Archive for the 'Restoring a boat trailer' Category

09
Apr
17

Trailers for Sale or Rent: Reviving a well worn original back to road worthy.

Of course everyone knows the title of this post to be a part of the lyrics from Roger Miller’s “King of the Road”.  If you don’t know this song…you should.  It’s great when driving on vacation to just drive along and belt it out when it comes on the radio.

I digress..

When we last left the 1958 Lyman project, we had the hull coated in primer.  The project has moved along despite a looming, and thankfully now passed surgery.  So we needed to perform some surgery of our own on this old trailer.

The trailer is the same one the original owner purchased for this boat in 1958.  It was made by Gator Trailer and is the tubular steel, tilt-type found so commonly under such a craft.  There really wasn’t anything wrong with the trailer…except the springs had lost their springiness.  The springs also were in the 30 to 31 inch range from eye-to-eye…which are not common.  So they needed to be replaced.  To do that I turned to good friends Scott Parish and of course Sonny Clark.

Scott is a bit of an interesting guy.  He works for an auto parts manufacturer and he is very meticulous in his approach to such matters.  He does it everyday at work building rear axles and such.  Sonny is a retired machinist…so problem solving is his thing!  They are both brilliant when it comes to such issues as this trailer.  So we convened on a Saturday morning to do the work.

I was still post-op and hurting badly so I contributed NOTHING to this project.  In fact we arrived around 10am and by that time the guys had been at work and had the trailer pretty well torn down.

Now decisions have to be made.  There were two goals to be accomplished.  #1. Replace the springs.  #2. Extend the trailer tongue a couple of feet. (Scott had remembered a few other issues on my “wish list”…and he addressed those too!!)

So the issues with the springs is…the old spring hangers were not where we needed them to be to accommodate the new 27 inch off-the-shelf-springs.  We went to off-the-shelf so if there was a failure, they would be readily available on the road while traveling.

So the job is…either mount new spring hangers or Which are welded in place.  So either way there is a lot of work.  But after discussion it was decided to mount new hangers and abandon the old spring hardware entirely.

So here’s how Scott and Sonny did it with assist from Steve Shaltry and a tad from me.

Measure twice…cut once!!  We measured more than twice, and had long discussions about how to place the axle correctly to prevent the trailing from “crabbing” down the road which would wear bearings and tires out quickly.  (We actually found the original spring hangers to be off by a 1/2 inch or more!!)  So Scott marked the spot…ground paint away to bare steel…and we were ready to weld new hangers to the trailer tubing.

Scott is self-taught as a welder!  He does a great job though.  We were fortunate the original front spring hangers were about 3/8 of an inch from where we wanted the new spring hangers.  So with the help of a shim placed between the old and new hangers, Scott welded the new hanger in place.  Then he removed the old spring hanger and ground down the remains smooth.

The old tube had a spot that got our attention where it appears to have been welded…poorly…at some time previously.  Scott built this area back up, then chamfered the edges of the tubes to get a good solid bead between the old and new tubing.  He also inserted another tube inside the new tubes to add some strength at the joint.

One of the problems with a tubular trailer is a bow-stop and tongue jack are not easily mounted without concerns of them “swiveling” around the round tube.  In fact most trailers of this era didn’t have tongue jacks.  (That is why there was rot in the bow of this boat.  All the water would run to the lowest point when the trailer was at rest…in this case…sitting down on the trailer tongue.)

So Scott knew I wanted my tongue jack to be more secure and used the correct sized muffler clamps to make a pad for the jack to mount to. Smart!!

So after all that…8 to 10 hrs of work…Sonny hauled the trailer to a local man who will sandblast, prep, prime, and paint the trailer in fresh yellow paint. So she should be better than new when finished.  We’ll need to rewire the lights, re-carpet the bunks, and make some fine adjustments to accommodate the boat.  But it will make for a nice finished restoration package when done.

Next up…and update on the boat herself and how we painted and began some varnish work. So long for now!