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I'm buying a lorry - any tips?

31 replies

CrunchieFriday · 10/06/2018 20:52

I can drive up to a 7.5 tonne.

Can't decide what to buy!
I will be showing my youngster - possibly with my friend and her yearling too.

I have a specific breed - so shows are far apart and will mainly mean overnight stays.

What features have you found useful...or a waste of time/money?

All comments gratefully received!

OP posts:
QuestionableMouse · 14/06/2018 18:20

Check the floor carefully.

A living is really nice to have, especially when it pisses down and you want to get warm and dry (and you save money in the long run because you can make your own food and drinks)

I'd avoid a lorry with only a side ramp... Can make it harder to find parking where you can unload and if the lorry goes over on that side in an accident you've no hope of getting the horses out.

Herringbone partitions can be awkward with big horses.

A water tank will eat into your weight allowance but means you can hook a hose up to refill buckets or hose off which is really helpful.

CrunchieFriday · 14/06/2018 20:15


Thank you for replying. I have been looking at some lorries with side ramps - they did have an emergency unloading door at the back, but I completely hadn't thought about unloading at shows so that is a good point to consider.

I think a water tank and a hose is something I'd find really useful, so going to add that to my list!

OP posts:
QuestionableMouse · 14/06/2018 20:17

A water tank is awesome to have. I don't think they're cheap but against the price of a lorry and for the added convenience, I think they're worth it.

Booboostwo · 14/06/2018 20:45

Check the payload very carefully by either taking the lorry to a weighbridge yourself or seeing a certificate.

DrunkenUnicorn · 15/06/2018 10:37

When we bought our lorry (only a 3.5t) we had it pre purchase checked by one of the specific horse box mechanic companies. I can’t remember exactly how much it was, maybe £150? But a drop in the ocean compared to the cost of a box or worse the cost of a box with issues.

Barbaro · 16/06/2018 17:50

Avoid 3.5t ones to be honest. So many are being found to be unsafe for traveling in.

Definitely get living space and make sure the horse area is big for the horses, not cramped. Some 7.5t are still narrow for horses whereas others have been designed for the horses comfort. Although you might be OK if your horses aren't that big. Just know with how big my horse is when I go to find a lorry ill need a big one as he'll be cramped in some of them.

Booboostwo · 17/06/2018 07:45

A 3.5t won't have enough living for overnight stays for two people.

But 7.5t ones are as likely to have payload issues as 3.5t ones. Many have a lot of their payload taken up by amazing living spaces, which makes it impossible to carry more than one horse. I also found the horse area in some 7.5t ones to be awfully small and this may be a safety issue with two youngsters who may not yet have perfect handling/loading manners. In many 7.5t I have seen there is a big drop to a steep ramp and very little space to maneuver the horse in the horse area, all of which is an accident waiting to happen.

Eve · 17/06/2018 07:50

Tilt cab - saves a fortune on fees on servicing.

Water tank will be very heavy, check weights.

Check when tyres were last replaced, they don’t get woren down as not doing enough miles, but the rubber perishes and then you get a blow out (bitter experience).

Check floor, gas safety cert if it has gas.

Check last plating for any advisories.

How heavy is the ramp? Mine needs 2 to lift it.. but we always have 2 travelling so never an issue.

If sideloading is there a partition horses can get over, even if it looks high lots of horror stories or horses going over in 3.5tonnes.

Eve · 17/06/2018 07:55

... if You can drive a 7.5 ton get it, you will get more for your money. 3.5 tonnes are very popular and much more expensive.

Oh and speed limited, make sure not speed limited.

And as you drive carefully with horses on board, drive it without occasionally and use the brakes hard to keep them rust free. At plating they always make that comment to me.

Also where we are book platings 6 months in advance!

CrunchieFriday · 17/06/2018 15:06

All good tips, thank you everyone. I am quite old so can drive up to a 7.5T on my current license.

Interesting point about some of the 7.5T not having much more actual payload than some of the smaller lorries, because of heavy living areas etc.

I have ruled out some boxes I've seen advertised because the horse areas are too cramped because of this thread, so thank you!

I would have got this - but none of you have listed "cabinet full of crystal wine glasses" as a must-have-feature yet Grin

That and the fact it is waaaaay over my budget! My budget is a rather more paltry £30K ( but it feels like a lot to me - which is why I'm trying to make sure I don't buy a dud!)

OP posts:
Barbaro · 17/06/2018 21:45

You can easily get a really good lorry for a lot less than 30k. I wouldnt spend that much. Don't be put off by high mileage, as long as you take care of a lorry it will live forever. They are designed to do high mileage, 200k is literally nothing to a lorry. It ain't like a car that will start to get tired after a while.

Whenever I go to buy a lorry, will be next year I imagine or year after, I will not be spending any more than 10k. You can get a really good lorry for that with nice living accommodation. It doesn't need to be professional standard.

QuestionableMouse · 18/06/2018 13:02

If you don't mind something older, there's a nice 7.5t up for sale in my vague area. Its a P reg but is under 10k.

CrunchieFriday · 18/06/2018 22:10

I would love to spend less! Grin It's finding the right one.

Thank you for thinking of me @QuestionableMouse - I've looked at a few older ones locally over the weekend and found I'd struggle with the ramps on my own. They also seem to have steep ramps ( which as @Booboostwo has pointed out) will not be ideal for my youngster.

As the shows I go to are literally hundreds of miles apart ( last few have been in North Yorkshire, Cambridgeshire, East Sussex and Lincolnshire) - lower fuel costs will also be important!

OP posts:
Japanesejazz · 18/06/2018 22:17

Have it weighed unloaded. I have a 7.5 tonne with living. It weighs 6 tonne unloaded and with an empty water tank. Has 3 stalls. My 2 horses have combined weight of 1100kg with me, daughter, tack, hay and all other packing for a long weekend away, plus full tank of diesel we are just below pay load. I keep my trailer but dread towing it. Love my lorry

QuestionableMouse · 18/06/2018 22:20

No worries, it just popped up on my Facebook and I thought of you. If you want the advert, pm me?

Japanesejazz · 18/06/2018 22:58

Mine is on a N plate. Had it valued last year at £10k its only done 90k though which is very low mileage for its age. The living is 4 star. But granite worktop and oak kitchens eat up your hay room. So they are a no for me

Booboostwo · 19/06/2018 06:01

I've broken down 3 times with older lorries and horses on board and it was a complete nightmare, so for me the chassis has to be as close to new as possible given budget restrictions.

How about having a lorry built to your specs OP?

CrunchieFriday · 19/06/2018 18:39

Breaking down miles from home with a youngster on board would not be my idea of fun... I think you're right about getting as new as possible.

It's funny you should mention about having a lorry built, as I'm just costing that up / trying to find a reputable coach builder at the moment. Grin

OP posts:
Booboostwo · 19/06/2018 19:29

The other option would be 3.7t with a longer chassis. They have a bit of living in the back and you can set out a camping bed in the horse area.

decena · 21/06/2018 23:26

Look for a 5.2t, 4.5t, 6.5t lorries, all can come with overnight living and good payload.
I had a 5.2t on a 2009 plate, double bed, sink, hob etc. Lots of lockers and storage, carried 2 big horses, payload was just under 2t. It was made to order and cost £30k three years ago. It was much more fuel efficient as well, I could get 34mpg and was very powerful and fast to drive.

CrunchieFriday · 22/06/2018 07:44

@decena do you mind me asking who built it for you as that is exactly the sort of thing I'm looking for!

OP posts:
decena · 22/06/2018 12:30

Sorry crunchie, he only did a couple and then stopped. Equihunter and Equitrek both do 4.5t, but your best bet is to try some smaller coach holders who will make to order. Maybe post on some of the FB groups, bsja, British Dressage (the unofficial chat groups) etc for recommendations.


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CrunchieFriday · 22/06/2018 22:54

@decena That's a shame! Thank you for the tips for finding a coachbuilder, though.

OP posts:
Booboostwo · 24/06/2018 06:31

In my opinion Equitrek's built quality doesn't justify their asking price. I'd recommend Boss Horseboxes.

5 and 6t are fantastic options, but better for two horses and day living. As soon as you need decent living you also need the longer wheelbase of the 7.5t. Nothing would stop the OP from custom making a 5t with lovely living and room for only one horse, but such an unusual custom job might be very difficult to resell.

DiplomaticDecorum · 25/06/2018 10:21

I'd buy it, I would there's a demand for single horse, decent living.

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