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Uncle Bubba

Trailer Buying Checklist

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Just a few things to check before buying any trailer new or used that I have run across through the years. Feel free to add more here if i missed somethin.

16-18 inch cross beam supports the entire length of the trailer.

Check the welds. So many builders out there now days hiring any old fool off the street to weld that many trailers are not really even welded together. They just melt steel over the seams and call it good.

A good quality tire. Load range E Michelin's are the standard on trailers and the Hancooks are top of the line.

Dual jacks, even if they are lighter jacks having them on both sides saves a lot of twisting on the frame.

Torsion bar or torflex axles are far better riding and for maintenance then the slipper springs as long as it's for on road use. If using for any off-road slipper springs are the only thing to use.

At a minimum make sure they have EZ lube axles and Nev-R-Lube's are even better.

My personal preference is triple axle trailers. I can get a flat tire, get out and chain the axle with the flat up in about 10 minutes and keep on truckin down the road. Triple axles also make it much easier on the pull truck because the trailer is hauling it's own weight, the truck is just pulling it. It's quicker and easier to center the loads since it really doesn't matter if they are centered and it also gives you another axle of breaking power so safety is improved also.

Disc brakes are a luxury item but in the long run worth they're weight in gold. A single disc brake axle has the same stopping power as three axles of drum brakes and no adjustments needed, ever. Just change pads once in a while.

I also prefer either a specialty trailer paint or implement enamel for paint. The Automotive enamel is just like a truck. To keep it nice it has to be maintained and it chips easy. Some companies use it because it shines up nice so it make the trailer stand out on the dealer lot.

Definitely, no second thought needed go with a gooseneck with a minimum rated 30,000 pound coupling rating. Bulldog being the best brand for the coupler and the jacks.

From there it get's into specifics of what your usin it for but these items are for all trailers in general.

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I don't know about the disc vs drum thing. Even with a truck loaded on my trailer if I have the trailer brakes set too high on the controller it will lock the tires. This is with drum brakes.

Tri axle is ok, but it doesn't turn that well compared to a dual axle. I think that is the reason they aren't too common unless needed to hold lots of weight.

Gooseneck... bumper pull... all depends what your needs are. Bumper pull is nice where you can have your bed filled up.

I recommend going over the wiring too. Scotchloks have no place in wiring if you ask me.

Something to think about... trailer capacity is not considering trailer weight. 7k rated trailer is good to hold a bit over 5000lbs and that's it.

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thats some good information man, apreciate it. How can i go about findind out what the capacity on a trailer is if the stickers have been peeled off? I have a bobcat trailer that i dont know the capacity to that i use to haul cars...

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How many lugs hold the wheel on? 5 lug will usually be 3500 at most, 6 lug 5000lb and 8 lug 6000lb + (that is per axle)

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well its double axle and i cant remember but it seems like its a 6 lug, so does that mean that about 10k pounds? sounds like a perfect fit for the stock cummins, since i estimate the trailer alone to be about 2k pounds.

here be a pic.

S7301991.jpg

S7301991.jpg

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I don't know about the disc vs drum thing. Even with a truck loaded on my trailer if I have the trailer brakes set too high on the controller it will lock the tires. This is with drum brakes.

The problem with drum brakes are that they don't lock them all up evenly. Depending on how your drums are adjusted some tires may not even be engaging while others are locked up.

Tri axle is ok, but it doesn't turn that well compared to a dual axle. I think that is the reason they aren't too common unless needed to hold lots of weight.

This one always cause controversy, that's why I listed it as a personal preference. Even if i have a lighter weight trailer, being a 5000 or more trailer, I just use triple 2000 axles on it. If I'm in town or runnin light I just lower the gooseneck to pick the front axle up off the road and run the rear two dual axles.

Gooseneck... bumper pull... all depends what your needs are. Bumper pull is nice where you can have your bed filled up.

Ya for very specific purposes bumber pull have their place but overall I don't condone them at all. Gooseneck is so much safer, easier to manuever, more dependable hookup and so much easier on the tow vehicle that I just don't condone bumper pull at all unless your one of those few that have the specific need for it.

I recommend going over the wiring too. Scotchloks have no place in wiring if you ask me.

Amen on the scotchlocks. I also want to see all wire enclosed in something, don't care what but somethin surrounding it.

Something to think about... trailer capacity is not considering trailer weight. 7k rated trailer is good to hold a bit over 5000lbs and that's it.

Good Point. This also applies to the tires and wheels. Lot a guys figure themax load weights on the tires but forget to add the empty trailer weight in.

:runner:

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This is a great thread!! Thanks so much for all the info!

DJ, find out what the trailer is and go to the manufacture (website hopefully!) and see what they list it at. I think you are safe and in the neighborhood at 10,k gross!

I too like to do extra on the wiring. If you spend extra here it will pay big dividends later on!! All too many trailers on the road have partially working or even no working wiring on them. Why is it that mine seems to get torn up so often? Another thing I would add here to the above is from school this last year. Class 8 trucks have a short pigtail that goes between the tractor and trailer. It has a connector at each end that goes into a plug from the tractor to a plug on the trailer. I will switch mine over to this design in the future as the 'pigtail' is most often damaged on a trailer. If this design were used, it would be a lot easier and faster to fix!!

Check out the LED's too! It was great to have both of my bros complain to me after following my camp trailer this summer. "Those tail lights are too bright!" and this was during the mid day on a bright sunny day! Quite a change for an old camper that typically you wouldn't know if the brakes were on in the dark!

One thing to be aware of is 'cheapening' of a trailer. Some manufactures will only put brakes on one axle, use lighter materials here and there. I'm sorry, but cutting the wrong corners just isn't worth it! You don't want to run your equipment at it's limit. Go ahead and get it bigger than what you will need so you have a safety margin. It will leave you the ability to haul more in the future if your needs change. This will be much cheaper in the long run instead of having to upgrade your equipment if you need a little more capacity or just in the safety aspect alone. Usually the heavier equipment won't fail in a situation that lighter ones would have! You never know when the spending of a few dollars would have saved lots!! Let me know if you didn't see the pic of the boat holding the pick up from falling over the edge!! Along this same line of thinking; always go with the better equipment. Bull Dog makes a much better hitch and jack than most others.

Speaking of Chineese crap: Have you noticed how tires have declined? It is getting real hard to get a decent tire. This summer we lost a tire on the camp trailer. It still has mold marks on the tread. I think the side blew out because it was a crap tire. Only good thing was it didn't tear up my trailer or set it on fire (The Cummins didn't know it was flat. Glad I heard it back there. . . . don't know how long it was flat!). Only other good thing about it was the fun I had in changing it: We were coming into Ketchum when I heard it ("I know what that sound is - that is a flat tire!") They were having some kind of an art or craft show. Lots of people everywhere. I had my back to them as I changed it; but, I could tell they were all carrying on. It seems that those kind of people didn't know you could change a tire or that someone would even know how! Only way this could have been better is if I had my cordless impact with me! That would have really got them going I'm sure.

I'll close this by saying that you might want to carry some blocking boards of different thicknesses. I was able to put some down and have her back the trailer up on a good tire to raise that side to change the flat (You will want it to resemble a 'ramp' so the good tire won't 'kick' it out!). Just loosen the lug nuts first, pull / back on the blocks and change away. Pull off the blocks and finish tightening your lug nuts and away you go. It isn't as fast as a pit crew; but, I didn't shut the truck off either.

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indeed this is a very good thread, personally im going to do some digging on that trailer but i think its a bobcat trailer?. I agree with switching to LED's, they are great for day and excellent at night (plus no more cops pulling you over for the lights being out or "too dim")

thanks on the heads up on how to change a trailer tire, and i agree, quality is going down so much now a days, beware of all the chinese crap!

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