A long reply I am sure... LOL
I know where you are coming from. I happen to not want to spend those exotic prices on trucks and trailers either.. Most of what I have ranges from slightly older to alot older. But everything I got, I did paid in full at purchase! Smart sense to me!
As for the Trailer..
That's going to be tough. I do not know what pirces are in your area, and sometimes if things are a little pricey, its best to look out of state. For the price you quoted, I would suspect you will end up in the market for an older 1960-1970's steel stock trailer. Now you may find a really good deal come up, but those are hard as you better have cash on hand and ready to go when the add comes out.
Important things to look for:
- Make sure you don't see any cracks in the tongue or frame.
- Check the brakes and tires. You may end up finding a good deal on something, but will need repair. Tires are the last thing anyone ever worries about on their trailers.. so you will end up with a lot of "pastured" babies.
- Myself, I wouldnt worry about electrical too much. Trailer electrical components are cheap and easy to replace.
- Structural soundness. Bends, folds, twists in the body occur when trailers have been rolled, or even parked on an embankent and left for months on end. How much body flex is important to look at.
Your truck is the important thing to look for first.. I am sure you may be all too aware of what mechanical things to look for in dependability. For towing rigs though, checking the brakes are important. I personally will stay away from anything with drum brakes in the rear. They freeze and also lock up which is dangerous when hauling your horses. Things to check for:
- You want a 3/4 ton or bigger. I say this as you may end up having bigger needs later, or even a deal on a good trailer come up.. too small of a truck, and it wont be an option for you. 1/2 ton trucks can do alot, but for alot of hauling and work, especially in large payloads, it takes a bigger toll on the truck. Things like engines, transmissions, brakes and suspension are some of the first things to fold when being used to work.
- Determine if you can drive a manual or an automatic. Alot of todays trucks have transmission coolers already installed fromthe factory, but older trucks do not, so when towing under payload, they can get pretty hot and overheat. Failure happens next. Manuals are good in that they are ideal for towing, problem is that many previous owners do not know how to drive a standard without using up the clutch. Clutches are the first thing to go in older used trucks.
- Check the truck frame. Especially in the rear. Depending on whether you go with a bumper hitch assembly, or gooseneck/5th wheel hitch, a good solid unaltered frame is ideal. Looking at the frame rails, are they thick and well assembled. (Did you know that in the early and mid 1980's, many truck manufactorers started cutting holes and slots in the frame to "lighten"the truck, making it more fuel efficient and passing EPA standards? This type of design was great in that it did lighten the truck, but sacraficed durability).
Dixon's Red Hot Ember