I’m trailer shopping and considering an aluminum trailer. I’ve only had Hawk and Equispirit steel frame trailers previously. I am not looking to re-start the aluminum vs. steel debate, but I would like feedback from aluminum trailer owners. I’m only looking at the more heavily constructed aluminum trailers. If anyone has a brand other than 4 Star, EBY, Jamco or C&C that I should consider, please let me know. My concern with aluminum trailers other than corrosion is the shear strength and possibility that something inside the trailer (such as breast bar or divider) rips off and lacerates my horses. I understand that obviously no manufacturer can change the nature of the aluminum material, but is this something that the heavily constructed brands have managed by adding more or stronger aluminum or something? Has anyone had something like this happen in the real world? I would like to determine if I can mark this worry off my list. TIA
I have a 4star which I custom ordered last year and love it. I’ve had Adam, Featherlite, Exiss and Merhows, and it is definitely the best built of all of those I have owned, though I will say the Merhow came very close. Have heard only wonderful things about EBY. The one I walked through at Rolex was impressive. I don’t have any experience with Jamco or C&C.
I have a Jamco and love it. It’s 19 years old and is in the shop for only the 2nd time for age-related issues - the hinges on the rear ramp have cracked and need to be replaced. A few years ago I had to have the roof re-sealed. I use this trailer at least once a week, sometimes twice, even in winter, so that ramp has been walked on thousands of times in all temperatures.
I bought it very lightly used in 2003 -it’s a 1999.
It is just an exceptionally well built trailer. Every weld is smooth and even. The construction is of hollow beams, not sheets of aluminum over the frame, so it is somewhat insulated (noise and temperature) and structurally strong. The floor joists are closer together than other brands.
I’ve never had anything break off on it that would cut my horse. It doesn’t look 19 years old - maybe 10 at most. They are expensive but you do get what you pay for.
My 1st was a 4-Star - 1996 Demo - 2H BP
Did everything asked in the 13yrs I had it.
Lived outside & nothing broke or needed repair aside from maintenance < repacking bearings, annual once-over from mechanic
#2 was coincidentally, another 4-Star - 1997 this time, GN 2/h slant w/LQ - bought in 2009
Traded a year or two later for yet another 4-Star - cannot recall the exact year, but another late 90s IIRC - 2H GN w/DR
Also slant which I am not a fan of.
#3 acquired about a year ago in trade +$$(to me) for 16’ aluminum Stock as I am Driving now & need to load a mini-sized cart along with the mini himself.
In a pinch, all 3 of mine can ride.
This one is a 1998 Circle J - before the trade I asked about the brand on here & got favorable reviews.
So far I am very happy.
Trailer went to the Fair in August, then 5h away hauling mini, friend’s Shetland & HaffieX.
I bought a 4 stall head to head with dressing room Jamco in 1999 for around 35000. I sold it in 2016 - yes 17 years later -for 23000. It was in perfect condition and it was used once or twice a week for 6 months of the year. Loved my Jamco and I have two students who own them and love them. Quality construction all the way around.
I would also tell you to look at Hart, Elite, and Platinum. I have owned/ currently own a couple of both Hart and Elite trailers, both LQ and non-LQ, and thought they were both very high quality with a lot of attention to details.
Hart has a honey combed roof that helps to keep the trailer cool in really hot weather, and the quality of a Hart trailer is just outstanding. The downside to a Hart is they are expensive, but worth every penny.
We have an Elite at the moment that I love too. Well built, beautiful welds, and pulls nicely. We looked at Platinums as well, and were impressed, but the Elite we found had the floor plan we wanted.
4 Star, Eby and Jamco are all top-notch. I’ve never heard a bad thing about any of them. Jamco is my dream trailer but out of my budget. I have a Kingston which I love - 14 yrs old this year (bought it new) and have had no issues with it. I do yearly routine inspections/maintenance on it and all is good. They do make an all-aluminum now and those are super nice. That would be my preference (more within my budget than a Jamco). You can’t go wrong with any of these.
Not familiar with C&C so can’t comment on that brand.
I have had 3 4 Stars. Before that, I had an Equispirit and a Hawk. The 4 Stars are like tanks! I think I could haul rampaging elephants back there with no damage! Its by far, the best balanced and strongest trailer I’ve dealt with.
We had a Jamco 2horse with dressing room and omg that was the best trailer EVER!!! I understand your fear about something breaking off, but in the Jamco I don’t honestly see how that could happen. Obviously anything could happen, but short of an accident I don’t think anything would be going anywhere in that trailer! I was a pony clubber and I remember going to a rally and in the MD region they always make you cover any potential sharp corners with diapers…well the Jamco only had 4 diapers on it. 1 on each back end corner, which wasn’t actually sharp, one over the hitch (even though horse shouldn’t be up there anyway and it was still hooked up to the truck), and one over the piece that you used to attach the head divider… Honestly that trailer felt like a tank. It was the best.
My favorite parts of the Jamco were:
- the enforced welded everything
- the exterior additional latches on all the doors
- the extra head room (4’ head area vs the regular I think 3’?)
- very light and airy…all the horses walked right on, even horses that weren’t great loaders
- Jamco was a GREAT company to work with…when I got my self locked in the dressing room at an event (I somehow broke the door latch, from the inside…which takes some talent), they walked us through how to get me out of the dressing room over the phone then sent a rep out to fix it the next business day…
- we were able to customize it in ways that were important to us – adding extra hooks, bigger head room, extra lights, etc…
Another vote for Jamco!
I have a '97 3 horse slant GN with a large dressing room that I bought in 2014, and I freaking LOVE this trailer! The first stall escape door and stud wall allows me to haul plenty of bags of shavings and bales of hay for those week long shows. Like the other poster said, built like a tank but hauls like a dream. My dad is a welding inspector and was very impressed with the quality of welds, and I’m very impressed with all the well thought out safety features. I have never had a horse get off that trailer with any kind of bump or cut on them.
The only thing my trailer is missing is a ramp, but at $2500 to have one installed, I had to pass. My mare that I have now had never been on a trailer. So when we went to pick her up we took the dividers out of my Jamco and left it open. She loaded up with only a little hesitation and was quiet as a mouse the entire ride. Like the other poster said, they are light and airy on the inside which is great for those hard or novice loaders.
Either way, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with 4-Star, Eby, or Jamco trailers as they are all built to last!
We had a custom made C & C, 5 horse head to head made in 2004. It was, without a doubt, the best made trailer I have ever seen. We sold it to downsize, replacing it with a Merhow 2+1, also a very nice trailer. A friend of ours has a Jamco and it is a very nice, solid and safe trailer as well. Another friend has an old (04) 4 star that has seen a lot of use. Nothing on that trailer fits. If you move partitions around it is a challenge to get pins in or out.
Thanks for posting this about Jamco. I’m about to take the plunge and have them build a custom designed, totally custom built trailer for me! Been doing my research but I’ve known their good reputation for years. They oddly stay quite “new looking” forever, too!
This got bumped, but I guess I am one of the only people with a C&C (the brand was an offshoot of either Eby or 4 Star, I cant remember which now) and it is an absolute tank. Mine is an '03 2+1 and it is, in my opinion, better made than a similar year Eby.
Have only owned one trailer, a Circle J Riata bought new in 1998. Still going strong.
All seem to me to be good brands --one thought though, if possible measure FOR YOURSELF the width INSIDE the trailer and height. I live in “The Trailer Capital of the World” and had the opportunity to look at a bunch of trailers before I bought my Merhow. One thing I did notice --just about everyone gave an 'outside wall to outside wall" measurement by measuring the OUTSIDE of the trailer --that could be 4" different than the inside measurement where horse stands. So take your own measurements!
I know this is an old thread, but I just learned this- the hard way. AND the outside measurement isn’t what it’s supposed to be.