Buying a Dump Trailer can have a major impact on your life simply because of how useful and versatile they are. They are a wonderful addition to your tools and are sure to make the job easier whether your are using it to haul dirt, transport a tractor, or simply making a run to the dumps. At first glance, all dump trailers look like a strong well built trailer that can tackle anything you need; however, when you dig into the details there are a numerous features that can drastically set one dump trailer apart from the other. When you put all of these differences into consideration it can sway your purchase 180 degrees. In this blog I am going to go through everything you should consider when buying trailer, starting at the front and going to the back of the trailer.
- Front Jack – The front jack for a dump trailer is often something taken for granted, but when a trailer manufacturer tries to cut costs and put on a jack that is not rated for the trailer it can make your work a lot harder when hooking up and unhooking. Making sure that the jack for the trailer is properly rated is something that is definitely worth while when considering a purchase.
- Front Tongue Box – The front tongue box is a feature that many people do not fully understand, specifically when it come to plastic vs. steel. Many people immediately jump to the conclusion that steel is better because steel has proven itself for centuries; however, there are many things that make a plastic box just as good and maybe better than a steel box. First of all, modern day plastic boxes are very strong as opposed to the past therefore making them totally capable to withstand the needs of a trailer box. Additionally, a negative feature of a steel box is that battery acid from a leaky battery can corrode the box and thus ruin its functionality. With a plastic box if an old battery eventually starts leaking it will not corrode the box and the box will remain in proper working order. The third point to consider is that when people are loading and unloading chains and binders into the box, they will most likely start to chip the paint which will then lead to rust over time. With a plastic box there will be no chipping of paint and you will therefore not need to worry about rust. These are the main things that most people do not know when it comes to tool boxes on trailers.
- Battery Charger – The battery will charge while the trailer is being towed if the charge line on the truck is good; however, after a lot of use the battery will need a solid charge overnight. The two most popular chargers are a solar charger and an AC charger. A solar charger is great because it is always charging when the sun is out, therefore you don’t really have to think about the battery. On the other hand, an AC charger is also very convenient because one it is permanently hooked up to the battery all you have to do is plug it into a regular wall outlet over night.
- Tarp Kit – A tarp kit is a wonderful addition to any dump trailer and many dump trailers do not come with any. A tarp kit not only is nice so you don’t blow a bunch of leaves all over the road, but also as safety feature to keep your load secured when hauling. Highway Patrol will actually pull you over if you do not have your load secured because it is a safety concern. Additionally, if a trailer has a tarp kit look to see if it has rings all the way around for strapping the tarp down. If it does not how would you strap it down? Lastly, look to see if the tarp has a rubber bungee that runs all the way around the tarp. Tarp kits with bungees can make a major difference when strapping a tarp down and can drastically speed up the process of strapping your load down. A tarp kit and these features are certainly something to consider.
- Hydraulic Motor Location – When looking at a trailer look to see if the hydraulic pump is either located in the tool box or under the trailer. If the hydraulic motor is mounted under the trailer it can save a bunch of toolbox room, therefore giving you more room to store the tools that you need. This is a small thing, but it makes a major difference in the long run.
- Side Walls – This is an easy area for trailer manufacturers to cut costs and can severely damage the longevity of your trailer. First, look to see if the framing is made from 2×2 tubing or 2×3 tubing. 2×3 tubing is a lot stronger than 2×2 tubing and is often a difference that goes unnoticed. The second thing to look for is if the top tube rail on the side of the trailer is actually a tube or if it is simply sheet metal that is folded over into a box shape, thus making it look like a tube. The folded over sheet metal is very weak in comparison to a full tube and can impact the strength of the sidewalls. Next, look to see if the side wall material and see how thick it is. It is important to consider the thicknesses of the material because a cheaper 12 gauge piece of metal can make a fairly big strength difference over something like a 10 gauge piece of metal. Lastly, look to see if all of the seems where pieces of steel meet are sealed with caulking. These areas can end up rusting in the long run and thus effect the life of your trailer.
- Fenders – Look to see how thick the sheet metal is for the fenders whether it be diamond plate or regular sheet metal. Also look to see if the fender is well mounted to the trailer and look to see if there are supports for the fender. A fender is a small thing that you will actually end up standing on and beating up a lot and you want to make sure that it can withstand the abuse.
- Hydraulics – When it comes to the hydraulics a scissor lift is always stronger than a single ram, however a single ram is totally capable and is actually more popular because of price. One of the main things that is not considered when looking a single rams on dump trailers is how it is mounted under the trailer. If the ram in mounted horizontally it will have very little strength to push the dump trailer up, especially when it is full. The hydraulic ram should actually be mounted at an angle when the trailer is down so that it already has a better angle working to push the trailer up. The very first part when lifting a load is the hardest for the hydraulics and the way the ram is mounted can be the difference between an easy dump and having to climb inside to shovel your material out.
- Flooring – When it comes to flooring, thickness is, of course, very important. However, the spacing and size of the cross-members under the trailer can have a bigger impact. Depending on how far the cross-members are and how thick they are, you can end up with a solid floor after years of abuse or you can end up with a floor that is totally warped and dented, possibly with puncture holes.
- Wiring Harness – This is something small that is usually not considered; however, it can save you a lot of trouble in the end. Check to see if the trailer has an OEM wiring harness or not, an OEM wiring harness is made for the trailer and thus has very little crimp connections and a trouble free operation. On the other hand if it is not an OEM harness and has a bunch of places with crimp connections it gives more places for wiring to possibly malfunction and more of a hassle in the long run. This is a small thing but can make a major difference in the end.
- Light mounts – Putting thought into how to mount the lights on a dump trailer can save you time and money in replacing broken lights in the future. Look to see if the lights are recessed into the steel on the trailer and therefore flush to the surface. With this you will not have to worry about breaking them off and they will stay out of the way with your work.
- Tires – One of the main places for manufacturers to cut costs without the consumer knowing. Look to see if the trailers have radial tires or bias ply tires. If the tires are bias ply, the tires will be severely weaker than radial tires and you will be lucky to get half of the life of radial tires. The main reason why some manufacturers use bias ply is because they are a lot cheaper than radial tires. You can also look at the load rating on the tires and compare them between trailers. The load range scale goes between B and E with E being the highest load rating and B as the lowest. Check to see if the trailer you are looking at has a higher tire rating than another because the last thing that you want are cheap tires that will wear out quickly and possibly blow out.
- Ramp Srorage – The location of where the ramps are mounted can actually make quite a difference with a trailer. If the trailers are mounted underneath it is really nice because you never really have to worry about them and they will be secure. On the other hand, often times manufacturers will mount them on the fenders of the trailers which takes up space and ends up getting in the way with your work.
- Rear Gate – The most common style of rear gate is a barn door style. However, there are trailer manufacturers out there like Fabform that make a rear gate that is a barn door style and a spreader gate in one. This can be extremely useful because you can have the option of spreading gravel evenly or simply just dumping the gravel as usual. This small feature can be really nice with many projects and can surely distinguish one trailer from the other.
Unfortunately these are all things that people do not realize when purchasing a dump trailer and it can keep them from getting the best bang for their buck. Overall, these are all important features to consider when purchasing a dump trailer and they can really help distinguish one trailer from the other. When all of these features are taken into consideration it can really help you buy the best trailer for your needs and justify the price.
Truck Tops USA and Campway’s carries Fabform and C&B Dump Trailers at two of their stores and their trailer experts are happy to help you with making your trailer purchase. Come in and take a look at the wide range of dump trailers we have in stock so that you can add one of these wonderful trailers to your tools to get the job done!