1 2
wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L)
wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
8/6/22 2:51 p.m.

A while back, Robbie posted a trailer for sale. It was just what I've been waiting for-something akin to those Uhaul trailers I kept renting, and was approaching, if not having already surpassed the investment it would take to just buy my own. Here it is the day after I got back from Chicago with it.  The tire rack was an unexpected bonus.

This isn't going to be much of a build thread, so I just chucked it in All Things GRM.

Still, Robbie only charged me 1200 bucks, so it was bound to need some work. First off, I got it up off the ground and stripped all the old wiring, tail lights, and what-not. 

I'm having a problem with pictures, be right back.


Olemiss540 HalfDork
8/6/22 3:06 p.m.

Very well bought.....

Looks much nicer than my turd I stole for the same kind of money precovid.

What's the plans with it??

wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L)
wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
8/6/22 8:50 p.m.

In reply to Olemiss540 :

Mostly just functionality, but I'll do a rough cosmetic update to try and slow the rust. I've got to figure out why my tablet isn't letting me download pictures, then I'll get back to it...

wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L)
wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
8/7/22 11:43 a.m.

OK, I had to call a friend, but I believe I can proceed now.

I removed valve stems and did the  first couple of rounds of abrasives on those rusty wheels.

All the old wiring and lights were removed. 

I've got a box of new, mildly retro styled stuff to replace all that.

One of the first things I noticed was that the rear axle seemed to be bottomed out.

The hope, and expectation is that Disassembly, rust removal, and copious application of grease will have all this working as designed.

A flaw with how this thing was put together is the axles banged into the inner fenders at full compression. I removed them and cut a good swath off the bottom to handle that. I'll beat them reasonably flat and weld them back on.

There is definitely Illinois rust present. Much soaking in PB blaster has occurred, and I cut 3/8" or so off the U-bolts to give them a chance of coming off. Whatever, they are Dexter axles, so anything I need should be readily available.

EvanB GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/7/22 11:58 a.m.

One of the things I want to do on my trailer is make the left fender removable. Some kind of pin system to drop it on and hold down with jeep style hood latches. If you are going to be trailering any lower cars this may be a good time to do something like that.

wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L)
wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
8/13/22 7:45 p.m.

I have accepted your words as truth, Evan. First there was denial, then justification, and finally acceptance.

There was another thread somewhere that proclaimed trailer welders to be among the worst, and I spent some time being offended by that (I was a structural and ornamental weldor before I was a trailer weldor), but eventually had to admit that it was true. It has been a week of growth for me.

Anyway, today, I pulled the axles,

including the leaf springs and all the hardware.

Stuff is soaking in EVAP-O-RUST, the axles got the wire wheel, and a coat of fake Ospho. 

The bottom of the trailer looks like this:

So I was finally able to justify buying one of these-a Surface Conditioner from the Hammer Store:

They are pretty hard to come by, and a lot of luck, combined with a fair drive a few towns over were how I got mine.

This is a before picture:

60 or 90 seconds later, that area looked like this:

That was with the 40 grit wheel, and 3 out of 5 on speed, I believe. Pretty decent, but the real story is how nice the tool was to use. Reasonably quiet, not too heavy, and quite smooth and low effort compared to say an angle grinder with a flap disc.

Finally, another reminder: cutting discs explode. Wear those safety glasses.

Maybe a flip up shield in addition to the glasses, like they insisted on in some of the pickier OSHA approved factories I've worked in.

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/13/22 9:40 p.m.

I'm glad you're giving this trailer all the love that I wanted to but could not!

I also can't believe how well those wheels came out!

L5wolvesf HalfDork
8/14/22 9:46 a.m.

While you have it apart it is a good time to put some identification marks in various places.

wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L)
wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
8/14/22 2:35 p.m.

In reply to L5wolvesf :

Good thought. I never seem to acknowledge the idea of trailer theft.

In response to Robbie: Yeah, they clean up okay, but revert back to rust almost immediately. Today:

There is a plan in the works for that.

Today, I got the axles and leaves painted.


wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L)
wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
9/4/22 4:11 p.m.

Lots of delays over here, rain and otherwise. Some progress, though. I used the Old Man's heat gun from 1964 or so to remove the reflective tape.

And went through a bit of trouble to get the fenders near enough straight and true to use. 

I got the loose rust off the actual frame and deck, but rains have brought a good bit of it back. oh well. The fenders can at least live inside until painting time gets here.

californiamilleghia UltraDork
9/4/22 8:21 p.m.

I put an Apple Airtag inside the trailer light so I had a way to track it , 

it sits over at another shop , so it is nice to click on the app and see it's OK.

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/4/22 10:34 p.m.

Oh man I have a similar heat gun. Maybe a decade younger though!

wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L)
wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
9/5/22 7:38 a.m.

In reply to Robbie (Forum Supporter) :

It could be a 70s model. Dad had it as far back as I can remember. When you first turn it on, the bearings squeal, but if you quickly cycle the power, it plain works. It brings me great joy. Maybe someday I'll see about replacing those bearings (bushings?). 

wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L)
wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
9/5/22 5:07 p.m.

Today I did something I should have done ages ago. I put a wire wheel on the bench grinder.

That got us here with the old, rusty hardware.

That, in turn, went here:

Majic rusty paint miracle from Tractor Supply.

I had to cut one bolt off to get the leaves off, and could only find shackle pins in a pack of four, so I chose the best ones to go back on. Hey, it was $30 for the four pack.

I'm sure some might disagree, but 8 u-bolts are soaking in evap-o-rust, along with the jack. We'll see where that gets us.


wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L)
wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
9/17/22 6:46 p.m.

Today I fought to break the beads on the tires so I could get to a "meh" level of refinishing the wheels.

And I got the trailer soaked top and bottom in muratic acid. Tomorrow I expect to prime.


wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L)
wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
9/18/22 5:06 p.m.

Today, primer.

The undercarriage.

And the front side of the wheels got a few coats of primer, then one can of high heat engine clear split between the four.

I had to give myself a haircut to get the clumps of primer out of it.

Good times.

wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L)
wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
9/25/22 12:15 p.m.

Despite having rain in the forecast, I went after the paint today. I can't explain the suckitude of oil based paint and a 4" roller laying on my back dribbling all over myself. Had to be done, and now it is,

The bottom:


And now I'm above challenge budget because I spent almost $700 on a brand new set of FREEDOM HAULERS.  I love it when Chinese crap uses a name to align itself with American Patriotism. They were the cheapest trailer tires the local shop had. Again, had to be done.


wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L)
wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
10/9/22 1:56 p.m.

The axles are back on, and all the linkages move freely, as designed.

I even sprung for new lock washers.

In what may or may not be a good move, I deleted the brakes.

My original plan was just to repack bearings, and leave them on, but unhooked, to be revisited later if need be. When I found a bent bearing cage last night, I ran out to TSC, and they had no bearings, only these new packed hubs, complete with lug nuts. 

So, that tore it. $300 later, I had the new hubs, and old school open ended lug nuts for the other axle. This is the High Life.

Now it's at least on the ground, so I can roll it over nearer the shop to do some welding.

Sits nice and low.

wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L)
wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
10/16/22 2:52 p.m.

I got a non-zero amount of work done on the trailer this weekend. First, there were tail light mounts.

And I got one fender mostly mounted, complete with "quick change" 3/4" bolts to pull it off as Evan suggested. I got that angle iron super cheap at the scrap yard because it looked like it had been in salt water for 100 years. I kinda like the look, and it is certainly appropriate for this rust bucket.

Then it started raining, so I packed it up. Now it is clearing up, so I may yet get back out there for some more.

Ok, I admit to fully doing some trailer grade welding on this thing.


wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L)
wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
10/16/22 6:06 p.m.

So the rain did, in fact abate, and I was able to get the other fender mounted. Stripped the paint and rust off both of them, too.

Here's what the center mount ended up looking like.

Meh, good enough for a trailer.


EvanB GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/16/22 6:07 p.m.

Looking good!

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
10/17/22 11:53 a.m.

Yeah, looking good.

And this totally counts as a build thread. If you want it moved to that forum, just let us know. 

nocones GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
10/17/22 2:20 p.m.

Trailer Grade Welding is my new favorite thing.  It's so accurate.  

My challenge car is growing trailer Grade welds as the challenge approaches...

ClemSparks UltimaDork
10/17/22 2:55 p.m.

Oh, very cool.  I also have a SpeedWagon trailer.  I believe mine to have been built in 1989 or 1991.  I see the similarities. 

Here's the build thread on mine (which will be headed to the Challenge later this week with GRMer SingleSlammer):  https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/build-projects-and-project-cars/1989-car-hauling-trailer-refit/59467/page1/


I like how your rebuild is going!  

I redid mine a few years back and I think it's time for me to start thinking about building/buying a newer one.  The rust and the flex have taken their toll on mine.

nocones GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
10/17/22 4:48 p.m.

For all my challenge brethren..

1 2
Our Preferred Partners