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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Over the extended labor day weekend I ended up working my rear off on yet another trailer project.
This spring I had re-decked and fixed an old 16’ car trailer with new sides and all.



Even though I also had a 4.5’x8’ trailer, I found that I used the big one for everything because it was parked outside and easy to get to.



It just did not make sense to me to haul a 2,000 lbs trailer to get 400 lbs of fertilizer or a 250 lbs paddle boat.

So I ended up selling both the 4.5x8’ trailer and the 16’ trailer and replaced them with a medium sized 6.5’ x 12’ trailer with a 3,500 lbs axle.
As usual I looked for one that was structurally sound but needed deck and lighting work as I know how to do these repairs. I found this great trailer that is very heavy duty for it size with rotted out deck and smashed up lights. It did however have brand new tires.

Here are a few shots of it in the garage after I took of the plywood patches.



Rear of trailer



Side with the gate detached sitting next to the trailer





I ended up stripping it completely down and took off the wiring and lights. I lightly sanded any rusty spots, sprayed with rust converter and topped up with an industrial enamel paint. That may not be the right paint for a trailer, but I have had good success with it for the tractors so I figured I would give it a try.

I then added fresh pressure treated wood for the deck, new tail lights and also added the DOT required marker lights on the front and fenders. Finally I put on the 3 light marker (over 80” wide trailer), reflective tape and some wood sides to keep in mulch and gravel or whatever I need to pick up.
That is of cause when I don't use it to pick up tractors :thThumbsU

It was kind of interesting to put in the center boards of the deck as I did not want to cut the steel lips holding down the wood. So for the first time I tried out the method of putting one end of the board into the lip and strap the other end down to the trailer. I then inserted an automotive jack in the center under the board and pushed it up so it bowed. It is kind of scary to see a 2x6 bow up 2 feet. But it works great and when you push the other end into the steel channel the wood is in there good when you remove the jack.
Sorry that I did not get any pictures of it – I was so fascinated that I forgot.

Here are a bunch of pictures of the finished product. Since this is MTF I pulled it out with the tractor.

Warning – picture overload



I am in about ½ of the cost of a new one and this one is just as good.



It has a nice big rear gate



Notice the 3 light bar I had to mount under the channel so it would not get in the way of the gate.



Gate down



Added pin to hold gate and chain to avoid loosing the pin.



I wanted to make the wood sides removable without tools so I did not bolt it to the angle like most trailers. Instead I used the stake pockets and then put in a pin with hairclip to hold the boards in.



Hope you enjoyed – I had a good time building this and I only smashed one finger during the process. :Stop:
(5 lbs stubby sledge versus left index – sledge won big time).
 

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very nice, that is basically my exact trailer I just finished fixing up. I considered adding those sides, but it cancels all the tie down spots, did you have any remedy for that, or just decide to remove the sides if thats whats needed?

edit: I didn't see a spare though, thats the first thing I made sure to ad to mine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
very nice, that is basically my exact trailer I just finished fixing up. I considered adding those sides, but it cancels all the tie down spots, did you have any remedy for that, or just decide to remove the sides if thats whats needed?

edit: I didn't see a spare though, thats the first thing I made sure to ad to mine.
For the tie down, yes that is why I made the side removable.
However what I did was to have the 2x4 only go 1/2 into the stake pocket. That way I can still catch a hook into the bottom of the pocket and use it to strap things down with.
I will also install a D-ring in each corner of the deck for tie down. They only had 3 at the store so I did not do that yet.

I agree on the spare - I was ordering it online while you were replying :trink39:

That is the only thing I did not like about this trailer - it is using the 5 on 5.5" bolt pattern which is a bit weird when almost all others are 5 on 4.5".
I am not quite sure where or how to mount it on the trailer though. What did you do for that ?
 

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For the tie down, yes that is why I made the side removable.
However what I did was to have the 2x4 only go 1/2 into the stake pocket. That way I can still catch a hook into the bottom of the pocket and use it to strap things down with.
I will also install a D-ring in each corner of the deck for tie down. They only had 3 at the store so I did not do that yet.

I agree on the spare - I was ordering it online while you were replying :trink39:

That is the only thing I did not like about this trailer - it is using the 5 on 5.5" bolt pattern which is a bit weird when almost all others are 5 on 4.5".
I am not quite sure where or how to mount it on the trailer though. What did you do for that ?
you can see my spare mount in my thread on this page. I lucked out though, mine is 5x4.5, and I'm a jeep nut. I have tons of jeep parts laying around, including a spare tire carrier for the back of a wrangler. the stock carrier that bolts to the back of a wrangler, fit perfectly on my trailer.

I wonder if older chevy blazers are your bolt pattern, go to the pick n pull and take one off the back of a s1o blazer is my first thought. they might be 5x5 though. Otherwise, they sell trailer spare tire carriers that bolt to the sides, they are just kinda wimpy in my experience.
 

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I Love All Color Tractors
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Your trailer looks really nice. Very nice work.

For the spare, how about a flat mount down in the tongue?
 

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Very nice!:thThumbsU I think I will use your ideas for sides on mine. Thanks for sharing. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Your trailer looks really nice. Very nice work.

For the spare, how about a flat mount down in the tongue?
Thanks for the compliments.
I am not sure I understand what you mean with a flat mount ?
The tongue on this trailer is pretty short and the tube re-inforcement for the rail is kind of in the way. I guess I will play around with it when I get the spare tire.

Best I could figure out is that the bolt pattern is used on some older Dodge RAMs and that is about it.
 

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I think the S10s, small blazers, camaros, etc used a 5x4 3/4. Wranglers from 87-06 , cherokees,comanches, ford ranger, ford explorer used the 5x4.5...older cjs and big ford 1/2 tons used 5x5.5 Even the little suzuki samurais used the 5x5.5 Hope this helps
 

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Great work with very nice results! Thanks for the heads up in regards to lighting requirements as I now know I need to add some clearance lights to mine.:fing32:
 

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very nice job trailer looks like its brand new
 

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It was kind of interesting to put in the center boards of the deck as I did not want to cut the steel lips holding down the wood. So for the first time I tried out the method of putting one end of the board into the lip and strap the other end down to the trailer. I then inserted an automotive jack in the center under the board and pushed it up so it bowed. It is kind of scary to see a 2x6 bow up 2 feet. But it works great and when you push the other end into the steel channel the wood is in there good when you remove the jack.
Sorry that I did not get any pictures of it – I was so fascinated that I forgot.
So, if I understand, you didn't use any mechanical fasteners for your deck? They just fit into the front & rear channels and the length of the board keeps them from coming out?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
So, if I understand, you didn't use any mechanical fasteners for your deck? They just fit into the front & rear channels and the length of the board keeps them from coming out?
That is correct - no fasteners just the angle at front and back holding down the boards. From the factory it had fasteners in 2 areas into the angle iron.
I will probably do some fasteners later but I found from the other trailer that the fresh pressure treated wood shrinks quite a bit after 6 months or so as it dries out. This way I can push the boards back together to make a nice tight fit. I did have to rip down the center 2x6 as all the 2x6 were actually closer to 5.75" than the nominal 5.5" wide, so I may replace that one with a full size once it dries. I finally got the front jack straightened out also with light convincing from a large sledge hammer.:thanku: and gave the wheel rims a coat of paint. So now it really does look like brand new.

I just installed 4 D-rings through the wood - one in each corner. I used a large washer and a fender washer to spread out the load on the wood. I tested it out by loading the Legacy with loader and ballast box - probably around 1,600 lbs. The trailer was driving great and it looks sharp with the new lights on. I do miss the brakes a bit from the dual axle though, but this one is so much easier to handle.

For holding down the board I recommend the specific trailer screws. They are self drilling coated screws made specially for this purpose. I first used them at work to put wood deck on a 100'x10' steel stand to hold equipment and was pretty impressed. You just screw them straight through the wood into the angle iron - no need to pre-drill. The only place I have found them is at Fastenal and they are fairly pricey but worth it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Great work with very nice results! Thanks for the heads up in regards to lighting requirements as I now know I need to add some clearance lights to mine.:fing32:
I am kind of surprised how many trailers are actually not meeting the requirements right out of the box new. There was a recall several years ago when a company got caught in it.

The rules for small trailers are fairly simple as you just need the standard tail lights with the integrated red side marker and reflector for the rear and then an amber front marker light at the front (with integrated reflector).

But if the trailer is over 80" (including wheels) you need to add a 3 light bar at the rear (identification marker that it is a trailer over 80" wide), front facing amber marker as far out to the sides as possible and rear facing red marker as far out as possible. In my case I did not mount a red marker as the tail lights are already mounted at the extreme width of the trailer and will count as markers.

Hope this helps.
 

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My trailer was either lacking from the factory as I bought it new or the laws have changed since purchase.I found this at the DOT website and am posting it for anyone else who wants to see if they are within the law in regards to the lighting on their trailers,I'm guessing many here will be as surprised as I was.I've never been pulled over for lighting but then again don't want to be either.:fing32:


http://www.nhtsa.gov/cars/rules/standards/conspicuity/trlrpstr.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
My trailer was either lacking from the factory as I bought it new or the laws have changed since purchase.I found this at the DOT website and am posting it for anyone else who wants to see if they are within the law in regards to the lighting on their trailers,I'm guessing many here will be as surprised as I was.I've never been pulled over for lighting but then again don't want to be either.:fing32:


http://www.nhtsa.gov/cars/rules/standards/conspicuity/trlrpstr.html
I just double checked on that website. It is similar to what I found except it says that the rear red clearance marker cannot be combined with the tail light.
But then on the 5th illustration (the flat trailer) it shows tail light and rear clearance marker in the same position as one unit (1 and 6). So I guess even NHTSA is a little confused on how to approach it when there are no easy mounting spots. I also doubt that there will be any issues with getting stopped as long as you have made a good attempt and more importantly have your load strapped down good.

Update - Got it figured out. In order to meet all the letters of the law I should have used the over 80" tail lights. They have a "bump out" that works as clearance light right next to the tail light. In my case it doesn't really make sense as they would stick out of further than the tires and would be the first thing to get ripped off. I may just for the extra $ 6.00 mount two red rear facing clearance lights on the fenders similar to the amber front ones.
 

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Nice, I need to put a new deck on my utility trailer this winter, I think I'll try your method. Thanks for the post.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Updated with attempt at pictures of all the lights functioning.
This should follow the rules of the DOT to a T.

I did not have my good camera so it is was hit and miss to try and take pictures in the dark, but here are a few attempts.

As you can see I added the red rear clearance lights on the fenders. Can't really see them from straight back, but they are there and were only $ 6.00 for the pair.



Rear of trailer. The flash makes the reflectors light up.
Note the 3 light bar in the center for the over 80" marking.



Side view. Again the flash makes the reflectors light up.



Side view without flash. The long exposure exaggerates the lights somewhat, but it gives an idea about how it looks.


For those wondering how I did the light without a car there, I rigged up a simple 12V plug with the car end of the wiring that came with the kit and plugged it into a 12V compressor/power pack. :trink39:
 
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