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Old 01-18-2019, 01:49 PM   #1
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Need your advice on purchasing a gutted trailer!

I am looking for an empty shell (gutted or partially gutted) that will be remodeled & need to know...
- best places to look for inventory
- what to look for in price & what to negotiate
- any companies you know of that do full wraps


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Old 01-18-2019, 02:56 PM   #2
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I would start with Craigs list. You probably could get it wrapped at multiple locations. They do cars all the time look under auto detail shops.


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Old 01-18-2019, 06:37 PM   #3
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I don't know how many people I tell this too...........DON'T BUY A GUTTED AIRSTREAM!

Why not you ask? Because you're buying someone else's nightmare. They took it apart thinking it would be a breeze........and then reality hit home; this is a lot harder than we thought it was going to be.

Taking apart an Airstream will give you insight as to how they put things together. I lived by the moto; If I couldn't replace an Airstream part for a lighter one, the Airstream part went back in. If I really wanted that part, then I would have to take out weight somewhere else.

You will have an oportunity to weigh the trailer and lay out the interior into sections to weigh what comes out of what section. You need to know how much weight and where it is in the trailer, otherwise it will affect it's towing behaviour. Airstream also took into account where storage was and how much the average camper would place into that storage. If you change the placement of the storage compartment, will what you put into that storage affect weight distribution.

The cabinets I built for my 310 are face frame; no backs, bottoms; interior gables just long enough to mount the drawer slides; and the counter top is the top of the cabinet. That's how anal I was about weight; AND MINE IS A MOTORHOME! I didn't have to worry about weight distribution so much.

For every 100 lbs of weight you add, your tow vehicle would have to add 10 hp to maintain the same performance. Not to mention that more weight affects braking distances. Weight is bad!

Remodelling a trailer is far more science, than design. It is a lot harder to make something lighter.....which is the reason the lightest versions of supercars are far more expensive than their civilized brethren.

One more tip....don't throw anything away until the project is complete; because you never know.........

Sidekick Tony

PS Weight is something that adds up over time, you add a pound here and a pound there; and before you know it, it's far too easy to add weight.
Per Mare, Per Terram and may all your campaigns be successful.

Its a recession when your neighbor loses his job; its a depression when you lose your own. "Harry S Truman"
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Old 01-19-2019, 01:38 PM   #4
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I tell folks who are looking at a gutted trailer it's like buying a Harley in a box. Just because it's taken apart, the hard work isn't done and there is no reason it's worth paying extra.
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Old 01-19-2019, 03:13 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by HiHoAgRV View Post
I tell folks who are looking at a gutted trailer it's like buying a Harley in a box. Just because it's taken apart, the hard work isn't done and there is no reason it's worth paying extra.
This is right on. Took me about two days to gut my trailer. Two years to put it back together.
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Old 01-19-2019, 04:44 PM   #6
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To play devils advocate...
It sounds to me that the OP may be doing a boutique or some similar business venture based on the fact that they are also asking about a wrap. If that is indeed the case, then I would think an already gutted trailer may be just the thing if that’s the desired outcome anyway. In this case, I would caution the OP to look for a trailer that has been through the shell off (if need be) or at least documentation of frame repair and axel replacement.
The easy part is taking everything out, as some have said, the hard part is making it safe and water tight(ish)...

My 2...
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Old 01-20-2019, 12:34 PM   #7
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Thank you! Definitely hitting up the CL!
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Old 01-20-2019, 12:35 PM   #8
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Thanks! And I totally have been thinking the same thing.... here's the story, though. I need it to be empty for an event concept so it's more of a lounge. What would you recommend as the best avenue for this?
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Old 01-20-2019, 12:36 PM   #9
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Super helpful, thanks! Yep, a business venture is exactly what I am up to!
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Old 01-20-2019, 04:25 PM   #10
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The airstream guy sometimes has gutted trailers with new floors.
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Old 01-26-2019, 09:28 PM   #11
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Just keep an eye on Craigslist. Lots of people get overly ambitious and gut a vintage trailer thinking they will restore it. Then they figure out that's the easy part. Just be patient and they pop up. Keep an eye out for other brands as well.
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Old 01-26-2019, 10:10 PM   #12
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Another comment--sometimes you see trailers that are COMPLETELEY gutted, including the interior skins missing. You couldn't pay me to take one of these.

As for the price of a gutted trailer, it definitely should be less than an intact trailer, I second Isuzusweet's post above on the value of an intact interior.

Further warning: Usually the previous owner guts a trailer and throws in the towel when he finds extensive floor rot and damaged frame. Don't assume a gutted trailer is an "empty canvas" ready for rebuild. If it was in that good of shape, it wouldn't be available.

As for places to look, Craigslist and your local market are your friends. Get cash in hand and be ready to pull the trigger in a hurry, as the good/cheap ones go fast. Be wary of title issues as well. There are plenty of trailers out there that are offered with a "bill of sale" that turn into a registration headache for the new owner (you).

Good luck!
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Old 01-27-2019, 12:50 AM   #13
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another comment, to many gutted trailers are way a complete trailer, check everything. any floor rot-wires cut-plumbing missing should reflect in the final price. good luck. kurt

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