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The pics tell the story I guess which is finally almost over. This trailer rebuild took more spare time and cash than I thought. I should be able to get it weighed tomorrow. Now we've got all new tires / wheels, hubs and electric brakes on both axles. Electric break away brake system too. All new plus size wiring. Final cleanup on rear lights and wiring there but that's only about a 1/2 hr. job. Tie down fittings were welded to the car's rear frame recently and the front beam will get some straps to go to 5,000 lbs ratchet straps all round. 

The deck is 16' long and 66" wide which is about minimum.  The 2000 lb.  winch (  remote controllable )  up front does a great job getting the car up on the trailer and makes it easy to control backing down off the trailer. The whole rig is very nicely balanced and we have about 450 lbs of tongue weight to start with. The rear ramps are needing a cleanup too but I just used what I had on hand. Dust caps still need to go on the hubs. I'm still nervous about sideways movement of the car while under way so taking some of Gordon's adivce,  I will be installing four 16" lengths of 1/8" 3" x 3" angle inside of each wheel buffered with 1/4" thick plastic on the tire side. The Merklinator's idea of self drilling screws was a good one...still need to fit inside fender well panels. 

David Stroud

 '92 IM Roadster D 2.3 L Air Cooled

Ottawa, Canada



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The car is low already as you know. I will ratchet the front beam down forward and out to left and right.  The rear frame of this 90's IM has a bit of a box frame on each side to hold the front hinge points of the trailing arm suspension arms. A local welder welded on a thick tab on there on each side with a 1" hole through it to attach a ratchet strap.

So to answer your question Ray, I'll be ratcheting the frame down towards the bed of the trailer which would be the opposite approach to putting basket straps around the tires and ratcheting them down to the trailer. I've been made aware that some ratchet the frame of the car right down to blocks which essentially makes the car frame blocked right down against the trailer. I'm not going that far. Steel angles that I will install on the trailer deck will prevent the car moving from side to side and I will install one set of wheel chocks up front to put the car in the same balance point every time. 

Apparently there are conflicting opinions from many sources to crisscross the ratchet straps or not. There is provision now to do it either way. I'll collect one more round of opinions tomorrow as I get the rig weighed and then move on. 

Last edited by David Stroud IM Roadster D

You could just screw down a 2x4 along the outside of the tires on both sides. Similar to that 4x4 you put at the front tires. Park the car on the trailer, lay the 2x4's along the outside of the tires on both sides, screw down with some longish wood screws, and it would likely stop any side to side movement. There wouldn't be much torque on the wood and if there isn't a huge gap there'd be very little lateral impact to the 2x4.

IaM-Ray posted:

I guess you made something like this but permanent on the frame.

Ray, a local mechanic / Laguna Seca type racer had them made up and welded on. Pics tomorrow. He advocates no crisscrossing of straps. I might just go ape shyt and do both ways fore and aft. It's not the $$$ I'm worried about if the car fell off, more the embarrassment and inconvenience while on a trip. I'd sleep better. 

Thanks for the 2 x 4 idea Robert but there's only 1 1/2" of deck on the outside of each tire. Your idea has merit though and I could easily screw down a 2 x 4 on the inside of each tire accomplishing the same thing I think instead of the 3" x 3" steel angle. I just hate the idea of something rubbing on those nice Vreds....


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Last edited by David Stroud IM Roadster D

Dave, with the car being so low and my deck attach points out a foot or more beyond the bumpers, I could crank the straps down so they were tight (really hard to get that next “click”) and yet the frame wasn’t pulled down more than an inch or so, overall, because of the shallow angle of the straps.  Tight, yes....  Down, no.  On the car, I strapped over the bottom torsion tube in front, and over the transaxle frame horns at the rear.  What you have is way better.

Then I would take off and stop after 5 - 10 miles (or before the first interstate) and crank them tighter again (they would always go another click or two after it settled) to take care of settling.  They would need no further tightening for the rest of the trip.

I was not cranking it down to the suspension stops by any means, but it was snug.  Oh!  And I crossed the straps at the rear only, to keep the rear from moving sideways  - the front straps were straight.  I only noticed the car move on the deck once, after hitting a series of potholes on a sweeping curve in Philly at 70mph, and the rear had moved to the outside about 1/2”.  After that I crossed the rear straps only.

Good Luck with your “test drive”, but you’ve been pretty thorough through all this and I bet it will go just fine.  My heart was in my mouth the first couple of times I hauled Pearl.  After a while, it was just another drive.


Gordon is exactly right on this David. Do as he says, and tighten after driving a bit. The car always settles and/or moves a bit. Either don't cross them at all, or cross only one set of straps. With the front beam, I'd cross the rear only, and not put any side-load on the trailing arms.

I really like the idea of the 2 x 4 on the inside of the tires, that will work perfectly. Leave about a 1/2" or more space on either side, they are a just-in-case rather than a rub-all-the-time thing. My trailer has U-shaped wheel tracks, so it's not going to go too far in any event.

And DON'T leave the car in gear, leave it in neutral, but DO set the parking brake.

Looking good, carry on, David.

Looks secure! Everybody's method is a little different but crossing straps usually locks a vehicle in. The car should handle it being in gear, just like anywhere else when you park.

If your car is moving around on the trailer, its not fastened down properly.

I lash down with wheel nets - plenty of room in the front but rather tight on the rear. In fact I only lash one wheel in the rear as there is slightly more room on one side.

No Max, you are wrong about the transmission. Being parked is one thing, trailered is another. A manual transmission is not the same thing as an automatic in Park. The automatic has a pawl designed specifically for parking. A manual transmission is designed to be moving forward through the gears.

Do what you want to your car, but please don't recommend that others do this. Leave your car in neutral on a trailer, your transmission will thank you.

I have towed a lot, and see some rookie information on here re towing. Thats ok, its your responsibility. I frequent a racer forum & some racers trailer with their car in neutral. The thought is, wearing shiny spots in the cylinders and causing increased wear. Not transmission failure. Of all the stories I have not read of a damaged transmission or motor.  Just concerns. People with way more experience than me. There is also lash in a drive train, between the trans & diff.

*Redundancy in safety is a good thing*. Whether its straps, chains, along with chocks, emergency brake set, and put in gear. Cross your chains or straps. Some (a good idea) lash their car down in neutral then when secure put it in gear for less tranny loading. Double check, triple check retighten as straps and chains do loosen. Better safe than sorry! Human error is probably where vehicle movement comes from.

I do wheel nets on airline track, e brake and set in first gear. I'll let you know if I blow a trans or get blow by this way. Being an ex CDL/professional driver, I know, its always the drivers responsibility. Even if a chain or strap breaks, you will be the one ticketed.

Another train of thought is to use wheel net or tie off on suspension components so your car 'floats' and doesn't feel every bump as much.

So I respectfully agree to disagree. Sorry for the long winded opinion.

EDIT: A copy & paste I found...

No matter which method of tie down , you should always transport the vehicle in gear with the emergency brake engaged. Friction is your friend and momentum is your enemy. Whatever a transporter can do to stop the vehicle from gaining any momentum in the event of a hard stop or a crash the better. Both chain and strap systems are effective in keeping the vehicle on the trailer - when used properly. Either system can be rendered ineffective in a hurry if the vehicle gets a chance to start moving before the strap or chain gets a chance to work. When choosing whether to use a strap or a chain, you should always take into consideration the profile of the vehicle (is it high or low), if the vehicle is equipped to properly handle chain frame hooks, if the wheels are smooth enough to use a loop strap without damage, if can you access a control arm or a straight axle for tie down, and many other factors. Common sense will normally prevail.

No automobile manufacturer has ever specified any of their vehicles be transported in neutral. The only exception in the thousands of models ever produced was the 1993 and 1994 Pontiac Vibe and the 93 - 94 Toyota Matrix. These vehicles shared a transmission that was designed and built by Toyota. For some reason, Toyota engineers insisted the vehicles be transported in neutral. Unless you are hauling new cars for an automaker, keep the car in gear.

Last edited by MaxMartens

In all my years of hauling cars everything was in gear and the E' brake set. A neighbor (who should have never got into auto transporting) lost a high end car off the tail end of his three car wedge trailer. When I asked him about using a tether strap on the last car to the next forward vehicle on the trailer for safety he had no idea as to what I was talking about.  Fast forward to two nights ago  Smyth Performance VW - Ute pick up converstions ( former Factory Five owner) while moving to larger facilities Tuesday night a contracted heavy hauler lost Smyth's  Cat fork lift off a roll back. ….

David, I had a trailer pretty much like yours, only with a steel deck.  Dual axle , elec. brakes etc.  We used the trailer twice to bring our speedster to Carlisle, about 600 miles each way, and a few times to bring it for short trips to engine builder,etc.

Being a belt and suspenders  guy , I used axle straps on both ends and crossed another set of straps on each end as well.  Overkill, I know, but that puppy didn't move an inch. I think I left it in gear, and I know I cranked e-brake to max.

No matter what you do, your heart will be in your throat for the first few miles, till you stop to check the straps and kick the tires.

Best of luck and sea ewe at Carlisle.

My heart was in my throat for the first four times I trailered.  Nothing much happened so I began to relax a bit but was always watching the mirrors forever after (and all I could see was the top of the car's roof).  It's your baby back there, after all.

AFAIR, I got it positioned on the trailer, set the brake, left it in 1'st and strapped it down.  It never went anywhere because the straps are pulling against each end.  

Used to use the Speedster as a storage annex when we were hauling too much stuff between houses and the pickup bed overflowed.  Looked like Barnum and Bailey but we could include the kitchen sink.

I was a tow truck driver in my youth. Believe me, I know how to tie a vehicle down. I had exactly one vehicle move on me because I didn't tension it enough. I was afraid of bending the cheesy-looking suspension on an old Japanese econo-car. The car didn't go anywhere but an inch or two, all straps were still attached.

Let's just agree to disagree on this one Max, and I'll leave mine in neutral while y'all leave them in gear.

Al Gallo posted:

I sold the trailer to simplify my life a little ,and I finally realized that if I can't drive the speedster  wherever I'm going I guess it stays home.

I agree with Al on this.  Except for situations such as David's, where he wants to head south in the middle of winter and have his speedster there, I have never considered towing my car.  I just like driving it too much.

We all enjoy these cars in our own ways...


I will continue to trailer my car. From Wa state to Socal anyhow. Its not that comfortable. But its not that bad either. Seats lock us in (as they should for moderate/hard cornering.

The ride can be rough. On a rough road - its not modern car plush. And the noise! Between the Subaru header mounted up, being 'medium' in sound volume... And the transmission. 4th gear whines like hell. Trait as a performance transmission with straight cut gear I understand. Not 100% positive on that... Drowns out the stereo.

Anyway. Localized regional trips, no trailer. A 1000 miles away and I am trailering it.

...... IN GEAR!!! LOL

Cheers to all, trailering or not!

MaxMartens posted:

... And the transmission. 4th gear whines like hell. Trait as a performance transmission with straight cut gear I understand. Not 100% positive on that... Drowns out the stereo.


A VW transaxle is louder than a new car (one built in the last 40 years)-- but the gear isn't straight-cut, or even high-performance. Sound insulation would help, but 4th shouldn't run you out of the car.

That sounds like a John Steele "go away" excuse.

I gotta learn my car some, as I don't have answers for you guys. I haven't lifted my car yet to study it up (waiting for my four post lift). I would guess its a solid mount with a 230 hp motor. My friend ZF looked under it and said it had a Empi mount. Pictures when I can... I also know of another car that has the 4th gear whine also.

Gotta love the trash John any time you can routine. I'm guessing you guys might like this car... The looks, the power, the brakes, and the cornering.

Max, I am truly glad you've had a happy JPS "experience". But I know of many more not-so-happy ones. The reputation is not undeserved.

I'd love to dissect the trans and find those "straight cut" gears. You got hip waders? It's getting deep.

Who had the JPS coupe that came to Carlisle and sold it not long after due to tranny whine? I drove that car and it was nice. The whine wasn't too bad actually, it didn't bother me but it bothered the owner something awful. I don't think his expectation/reality ratio was close to reality.....

Last edited by DannyP


Max, it's possible, if they used a VW transaxle with a Subie, that they subbed out a Weddle gear for the stock VW 4th. (And this is only a guess, at best).

While not straight-cut gears, Weddle gears are designed for competition use and are a little closer to 'straight-cut' than stock. At any rate, they do whine more than stock and have a distinctive sound.

Two Weddle gears were used in my five-speed, and they definitely sound different, and louder, than the other gears.



To allay some of your fears (if any, at this point) I spent a few days riding around the greater Carlisle area in Tom Marantz's JPS 2.5 Suby Coupe a couple of years ago and here are my impressions:

1.  It accelerates like a bat outa hell with the widest torque curve I've felt in a looooong time.  It is non-turbo'd, fuel injected but you'd never know it - It just keeps on pulling, seemingly forever and launches onto interstates like a rocket.

2.  It had a rear-end Suby powering a Suby 5 or 6 speed (can't remember) transaxle with the Aussie flipped ring and pinion.  While I found the transaxle noise a bit louder than I expected (mostly 2'nd and 3'rd, IIRC ), I also did not find it objectionable and attributed it to only having carpeting and a bulkhead (and maybe a little Dynamat) between us and the transaxle.  Full disclosure, I have never driven a Suby manual for comparison, only a couple of automatics.  I can't say it was any louder than a beefed-up VW transaxle - Certainly on a par with my VW transaxle when I have the top up and side windows in and the gear whine lost to wind noise in the Summer becomes more prominent.  I sure as heck would never hear my Timex ticking in my Speedster unless the engine was not running.

3.  When John was building Tom's car, he asked Tom how loud he wanted it and Tom's reply was something like "Well, I wanna be able to hear it!" so he ended up with a loud-ish exhaust system.  That, plus the coupe enclosure, made it a bit loud in the cockpit under hard acceleration.  Like, Wait til you've finished stomping on it to continue your conversation because you can't hear each other til the engine quiets down loud.  Tom loves it, but I think he might also have invested in some Bose noise cancelling buds by now, at least for his wife.  My car is not quite as loud (2,110 and a Berg extractor street exhaust) and I have a pair of Ear Peace buds to keep me from going deaf.  'Nuf said.

4.  The fit and finish of Tom's car, both inside and out, was superb with really nice paint.  I admit to not being a big John Steele fan, but Tom's car was very well executed and he only reported minor things to be sorted after delivery, all of them done by Tom himself (he's a really good wrench).  It took longer than expected, but John was having major health issues and Tom, to his credit, gave him lots of slack til he could get back to building it.

5.  I did not drive Tom's car (I don't usually ask to drive other people's cars unless it's offered first) but it rode and handled very well, the seats chosen were cheek huggers and comfy all weekend without fatigue and for a weekend with temps in the 90's, the A/C was fabulous and never skipped a beat - Fast and Cold - and the under-dash A/C panel was nicely done (though obviously a "Vintage Air" unit, it still looked like it belonged there).

So that's it.  Yes, we've heard of people on here who were not thrilled with their dealings with JPS, but we've also heard of people who got great cars and are pleased with them.  Those people were/are very fortunate.  The others, not so much, but I've also known people who got problematic Fords, GM's, Chryslers, BMW's (me), Rovers, etc.  Sometimes it's a crap shoot when it shouldn't be, but those who win, win big.

You've got a great car.  Drive the snot out of it!


Last edited by Gordon Nichols

Sorry, I can't let this one slide. Weddle sells three types of gears that fit a type1 transaxle: stock, Sportsman, and Racing. There isn't a straight cut in the bunch, look for yourselves. Stock ones aren't straight, we all know. FYI, the same gears fit swing and IRS, except for a very few early gearboxes.

The point is, I think the car is beautiful, and I like JPS coupes, I've driven three. But instead of telling someone "hey it's an older gearbox and the coupe body amplifies noises" we go straight to the carnival huckster routine. Not cool.

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