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.

In several past articles we have mentioned the necessary supplies of traveling while pulling a trailer.  From emergency and first aid kits to paperwork and other miscellaneous must-have items, Phoenix Coach Works’ main concern is that our customers and those who visit our site travel safely while still having a great time.

That said, even the most prepared and cautious travelers have been known to have bad experiences.  As the saying goes, “accidents happen,” and we would hate to see you left in the dark if something was ever to happen to you or your trailer.  For this reason we would like to take time this week to discuss trailer-towing regulation and insurance.

Whether you’re traveling to a horse competition, a fox-hunt gathering or a prestigious car show, the most important part of any trip is mapping your quest and preparing for the road ahead.  However, one thing that often goes overlooked while traveling interstate is the variance in towing laws.

Before we discuss these differences, let’s go over a few things that are an absolute must regardless of where you’re headed.  No matter where you travel, you WILL NEED taillights and a light for your license plate.  Though not required in every state the following items are just as important while pulling a horse trailer, toy hauler, custom trailer or recreation vehicle: safety chains, brake lights, clearance lights, turn-signals, reflectors and breakaway brakes.

While many states share similar requirements for people hauling trailers, some states may have different regulations that complicate traveling interstate.

For example, if you’re traveling from Alabama to Mississippi, you could suddenly be exceeding the maximum towing speed without even knowing (towing speed decreases by 10mph), you’re trailer may be too wide (maximum width narrows by 6 inches) and you may find yourself without trailer brakes in a state that requires them.

To avoid any of these mishaps, and the fines and penalties that go with them, be sure to always check the towing laws and regulations of the states you plan to travel through.  Doing so will not only keep you on track by avoiding any holdups, but it will also protect your pocketbook and driving record.

In the case that an accident does occur, you want to be absolutely certain that all damages to your trailer are fully covered when you bring it to Phoenix Coach Works for repair.  When you spend 10’s of thousands of dollars on a 4 horse trailer, you want the security of knowing that it is insured in the event that anything should happen. Enter…trailer insurance.

Just as individual states can complicate traveling with a trailer, auto insurance companies often do the same.  While some companies will cover liability and partial damages for a trailer accident that occurs while on the road, others will leave you to foot the entire bill for repair.  That is why you need to read your policy’s fine print and if you have any questions, call your customer service representative.

If it just so happens that there is limited or no guaranteed coverage for your trailer, it may be time to start looking for trailer insurance.  Even though some companies may cover trailer accidents that occur while towing, this does not protect you from natural disasters such as fire and flood.  Many companies that specialize in RV insurance also provide trailer insurance as well.  Not to mention that many major insurance companies offer additional coverage for trailers. Something else to consider is if something happens to your trailer while it is on your property, it may be covered by your homeowner’s insurance.

Lastly, once you have hashed out your insurance woes regarding your trailer, be sure to find out if any of your insurers have safety standards that must be followed to ensure your insurance.

As always, we hope that you have found this article both helpful and informative.  If you are currently in need of repair, custom construction or a difficult install please feel free to contact Phoenix Coach Works.  You may also contact us if you have any further questions regarding finding and obtaining trailer insurance.

And remember…in a time when it’s difficult to trust and rely on anyone, Phoenix Coach Works is here for you!

This week we’d like to express our appreciation for the people that help make Phoenix Coach Works a success.  Despite these trying times, we have been fortunate to continue providing service to a wide range of consumers.  From trailer repair to custom trailer design and new trailer construction, we do our very best to tailor the service of each job to suit the needs of our growing clientele.  Whether we’re building a 6 horse trailer for show animals or a custom trailer for cars and motorcycles, you can rest assure that all Phoenix Coach Works transportation vehicles exceed industry quality standards.

We communicate with a variety of customers with unique needs and interest in our products.  From there, we will schedule an appointment to discuss their specific needs and make an overall assessment of the job.  As you can imagine, different people need different things for a variety different reasons.  And you know what they say: “variety is the spice of life.”

Imagine there’s an equestrian whose passion is grooming and training their animals to become prizewinning show horses.  These fine creatures are also deserving of the tremendous care and attention to detail that Phoenix Coach Works pours into everything they create.  This individual may want to consider the new Phoenix Sprinter.

Built on Mercedes chassis, this two horse van is powered by an 188hp Mercedes Benz engine that stretches fuel economy to nearly 17mpg.  Not only does this unit help reduce maintenance costs compared to a truck and trailer combination, but it also comes with innovative safety gates, loading ramps, adjustable partitions, and a quick-release breast-bar.  Not to mention the aluminum lined interior is fully insulated for maximum comfort.

Lastly I’d like you to picture a different kind of showman.  This person has a nostalgia for restoring things that have been forgotten, a collector of the extremely rare and a creator of something entirely unique.  Whether it is classic cars, custom hot-rods or a collection of chromed-out motorcycles, this person needs a safe way to transport his ‘babies.’  Again, Phoenix Coach Works comes to the rescue.  Our line of motorcycle and toy hauler RV-style trailers is available in 8’ and 8.5’ widths and 16’, 18’, 20’ and 24’ lengths.  Again, please feel free to contact Phoenix Coach Works so we can discuss your specific needs and begin the creation of your toys’ home away from home.

This is just a peek at the kind of service we provide our customers.  As stated above, everyone’s trailer and hauler needs are different and we take that into full account throughout our consultation and assessment. We’re there for you every step of the way.  Designing and purchasing a large trailer such as these can be an expensive and often difficult thing to do, especially in today’s economy.  But don’t let this deter you from moving forward with your dream.  Here at Phoenix Coach Works, you envision the dream, and we make it a reality.

After months (or years) of shopping, you’ve decided to go with Phoenix Coach Works for your custom-built 2, 4, 6, or 9 horse van body or 15 horse trailer.  The color detail is not an issue since you’ve seen this trailer many times in your dreams streamlining down the interstate so you know exactly what it’s going to look like on the exterior.  What you haven’t quite figured out yet, is how you plan to optimize the use of space and guarantee that all horse-trailer necessities are accounted for.

As far as custom interiors, the most important thing to consider is the intended use of your trailer.  If you use a trailer for short trips between neighboring barns, a simple setup trailer with adjustable stalls will easily suffice.  However, if you travel long distances for shows or take your animals trail riding for days or weeks at a time, you’d likely want to consider a larger trailer with a tack-room.

Once you have decided the size and configuration needs of your trailer, it’s time to load up and hit the road/trail.  We understand that as you’re making the investment to purchase a horse van or horse trailer, you have likely been at this for many years, if not decades.  However, it is always nice to have a checklist to reference when packing in case you have forgotten or overlooked something important.

You will need the following:

Safety Items

–          Horse & Human First Aid kit (including a sedative, God forbid, in case of an accident)

–          Trailer Aid

–          Air Compressor

–          Dielectric grease

–          Gloves

–          Duct Tape

–          Cross-jack

–          Trailer chocks (anything from bricks to pieces of 2×4 will work)

–          WD-40

–          Heavy duty Coupler Lock

–          Tool Box

–          Warning Triangle and Flares

Misc. Items:

–          Large, durable tote

–          The Clip

–          Grooming Supplies

–          Fly Spray

–          Muck Bucket, Broom and Pitchfork

–          Treats

–          Extra halter & lead rope.

–          Extra Clothes

–          Twine

–          Tarps

Although this list is quite obvious, we can all agree that in the midst of both excitement and haste, it’s sometimes easy to overlook the most obvious items only to swat your forehead and curse yourself 40 miles into your trip.

Whether you’re the proud new owner of a custom trailer, merely shopping around and considering options, or looking to make changes to your existing trailer, please feel free to contact Phoenix Coach Works with any and all questions or comments regarding your horse trailer needs.  We offer a range of services from new construction to repair and customization.  If you can dream it, we can build it.

Last week, we talked about a few ways to keep your horse trailer safe. But security measures such as sturdy locks and trailer alarms aren’t the only ways to protect your investment. First and foremost, you need to consider buying horse trailer insurance.

Your car insurance provider may already provide coverage plans for your horse trailer. If it does, this will almost always be your most cost-efficient option. If it’s not offered outright, be sure to ask if you get any discounts for insuring multiple vehicles through one provider. If not, you may want to consider switching to an insurer with such benefits.

And once you’re ready to buy, not all plans are the same. You may be able to add extended coverage, such as damage from natural disasters, which are not typically covered in basic plans. You can also choose between options for pricing, such as insuring your horse trailer for the amount you paid for it or the amount it would take to replace it. You may even be able to negotiate a fixed price to cover your horse trailer’s worth.

A few things to look for in a standard plan include coverage for parked or moving trailers, theft, collision, towing, roadside assistance and fire damage. Of course, you also want to be sure your belongings within the trailer are covered—including your most prized possessions, your horses.

Don’t hesitate to ask Phoenix Coach Works, Inc. for advice about how to best buy insurance for your new or refurbished horse trailer.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been discussing ways to keep your horse trailer safe while traveling. This week, we’d like to talk a little more about one of Phoenix Coachwork Inc.’s favorite ways to protect your horses on the go: security cameras.

Security cameras can be hooked up to watch over your horses in the trailer while you focus on the road from the cab. However, you can keep an astute eye on what’s going on behind you by watching a monitor rigged to your dashboard (or a similarly convenient location). This not only allows you to ensure that your horses (or other cargo) are protected, it also provides you with peace of mind when you’re on the road.

Voyager is our brand of choice for monitors and cameras–they’re very reliable, commercial-grade units. Although a variety of options are available at lower price points, we’ve tried out many and realized that Voyager is the best blend of quality and affordability. And though some wireless systems claim to work through the wall of your cab, our testing has revealed that reception is unreliable–and what good is a semi-reliable security system?

We can work with almost any system devised by Voyager, so you can choose which kit best suits your rig. We will then install all of the necessary wiring and equipment on your horse trailer. It doesn’t matter if you’ve just completed a new horse trailer purchase from Phoenix or you’re bringing in your old tried-and-true trailer. Most horse transport vehicles can benefit from a camera security system. Call us for a custom quote for installing security cameras in your horse trailer. If you imagine the total cost of losses of one lost or injured animal or a piece of pricey equipment, it’s easy to see how these cameras pay for themselves. Extra security may also reduce your monthly insurance payments; contact your provider to learn more.

Not only is it a significant expenditure to buy your horse van or trailer itself, but most of the time, it’s full of valuable tools and equipment you need for your horses, shows and transport. Good people like you aren’t the only ones aware of the worth of a horse trailer and its contents—there’s unfortunately a large market for theft targeting this type of vehicle. That’s why insurance and other forms of protection are so vital to horse trailer ownership.

Security System

Naturally, the first thing that comes to mind is installing a security system. There are many types out there for rigging your doors and windows, and a little research will go a long way when it comes to tailoring one specifically to your rig. From a simple auto-lock mechanism to an alarm to a GPS tracking system, there’s an option at every price point. Just remember, any additional security you add is going to pay for itself in peace of mind.

Locks and Bolts

You’ll also want especially strong locks on all of your doors—whether for people or horses. A thief with a simple lock-picking toolkit could make your life very difficult if you don’t start out with locks that deter thieves from even trying to break into your horse trailer. Compared to a security system, this may be a cheaper way to wisely protect your horse trailer while it’s parked on a lot and you may be too far to hear a siren (unless you’ve installed an alarm that also automatically notifies authorities, which may be wise if you’re often away from your trailer chock full of valuables). At Phoenix Coach Works, we always install high quality, theft deterrent locks on all of our horse vans and trailers. If you have a used horse trailer that needs an upgrade on its lock and bolting system, bring it by and we can help you install one.


Phoenix Coach Works Inc. likes to think that our clients are smart enough to protect their investments with the proper vehicle insurance. But that being said, how covered are you really? Let this serve as a friendly reminder to review your policy and be sure you’ve got the coverage you need for your trailer on the road and parked in storage–for the vehicle itself and for the items inside. Is towing covered? What about natural weather damage? Stay safe and stay smart by reviewing and updating your existing insurance.

Next week, we’ll talk more about horse trailer insurance. In upcoming weeks, look for articles about other interesting and clever security ideas at varying price points. As always, feel free to call us or drop by to discuss the best protection for your horse trailer.

There may be snow on the ground for many Americans in the coming weeks. But that doesn’t mean it’s time to hang up your equestrian gear until spring. This time of year is bustling with events for owners and riders with horses competing in the winter circuit, taking place in sunny Florida. If you’re making the drive south to compete in upcoming activities, you definitely want to travel in safety and style.

First of all, before you take off you’ll want to have your horse trailer thoroughly checked. You’ll want to check your tires, lights, wheel bearings and braking system—among other standard check-ups (gas, oil, license, etc.). This will ensure that your trip goes as smoothly as possible, without any unscheduled road hazards, police checks or side trips to an unknown garage. Phoenix can help you out either starting off to your shows or when you’re about to head home; we offer fast, reliable systems checks to get you on your way with total confidence.

But the security of your travel isn’t the only thing you might want to think about. How about how your horse RV or trailer is looking these days? Has it been washed from top to bottom in awhile? Showing up with a worn-looking horse trailer is no way to kick off your competition season. Start things out right by presenting your champions in their best light: in a freshly cleaned horse trailer. Phoenix offers trailer acid-wash cleaning to get even the worst buildup of grime and dirt off your hitch—so you’ll make an entrance looking your best. On the other hand, traveling for the circuit can also take its toll. If you’re looking to get cleaned up after the fact, we can get your rig in good condition to bring back home.

Please don’t hesitate to ask about our trailer maintenance services and pricing for preparing your horse trailer in terms of both safety and style.

Every horse owner has different needs. Some are frequently moving their horses to and from sites for competitions. Others move horses on a weekly or monthly basis for leisure or loaning. And then some horse owners infrequently transport their horses to the vet or during moves. So it isn’t always easy to decide if you should own your own horse trailer.

If you’re a new horse owner, you may be wondering if it’s best for you to invest in owning a horse trailer and the requisite equipment. Or, if you’re a longtime horse owner, you may simply be sick of renting and borrowing used horse trailers—and worrying about whether or not you can trust their durability and construction—much less entrusting your horses’ care to the hands of strangers, in some cases. Or you may already own a horse trailer but wonder if there isn’t something that’s better-suited to your exact needs than the one you already have.

All of these concerns and considerations are important to the staff at Phoenix Coach Works. And we’re always happy to discuss your exact stipulations to see if we may be able to help you make a choice about buying a horse trailer. As experts in the industry, we may even come up with ideas and questions you haven’t even thought of yet to help you decide. Targeting your ideal specs—such as materials, weight, height, storage space, aesthetics, etc—is an important task before you invest. After all, it’s not just a matter of making a shipment—horses are more than just cargo; they’re your pets and often considered members of the family. You want to transport them with the same safety and diligence that you’d give to transporting your own kids. And we understand.

Phoenix Coach Works also customizes trailers, so when you’re ready to figure out which horse trailer to buy, you can rest assured that you’ll wind up taking home a rig that’s exact to your specifications. Eliminate the hassle of hauling your horses by consulting with the friendly staff and considering the variety of options at Phoenix Coach Works.

At Phoenix Coach Works we have seen small trailers rise in popularity over the past few years. More and more of our customers are asking for small horse trailers as well as small toy haulers and enclosed trailers. Here are some of the benefits of going small when comparing your trailer options:

  • Lower cost. If you need to buy a new trailer or possibly even your first trailer but are trying to be frugal in a tough economy like the one we are facing, a small trailer can dramatically lower the investment needed.

  • Lower towing power. The bigger the trailer, the more it weighs, and the more horse power you will need to tow it. Getting a truck or chassis adequate to handle large size trailers will contribute to a bigger bottom line.

  • More maneuverability. Small trailers are the perfect solution for attending events where space is limited. Our smallest size toy hauler camper will have you fitting into the tightest of spaces at motorcycle rallies.

Getting a small trailer does not have to mean that you aren’t going to get everything you want. At Phoenix Coach Works, our trailers (large and small) are built custom to your needs, so chances are we can help you figure out how to get just what you want out of your trailer, no matter what size you decide upon.

The first step to finding a trailer solution that will fit your needs and budget is to give us a call at (610) 495-2266. With over 25 years in the business, we are happy to give you our time and expertise to answer any questions you may have.