I have a quick little story of a purchase I just made, and the predicament I now find myself in. I have been keeping my eyes open for a decent trailer, and decided I wanted a flat deck so I wouldn't have to deal with wheelwells. I found a 7yo one that looked quite promising on ebay, and after talking with him determined that this one would work for me. NO RESERVE 30' Deckover trailer 10k lbs with tie downs deck over hauler flatbed in Trailers | eBay Motors
I ended up speaking with him on the phone, asking him some questions about it after the auction ended with no bidders. He said it is rated at 9950 so no CDL is needed, and he didn't know for sure, but guessed it weighed 33-3400 lbs. Long story short, I was going out on a road trip, to IN to drop off my camper at the factory, so as I was 1/2 way there, I figured I'd see if I could meet him part way back this way, he said fine. Turned out his business had a emergency call, so I had to drive all the way to baltimore. That was a trip, drove there straight thru..
Now is where it gets interesting. I took a look at it, and if you check out the link on it, it is def built quite beefy. I ended up purchasing it, and got it hooked up to my Ex, and drove away. First of all, it is a lot bigger in person that it looked in the pics on ebay. 2nd, is the weight. As I was doing the pretty much straight drive thru to home, I hit a number of truck stops on the way back. I noticed one of them had a certified CAT scale, and as I needed a break anyways, I thought Hmm, this would be interesting to know how much my front, rear and trailer weigh. The first time through, with the trailer still hitched to the truck, my weight ticket read:
Steer axle: 3740 lbs
Drive axle: 5500 lbs
Trailer axle: 4720!
I was like Holy Sh*t! 4720 pounds, on a 10,000 lb rated trailer. Huh? Well, while I was in there picking up my 1st weight ticket, he did mention at for $2 more, I could have it reweighed. I figured yeah, lets do that, so I pulled it back on the scale, and pulled the trailer off the hitch, and then reweighed. So I pulled it up over the ball, and told them to re-weigh it. They did, and this time it came back:
Steer axle: 4080 lbs
Drive axle: 4350 lbs
Trailer axle: 5500!!!
Well, the steering axle being 340 lbs light explains to me why driving my Ex was such an interesting experience on the way home. The only time it drove in an unusual way was after I hooked it up. Seeing that the trailer is rated at 10k, and it weighs over Half of that, this is starting to look bad. I mean, look at the size of that thing, it's huge.
I have a bobcat trailer that I purchased about 2 years ago, and had a somewhat local repair shop fix it. They put 2 new 8k axles on it, and is rated now for 15,000 lbs. I stopped there on the way home, and described my concerns. I asked about putting 10k axles on it, because the main beams on it are I think 10 or 12 inches tall, which is Nuts for a trailer which is rated for only 10k. I did hear from the seller that it was originally used as a trailer that hauled crated new motorcycles between the warehouse and dealership, so it was designed the way it was for that, which Still doesn't make sense to me. 24' of trailer, and only basically 4500lbs that I can legally put on it. Completely nuts.
Well, remember, I learned this when I was about 700 miles away from his business, so I couldn't easily take it back. I spoke to the repair ship at length about my options. After checking it out, it is min a 15k trailer by the way it is built/assembled, but the label reads 9950. I am having them check out the cost of putting on bigger (maybe 8k, maybe 10k) axles on it, as well as to fight with the mfg about getting it re-branded to the "proper" max design weight. He said it would probably be hard to get the mfg to do that, and having it relabeled would limit my eventual resale market to those who have CDL license, because over 10k requires it, as well as over 26,000 Gross. I also believe I had at least a 700 lb tongue weight.
So here are my questions, I am really just looking for discussion on anything that I might have missed in my thinking. Do I try and get new axles, spending even more money on it, plus having to get my CDL to use it, or just leave it alone and be limited to only loading at max 4500lbs, which is all I can now do legally? If I wanted to use it in it's current full capacity rating, I'd need to run it overweight, up to the combined capacity of the current axles, which is 14000lbs, and hopefully never get pulled over and dragged to a scale place, and then get an overweight ticket.
This is a cautionary tale for people looking at larger trailers, to verify up front what it's weight is, it's rating, if it makes sense (10k for a trailer that already weighs 5500 before _anything_ is added to it), which in hindsight doesn't. As the saying goes, buyer beware, and try and ask all the right questions up front. It will be well worth not having to deal with what I am dealing with right now. My problem was I didn't even know the right questions to ask, and hadn't even imagined that this could happen in a factory built trailer. Like I said in the title, sometimes learning can be expensive...