When we began car-shopping recently to replace Dede’s Honda CR-V, I suppose it was only natural that I’d catch the new car fever too, even though there’s nothing wrong with my trusty Element aside from it being 10+ yrs old and lacking in all of the techno-goodies, conveniences, and creature comforts of the cool new vehicles.
It was while I was half-looking for a suitable replacement, however, that I was very inspired by the EcoModder “Buy a Trailer Instead of a Pickup Truck” thread that I just stumbled upon. The argument that a trailer (and hitch) added to an existing car can give you almost all the functionality of a truck without the lower fuel efficiency—or hefty new car payments—really appealed to me. Even as much as this seemed like a great idea, I had all but dismissed the whole thing as impractical since I don’t have any space to park a trailer. But then several pages deep into the thread, I read a comment about the Haul Master Folding Trailer at Harbor Freight and I was hooked!
So the next thing I knew, I was at Harbor Freight:
Who would’ve guessed that a couple of unassuming (but heavy) boxes would hold an entire trailer?!
Liam and I set about getting the pieces unboxed…
Then we started putting the puzzle together:
It went together fairly quickly with Liam manning the power tools!
Once it was all assembled, I called in favors from Pete for bearing lube and Fred for some wiring assistance and it was ready for the decking. Ironically tho, I needed the trailer to get the plywood home! So with the help of a very overworked but friendly guy at the U-Haul store, I added an inexpensive Class 3 (chosen for size and flexibility more than weight capacity) hidden trailer hitch to my Element. Then I hitched up the trailer for its maiden voyage:
After I primed & waterproofed the plywood with truck bed liner paint and attached, the trailer was complete:
Perhaps the coolest thing is that once the trailer is folded (made much easier thanks to Corky’s clever how-to “rope trick” video), it only occupies an unobtrusive sliver of space in the front of the Element in our garage:
Once I started Googling around about this folding trailer, I discovered there are quite a few forums dedicated to building and customizing (sometimes extensively) these for a limitless array of uses:
- MyTractorForum.com’s “Folding 4×8 Flatbed Assembly” thread
- JeepForum.com’s “Harbor Freight Folding Trailer Write-Up”
- Harbor Freight Folding Trailer: Build / Mod / Write-up
- The Garage Journal’s “Folding Trailer Modifications” thread
Of course, the whole time we were working on this, Kenny Rogers’ “Gambler” was the song that stuck in my head. But Dede’s theme song for this project was different—she kept singing that line “Trailers for sale or rent…” While I’m confident that what was going thru her mind was the classic Roger Miller version, I really dig Josh Turner & Randy Travis’s rendition of “King of the Road”.