Welding Boat Trailer Repair

Boat Trailer Repair

Since this is the second boat trailer repair I’ve made to trailers with incredibly similar problems, I wonder if this is typical failure points of aging boat trailers? Is it because the fenders usually hide this area? Is it because they repeatedly get wet? Maybe they just get stored and forgotten about moving further and further down the priority list? Life.

We bought a ‘new to us’ old boat with the plan that it will eventually become the fishing boat but whatever the plan for this boat, I am in charge of trailer maintenance in our family. It HAS to be safe. So when I found cracked frame members, front and back of the suspension AND mirrored on both sides I knew something (bad) was up.

Check suspension itself and yep, both leafs cracked!!

11 am

What a weird feeling. Mad because the trailer was sold like that but then thankful nothing went wrong. Then thankful again I caught it and can fix it. Good thing the price was right!

CAUTION: Explicit pictures of nasty trailer ‘repairs’!

While the attempted ‘repair’ weld itself is clean – free of porosity or worm holes – and is a nice blue colour meaning there was enough shielding gas, there are SEVERAL problems. Where to start….?? The weld profile is terribly uneven, wire ‘whiskers’ are left and the attempted ‘repair’ does not include the entire crack – just to start.  Please keep our roads safe, have enough humility to ask for help.

Scary Hey? No, not the crack around the bolt – down more. Yup. There. See it? The crack right through the modified suspension! Tension on that rear leg of the 45’d section of the 2″ x 2″ angle is what was holding the leaf in place!! Yeeeaaaaah. Scary!

12:30 pm

With a 9 month old we can’t just jump right into this fix. That is such a weird thing for us. We are such a good team with our different strengths that working through projects as we go has been our norm. Now we have to talk through exactly HOW this is all going to go down.

Isn’t that amazing? A trailer rebuild actually brings me CLOSER to my husband?! Maybe It’s because we have exactly the same goal? I know. I’m a lucky girl. But you better believe he’s lucky too!!

We work through the repairs steps out loud. Do we have material to replace whats broken? -yes. OK. Can we remove tires? – Yes. I need room to weld and don’t want to worry about melting rubber. Do we have enough jack stands? – Yes. OK. The damaged frame sections will need to be removed – they are beyond repair. Can we save anything? – Yes. 2 hanger brackets. 1 from either side. OK. Its a Saturday, can we source any suspension components today? – Call around town. Yep. Ok. And the biggest question – Anyone available to babysit for a few hours? – Yes. OK!!

I (okay, we) may actually be able to repair this today!

2pm

Here we go with the repair –

Jack the boat and trailer up one side at a time. Put stands under. Hubs takes over mechanical and removes tires while I cut the pieces of 2″ x 2″ x 3/16″ square tubing to replace the cracked angle sections. I remove broken springs and the bent cracked, shittily welded 2″ x 2″ angle. Both drivers side and passenger side front leaf hangers were still OK and I left them in place.

Passenger side. All traces of the cracked angle removed and paint removed from angle frame members back to clean solid metal, ready for new frame member and new parts! Tear down of the one side DONE!

New leaf and bracket bracket bolted in place. We were able to get all these parts locally at Chemo RV. They even made up the longer square U-bolts for us.

Happy with placement the leaf hangers are tacked in.

A new piece of 2″ X 2″ square tubing is now put in place and the joints welded. I used 3/32″, 7018 rods with my Miller Maxstar 200 set at 90 Amps and about 45 on the Dig setting.

4pm

Clock is ticking. Babysitter can’t stay all evening. Repeat tear down and install of 2″ x 2″ square tubing on the drivers side.

Axle back in place. We had to include a spacers under the U- bolts. They only had this length. Being a Sunday and the age/state of the trailer we aren’t going to worry about it.

5:30pm

My husband has left our build now to take over from the babysitter and I can smell the BBQ telling me I’m almost out of time.

Just enough time to upgrade our trailer spare tire set up. Usually it’s just thrown in the boat or truck box. Just another ‘thing’ to remember.

What if the spare was just always with the trailer?

(I know crazy, right? Must be my female brain *eye roll*)

What if it were easily accessible?

What if it was not in the way of loading and unloading the boat?

I quickly talk to hubs about placement – we thought this was the best. I cut a 6″ piece of 3″ diameter pipe. Then cut the pipe in half lengthwise for a hanger. I rounded any pointed areas to keep hands and fingers safe. I cleaned up a site on the trailer winch stand while my husband dug through our random parts bin and found not only a threaded rod but the awesome nut with handles THAT FIT THE THREADS! SWEET! I oxy/acetylene cut a hole in a piece of 3″ x 1/4″ flat bar to hold the tire snugly in place across the rim.

Hopefully, we never have to use the spare but now we always have one with us just in case.

6:00 pm

I am SO excited about this cute retro boat! And I can’t wait to USE it – Yeah, yeah, we all love relaxation time on the boat but now that I don’t have to worry about the trailers condition, now that my husband doesn’t have to always remember the spare tire we can get to the relaxation part sooner.

We’ve used the boat and the repaired trailer a few times now and the peace of mind is truly priceless!! It needs a new coat of paint but that’ll be next years spring maintenance.

Boat Trailer Repair - finished rear

Until next time, stay safe,

Lisa

Update: Trailer has been great!! Thats our retro boat in the background headed out to the cabin!

Welding Boat Trailer Repair

2 Replies to “Welding Boat Trailer Repair”

  1. ROSWELL HUDSON says: Reply

    Hello i just read your article…. wow impressive man……..ok maybe woman i don’t know gender but you get the point lol…. so i have a old boat trailer and i want to turn it into a rv…..i don’t know anything about welding or the like but i want to learn to do it myself…… where should i start? I am sure you have a million things you’re doing and a stranger is not the norm to help but please help me learn

    1. Hey Roswell. Sweet idea! Thanks for reading. Where in the world are you?
      My advise is to get super curious about welding. Look into night courses (some Universities and Colleges offer these), learn online (LincolnElectric.com and Millerwelds.com have great videos and the info can be trusted), textbooks even. Ask someone to mentor you, get practicing. And then make sure to be honest with yourself and your abilities. It HAS to be safe for you and others on the road.
      Hope that’s helpful.
      Lisa

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