Buying an old trailer

I have a brand new Sundowner 2014 2 horse with living quarters.

I am looking for a “remodel project” and something smaller and easier for beach rides/short weekend trips, etc. What are some of the things one should look out for when buying an older trailer? Aside from the difference in weight (steel vs aluminum) - mainly rust, axls, height?

Well, it depends on how old it is, what materials it is made out of, and how it has been kept and used and maintained. When you look at the ones you come across, make sure you bring someone and have them help you check everywhere in that thing. Look for worn parts, rust, broken things- do a really good inspection. Check the electrics, all of the lights, the tires, the floor, the ceiling, etc. etc. etc. If you happen to know a person who is very knowledgeable about trailers, bring him or her, too!

Whenever you find a promising listing go and do research on that make and model, which might tell you what to look out for, as well as basic information that the seller might not have provided.

A good trailer that has been cared for properly will last for a very, very long time, so buying used is fine, just approach it like you would a used car. I would say the biggest things it to arm yourself with information and be thorough in your inspection. Good luck!

I think some careful browsing on craigslist can get you a suitable and safe trailer for under $4,000. You are going to want to be aware of the height of the trailer if you have a bigger horse in addition to checking out any rust spots as well as the lights. You might have to sacrifice a dressing room.

I just sold a nice aluminum Kingston Briarwood trailer 1997 for $3,800. It was in very good shape. The most important thing to look for is the frame. A trailer can look nice on the top but be rusted out on its frame. I had mine sanded and professionally undercoated and it helps preserve the frame but it was not cheap! $750! You do not want your frame falling thru. Most older trailers will show some rust but it depends on how bad the rust is and if it is structurally sound. Surface rust you can slow down by undercoating. If you want to do it yourself corroseal from home depot works well. You can also have a whole new frame put on for about 3k. I think everything else can be fixed easily but the frame is the most important. Also next importance is the floorboards.
I was told frames rot whether they are in use or not.
You might do better buying a new one and financing over the years because I find used trailers in good condition are expensive! But you might luck out if you keep searching!

if you haven’t picked up that book about trailering safety/buying a trailer check it out as it has some great advice in there. Agree w/ the other posts, and to add, if you will be traveling alone might want to consider a 2 horse stock trailer since you don’t have to deal w/ butt bars and ramp… and they tend to be less expensive even w/ a tack room.

What are you hauling with?

Also make sure to do some honest math on how much you pay per year versus how much you would pay with tax, tags, insureance, vastly reduced mpg to get to shows, annual maintenance. Having a trailer is a great convenience and a wonderful thing, but depending on miles traveled/how often, I’m not positive it’s the financial benefit one might think!

I had a 2000 Shoops that was in really good shape, except for some surface rust. I sold it for $2K. My current trailer is a 2003 Eberly that I paid $3700 for. It is worth the extra money IMO (plus it is aluminum so no rust!). But you have to really stalk Craigslist to find deals–trailers in the $2-4K price range go fast.

The problem with older trailers is that many of them are steel and HEAVY. Many of the older ones aren’t very tall or long and larger horses have a hard time being comfortable in them. For safety reasons, you do want to avoid trailers with a front manger. I found my brenderup on craigslist for $2,500 so there are deals to be had out there.

Post your question on “Around The Farm”. That is the BB which is meant for buildings, fences, trailers, etc.

This book is the Bible of all things re: buying your first used (or new) horse trailer. Do not even go shopping until you have read it cover to cover.

It’s available in hard copy or Kindle download, so you could be reading it within 10 minutes if you so desire. :smiley:

I am currently on my second used trailer… So far, both of mine have been “vintage” (read: 1980’s) steel trailers. The first one, I bought for $600 and put about $2k into it to make it roadworthy-- paint, some welding, new tires, new brakes, rewired it, new jack stand, etc., almost all DIY. Sold it for $3k because I wanted a GN. Second (current) trailer, I bought for $1800. So far, I’ve replaced some of the lights, the ramp floor, and the tires, about $600 total. Fortunately, it’s in pretty good shape otherwise, other than needing an interior paint job and a few other cosmetic upgrades.

I would advise this: if you are not handy with DIY projects, then do not buy a cheap (under $3k) trailer, because I can guarantee that it is going to need work. Tires will need to be replaced if they are over 5 years old, regardless of how much tread is left on them-- right there is $400+ if you are lucky. Most trailer rehab issues aren’t terribly difficult to DIY, but if you don’t know your way around a toolbox and couldn’t pick out a phillips-head screwdriver if your life depended on it, then forget it.

I sold a 12 year old Valley trailer that I had paid $4300 new, for $1800, 3 years ago. It needed to be painted on the outside but I had taken care of the rust and the frame and floor were excellent. I was in a hurry to sell it and said yes to the first offer. …they were also the first lookers. If you are lucky you can find something like mine from someone like me who doesn’t want to fool around with the hassles of selling a trailer.

Once in a while you get lucky and can find a nice used trailer on CL because someone is getting out of horses and want to get rid of stuff quickly. I agree with the others-check out the bargins very carefully with a knowledgable person

When you think you’ve identified a likely candidate, it would behoove you to take it to a local trailer service center and have them lift it up to inspect the shocks, etc. underneath, in addition to a normal inspection.

HOLY COW That is amazing! I can’t find any brenderups around here for less than $10500 used!

If you are convenient to south eastern PA, I know a great place to check out used trailers. Unfortunately, they have no web site,

Very good points. The OP may end up spending more per year with her own rig. She needs to take a look at the costs and see if it is worth the freedom of being able to trailer on her own or be dependent on only going where a friend or barnmate or trainer is going. There is some value in getting up on a beautiful morning and being able to decide that moment to trailer out for a trail ride or show etc.

I know!!! She had it listed for $3,300 but I told her I had $2,500 cash on hand and she agreed to take it. She had moved to South Carolina and gotten out of horses. Her son had used the trailer to move from the Carolinas to Maryland and they didn’t have a use for it anymore. I’ve had it now for three years and haven’t had to do anything to it yet. We’re coming up on needing some work done, but for what I paid, I think I got a great deal!

You would have to haul out A LOT to make having your own rig be more cost-effective than paying someone to haul for you… I’ve had to get a second job to be able to afford having my own bargain-basement truck and trailer… Things like new truck tires (almost $800) are hard pills to swallow if you’re on a budget, and you don’t have to worry about those HUGE surprise expenses cropping up when you’re paying someone else to haul.

For me though, the ability to make MY own decisions re: when and where I go has made it worthwhile. A few years ago, I had a horse camping trip planned with some friends-- it was literally my first chance for a vacation in like 2 years; we had been planning it for months-- and the DAY before, our ride cancelled the entire trip because there was a 20% chance of showers that weekend. :eek:

So while it will almost never be cost-effective to have your own rig, it’s hard to put a price tag on the ability to do WHATever you want, WHENever you want…