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PrivatePilot 11-19-2013 11:36 PM

Thoughts on this custom trailer? (With Pics)
30 Attachment(s)
It's looking more and more like me and my daughter are going to be involved in the Mounted Games next, so trailering is in our future.

I have a 1 ton dually diesel already so my tow vehicle is not in question, and I drive commercial for a living so neither is my skill. However, we do lack a horse trailer. ;)

A friend came across this today and I spoke to the lady this afternoon. It's was a custom built trailer, needs a little TLC here and there, but it sounds like it's serviceable after some work. It's certainly not the prettiest thing, nor is it new - I'm OK with that. Probably needs 4 tires, it does need some welding and rust repair, and of course a coat of paint, but I think I see a gem in the rough..and the price is right. Hard to say what the frame is like underneath - a concern especially considering it looks like it's but sitting for a long while - I'd be looking carefully. It does look like it was built like a tank though, something the owner reinforced - it was her that had it custom made.

I'm handy and have access to all the equipment to replace, repair, and repaint myself.

The interior is my only concern - thoughts on the layout from the "been there done that" crowd? Ideally I wanted a slant, but there's nothing coming up even close to the price range I have in mind for a newer slant, but this holds a lot of prospect.

Initial hauling would be a large pony and a average sized horse within 1/2 to 2 hour trips from home. I do see a draft at some point in our future, so I'm buying with that in mind.

Sorry the pics are not ideal, but it's what the seller supplied - the trailer is several hours away and I'm trying to figure out the path forward.

horselovinguy 11-20-2013 09:02 AM

Diamond in the rough, but possibilities with some questions too. Lots of questions...

The rear of the trailer obviously opens. It has a center steel beam
firmly in place, not moveable... can you get your "future" draft horse past it?
The side ramp... is it strong enough to take the weight of the draft horse to side load/unload?
If this is a 4 horse... are the horses in the front area walked face in...based upon how the "head divider" looks? If this is a horse area what has been made to secure them safely behind a restraint?
I saw a chest bar and "head" divider in the back portion of the trailer so it makes me wonder...
I see no "divider" of any sort in the rear section {nor front} between the horses... I personally like a divider that can be secured so the horse has something to lean against if the need arises, not another horse that could be knocked off-balance and slip and fall under the other.
I see no "ramp assist" springs or anything... again makes me wonder how heavy that side load is and is it going to withstand anything "heavy".

This trailer needs a lot of work you are so right.
Unless it is for near nothing, I think what you will need to put into it in cash is going to be more than you realize...forget the sweat equity.
It is also a huge wheelbase for such a trailer...something to think about when hauling and needing to park it someplace let alone keeping it stored someplace.

I look at that trailer and see between $1500- $2000 immediately being spent.
That is no frame, spring, paint job...that is tires and floor needing replaced with all that mold & rot under it...
I see water damage and staining in so many places, manure left to mold, rot and grow in the rear...all would make me so leary of the frame integrity and what you won't see..truly hidden.
It also bothers me that on a "custom" trailer the side door has a cheap extension to close it in, the rear doors don't close and seal properly, sitting not used or not. There are no door handles or openers but a bolt for securing locked and closed.
I just figured out what bothers me...there are no windows or roof lighting... things needing to be added for comfort and safety of your horses..but then makes for questions of wall strength and integrity when you cut into them and the same goes for the roof.
There appears to be more than surface rust, more cancerous rust happening in several places.
I don't know if I would be willing to do so much work and money laid out on top of what it costs to purchase.

I'm sure the lady was truthful in saying it was "custom built"...but by who, when and to what standards of safety?:think:
I would be going over this trailer with a fine-toothed comb to make sure the weight load you have intentions of having on it it can truly handle...

I know by me, you could purchase a used stock sided or enclosed trailer capable of hauling 3-4 horses not needing so much work for around $3000-$3500...a gooseneck is cheaper to buy than a bumper pull too.

Good luck and if you decide to purchase it please do pictures as the project gets underway, work in progress and of course completion.


Freemare 11-20-2013 09:28 AM

I totally agree with horselovinguy. One thing I should point out is, were are the lights for the trailer? I dont see any side lights on the trailer. If there aren't any then that means lots of wiring work. Let alone shilling out more money. If i were you I would pass on this trailer and look for something that wont cost you 6g's to fix. Even if you have to drive a day or two to get a better trailer. It may be worth it. Just keep looking. Something all ways shows up in due time.

PrivatePilot 11-20-2013 09:54 AM

30 Attachment(s)
The Trailer is priced at around $600 and is definitely as is. Yes , I realize it needs some money in it, but the fact I'm willing and able to do everything myself means it's not the thousands of dollars some are suggesting. The most expensive investment will likely be the tires at about $600.

As mentioned, I'm fine doing all the work myself - I'm well versed in welding and have my own welder, have done extensive electrical work before, and paint isn't a big deal - again, I have my own gear. I'm looking at it as a glass half-full situation, keep in mind.

Wheelbase/length is of no concern to me as I pull 53' trailers all day for work, so this is tiny in comparison.

Yes, structure is a legitimate concern as everybody is mentioning so I appreciate that it is certainly my intention to pull it out and crawl around underneath to see exactly how it's built strength wise and if it remains structurally sound. If it's rotten underneath from the frame perspective I'll pass immediately as it's not worth my time and money at that point, agreed.

As for the interior layout, again I appreciate the comments however I'm keeping my expectations realistic. I did quite a lot of reading here last night about people who move horses in less that perfect trailers - stock trailers even, and trailers without full dividers etc. The consensus across many threads that I read is that it's not the end of the world and the horses adapt quite well some people report that their horses actually appreciate the freedom of movement versus a traditional locked in style trailer. It was my thought to leave the front portion of the trailer as a box stall arrangement for the draft horse (if necessary because of layout or size) if and when that happens, while using the two rear spots for the pony/horse. Chances are that it would be extremely seldom the trailer would be used for four horses anyways most likely to or perhaps three tops at a time, and again we are not talking long distances most of the trailering we are potentially looking at next year is less than one hour each way.

With that in mind, further thoughts on the interior layout?

I'm not to be one of those people who asks for advice and then disregards or Poopoo's everything given to him, so I appreciate all that's been said however. ;). Just keep in mind the fact that I am not going to invest $20,000 in a shiny brand-new trailer just to get everything perfect out of the box.

My priorities are safety, functionality, and price in that order. In a perfect world of course I would just go to the local dealership and buy the trailer of my dreams brand new, however for the amount that we are going to use it and the distances involved it's not going to happen. I would ask everybody to keep an open mind with that having been said. ;)

Cacowgirl 11-20-2013 10:09 AM

That's definitely a great price, but you do have to get it home, also! Will you get a title-what does your state require? Registration hassles are not fun. My thoughts on usage were quite similar to yours-I bought a somewhat customized semi-stock bumper pull & have been quite happy w/it. It brought my 2 horses to AZ from so. Cal, & I brought a horse & donkey here from Utah, then another mare from just a couple of hours away, but lots of mountains! I paid around 3K for it & other than some wiring, have not had to do much else to it, but the maintenance is important & I'll probably want tires w/in a year, as AZ weather can be brutal to outside items. Good luck in your search & do let us know how it goes.

Left Hand Percherons 11-20-2013 10:17 AM

I say pass for all the reasons HLG states need to be addressed. You are going to put more money into it than it will be worth when you're done. It looks home built, not "custom". What standards was it built to?

The biggies are the water damage and rust. It looks to be sitting on the frame so I would expect damage underneath as well. All the wiring will need to be replaced. Tires are shot. Wood floor needs to be replaced. There is no light and ventilation in the trailer. Needs mats. Really don't like the way the side ramp closes. One good bump and that pin will go flying. The ramp looks under built. I would want a spring to help lift it. What partitions there are are too light and flimsy. A pony could bend those. Needs breakaway brakes. Chains. Lots of little stuff that all adds up.

Another concern is if you have a newish 4x4 truck, old trailers don't fit them too well. If you drop the neck of the trailer to have a level trailer, the front won't clear the side rails of the truck. If you crank the neck up to clear the side rails, you will have a pitch to the trailer and have very little clearance between the road and the trailer on the back of the trailer.

beau159 11-20-2013 10:28 AM

Maybe if the seller gives it to you for free, you could take it.

But I just see so much WORK that needs to be done on it, and I really wonder about that wood floor.

And exactly: I'm not sure how you would get it home on those currennt set of wheels, or even get it out of the ground.

Left Hand Percherons 11-20-2013 10:32 AM

Length isn't an issue for you but what are the interior dimensions? Height and lenght is important if you want to haul a draft. Width will be between 6' and 6'6" when the box of the trailer is between the tire fenders. Another observation is the axles are so far back that the majority of the weight of the trailer will be on the truck.

The configuration will work nicely for one draft up front and 2 light horses in the back.

horselovinguy 11-20-2013 10:54 AM


my concern with the length is not with your ability to drive, handle and park it.
My thought went more to the space available to park and use it at a park or facility. Some places are just to tight for a trailer of this length to be honest, and unless you scope out and limit where you go and hope no one else is there on the property you could be in trouble.
That trailer by itself is long, put a dually truck under it and it becomes a monster to get around others who may not be so handy parking and park "weird" making your job of leaving near impossible without damaging them or you...
As you know there are many out there that have minimal skills driving a car yet they drive trucks and loaded horse trailers...

I think you are right that it needs tires...
I think you also just by looking at it will need near every board on the floor replaced and walls too...then add the cost of good mats... those boards are not going to be cheap for a trailer of this size and with the "draft" thought in the background it must be done with no scrimping.

If you do as you are thinking and make the front for the still need to have a chest bar securement to keep that horse contained somehow... just because it says "stock-trailer" doesn't mean there aren't restraining dividers inside and a way to open the door without the horse falling out or barging out. Drafts need a little more thought on to do things safely as just by their size and nature they are a walking powerhouse on feet (hooves) a "normal" trailer needs tweaking on.

As LFP does appear to be sitting very low, to low actually.
A full set of springs is not cheap, even doing the replacing yourself.

That paint... if you spray it yourself and only use acrylic enamel car paint which is about the cheapest "vehicle" paint you can're going to need at least 2 gallons; 1 for outside and 1 for inside at least. Add the reducers and all those additives so the paint looks nice... a few hundred dollars in materials again. If you're doing Rustoleum paint... buy stock in the company... you are going to need cases of it to do this trailer.

Think carefully if it is really worth it to get this and truly have to settle... sometimes waiting a little while longer is better.
Honestly, do you truly think this trailer is going anyplace very quickly???
Me, I think it will be here for some time. Not many would be interested in something needing such extensive repair work.

Good luck...let us know what you decide and if the answer is yes, buying it...please do the pictures as you refurbish it.:wink:


PrivatePilot 11-20-2013 11:30 AM

30 Attachment(s)
I think some of you need to keep in perspective that I live in Canada – home of rust. ;). I suspect a lot of you guys don't live anywhere near the Rust Belt or have never experienced what it's like living in an area where we get brutal winters, but it's a reality here. I've seen five-year-old horse trailers in similar condition to this. It's the way it is - EVERYTHING rusts.

Again, reiterating, the cosmetics are of little concern to me – I have all of my own HPLV spray guns as well as sufficient compressor capability, and all of the gear to basically refurbish the trailer cosmetically from top to bottom. I recognize that it's not ever going to look brand-new again or like anything you'll find on a lot, however I am perfectly okay with that. Perhaps you guys roll in a much higher class circle than me, however in my perspective this trailer is actually cosmetically significantly better (as it sits) than what I see a lot of people show up at the shows with. ;)

Touching back on the length again, I must stress that it is of absolutely no concern whatsoever to me – just for everybody's information I am a commercial driver with nearly 20 years experience, I have pulled 53 foot trailers coast-to-coast and put them in places where a lot of drivers swore they couldn't get a 20 foot RV. I am sitting in a freightliner tractor with a 53 foot trailer behind me as I type this, yes I am stopped. ;)

Up until recently we also owned a 30 foot fifth wheel travel trailer which we traveled with coast-to-coast as well (, often with our two jet skis hitched behind it adding another 20 feet. Again, no concern. My pick up truck is by no means new and actually rides extremely low compared to many of the new ones, so much so that my fifth wheel had to have its pin box lowered all the way and the fifth wheel hitch in the truck raised all the way in order to get things level – any concerns at all in regards to this trailer would be that the nose could actually be low. It's also a 1 ton Dually so I'm not concerned in the least about putting a draft in the front. These rear axle configuration trailers also pull extremely smooth and stable because of axle spacing and loading. I prefer them to traditional middle axle trailers hands down, but yes, they require a beefy truck to handle the config. I have that.

Regarding the interior layout, two days ago I would wholeheartedly have agreed that the layout could have been less-than-perfect, however one only need to read a variety of threads here from the last several years (search "moving horse in stock trailer" to quickly discover countless stories of people moving their horses in trailers much lesser equipped then even this one. Accordingly I'm not willing to discount it just because it's not perfectly set up inside according to what some may consider "essential", when there's plenty of evidence to the contrary.

Yes it needs new tires, however I have already looked and there is a tire place only a few kilometers from her house – worst-case I will pull the rims off and take them there and have the rubber swapped, return and put them back on with my impact gun. I also have magnetic lights to make it safe for the trip home if there's any electrical concerns until that can be addressed. The brakes are confirmed functional and the trailer would be empty of course regardless.

I absolutely agree that what it looks like underneath is of the utmost concern – it's probably my biggest concern, and after pulling it out of the divots that it's sitting in right now I would certainly be spending a significant amount of time underneath doing a careful inspection. If it's rotten, I'll walk - no question. Again, electrical, paint, minor repairs or alterations I'm not afraid of – however I'm not interested in buying a ground up rebuild project that is a complete rotten wreck underneath an otherwise blemished skin.

So long as it sounds I am extremely confident that for about a $1000 investment I can have this trailer looking reasonably spiffy. At that point I would have approximately $15-$1600 total invested. Based on what many of you were saying that may not constitute a good deal in your neck of the woods, however in my area that still constitutes an absolute steal for a four horse trailer.

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