Posts Tagged ‘Horse Trailers’

Horse Trailers, Horse Vans, Horse Racing, and now HorsePOWER!

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

Week after week we talk about horse trailers, horse vans, horse riding and horse racing among other things.  With all this horse talk going on we couldn’t believe  it when we realized we had completely missed one of the most important “horse” items.

It doesn’t matter how snazzy your enclosed trailer, toy hauler or RV may be, you’re not going anywhere without horsePOWER.  And where do you find horsepower if not in a horse?  The internal combustion engine of course.

From weed-whackers and lawn tractors to motorcycles and everyday automobiles internal combustion engines are everywhere.  But what exactly happens inside that hunk of steel and which is better…diesel or gasoline?

At the core, all internal combustion engines are the same.  Dating back to 1876 when Nikolaus August Otto invented and patented a machine that converted chemical energy to kinetic energy through a contained explosion that drove a piston connected to a crank-shaft to create rotary motion.  This rotary motion is then transferred to the moving parts of the machine and voila.

We don’t really need another history lesson so for the sake of this article let’s focus on the massive four-stroke powerhouses found in full size pick-up trucks, SUVs and in the case of the Phoenix Sprinter…2 horse vans.

Diesel and gasoline engines are about as similar as they are different and at this point we will describe these differences and highlight the benefits and the potential short comings of each.

Gasoline engines function using a four-stroke combustion cycle that includes an intake stroke, a compression stroke, a combustion stroke and an exhaust stroke.  Automobile engines contain 4, 6 or 8 cylinders that draw fuel and air from a carburetor or fuel injector that is premixed and ignited by a spark-plug at the end of the compression stroke.  Gasoline engines are more common and in many ways simpler and require less maintenance (or at least the maintenance is less complex).

Rudolf Diesel discovered that higher compression resulted in higher efficiency and more power (a gasoline engine compresses at a ratio of 8:1 to 12:1 while a diesel engine compresses at a ratio of 12:1 to as high as 25:1).   Diesel fuel also has a much higher energy density than gasoline and as a result is much more efficient and packs a bigger punch per gallon (1 gallon of diesel contains approximately 155×106 joules equaling 147,000 BTU whereas 1 gallon of gasoline contains 132×106 joules equaling125,000 BTU).  Diesel also contains more carbon atoms in longer chains making it easier to refine which is why it used to be cheaper than gasoline.  But increased demand for diesel fuel has forced an increase in price.

Diesel engines use the same four-stroke combustion cycles (intake, compression, combustion and exhaust) however there are slight modifications.  As stated above, it’s really a matter of compression.  Gasoline engines have compression limits due to the risk of air being compressed too much and creating “knocking” within the engine.  With diesel engines, the fuel is injected directly into the cylinder and combusts as a result of the massive compression exerted on it.

Both gasoline and diesel engines can be fine-tuned and modified to increase overall horsepower and efficiency using a variety of methods such as cold-air intakes, super chargers, aftermarket exhaust systems and turbo chargers (we may elaborate on these modifications at a later date).

This is all great to know but the question in the minds of many is which one is better?

The truth is it’s a preference thing.  Just like Coke and Pepsi, McDonalds and Burger King or Ford and Chevy…people like what they like for a number of reasons.

Diesel engines may be more powerful and fuel efficient but they tend to be more expensive to buy and maintain.  The cost of fuel is also significantly higher.  Diesel engines do not emit nearly as much carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and carbon dioxide as their gas guzzling buddies and in the age of the global warming and ozone deterioration these are things worth considering.

Whichever you prefer, both are excellent sources of the kind of power you need when  you decide to hitch-up and hit the road.  Now when it comes to what frame, body and manufacturer you choose…that’s something we’d rather not get into as the Ford, Chevy and Dodge lovers of the world tend to get a little heated in that debate.  Not to mention the slew of other auto-makers that have thrown their lot into the ring of contention (Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Hummer, etc.).

We hope that you found this article helpful or at the very least interesting.  Though we do not dabble in engine repair, we pretty much do everything else here at Phoenix Coach Works and if your ‘everything else’ needs a little attention please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Safety: Observe & Execute

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

Here at Phoenix Coach Works, we are fully aware that many of you are seasoned travelers, having towed horse-trailers, RVs or toy haulers hundreds of times and thousands of miles throughout your life.  However, in recent weeks we have been focusing our attention on proper towing techniques and other safety related items. Our purpose is not to bore or insult the intelligence and experience of our weathered vets but rather to educate and inform those who are just beginning their travels.

Whether you tow a 6×8 tilt-bed or a 4 horse trailer with a tack room and sleeping quarters, there are certain techniques and driving habits that must be learned and observed.  If a driver fails to abide by these principles, vehicles, trailers, people and their animals may fall victim to their negligence and unsafe towing practices.  That is why it is important to discuss safety at such lengths.

Practice, Practice, Practice:  Before cruising on the interstate, you’ll need to get some practice operating your rig.  Even if it’s a small trailer, the additional weight as well as your extended length will change the way your vehicle handles.  If you’re used to heavy, last-minute braking, you need to practice giving yourself more space and time to slow your rig to a stop.

One of the most frequent complications when towing a trailer is backing up.  Practicing backing will not only ensure the safety of your rig and those riding in it, but it’ll impress bystanders as they watch you finesse your trailer into position.

WIDE LOAD:  If you’re towing a trailer or RV that has a wider wheelbase than your vehicle, you will need to replace the standard side mirrors with a larger set or install mirror extensions.  You also want to consider the length and width of your rig when making any spatial judgments including turns and passing other vehicles (most likely you’ll be the one getting passed as safe towing requires driving at reduced speeds).

Keep it steady:  Aside from being scary, trailer sway can be extremely hazardous and cause your rig to jackknife if not corrected promptly.  In order to prevent trailer sway, make sure your load is evenly distributed and maintain a steady, consistent speed with as little lane change as possible.  If your trailer has independent brakes, you can correct trailer sway by applying the trailer brakes without the vehicle brakes.

It seems that almost anything truly enjoyable comes with some sort of risk or hazard.  Traveling while towing a trailer is no different.  Whether you’re hauling quads in your enclosed trailer or livestock in your 6 horse trailer, safety should always be your number one concern.

And if you happen to discover something during your rig’s inspection that needs repair or slight fabrication, please contact Phoenix Coach Works and schedule a consultation.  We take pride in what we do so you can take pride in what you tow.

What Are You Driving?

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Following a little bit of fun last week with our thoroughbred expose, it’s time to get back to business. In past months our blogs have ranged from traveling checklists to trailer tire selection and maintenance.  At this point it almost feels as if we’ve discussed nearly every possible topic related to towing horse trailers, toy haulers and RVs.  However, as with everything we do, our dedicated staff is committed to consistently providing a quality product for our visitors and customers each week.

It’s probably safe to assume that many of you are familiar with big box retailers like Lowe’s and Home Depot.  If so, it’s likely that you have seen someone loading their vehicle with a much heavier burden than what it’s designed to carry; to the extent of shattered leaf-springs, blown-out tires or front wheels lifting off the ground.

If laughter truly is the best medicine, then hang around the contractor’s area long enough and it’s almost certain you will see someone overloading their compact SUV or hybrid crossover.  You will be healed…repeatedly.

So why are all these folks over loading their vehicles?  Maybe no one ever told them that too much weight in the trunk or bed can greatly affect the way their car handles (i.e. braking and steering) not to mention causing unnecessary wear to the drive-train, suspension and tires.  Maybe they think that a few extra bags of concrete over the axle of their tilt-bed trailer won’t make that much of a difference.  Or maybe they just don’t care.  Whatever the reason, let this anecdote serve as a warning: DO NOT OVERLOAD YOUR VEHICLE.

Vehicles are built to withstand certain load extremes set by the manufacturer and ignoring these regulations can land you in serious trouble.  You can be fined for hauling more weight than what your vehicle is rated and potential repairs would only add insult to injury.  That is why we have included a link to the Online Towing Guide that outlines a variety of popular vehicles and the towing capacity that they are rated for.

If you tow a trailer or use your truck or SUV for light duty hauling, do yourself a favor and find it on this list.  Doing so will save you a lot of time and money in the long run.  You can avoid costly and unnecessary damages to your vehicle and you won’t have to take off  work to plead your case at the local courthouse.

That goes without saying that you will keep everyone who rides in your vehicle safe.  And as we remind our readers each and every week, safety is the most important part of hauling and towing.   Once you have that covered, your mind will be at ease and you can enjoy the rest of the trip.

As always, if you have any questions regarding towing guidelines, custom trailer construction, trailer repair or trailer maintenance please feel free to contact Phoenix Coach Works for more information.

Be safe and enjoy the ride!

No Job Too Small

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

Each week as we’re plowing through blog posts, providing what we hope is useful information to our customers and visitors, we remind them [you] that we provide a wide range of services that stretch far beyond custom trailer design and construction.  This week we would like to shine light on these services and elaborate on the fact that we are truly a full service company.

Although we typically stress our involvement with horse trailers, toy haulers and RVs, we also provide our services for 53’ semi-trailers, boats, cars and aircraft part painting.

We offer the following services:

Painting:  Phoenix Coach Works’ exterior services include collision work such as FRP and fiberglass repair as well as custom paint and vinyl striping.  We are happy to work on individual units or entire fleets with very short down times.

Fabrication:  Our facility is equipped to handle every possible challenge that a custom trailer may present.  We have the tools you need as we can cut and bend any size sheet metal and schedule 40 pipe (up to 2 ½”).  Our past projects include fold-down and roll-out ramps, unique tool box installations, interior walls and aluminum cages both with and without doors.

Installations:  At Phoenix Coach Works, we are happy to help in any way we can.  If you are having trouble finding or installing an item, please allow us to simplify the process and do the leg-work for you.

We offer installation of the following: climate control units, A/C units, camera systems, AC electrical wiring, windows/doors, generators, pressurized and gravity fed water tanks, underbody fuel tanks, in-bed fuel transfer tanks, towing air bags, hitches, electric brake box, axles, hydraulic jack and charge lines between truck and trailer.

Truck Customization:  If you just want to make your truck appear a little flashier as you’re cruising down the interstate, Phoenix is where it’s at.  We install running boards (lighted and unlighted, painted to match), nerf boards, visors, bug shields, LED accent lights, mud flaps, auxiliary lighting and bed rails; anything to make your ride stand out among the rest.

Vehicle Service and Repair:  Besides run-of-the-mill service and repairs such as tires, wheels and brakes (both hydraulic and electric), we also provide a variety of specialized services including: wiring repair, frame repair, air suspension service and aluminum, steel and stainless steel welding.  Not mention we provide Pennsylvania State Inspection.

We really hope this brief overview has given our visitors a better idea of what we mean when we say that if you have ANY problem or question at all regarding your trailer to please contact our offices for a consultation.  And please remember that although we welcome fleet work into our facility with open arms there’s no job too small here at Phoenix Coach Works.

We treat every job as if it’s our most important…because it is.

Horse Head Safety

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

At Phoenix Coach Works, we put a lot of thought into creating the perfect trailer for your every need. After 25 years in the business, we have seen it all, and know the safety features you want and need to make your life easier. One of the safety features that come standard on all of our horse trailers and horse vans protects the safety of your horse’s head during the loading process, a vitally important feature.

Leading a horse into a horse trailer is not always the easiest process. Of course they are reluctant to be led into a small metal stall that inhibits them from moving around as they please (even if it is a Phoenix Coach Works quality constructed stall made of strong light weight aluminum). As the horse is being loaded chances are they can rear up at the wrong time and smack their head against the roof of the horse trailer causing cuts and injury.

That is why at Phoenix Coach Works we build our roofs to be flexible so that it will bend around the horse’s head, should they come in contact. Styrofoam insulation between the interior and exterior roofs absorbs any impact which should happen, protecting your horse and your horse trailer. This safety feature is so important that it comes standard in every horse trailer we build. We have been including this feature for so long, we often forget to mention it!

For the ultimate in safety and quality construction, call us about a custom horse trailer or van today. We are happy to help you determine the features and options that are the best fit for your needs and budget.

Not Your Average Horse Trailer

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

At Phoenix Coach Works, we understand that cost efficiency in every major purchase is important, especially in today’s economy. That is why our custom horse trailers are designed to do double duty by transforming from a horse trailer to a large open floor area for hauling just about anything.  At 102 inches wide and up to 53 feet long, you can easily fit an item as big as a pickup truck inside your Phoenix Coach Works horse trailer.

Converting your horse trailer into a large cargo trailer is as easy as removing the partition walls, opening the rear doors, and rolling out the ramp. Within 30 minutes you will be ready to use your horse trailer to transport farm equipment, bikes, cars, trucks, and much more. You can even use your trailer to help a friend or family member move (if you want to, if not then don’t tell them about the transformative qualities of your Phoenix Coach Works horse trailer, your secret is safe with us).

For custom built horse trailers that are built to meet your needs, and those you never even knew were possible, give us a call today. Our horse trailers are built to last. Once you switch to Phoenix Coach Works, you won’t go back…..our horse trailers last an average of 25 years, so you probably won’t have the chance to!

Introducing 2 Horse Vans

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

Phoenix Coach Works has built 4 horse, 6 horse, 8 and 9 horse van bodies as well as 15 Horse Trailers for a couple of decades now. What sets our horse vans apart from the competition? We build our horse trailers to commercial grade standards. Our frames are so strong and long lasting that after 25 years in business, over 90% of our horse vans and trailers are still on the road today!

Our clients are used to the Phoenix Coach Works standard of quality, and we are bringing the same level of excellence to our new 2 Horse Van, also known as “horseboxes”. These smaller horse vans have become more popular in recent years after originating in Europe.

Due out late this summer, our new 2 Horse Van will include a cab and chassis as well as a tack room for the most affordable solution for transporting your horses. We will also be sure to include all of our standard horse van features that you have come to love such as:

• Lightweight aircraft aluminum spring loaded poles and breast bars are durable without adding unnecessary weight to your horse van.

• Easy rolling lightweight aluminum ramp which makes the loading and unloading process a snap.

• ¾” Rubber on floor and kick walls makes for the most comfortable transportation for your horses

• Many More! Click here to review full list of horse van standard features

As always, if you have special needs we can create any custom configuration you want. To learn more about our newest offering, the 2 horse van, contact us today.