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lowdown on trailers

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  • lowdown on trailers

    so really, do i NEED an aluminum 2H bumper pull trailer or is a steel one just fine? I've owned a super nice aluminum featherlite but had to sell it. i was perusing used trailers and there are a lot of newer steel ones for a really small amount of money...even when they are new they are considerably less than aluminum. Why????

  • #2
    For the manufacturer the cost of steel is less than aluminium, for starts.

    The better the steel trailer, the heavier gauge steel they use, which increases your weight.
    Then too, the less expensive trailer tend to rust sooner.

    I'm sure the same caveats exist with aluminum trailers. So buy by brand name. As with most things except horses, you get what you pay for. With horses it's russian roulette.
    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

    Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

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    • #3
      In well made trailers of equal quality the biggest initial difference is that aluminum will cost more and weigh less.

      Over time, the cost differential will narrow as aluminum is less costly to maintain (assuming you do the basics) and less costly to pull (as it weighs less).

      Beyond these items I'd say it's likely a question of personal preference.
      G.
      Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

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      • #4
        They're heavy, which means a bigger tow vehicle and lower gas mileage.

        They last damn near forever, which means you see more of them on the market.

        Because they tend to be old and heavy, they also tend to be smaller in every way. Shorter is the main one to watch for; a lot of them are 6'6" in the interior. Some of them also have extremely narrow straight load slots. Some also have a big straight divider where the horse's front legs go, which means the horse can't extend its legs forward (very uncomfortable).
        Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/

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        • #5
          Steel rusts
          Aluminum doesn't...ever

          Depending on your tow vehicle the additional weight of a steel trailer could make a difference in mileage & performance too
          *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
          Steppin' Out 1988-2004
          Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
          Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

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          • #6
            Several trailer companies make galvanealed steel panels for the trailers. Like the steel used on cars. Yes, it rusts and corrodes but in the west and SW - there are steel trailers that are 25+ years old and no rust.

            Even if I were to buy an alum trailer, I want a steel interior. Steel is stronger and safer. For 2H trailers, there is very little difference in weight between steel & alum. 3H with large dressing rooms and larger trailers will start to show a difference in weight between steel & alum.

            If you spot a used trailer, research the brand AND THE MODEL. Sometimes certain models of a particular manufacturer are not designed well. And, it also seems that there are "good years" and "bad"... almost like wines. LOL.

            And lastly, find out if the manufacturer is still in business - that will tell you something about their quality of trailers AND of their business.

            Alum corrodes - just does it more slowly. : ) Alum welding is more costly than steel welding too. Alum trailers are typically - but not ALWAYS - built on steel frames. So you have to worry about rust and corrosion underneath.

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            • #7
              I agree that you should consider galvanized steel trailers. I bought one from www.doubledtrailers.com nearly two years ago and I love it. It is not that much heavier than aluminum either and cost me way less. Steel is much safer in an accident also.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by jn4jenny View Post
                They're heavy, which means a bigger tow vehicle and lower gas mileage.

                They last damn near forever, which means you see more of them on the market.

                Because they tend to be old and heavy, they also tend to be smaller in every way. Shorter is the main one to watch for; a lot of them are 6'6" in the interior. Some of them also have extremely narrow straight load slots. Some also have a big straight divider where the horse's front legs go, which means the horse can't extend its legs forward (very uncomfortable).
                I'm not clear on why you are saying the are smaller and narrow straight load slots and full dividers? The majority of new or newer steel horse trailers are 7' or 7'4" tall, the same width as alum trailers, with the same kind of dividers.

                I agree that the REALLY old steel 2H BP trailers may be only 6'6" tall, and may have a full divider, and may be narrow - but that is because they are a VERY old style.

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                • #9
                  I have a 2004 Titan Avalanche 3H GN trailer. It has a 4' shortwall. It had no "extras". No rear tack, no padding on the dividers, and no carpeting in the DR. It had a spare RIM (but no tire, I had to buy that) and had a saddle rack in the DR. Bare bones. It was $8200 when I bought it new. I think the same model runs about $9500 now. I use an F150 5.4l, set up for towing, extended cab to tow it with. (trailer was 5030 pounds empty. truck is set for 9300 pounds)

                  It is galvanealed steel panels. It has the Dexter torsion axles which make the ride MUCH better than leaf springs. Where the horses have chipped the paint at the bottom of the rear doors, there are a few rust spots smaller than a thumbtack head. All I need to do, every year, is clean it up, wire brush it, prime it and leave it.

                  I believe that Titan makes a very nice BP Avalanche in several different styles. Stock sides, or stock butt with drop down head windows, or fully enclosed with drop downs with bars on the head side and bus sliders on the butt side. Full width rear door, or double rear doors.

                  And, there are a few other manufacturers that make galvaneal/galvanized panel trailers. If you are along the coast, you may want to be sure to rinse it frequently to avoid any salt water corrosion. Otherwise, good cleaning of manure and urine after each use goes along way to keep a trailer sound.

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                  • #10
                    I like steel for safety.

                    My 12' S&S Stock combo had a shipping weight of 2,250. That's what it WEIGHS. Hard to beat that, ya know?

                    Yes, it rusts. So after 4 years we went to Rustoleum Gloss White. And it is beautiful and will get redone every 4-5 years. Simple, cheap and very, very good looking.

                    If I had the $$, I'd have a Brenderup or Rice. I don't. The S&S can be very comfortably pulled (and stopped) by a Dodge Dakota, a 6cyl Ford F150 (the big old six--not the stupid new ones) and most 3/4 or full size SUVs.

                    When I shop again, it'll be a Bee trailer. Most bang for the buck I ever found.
                    InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs
                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                    Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by gabz View Post
                      I'm not clear on why you are saying the are smaller and narrow straight load slots and full dividers? The majority of new or newer steel horse trailers are 7' or 7'4" tall, the same width as alum trailers, with the same kind of dividers.

                      I agree that the REALLY old steel 2H BP trailers may be only 6'6" tall, and may have a full divider, and may be narrow - but that is because they are a VERY old style.
                      I was talking about the older ones.
                      Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/

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                      • #12
                        All Steel is not the same, and all wood is not either.

                        I have a 1967 shoop that has finally been laid to rest this year. The frame is starting to rust, so it was either invest in welding new support beams for the frame, + it needs a floor, or just say it has been a super trailer that has done enough. It has not been painted in over 20 years. It still has the original floor, that is just now (42 years) probably needing replacement.

                        We also had a newer steel trailer that looked scary old after 5 years. The new paint job lasted just over a year before that also looked horrible. That floor also needed replacing after 3 years. It was pretty much retired after 6 years of age.

                        There are VERY different grades of steel and wood. Quality will cost.

                        I LOVE my all aluminum Custom Fab 2 horse combo. It is like a 2+1 with no dressing room, and weights 2500. I hope it will last me the rest of my horsey days.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Fairview Horse Center View Post
                          There are VERY different grades of steel and wood. Quality will cost.
                          Seeing as aluminum is also an alloy the very same can be said of it. I've been warned that the quality of the aluminum needs to be a concern in horse trailers because the price difference between a good and not so good aluminum alloy is greater than in steel so there is more price incentive for a manufacturer to cut corners with aluminum. It's one very big reason you want to buy a trailer from a well respected maker!

                          Personally, I prefer a steel frame to an aluminum frame for a two horse. The weight advantage of aluminum is not as significant for a two horse as it is when the trailers get larger . Unless you are pulling with a car engine and are desperate for less weight I wouldn't worry about it so much. (And I wouldn't recommend pulling with a car or medium sized suv, anyway.)

                          Secondly while aluminum doesn't rust it DOES oxidize and oxidation often isn't obvious to a lay person. I like very much that uneducated me can see a rust issue all by myself and address it. (Wood floors are the same--I personally can inspect one on tell if there are problems unlike some of the higher tech options--and wood is inexpensive to replace.) I also like that if I have an issue in the middle of Nowhere, USA that just about any mechanic with a blow torch is qualified to work on it. Aluminum requires a technician--i.e $$$$ if you have to have it worked on.

                          The other concern I have with aluminum is that it is much easier to total an aluminum frame for several reasons. Aluminum is much more brittle than steel, so it will crack or break much easier. Often times crack or break cannot be fixed with aluminum or if it can be it takes that expensive technician and the cost of the job is high enough to classify it as totaled. Steel will bend instead, and again a low labor cost mechanic can bend it back with out it losing structural strength. I have seen aluminum trailers that look perfectly fine after a minor fender bender but be totaled! (Buyer beware!)

                          My own 2h trailer is a steel frame coated with zinc as a rust prohibitor and aluminum siding, but honestly like most horsey things there are pros and cons in everything and in the end you have to buy whatever you can sleep with at night!

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