Trailblazer purchase help?!
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
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    240

    Trailblazer purchase help?!

    I'm looking into buying a Trailblazer. I have 2 options I am looking at..

    An early 2000's 280NT in very good condition with 320 hours. Comes with HF box and TIG torches for 2400.

    A 2004 301G with 800 hours in ok condition that needs a new circuit board. Supposedly engine is fine. For 6-700. I think the circuit board repair part is 700 ish? So I may be into it for 2G when I'm done..

    Not quite sure I want to get into a machine that needs parts right away but also not sure if the 301G is a much better machine then the 280 so may be worth investing into?

    But I think the 280 with HF box may be a steal and its mobile tig ready. I dunno..

    Can I get some help? Lol I know ya'll like to spend others money!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    3,110

    Re: Trailblazer purchase help?!

    No way no how run on the 301G You'll throw money at boards only to toast them at the flip of a switch. Repeat repeat repeat.

    The 280 wasn't a very popular machine for Miller. Not sure why, but seemed like everyone either went 251nt or 301. There are a few folks on here with them and probably like them.
    "You can't out puke a buzzard"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
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    240

    Re: Trailblazer purchase help?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Pipeliner View Post
    No way no how run on the 301G You'll throw money at boards only to toast them at the flip of a switch. Repeat repeat repeat.

    The 280 wasn't a very popular machine for Miller. Not sure why, but seemed like everyone either went 251nt or 301. There are a few folks on here with them and probably like them.
    Thanks for that!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    VA
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    2,529

    Re: Trailblazer purchase help?!

    Save up another $500 or a thousand and you can be in a 302 -- that would be my advice. Heck, I picked up my 325 EFI a couple years back with 700 hrs on it for $3500. I personally own one each of these and would highly recommend either, with the nod going to the 325 if the prices were the same. Just my $0.02.
    Applied Fabrications, LLC

    Mobile Welding / Mechanical Repair in VA's Piedmont & Shenandoah Valley

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Posts
    240

    Re: Trailblazer purchase help?!

    Quote Originally Posted by tbone550 View Post
    Save up another $500 or a thousand and you can be in a 302 -- that would be my advice. Heck, I picked up my 325 EFI a couple years back with 700 hrs on it for $3500. I personally own one each of these and would highly recommend either, with the nod going to the 325 if the prices were the same. Just my $0.02.
    Well.. what are the main differences to justify the extra cost? The 280 is probably more then I'll ever need. It won't be used much, Atleast for now. So should last me quite a while with only 320 hours on the clock. And I have backup house power for when SHTF again. This 280 looks good and clean. Always been under the Miller cover. Is 2400 too much money? I think the HF box alone is like a g note new plus torches and leads... What am I missing here?? Lol

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    520

    Re: Trailblazer purchase help?!

    Have a 301G bought new in 2003, has 485 hrs. I'm a hobby/farm welder and use it for home back up power. They are sensitive to being jump started when battery is weak, it fries a board. Have replaced charging regulator and the ignition coils on the Robin engine, no boards yet. Paid 3900.00 and this was a comb package of 301g and a 12VS. You can probably get the board repaired from one of the board repair places for less. For what i use it for it works for me. Somebody had a post awhile back where they were able to repair there own board. That machine your looking at is 13 yrs old, like has been said for a little more you can get a newer machine.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    VA
    Posts
    2,529

    Re: Trailblazer purchase help?!

    To me, once you're spending thousands on an engine drive welder, you should go ahead and get a relatively modern one. The 325 is current production and the 302 was made up until '12 or '13. Parts are going to be around a long time yet for these two machines.

    Also, my experience has been that machines that've spent good chunks of their lives just sitting are sometimes in worse shape than ones that've seen continuous moderate use.

    Like you said, we like to spend your money.
    Applied Fabrications, LLC

    Mobile Welding / Mechanical Repair in VA's Piedmont & Shenandoah Valley

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Posts
    240

    Re: Trailblazer purchase help?!

    Guys, I appreciate the help very much! But a couple things here..
    First is , Not really much for sale on the used market in my area. Pickings are very very slim.

    2nd. If I needed this machine to make me money and work every day, we would not be having this discussion because I'd be loading a new one at my dealer. I tend to agree once you get to a certian point ,might as well spend a few more but I'm am trying to do this for around 2G. This is really nothing more then a toy to play with ,learn on, teach my boy the basics, and have a backup generator for my house.

    If I can squeak 5 years out of a unit, I'll be happy. I have 7 more years to go until I can retire from my full time job and then I'll probably start to do some work on the side and at that point, I'll buy a new machine if needed.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    raleigh nc
    Posts
    222

    Re: Trailblazer purchase help?!

    My advice is to always go with the running/ welding machine . On the 301, something else usually causes boards to burn and it might take a couple to figure out what it is , getting it going again might wind up costing near what a new machine cost . What ever happened to buying small running/welding engine drives for a grand? Ive got a 302 efi with 1500hrs on it which i give 5000 for it new in 2011 and the best i can tell from Craigslist and ebay my machine is worth about 7000 now . Lol

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Central Illinois
    Posts
    976

    Re: Trailblazer purchase help?!

    I had to have a board repaired on my 301 an it was only a few hundred dollars for the repair, new knobs and a load check. I would not plug in a board my self because if it blows for another reason the cost is on you. I took mine to a certified miller shop well know for welder repair. No trouble sense the repair.

    You could buy the 301 on the condition that it is repairable or work the purchase price down some more.
    I have never been around a 280 so I am no help there. You could keep shopping anf find a 302. I my self would stay away from the bobcats.

    Dan D.
    Manipulator Of Metal

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
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    240

    Re: Trailblazer purchase help?!

    Quote Originally Posted by DanD78 View Post
    I had to have a board repaired on my 301 an it was only a few hundred dollars for the repair, new knobs and a load check. I would not plug in a board my self because if it blows for another reason the cost is on you. I took mine to a certified miller shop well know for welder repair. No trouble sense the repair.

    You could buy the 301 on the condition that it is repairable or work the purchase price down some more.
    I have never been around a 280 so I am no help there. You could keep shopping anf find a 302. I my self would stay away from the bobcats.

    Dan D.
    I'm going to make a couple calls today. But I can probably get the 301 and have it running for under 1500..

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
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    1,428

    Re: Trailblazer purchase help?!

    If you have a use for the HF unit the 280 with the HF adapter is a very good deal.

  13. #13
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    Oct 2015
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    1,428

    Re: Trailblazer purchase help?!

    Quote Originally Posted by dosswelding View Post
    My advice is to always go with the running/ welding machine . On the 301, something else usually causes boards to burn and it might take a couple to figure out what it is , getting it going again might wind up costing near what a new machine cost . What ever happened to buying small running/welding engine drives for a grand? Ive got a 302 efi with 1500hrs on it which i give 5000 for it new in 2011 and the best i can tell from Craigslist and ebay my machine is worth about 7000 now . Lol
    I got a 2011 TB302 EFI with 16 hrs on it 3 years ago for $3400 . I wwould not part with it for $5000 . It has been a great welder so far .

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
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    240

    Re: Trailblazer purchase help?!

    Quote Originally Posted by thegary View Post
    If you have a use for the HF unit the 280 with the HF adapter is a very good deal.
    I really dont have a need for the HF box. Probably nice to have but ..

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
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    240

    Re: Trailblazer purchase help?!

    Ok.. the game changed a bit last night. I sold the wifie on buying a generator for the house. My budget went to 3-3500.

    Me: I want to buy a backup generator for the house
    Wifie: I knew you wanted to buy something. How much is it?
    Me: 3000-3500. They can be expensive!
    Wifie: Ok.. sounds like you already know what you want!
    Me: well I kind of do...
    Wifie: where will it go?
    Me: uhhhhh, it'll go in the back of my truck...
    Wfie: what??
    Me: yea, it'll just sit in the back of my truck...
    Wifie: well that's f&@$en retarded! How will that work??
    Me: Simple, i back into driveway, Plug the machine into my welder outlet in the garage ,disconnect that and done. Just like Sandy but on larger scale....
    Wifie: it'll power the whole house? Not like Sandy when it was just a few things at a time?
    Me: yea baby! The whole house.. can't run everything at same time of course but it'll be fine...
    Wifie: ok...


    Now what do I do?? Not much for sale in my area. I guess I just have to wait for a machine to pop up.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    raleigh nc
    Posts
    222

    Re: Trailblazer purchase help?!

    Why trailblazer? Do you need the remote ? 3500 gets you a brand spanking new bobcat .

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
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    240

    Re: Trailblazer purchase help?!

    Quote Originally Posted by dosswelding View Post
    Why trailblazer? Do you need the remote ? 3500 gets you a brand spanking new bobcat .
    These are things I need to figure out. The only options I think I would want is to run a spool gun for aluminum if I wanted down the road. I forget what the Bobcat is capable of doing.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Dorset, UK
    Posts
    179

    Re: Trailblazer purchase help?!

    Bobcat is a excellent generator which happens to weld well, the trailblazer is the other way round - or so I'm led to believe. The bobcat will do AC CC which the trailblazer won't do. The bobcat is also a switched inductor design machine, not a chopper like the trailblazer, it's simpler and more reliable.
    Lincoln Weldanpower 250 d10 Pro
    200 amp Hayter 'mighty midget'
    DIY suitcase feeder/spool gun controller
    Miller HF-251
    Hitachi 300-gp2 AC/DC tig
    Hypertherm PMX30 Air
    Harrison 600 universal mill
    Boxford 500 VSL lathe
    12kw Rotary phase converter

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    8,299

    Re: Trailblazer purchase help?!

    I have a 302 and love it. I used it a few times for emergency power and it was a real asset. It ran my basically my whole house, furnace, well , light, and my barn . It was -10 temperature so house starts to cool down quick. The 302 is GREAT ! As a reminder it also burns about a gallon a hour IF you run it continuously for full power.

    IF you do have frequent power outages a dedicated generator will consume less fuel. Better yet, get a '' NATURAL GAS '' one if you have gas , even better yet.
    I used the generator line to easy the pain of buying mine too. The couple of times it was needed added the value to it.

    We had Bobcats and 302's at work. A nice feature is when welding with the 302 and someone uses the 110 power for pipe machine it does not affect the arc at all. There is a noticeable difference in the Bobcat.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Posts
    240

    Re: Trailblazer purchase help?!

    Yea, I definitely want a Trailblazer for its abilities. We don't lose power often. I'm on the coast and lost power for 10 days after Hurricane Sandy with a newborn in the house. Luckily I was able to go to my job and get my 3500 watt Honda to bail me out and keep the fridges cool and heat in the house. It was rough and started getting hairy after day 5. Wifie knew just how precious that 3500 was. After that, we said were going to get something but just haven't yet. So it was kind of an easy sale..lol

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
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    1,428

    Re: Trailblazer purchase help?!

    Quote Originally Posted by dosswelding View Post
    Why trailblazer? Do you need the remote ? 3500 gets you a brand spanking new bobcat .
    They are not even in the same ball park. Generator wise or welder wise.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
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    240

    Re: Trailblazer purchase help?!

    2008 302 with 80 hours,like new condition. Can I get an estimate on value?

    I just priced out a new 325 from my local dealer at 4700 for giggles.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
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    240

    Re: Trailblazer purchase help?!

    And that 280 is still an option if its a really good deal. It's low hours. Just not much for sale in the used market so that tells ya everyone that has them, must hoard them..lol

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Illinois
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    8,299

    Re: Trailblazer purchase help?!

    that is a great price at $4700.00 . My local guy is at $5,040.00 https://www.weldersupply.com/P/778/M...lblazer325Kohl

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Posts
    240

    Re: Trailblazer purchase help?!

    I could also consider a Red Ranger.....

    I suppose I could plug in my Fabricator 211i for other options on anything I get.

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