Posted 2017-09-03 7:38 AM (#170487) Subject: Best aluminum trailer in your opinions please?
I am looking to upgrade my horse trailer in the next year or two. I want either a 2 or 3 horse slant, gooseneck, aluminum trailer with a dressing room. I am wondering what brand is best, what brand of used trailer you would trust, etc. I would like this to be my last trailer I have to buy, so want quality that will stand the test of time! I'm OK waiting a bit longer to purchase it, if it would be better to buy new. It will need to last at least 20 years for me. Growing up, I always heard that Sundowner and Exiss were the top aluminum trailers. In doing some searching online, I've found that Sundowner isn't producing as many trailers as they used to and that older trailers are having trouble with the steel frames rusting. So....now I'm a bit leery of Sundowner. I've also heard that Gore trailers are very good quality. I know nothing about Gore trailers. Educate me please! What are your favorite aluminum trailers and why, etc. Thanks in advance!
Posted 2017-09-03 10:09 PM (#170494 - in reply to #170487) Subject: RE: Best aluminum trailer in your opinions please?
Location: Waaaaay back Slaughter Hollow
Probably the most common ones people will recommend are 4Star, Elite, Platinum, Eby, C & C, and Hart. They are all very well built.
I have owned 2 Elite and 2 Harts. My Hart was their entry level Medallion and the quality was superb, plus it pulled like a dream. It is the only trailer I really regret selling.
My Hart had a honey combed roof that was well insulated. We lived in it in an open hay field in the summer with the walk through door open to the rear for added space and had no issues cooling it with the roof a/c.
I do now own 2 older Featherlites, a '99 and '03. I am very happy with both, although I looked at new Featherlites and was not impressed with their quality.
Posted 2017-09-08 10:05 AM (#170514 - in reply to #170487) Subject: RE: Best aluminum trailer in your opinions please?
Location: Lawrence KS
Some brands are more popular in different parts of the country. I suppose this is due to dealer network and manufacturing facilities.
In the Midwest some of the top of the line trailers ( as mentioned above ) are Hart, Elite, 4Star, Cimarron. ?A little lower priced is Lakota, which seems to have a good following for a mid level priced trailer.
Posted 2017-09-12 8:59 AM (#170611 - in reply to #170487) Subject: RE: Best aluminum trailer in your opinions please?
Location: South Central OK
You've been given great advice ^^^^^. I'll add that you need to make sure there is a dealer you like/trust close enough to do even minor repairs. Don't buy a trailer that's going to be a two day drive to get service. Getting a used trailer may mean that parts are harder to source and thus the drive may be longer to find proper service. I have been to most of the factories listed above and I live in OK, trailer country. Sundowner is made within 150 miles of my ranch yet you hardly see anyone pulling one, to me that speaks VOLUMES. Elite trailers have the best fit and finish (no metal burs to scratch a critter) followed very closely by Hart and the old style 4Stars (not the Runabout models.) Turnbow makes one heck of a trailer, they are basically the Volvos of the trailer world IMO. Soild built and you hardly find them for sale because it's a one and done kind of trailer and they do tons of custom trailers by percent of production. I wouldn't own an exiss unless it was built before 2000 as the quality took a steep dive at the time they released the "Sport" models. I have a Featherlite cattle trailer and it does exactly what it's designed to do, haul cattle and pull easily. My Elite is my favorite between the two as I find it's quieter behind the truck and the axles are placed better for tight manuvers. They are not exactly the same size or design so comparisons are really not fair, but I would buy another Featherlite and I'll never sell this Elite.
Posted 2017-09-12 10:59 AM (#170614 - in reply to #170487) Subject: RE: Best aluminum trailer in your opinions please?
Location: Shawnee, Oklahoma
4 Star is the original "high end" top quality built trailer...different engineers from 4 Star started C&C, Elite, and Platinum, who all put out similar high quality tough built trailers. Of course C&C is not around anymore and 4 Star's Runabout doesn't count. I also think Hart is very high quality, although a heavier trailer. For various picky reasons, Cimarron and Bloomer go to upper middle of the road for me, although they sell well. Bottom feeders are Bison, Kiefer, Exiss...good to drag to a trail ride or weekend event but not for serious over the road professional trainers or rodeo guys & girls. If I had a small budget and wanted a safe, well built tank of a trailer, I'd buy an older 4 Star and the year wouldn't matter!!!
Posted 2017-09-12 11:43 AM (#170615 - in reply to #170487) Subject: RE: Best aluminum trailer in your opinions please?
Cindy at Trailer Deport wrote: If I had a small budget and wanted a safe, well built tank of a trailer, I'd buy an older 4 Star and the year wouldn't matter!!!
Thank you Cindy at Trailer Depot. The above is exactly what I did. I had a small budget but wanted a safe, well built tank of a trailer. Two years ago I bought a 1993 4 horse slant 4 Star Deluxe trailer. It had been owned by a mechanical engineer and it had been meticulously maintained. I love that trailer.
Posted 2017-09-20 4:38 AM (#170667 - in reply to #170614) Subject: RE: Best aluminum trailer in your opinions please?
I've never heard anyone classify Bloomer as upper "middle of the road".4-Star is good but Bloomer in my opinion is every bit as good. I can't tell you how many people at horse camps ask to look at my Bloomer with Outlaw conversion and say that is their 'dream' trailer.
Posted 2017-09-20 8:50 AM (#170669 - in reply to #170667) Subject: RE: Best aluminum trailer in your opinions please?
wblaylock - 2017-09-20 4:38 AM I've never heard anyone classify Bloomer as upper "middle of the road".4-Star is good but Bloomer in my opinion is every bit as good. I can't tell you how many people at horse camps ask to look at my Bloomer with Outlaw conversion and say that is their 'dream' trailer.
Your Bloomer is their dream, or the Outlaw is? I've seen many folks drool over a trailer, when in fact they were infatuated with the glitz of the interior, rather than the structure and welds of the chassis. Gosh- I saw a blog post the other day where Outlaw Conversions will be at Congress in Kiefer trailers this year.
Just my .02, but I've seen enough Bloomers with structure and leak issues to be as wary of them as anything else. Like many companies' products, some years are better than others. It seems as if you have one of the good ones.
Posted 2017-09-22 10:21 AM (#170686 - in reply to #170672) Subject: RE: Best aluminum trailer in your opinions please?
Location: Shawnee, Oklahoma
Bloomer trailers are very well marketed. They make sure they get into the hands of people who haul a lot. We are one of the bigger trailer and RV repair shops in Oklahoma and you are more than welcome to stop by anytime you are in our area when we are working on a Bloomer (which is often). We will be glad to show you first hand the differences in them and Platinum, Elite, 4 Star, Hart. Upper middle of the road is not bad...just engineered different.
Posted 2017-09-26 10:57 AM (#170702 - in reply to #170686) Subject: RE: Best aluminum trailer in your opinions please?
Location: South Central OK
Agree with Cindy, Bloomers had major issues that were quite well known having to do with trailers not being square and flooring issues. The details ellude me but can be found by a quick search I'm sure. They were well covered in these forums at the time.
Posted 2017-09-30 9:56 AM (#170714 - in reply to #170487) Subject: RE: Best aluminum trailer in your opinions please?
Having just completed a used trailer search and purchase, I am convinced that most of the manufacturers have had bad years and good. Eliminating a manufacturer based on a single 'lemon' would shorten the list to so few, that a 'final' trailer purchase would have been all but impossible.
Your purchase should be based on the expectations you have for the usage of your 'final' trailer. When you have defined what you do and expect to do with your horses, you can build a list of your needs (must haves), wants (expected, but not required), and hopes (would be great, but not expected). It took several days to compile that list with what we do (road warriors, show all around at breed shows, two weekends a month). With list in hand, we found our list of manufacturers greatly reduced.
We decided that no matter the quality of the living quarters, we would only purchase a trailer from a manufacturer with a solid service reputation (almost all companies have an occasional problem, but how well they deal with a problem speaks volumes). This eliminated several manufacturers from Our list.
These are my opinions, after years of research and study. They are based on my experience and the experiences of the many friends we have made across the country these last 30 years. The 'facts' may be different, but this was my approach to purchasing my 'final' trailer. By the way, we ended up with a trailer from the second tier list, as the replacement timing changed in the final 4 months of our schedule.
On to my list....
* Top Tier (some issues, but the company(s) makes a real effort to resolve these issues)
Lakota (preference to the Bighorn Editions)
Jamco I have never seen a bad example of an Eby or Jamco. They are consistent on build quality and durability.
C & C
* Second Tier (Would work, if can't afford or find and acceptable in our time frame/budget)
Lakota (non Bighorn edition)
Older Sooner Pre 2005
Older Sundowner Pre 2010
Early Exiss Pre 2000
Early Featherlite Pre 2002
* Bottom Tier (Will not even consider, no matter cost)
Featherlite Post 2002
Any trailer with a wooden floor
Any trailer with a steel frame or sub frame ** There are exceptions, depending on buffer material between steel and aluminum components. Our first Sooner was steel frame with aluminum above, never had any problems **
Any trailer with 15 inch wheels (axles will not handle the load, we were looking for a larger trailer with a moderate LQ, 3 horse with at least 14 foot LQ)
Posted 2017-09-30 4:39 PM (#170715 - in reply to #170487) Subject: RE: Best aluminum trailer in your opinions please?
Location: Omaha nebraska
I'm enjoying the various ratings on the trailers,I went thru this several years ago (this one good, this on bad etc.) since I travel extensively in west-Midwest I started keeping score on the brands of trailers on the road working. My results are a lot different. That being said I suggest that you go and talk to as many trailer owners as you can and make your choice based on your needs. Good Luck!