Funky Copart Trailer purchase

GON

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Trailers are in extremely short supply. What I have found on the market are new trailers that are of extremely poor build or used prices that are well above the price of the trailer when new. I have read hundreds of owner reviews of new trailers, and except for high end trailers, the reviews all point to poor build quality, cheap parts, and no useable after warranty support. Tough time to buy a quality trailer unless one has a very large wallet.

Single axle cargo trailers are going for 4-6k. Current prices blows my mind. I saw an ad for a dual axle enclosed trailer I liked locally on Facebook and the price seemed good, the Seller was gracious to write back saying he had over 200 people respond to his ad in 24 hours. He said he sold the trailer to the first person that responded out of fairness.

Three days ago, I came a across an enclosed trailer on Copart. Trailer was at a remote Copart lot in Southeast Georgia. Trailer's owner was GEICO. Trailer being sold for parts only, with a bill of sale. Manufacturer is Continental Cargo out of Elkhart, IN (the Detroit of trailer manufacturers). I believe Continental Cargo is owned by Forest River, the USA's largest manufacturer of travel trailers.

What I liked about the trailer was it appeared to have some upgrades. From six floor tie downs (most trailers, even 24' come with four tie downs standard), interior had coverings on the roof and wall (all trashed), and the floor and ramp had a higher end covering. Trailer had a lot of questions, and I had no idea if it was road worthy, etc. This trailer was 165 miles from me, so that was a huge plus. Decided to bid on the trailer- clearly knowing the trailer may be complete junk and if it is, I will have to take a loss ($2800) and leave the trailer at the yard.

I won the trailer. $2200. With fees, about $2800. I was in an on-line auction live bidding war with a person from Georgia. I took that as a plus as maybe that bidder had previewed the trailer. One other bidder from Florida. I would like to have won the auction at $1,000, with fees about $1500..... but the market is what the market is. I need a trailer, this trailer was local, and the pickings are slim. Three years ago, in its current condition, I would have valued this trailer in the $800-$1500 price range.

Arrived at Copart yesterday. Copart employees let me drive direct to the trailer, instead of having the trailer brought out by a Forklift. First impression was trailer was stolen and recovered by GEICO. Maybe a case of fraud by the insured. The trailer's VIN placard was missing. The trailer had the "Harley Flames" painted over with flat black paint. The seven pin connector for trailer lights was trashed. Tons of cosmetic issues with the trailer. I was concerned with the auction pictures showing rust on the tong and trailer- that the trailer was from the "north" and would have a rusty frame.

Inspected the tires, they looked just ok enough to tow the trailer home. Side door missing its skin. The rear ramp door had one of its support wires broken off. The e-track was not properly installed to the interior studs. But I was ok with what I saw. Looked under the trailer, zero rust on the frame. Sprayed lube all over the tongue mechanicals, hooked up the trailer, and drove away. At the first fuel station I came to, I put air in the trailer tires. They were about 15lbs per tire. Trailer was empty and tires didn't look great, so I filled each tire to 44lbs instead of 50lbs.

Towed the trailer home. First thing I did was send a request to Continental for a replacement VIN sticker. I have no idea if they will provide. Next, I ordered a new seven pin trailer connector from AMZN. I sense the entire trailer may need to be rewired. No big deal. I also ordered a new door lock assembly for the side door. Next I started to price Goodyear trailer tires. I did initial research on how to buy replacement door skin. I would also like new rims, and found they are cheap in white painted steel, pricey in anything silver covered.

Have to figure out the title. Seller was GEICO, so sale is legitimate. But getting a title may be a challenge. If the trailer had the VIN placard, South Carolina has a process to award a title to a trailer that was never titled. VIN searches clearly suggest the trailer was never ever titled or tagged. Since this trailer has no VIN sticker, it makes it a challenge getting the trailer inspected by North Carolina Law Enforcement to validate the VIN for title issue.
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Run the wires through split loom tubing…

Run a dedicated ground wire…

Last, LED trailer lights and lots of reflectors / reflective tape…

Also grease the wheel bearings…
 
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Getting a replacement VIN sticker might be easier accomplished through a Continental Cargo dealer. As much as these trailers are stolen, I would assume that the VIN number is stamped into the trailer frame in at least one place.... possibly a nice hidden place, somewhere on the frame. (This is how it is on my trailer). A dealer would know where to look to find it, and might be able to assist in expediting the paperwork for you with the home office in Elkhart. Thank them by ordering some replacement parts from them as well.

Enjoy your posts. Thanks!
 
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This may be of no use to you since you already bought a trailer (unless you just flip it), but for anyone else looking for a good trailer - look at WeeRoll in Florida. Very well built trailers, and priced well considering the quality. They do steel frame as well as full aluminum. Truly a lifetime trailer, in my opinion. Yes there are cheaper options, but those will quickly outprice WeeRoll in first 1-2 years of ownership and actual use, after all the repairs those "brand new" cheaply made trailers will need. WeeRoll has a cheesy YT channel, filming on a camera from 2005, but their trailers are top notch. Aluminum WeeRoll is the type of trailer that you can include in your will to pass onto your kids, and their kids...
 

GON

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You did buy a project. How do people trash a trailer?? Will you fix the cosmetic stuff like the bent fender? Probably could have loaded up that Jet Ski for your next project.;)
Yes, everything will be fixed. That is how I roll. Currently pricing aluminum rims to go with Goodyear trailer tires.

The bent fender looked easy to fix, but I will likely order two new replacement fenders.
 

GON

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Yes, everything will be fixed. That is how I roll. Currently pricing aluminum rims to go with Goodyear trailer tires.

The bent fender looked easy to fix, but I will likely order two new replacement fenders.

How do people trash a trailer. Some people can trash just about anything.

When I sold a car I thought was not as nice as I would have liked cosmetically in Columbia, SC a few months ago, I apologized for a few of the cosmetic issues I didn't have time to address. The Buyer and the Car Inspector said" you must not be from South Carolina- this is about as nice a car cosmetically one can find in South Carolina".
 

GON

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While waiting for Continental Cargo to respond back about the VIN placard (and I am prepared to go to a Continental Cargo retailer), I was able to buy a generic placard on AMZN, that will be engraved. Cost was $48.

I like this placard because it allows clear posting or critical weight information.
 

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You did buy a project. How do people trash a trailer?? Will you fix the cosmetic stuff like the bent fender? Probably could have loaded up that Jet Ski for your next project.;)
How do some people trash things? Very easily. It is a combination of carelessness and stupidity.

I've personally seen several motorcycles that sold new for more than $20,000, that have sat outside and uncovered, for years. After 3 or 4 years, all of the plastics on the dash are faded, the vinyl on seat is dry-rotted and the seams are split open, and metal pieces are rusting.
 
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Yes, everything will be fixed. That is how I roll. Currently pricing aluminum rims to go with Goodyear trailer tires.

The bent fender looked easy to fix, but I will likely order two new replacement fenders.
GON, God Bless you for what you do and for your repair ethics. I too have no idea how anyone can trash a trailer like this one, or any other asset for that matter. I worked for a rental car company when I first graduated from college and I have seen first hand how quickly someone can destroy a car......some can do it in a matter of days, not weeks. I often wonder what the homes of people look like who own these assets for a short time.
 
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Currently pricing aluminum rims to go with Goodyear trailer tires.

If there was a huge price difference, I wouldn't overlook Carlisle for trailer tires.

 
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GON

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Prior to bidding and purchasing this trailer I have a placed and currently active bid on another trailer, a 2022 aluminum framed enclosed trailer. There is a chance I may win that trailer, and have one more trailer than I want.

At work, I placed a for sale sign on this trailer, simply so I could store it at work. We have a lot called the "lemon lot" where one can sell vehicles. I placed a sign (as required) for sale, $5500. I just had an offer for $5,000- which I turned down as I currently need this trailer. To store a vehicle in the lemon lot requires formally registering the vehicle, placing a proper for sale sign on it, etc.

I only post this to show how desperate the trailer market may be at this time. $5,000 for a neglected 12 foot enclosed trailer without running lights, need tires, and a handful of other things....
 
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That's a smoking deal on your trailer!! Congratulations. Just make sure you get it up on jack stands and inspect frame where it bends and meets the front of box and axle/springs/hangers and bearings.
 
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GON

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A little update.

The trailer, full of household goods, was towed from Columbia, SC to Tacoma, WA (about 3,000 miles). Zero issues, trailer did great. Tons of wind on the route. With the new Goodyear trailer tires, I had confidence in the tires.

This is likely the cosmetically ugly trailers around, but appears to have been built well with good bones. I found the factory installed led interior lighting and the exterior loading ramp spotlights, also factory installed- as a real nice option. The track on the interior walls is super helpful in securing loads.

The below picture was taken at night. Amazed how well the interior lit up, simply by hitting a switch. The trailer has two interior light switches, one at the side door and one at the rear.

I have a major cosmetic project on the trailer too look forward to .....

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