Ever seen a Datsun 510 Wagon used as a roundy-round dirt track racer? Me neither, but it looks like a great ride for the 4 cylinder class to me. This guy is located out of St. Louis, MO.
Archives for March 2012
Went down to Buttonwillow Raceway yesterday with my ‘engineer’ and co-driver, Tim Arnett. We took the Wagon out for four 20-30 minute sessions to test the winter’s mods and shake off some driver rust. The increased rear spring rate gave the front-end the bite I’ve been looking for, and we fine tuned a couple settings to our liking. We’ve got a race with VARA down at Willow Springs next weekend, including the two-hour enduro, so it was nice to find and fix a couple little things that needed attention. Plus, two electronically challenged old guys tested out a GoPro…
After fifteen years of trailering my race cars and bikes with open trailers, it was finally within my budget to get an enclosed trailer. The additional security and weather protection will be greatly enjoyed, and the Sunday night unloadings can now be delayed a day or two as neccesary. However, you must truly be ready for the extra expenses that will be incurred compared to an open trailer. First, the initial expense. A good used open trailer (or a cheap new one) will cost you almost $2K, while a similar enclosed trailer will cost you $5K. Second, there is the big gas mileage penalty for your tow vehicle. My experience has been a 20-25% mileage reduction with an open trailer, and 40-50% with an enclosed trailer. Third, there are all the extra expenses that also go up, ie. insurance, tires, brakes, trailer hitch, mirrors, etc.
Many folks say you need a full-size truck to pull a full-size trailer. Well I don’t have the room in my life for a full-size truck right now, so this season I’m pulling my full-size trailer (18′ V-nose) with a mid-size truck (Nissan Frontier). Power hasn’t been an issue, the 4L V6 makes more than a 10 year-old V8 does. Braking isn’t a factor, as I’ve got big brakes on the trailer and a nice adjustable brake controller. The short wheelbase seems to be nicely offset by the weight-distribution sway-control hitch (Reese) that I ponied up for. And a pair of extendable mirrors (Aero 2’s) makes the view behind me better than a full-size truck with stock mirrors. The 3000# trailer and 2000# car add up to load below the Frontier’s 6300# rating, so I’m even keeping the truck warranty valid. As an added bonus, the truck even came with a dedicated fan for its auxilary auto trans cooler.
I didn’t jump into this truck/trailer combo without some research and trepidation. I talked to a lot of my racing buddies, and listened to advice from a few trailering resources. I looked into the three different types of sway-control hitches (friction, cam, and friction/cam), and discovered a friction type was the only one that would fit the short tongue on my V-nose trailer. And after installing the hitch system myself, I see why shops want to charge you several hundred dollars for the service 😉 I’m glad I listened to the advice to pay for upgraded brakes on the trailer since I’d be towing with a smaller truck, as they seem to work great on the big hills.
Maybe my future holds a 24′ enclosed trailer with a generator and a/c, pulled by a big 3/4 ton truck, but for now, I’m quite happy with this season’s upgrade. But I’m still keeping my AAA membership current…