I’m going to make a proclamation. This will officially be the easiest and least costly Toolshed Engineer column ever to be in Speed News. It is cheap and simple, which are two things I like a lot. Here is the Reader’s Digest version: Buy some pool noodles and put them on the guide wires of your racecar trailer ramp. That’s it. You’re done.

Most racing car trailers come with a ramp that has two guide wires on the edges of the ramp. We have found these wires incredibly difficult to see and we have run into them or tripped on them multiple times.

The Toolshed Engineer column has been a part of Speed News for more than a decade providing handy tips and ideas to help racers. We have covered a lot of ideas regarding organization and specific tips on setting up a racecar trailer like this one from 2013 on our bargain racing trailer. We are still rocking that same trailer and we have been updating it as the years and adventures continue to roll along.

These racecar trailer ramp guide wires are hard to see and are easy tripping hazards. We don’t need to end up on our head at the track.

What is amazing is that it took me 10 years to add this simple and easy modification to our trailer. I can’t even estimate how many times I’ve hit or tripped on the guide wires. Things get busy and hectic at the track, I’m in a hurry, running for a 10 mm end wrench and inevitably I crash into the unseen guide wires. Either I’m a klutz or these darn wires are just impossible to see against a concrete background.

During the summer you can find pool noodles at most sporting goods stores. This is going to be a very inexpensive project. We chose red because it seems to be the most contrasting color against concrete.

Like a lot of the ideas we have covered here on Toolshed Engineer, I can’t take credit for this. I was simply walking through the paddock at Willow Springs and I saw a trailer with its ramp down and it had these bright green pool noodles on the guide wires. I immediately knew why they were there because I still had blood dripping down my calf of my own leg. “Genius!” So, I stole the idea, implemented it and I am sharing it with you.

Based on the length of our guide wires we decided we needed four pool noodles to cover the length of both wires.

When I went to the sporting goods store, they didn’t have the neon green color, but they did have red, the universal color for “warning!” Plus, a lot of the gear our trailer is color coordinated red and the anal retentive part of my personality came out. Less than $20 and I had myself some pool noodles.

To allow for the pool noodle to slip over the guide wire, we made a longitudinal cut through the noodle with a box cutter.

I used a box cutter with a fresh blade and sliced the pool noodles down the side so I could slip them over the guide wires. I also trimmed the length of two of the noodles so I could stack two noodles on top of one another to cover the entirety of the guide wire.

Once the pool noodle was sliced we could quickly slip it over the guide wire.
We could have stopped here with one noodle as a visual warning but we wanted to cover the entire of the guide wire to protect our heads from the upper portion of the wire.
Because the noodles were not the exact same length to stack two of them to fit on the guide wire, we labeled them A and B with a Sharpie to make it easy to put them on the wires.

The modified noodles slip on and off the guide wires with ease. When we get to the track we lower the ramp, slip on the pool noodles before we even roll the car out of the trailer. Now as we work at the rear of the trailer nobody will be injured by the guide wires. Safety first!

Here you can see the entirety of the exposed guide wire is now covered by our handy red pool noodles.

The next step to the project was to have a dedicated space for the noodles when the ramp is in the up position. Racecar trailers already have enough stuff inside them, they don’t need four pool noodles rolling around inside them. We chose to hang our noodles from the ceiling near the rear of the trailer so they could be easily accessed.

With our handy pool noodles cut, labeled and ready for action, the next step was to find a place to store them in the trailer when the ramp was up. We used some zip ties, a carabiner and some cord management to hold the noodles on the ceiling.

If you have a racecar trailer, get some pool noodles, slide them over your guide wires and save yourself the injury of tripping over the wires. Easy! And to the team who has neon green noodles on their trailer from SoCal NASA, thanks for the great idea!

Another completed Toolshed Engineer project. Cheap, easy and will make your weekend at the track simpler and safer.

Rob Krider is a four-time NASA Honda Challenge 4 National Champion and the author of the novel, “Cadet Blues.”


Images courtesy of Brett Becker and Rob Krider

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