Wilson Fontaine or doonan combo step decks

Discussion in 'Flatbed Trucking Forum' started by Guf, Nov 1, 2019.

  1. Son

    Son Light Load Member

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    Jun 17, 2012
    Middle Tennessee
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    I've had all 3 & it's Wilson by a mile.
    Fontaine Combo had serious wiring problems that the factory in AL couldn't figure out.
    Doonan platinum combo developed 26 separate structural cracks from nose to tail on the steel main frame & aluminum cross members. It was out of warranty by a couple of years but they owned up to the problems & sent a "patch kit" at their dime, fixed it & traded it on a sweet Wilson Road Brute. No comparison. Speck'd it new & got a screaming deal. I wouldn't own a Doonan if you gave it to me
     
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  3. Son

    Son Light Load Member

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    Jun 17, 2012
    Middle Tennessee
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    Doonan's J track is a joke, 1/4" bolt tips to stop the J hooks but they can easily slide over as they aren't quite long enough. Their response was to add nuts...... Ok now instead of sliding over, the J hooks have leverage to bend down the bolts. These would let go in a front collision or extreme braking
     
  4. sirjeff

    sirjeff Medium Load Member

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    Dec 1, 2013
    Kelowna, BC
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    I have no experience with the Doonan stuff so cant speak on those.

    Personally I never liked any of the fontains I've pulled (a few), maybe it was just how they were ordered, I dunno. Didnt even consider one when I bought mine.

    I went with a Wilson and couldn't be happier. The ones I've pulled in the past seem to hold up great, can take a good beating, and you can pretty much order it ANY way you like. They were great at putting up with my nitpicking. I sent their drawing back a few times to say the least haha I say go with the Wilson.
     
  5. singlescrewshaker

    singlescrewshaker Road Train Member

    3,775
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    Dec 31, 2017
    Little Havana, FL
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    Doonan must have started putting longer, larger bolts in that channel. Mine look to be 3/8". You can see me pulling sideways on the front binder in my picture, & the j plate wasn't budging.

    Agreed, that's a terrible solution Doonan gave you for a fix.. o_O

    What year was it
    Did you get it new
    What kind of loads & weight was it used for?

    I'm interested because having just dropped around $47k, I'd like to know what lies ahead..
     
    Guf Thanks this.
  6. Son

    Son Light Load Member

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    Jun 17, 2012
    Middle Tennessee
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    It was a 2012 that I bought in 2014. Still looked new.
    It pulled general freight for a year & a half then I ran a dedicated lane pulling automotive blanks for a couple years. Then it fell to pieces. Never overloaded & never hauled coils.
    I have heard from an insider with Doonan that they have a hard time keeping workers on at the plant & that there is a huge swing in quality depending on who they can hire that week.
    I do wish you the best of luck & odds are yours will be fine.
     
    Tug Toy and singlescrewshaker Thank this.
  7. Son

    Son Light Load Member

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    Jun 17, 2012
    Middle Tennessee
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    Most of my J hooks still have ruts across the bottom where they would slide over the bolt that was supposed to hold it back. Any angled chain would loosen as they slid over
     
  8. singlescrewshaker

    singlescrewshaker Road Train Member

    3,775
    32,195
    Dec 31, 2017
    Little Havana, FL
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    Thank you, mine is a '20model so time will tell. Currently I run a very light operation, ~28k lbs max on deck. I haul general freight for the most part, lots of smaller sized equipment. Skid steers, 10ton excavators, boom & scissor lifts, forklifts, maybe a class 5 dump truck here or there..

    Funny you mentioned that about retaining workers at the plant. I had a Loadmax gooseneck trailer before, & I was pretty happy with the overall build, & weld quality. The powder coat paint was the absolute worst though.

    So over the years, I'd run into randoms with the same trailer out on the road, maybe a year or 2 newer or older than mine. Some looked to be built just as well, some looked like they had been built by a blind man with no tape measure. The quality varied so wildly. Couldn't figure out why..? At 1st I thought maybe they were buying from another builder, & slapping their logo on it. I never thought about worker retention being the cause. Makes sense..
     
    kylefitzy Thanks this.
  9. thejudges69

    thejudges69 Light Load Member

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    I've had 2 doonans and I'm looking at a 3rd, 1 was a 2 axle all steel. 1 was a 3 axle combo and I've located several 3 axle combos again that I'm looking at 1 of the 4. They make a phenomenal trailer. I've never ever been a fan of a crapparal they never hold the weight like I think they should, the necks are weak, just a bad design in my opinion.

    I've seen a couple Wilson aluminum steps that I didn't like how they held the weight..the combo Wilson I like.

    Fontaine build the best assembly line trailer in my opinion. They have a lot of custom options available, you just have to know what dealer to talk to and that's TNT trailers in Missouri I believe. Their routered side rail is indestructible and just an amazing piece. I don't like their 3/8 flanges on their steps, I'd like to see 1/2". Steel crossmembers are great also. I've heard not so good things about their rear sliding axle.
     
    Guf Thanks this.
  10. Guf

    Guf Light Load Member

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    Apr 5, 2019
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    Ended up ordering a wilson combo roadbrute
     
    Wheeljack Thanks this.
  11. sirjeff

    sirjeff Medium Load Member

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    Dec 1, 2013
    Kelowna, BC
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    You will be happy! When does it show up?

    Specs?
     
    Guf Thanks this.
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