Trailer restoration

A bit of a change of pace for me, with a restoration job of an old trailer. I picked up this trailer pretty cheap second hand, with the idea it might be a bit of fun to restore. Being timber sided rather than all metal, it felt like a job that I could do.

The trailer was made in 1973, and when I got hold of it, it was definitely showing it’s age. The original sheet steel floor was well rusted out and the timber side rotted and broken if several places.

The steel floor had to go, fortunately being so badly rusted what was left was easy enough to bash and lever off the angle iron frame.

Over decades of water damage, even the angle iron that holds the floor was very badly rusted. I scraped off what I could, including just snapping off old rusted screws. Then some rust converter on the rest to stabilise it. This actually seemed to work pretty well.

After a couple of coats of some left over fence paint, the framework was starting to look less like a piece of junk.

As a replacement floor, I went for “formply”; decently strong and water resistant, it’s specifically designed to be used and reused against wet concrete so hopeful it will last many years. Marine ply would perhaps be the better choice but also the more expensive one, plus I like the smooth finish of the form ply from a practicality point of view as it’ll be easier to clean. Hardwood floor boards also would have been really nice, but even second hand they are about twice the cost of the form ply.

To replace the sides I went for another very cheap option, treated pine rough sawn fence pailings. 

With all the wood installed, it looked so good I decided to skip my planned painting of it, at least for now. Being treated pine it should weather quite well and really I don’t intend this trailer to last for ever. So all up I spent maybe $250 (AUD) including the purchased price and materials. That’s about a third of the cost of a decent quality new trailer. Despite the many hours of work that went into this, it was a fun project and gave me a good sense of satisfaction bringing something this old back into serviceable condition.  


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