Is there a checklist you go through with a new trailer? I'm especially interested in what you check to ensure safety on the road and while camping. What do you inspect and what do you look for after you bring your new baby home? What other advice do you have for the newbie and her newest family member?
Well, after bringing three trailers home, I would suggest you check your financial situation. Seriously, this group of vintage trailer enthusiasts is the best source for advice on what needs fixing, how to do it and where to get supplies. That alone will save you lots of wasted time and money. So welcome, and keep coming back with your questions and PICTURES! If you are lucky, somebody else will have redone a trailer very similar to yours in age and style.
Here is a list I recently sent to a friend on her *new* trailer:
Concentrate on getting the trailer leak free, operational and the systems checked. Paint and upholstery are the last things to do. As far as paint vs. a wrap, it doesn't matter. Inspections and leak issues should be addressed before decorating.
1. Check the tires for age, condition and proper air pressure and have the bearings packed. Also have the brakes checked at that time. (your trailer may not have brakes)
2. Check the gas system. Slowly turn the tank on and go inside and SNIFF. If you smell gas, STOP and turn the gas off. If everything seems fine, use a soapy solution to check the fittings. You should not see any bubbles.
3. Air Conditioner: you will not be able to put one on the roof. Vintage Trailers are not built to support the weight (100 lbs) We all agree, putting one in a window isn't very cool-you might do some research on putting one under the bed (ducting is important!) and exhausting out the trunk or a cargo door.
4. The edge trim or "J rail" on the trailer will need new putty. It is the main leak on any vintage trailer. This involves removing the screws, pulling the rail, cleaning it and re-installing it with new RV putty tape. Windows and the door should be inspected for failing putty as well.
5. Water system: There should be a hose connection under the trailer, or possibly on the side. Buy an RV water regulator before connecting to the trailer: faucet to hose to regulator to trailer. Slowly turn on the water and check for leaks. You might also have a water tank and hand pump. Perhaps let an RV person check the condition before filling the tank. (there is a fill on the side of the trailer) The hand pump may need to be replaced.
6. Electrical: should be fine if the "inlet" on the side of the trailer is in good condition. (not burned or loose prongs) Again, have a knowledgeable person inspect it closely.
7. Gas lights must be intact to operate. That includes the burner nose and globe, plus a new mantle.
8. Almost any trailer company can rewire the tow wiring for you. Ask them to install a 7 way plug with a long enough cord to reach your vehicle. The 7 way allows your battery to be charged going down the road and is much safer than a thin wired 4 or 6 way.
Hope the above has helped. Take your time and one thing at a time. I know a new trailer is exciting but it's important to go slowly. Keep the trailer is safe.
This is great, everyone, thank you so much. I'm having it shipped here and then working on it. One of the shippers wants to ship it dock to dock, but that will mean lifting it up and down with a forklift, which just sounds like a TERRIBLE idea to me. Please chime in on that, as my husband (who is in the forklift business) disagrees with me. It's an Astrodome, so not a little thing.
We had an Astrodome. I would not even consider trying to lift it with a forklift and I was a trained licensed forklift operator at a prior job. The Astrodome loft adds a lot of weight to the front of the trailer and would make it almost impossible to balance unless you could spread the forks about 10 feet apart. The leaf springs hang down and would also complicate the lift. Also if they dent it you can't just go out and buy new skin just anywhere and its not cheap either.
WE used to ship trucks and heavy equipment Dock to Dock They would take them to a dock that had a drive on ramp. Some times this is an elevated dock with a sloped access, and sometimes the drive leading to the dock is sunk in the ground to average trailer deck height and you just drive or pull the shipped item off the trailer. Ask your shipper if this is a possibility. Also some shippers offer a trailer that actually comes apart and forms a ramp itself . another thought is a hotshot rig like they use to haul new trailers to the dealers. Many times that will be the least expensive way because they are always looking for a return load to haul back. THey don't make a dime returning home empty.
vikx, why is the 7 way plug safer? The towing company that installed our plug put on a 6 way without asking us (and we didn't know enough at the time). It's new, but should I got back and get a 7 way plug?
The seven-way plug is more "standard" in today's installations. It does not necessarily mean safer if yours is a new plug installed. However on some vehicles it may require an adaptor to make it work. Most GM trucks for example, are equipped with a 7-way plug on the truck as part of the towing package.
To me, 7 ways are safer because there is more "room" for the wiring. The plug is at east double in size. Also, if you have brakes, it allows larger wiring. (less heat from a lot of use) If the 6 way is working for you, I see no reason to change it. If you get a new vehicle, then maybe consider the 7 way.
I have a website that shows two different trailers being completely restored on video. It also has a lot of videos that zero in on certain smaller projects involved with restoring vintage trailers. It really doesn't matter what kind of trailer you have, they are all built with the same materials. Only difference is shape of the trailers and the floor plan. Other than that they are all the same so go take a look.
As far as the fork lift is concerned, you may as well just have the guy stab the trailer right in the middle of the side and go from there. Or use a different form of shipping. You might want to try www.uship.com
Last Edit: Aug 19, 2013 14:57:55 GMT -8 by mobiltec
God grant me the strength to restore the trailers I can, The courage to strip the parts off the ones I can't, And the wisdom to know the difference...
We did try uShip and no one wanted it, we ended up going another route, it had to be loaded onto a tilt ramp tow truck, then transferred to the hauler, and unloaded with another tow truck. She arrived safely, though, and in even better shape than we had hoped.