Flat Deck vs Dovetail. What advantage does the flat deck have?

Discussion in 'Tow Rigs and Trailers' started by REDLYNER, Jun 4, 2015.

  1. REDLYNER

    REDLYNER Mall Crawling Race Rig

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2008
    Location:
    Mountain Island
    Is there a leverage advantage to a flat deck car hauler vs. a dovetail? I've read pages and pages of opinions, but why would one buy a flat deck instead of a dovetail when it comes to car hauling?

    I've had both, but need a new longer trailer to accommodate a sxs and a jeep. The sxs needs ramps no matter if it's dovetail or not, so does that essentially negate the pluses of a dovetail?

    Is there a weight/leverage advantage to a flat deck? The sxs and jeep need about 21' or so of deck, if I got a 22' trailer I was afraid of having the rear wheels of the jeep on the dovetail. Is that frowned upon in the loading/hauling world?

    I could just get a 24' trailer and none of it would matter from a loading perspective, but I'm trying to keep it as light as possible (ie smaller trailer) to stay under my max gvwr and every 100lbs counts.
     
  2. 6BangBronk

    6BangBronk Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2005
    Location:
    Durham
    I know a dovetail takes leverage abuse. After about 6-7 years of hard use my dovetail fell off on the way to Charlotte when I-85 was so ruff. Had to winch it back up to get down there and back. Glad I was going for parts and not a car or something.

    But after reinforcing mine I'd go with a dovetail again due to loading advantages with pulling up low riding / long vehicles.
     
  3. drkelly

    drkelly Dipstick who put two vehicles on jack stands

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2005
    Location:
    Oak Ridge/Stokesdale, NC
    I would probably go with the 24' dovetail. You may need the extra length to get the vehicles positioned for proper tongue weight. If the trailer is almost the exact length of the two vehicles, then you have no way to adjust your tongue weight.
     
  4. BigClay

    BigClay Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2008
    Location:
    Winston-Salem
    I have a dovetail on my trailer, and never had a flat trailer so take my opinion as it is but the dovetail drags over everything when turning into or out of an incline. For that reason alone I will consider a flat trailer next time.
     
  5. Jeff B

    Jeff B pool boy

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2006
    Location:
    Lincolnton N.C.
    When I built my trailer I would not build dove tail due to it dragging.

    However, I guess it your pulling empty & you get rear ended it would be like dukes of Hazard..

    Makes it a little easier to load a low slung vehicle.
     
  6. REDLYNER

    REDLYNER Mall Crawling Race Rig

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2008
    Location:
    Mountain Island
    Just to reiterate, I'm pretty familiar with the major advantage of a dovetail from a loading perspective. But since I have to pull the ramps anyway for the sxs, that advantage seems to be negligible. But, that being said it is a convenience factor.


    Really, I'm curious about hauling with tires on the dovetail. Does that create more leverage on the tongue?
     
  7. Stuntman Autoworks

    Stuntman Autoworks Instigator of things

    Joined:
    May 6, 2010
    Location:
    Sanford NC 27330
    To your last question @REDLYNER no it doesnt.
     
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  8. shawn

    shawn running dog lackey of the oppressor class Administrator

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2005
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    And if it's got a SXS on the nose and a TJ hanging off the back, it's not going to have shit for tongue weight. Likewise, his 1/4 ton tow rig is having no part of a setup where the TJ goes on the trailer first.
     
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  9. Ron

    Ron Dum Spiro Spero Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2005
    Location:
    Sharon, SC
    Leverage on the tongue?
    No. If anything (and this would depend on a lot of specifics) it would result in slightly less tongue "leverage" than a flat trailer of equal length.
    That said the stress point will be the dove tail point.Long extended rides with a vehicle on the dove tail portion will stress that weld joint. The quality and style of that joint will determine whether that stress makes a shit bit of difference.
     
  10. mcutler

    mcutler Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2010
    Location:
    mt.airy nc
    Many trips like this, 4k on dove and 4k on flat, never an issue.

    uploadfromtaptalk1433564300098.jpg


    .....but my tow rigs have always been 1 ton or larger duallys, currently f450 and 550's, previously chevy 3500 dually. Or with my 30' foot rv.
     
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  11. Stuntman Autoworks

    Stuntman Autoworks Instigator of things

    Joined:
    May 6, 2010
    Location:
    Sanford NC 27330
    How long is that trailer?
     
  12. mcutler

    mcutler Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2010
    Location:
    mt.airy nc
    24 overall. 20 flat, plus 4 flip up dove. Best pulling trailer I've ever owned....and there's been a few.

    The wheelbase of the two are 117 buggy and 100 cj-(I think).

    Matt
     
  13. rockcity

    rockcity everyday is a chance to get better

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2005
    Location:
    Greenville, NC
    For hauling a car... One would choose a dovetail because the car wouldn't bottom out on the trailer during loading. For 4x4, flat deck should be better as it won't drag as much and our rigs tend to have plenty of clearance where it won't bottom out when loading.

    I bought a flat deck over the dovetail because I don't have a car to haul, just a buggy. And, I use my trailer for more than just hauling a buggy and the full flat deck was better for me.



    Why not just out the sxs on the trailer sideways? What's the wheelbase versus the width of the trailer? I think a rzr is only like a couple inches over width, if that.
     
  14. REDLYNER

    REDLYNER Mall Crawling Race Rig

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2008
    Location:
    Mountain Island
    That was the original plan, but I bought a longer wheelbased sxs that had a 90"wb and is over 120" long. So it wouldn't fit sideways. I sold the sxs last week, so my plan is evolving.
     

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