Nicholas Fluhart

February 12, 2011

Upgrades: 16ft Utility Trailer

Filed under: Trailers — Nicholas Fluhart @ 11:04 pm

There were a couple of things I wanted to add to my trailer since I restored it. The first is a set of utility/work lights at the front. When loading and securing equipment after dark, it’s nice to have lights. With this in mind, I recently installed a set of 12v halogens on the top cross bar at the front. Rather than install them directly on top of the bar where they could easily be damaged, I welded a couple of mounts on to the back side of the bar which allowed the lights to set back a few inches from the bar. This provides some clearance between the lights and the load area of the bed. I then wired the lights to the auxiliary power wire in the trailer light plug via a toggle switch mounted in a good spot on the tongue. When plugged into any 7-pin trailer light receptacle, which is the type I previously installed on my truck, the lights have power and can be turned on and off with the toggle switch.

The second upgrade I added was LED reverse lights. I wired them directly into the 7-pin trailer light plug, so when plugged up to the truck, the reverse lights on the trailer are powered by the same circuit as the reverse lights on the truck. I chose LED’s because of the low amp draw. In the photo below you can see I mounted them at the back of the fenders in a place where they can illuminate well behind and to the sides. It’s also a spot where they are less likely to be damaged.

So far the lighting upgrades on my truck and trailer have worked perfectly.

The next upgrade to my trailer will be the installation of a Mile Marker 8,000 lb winch, and I will also be building a set of heavy-duty ramps that will slide under the bed of the trailer for transport. I’ll hopefully be posting those soon…

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…

August 16, 2010

16 ft Utility Trailer – Part 1

Filed under: Trailers — Nicholas Fluhart @ 11:33 pm

Here’s a post on a recent addition to my trailer collection, and it’s actually become the most used of my trailers. I put it to work immediately upon purchasing it and have since did a bit of upgrades to it which I will outline in the next post.

Before the Rework

After the Rework

I’ve needed a good utility trailer for a while, so when a friend called wanting to sell this one for $700 I jumped on it. It’s a 16′ pipe-top tandem-axle trailer with brakes and rated to haul 7,000 lbs. Although it needed some lights and paint, it was a great buy. It’s difficult to find one in decent condition for less than $1K. My plan was to immediately prepare it for paint and upgrades which would bring it up to my spec, but my plans were delayed as I instantly had jobs to do with it, as seen below:

So, promptly after the trailer paid for itself with the jobs I completed, I began planning for the restoration. Stay tuned for Part 2 of this post to see what I did to it.

July 13, 2010

4×8 Tilt Trailer

Filed under: Day to Day,Trailers — Nicholas Fluhart @ 10:30 pm

Here’s a nice compact trailer I recently flipped (“flipped” meaning bought and sold, as opposed to having turned it over in the road). I purchased it in combination with a Honda 300 Fourtrax ATV at $500 for the pair. My plan was to fix up the old trailer for resale and part-out the ATV. With this in mind, I immediately got to work on the trailer.

First, I stripped the old dead paint from the metal surfaces before rolling it into the shop. Then I pulled the wheels, lights, etc. to ready it for paint.

Then I began painting the steel surfaces with a good semi-gloss black paint that does not require primer. I also inspected and painted the hubs, hitch, and chains with a good quality silver.

The next to tackle was the lights and the floor. I rewired the lights using heat-shrink connectors and replaced any bulbs that needed it. One thing that I like to install on my trailers are marker lights, particularly on the front of the fenders so they are easy to see in a rear-view mirror.  I also installed a new connector. On the floor, I used a low gloss black to seal the wood.

And that wraps up the project. Now we’ll see how it’s used.

The great thing about this trailer is that it tilts. This eliminates the need for loading ramps. The axle is far enough to the rear that it appropriates the load correctly and does not “fish tail” while pulling it down the highway. The overall length is just long enough for your ATV and an ice chest or tool box. Overall, a very handy trailer. It sold very quickly for $400. So I basically had $100 invested in the ATV that came with it. Not bad. Until next time…

February 25, 2010

Multi-Purpose Motorcycle/ATV Trailer

Filed under: Trailers — Nicholas Fluhart @ 7:45 pm

When you do a lot of hauling and moving materials and equipment, you learn fast that the bed of a pickup truck isn’t always adequate. For that reason, I use a variety of different types of trailers. Since I stay involved with dirt bikes and ATV’s, I found myself needing the ability to haul both my machines and my equipment, tools, and supporting materials. However, if your bike is in the back of the truck you are limited on space for other things. This is where a trailer comes in handy, and what better than a trailer that will haul a dirt bike? A trailer that will haul two dirt bikes or an ATV.

My bike hauler appears to have been built back in the 70’s, but it’s a really good little trailer. I traded a set of motorcycle forks for this trailer and an antique Westinghouse AC arc welder. I couldn’t be happier. Both the trailer and the welder work great.

The things I had to do to this trailer for it to meet my specifications were as follows:

The first thing I did was replace the old polyglass tires with a new set of radials. I also painted the trailer from the old 70’s brown to low-gloss black and I installed new marker lights and rewired the existing lights. At that point the trailer was ready to go and I used it to haul dirt bikes for years to follow. However, the biggest problem is that it was only equipped to haul motorcycles and not ATV’s. So recently I decided to change that…

I bought a treated 12′ 2×12 and cut it in half to form two 6′ planks which I then bolted next to the outside slats. Fantastic solution.

And now I have a cross-functional bike hauler and can haul my tool boxes and supplies in the back of my truck.

Until the next trailer…

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