Horse Trailer Repair, Rebuild,
Back to New Again
This is a two horse hauling trailer with a tack room about to be rebuilt fully. A long time ago, we used to do a lot of work at this location.
It has major rust issues, rotten wood floor and worn out paint.
Firs thing we do is wash it. It was filthy. It had fungus growing all over it from being stored for years under trees.
This customer bought the trailer at a incredible bargain. They considered buying a very young trailer but they are quite expensive.
They hauled it to me for inspection before they bought it. They wanted to know what would it cost to rebuild it like new. After my full inspection, I informed them of the rebuild cost.
They were pleased to learn we could fully rebuild at about $2,500 LESS than it would cost them to buy a young trailer in almost new shape.
They saved a lot of money buying a bargain trailer and rebuilding it to new shape.
Just a good washing made it look so much better.
The sides were easy, but we still have to reach up onto the roof and wash it to.
The wooden floors were rotten and soon a horses leg would go through it. So time for a new floor. The first floor was not made with pressure treated wood so it didn’t last.
All the metal rails had the extensive rust sanded off already. There’s no point in just painting over rust because it would just come back.
There’s many ways to deal with rust. If its easy to get to as in this case, sanding it off is economical.
You can see the bottom frame is rusted through. It will need patches welded over those holes to keep the future water out of the metal frame tubes.
And the new metal patches welded on to this horse trailer frame, will add much new strength to the frame. Although strength wise, this frame was in pretty good condition to start with.
But hey, if our process of keeping water out will add more strength, then lets do it.
The bolts holding down the old wood have rusted into their nuts and will not come out. We will have to cut the whole floor up in pieces to get it out. This is very common. More normal than not.
And we cant rust proof the lower frame properly until we can get to ALL of it. Now we can.
Yah it needed some work, but fixing it is frequently cheaper than buying new. It really depends on what your starting with.
Sometimes new is less expensive than repairing junk with no potential.
The super thick rust we sand away to see if the steel underneath it is still good or not. That tells us how we are going to repair it.
The tack room had much floor rot also.
Its about a 100 degrees out and there’s no breeze in the horse trailer being rebuilt. So we manufacture our own wind to.
The roof was filthier than the sides as they caught the brunt of the tree drippings that fed the fungus, mold and mildew stains.
Below? See that seem? The factory caulk has failed and the roof is leaking allowing rain to get in and help the floor rot.
It took a mix of scrubbing and high pressure power washing to get the roof clean for its new paint job.
Poor dude. It was a 100 degrees with about 98 percent humidity.
You can see the missing sealant between the roof panel seams. We will definitely fix that before it gets its new paint job.
I don’t know if I will do any more full paint jobs. Its so labor intensive to do it right since we don’t cut corners.
We don’t want to crack the fiberglass roof panels so we don’t stand on them directly. Our planks takes the load off the panels and spreads it out across the framework instead.
Bringing the welder in to weld patches on the frame of this horse trailer rebuild.
Before we weld a patch on, we don’t want to lock water inside the frame, so we use a torch to dry out the frame and then the patch goes on.
To keep water out of the walls, all edges and seams are freshly caulked/sealed on this horse trailer rebuild.
It took hours to pull the old failing caulk out of the seams. But if we didn’t, then the new wouldn’t be any good as putting on new over junk is a waste of time.
Same as we don’t paint over dirt.
That white stuff we are putting on the frame is a special rubber type compound. We put it on the worst areas so the steel no longer has access to the environment, oxygen or moisture.
Then we will paint over it for further protection and appearances sake.
This is only the first coat so some rust still bleeds through. But once it dries no rust will bleed through the second coat.
This rubber compound has a twenty year lifespan whereas paint only has a ten year effective life span.
The tack room got a new floor and every joint and seam is filled and covered with our rubber compound for extra protection. It also fill gaps for creating seamless surfaces.
The entire underside of the horse trailer frame is being coated with our rust stopping rubber compound. Then painted.
It goes on real thick, and then when dry, it gets a second coat. When completed, the steel cant rust because water cant get to it. Its much more durable than just paint.
We are not aiming to coat the wood, but just the rusty steel.
We put it on so thick, he spreads it with a putty knife, then smoothes ands spreads it with a brush to work it in every nook, corner and cranny gap.
Fresh new paint. So tedious and time consuming, but oh so beautiful.
Poor dude. No mercy for the wicked. Get to work, we must have quality.
That’s Ben. Say hi Ben. He’s my buddy.
You cant see it yet, but the whole interior roof is now painted white. You can tell by the over spray.
Now the bottom half of the interior is painted black.
We ran all new wiring. That’s our tester making sure all the wiring functions flawlessly before we put the new wooden floor down.
Once the floor is down, the wiring on the frame will not be so easy to get to again.
Below: You can see a little overspray at the floor wall edge. I have a girl that is so good at fine detail work, when she is done I cant find a single flaw anywhere.
Ben is great, but he is a brute, a train that cant be stopped. But Ben is not for the fine picky dainty details like Marion is. Marion is slow, but perfect. Her and Ben see things differently.
New rims/wheels cost around a $100 each plus remounting tires another $25. Do you buy new wheels for $125 or paint them for $50?
They will look new for another five years, and look good for ten. Then it will be time to paint again.
Hey, Marion came and went. Can you tell? You do know that’s the tack room, right?
Those are the inside of the tires, the side that goes in towards the trailer. That’s not the side that sticks out and will be seen.
Would you wash the dirt off the insides of the tires? Its pointless. But stopping the rust does have lasting value.
The floor that came out was NOT pressure treated. The floor going back in is.
Now we have to drill them and put in galvanized bolts.
Originally there was not a door seal at the top to keep water out. A factory flaw. So rain entered the tack room and destroyed the floor. So I built a drip edge so roof water cant enter the top of the door.
Now you see Marion.
She’s abnormal. She does not sweat in 100 degree heat. She doesn’t even seem to notice.
We taped up the black lines, but some white paint managed to get behind our tape. So a little touch up on the black and all is perfect.
Well, so much for making great progress. Now its break time.
Maybe its take the rest of the day off time.
Horse Trailer Rebuild end. Now its party time.