Free 7 Day Trial RV GPS App RV Trip Planner Campground Reviews RV Maintenance Free 7 Day Trial ×
RV Trip Planning Discussions

Go Back   iRV2 Forums > MOTORHOME FORUMS > Toads and Motorhome Related Towing
Click Here to Login
Join iRV2 Today

Mission Statement: Supporting thoughtful exchange of knowledge, values and experience among RV enthusiasts.
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 10-05-2016, 02:31 PM   #1
Senior Member
Fleetwood Owners Club
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 209
Buying trailer from private seller

A while back I posted that I was unable to find a lightly used flatbed trailer. For whatever reason, now I'm finding several possibilities out there. Trying to avoid the price of a new flatbed. That said, if I have to, for safety or other reasons, I'll bite the bullet. We're looking to go mostly full time next year so I want quality, but also because of that our "income" will be limited so looking to save as many pennies as I can. Looking on Craigslist, I've found several that look interesting and where I can save $1000 or more over the dealer price.

Being new to the flatbed world (yes I can ONLY use a flatbed), what should I be looking for. I'm so new to this, I don't even know what tie downs to use. Should the seller have those? What are electric brakes? Shouldn't the trailer have a brake connection with the coach, or am I misunderstanding how that works (strong possibility of that)? Tandem axle--what should I look for there? Is a winch helpful at all or just a waste of much needed space? Is steel better or worse than aluminum? Anything to know about the tires?

I appreciate any assistance, as I want to go fully armed with as much knowledge about this as possible when dealing with a private individual (or a dealer for that matter). If you don't want to answer questions, and have a good link, that would work as well. Either way, thank you in advance.
2013 Fleetwood Expedition 36M "Scarlet B"
angelbones is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 RV Forum Today - It's Totally Free! RV Community - Are you about to start a new improvement on your RV or need some help with some maintenance? Do you need advice on what products to buy? Or maybe you can give others some advice? No matter where you fit in you'll find that iRV2 is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with other RV owners, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create an RV blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 10-05-2016, 03:22 PM   #2
Senior Member
nukerj's Avatar
Fleetwood Owners Club
Freightliner Owners Club
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Monument, CO
Posts: 216
First it needs to be able to support the weight of whatever you are going to carry. I'm assuming a car??

So its total GVWR should be greater than its own GVW plus the GVW of the car you are carrying.

It's nice to have stowable ramps like mine, so you don't have to find a place for those. If its GVWR is over 3500llbs, it has to have tandem brakes, surge or electric.

tie downs are nice, it gives an easy access point to strap a vehicle or large cargo in, they should be rated to 3000lb min breaking strength each.

check the tires and make sure they are the proper load range for the GVWR of the trailer.

You won't need a winch if you aren't hauling broken cars.

if the seller can't demonstrate the trailer brakes working, then its a crap shoot as to how much maintenance they will need. You might get lucky or not.
if you get one with electric brakes, you will need to invest in a brake controller.
2014 Fleetwood Discovery 40G -> '16 Yukon Denali
Mechanical and Electrical Engineer
"De Opresso Liber"
nukerj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2016, 05:58 PM   #3
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 63
We use a bunch of trailers at my work so I have a fair bit of experience with them so here a few random thoughts:
I prefer aluminium to steel as there is a significant weight reduction.
Surge brakes can be a good deal but put a bit more weight on the hitch.
With a trailer balance is everything. Harbor freight has a scale that can be helpful in determining your best point. We use a drill and put a small hole for a chock block and always know where to stop.
I'm a fan of the straps that go over the tire to tie down a vehicle.
A local metal shop can attach extra tie down points for just a little money if you need them.

I'll think of more just about the time that I close out this post. Good luck with your hunting!
Goofy1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-06-2016, 04:02 AM   #4
Senior Member
Arizona's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 576
I've bought a few flat bed trailers from dealers. For some reason the tires on their new trailers are always several years old. Check the date codes on the tires.
Winnebago adventurer 37g, 18 F-150
Full time since 2000
Arizona is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-06-2016, 09:07 AM   #5
Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 3,835
Over the years I have had several trailers of all different configurations. Most were used to haul construction equipment and supplies. I can tell you for a fact that all trailers are not created equal. The less expensive models use light duty C channel for the frames and marginally acceptable axles. I have literally seen frame rails and axle tubes rust out. There are valid reasons for the difference in prices between brands and models. I would inspect or have the frame and axles inspected to make sure they are in good shape.

Also take into consideration where the trailer is going to be used. If you are near salt water or regularly travel on salted roads a steel framed trailer may be more appropriate. As mentioned they are heavier, but they do survive salt conditions better. If these conditions are not a concern I would go with a lighter aluminum one. My smallest steel framed tandem axle steel trailer weighs in at 2,100 lbs. A similar sized aluminum trailer weighs nearly 500 lbs. less

Personally I'm a fan of electric brakes. I find them more dependable over time. Surge brakes work well in most situations, but regardless of what some may say they need the same service as any hydraulic brake system. They can't go for a dozen years without flushing the system and still provide adequate braking. If they aren't serviced on a regular basis it can get expensive.

The downside of electric brakes is that they need a controller. Today most motorhome chassis have plug and play connections. However if yours doesn't it can take time and money have one installed.
2013 Adventurer 32H
Hikerdogs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-2016, 10:18 AM   #6
Senior Member
Tiffin Owners Club
Appalachian Campers
Mid Atlantic Campers
Coastal Campers
Freightliner Owners Club
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 1,615
Does your motor home and hitch have enough spare weight capacity to pull the combined weight of your vehicle and trailer?
DaveB, Raleigh, NC
2015 Tiffin RED 33AA, w/Honda CRV
VMSpc, Magnum BMK/ARC50
Kiawah is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-13-2017, 11:38 AM   #7
Senior Member
Fleetwood Owners Club
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 209
I was going through old emails and found that I had subscribed to this thread. It became very relevant recently. I bought a flat bed trailer for our motorhome to haul are car and motorcycle. I thought I got a good deal on the trailer which I did. However what I realized after the fact is that my coach needed a break controller. I took it to the mechanic who said that there was no pigtail to Plug and Play. Turns out he was wrong. I had to take it to my local Freightliner dealer to find the wire. That cost $250. They sent me on my way saying that now I can plug in a brake controller. I then ran into the second problem. The wiring in the RV does not match any brake controllers made out there. Therefore the mechanic had to rewire everything from the back all the way to the dashboard. In the end it was another $850 for installation plus $100 more for the brake controller itself. I post this now just as a lesson to everyone. It was a very expensive lesson for us.
2013 Fleetwood Expedition 36M "Scarlet B"
angelbones is offline   Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Help Registering In Arizona (recent purchase from private seller) jimmysol General Discussion 14 01-02-2014 08:50 AM
When buying from a private seller, how does one confirm seller's full ownership? PaulAllen 5th Wheel Discussion 5 10-01-2013 08:38 PM
Purchase from a private seller Shirken3 Class A Motorhome Discussions 9 10-31-2012 08:12 PM
Pre-purchase inspection, used from private seller heresoscar Class A Motorhome Discussions 6 06-25-2011 08:58 AM
Selling RV--private seller glfprncs Class A Motorhome Discussions 2 05-09-2007 11:42 PM

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:09 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.