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Submitted: 06-08-2007 by hfoster

Now that we have three kayakers in the house, we needed a way to transport them all at once without using two cars. We decided on a Rack and Roll trailer. The purchase has been quite an adventure.

The nearest dealer was about 100 miles from our home, so I arranged for the purchase by telephone. The dealer offered us a floor model, which included an optional spare tire, for a significant discount, so I paid for the trailer and arranged to pick it up after work one day the following week.
When I arrived at the dealer's, the trailer was waiting, a little shopworn but as described. The "fun" started when the trailer was hooked to my van and blew several fuses. In the process of deciding whether my wiring or the trailer's wiring was at fault, they hooked the trailer to someone's truck, and of course several of their fuses blew. By this time it was getting dark, and I had to drive a long way home, so they came up with replacement fuses for me and I left, sans trailer. (Hint: if you tow a trailer you'll probably need spare fuses at some point, so buy a kit and keep it in your vehicle.)
The dealer called a few days later to say that they'd disassembled the trailer and found several of the wires pinched between elements of the frame. The trailer essentially was a dead short, which of course led to the blown fuses. It took them a week or so to "fix" the wiring. (Hint: if you assemble one of these yourself, be very careful not to pinch the wires when assembling the frame.)
Back we went to pick up the trailer. We were happy to see the lights come on and stay on, and at our request one of the dealer's employees escorted us to an inspection station to make sure the trailer passed inspection. We drove home.
Somewhere between the inspection station and home some of the lights stopped working. No way we were going to drive 100 miles back, so I pulled out a multimeter and started checking the wiring. Sure enough, the wire that powers the left turn / left brake light was open somewhere inside the trailer.
I called the dealer, who instructed me to take it to a local trailer shop and send him the bill. The bill turned out to be $80 - when they opened up the trailer they found that several of the wires were scuffed up, so they replaced the entire wiring harness.

So, would I recommend the trailer? I would, but make sure you buy from a reputable dealer. Even despite the problems I felt that the dealer did try to resolve our problems, but perhaps some of his employees were less than competent with mechanical/electrical assembly. I also recommend buying from a dealer as close to your home as possible (in our case the next closest dealer was 200 miles away.) As for the trailer itself, it does work very well, and there are really few alternatives if you want to transport 3 or 4 kayaks. Towing the trailer is very easy as it is very light weight. (Hint: you'll want to tie red / reflective flags to the back of your boats since they will stick out several feet behind the trailer's lights - this will also help you when passing other cars.)
My rating would have been 9 had I not had the problems with this particular trailer.

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