Trailer Questions

Trailer Questions

Q. What screwdriver bit do I use for the eight point screw heads?

A. #2 square head bit.

Q. Why do I need to cross my safety chains?

A. To create a cradle to catch the trailer tongue, if the hitch comes off the ball of the tow vehicle.

Q. Does the little battery on the A-frame of my trailer power the interior lights?

A. No, the breakaway battery triggers the electric brakes should your trailer become disconnected from the tow vehicle and the attached lanyard is pulled from it’s switch.

Q. Does the breakaway battery recharge from the tow vehicle or do I need to charge it?

A. It does not recharge through the tow vehicle and you do need to charge it.

Q. What powers my interior lights?

A. The tow vehicle when connected.

Q. How do I add shelves and where are the studs in my trailer?

A. The vertical supports or studs are located on 16” or 24” centers dependent on model. They can be seen or located using the screw pattern on either the interior or exterior of the trailer. Keep in mind that they are steel or aluminum so you will require a self-threading screw. The wall cavity on some models is only 1” deep so keep that in mind when selecting a screw length.

Q. If I have a flat tire where do I locate the jack?

A. Once your trailer is securely blocked and cannot roll you can locate the jack either near the axle on the front to rear running main frame rail of the trailer or directly under the axle beam if safely accessible.

A short cut used for many years is to find an isolated curb along the road, and back your trailer up onto the curb. There will be a point in the transition backing onto the curb where your flat tire will be hanging free and easy to take off.

Operating Instructions And Safety Procedures Dump Trailers


Prior to servicing unit make sure safety prop is secured. Never place any part of your body under the dump bed without the safety prop secured. Do not block dump bed under loaded condition. When operating dump bed, keep hands and body clear of frame and bed. Failure to comply could result in severe personal injury or death.


Make sure handle mechanisms are properly engaged to secure tailgate. Failure to comply could result in personal injury and/or property damage.


Attach breakaway switch cable to tow vehicle frame being certain no strain is placed on cable. Do not hook cable to safety chain loop or hitch ball. Do not let cable drag on ground. Check condition of battery prior to each trip. Failure to comply could result in personal injury and/or property damage.


Torque wheel nuts to 90–120 lb-ft before first road use. Retorque to 90–120 lb-ft after 10, 25, and 50 miles. Check periodically thereafter. Failure to follow these instructions may result in wheel loss, which can cause injury or death


Do not exceed the payload carrying capacity of your towing vehicle or trailer unit as determined by the GVWR of the towing vehicle, the curb weight of the towing vehicle, the GVWR of the trailer and the curb weight of the trailer. See your towing vehicle’s owner’s manual for carrying capacity information. Gross vehicle weight on this trailer, not to exceed “listed” pounds including weight of trailer. Failure to comply could result in instability and loss of control, which could result in personal injury or death.

Warning:Use the correct ball size to match the coupler on the trailer. Failure to do so may result in the trailer tongue lifting off the ball on the tow vehicle, which could result in loss of control of trailer which could result in personal injury, death and/or property damage.

Warning:Safety chain/cable – SAE Code J684, Section 6.3.1 reads: Two lengths of safety chain or equivalent shall be used. They shall be connected from opposite sides of the trailer tongue to the towing vehicle connected from opposite sides of the trailer tongue to the towing vehicle and when passing forward to the towing vehicle, shall be crossed under the trailer tongue in such a manner that they will cradle the trailer coupler and tongue in the even of separation of the coupling or ball. Failure to comply could result in personal injury, death and/or property damage.

Warning:Inflate tires according to the manufacturer’s specifications. Inspect tires before each use for cuts, excessive wear, etc. Failure to comply can cause tire failure, which could cause personal injury, death and/or property damage.


Make sure brakes are synchronized and functioning properly. See brake/axle manufacturer’s instructional information. Failure to comply can result in instability of trailer during braking which could cause personal injury, death and/or property damage.

Warning:Check operation of all lights before each use. Failure to comply could result in an accident due to other drivers not seeing the trailer and could cause personal injury, death and/or property damage.

Warning:Make sure coupler and hitch are securely attached to avoid collision with another vehicle caused by instability or separation of trailer from towing vehicle, which could result in personal injury, death and/or property damage.

Warning:Block trailer wheels before disconnecting trailer from the tow vehicle to prevent rolling. Failure to comply could result in personal injury, death and/or property damage.


Do not unhook the trailer coupler from the tow vehicle with the dump bed in the raised position as the tongue may raise up rapidly, which could cause instability of the trailer which could cause personal injury and/or property damage.

Hitching Up

Hitching Up

To ensure safe towing, make sure you have a suitable vehicle, hitch, and trailer. It is the trailer owner’s responsibility to correctly match the combination of tow vehicle and trailer. Contact a hitch specialist who can help you match your tow vehicle and hitch and equip you with a properly installed brake controller.

  • Make sure the ball on your hitch matches the coupler size on the trailer.
  • Use the jack to raise the coupler high enough for the hitch ball to slip beneath.
  • Release the coupler-locking device (raise the lever).
  • Back your tow vehicle into mounting position.
  • When properly aligned, lower the coupler onto the ball.
  • With the coupler on the ball, continue raising the jack until it is fully raised for maximum ground clearance.
  • Latch the coupler-locking device. (It is very important to lower the lever and insert a pin in the lock hole.)
  • Connect the safety chains by crossing the chains beneath the coupler and attach them to the tow vehicle. Allow enough slack for turning, but no dragging. (Tip: If chains are too long, simply twist them.)
  • Connect the electrical plug on the trailer to the plug on the tow vehicle. Check to make sure that all running, directional, and brake lights are functioning.
  • Properly load approximately 60% in front of the axles (you want 10-15% of the trailer and load weight on the hitch), balance the load side to side, and secure it (you don’t want it getting loose). Don’t overload; go by acceptable payload ratings or you may void the warranty.
  • Take a trial run and familiarize yourself with the handling characteristics of your tow vehicle and trailer.
  • Safety Chain Installation Instructions

    Your trailer has been equipped with safety chains of the proper classification as specified in Canadian Standards Association Standard Z240.1.2. You should always connect these chains properly subsequent to moving your trailer even for short distances. In the unlikely event that your trailer should come loose from the hitch ball, properly installed chains can avoid disastrous results.

    TChains should always be of equal length on both sides. The length should be adequate to allow the tightest turn radius available while being short enough to prevent dragging on the road.

    Safety chains should always be connected by crossing them under the trailer tongue. The right chain attaches to the left side and the left chain attaches to the right side. This will form a cradle that catches the hitch coupler should it come loose. The end connectors should always be connected to the hitch base plate or another location specifically provided for this purpose. NEVER attach safety chains by looping them around the ball hitch.

Pre Trip Check List

Pre-Trip Checklist

This is the most important thing you should look at before using your new cargo trailer. Please take your time, and make sure you go over this list completely! A description of how these parts work and how they should be properly checked is included on the following pages of this manual.

  • Hitch and coupler w/safety pin
  • Safety chains crossed and secured properly
  • All jacks are up
  • All running lights, brake lights, and turn signals functioning
  • Brakes, brake controller, and breakaway system
  • Proper tire pressure and tire condition on trailer and tow vehicle
  • Wheel lug nuts tightened
  • Doors, windows, and roof vents closed
  • Tie-down devices
  • Proper load distribution
  • The most common causes of accidents are (l) Improper coupling (2) Excessive speed or failure, road conditions (3) Uneven or overloading (4) Improper tire pressure (5) Loose lug nuts

    Safety chains: Be sure to always connect the safety chains by crossing them beneath the coupler when hooking to your trailer. Crossing your safety chains forms a cradle to catch the tongue in case of disconnect. If you notice that your chains are too long, then they should be shortened (just simply twist them). If they look like they have been over-stressed, they should be replaced. In many states and provinces it is required by law that you cross your safety chains.

    Brakes: Forest River trailers come with many different types of brake options. Repair and service information for each available type of brake can be found in the Axle Manufacturer’s Service Manual or online at:

  • We only us Dexter Axles
  • Please follow all of the axle manufacturer’s instructions concerning brakes. Remember that failure to follow instructions could result in loss of warranty. Brakes on new trailers usually tend to “pull” or pulsate, but don’t worry, this is normal. Remember that not all Forest River trailers are equipped with brakes.

    Tire pressure: The proper air pressure for your tires is printed on the sidewall of the tire. Air pressure should always be checked when tires are cold for the most accurate reading. You must not raise or lower your air pressure to meet your load. Serious injury may result from under- and over-inflation. Excessive wear and tear will also result if recommended pressure is not met. You must avoid, if possible, any potholes, curbs, or other hazards in the road. There is a chart on page 14 that describes various symptoms of tire wear and their causes.

    Hitch and coupler: You must correctly match your tow vehicle to your trailer. It is essential that your tow vehicle can handle the total trailer weight (GVWR). You should also check to see that the hitch weight carrying capacity of your tow vehicle matches the loaded tongue weight of your trailer. If you have a brake controller, then you want it to match with the number of braking wheels on your trailer. The electrical wiring of your tow vehicle needs to match the wiring on your trailer. It is very important that the ball on your hitch matches the coupler size on the trailer.

    Proper load distribution: All Forest River trailers are carefully designed to maintain a proper hitch weight when the trailer is evenly loaded. If improperly loaded, your trailer can become very unstable and difficult to control on the road. Uneven loading and improper hitch weight can make steering difficult and result in unsafe stopping and braking of the trailer and the tow vehicle.

    For bumper-hitch trailers, always load 60% of the cargo weight evenly in front of the axles. For Goosenecks, load 70% of the weight in front of the axles. This will result in approximately 10% of the loaded trailer weight on the hitch. Hitch weight should never be less than 10 percent of the gross vehicle weight (trailer plus payload).

    Distribute load as shown:

    70 % forward, 30% behind the axles

Limited Warranty Lightning trailers only

Limited Warranty

CARGO TRAILERS by Forest River, Inc.
Thank you for choosing to purchase a Cargo Trailer by Forest River Inc., a fine product in which design and construction have received the care that quality demands. This important warranty covers many items and is indicative of our desire to stand behind our products and assure our customers’ complete satisfaction.
SUMMARY OF WARRANTY: Forest River Inc., 55470 County Road 1, P.O. Box 3030, Elkhart, IN 46515-3030 (warrantor) warrants only the ORIGINAL CONSUMER PURCHASER for a period of one to three (1-3) years* from the date of purchase (Warranty Period) that the body structure of this Cargo Trailer shall be free of substantial defects in materials and workmanship attributable to Warrantor.
EXCLUSIONS FROM THIS WARRANTY: Warrantor expressly disclaims any responsibility for damage to the trim and appearance items located in or on the unit where damage is due to condensation, normal wear and tear, or exposure to the elements. Warrantor makes no warranty with regard to tires, tubes, batteries, routine maintenance, equipment and appliances. Some of these items may be warranted by their respective manufacturers and suppliers. Warranty information with respect to these items is available from your dealer.
The Warrantor further makes no warranty with regard to any product used as a rental unit or any product not registered and normally used in the United States or Canada.
LIMITATION AND DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTIES: WARRANTOR EXPRESSLY LIMITS THE DURATION OF ALL EXPRESS AND IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND ALL IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE TO THE WARRANTY PERIOD OF ONE TO THREE (1-3) YEARS*. WARRANTOR EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS ALL IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AFTER EXPIRATION OF THE WARRANTY PERIOD. No action to enforce express or implied warranties shall be commenced later than ninety (90) days after expiration of the warranty period. There is no warranty of any nature made by the Warrantor beyond that contained in this Warranty. No person has the authority to enlarge, amend or modify this Warranty.
Some states do not allow limitations on how long an implied warranty lasts, so the above limitation may not apply to you.
WARRANTOR’S OBLIGATIONS: Warrantor will remedy substantial defects in materials and workmanship caused by Warrantor. Warrantor shall elect to remedy the defect from among the following: repairs or replacement of defective parts.
PURCHASER’S OBLIGATIONS: Purchaser must complete and return the owner’s registration card within (10) ten days of purchase to validate this Warranty. The return of this card is a condition precedent to warranty coverage; failure to return the completed card to the Warrantor will invalidate this warranty. Purchaser shall deliver this Cargo Trailer for warranty service within a reasonable time after discovery of the defect and in no event after expiration of the Warranty period, which is a Warranty Period of one to three (1-3) years*. All expenses incurred by purchaser in obtaining warranty service shall be borne by Purchaser.
EVENTS DISCHARGING WARRANTOR FROM OBLIGATION UNDER THIS WARRANTY: Misuse or neglect, including failure to provide reasonable and necessary maintenance, unauthorized alteration, accident, improper loading, and leasing of the Cargo Trailer, shall discharge Warrantor from any obligation under this warranty.
PARTS AND DESIGN CHANGES: Warrantor reserves the right to change the parts and design of its Cargo Trailer from time to time without notice and with no obligation to maintain spare parts or make corresponding changes in its product previously manufactured.
OBTAINING WARRANTY SERVICE: It is recommended that all warranty service be done by the authorized dealer from whom you purchased your unit. This is to insure your local dealer’s personal interest in your complete satisfaction. If service becomes necessary as you are traveling or following a move, service under this warranty will be done by any authorized dealer in the United States or Canada. Such service should, whenever possible, be scheduled by an appointment in order to avoid possible delays.
WARRANTY REGISTRATION: A warranty registration card is to be completed by the owner at the time of purchase and returned to Warrantor. The return of this card is a condition precedent to warranty coverage; failure to return the completed card to Warrantor will invalidate this Warranty.
OTHER WARRANTIES: As indicated in the paragraph entitled “Exclusions From This Warranty” above, certain items that are not covered by this Warranty may be warranted separately by their manufacturers or suppliers. In order to validate those warranties, you may also be required to complete and return to the appropriate manufacturer the warranty forms included with the information package. These other warranties may cover such items as chassis, tires, tubes, batteries, optional generators, and appliances, which are not covered by Limited Warranty. For service or parts required for these products, it may be necessary to write or call the product manufacturer to obtain the nearest service center location. In requesting parts for separately warranted products from the manufacturer of the product or its authorized service center, it may be necessary to first obtain a warranty work authorization number before the work is done. It may also be necessary to provide the Product Name, Model and Serial Number along with the description of the problem and part needed, plus shipping instructions. See these warranties with respect to their terms and conditions.
OWNER ASSISTANCE: Your personal satisfaction and good will are most important to Forest River as well as a confident and pleasant relationship with our dealers. We, at Forest River, recognize that there may be occasions where a warranty or service problem is not handled satisfactorily, resulting in misunderstanding. If your problem has not been handled to your satisfaction after discussing it with the dealership management, we welcome you to contact the Forest River Customer Service Manager at the address stated above who will communicate with the local dealer our recommendation for an agreeable solution.
*1-3 year limited warranty dependent upon model purchased.

Warranty Information Card

Warranty Information

Every cargo trailer is covered by a limited warranty*. The terms and conditions of this warranty will be included on the following pages of this manual. The warranty period begins on the date of the retail sale. Please fill out the warranty registration card and mail it back within 10 days of purchase date.

Here is what your warranty card should look like.

Please fill out and return within 10 days of the purchase date.
-Warranty Registration Card-
Forest River VIN#____________________________________________________________________________
Delivery Date ____________________________________ Forest River Serial #___________________________
Purchased by: Owner’s Name __________________________________________________________________
Address __________________________________________________________________________________
City, State, Zip _____________________________________________________________________________
Telephone Number __________________________________________________________________________
Dealer’s Name: _____________________________________________________________________________
Address __________________________________________________________________________________
City, State, Zip _____________________________________________________________________________
Note: This warranty registration is valid for ten days from the date of delivery.

General Maintenance

Cargo Trailer Only


Wheels should be washed and waxed periodically. Aluminum rims have a clear coat on them so they will last longer through harsh conditions. Make sure you use a very gentle cleaning compound so it will not hurt your rims. Never use any cleaner that contains lye or is acid-based. If you use a lye- or acid-based cleaner, it will ruin the finish of your rims.


Check your door hinges every 3,000 miles or 3 months. If your trailer has a ramp door, please do not attempt to adjust the ramp cable or spring. All repairs or adjustments must be performed by experienced door service personnel only. WARNING: The spring-assist on ramp doors can cause serious injury or death.

Exterior Aluminum Skin

Please treat the outside of the trailer as you would your car. Use mild soap when washing, and if you desire to wax, use an automotive-type wax. Proper care and maintenance will ensure your trailer’s color and the durability of its finish.


To keep your floor in tip-top shape, avoid prolonged exposure to water. For example, the snow and ice melting off your snowmobile, ATV, or automobile could cause floor damage. To make your floor last longer, you could paint it with an oil-based enamel. This would not only add protection, but would also help aid in cleaning up spills.


Inspect your roof at least once a year. If you live where heavy snow conditions exist, do not let ice and snow build up on your roof. Do not haul items on your roof if you do not have roof racks.

Routine Maintenance


Here is a list of some checks you will want to do every trip and every 3 months or 3,000 miles.

Note:If you need to remove or replace any of the 8-point headed screw

Tire pressure Inflate all tires to the proper pressure.
Wheel lugs, nuts, & bolts Tighten to proper torque specifications.
Coupler ball or 5th wheel pin Check for unusual wear, sufficient lube and lock mechanism.
Safety chains and hitch ball Check for unusual wear on chain links and hitch ball.
Coupler Check the safety pin to make sure it is fastening properly.
Brakes Check operation and proper adjustment.
Breakaway battery and switch Check the battery in the breakaway system regularly.
Doors, windows, and vents You must close all doors, windows, and vents before travel.
Lights Replace spent bulbs and fix any broken lights.
Load distribution Make sure cargo weight is properly distributed.
Table 2. Every 3 months or 3,000 miles
Items Procedure
Welds Check welds for cracking and separations.
Hinges Lubricate w/ light oil.
Tie downs, E-track, and D-rings Check to make sure the hardware has no cracks and is fastened tight.

s, use a #2 square head bit on any fastener that looks like a star head.

All Models


Your trailer brakes must be inspected and serviced every 3,000 miles or once a year. Remember the more you use it the more you will want to have your brakes checked. If you are not sure about anything, remember to look at your Axle Manufacturer’s Service Manual.


Check your coupler before every trip. Look to see if there are any cracks and that the locking mechanism is in proper working order.

Frame Maintenance

Over time, road use will begin to chip away at the factory-protected underside of your trailer. This is where trailers receive the most punishment. Gravel, rocks, and any loose road debris are thrown up and hit the bottom of your trailer. You need to check the underside of your trailer at least once a year or every 3,000 miles. If you notice any bare spots, please touch-up with an automotive undercoating or matching frame paint.

Lug Nuts

Check lug nut tightness before your first trip and after 50 miles, 75 miles, and 150 miles. You will want to recheck at least every 3 months or 3,000 miles.


Please check your welds every 3 months or 3,000 miles for any cracks or fractures. If you notice any cracks or fractures, please contact your Forest River dealer immediately.

Maintenance Record

There is a maintenance record at the back of this manual. Please use this record book to keep track of all the work you do on your trailer. It will help keep your trailer in the best shape possible.

Tires and Wheels

Always check your tire pressure before using your trailer. When checking tire pressure, always check when tires are cold. If you are not sure of proper pressure, you can find it on the sidewall of your tires. DO NOT change your tire pressure for the load of the trailer. If you do, it can cause excessive tire wear and even a blowout.

ct your Forest River dealer immediately.



Electrical Wiring plug.


Warning:Safety chains, hitches, and couplers do not provide adequate grounding by themselves and can cause electrical failures.

You must have the correct vehicle wiring when using your trailer. Trailers not equipped with brakes will have a 4-way flat plug and all other trailers will have a larger 7-way plug. Don’t forget that a ground wire running from the plug back to the frame of the tow vehicle must be incorporated into proper tow vehicle wiring. Below are diagrams of the 4-way and the 7-way plugs.

White = Common Ground

Blue = Electric Brakes

Green = Tail License & Running Lights

Black = Battery charger , Hot, & Dome light

Red = Stop & left turn signal

Brown = Stop & Right turn signal

Yellow + Extra Auxiliary