Was it made that way or did he cut the rails out himself to make it side loadable? A trailer dealer told me the rails are a structure of the trailer frame and that cutting into them will turn it into a limp noodle. Ive seen the factory built trailers with side gates, but never one of these. Id say if it was originaly like this then the engineers took it into consideration when designing it and beefed up the under frame to compensate for the missing rails. 1500 is a pretty good deal IMO. You could always have an expanded metal gate made and install hinges on it so that you wouldnt have to jack with the ramps everytime. Make it work like the one on the back.