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Old 09-02-2019, 02:20 PM   #1
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Custom Enclosed Trailer Built Wrong

Hey Y'all,


Just joined up as I am trying to build out a custom trailer to meet my needs. And can't wait to get out there and start exploring. But I am already hitting some obstacles.



I have gone to a local trailer manufacture that builds custom trailers to customer specs. So I was looking to get a 102"x20ft trailer with some added height and torsion axles along with some other options. After waiting 2 months due to delays, I went to do a final walk through and pick it up. I am estimating it to be sitting at 3,500lbs. empty. And given the rule of 10-15% tongue weight (which I can't find anywhere actually noted, like with NATM or DOT), I should be looking at 350-525lbs. But as it turns out the tongue weight is less than 50lbs. I can pick up the tongue with my pinkie finger.



They put the axles in the wrong spot.

So I am wondering what my recourse is. What options do I have? I am sure I can have a tongue box built to add weight (good for storage needed anyway). But I should not be having to figure out how to get this problem fixed, right?


The manufacture is telling me that it's due to the torsion axles, which to me is BS. You position the axles to provide the proper weight ratio.



I don't know if I can legally get my money back if they're not willing to fix the problem. It's a non-refundable deposit, but I think that only applies to products built to the quoted spec and is built safe.



Anyway, thanks for the feed back.


Troy
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Old 09-02-2019, 03:06 PM   #2
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Loading the trailer to achieve tongue weight is not the solution. All that will do is create unequal loads on the axles with the front axle carrying more load than the rear. This is not desirable. The load needs to be balanced over the axles. His torsion axle excuse is BS as you stated. Ive been pulling a 24 torsion axle trailer for years and it has plenty of tongue weight. The centerline of the axles should be split +/- 60/40 with the length to give proper tongue weight.
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Old 09-02-2019, 03:26 PM   #3
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Be honest with them. It doesn't fit your specs. Leave and tell them to call you when they get your trailer finished. Also give them a deadline. If they are already 2 months behind schedule, that's a problem. A non-refundable deposit isn't exactly non-refundable if they can't provide what you paid for or continually cause delays. You do have to cut them a reasonable amount of slack though. Delays can and do happen.



The front axle should be about 20 inches behind the center of the trailer for a trailer that size. (One inch behind center per foot of trailer length if I recall correctly.) Just remember, that's the center of the axle, not the front of the tire.
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Old 09-02-2019, 04:05 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by stvaughn View Post
Loading the trailer to achieve tongue weight is not the solution. All that will do is create unequal loads on the axles with the front axle carrying more load than the rear. This is not desirable. The load needs to be balanced over the axles. His torsion axle excuse is BS as you stated. Ive been pulling a 24 torsion axle trailer for years and it has plenty of tongue weight. The centerline of the axles should be split +/- 60/40 with the length to give proper tongue weight.

If I were to build a tool box onto the front of the tongue (let's say it weighs 300lbs), would that not essentially act like moving the axles back? Changing the ratio of the 60/40?
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Old 09-02-2019, 04:13 PM   #5
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If the axles are not as Itchytoe described, the trailer probably will not track properly. As stated, call me when you have the correct trailer.
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Old 09-02-2019, 04:25 PM   #6
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Be honest with them. It doesn't fit your specs. Leave and tell them to call you when they get your trailer finished. Also give them a deadline. If they are already 2 months behind schedule, that's a problem. A non-refundable deposit isn't exactly non-refundable if they can't provide what you paid for or continually cause delays. You do have to cut them a reasonable amount of slack though. Delays can and do happen.



The front axle should be about 20 inches behind the center of the trailer for a trailer that size. (One inch behind center per foot of trailer length if I recall correctly.) Just remember, that's the center of the axle, not the front of the tire.

Yes, I have been pretty lenient with them. At first the axles came in wrong, then they ordered them wrong twice. But I agree, mistakes happen.



I was thinking the center between the axles are 147" behind the front edge of the box. And if the axles are 34" apart from each other, that would make the front axle 14" behind the center line.



But you are saying the front axle needs to be 140" behind the front of the box. Putting the center of the the tandem at 157". Am I understanding that correctly? Or did you mean the center of the tandem is to be 1" behind the of the trailer for a total of 20" equaling 140"?


As it sits now, they have the center of the tandems at 138", with the front axle at 121". Which I know it's not right.
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Old 09-02-2019, 04:26 PM   #7
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If I were to build a tool box onto the front of the tongue (let's say it weighs 300lbs), would that not essentially act like moving the axles back? Changing the ratio of the 60/40?

No. The geometry of the axle placement remains the same; adding weight does not change the position of the axles.
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Old 09-02-2019, 04:26 PM   #8
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If the axles are not as Itchytoe described, the trailer probably will not track properly. As stated, call me when you have the correct trailer.

Call you when I have the correct trailer?
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Old 09-02-2019, 04:29 PM   #9
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No. The geometry of the axle placement remains the same; adding weight does not change the position of the axles.

So moving the axles is the only way to get the ratio right?

It has to do with the distance between the axles to the tongue and the axles to the end of the tail. Tail wag the dog scenario?
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Old 09-02-2019, 04:33 PM   #10
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You could verify their work with the department of transportation for your state. If the state says what they did is a safety issue, that will give you more leverage with them to fix it.
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Old 09-02-2019, 04:39 PM   #11
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I would walk away with any money you might of give them and find a quality trailer manufacturer ! They clearly don't know what they are doing ........
I had MTI Custom build me a 30' in 2014 and was more impressed with the trailer than I thought I'd be.
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Old 09-02-2019, 04:48 PM   #12
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1 word: "Un-Accept-Able" (or 3 words if you ask your particular trailer manufactuer)

If they can't place the axles correctly, how will the rest of the trailer be quality-wise?

Contract in writing? Might be worth getting a legal opinion/letter, to get out of the deal, and find another manufacturer, or hire an independent "expert" to inspect it before delivery.

Man, that's rough. Good luck getting it sorted out, no way would I take delivery before it was right.

My 7x16 enclosed tandem, no way can I lift the tongue by hand. Maybe some folks here can help:
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Old 09-02-2019, 04:52 PM   #13
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You could verify their work with the department of transportation for your state. If the state says what they did is a safety issue, that will give you more leverage with them to fix it.

The state mentions the 10-15% tongue weight required to tow safely, I don't know if I can get a response from them directly though.
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Old 09-02-2019, 06:16 PM   #14
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The state mentions the 10-15% tongue weight required to tow safely, I don't know if I can get a response from them directly though.
It isn't clear how much money you are into it. Time-wise, that is a lot of waiting and patience. As others have said, try to get out of the deal. You could use the 10-15% tongue weight specification in court. The DOT will have it in writing somewhere, no need to get a response from them other than where to look for the regulations.

As an aside, I went to a custom fab shop that builds trailers for a one-off job. I wanted 14 rebar tent stakes 16" long. They wanted $80 bucks and I was to pay them first.

I balked and negotiated the price went down to $35 and I'd pay upon receipt. They never delivered. After a week, he had problems sourcing rebar. I could buy the exact tent stakes that I needed (not rebar, but angle iron) for $35 online through a reputable tent manufacturer. I was just trying to do it locally, but I never told them that.
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