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Old 09-07-2013, 10:27 PM
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Sometimes learning can be expensive...

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...

Last edited by alha; 09-08-2013 at 05:29 AM.
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Old 09-08-2013, 06:37 AM
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Trailers are a funny thing and most municipalities or states regulate non-commercial trailers (Dept of Weights and Measures) as opposed the the DMV. Yes, you can get beefier axles and you can absolutely have it rated/labeled to tow more weight, but it will likely result in higher registration fees. Just keep it below the 26k lbs GCVW (regardless what the label says) and you should be fine. You will want to find out about your local non-commercial trailer regulations, since it varies from place to place.
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Old 09-08-2013, 04:47 PM
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Are you sure the axles are only rated for 10k? Maybe he registered it for 10k, but the trailer is actually a much heavier variety. I cant see any fathomable reason to build such a stout trailer to haul only its own weight. Waste of material and a waste of fuel for such a large trailer to only haul 5k.
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Old 09-08-2013, 08:05 PM
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Slim, no the axles are rated for 7k each, 14k total, but the trailer is tagged for just under 10k. Believe me, I can't explain it either, and have been trying to figure that out since I bought it a few days ago. It did show a pic of the mfg plate on one of the pics that I linked to in the ebay auction. Weird stuff
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Old 09-08-2013, 08:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evil Eye View Post
Trailers are a funny thing and most municipalities or states regulate non-commercial trailers (Dept of Weights and Measures) as opposed the the DMV. Yes, you can get beefier axles and you can absolutely have it rated/labeled to tow more weight, but it will likely result in higher registration fees. Just keep it below the 26k lbs GCVW (regardless what the label says) and you should be fine. You will want to find out about your local non-commercial trailer regulations, since it varies from place to place.
26k GCVW applies to a single vehicle. Any trailer registered over 10K would be subject to dot regulations. Enforcement has been lax in the past, but I've been hearing horror stories lately. Raising the registered weight of the trailer may force you to up the registered weight of the tow vehicle also.
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Old 09-09-2013, 03:52 AM
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That is another thing, I am trying to figure out the best way to increase the Ex's towing capabilities, and was thinking of either going with an air bag setup, or with a more HD suspension, say something out of an F450? I'm just starting the research in that one, and am looking for suggestions as to what others have done to their vehicles in the past.

As to the trailer, I'm sure that is why they went just under 10k on this thing, to avoid the DOT stuff, but still, it's pretty crazy when over half of its rated capacity is just the empty trailer. I guess it's going to be one of those 'run & gun' situations next week, where I'll just run it above it's tagged weight, and hope that I don't get stopped. I'm really not all that comfy with that, will make for stressful trips every time I take it out and use it to it's real capacity. But then, what's the alternative? Getting it rated for what it is really designed and built as, and then dealing with whatever it is that being DOT rated above 10k trailer weight brings with it? I'm not even sure what that would entail. Kinda a sucky situation, and of course it's all self inflicted...
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Old 09-09-2013, 06:16 AM
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I'd call the manufacturer, give them the serial number and see if it is indeed rated for only 10,000lbs. And possibly ask why if they say it is. Who knows, someone may have done something screwy with that label for the reasons you posted above.
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Old 09-09-2013, 06:22 PM
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Sadly, that hasn't been as easy as I would have thought. I Googled Imperial Trailer Corp, and first one came up in IL, I believe. I called them and asked if they made my model number, back in Aug 2006, they said no, though there is a company in FL with the same name, but I tried and couldn't contact them. I am asking the repair facility to please see what they can do about figuring out the mfg of the trailer, and to ask them about it's weight rating, as well as upgrading the GVRW. Oh, I did talk to them a little, they didn't have an estimate together for the tune up and correcting the dog tracking, but he did get me a price on upgrading to 10k axles. Parts and labor for the tidy sum of $8200!! Umm.. I think I'll pass on that one at this time. Hopefully I'll know the Mfg and contact them in the next week or so.
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Old 09-13-2013, 07:48 PM
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10k trailer alone doesn't require a CDL.
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Old 09-14-2013, 02:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gridder View Post
26k GCVW applies to a single vehicle. Any trailer registered over 10K would be subject to dot regulations. Enforcement has been lax in the past, but I've been hearing horror stories lately. Raising the registered weight of the trailer may force you to up the registered weight of the tow vehicle also.
GCVW stands for Gross COMBINED Vehicle Weight, which is both truck and trailer. I think you are thinking of GVWR, which is a single vehicle. Also, I think you forgot the term "commercial" in your statement above. If you are hauling for personal or recreational purposes, and your actual loads are below 26k GCVW, you do not need a CDL regardless of trailer weight rating. (That's how these RV dealers can sell these monster 5th wheel trailers without breaking the law.)
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