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KARAVAN Trailers - Good, Bad or Ugly? Opinions please.

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KARAVAN Trailers - Good, Bad or Ugly? Opinions please.

Old 03-03-2016, 02:37 PM
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Default KARAVAN Trailers - Good, Bad or Ugly? Opinions please.

Guys,

Curious on your opinion of Karavan trailers. Looking at an aluminum tandem torsion axle bunk... right price.

I see the beams are 6061, but I have nothing to compare that to. Other manufactures?

Also they state they're beams are 2' longer and I see that they wrap around the tongue versus terminating at the winch post.

They use UFP components, but they carry a 2-yr warranty on the actuator and maybe a year on the brakes.

They come standard with stainless "frame fasteners", torsion axles and LED lighting.

What am I missing here?

Thanks in advance.
Old 03-03-2016, 03:51 PM
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Boston Whaler uses Karavans with the boats they deliver to dealers. My experience with them has been good. I suspect there are higher tier trailers available. I have one Whaler sitting atop a Karavan and an older classic on a Sports Trail.

When buying trailers all you can really do is compare features vs price and try to get the best bang for your buck. The nicest trailers I've seen were built by Sports Trail in Bay St Louis, MS. Search the site for threads on the trailers if you're interested in a top tier trailer. IMO the cost vs features make it an excellent value. Not cheap, by any means, but a good investment in safe towing if you're in it for the long term or if price is not a big concern for you.
Old 03-03-2016, 03:56 PM
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Butch,

Thanks for the honest assessment.

I've searched brands until I was blue in the face and often found that most low of to mid tier trailers come out of Florida and have mixed reviews when you search them. Of course, the upper crust guys (SportTrail, Owens, etc.) have great reps and are a touch more expensive.

When it come down to it, I'm trying to get the best bang for my buck for my inexpensive boat. I tow short distances, but would like to upgrade my current rig. I found a Karavan that fits my parameters, but haven't been able to find many reviews on them - good or bad.

If I lived in the Southeast, this would be easier. But nice, reasonable priced trailers are hard to come by in the Mid-Atlantic.
Old 03-03-2016, 04:00 PM
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my chaparral came with a Karavan trailer I have no complaints seems well made nice winch and jack .I tow about 2500 miles a year and have had 0 issues . Our last boat had a shorlandr nothing but trouble a great big POS both were new when we bought them
Old 03-03-2016, 04:03 PM
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I bought a Karavan new for my 15' Whaler from a Whaler dealer that had it from a sale he made that didn't want the trailer.

I bought it intending to two it through the desert and across the country.

In my opinion it's a pretty nice trailer, well built and their factory support was great for the couple little things I needed. It's not a Sport Trail, but it will certainly serve your purpose.
Old 03-03-2016, 05:19 PM
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My 2013 Whaler came with a Karavan dual axle galvanized trailer.My calipers will stick occasionally,sometimes after sitting for a while or other times after a stop.I emailed them about this and they are sending me 4 New calipers at no charge.Great customer service.
Old 03-03-2016, 05:33 PM
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Wirenut,

Good to hear. I've had zero issues with my Karavan, so far.
Old 03-04-2016, 03:07 PM
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15' whaler on a karavan no issues.
Old 03-05-2016, 08:23 AM
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I did not have it long enough to say how well it would hold up (sold the boat) but I was happy with the one I bought in 2012 (5800lb capacity). I was just looking for something to use for haul outs and maintenance.

Compared to Venture, The Karavan had several standard features I would've had to get as options (target bunks, torsion axles, led lights, guide posts). The I beams and main bunks were also larger and with the tongue wrap it seemed much more substantial compared to a similar rated venture. It was also nice to see that they made an attempt to isolate the aluminum from the galvanized steel with pads in between.
Old 03-05-2016, 12:30 PM
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So I just got back from checking out the Karavan... TideRunner222 noted many of the things that I liked about it... but:

1. Torsion axles did not have replaceable spindle. Axle manufacturer was "Knott GmbH"
2. Trailer had a no name brand of bias-ply tires. I believe they were Eco-Trail?
3. Bunk's were much less substantial than others. Maybe 3"x6"
4. UFP components used throughout
5. Can't explain it, but the shape of the aluminum frame isn't as sleek as others. They bend towards the trailer tongue much later than other brands, giving the trailer a very geometric, box, look. Similar to a galvanized.

The Good:
1. I-beams wrapped trailer tongue and we're secured more substantially than other like priced brands.
2. Manufacturer isolated galvanized components with rubber sheeting (not the case with the Load Rite)
3. Stainless frame fasteners
4. Aluminum cross-members
5. LED lights standard
6. Target bunks standard
7. Guide poles standard

When it came down to it, I walked away. I had a number in mind that I would have been willing to pay for that specific trailer, but the seller didn't want to play that game, not even a little. No harm no foul. I'll just continue to wait for the right trailer to pop up.

Thanks for everyones input!
Old 03-05-2016, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by NauticallyChallenged View Post
Butch,

Thanks for the honest assessment.

I've searched brands until I was blue in the face and often found that most low of to mid tier trailers come out of Florida and have mixed reviews when you search them. Of course, the upper crust guys (SportTrail, Owens, etc.) have great reps and are a touch more expensive.

When it come down to it, I'm trying to get the best bang for my buck for my inexpensive boat. I tow short distances, but would like to upgrade my current rig. I found a Karavan that fits my parameters, but haven't been able to find many reviews on them - good or bad.

If I lived in the Southeast, this would be easier. But nice, reasonable priced trailers are hard to come by in the Mid-Atlantic.
I don't know where in the Mid-Atlantic you are located but a quick 5 minute call to Dave's Trailers in Glen Burnie, MD would be time we'll spent imo. They have very attractive prices and locally have a good reputation for selling nice trailers.
Old 03-07-2016, 09:11 AM
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I have a Karavan and I hate it. It pulls nice and all but they use crappy parts. I got mine at the end of 2013. In a year, I had to replace all 4 calibers. 3 out of 4 locked up. I replaced the last one in the fall of 2015. I always hosed off the trailer after using it too. Even one of the lugs on the new hub I got as a replacement broke. Dealing with the manufacturer was very pleasant though. After the second one locked up, they shipped me all 4 to replace.
Old 03-07-2016, 03:50 PM
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2005, galvanized under 17 ft whaler. Some salt water use, mostly fresh water.
Light use, and holding up well.
Very good factory response and I believe decent prices for parts.

I would buy another.
Old 03-08-2016, 01:39 PM
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I've had a Karavan trailer since I bought my boat new in 2000. The trailer has done everything that I have asked of it. I've got a heavy 24' boat and I believe the trailer is a 6500 lb if I remember correctly. Like everything I have, I do the proper maintenance when needed and the trailer is just an old beast and still ready for action.
Old 03-13-2016, 08:15 AM
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Hoghunter,
You just Had to include that maintenance thing.
Old 03-13-2016, 05:25 PM
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Thanks for all the replies guys.

I ended up getting a good deal on the commander series Venture. Again, not a top tier manufacturer, but the commander series had everything I was looking for in components.

Thanks for all the feedback!
Old 03-14-2016, 07:49 PM
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Originally Posted by wirenut View Post
My 2013 Whaler came with a Karavan dual axle galvanized trailer.My calipers will stick occasionally,sometimes after sitting for a while or other times after a stop.I emailed them about this and they are sending me 4 New calipers at no charge.Great customer service.
I had the same problem with the Karavan trailer that came with my 2013 Whaler. I notified them and they sent me 4 new calipers plus a check to cover the labor of replacing them. My trailer was a little over a year old at the time and they told me that the calipers that came with it were defective. I found their customer service to be top notch.
Old 03-26-2016, 03:01 PM
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I have a 2007 tandem axle Karavan trailer which I use to pull my 22' Angler CC. I haven't had any issues with it.
Old 03-27-2016, 08:06 AM
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Originally Posted by NauticallyChallenged View Post
Thanks for all the replies guys.

I ended up getting a good deal on the commander series Venture. Again, not a top tier manufacturer, but the commander series had everything I was looking for in components.

Thanks for all the feedback!
Sounds like it is too late but if not I would suggest taking a quick ride up to Glen Burnie and talking to the guys at Dave's Trailer Sales. I think they sell mainly Load-Rite, but their prices are good and they are really knowledgeable (and give great customer service). They have a sling-hoist and will adjust the trailer to your boat if you want them to.

Good call, IMO, walking away from the Karavan. I have a galvanized Karavan trailer and while the galvanized parts are fine after 10 seasons, EVERYTHING else is corroding more than any other trailer I have owned (a long list which includes EZ Loader, LoadRite, Tidewater, Cox). Springs, axles, bunk supports, winch, etc.
Old 06-21-2016, 02:58 PM
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I am looking at trailers as well and learned a lot from this thread. Thanks to all commenters. BTW Dave's boat trailers in Glen Burnie, MD is a Karavan distributor (not dealer) so they can compete very well on price on Karavan.
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