If you plan on buying a manufactured trailer there are a few things you need to know

Chi-Town

The guy under the car
#1
I work in the RV industry as an independent consultant currently and I am cautiously watching as I see a few off shore companies make their way in to the US market.

I'm putting this post up as a "sort of guide" to things you should be looking out for when you consider an off shore brand.

First thing is Federal Vehicle Motor Safety Standards (FMVSS for short). These are the standards that every vehicle that touches the road is required to meet. Yes there are separate standards for trailers (even home built ones).

These include but are not limited to: (The short and easy list to check for consumers)
Wheels and Tires - Both wheel and tire must be SAE/DOT approved and the manufacturer must keep a record of serial numbers from all tires installed on trailers (In case of Recall)
Hitches - These also must be SAE /DOT compliant. Manufacturer must have documentation showing the testing was done.
Lighting - Must be SAE / DOT compliant in function, location, and color. (Tip: Most lights from China that say DOT/SAE usually will not pass testing here in the US)
Fuel Storage - This one crosses over to ANSI 1192 standards also. You cannot store a fuel container in a compartment! (There are ways around this like having over 50% of the floor open for venting)

Here's the fun ones.

NFPA ANSI 1192 Standards on Recreational Vehicles
These are required by all 50 states to legally use the RV/Trailer at any campground or state / national park.
These cover all construction safety standards that should be in place when the trailer is built. (Think of this as housing code for RVs)
The RVIA is the leading organization to certify that trailers meet these standards. There are smaller certified engineering firms that can do it also.

Short list for consumers to check:
All plumbing or items that come in to contact with water need a NSF certification. This includes but not limited to pipes, tanks, pumps, sinks/showers, water filters. Look for the NSF seal on them.
All 110v Electrical needs UL Certification
All 12v Electrical needs UL or CE Certification
Ventilation must meet standard

The manufacturer should be able to produce supporting documentation for all parts and materials used. Do use caution I have seen these documents forged so don't hesitate to call the certifying body to check legitimacy.

I hope this helps you guys understand what you should be looking for in a trailer, if you have any questions post up and I'll do my best to answer them.
 
#4
Great stuff, thank you. Do you have any trailer manufacturers that you can recommend, based on your own experience?

I hope to be purchasing a trailer in the next few months, and am seriously considering Intech RV models, along with a few other contenders.
 

Martyn

Supporting Sponsor, Overland Certified OC0018
#5
Unfortunately some domestic US manufacture fail to make trailers up to standard, walking Expo this year I saw many failures. The most common error is no reflectors.
 
#6
Ya Nfpa 1192 is a beast in its own, electrical wiring has to be so far away from propane lines, as you mentioned there must be documented material on said part or included with trailer... but great that you put this up.
 

Chi-Town

The guy under the car
#7
eatSleepWoof- Yes there are one or two brands that I'm working with that will be here in the next month or two that are taking the time to get things right. Unfortunately I cant give their names due to NDAs. They will be making announcements soon and I believe may even be at Expo East.

Martyn- There are more US brands that don't than I'd like to admit but what people will do to make a $ is embarrassing sometimes.

Flipmachine- yeah it takes a but of legal understanding, a bit of straight translation, a bit of engineering and sometimes just straight banging your head against the book lol
 
#9
Fantastic.

What someone really needs to do is build a quality, but base trailer. Then let the owner install the water tank, wiring (outside of brake/turn), and whatever else.

I've been looking into building a trailer myself. There's no way I'm spending $7,000 on a dinky trailer. I can take a few months and build exactly what I want for less than $2000. The basic parts and steel isn't that expensive. You can find Jeep wheels and tires dirt cheap on Craigslist. It only gets expensive when you start adding creature comforts like heaters and kitchens.
 
#10
would custom fabricated (I dislike the term "home-made"; sounds so 'deliverance-ish') on - off trailer be made to these standards? just like building codes, all they imply are minimum standards. and what happens when it is sold to the next user? could our modified trucks & trailers pass the litmus test?

we can leave the 'over-weight' subject for the "other" thread...
 

vintageracer

To Infinity and Beyond!
#11
All you have to do is look at the lobbying efforts of the RV industry for the last 30 years AGAINST ANY AND ALL LEGISLATIVE EFFORTS to institute a "Lemon Law" in any and all states that would include Recreational Vehicles.

If the industry as a whole spent all the money they spend avoiding the passage of "Lemon Laws" on building a QUALITY product as an industry they would have not problems. RVIA is a rubber stamp for the large players in the RV industry who are the major funding source for this organization. I personally have attended the RVIA convention for the last 10 years and what a show place it is for all the major manufacturer's.

Spend a little time on Google and you will be amazed at all the horror stories plaguing the RV industry right NOW concerning poor build quality and every worse warranty repair support.
 

vintageracer

To Infinity and Beyond!
#12
would custom fabricated (I dislike the term "home-made"; sounds so 'deliverance-ish') on - off trailer be made to these standards? just like building codes, all they imply are minimum standards. and what happens when it is sold to the next user? could our modified trucks & trailers pass the litmus test?
If home built or user modified and a death is involved caused by a improperly built trailer you can bet your A$$ the damaged party is going to sue EVERYBODY that had anything to do with the construction of that trailer and that's you IF you built it. Most folks building "Home Built" trailers do not have product liability insurance coverage and also think rules, regulations and codes do not apply to them.

It's expensive as hell to get insurance if your a Hot Rod shop and do any modifications at all to a vehicle frame. Imagine the liability when your build your own frame!
 
#13
"Hitches - These also must be SAE /DOT compliant. Manufacturer must have documentation showing the testing was done."

HI!
Can you point me to where these regulations are listed by the specific regulatory body? Been having some conversations around this very topic.
Thanks in advance!!!
 
#14
Kevin_j- You can google all the acronyms and find them online. NFPA will let you open their entire1192 guidelines, but to download cost $58.

Dont forget most commercial built RV from large manufacturers are RVIA approved. These are the same RVs that fall apart when they leave the lot, start leaking on day one, etc. Not trying to bad mouth any vendor but dont be fooled into thinking that little RVIA tag on the camper makes it better built. Its a $7000 first year cost and $5000 yearly after that for their approval so alot of boutique/small manufacturers cannot afford the cost/ROI.

I'm not saying builders shouldn't follow NFPA/RVIA guidelines, just saying it doesn't make a better unit.
 
#15
Kevin_j- You can google all the acronyms and find them online. NFPA will let you open their entire1192 guidelines, but to download cost $58.

Dont forget most commercial built RV from large manufacturers are RVIA approved. These are the same RVs that fall apart when they leave the lot, start leaking on day one, etc. Not trying to bad mouth any vendor but dont be fooled into thinking that little RVIA tag on the camper makes it better built. Its a $7000 first year cost and $5000 yearly after that for their approval so alot of boutique/small manufacturers cannot afford the cost/ROI.

I'm not saying builders shouldn't follow NFPA/RVIA guidelines, just saying it doesn't make a better unit.
Man isn't that the truth! I'm currently having a discussion with some folks about SAE/DOT testing for trailer hitches and if they are in fact required to be tested before being sold in the US. I'm having some issues finding specific regulations and thought you might know a couple off hand. I know in a lot of the states it's worded as "Must meet SAE standards", but that language doesn't seem to enforce testing. Thanks for posting this!!!!
 
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