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Exiss or Sundowner? 4-horse trailer, head to head

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  • Exiss or Sundowner? 4-horse trailer, head to head

    We will be purchasing a 4-horse head to head trailer with a dressing room. I have come across two great options. One is a 2003 Exiss and one is a 2002 Sundowner. Both are at least 7'6" tall, aluminum with dressing room. Both look like they are in mint condition.

    The Sundowner has some upgrades (awnings, fans, hay rack) but is about 5k more than the Exiss. The Sundowner appears a little roomier. I don't think the extras are a necessity, but are an added bonus. The only thing I don't love on the Sundowner is that the escape door doesn't go all the way to the ground???

    I owned a 2 horse Sundowner a few years back but it was a slant (which I don't like), so it isn't a fair comparisn to make to the 4-horse Sundowner. I have never owned an Exiss.

    Which trailer should I go with based on folks' experience with either make? We can finance either one.

  • #2
    Our local trailer sales facility will no longer sell Sundowners as they experienced too many frame problems. They also mentioned the frames weren't aluminum as advertised but steel. Keep in mind, this is just what I was told so thought I would pass it on. Happy trailer hunting!
    To ride a horse is to borrow freedom.


    • #3
      I think your Sundowner might be in the "questionable frame years" category. Do a bunch of research and get a good, professional evaluation if you decide to make an offer on the Sundowner.

      Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


      • #4
        My 2000 Exiss head to head had to have the frame replaced! And the 2001 Sundowner that I borrowed after that has the frame almost completely degraded underneath. Look under both of those trailers really closely!
        "You can't really debate with someone who has a prescient invisible friend"


        • #5
          I had a 4H slant Sundowner, 1994 year model.

          Pulled it 300,000 miles and it looked like new when I traded it for a 4h head to head.

          In less than one year, I have pulled it about 20,000 miles. My truck keeps track on its computer how many miles the trailer is hooked up, but I have not looked at it recently....but 20,000 is pretty close.

          I love it.

          Sundowner had two quality price levels. If you get the best and have it inspected, you will be OK.


          • Original Poster

            Thanks everyone. I had no idea about the frame issues and have since done a lot of reading. I have to admit I am a little gun shy when it comes to the Sunowner now. It does fall within the range of trailers that tend to have issues.

            That being said, the Exiss has an aluminum subframe. I haven't read much negative on them other than that the Sport models aren't as nice as the Eventer models. The dealer is checking on the model for me. Any easy way to tell from pictures if it is an Event or Sport? Trailer is a 5 hour+ drive for me....


            • #7
              I just traded a 2H GN DR Exiss for a new 2+1 Adam. If I had not wanted a 2+1, I would have kept the Exiss forever. I loved that trailer. It was roomy and hauled like a dream. It was a 2003 that I bought new in 2005 as a leftover. IMHO you can't go wrong with an Exiss. It still looks like a new trailer. You also might look at Adam if you can find one. My new Adam is just as well made (if not better) than other brands costing $9,000.00 more. IMHO after much searching and shopping for a 2+1, I would not buy a Sundowner. Also, steel frame/aluminum skin Sundowners were available until 2008 when they started making alum frame/alum skin on all their trailers. The alum frame was an option until 2008.


              • #8
                I too loved my Exiss, but the frame literally came apart. They "repaired" it once, which did not work, then took it back to the factory and replaced the frame. There were no furhter issues. Just have someone knowledgeable that is not involved in the sale look at the frame.
                "You can't really debate with someone who has a prescient invisible friend"


                • Original Poster

                  The Exiss is model SS/400ST. Good or bad??? Can't find anything when I google.


                  • #10
                    I've heard bad things about the Exiss. Wasn't this the trailer that someone sued about several years ago? She bought an Exiss with all the bells & whistles, 4 or 6horse HTH like you're looking at. Her dream trailer but when she loaded it up all the doors popped open. The frame literally bent & sagged with the weight of the horses. I don't think she ever got her $$$ back. I told this story a few years ago the the Exiss dealer in Ocala, FL who said that he's had to repair "a few" doors by adding additional, after market, locks on them due to the flexing of the trailer floor & frame. I'd NEVER get an Exiss or now, a Sundowner. Keep looking.
                    Producing horses with gentle minds & brilliant movement!


                    • #11
                      Jamco makes a nice 4h head to head.

                      We started with a Sundowner and moved to a 4Star and thought the 4Star was 10X the trailer the Sundowner was. Then we moved to a Jamco and had the same thought about the 4Star. By far, Jamco is the nicest trailer we have seen. To say built like a tank is an understatement.


                      • #12
                        Adams makes nice trailers

                        so does 4 star and Keifer built.

                        I wouldn't touch a used Exiss or a sundowner.


                        • #13
                          Friend of mine has an Exiss and the windows leak like sieves. No matter what's been done, they leak.

                          Have you considered an EquiSpirit Head to Head?
                          <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.


                          • #14
                            I would not touch either. I would not put my horses on anything without a steel frame unless I knew that it had the crap engineered out of it with very high grade and lots of aluminum (which Exiss does not).

                            Both manufacturers have cut too many corners for me, even though I know people who have both and are satisfied. I don't like to take on a lot of risk with that type of purchase.

                            Choco and 2ndy make great suggestions -- count me in as another Adam owner who has an extremely well-built, strong trailer that is thoughtfully designed and will last forever with care.
                            Life doesn't have perfect footing.

                            Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
                            We Are Flying Solo


                            • #15
                              A steel frame under aluminium is what causes the problem.


                              • #16
                                Only if it is not put together correctly. And Sundowner's problem was with the faulty undercoating of the trailers allowing the frame to corrode underneath, not the metals themselves. Aluminum over steel can be fine if built properly so the two metals are not in contact. It's all in the details...
                                Life doesn't have perfect footing.

                                Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
                                We Are Flying Solo


                                • #17
                                  You don't think that I know that?

                                  However if you use all aluminium you don't have to worry about the material between the steel and the aluminium degrading.

                                  They build Boeing 747's out of aluminium. Properly designed aluminium alloys are as strong.

                                  Soon Ford will be building all aluminium trucks.

                                  Last edited by cssutton; Apr. 24, 2013, 09:32 PM.


                                  • #18
                                    My 2H GN/DR Exiss was an SS200ST Event. It was only a 2H and I don't know how different the frame is than a 4H. Maybe the frame is not as strong on a 4H since it is longer? IMHO, the Exiss was made very well for the price point. Like I said, I think Adam Trailers are the best value for the money after much searching and they hold their value. Jamcos are supposed to be the best trailer out there, but most of us can't afford them, even used.


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by cssutton View Post
                                      You don't think that I know that?
                                      LOL, I have no idea what you know, it's the interwebz! If aluminum trailers were made out of aircraft-grade aluminum, that'd be great -- of course, I'm not sure who could afford them!
                                      Life doesn't have perfect footing.

                                      Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
                                      We Are Flying Solo