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  1. #1
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    Default Major repair job - feedback appreciated!

    Hi all,

    After having my trusty old 6x4 box trailer stolen a while ago, I was shocked to see how much these are going for second hand. However I managed to pick up an old one with a fair bit of rust for $10, so have set about making it a self-education project. I want to do this as cost-effectively as possible, and my main concern is not having a trailer load of soil collapse on the freeway at 100km/hr.

    So, one TAFE "intro to arc welding" course and $40 ebay arc welder later, the project status is thus:

    1. cut out the rusted floor and the one badly rusted cross-support. Ground out most of the rust and blasted everything with phosphoric acid (to buy me some time, as this thing thing will be an hour here-and-there over many weeks project). The bottom and lower sides of the sheet steel was worst affected. The angle iron structural components seem pretty good.

    2ns9tno.jpg ic1l6x.jpg 157je3k.jpg j5a6nq.jpg

    The cross piece that I've cut out I intend to replace with a piece of 40x40x5mm angle iron. For the floor, I'm leaning towards marine/structural ply, and some lengths of pressure treated pine bolted around the bottom sides of the inside to cover the rust holes in the sheet steel.
    The construction seems a bit odd? There is an angle-iron frame for the drawbar, front, and the two diagonal pieces go under the floor, but they don't quite join up with the lengths of angle iron over the leaf springs. Is this for flexibility, or should I connect them together with some 20cm or so lengths of angle?

    Any advice or warnings appreciated! Unless I get a strong "don't proceed with this project!" I will post pics as I go.

    Thanks!

    Mike
    Last edited by EX's Timber; 26th Apr 2010 at 08:57 AM. Reason: Upload images as attachment as originals too large

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  3. #2
    Join Date
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    Welcome aboard serapax.

    And you're right about it being a major repair job. Especially for a first go.

    For me, just about anything's fixable, but it depends on your resources, your budget, and your skill level.

    My concern is that you mentioned that you'd be carrying a load of soil. I wouldn't even suggest that if that trailer were new! So just fixing it up to do the same is a little scary. However, the odd trip to the tip with garden rubbish, or to collect a recently purchased item, then continue down the track you're currently on. But if you intend to carry loads in excess of 500Kg, then my recommendation for that trailer would be to use it as a donor for its major organs; axle, springs,etc., and start again with some new RHS steel and fabricate a new chassis. New, pre-fabricated sides and tailgates aren't that expensive... give these guys a go; Trailer sides, Tailgates, Trailer bodies, Tray sides, Trailer fixtures , Melbourne, Australia .

    To answer your question about the drawbar, judging by the screw down coupling, that trailer would have to be well in excess of 30 years old, and that was the way they did it back then. For mass production manufacturers, if you can save 40cm of steel in each trailer, you'll eventually have enough to build another trailer.


    Good luck.
    Too many projects, so little time, even less money!
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  4. #3
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    Yes, a "load of soil" was an exaggeration. Like you said, the odd load of rubbish, the occasional piece of furniture/whitegood, and maybe a max load of 1/3 meter of sand.

    Thanks for the feedback

  5. #4
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    If it was mine I would have donated it to my father to cart hay out on his block. When it fell in half it would go into the next scrapyard round up for some beer money Beats rusting out a good trailer with hay sitting in it.

    Sounds harsh but I wouldnt wanna weld to that angle that attaches to the spring hangers.

    Only my opinion.
    www.lockwoodcanvas.com.au

    I will never be the person who has everything, not when someone keeps inventing so much cool new stuff to buy.

    From an early age my father taught me to wear welding gloves . "Its not to protect your hands son, its to put out the fire when u set yourself alight".

  6. #5
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    The cross-pieces are welded to the brackets that holds the ends of the leaf spring, which are in-turn welded to the angle in the pic. This bracket is a lot thicker (5mm) than the angle, so I hope it is more forgiving of my welding skills. The plan was to cut the 40x40x5mm angle to size, and butt-weld it on each sides bracket.

    Cheers,

    Mike

  7. #6
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    I have done a resto like this and it takes days of work. IMHO salvage the useful parts and the registration and rebuild from new steel. The new steel will Weld better than the old and you wont have to muck around fixing holes.

    -measure up you material requirements
    -hire a metal cuting drop saw for a day
    -cut all your parts.
    -Weld up
    -Clean up with grinder and wire brush
    -Take the whole trailer down to the local electroplater and have the whole thing hot dipped ( saves priming and painting)
    -Then assemble ie springs axles woodwork

    I would recommend Angle iron 65 x 65 5mm thick and 40x40x3mm box section
    I would also make sure that you are confident you have the welding skills

    Andrew
    "All that is necessary for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing"
    (Edmund Burke 1729-1797)

  8. #7
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    Its a big job... but if you are keen you can save it....it'll be a bit of a buger though.

    I'd steer well clear of the timber floor....steel will be much easier and stay in one piece better long term.

    A steel floor will also give you a better posibility of structrual integrity.

    If you cut the gammy bits off the sides and get an angle folded up to replace it..you'll pick up some strength....you'll need a couple of crosspieces to get any strength out of the floor... I'd go at least 3.

    I've see quite a number of trailers of almost identical construction......angle iron at one time was very much cheaper than RHS..so lots were built out of it.

    I hope you have a good grinder........if you havn't already.. become well aquainted with flap disks......I'm finding I use flap disks for a lot of things I would have used a grinding wheel for in the past.

    A 40 gritt flap disk is the best thing I have found for removing rust and paint... but they work well for cleaning up welds and dressing the ends of stock too.

    If you must go ahead... grind till you have bright metal before you try to weld anything.

    cheers
    Any thing with sharp teeth eats meat.
    Most powertools have sharp teeth.
    People are made of meat.
    Abrasives can be just as dangerous as a blade.....and 10 times more painfull.

  9. #8
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    Hey, thanks for all the feedback!

    Unfortunately the general message seems to be that it's a much bigger job than it looks. And here I was hoping to just do a quick and dirty patch-up to get something capable of short and fairly light trips. But there's no way I want to risk injuring anyone on the road.....

    So how would I go about moving this beast? ebay?
    Or would it be worth getting a quote on a cheap-as-possible but safe repair?

    Cheers,

    Mike

  10. #9
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    What do you want for it?

    P.M. me.

    Yonnee.
    Too many projects, so little time, even less money!
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  11. #10
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    Hell... you paid $10 for it right???

    one wheel is worth that if its is straight.

    If some of the vital parts are in good nic... its still a bargin.

    Wheels.... yeh replace the tyres.
    axle and hubs
    springs
    maybe the coupling....perhaps not.

    I recon there is at least $100 worth of usefull parts there if they are in good nic..and it would cost you arround $200 to buy those parts new

    Then you might be able to salvage some of the steelwork..the gards...If they can be reused thats anothe $60 saved

    see... yonnee can see the value.

    cheers
    Any thing with sharp teeth eats meat.
    Most powertools have sharp teeth.
    People are made of meat.
    Abrasives can be just as dangerous as a blade.....and 10 times more painfull.

  12. #11
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    Hey Serapax

    You've got yoursefl an absolute bargain for $10 if only for the wheels/axle/springs you can salvage from it . . . even more so if the sides and muguards scrub up OK after you take a few flap discs to them and cut a few inches off the bottom (of the sides/ends) all the way around. Seeing you have invested money in a welding course and a welder, it would be a shame if you got talked out of your 'self education' project. I'm doing a self education trailer too and can highly recommend it. In hindsight though, I'd start from scratch and make a new trailer . . . but still using the salvaged axle/spring/wheels.

    Anyway, (IMHO), if you're taking this project on to get the cheapest as possible trailer, go ahead and replace the odd chassis component with SHS but if the budget allows, I would suggest making a whole new chassis to have a good solid base to build on. Of course, after taking into account a lot of variables, only you can answer whether that is worth doing or not.

    Good luck with the project.
    Cheers

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