Nicholas Fluhart

August 18, 2010

16 ft Utility Trailer – Part 2

Filed under: Trailers — Nicholas Fluhart @ 1:11 am

Alright, now we’ll take a look at what went into fixing up this old trailer. I didn’t have room in the shop, so I’m out on the gravel for this one. I’m fortunate in that the trailer was in decent shape at the start. The boards were not rotted, the metal was all straight and undamaged structurally, and the axles were in good shape. First, I put it up on jack stands so I could remove the wheels and begin stripping the old paint.

Each of the four tires were a different brand and one tire had separated, so it was a good time to get a new set coming. I typically use one of two online tire retailers: and In this case I got a great deal on a set of Kelly tires from Treadepot at $55.00 per tire and I easily mounted them myself with my tire changer. While dismounted, I stripped and painted the spoke rims with my favorite low-gloss black, which is not flat, yet not as glossy as semi-gloss. I polished the lug nuts and clear coated them so they wouldn’t rust and I replaced the center caps with a set I had on the shelf.



Once I got most of the old paint and rust stripped from the metal, I began painting the trailer with my gravity-fed pneumatic paint gun. I used a good Rustoleum black industrial enamel.

Applying the Paint

While I had the wheels off, I checked the suspension links, bearings, and pulled the drums to check the brakes. I tested the brakes with a 12V battery. All is well, so I began wiring on some additional lights. I love lights. If there’s one thing I can’t stand when working at night, it’s inadequate lighting. I always install marker lights along with a good set of tail/brake lights on my trailers. I place a marker at the front of each fender to ensure easy visibility when backing the trailer at night. I also placed LED amber markers at the front of each side and I finished it up with a strip of 3 red markers on the rear.

As for the trailer light plug, I wanted to be prepared for anything so I wired up both of the two most common types used on half-ton trucks, the full 7-pin RV style plug and the standard 4-pin plug. I have an adapter for a 7-pin truck to hook to a 4-pin trailer, but it’s not feasible to use an adapter to connect a 4-pin truck to a 7-pin trailer because the weight of the plug pulls it out of socket. So I eliminated all that by having both available on the trailer wiring. I used a full 7-pin connector that facilitates lights (including reverse lights), electric brakes, and an auxiliary power supply wire. I then wired along side it a pigtail with the flat 4-pin plug which does just lights. Now the trailer lights are compatible to almost any vehicle I may decide to hook to it.

Using the 7-Pin Plug

I then finished installing the reflective decals and began treating the wood boards. I simply mixed some used Varsol with used motor oil in a pump sprayer. I put two thick coats on the dry wood when the temperature was about 103º outside. The boards soaked up the oil nicely.

Another thing I refuse to tolerate is a trailer with no place for straps or tie-downs. To solve this I installed ten 3/8″ D-Rings, four down each side and two up front. I bolted them to the angle-iron upright side pillars.

And here’s the finished product:

Finished……for now. However, I’ve already planned some more upgrades. I’ll soon be installing backup lights which will illuminate when the tow vehicle is in reverse. I’ll also be installing two 5 inch round LED work lights at the front of the trailer which will be powered from the auxiliary power wire on the trailer light plug. I’ll be installing an 8,000 lb winch at the front of the trailer as well. I’ll also be making or buying a set of loading ramps.

Until next time…

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