Sundowner Trailer Horror Story... - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 28 Old 08-14-2012, 04:54 PM Thread Starter
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Angry Sundowner Trailer Horror Story...

I am interested in hearing from anyone out there who is experiencing the corrosion/rust issues on the floor and frame of Sundowner trailers produced between 1999 and 2008. These are potentially catastrophic failure issues, and there are hundreds if not thousands of trailer owners affected, many of whom may not even be aware their trailer is a potential time bomb.

I am serious about pursuing a class action lawsuit as the company continues to hide behind the "out of warranty' issue. My trailer is nine years old (one year out of structural warranty), I am still making payments, and the frame is so rusted the guy who was examining the corroded aluminum floor (a different problem) walked away in silence, after easily prying off chunks of corroded steel. I was told this corrosion issue was years in the making! Just because it was discovered out of the companies' warranty period I am stuck with a useless trailer I am still paying on and can't use! I teach riding and haul to shows, and it's my only source of income. How many of you are dealing with this?! CHECK THE FRAME AND FLOOR OF YOUR SUNDOWNER! Thank God I caught mine!! Contact me for more info or to share stories. I am located in Ohio and am serious about getting the company--whose reputation I depended on for this huge investment--to make this right!! Legal action in the works, depend on it!!!
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post #2 of 28 Old 08-14-2012, 06:20 PM
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saddly I read a post by another user very similar to yours only a month or two back that may help you if you didn't already know.

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post #3 of 28 Old 08-14-2012, 06:50 PM
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Problem is, they're going to take the position that had you done yearly inspections as part of your maintenance routines, the rust would have been discovered and easily repaired. I have a steel trailer, not Sundowner, and I inspect it at least once a year but generally I pull everything and crawl under it, 2 times/year to prevent/repair and rust issues.
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post #4 of 28 Old 08-15-2012, 09:22 AM
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Boy am I glad I read this!! We are looking at trailers to purchase, and I was really leaning towards a Sundowner. I will certainly be much more aware. My husband is pretty good about looking at the floor, but just knowing there is this issue, certainly puts us more aware.
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post #5 of 28 Old 08-15-2012, 10:28 AM
Green Broke
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Pee and manure are corrosive. You have to wash them out . Any trailer that isnt washed out regularly after each ride is gonna have rust issues. Ive got a 01 sundowner, had it undercoated, I spray it out regularly and dont have any issues. Sorry but I think if you had done basic cleaning and upkeep on it you wouldn't have this problem. Sundowner and court judges will probably say the same thing.
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post #6 of 28 Old 08-15-2012, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Dreamcatcher Arabians View Post
Problem is, they're going to take the position that had you done yearly inspections as part of your maintenance routines, the rust would have been discovered and easily repaired. I have a steel trailer, not Sundowner, and I inspect it at least once a year but generally I pull everything and crawl under it, 2 times/year to prevent/repair and rust issues.


As part of the warranty coverage (and we do not own Sundowners), we were required to pull the mats and clean the trailer. I strip everything and powerwash both of our trailers a miminim of once a year.

Actually I don't see why anyone would NOT want to keep their trailers clean as a matter of pride much less any other reason . . .
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post #7 of 28 Old 08-15-2012, 03:22 PM Thread Starter
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Wow. Why do you assume (makes an "-- of u and me") I have a filthy trailer, folks?! Golly. I was hoping for some support, not crucifixion from the community. Please don't bother to add nasty comments to a tragic situation--it really hurts!

For everyone's information, Sundowner used a type of undercarriage powder coating that was defective and allowed moisture and corrosive elements like calcium and sodium chloride used on winter roads to oxidize the frame and floor thru cracks or flaws in the coating.The results are severe rust or rot you can't see under the exterior coating that remains intact--until it falls off or chunks off like mine is. My trailer is one year out of warantee,has had maintainance too (Sundowner dealer), and the problem has NOTHING to do with what's in the trailer-pee, poop, whatever (which clearly should be cleaned out!!). The issue with the defective frame has been going on quietly for years. Sundowner is aware there are hundreds of trailers affected by frame and floor corrosion which are occuring in well-maintained trailers--and again, not all trailers made in this period were affected. Glad if yours isn't. Don't post on this comment unless you are one of the unfortunates who trusted this "excellent" company and now are left holding the bag because the trailer you bought or are paying for and now can't use has been proven to be manufactured in a way to prove defective. It's notable that Sundowner is very well aware of the issue and has not issued any kind of a warning, or inspection mandate, for the thousands of trailers out there that potentially have this kind of horrible problem. I've been in horses for over 40 years and remember Sundowner's opening as a company--and always dreamed of owning one. It took 25 years.
Dream has become a nightmare keeping me from earning income as an instructor/coach. Trailer will cost 6-7K to fix. Now what...?
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post #8 of 28 Old 08-15-2012, 03:44 PM
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Two things come to mind for me: 1) I do not know where you are from but is there not a better business bureau or consumer protection place you can speak to? Also, to whom did you speak to about the corrosion -- was it the dealership or did you go higher up and talk to the Sundowner company? A good company does not want its reputation tarnished so (I would think) when presented with irrefutable facts would be willing to reach some sort of agreement to make things right. 2) With regard to your payments, to whom are you making them? If it's the trailer company or dealership what happens if you stop making your payments?
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post #9 of 28 Old 08-15-2012, 05:14 PM
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I own a 3H Sundowner w/LQ I have had zero problems, in fact I love it. However, If you have documentation that supports your claim then go forth with what you can. I don't think any one above was trying to crucify you, but the courts will require solid documentation for a claim of any kind, otherwise, it probably won't get passed a lawyers desk.
hope you have a wonderful day!
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post #10 of 28 Old 08-15-2012, 05:59 PM
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Nanse, you are not the only one with that problem. I had a friend that was a trailer salesperson for many years, she also suggested to not buy a Sundowner during a certain time period because of the problems. The trailer didn't have to be uncared for to rot.

Just recently while shopping for trailers we came a cross a big fancy Sundowner stock trailer(show cattle) that had a sliding center cut gate, you could move it all the way to the front, use it for a studwall or feed room, move it way back too haul cattle and load a horse or two on the back. It had a 5 ft straight wall tack room....fancy, they about had us convinced we "needed" that trailer. We would of bought it if it have Sundowner written on the nose.

Every brand has their bads years, no different than trucks. At first Platinum Coaches were the greatest and nicely built. A friend who team ropes spend a pile of money for one and has had it in the shop on several occasions because it leaks.... you just have to pick through them I guess.
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