Does and Don'ts of Buying a Used Trailer - Help Please - Fiberglass RV
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Old 03-10-2021, 06:49 AM   #1
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Name: Tiffany
Trailer: In the market
Canada
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Does and Don'ts of Buying a Used Trailer - Help Please

Hello,

When you are buying or selling do you go to the bank with the other person and do the funds transfer in person? Do you do an e-transfer? How does the title switch work? Do I need the new license plate first? I'm trying to figure out the timing of it all
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Old 03-10-2021, 07:07 AM   #2
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Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
The Mountains of North Carolina
Posts: 3,527
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Biggest "DO", do know the rules in YOUR province. Every state in the US is different. I would guess it is the same in Canada, maybe not as bad.

As far as payment, in cash, in person. I have e-transferred on my Escape when I bought it. Buyer takes all the risk. So I personally would not recommend it.

I've bought a lot of vehicles used, outside my state. Never had a plate when I purchased. Bill of sale was enough. Once home, I went to the tag office, and transferred the title.
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Old 03-10-2021, 07:17 AM   #3
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Name: Tiffany
Trailer: In the market
Canada
Posts: 26
Hi, thanks for the input!! What do you all think of the Trillium 5500???
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Old 03-10-2021, 07:46 AM   #4
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Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
The Mountains of North Carolina
Posts: 3,527
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I like the smaller Trilliums because of the fiberglass interiors (the 1300 and the 4500). BUT, the 5500 is super rare, much roomier too. Just inspect carefully. With wood interiors comes more rot issues.

The 5500 with the huge jalousie windows is a super nice layout! If I saw one at a realistic price in reasonable condition, I'd buy it! In the RV world, molded FG trailers are rare. A Trillium 5500 is beyond rare, almost unobtainium. I have never seen one for sale, EVER.


If I saw a 5500 for sale, I would be in my car DRIVING and I would not let anyone else know about it!


With my 1300, its really a solo camper. I know couples do use them, but we couldn't. When I wife and I travel, its the Escape 19.

On vintage molded FG trailers, you should expect the shells to last nearly forever. But the other stuff, not so much. Axles, frames, appliances, any wood, electrical; all subject to wearing out. I'm kind of amazed when I see 40 year old trailers selling for similar $$ as 10 year old trailers.

Besides doing a thorough inspection, the other thing I look at is how has the trailer been stored when not camping. I bought two trailers that were stored inside, in garages. I bought a third trailer that was stored outside. HUGE difference in condition!

If you are interested in Trilliums, become a "subject matter expert", by clicking on the manufacturers tab (upper right), then selecting Trillium. There you will find every discussion on Trilliums. Read the 5500 restoration projects first. If you do not have the time/tools/aptitude/covered work area, then buy one from someone who has already restored it.

If it has been restored, look for the quality of the work. Have they addressed the belly band? Have they reinstalled windows? And so on. I look at ads where people say they have fully restored their Trillium and I see original belly band and original axle. I know immediately it has NOT been fully restored. Then I look at the windows. If someone gooped up silicone or caulking around the outside of the windows, I know the "restoration" was in name only. I would rather do the work RIGHT myself then have to undo bad work. And people sometimes think their bad work is worth MORE because they "fixed it". I know it will be MORE work for me, undoing their bad work, so its actually worth LESS!

I've owned and restored several vintage homes. Price wise, I did the best on the one that was falling down. Inspector told me it was too far gone and should be torn down. This is the home I am living in right now, and its super nice. The one I bought that on the surface looked OK, I did the worst (financially, enjoyed them all). And in order to make a project work financially, you have to do the work yourself. Sure, you might hire out some welding. But other than that, roll up your sleeves and dig in!
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Old 03-10-2021, 08:00 AM   #5
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Name: Tiffany
Trailer: In the market
Canada
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Hi,

It was stored in a barn for 20 years. It needs work for sure. I have to still go see it in person. I would be planning to redo everything! We have some wood working tools, and good electrical knowledge. I could get it into a garage to work on it. The windows are the original Jalousie ones. I'll check out the threads!

I appreciate all the info that you have shared!
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Old 03-10-2021, 08:12 AM   #6
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Name: Fred
Trailer: 13 ft Boler
Kootenay's of BC
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I found out an intetesting fact in BC.
A vehicle is your responsibility until the new owner registers it in their name. So if a person buys a car from you, pays cash doesn't register it, drives it into a house, you are in trouble!!!
So as a seller you want to help the buyer register asap! IE- drive thrm there if necessary!!
So in dealing with sellers its usually pretty easy to get them to go to ICBC outlet. I have delt in cash mostly or acceptable to seller.
Transfer of funds usually takes place at outlet but, Ive also given a guy cash and said I'll be back in a week!
The insurance outlet is the best place to get your answers on insurance.
Fred
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Old 03-10-2021, 08:18 AM   #7
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Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
The Mountains of North Carolina
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greentravels View Post
Hi,

It was stored in a barn for 20 years. It needs work for sure. I have to still go see it in person. I would be planning to redo everything! We have some wood working tools, and good electrical knowledge. I could get it into a garage to work on it. The windows are the original Jalousie ones. I'll check out the threads!

I appreciate all the info that you have shared!
In that case, I would be driving right now before someone else gets it! Even if it is not being advertised, all of a sudden a neighbor, or a family friend, or someone at work, or whatever, and it is GONE. You will never, ever, see another 5500 for sale. Go NOW.

My 1300 was stored in a garage for over 20 years. So it was ignored. Tires? Bad. Took a temporary trailer light kit with me, and needed it to get home. I greased the bearings, replaced tires and wheels, in the seller's driveway. Not as big of a job as it sounds. With wood working skills, you should do just FINE!

I am excited for you, and a little jealous!
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Old 03-10-2021, 09:47 AM   #8
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Name: Tiffany
Trailer: In the market
Canada
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Are there specific weak points in the frame I should look for? I've previously read up on the boler frames, but not the Trillium.
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Old 03-10-2021, 10:32 AM   #9
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Name: Jann
Trailer: Casita
Colorado
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Originally Posted by greentravels View Post
Hello,

When you are buying or selling do you go to the bank with the other person and do the funds transfer in person? Do you do an e-transfer? How does the title switch work? Do I need the new license plate first? I'm trying to figure out the timing of it all
Do go see it. Do look at a title or registration and check VIN # on trailer if it has one and is on title. DO NOT e-transfer unless you are there in person and see the trailer and paperwork first. Check an ID to make sure the trailer is titled to the person selling it. In person at the bank is safest and if dealing in cash that is the place to be anyway. Protect yourself from scams. Scammers are smarter than most people at taking your money.
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Old 03-10-2021, 10:57 AM   #10
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Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
The Mountains of North Carolina
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If it is the one I think it is, its gone already. Hopefully you got it!
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Old 03-10-2021, 12:51 PM   #11
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Name: Tiffany
Trailer: In the market
Canada
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Hi, would you be concerned with cracks off the lower corners of the front window? You can't feel them from the outside, but you can see them. The frame is in good condition.
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Old 03-10-2021, 01:00 PM   #12
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Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
The Mountains of North Carolina
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I would not expect total perfection. This is a 40 year old trailer. Its bound to need some TLC. The only question is whether you are ready to roll up your sleeves and do it. Otherwise, raise the budget and get a modern trailer, something in the 10 year old or less range. Myself, if it's the one ad I saw, I would have bought it and been towing it home by now.


In the world of used molded FG trailers, you have to be ready to POUNCE, and have the tools and knowledge to do a quick inspection. I passed on the first two Trilliums I looked at, defects were obvious and well beyond windows.

It best to do the studying before you start shopping. Once an ad appears, there really isn't time to get an answer to start studying then. Realize there will be other people buying while the novice is studying. They just sell too fast. Trilliums have a very strong following, and a Trillium 5500 is extremely rare. Others will be ready and loaded, cash in hand. You have to beat them to it. Typically, its the ones that are not advertised where you have the best chance.
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Old 03-17-2021, 12:07 PM   #13
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Name: Bill & Sherry
Trailer: Bigfoot
Washington
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For the last two vehicle/trailer purchases we made (WA State) went with the seller to our bank in his town. The teller made an EFT/wire transfer directly from our checking account to his. Easy-peasy, without the anxiety of carry a large amount of cash far from home!
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Old 03-17-2021, 04:47 PM   #14
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Name: Jane
Trailer: Bigfoot 25B21RB
California
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Originally Posted by greentravels View Post
Hello,

When you are buying or selling do you go to the bank with the other person and do the funds transfer in person? Do you do an e-transfer? How does the title switch work? Do I need the new license plate first? I'm trying to figure out the timing of it all
You should plan to do the funds transfer at either a bank, Auto club or DMV.

My first trailer purchase:
I met the sellers at Auto Club of Southern with a cashiers check & the trailer. The sellers filled out a California DMV transfer of title/sales certificate. Auto Club inspected the trailer (confirmed the vehicle ID# matched the pink slip), formally processed the transfer of ownership forms & the sellers got our cashiers check. We registered the trailer and got out new license plates that day.
When I sold that trailer, we were out of town.
My friend had a signed pink slip & California DMV sales certificate. The buyers met my friend at my bank with a cashiers check. The title & sales certificate was passed onto the buyers at the bank. We left it up to the buyers to register the trailer with DMV.
We took possession of our next trailer in Oregon.
It turned out that the seller & my husband had checking accounts with the same bank. They both went over to the seller’s branch and transferred funds directly between accounts. The pink slip & DMV Sales certificate were filled out & completed at the bank. That trailer’s registration was good through the year, so we traveled with the Oregon plates until we returned to California several months later.
I personally like cashiers checks. But sellers are sometimes wary of them. I have no problem with finalizing the transfer of funds at a bank. Ask the manager assure the seller that your cashiers check will be honored. You can transfer funds between accounts if the buyer’s bank has a formal relationship with yours. You need to know this upfront. It was fortunate that our seller & us used the same bank.

Buyer beware: It is advisable for you to contact the DMV in your state for information on documentation needed when buying or selling a travel trailer. If you are buying something from another state, contact that DMV as well. Do not leave it up to the seller to research documents needed to legally finalize the sale.

If you belong to the Auto Club, call them. Ask them what sorts of things you should do in order to protect yourself. The first thing you need to do is confirm ownership of that trailer. The sellers should provide you with a signed pink slip & you should be able to confirm that trailer has been registered with the seller. If the seller recently purchased the trailer, you should be able to confirm that transaction.
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Old 03-17-2021, 05:04 PM   #15
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Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
Arizona
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When selling, make sure to follow your state's procedure for reporting the sale promptly. I'd guess in most states it's a simple online process. You may be required to turn in the plate. Reporting the sale cancels your registration and protects you from liability for anything that happens after the trailer leaves your possession.

You do not need a plate to transport a trailer home following an out-of-state purchase. If stopped (rare), you should be carrying a bill of sale and usually a title documenting the transfer of ownership. A few states don't title certain types of trailers, but most do and if so, your state will want it. Some seller won't offer a bill of sale, so you may have to come prepared with a blank form available online. Your own state's motor vehicle department website may have one.
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