That Big Truck Blog

An American Car Hauler's Blog

“…he always did things a little differently as a kid”

10 Cars on a Cottrell High-Side...Loaded A Little Abnormally

"Ten Cars...My Way"

A little unconventional way to 10 car a Cottrell Trailers C-10LT high-side…but it works rather well. The # 4 position can be stored below the rails (the red Jeep Compass backed on) and I have had an SUV/crossover type vehicle as large as the GMC Acadia in this position. Benefits are multiple…the weight of the engine/front end are kept to the rear and most supported part of the table and there is much less “swing” weight out on the front as the ramp is raised to it’s utmost point while loading. A lot less stress on that number 4 table this way while loading & going down the road. Of course, keys are in the bottom…belly car must be backed on with flippers on the shotgun stored inward. Also the shotgun car must be driven on with the wheels to the leading edge of the ramp. These 2 final vehicles must be of short enough wheelbase/length combinations to fit within the space from the front of the shotgun table to the rear of the telescoping # 10 ramp…obviously.

Oh yeah…don’t try this without a little wheelbase in your horse.

Be safe.

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October 31, 2011 Posted by | Auto Transport Trailers, Car Haul, Carl's Car Carriers Inc, General Auto Transport | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

COTTRELL TRAILERS MODEL C-10LT A AUTO TRANSPORT REVIEW PART 4

***The following is an ongoing, independent, unbiased review and commentary by CB Stephens of Carl’s Car Carriers Inc and is based on regular, everyday usage of the equipment in the course of automobile transportation activities for which this trailer was intended. CB Stephens is a 33-plus year veteran in the car haul field as an independent owner/operator and small fleet developer. Carl’s Car Carriers Inc. is a Tennessee-based automobile transportation service chartered in 1991. Cottrell Trailers can be visited by clicking this link: CottrellTrailers.com

Yep…here we are again. The “turdus migratorius”, (that’s Mr. Robin Redbreast to most of us) is bouncing around on the front lawn chasing earthworms, the neighbor’s daffodils are as golden as ever and a lone whippoorwill that I can hear but never see sings his springtime tune. The Bradford pear trees are once again fat with white blooms and everything is coming full circle once again. It’s springtime in Kentucky…2011.

An exceptionally harsh winter season has taken its heavy toll once again on our equipment and it is time to update the ongoing review of Cottrell’s C-10LT wagon. As mentioned in earlier parts of this review, Cottrell’s design is as good as it gets. Honestly, I would have been driven to update this blog sooner if the design was not so well done. We tend to be more open and vocal about negative items and sometimes we take for granted the really good job some of these engineers and welders perform. But…had the below depicted area broken sooner…I would have been all over it. 🙂 This good design doesn’t mean there are no flaws…and some of these weaknesses have been addressed beforehand here in this “blambling”. For the most part, however, one must give kudos to the Cottrell folks for their design and workmanship. Personally, I have a lot of good things to say about the particular model trailer I have been pulling around for some 300,000 miles now. But there are issues that arise and in this update, I will point out a very common weakness that I feel could be easily fixed with a little attention from the Cottrell people.

We all are aware of the need to be conscious of empty/unloaded weights. It’s not that we, as operators, do not understand this. I just mention this to cover the thoughts of the Cottrell engineers claiming that we don’t understand their end of the business. We do. We all do. This small problem could be very easily fixed from the factory without adding too much weight. There are areas, such as this one I am about to depict, that are small in size and area but they could present a costly problem if an operator is not paying attention constantly to his equipment. I “knew” this was going to happen and I must add, I was pleasantly surprised that it held off as long as it did. Did I mention…300,000 miles?

I’m calling it the number 10 position…you may quickly refer to it as the back bottom or the last deck or ???? The rearmost support for this deck (or table) is hinged and welded to a 2″ x 2″ tube with a plate across the top of the tube tying the tube, hinge and support arms together. That tube may not be a full 2″ x 2″…I didn’t measure it…just calling it at a quick glance. This deck is designed to lift up & down as well as telescope several feet in either direction. With this movement one could “overlap” a pair of vehicles to reduce the amount of rear overhang, etc. Good design…bad support underneath. Now 300,000 miles may sound like a lot of miles but $80,000.00 sounds like a lot of money also. I believe this is a position that could be enhanced greatly to resist corrosion if the tubing material was coated internally prior to assembly. Also, increase the wall of the tubing. This would undoubtedly increase the life of this weak point in Cottrell Trailers design that is utilized throughout several model trailers…not only on my C-10LT. Yes, this would add a small amount to the unloaded weight but this would be a much safer and greatly desired alteration, in my humble opinion. On to the images…

Carl's Car Carriers -ThatBigTruck Blog Cottrell Trailers C-10 Review

Cottrell Trailers C-10 Auto Transport Review - #10 Position Hinge & Support Area

Here’s the area I am addressing in this Part 4 of the Cottrell C-10LT review. As mentioned earlier, this particular design is shared by several different models of Cottrell’s automobile transport trailers so this applies in other situations as well. Over time, this design will give away and it could actually drop the ramp onto a lower tubing which could bring the ramp and it’s cargo dangerously close to the highway. If the ramp was extended rearward very far, this could present a big problem to an inattentive driver and the folks following him.

Here’s a close-up shot or two:

Carl's Car Carriers Cottrell Trailers C-10 Model Review

Close-Up of affected area - Hinge & Support for rear of # 10 Position

Another angle…

Cottrell Trailers Model C-10 Automobile Transport Trailer

A shot from the side of the affected tubing/support

Here’s the fix…

A close-up of the repaired area

Replacement tubing wall is substantial for longer life in a high-stress area

As you can see, the tubing is larger but also heavier walled which is the main focus here on this repair. The original tubing did not actually distort or bend…the top actually pulled loose due to the constant downward force of the weight of the cargo on that ramp and with internal corrosion helping to weaken the tube, the bottom (which is not clearly seen in my photos) of the tubing was pushed down and out. Now, this occurred on the driver’s side of the trailer. The opposing side did not pull out…yet. However, the top plate was distorted and bent downward which reveals that this one was going to go shortly. Cutting the old tubing out showed a lot of rust & corrosion inside the tubes.

The ramp loaded…

# 10 Position Loaded After Repairs

The forces on these 2 attachment points are considered fairly great. Even with all suspension components up to par and adjusted properly, these trailers are famous for the “see-saw” effect as they travel down the road. There is a lot that comes into play on these carriers and it is pretty amazing that this design is as good as it is.

In closing out this Part 4 of the Cottrell Trailer C-10LT review, I would like to say once again…and this is completely independent from Cottrell Trailers or any other manufacturer…it’s pretty amazing how well the equipment does what it was designed to do. Oh yeah, I could come up with a laundry list of suggestions for making the trailers even better but I can offer nothing to the engineers at Cottrell outside of increasing the tubing wall in some areas and coating the internal portions of the tubing prior to build. They have got their CAD stuff together. Once again I find myself needing to complain about the steel issue…the rust & corrosion is out of control. It could be better. And I, for one, would sacrifice a little extra unloaded weight for a trailer more solid and lasting. But then…that doesn’t move as many new trailers so quickly, does it? I’d also like to point out this before finishing this Part 4 review…there are obvious precautions a driver can take that will increase the health and life of his auto transport equipment. Most of us know this and have received valuable advice from the old professionals down through the years. Pin off your ramps…even when rattlin’ empty. Exercise care when placing heavy vehicles on aluminum decks and try to position the tires to evenly distribute the weight. Be cautious about “bottoming” the hydraulic cylinders out under load. In this review, I should add that it is much harder on the #10 ramp addressed here when you load a heavy vehicle onto the deck and leave it extended beyond it’s designed capability during transport. Yes, I know sometimes you need that extra inch between # 9 and #10 or maybe you’ve got a big one on #5 and you can’t afford the height increase if you overlap below…inevitably you will find yourself as I have…shoes toe-to-heel 4 times checking that rear overhang from the light box to the rear bumper of the vehicle and hoping Johnny Law doesn’t mess with you for 5 feet instead of the Fed’s allowed 4. Of course, I never do that. I always strive to be legal in all instances. No kidding. Really. For real. Just sayin’…if you hang that larger vehicle off the back-end, there is a lot of rocking forces in play here as you go bouncing across I-70. And a lifetime of observing all these various precautions will result in your equipment lasting longer and being worth more at resale time.

I should apologize for being out of the “blambling” for so long. I have been checking in and I need to say to all those that have e-mailed me…I appreciate your comments and the encouragement. This was just a little corner of my world plastered on the web and it has brought a lot of new acquaintances my way. I appreciate each and every one. 🙂 I do what I can when I can and it seems I’ve just been busy fighting with Old Man Winter and meeting customers deadlines.

I’ve got a new project in mind for the  car haulers of the world that have a little experience and still enjoy their chosen career path. It’s called http://www.bigrig.co and I’m going to be including some of you guys & gals I’ve met and talked with around the country. Get your images and stories ready. Don’t ya just love your job, Driver ?? 🙂

Thanks for checking in and Truck Safe !!

March 21, 2011 Posted by | 1, Auto Transport Trailer Review, Auto Transport Trailers, Car Haul, Carl's Car Carriers Inc, General Auto Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment