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Discussion Starter #1
My brother Pete and I bought another Datsun, a 1975 280Z. It didn't have any crash damage before we bought it. We had a bit of trouble with the rented trailer though. As they say, "A picture is worth a thousand words", and it will take a thousand words to explain this.


Keep it on the track? Oh poo, we can't even keep it on the trailer.



That's my 1970 F250 that almost got munched.






Ok. So you've seen three pictures and now you're desperately wanting to read the three thousand word explanation where we try to worm our way out of this. I mean, after all we're not total idiots. Or are we?

I suppose the entire story starts about a month ago when Pete decided we needed a second race car. Fair enough, I'm tired of sharing and alternating between run groups. Neither of us enjoy being in the slower run group anymore. Pete found a 260Z for a cheap price nearby and thought it was a good deal. Heck, he even drove it home! All seemed right with our world until we discovered the bent frame from a collision. The massive rust wasn't doing the car any favors either. We fixed it up a bit and tried to sell it, but alas, nobody bought it.

After calling a few ads, I found this 280Z out in Ontario, CA (USA). It looked good in the ad and I called the seller. He was very adamant that it had no rust and no crash damage. It had a clear title and current registration, and, being a 75, it's smog-exempt. Although it's not drivable (bad motor), it is a complete car. He sounded quite knowledgeable about cars and Datsun's and it seemed like a good deal for us.

We rented a trailer and drove out to Ontario, examined the car, did the paper-work and put our cash on the barrel-head. Then it was time to load our prize and leave. Well, we couldn't drive the car onto the trailer and we didn't have any type of winch. But, the car was parked at the top of a gentle hill in the middle of a field. So I put the trailer at the bottom of the hill and we rolled the car down the hill. We thought we could get enough momentum to get up the ramps and onto the trailer. But there was a "step" where the ramps meet the trailer and the rear tires got stuck at this step. Now what?

Somebody (there were just the three of us including the seller) suggested driving the truck forward and jumping on the brakes real fast. This would rock the car up and over the hump. Sounded good to me. I got in the truck and Pete got in the car. I drove forward and stopped. The car rocked but not enough. Did it again but it was still stuck. Just a bit faster and the car rolled up over the "step" and ker-plopped down onto the trailer. The banging noise and the movement of the truck made me look in the mirror and somehow things just didn't look right.

I got out and started laughing. ROF-LMAO works here. Pete's still in the car and wants to know what's so funny. He gets out, looks, and says, "Oh, by the way, the brakes don't work." It never occurred to me that a non-running car might need brakes. The seller says to us, "I'm glad you already paid me." He was pure dead-pan, I'm laughing like this is somebody else's problem and Pete's acting like the kid that got caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

We tried to jack up the car with the intention of placing things under the front tires so we could roll the car back onto the trailer. But we could not jack it up high enough.

In this field were a lot of old cars, tractors, and assorted other junk. We all walked around looking at this and that. We considered the fork-lift, but this was not the sellers property nor was it his junk. There was a big truck with a big crane, but.....

Finally we found a cherry-picker style engine hoist. We dragged it down the hill to find that it didn't work. I had some ATF so we tried filling it with cherry juice. More fluid spilled on the ground than went inside. But it began working. We picked the Datsun up by the front bumper brackets and drove the truck forward, but the engine hoist started to tip over. We had a long tow-strap with us so we anchored the Datsun to the seller's car. Then I pulled the trailer under the car until it was in the correct location.

We lowered the car onto the trailer, strapped the car down and cleaned up our mess. The seller chuckled and said, "Now I've got a story to tell my friends, "You should have seen these two clowns that bought my car...." haha."

We stopped at the first place we saw that was open to eat. We checked the car to make sure it was still on the trailer. The straps had come loose and had actually fallen off. I'm not sure what had kept the car on the trailer and I didn't really care much. I was hungry and had to pee. We strapped the car on correctly this time and now it seemed like a good idea to use the safety chains that had been included. We ate, cried, and drove the hundred mile trip home without further incident.

Getting the car off the trailer presented yet another obstacle. Without brakes or a winch, we were in a similar situation. So, being the smarter of the two clowns, I floored the truck and dropped the clutch. The trailer jerk out from under the car and the poor old Datsun went ker-plop onto the ground just as nice as could be.

That may sound believable at this point, but that's not what we did. This time I sat in the car and Pete drove the truck.

Ok, Ok. What really happened is this: We found that the parking brake still worked. I sat in the car and worked the parking brake while Pete worked some tire chock-blocks. We inched the car down. It went pretty smooth and easy.

I'll like to say that this is the end of the story, but it's not.

We had to do some minor repair to the trailer. Nothing a large channel-lock pliers couldn't handle. Then we returned trailer. We got it back about an hour after the store closed which wasn't a problem, until the next day. We had the trailer less than 12 hours and U-Haul tried to charge me for 48 hours. I told them in no certain terms that I would not pay the trumped-up charges and that they needed to get their axle out of their muffler.

Damage to the car? Not really sure. We did not inspect the car. Both fenders got bent just behind the front wheels. The lower cowling got damaged. Other damage, most likely.

The moral of the story is: I'll be damned if I know.

Oh, by the way, there are 1,120 words in the body of this story.
 

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For those who do not have a winch on their trailer or rent trailers buying a $20 come-a-long hand winch is a mandatory item. If you are at Laguna Seca this month I'll give you one.
 

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For those who do not have a winch on their trailer or rent trailers buying a $20 come-a-long hand winch is a mandatory item. If you are at Laguna Seca this month I'll give you one.
What he said. Can't tell you how many hulks I've dragged on to my trailer with a come a long. Now that I've installed an electric winch, I won't need either of them ever again..

bs
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Harbor Freight has an 8,000 pound come-a-long on sale for $30 so I bought one today. Tomorrow I get to test it out. My daily driver died and I need to rent a trailer and tow to the shop. The tow service wants $200. The trailer rental is $60 which leaves money left over to spend on tools.
 

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Racing NASCAR for years we used a few different trailering techniques and I have seen a few more of the *** variety. One was a night where a friend in a modified got nailed pretty good and bent the crap out of his chassis. No matter what they tried they couldn't push/jack/etc the car straight enough to get it on the trailer. [don't try this at home or the track] Well owner was already mad about car and boiling cause he couldn't get it home. He got in, fired it up, punched the throttle for a solid blip, and bunny hopped the car at just the right angle and landed in the rails... tied it down, and split.

Sure it was dangerous as could be but also pretty dang impressive. I think I can safely say I think I have seen it all.
 

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For those who do not have a winch on their trailer or rent trailers buying a $20 come-a-long hand winch is a mandatory item.
A comealong is a whole lot better than nothing, and perhaps the best you can do with a rental trailer. But few comealongs have sufficient cable to pull a car the length of the trailer + ramps. Doing the loading in two stages is a possibility, but it requires chocking the car halfway up the ramps while you remove the extender from the comealong cable.

If you own your trailer, an electric winch like bshorey's is the ultimate accessory. But even a simple, manual boat winch works pretty well, and is fairly inexpensive. A quick Internet search found the one below selling for just $20 bucks.

 

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Discussion Starter #7
If only I owned a trailer.....
But I don't.

I used my $30 come-a-long today. Got the Honda loaded without incident. The cable is so short I had to do it in five (yes 5) stages. Time consuming, but better than paying the tow service $200. And I get to keep the come-a-long.
 
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