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Discussion Starter #1
Any thoughts on wood deck vs. steel deck open trailers? Going to be carrying an approx. 3200 lb. car. Have seen some really good deals on the wood deck ones but wanted some opinions.
 

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Bought my first wood deck open when I was 16, got into flipping trailers until I had enough profits to buy a steel deck. My steel deck has never had a tire fall through a rotten board, has hauled skid steers, mini excavators, cars/trucks, shingles, building materials for a pleather of jobs I sold...and I still have the original trailer (getting a make over at this very moment actually out of guilt) but in the 18yrs of owning it, replacing burnt out lights, 3 sets of tires, and brakes once I haven't touched the rest of the trailer....you wont have that ability if you buy a wood deck. The initial cheap buy in will come back to bite ya unless you stay on top of the deck maintainence.

If you go to the track enough you will eventually see guys with cars that fall through or plywood patches on the deck to get them through until they can replace the wood.

Think of it like going to the doctor when your hurt, do you want a band aid, or do you want to fix the problem once and for all.
 

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T/S 368E
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I used a wooden deck for many many years. It was fine, and I liked it better then the steel one I had before it.
It was lighter, I could remove boards as needed, and I used it for one of my business's also if needed.
If anyone is so stupid their car falls through, they have no business on the track next to us!!!
A piece of 2x10 is so frigging cheap, they are obviously an idiot!!!


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I prefer wood deck. They're light, and the boards can always be flipped or replaced if they get damaged/gouged up. I've never had a failure with the wood on an open deck.

If someone puts a car on a wood trailer with a rotting deck, I suspect they'd do the same thing with a steel deck. Either way, that sounds like a problem with the owner, not the trailer.
 

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Wood is approx. 750 kg / M3 vs steel at 7850 kg / M3
so the ratio is approx. 10:1 for the same area

A 3mm [ 1/8" ] diamond plate deck = approx the same weight as 32 mm dressed wood [ 1-1/4" ]

I build all my trailers for customers from steel [ it is not much more expensive, but gets a higher price ]

My rental trailers are wood deck, because I sometimes get a fuckwit that overloads and puts something through the deck. [ usually machinery ]

If you can buy a wood deck trailer minus the wooden deck, try and deck it yourself.
Try and use a shiplap board and adhesive to lock it together .
This will increase the beaming strength a huge amount. I cut my own with a "router"



I can bend a long 6" wide strip of 1/8" diamond plate by hand, but a piece of 6" x 1-1/4" wood will only flex a little bit.
 

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Wood is great for lawn trailers, not so much for car trailers. If you park iti n the shade, you can have mold and mildew issues. I had one a while back and almost busted my ass early in the morning slipping on the dew that built over night. I prefer full metal deck trailers. The open pit style are the least useful in my experience.
 

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^^^^^ but the "open pit" sure makes it nice to change oil and trans fluid, or checking out nuts and bolts ect. (just slide under) if car stays on trailer from week to week
 

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^^^^^ but the "open pit" sure makes it nice to change oil and trans fluid, or checking out nuts and bolts ect. (just slide under) if car stays on trailer from week to week
That is a myth.
Most racers cannot get their fat gut under the trailer [ especially with a "cutback tongue" ] to change the oil.

Engineering wise , the open centre style requires more labour, and slightly less materials to build. [they require "inner" chassis rails ]

My next rental car haulers are going to be Open Centre style.
That way it limits the payload to 1 x Vehicle.[ instead of 8 ton of quarry rocks for landscaping ]

I've built open centre style trailers from pressed 1/8" steel [as a monocoque stressed member] and got the weight down to 880lbs

They were incredibly strong and agile to tow [behind a Jap pickup ]
 

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i have a wood deck flat bed , i love it . its a 92 big tex , original boards and they are not rotted , it gets used ALOT . id like to have a steel deck but i think for what i do the steel deck would be to slippery when wet . i hual stuff not cars with it . steel , equipment , etc . and yes it is a car trailer not a utility trailer .
 

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I bought a well used commercially built wood deck trailer about 15 years ago. They overlaoded it and the wood was rough and rotted. I stripped the wood, painted the steel and installed pressure treated wood. Wood is still in great shape and a pressure washing every once in a while and it's good to go. A steel deck is nice, definitely slippery when wet.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Good info guys. I had planned to buy a new steel trailer but after seeing a a few used steel or wood deck trailers on Craigslist it has me thinking. Anyone racing on a budget will understang what I'm saying ;)
 

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I had a trailer custom built with wood specifically. I love that you can screw anything to the deck you might want, no welding required. I've always screwed rubber chock blocks in place where I bump the front tires to them when loading and always have car set perfectly every time.

A little tip for those of you dealing with slippery trailers: They are now selling spray in liner stuff in typical spray paint cans. A dusting of this will solve your issues. I used this on my long metal painted ramps, runner strips on the wood deck, and all the perimeter metal frame around the deck. Solved any concern of tire slippage in loading, or shoe slipping when stepping up or down from deck. I think 2-3 spray cans knocked out all my concern areas.
 
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