Ya'll have given me so much great information and things to consider in this thread, I truly appreciate you all.
Rufus Laggren wrote
It's all just "best guess" right now. Because it takes time and experience to know your style and what tools and equipment you will find comfortable, necessary. So spending less at this time, just for what you know you won't be able to get by w/out, is probably good policy
I've got to remember this, it takes some pressure off!
John C. Daley wrote
I built mine with a hinge point just a bit forward of 1/2 way along the trailer bed.
This meant it always returned to the 'down ' position, and the effort to tip it is greatly reduced.
I have a snap pin for holding it down.
The lifting mechanism consists of a pole rising above the front of the trailer about 4 feet. It has a 4 inch pulley at the top.
The winding mechanism is the same used to pull boats onto trailers, they are geared very low.
It is mounted to a horizontal bracket welded to the upright and pointing towards the tow hitch.
It is just far enough back to give clearance for your hand when winding the winch.
Another 4 inch pulley between the winch and the base of the pole near that horizontal bracket helps with the cable being smooth in its operation.
To lift the snap pin is released, the winch operated until the soil starts to move and a locking strut then swings under the trailer bed to hold it up.
John - What a good idea, how about some photos of this?
I have an old toyota sedan for driving to town when I don't have to haul something because town is 30 minutes away. I'd like to be able to haul large round or square bales of hay. Lots of old hay around that could go in hugels or be laid down to slow water on eroding slopes. Plus there may be cattle at some point - the tenant will move them but I might fetch hay. So I think trailer lights are a good idea for sure. If I'm only hauling 1 bale at a time do I need special brakes on the trailer or truck? A bale is about 1500#. I could buy an old truck with a tow package then I don't have to cobble it together. A trailer with low sides like John said is probably best for my dirt works. I can drive anything but older manuals are hard on my body.
A lot of my dirt hauling will be off-road across pastures after digging eroded soil out of low spots. The property elevation is from 2000' to 1900'. The soil description says a bit of 1-3% slope, a lot of 5-12% slope and the rest is steep gullies. One area I want to dig in is a blow-out from gas pipeline installation - it's 50' lower over about 1/8 mile distance.
I googled cheap 4x4s and this came up:
V6 Nissan Xterra 00-04 5000#
Mitsubishi Montero Sport 97-04 5000#
Kia Sorento 03-09 3500#
Jeep Grand cherokee 7400#, but I won't own one too many maintenance issues
Ford Ranger pickup 04-12 5500#
Ford Explorer/Mercury Mountaineer/Lincoln Aviator 06-10 7300#. At cars.com the V8 4x4 is $4000. If I search a while I can probly find one from an individual for $2000.