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Galvanized Trailer Rust Repair

3102 Views 7 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  fishnpreacher
I had my boat in the lake yesterday, and I noticed a couple of areas of rust on the crossmembers of my Continental trailer. It looks like there some of the welds that have started to rust. I might need to add that my boat and trailer spent the first 3-4 years of its life in the salt. I looked pretty close at the topside of the trailer and the only rust I saw was on the 3 crossmembers, and about 4 inches either side of center. I plan on pulling the boat off the trailer so I can get to top and bottom of the trailer, grinding/sanding the rusted areas, prime and paint. Since its just cross members, I'm not planning on painting the whole trailer, just repaired areas.
Any thoughts on paints or coatings? Should I paint the whole trailer? Anything else I'm missing?
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Before you start your repair .....here's the routine I follow. Get to the nearest ramp and launch your skiff so that the trailer is un-loaded then take a small hammer (or a big one but you're only going to be tapping that trailer...). Carefully start with areas that show no rust and tap them with that hammer. The steel should ring nice and clear with each impact - then move to any questionable areas and tap them... You'll know you've got trouble when the steel doesn't ring but gives out a dead sounding "thump" instead..

What you're looking for are places where there's rust you can't see... and will need to be replaced.. The usual areas that go bad first are almost always the rear of the trailer...

For a Continental trailer ( I believe they're welded - not bolted together) you're going to need a welder before any other rust repairs.. I run EZ Loader trailers - and when ever I have a cross-member with rust internally - all I have to do is look up the part number on my model's schematic and order a new part - then replace the bad one which is something anyone can do... Welded trailers -not so easy..

Hope this helps -and all you've got is a bit of surface rust here or there. Since I'm a high end user (towing 20,000 or more each year as a guide)... I've had to learn more than I ever wanted to about boat trailers...

Aren't boats fun?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the tips. I'll have to schedule another trip to the lake now....Oh, the hardships of boat ownership! If I have to cut out and replace a damaged section, would I need to cut out the whole crossmember or just the damaged section. I have access to cutting tools and a welder, so I'll be doing the repairs.
 

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Most trailer shops would replace the entire member... and that's the routine I follow (but I'm just replacing a bolt on part so, for me, it's an easy fix...

You might want to check in with folks that do weld galvanized stuff since I remember hearing that it's not as straightforward as you'd think....
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I've worked with galvanized before, as far as welding and prep goes. Hopefully it won't go that far. I'm more interested in the finish after grinding, repair/replacement. What do I prime and paint with? Rattle can? Brush on bed liner?
 
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