REBUILDING A RAFT TRAILER

SERE Nate

Active Member
Finally got my trailer home last night! Its a beast! 8x10. 8 foot wide sounded good on paper, until I realized that the opening to my garage is 8'6". Luckily it has a drop down wheel on the front and the wife and I were able to roll it into the garage.
Its trailered great! 70 mph with no issues at all. Really happy about that. Its a heavy trailer for sure. Has some heavy duty leaf springs and it was used for hauling firewood.
I need to look at the springs better, as it really sits up high in the rear. I have a full size Ram truck and its nowhere near level. I know that you want the weight forward and on the tongue, but it looks like it might be an issue loading the raft if its on flat land.
The wood is shot, there is some surface rust but really not bad at all. The wiring is all shot, but there are really nice metal mounts for the lights to go into. I have a set of LEDs that I plan on using.

I have a nice winch and a bought 7 of the rollers from Northern tools. I plan on putting 3 on the back, and 2 on each side for easy loading.
Tonight I plan on stripping off all of the wood, tomorrow I need to prep and paint the frame, then I plan on wiring it up. My plan is to have everything done by Sunday and the spend Sunday getting the new wood for the deck.
Here are some questions.
#1. How should I prep the frame for paint? Wire brush then primer? Rustoleum?
#2. Any tips for wiring up a trailer? Id like to run it through the square frame if possible, and be able to go into the water without unplugging my lights.
#3. I have enough Trex board to run down the sides where the tubes will sit. What kind of wood should I use for the rest of the platform? I'd like to keep it as light as possible. I doubt that I will ever be towing anything besides a raft or some furnature at some point maybe.
#4. Is it bad to leave a raft sitting on rollers? I was planning on having 3 of the northern tools rollers on the back, and then 2 more on each side to make it super easy to load and unload.
 

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IveofIone

WFF Premium
Prepping the frame is just a matter of how much work you want to do. Wire brushing any loose or flaking rust is mandatory no matter what though. Rustoleum makes a paint for rusty metal and that would be the minimum I would think. A better solution would be to use a chemical conversion coating that turns the rust into a black surface that becomes an excellent primer for oil based paint. Don't use water based paint over the conversion coating.

For wiring you might look into etrailers.com as they sell a wide variety of trailer equipment that probably includes wiring harnesses.
 
D

dld

Wiring is easy, if you can fish it through the tubes, it'll be fine. You can buy connectors that are waterproof, but you shouldn't need them. Dc isn't like ac.

Cedar decking is the lightest and most weatherproof wood you can find. Redwood would be fine, also.

There is a product that turns rust into a protective black coating, available at many parts shops, or online. You simply knock the loose rust off and write this on, the conversion is immediate. Leave it, or prime and paint. You want to scuff the existing paint with 220 sandpaper and use etching primer. Generally it is a decent idea to have primer mixed with some of the paint color, this helps get good, even final paint coloring. Automotive spray paint is actually very good paint, but it is expensive compared to using a spray gun.
 

Stonefish

Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater....Know Grizzler
Rather then putting in a bunch of elbow grease, you might want to check in to see how it would cost to have your trailer sand blasted and powder coated.
Just an alternative to consider.
SF
 
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Nick Clayton

WFF Premium
If the old wires run thru the trailer then disconnect them and tie them to the new wires then pull the old ones out and the new ones thru at the same time.

If the old wiring is just zip tied to the trailer or something then you'll have to get creative to feed the new wiring in the trailer. A good length of stiff bailing wire or the like would probably help
 

Fishnow

Active Member
Wiring is easy, if you can fish it through the tubes, it'll be fine. You can buy connectors that are waterproof, but you shouldn't need them. Dc isn't like ac.

Cedar decking is the lightest and most weatherproof wood you can find. Redwood would be fine, also.

There is a product that turns rust into a protective black coating, available at many parts shops, or online. You simply knock the loose rust off and write this on, the conversion is immediate. Leave it, or prime and paint. You want to scuff the existing paint with 220 sandpaper and use etching primer. Generally it is a decent idea to have primer mixed with some of the paint color, this helps get good, even final paint coloring. Automotive spray paint is actually very good paint, but it is expensive compared to using a spray gun.

I would use the rust conversion product to treat the rust and prime, self etching primer is for clean bare steel or aluminum, the two products are not compatible.
Implement enamel would be a good choice for the paint but it does dry slow like oil base
 
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_WW_

Geriatric Skagit Swinger
WFF Premium
If your trailer frame is open at both ends you can suck a string through with a shopvac. Tie the end of the string onto a sandwich baggie and stuff that in one end. Put the nozzle of the shopvac in the other end and seal around it with some rags, it doesn't need to be perfect. Turn on the vac and two nano seconds later you'll have the string through.
 

SERE Nate

Active Member
The old wiring is still in there so I'm going to tie my new wire to it and pull it through.

Tonight is paint night!
 

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cms829

Active Member
what size is your raft? I have a 13 foot pvc NRS and full frame and really found no need for rollers or a winch. 2 of us just slide it right on and off my flat trailer with plywood deck.
 

SERE Nate

Active Member
14 FOOTER. There are a lot of put ins where I cant get the trailer into the water. Plus its me and the fiance most of the time.
 

jwg

Active Member
The old wiring is still in there so I'm going to tie my new wire to it and pull it through.

Tonight is paint night!

My own thought process would think about insulation on the wiring getting rubbed bare by vibration against metal edges. Which would lead me to think about some sort of tubing or cable harness or spiral wrap. At least I would do something where the wiring goes in an out of the frame where there are edges to rub against.

If others tell me this is overkill I won't be offended.

J
 

dfg

Active Member
I rebuild mine a few years back with CDX (relatively inexpensive exterior grade plywood and covered it with cheap level loop carpeting. The carpeting is a mixed blessing: it is easier on the bottom of my raft, but it stays wet which affects the plywood. I consider the plywood as sacrificial. If it lasts less than 5 years I'd be very surprised. The cost to replace it should be less than $100, so this isn't a huge investment.

I don't have rollers on mine, but wish that I did at times. I generally can't load the raft solo when the water is really low, since the distance between the water and the raft is about 24"... too high for me to lift alone. When the flows (on the Yak - where I generally fish) increase to 2500 CFS I have no problem manhandling the raft onto the trailer bed without a winch and without help.
 

Old Man

A very Old Man
I had a 12' Zodiac and it was on a Trailer. It had two 12'x2" boards one on each side covered with indoor/outdoor carpet. It slide on and off with one person. I didn't go to extremes on it. It was simple and cheap and worked like a champ. I worked at Boeing at the time and had access to all the electrical connectors that I needed. Along with shrink wrap. They teach you some pretty good things that work away from work.
 

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