NEED HELP! Inspecting Used Trailer - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 01-24-2011, 05:16 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Cincinnati, OH (USA)
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NEED HELP! Inspecting Used Trailer

I'm hoping to buy my first trailer this weekend! It's a Gore All Aluminum 2 horse straight load bumper pull. It has a ramp, double full escape doors, sliding windows, and a 4' dressing room.

There's only one problem...I am not a trailer expert. I don't know anyone whose knowledge greatly exceeds my own either.

I need lots of info (and pics would be great!) about how to check the condition of the wood floor, tires, bearings, axles, and anything else you think I should know.

Also, the tires are original to the trailer, meaning they're about 7 years old. Assuming that the tires appear in good condition (good tread, no dry rot, and don't have a ton of miles on them) will they be OK for an 8 hour drive home? I was planning to pick the trailer up on my way to Tennessee, so it's still 2.5 hours after I pick it up to TN, then 5.5 hours back home from there. Potentially, I could make a separate trip to get it, which would take only 3 hours.

This also means that I will have to replace the tires. Any recommendations on the brand? Estimations on cost?

Which brings me to...trailer price. They were originally asking $6500, and said they would take $5000, but now dropped their listing price to $6000. Now that I've realized I will have to replace all 4 tires, I'm looking at adding $400-1000 to the cost of the trailer and I'm wondering if it would be reasonable to offer less?

Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 10 Old 01-24-2011, 05:22 PM
Green Broke
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Checking the floor Is all I realy know. I normaly get my lorries checked out by a mechanic!

To check a floor you need to lift any rubber mats and prod the wood with a screwdriver. If it is spongey then the wood is rotten. can cost 500 to replace a floor
You also need to get under the trailer and prod the floor from underneath!
Make sure you prod all round the edges and in the middle, any dark or wet looking patches and perticularly around where the horses back ends would be!

Other then that I have no Idea. I've only ever bought a trailer from NEW or a lorry 2nd hand and there is alot more mechanical on a lorry so I got my mechanic to check it out (obviously after I had checked the floor and done a visual chack for rust!)

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post #3 of 10 Old 01-24-2011, 09:34 PM Thread Starter
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I don't think I will be able to take it to a mechanic. First of all, the trailer is almost 4 hours away from me, and I'm sure the owner would not want it to go that far away. I don't know of anyone in his area to take it to.

Also, this deal is kind of on a short time line. He is moving at the end of the month, and has to sell it before then.

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post #4 of 10 Old 01-24-2011, 09:48 PM
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He's moving? Oh good. Wait until a few days before and take $4000 with you and let him know you've brought $4000 cash. If he goes for it just be sure you have the paperwork in hand and that it's in order before you turn over the money. The tires will likely hold up until you get home since there are 4 or them. Just double check the air pressure at the nearest service station before you head out.
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post #5 of 10 Old 01-26-2011, 01:20 AM Thread Starter
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Alright, new dilemma. If the owner tells you that the bearings have never been checked/repacked in all 7 years that they've owned that such an immensely horrible thing that it's time to walk away?
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post #6 of 10 Old 01-27-2011, 10:06 PM Thread Starter
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*bump* Anybody else?
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post #7 of 10 Old 02-14-2011, 06:46 PM
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Maybe it's time to look for a different trailer. Unless a mechanic pulls a few wheels you have no idea what shape the bearings are in or the brakes. At least one axle has to have brakes that are in good working order. You might be able to find a mechanic who's willing to moonlight to earn a little extra. You wouldn't be paying the shop rate but a couple of hours of his time might be cheap in the long run. btw-since you'd be paying him the info isn't shared with the trailer owner so you'd need to make that clear, if he wants to get paid.
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post #8 of 10 Old 02-24-2011, 07:25 AM
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If the trailer still has the original tires on it.It's likely that he never repacked a bearring on it. Yes tires would have to be replaced even if they look good on the sides. I had one that looked great but it was breaking away between the treads. ALuminum holds up well but I would pull mats and look for excessive pitting. You will see some which is normal. But a rust looking floor isn't good. Wood floor just take a screwdriver and poke the boards to see if they are soft or hard. Especailly up close to the walls..Check all hinges, see if any wires are hanging out of place. Make sure hitch works correctly and the jack cranks smoothly.

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post #9 of 10 Old 02-24-2011, 08:04 AM
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I know this is late and you either bought or didn't buy the trailer but for anyone else looking:

Bearing are not a deal breaker by any means unless they are so bad that they cut into the axles - which is rather rare on a 7 year old trailer. Check by jacking up the trailer enough to get a wheel off the ground. 1st, grab the tire at 9 and 3 (or 12 and 6) and wiggle the tire hard back and forth - a bad bearing will allow the tire to move a great deal. 2nd - spin the tire - bad bearings will click as the tire goes around. 3rd, drive the trailer and have someone look out at the tires - bad bearings will cause the trailer to weave and you may actually see the ties wobble.

Check the flooring and get under the trailer to look at the frame - which should be steel and subject to rust.

When you are pulling the trailer, check the brakes - again, not a deal breaker if they go on but don't hold. You can hear if they go on by just listening to them - you will hear them click (since they are worked by magnets), and the trailer could be just sitting there, not moving. New tires could set you back ~$500-600 if you need to replace them. Remember that you need trailer tires, not passenger tires.

If you have no problems with the bearings, or rust on the frame, if the lights are all working and the floor is good, I wouldn't worry about the tires unless they are too bad to make the trip home. A price of ~$4,500 - 5,000 is a fair price for the trailer you described.

I'm not arguing with you, I'm just explaining why I'm right.

Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

It's not always what you say but what they hear.

Last edited by iridehorses; 02-24-2011 at 08:08 AM.
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post #10 of 10 Old 02-24-2011, 09:53 PM Thread Starter
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@Iridehorses - I did not end up purchasing the trailer; someone else beat me to it. :( But thank you for all the info, it will be very helpful as I continue my trailer hunt! :)
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