Mike's Area51 Project - Trailer Rebuild:
1997 5x9' Flat Deck Trailer
Custom Steel Chassis 2x5x3/16" C-channel
3/4" Pour Form Plywood Deck
3000lb Torsion Spring Axel
205-70-14 Goodyear Marathon Trailer Tires
Galvanized Snow Shield by Jenkins & Puddicomb
LED Marker & Tail lights
Bearing Buddy Grease Fittings
The trailer that I use to tow my sled, bike, and everything else was built for us by a family friend back in 1996-1997. As you can see in the specs above, it was made from heavy steel, and I did a decent job maintaining it over the years. Unfortunately I didn't put much time into the underside of the trailer, and this finally caught up with me this year. The steel of the main frame of the the trailer, although heavily rusted inside was still quite strong. The cross ribs that support the deck were made from much slighter steel (to save weight) and were now completely deteriorated.
I started this project by removing the old deck, which was made from 3/4" Pour Form Plywood. The deck was originally bolted in place using 2" galvanized carriage bolts, and I was surprised to see that they were still in great shape. I used my electric impact gun with a swivel adaptor to remove the nuts which came off with ease. Then I had to pry the deck off as it was still very strong, even after 15 years of Newfoundland weather and winter highway trips.
Once the deck was off I kicked out the rusted cross braces, trimmed up what was left with the grinder, and swept them up with a broom.
The next part of the project involved many many evenings spent scaling off the heavy rust from the frame with a hammer and chisel, and cleaning the surfaces with a grinding wheel.
Another evening Maffer and I cut and fitted the new cross braces and prepared them for welding. We notched the ends so they would sit flush on top and be welded inside the main frame of the trailer. I used 3x3-3/16" Angle Iron for the new braces, as it was free and in stock.
Once the new braces were fitted, I towed the trailer and had Greg & Mark Squires do the welding for me. I just didn't have to time to fool with it my self in the rain in the driveway!
I also installed a smaller piece of C-channel with a nut welded to it which I use for my front snowmobile tie down.
With the welding complete I finished cleaning the rust form the frame, gave the entire trailer a grinding with a flap disc, and prepared the trailer for paint.
On Greg's advise I decided to use POR15 paint, which is supposed to be the best metal coating on the market, especially for rusty steel. Its a great product, be sure to read the directions on the can, some of them are defiantly important!
I simply brushed the paint on the trailer in 2 coats, all the brush strokes leveled out as the paint dried for a nice finish.
While the paint dried, I checked over the wiring harness and found it to be perfectly clean, and free from corrosion and damage. We took a lot of time when we wired the trailer 15 years ago, and it defiantly paid off. Heavy jacketed trailer wire, a PVC wet locations splice box with T&B watertight connectors were used, and dielectric grease applied liberally in all light sockets and the trailer plug.
With the paint dry, I reinstalled the lighting harness using new clamps and stainless hardware. Next was the deck, I decided to use pour form again since the last deck held up so well. I could have reused it, but it wasn't pretty anymore.
I cut the board to the correct width and laid it in place on the trailer holding it with clamps . Once squared, I went under the trailer to mark out the old bolt holes so I wouldn't have so much steel to drill. Before removing the clamps, I measured and drilled the deck for mounting bolts in the new cross braces which marked the steel underneath. With the deck removed, all the holes in the plywood were drilled, as well as the new holes in the cross braces. I'm pleased to say that this process worked perfectly and was repeated with ease for the next 2 sections.
I used new 2" galvanized carriage bolts, buts, lock washers and red lock-tite to secure the deck. The front bolts also attached the snow shield and were installed last.
With the trailer complete, I made a couple quick brackets to support the snow shield, and lastly installed a silver pinstripe to jazz up the finished product. Hopefully with a little maintenance I can get another 10-15 years out of this trailer before I have to replace it!
2013 Update: Had the trailer serviced at Ashford Sales where they installed new wheel bearings and gave the trailer a full inspection which it passed with flying colors! I'm not real happy with the amount of rust showing through the POR-15 paint. The surface was prepared following the directions on the can, but I have a lot of surface rust after just one winter. I've since repainted the trailer with Tremclad rust paint. I replaced the tongue jack as the handle cracked off this past winter.
Copyright © 2011 Michael Smith