Imagination Station Kids On Track is a children's (hands on operation) model railroad and train safety program that has operated for 28 & a half years on the West Coast and Northwest areas. The program caters to disadvantaged children in children's homes, pediatric hospital, schools, churches, museums, public railroad and music events, state agencies, and train shows. This program has operated mostly in the red do to lack of financial donations over the years but has managed to keep afloat and grow steadily in popularity.
Our program had been using a small, well built, 6 by 12, Pace American cargo trailer, which was no longer able to support and transport the large loads of equipment necessary to set our program up for kids. Through donations of kids, adults, volunteers, family and myself over the years and with a lot of research at the time, we found a company in Nampa, Idaho by the name of Mirage trailers and at the time could find no reviews, negative or positive. We went to our local dealer, Capital Trailer, who conveniently sold this brand. In March 2015, we made a deal with Capital Trailer to buy a 28 foot Mirage, Xterra gooseneck. We were very proud of this new unit because we were able to haul everything that we needed to haul without packing items in the truck bed and since we had the hitch already installed in our diesel pickup, it was a dream come true, finally, or so we thought!
Almost immediately things began to go wrong with the trailer. This trailer immediately had an issue on delivery of transport scrape marks on the driver side, a third of the way back. One of the first thing to go wrong was the diamond plate panel in the front riser section which came loose on the highway. This required me to pull over and reattach it with a couple of screws to hold it together long enough to get it to the dealer in town at my expense, to have it reattached properly.
Other problems included, a rear metal panel separation from the roof at the top were the clearance lights are due to heat expansion. This required more expensive travel and time to have it repaired under warranty again at the dealer.
Each of these issues have happened every two to three months until now.
The next issue was the roof separation from the sides at the front and middle of the trailer. From what I can tell, the roof was not installed straight causing diagonal ripples in the front three sections. This problem cause the roof at 2 points to pop out of the side seam which in turn caused leakage. I had to purchase $300 worth of sealant to permanently fix those sections and the rest of the roof.
Another issue that developed was a short circuit in the LED hitch light under the tongue which was shorting out and sparking due to sloppy crimping of the metal slide connector which had no insulation and was backed up against the metal frame, which required another trip to the dealer and more expenses on my part.
We also had a failure of all of the red and white safety tape along the edges. The tape started to fail within the warranty period and continue to fail until it looked so bad I had to call the tape manufacture because the dealer and trailer manufacture didn't want to take care of the full problem. The trailer manufacturer only sent enough tape to spot fix a few spots. I spent 112 hours removing tape and residue and reinstalling the new tape. The tape manufacture attributed the failure to a bad batch.
Another issue we had with this unit was frayed cables on the rear ramp door. The manufacture sent me new cables but expected me to replace them without any safety knowledge of how to do so. Volunteer kids were getting stuck in the hand with pieces of frayed cable.
We also had problems with stripped mounting bolts along the drip edge. The manufacturer was ask about this problem and their solution was to seal the bolts with sealant or they would send me larger bolts to install, however, the bolts they sent were the same size and didn't work. We also had extremely excessive antidegradent leaching from all 4 trailer tires. The tires turned yellow
from the leaching antidegradent and was so bad that the tires were no longer black but a dark yellow that looked like the trailer had been traveling through mud for 40 years without cleaning. We tried vinyl protectants, blackening products, cleaners and also cleaned the tires twice a week with detergent to remove the ugly yellow looking sludge. Nothing worked. We had to take 20 hours on the phone to try and figure out how to stop this problem by contacting Rainier tires, the trailer tire manufacturer, the dealer and the trailer manufacturer.
Since we dust & clean this trailer daily without water and wax it every 4-6 months, we wanted the trailer tires to look immaculate, but everything failed to work. This issue still exists today.
Rainier said, that these trailer tires, as with all trailer tires in America now, are made in China & have antidegradent inside the tires to protect against checking & drying. Why didn't we ever have these problems with older trailer tires?
Another issue that was covered under warranty was a broken license plate light that took 5 calls to the dealer and three calls to the manufacturer to eventually get it fixed.
One other problem we faced was a door leak that had to be looked at twice to fix it at the dealer, once again, at my cost for transport and time.
I think after all this, that the most irritating issue of all is what we are facing now which is, the failure of the electric landing gear at our last event for kids.
I was barely able to get the the trailer lowered on to the truck after smoke poured out from the undercarriage and lift jack area which caused a blown fuse. I did manage to get the trailer home and off the truck but now both lift jacks failed and the trailer is completely unusable or movable.
After all of these problems, Mirage sent there engineering designer my way last weekend after waiting since April 2018 and on the way down here his $20,000 new toy hauler broke apart on the highway causing him to have to turn around and return to Nampa, Idaho. He said he would speak to warranty and have them handle the my problem for me since so many things had happened. After nothing was done, I contacted the trailer manufacturer again and told them I wanted my money back but it sounded to me like they were going to continue the warranty process and try to fix this lift jack problem.
On the 25th of July, 2018, the half owner of the factory called me and said, our trailers only have a 1 year warranty and that we were 3 years into it.
With what I felt was an uncompationate response, he refused to help us or recognize that this trailer was a lemon and should have been taken back to the factory & completely rebuilt. He did offer a few months back to have us travel to Nampa, Idaho at our expense of $1,500 each way, to have the trailer work done at the factory, but we couldn't afford as a not for profit program to put ourselves further into that kind of debt to transport it down there and still pay for motels and food while they worked on it.
Two comments that really shocked me when I called the warranty supervisor were; Man this trailer must have been built on a Friday when everybody wanted to go home and didn't care.
The second comment he made to me was; The reason I was not able to get back in touch with you as quickly as I would have liked to was because, I was very busy & swamped with warranty work on my desk that I have to take care of. We have completely closed our children's program after 28 & 1/2 years because we cannot afford to rent a truck to transport our equipment and no longer have a working trailer & can't afford to dump more money into it to fix it. Nor would we trust kids to ride in any vehicle pulling this trailer or trust Mirage, it's dealers or the manufacturers who build parts for them.
PERSONALLY, I WOULD NEVER BUY ANOTHER PRODUCT FROM THIS COMPANY DUE TO THEIR LACK OF TAKING CARE OF THEIR CUSTOMERS COMPLETELY AND DUE TO SLOPPY CRAFTSMANSHIP.
HERE'S THE MOST SHOCKING PART OF IT ALL; THIS TRAILER, DUE TO THE PROBLEMS, ONLY HAS 300 MILES ON IT TOTAL.Mirage may have done a few things here in there to try to rectify the problems, however when faced with the reality that they built a lemon, they would rather use the warranty excuse and deny us as a customer a safe, well built, decent trailer due to the almighty dollar. It's even worse when they can't fix a problem on a unit that has less than 300 miles on it and that hasn't been used much do to previous problems. It's especially bad when its a not for profit children's program that is barely getting by and is the victim of money and profit, therefore creating such an unfortunate experience I am very upset and discontented with their customer service, the fact that they don't stand behind this product & the errors associated with it and most of all the safety issues with this equipment, which all seem to be happening a lot, by the online reviews I've read and conversations I've had with company employees.
I can't speak for other customers but my experiences with my first new vehicle of my life is literally the worst experience my life and like I mentioned above the reviews of this company say it all.
All of the above information is my personal opinion of my experiences only and do not reflect the personal experiences or opinions of other customers or the general public even if they match.
I could really kick myself for not doing better research (which wasn't really available to do at the time because the company was relatively new) on trailer companies and wasting donated money on this kind of junk. I always thought American stuff was built the best but I unfortunately I was wrong!
The whole thing is just sad!!! Ken
Imagination Station Kids On Track Model Railroad And Train Safety Program
Imagination Station Child Safety
Imagination Station Kids Music Program
E. Helena, MT
Reason of review: Poorly built continual issues for all 3 years of ownership with less than 300 miles .
Monetary Loss: $150000.
Preferred solution: Want $10000.00 & Keep Current Unit Or Build A New Trailer With Thickest Metal & Best Quality Roof & All Current Features & Cosmetic Look/HIGH Vis. Same Places LED Lights/Non Leaching Tires/Make Sure Design/ Build Monitored Close For Errors/Pay Transport .
I didn't like:
Customer service, Warranty, Reliability, Company problem solving, Product quality and safety.