Utility Trailer Rehab Project

Well, I took on another project I probably didn’t need to, but I couldn’t resist. I just happened upon someone in the neighborhood selling an awesome antique trailer for only $50! That’s right! 50 bucks! Also, by “antique” I mean completely dilapidated.

A bargain trailer for only $50!
A bargain trailer for only $50!

The guy I bought it from says his dad made it, and he died in 1987. So it is at least 26 years old, and I suspect much older.The frame appears to be the rear end of some kind of car or truck with angle iron welded on the top. The sides are obviously all wood. The frame had a ton of surface rust on it and the wood was completely rotten. Other than that, it was in great shape. Actually, on the drive home I went over a bump and the whole wooden structure pulled through the bolts and actually fell off. I had my work cut out for me on this one. I immediately started the rehab. See the slideshow to see how I rebuilt this (these pics are high resolution).

  1. I stripped off all the old wood, which broke apart quite easily due to its advanced decay.
  2. I used a wire brush cup on a power drill to scrape off as much surface rust as possible. I then sprayed the entire thing with two coats of Rustoleum “Rust Reformer” This is supposed to convert the iron oxide to iron phosphate and prevent further rusting. We’ll see….
  3. The old trailer had four holes drilled through it that held two 2 x4’s onto it with 3/8″ bolts. So I started to rebuild the trailer box likewise. I got four, six inch long 3/8″ galvanized steel bolts with lock washers and sunk these flush on the PT 2X4’s. I made the rear board a bit longer to hold the tail lights.
  4. I but a few more 2 x4’s to fully frame out the floor and covered it with 6′ feet of 1/2″ PT plywood. I used the 2′ scrape to make the front.
  5. I started to build up the sides with 3 foot pieces of 2X4s, and then used a second sheet of PT plywood cut in half for the sides. The remaining 2 foot piece became the rear door. I planned this out so it would use exactly two sheets of plywood with no waste.
  6. I made a couple of brackets out of 1X4 PT lumber so the rear door could slide in.
  7. I was able to save the old fenders. These are really heavy gauge steel! They don’t make ’em like this anymore! Plus why not retain some of the old charm of the original trailer?
  8. I painted the whole thing with a paint sprayer. I figured I would make it green to match everything else on the farm (It will be in the yard more than the road no doubt!)
  9. Next, I got an LED light kit to make this street legal
  10. I finished off the rear door with a galvanized steel handle..and the trailer project is now done! This will be a great addition to the farm in order to haul firewood, or get hay, or dump runs.. you name it!


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