Friday, February 20, 2015

Trailer Project

Many of you that have been following my blog for awhile probably saw the post last spring of where I rebuilt my old boats transom.  With the hull in good shape I dedicated some time this spring to bringing the trailer up to standard.  This old trailer had been repaired a couple times over the years due to rust.   On the other repairs we simply welded in some steel over the affected area, threw some paint on it and continued to use it.   The last repair was probably 10 years ago so the rust problem had gotten progressively bad that one of the spring hangers had rusted loose late last fall.  Also it had gotten to the point that some of the older repairs needed repaired.   So instead of just adding more metal I decided to bite the bullet and do it right.
The first step was to get the boat off the trailer and disassemble it as much as possible.
With the boat on a wooden cradle I built I pulled the wheels, the springs & axle assembly, the bunks, the winch, rollers and all lights, reflector's and wiring off it...if it was bolted, riveted or screwed on I took it off.
With all the rust problems in the side rail areas the best and only fix I figured was to replace the frame rails.   After a trip to town to get materials and other necessary supplies I got started cutting it apart.
First I had to cut the steps and fenders off the old frame rails.   Using a acetylene cutting torch would have been lots quicker but the reassemble would have been almost impossible with my torch cutting abilities so I used a angle grinder with a cutting wheel to cut it apart. This left a nice clean narrow cut that would make it easy to fit the pieces back together when that time came.
Once the step/fender assembly was off I cut out 9 feet of the frame rail.....from just behind the front cross member back.
My trailer has 4 bunks, 2 long and 2 short, with solid mounts so before I cut the frame rail loose I tightly clamped a piece of angle in place of each long bunk. These 2 pieces of angle would hold everything in line and keep all the spacing of the cross members the same as when it was built.
After removing one side frame I cleaned up all the remaining pieces and welded the new rail in place.   The original step/fender assembly was welded back on along with a few new gussets and plates over the places where the new rail attached to the old parts. The gussets and plates were added just to make sure all the connections would be as strong as possible.  After all the welding and grinding was done on the first side I repeated the process on the other side
After all the welding was done on the top side I flipped the trailer over and did what welding and grinding that was needed on the bottom side.
Next came stripping all the old paint off in preparation for the new primer and paint.   Using an angle grinder with wire brushes and wire wheels I removed all the paint down to the metal.   The only areas that is left that still needs paint removed is underneath the fenders and on the axle assembly. 
After all the paint is removed,  I will apply a little body filler in a few places to fill in some rough spots. After the filler is sanded down smooth the trailer will be ready to be cleaned and primed.
Another 1/2 day or so of work and I'll be ready to start applying primer and paint........but with the current weather there is no need to be in any kind of's way to cold to try to paint anything without a heated paint room.    Our air temps this morning was a balmy .... minus 18 degrees Fahrenheit.    I do have a heated paint room but it's made to paint baits in ... not a boat trailer and is not near big enough to put this trailer in.
Here's a few photos that I took during the above process and I'll post more as I progress further with it.
NOTE These photos are in no particular order


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