom's husband can weld it.
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Re: Clearance between trailer and car?

Postby jseyfert3 » Thu Jan 09, 2014 10:28 pm

Heh. Feel like an idiot now. If I've got at least 2' 7" from the front-most part of my trailer to the coupler on my 5' 4" wide trailer, no matter what vehicle I tow with (assuming no part of the vehicle is further rear then the hitch ball), I can turn past a 90° car to trailer angle with no clearance issues until my car touches the side of the trailer.
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Re: Clearance between trailer and car?

Postby eggsalad » Fri Jan 10, 2014 12:50 am

Yes. Any "off-the-rack" trailer is designed to turn. Folks run into problems when their build (or wide tongue box) winds up forward of the forward-most crossmember on the trailer.
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Re: Clearance between trailer and car?

Postby 48Rob » Fri Jan 10, 2014 7:43 am

I measure from the center of the tow ball to the widest part of the biggest vehicle I might use to tow with.
(1/2 the width of the vehicle)
Add a couple inches for turns where the tow and trailer are on different inclines and you should be in good shape...unless you are an offroader type, then you may need a bit more.
An example is a tight turn while going down a steep driveway, where your tow is level, but the trailer's rear is high in the air.

Depending on the tongue style (A frame or straight tube) you may not be able to turn 90 degrees without making contact with the tongue, this before your tow contacts the trailer body.

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Re: Clearance between trailer and car?

Postby aggie79 » Fri Jan 10, 2014 9:20 am

eggsalad wrote:Yes. Any "off-the-rack" trailer is designed to turn. Folks run into problems when their build (or wide tongue box) winds up forward of the forward-most crossmember on the trailer.


Not necessarily. Both my teardrop body and tongue box extend beyond the front crossmember. The front of the teardrop is about 1' beyond and the tongue box is about 2-1/2' beyond.

Image

I think you need to allow a "comfortable amount" of distance to allow for backing, but you don't need to be able to have the teardrop centerline 90 degrees to the centerline of the tow vehicle. I can get about 60 degrees of pivot in backing my teardrop. With the short wheelbase of the teardrop this is more than sufficient to back into any camp space. Extra tongue length, though, will make backing of the teardrop easier to control.

If you look at the trailers below, the short tongues would only allow a "swing" of about 30-45 degrees.

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Re: Clearance between trailer and car?

Postby working on it » Fri Jan 10, 2014 11:28 pm

48Rob wrote:I measure from the center of the tow ball to the widest part of the biggest vehicle I might use to tow with.
(1/2 the width of the vehicle)
Add a couple inches for turns where the tow and trailer are on different inclines and you should be in good shape...unless you are an offroader type, then you may need a bit more.
An example is a tight turn while going down a steep driveway, where your tow is level, but the trailer's rear is high in the air.

Depending on the tongue style (A frame or straight tube) you may not be able to turn 90 degrees without making contact with the tongue, this before your tow contacts the trailer body.

Rob

+1 on that info, Rob. I didn't add a tonguebox until I found one that would fit inside my designated "no cross line", which I show here:
photo20131117_164720.jpg
photo20131117_164720.jpg (62.29 KiB) Viewed 1152 times
Before finding this box, others would have protruded beyond the interference line (in red), and could've presented a problem. Of course, a radical turn could cause the TV to strike the cabin itself, but not the box, even if slid forward on its' linear bearings.114136114026
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Re: Clearance between trailer and car?

Postby Rolly » Sun Jul 26, 2015 5:12 pm

Full size pickup is a little less than 80 inches wide. Half of 80 is 40 inches. I would think you need more than 40 inches clearance between your hitch and your battery and or propane tank. Short wheelbase trailers turn very quickly when backing.

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