Scored a Touchdown - New Aluminum Trailer for free

Thread starter #1
I bought a Red Sunfish from a fellow in a nearby town last year. The one I call Canada. Which I have not worked on at all this year. The fellow and his wife became Facebook friends with me. And we have stayed in touch. He called me an offered me a "free Sunfish". It turned out to be a Sailfish with a trailer. The photo he sent me showed a trailer with flat tires and I thought, well, it should be worth picking up for the trailer alone. So I went and picked it up. To my surprise it was a nice aluminum trailer--perhaps I should say, a nice aluminum frame. Here is was I picked up.

The tires were dry rotted. I was unable to get the tire to seat. The steel wheels could have been sanded I reused. I prefer galvanized wheels. Here is what the dry rot looked like.

I carried the whole shabang home in my pickup truck. I'm thinking this will clean up real nice.

It has nice grips on the front, and was so light I felt I could use it as a dolly also. I checked the TrailEx web site and the spec shows the trailer weighs 250 lbs. I didn't weigh it, but it is super easy to move around. The 2007 Caribe is for sale if any one is interested. I am selling it for a friend. It is a light 9 RIB. I have two engines for sale also. An older Honda 8 HP four stroke and a Mercury 5HP with only 4 hours on it.

So I gave away the Sailfish to a kid, along with a new bag of sail rings and an older set of spars. The spars were nice and the same size as a Sunfish rig.

Here is a before picture.

Step one was testing the lights. These did not work. I pulled the covers off and the bulbs were rusted onto the fixture. I happened to be building another trailer, so I stole some of those parts to repair this one.
Here is the before picture of the tail lights.

I tried using the old wiring, because it looked ok. I found a couple of punctures and I might have been able to repair it. Instead I stole a wiring harness meant for my other trailer and used but splices to join the wires, and used shrink tubing to seal it up nice. These are LED lights. Now that I think about it, these were intended to upgrade HOOT's trailer and I tested those out and found they worked ok, so I left that alone and just replaced a couple of amber markers on that trailer. So this TrailEx here got the first class treatment, more by circumstance than any other reason.

Taillights finished. Yes, that is an old Sunfish mainsheet re-purposed to be doggie lead.

What I thought were reflectors only, were actually lights at the front of the trailer. So I stole a few of these from the other trailer project and used them up front.

So I had to test the lights. What better time then at night?

You are probably thinking, why did he take so many pictures. Well, I got the boat but no bill of sale. My friend grabbed it when he saw the "free" sign on it. I asked him for a bill of sale for $1.00 but did not have that at the time, and was worried I might have to document my expenses to get this trailer registered. Luckily, I did get the bill of sale and can register it any time. I'll have to put it in my pickup or on the roof of my wagon and haul it to Wethersfield to get it inspected first.

I also inspected the suspension. It is a bit cheesy. The tires are to hold no more than 15 lbs of pressure--all tires are inflated based on the load--and this is a light trailer. Here is the suspension system. It looks fine to me and I pulled the trailer around with my Volvo wagon and it worked ok. I didn't notice any problems. The rubber seems fine.

We had a few days of rain and the timing was perfect for a parts order from to come in. So I started working on the front. In fact the moment the UPS guy dropped off my new galvanized wheels and tires, I had the box tore apart and the new wheels mounted instantly. A nice change.

I can't remember if I pulled an packed the bearings. I don't think I did. So I need to go back and do that.

The trailer coupler was rusted out pretty bad. I ordered one of those the same time I ordered the new tires and wheels. I had just replaced the coupler on my other project trailer-that one wasn't bad, I just wanted a better, easier to use coupler. Here are the two side by side. The smaller coupler was rusted away on the inside. It would not work at all. This picture shows the old side marker lights that were not working.

Here is the new coupler. There are all sort of sizes for most size trailer channel square tubing. I bought some galvanized bolts to secure it to the frame. One long one went all the way through. Two others extend out with enough space for multiple washer to attach the two safety chains. I used new galvanized chain and stainless steel S-hooks. It should last the rest of my life, or longer.

Since everything was going to be new, an I'd found out the trailer cost $913 new. I felt it worthwhile to invest in all new parts for the trailer, including this rubber bow stop. I did reuse the bolt. Which reminds me, I want to change that to a new galvanized bolt to make it perfect.

I wanted to use some wire loom. Instead I used some 3" wide lineman's electrical tape. Here you can see the attachment for the safety chain.

AFTER pictures. One of the supports is little tweaked but I don't think it will matter with a boat sitting on fact I have DIXIE sitting on it. DIXIE broke a bow handle over the winter and water got in froze and split the seam at the back of the boat. So that boat will need some work, but I am putting that off until this winter, when I have more time.

Total, I'll guess, I spent about $160 on parts to restore the trailer. I value it at $750. I planned to use this to haul my racing boat Blackjack, but a broken arm killed my season this year. That might be good, it gives me time to get the trailer registered. I might head to Florida and drag a Sunfish with me this winter. Key Largo, or Key West is calling me. I figure it would take a month of sailing every day to start to burn out on Sunfishes.

that's a sweet trailer for free - looks really light and maneuverable. do you think those short bunks provide enough support for the Sunfish?
Thread starter #3
Hi nice to see you are alive and kicking.

Well it was not exactly free. And I put in a five or six hours into it. Still it was a nice score as I had the time to spare and the materials were not too expensive. It looks so nice I'm debating replacing all the rusted bolts and washers just to make it look perfect. Well, I 'm on other projects now, so perhaps next year. I've been rebuilding a Volvo 240 wagon. It will be my Sunfish hauler. I'd like to use this trailer to haul a racer around. I am picking up a Thule Cargo Box on Sunday. Used twice and in perfect condition for a bit over 1/2 the cost new. So that will store my blades and stuff and keep the car clean. I might just leave it up there in season. It would make me super happy to have all my other trailer done so I can get all that Sunfish gear out of my barn and free up some shop space.

As for support. Well, it was designed for it. They are pretty wide. I won't put my best boat on there to test it out. I'll use another boat to see how it works. I have not yet tried it on the freeway with a load. I tore apart another trailer just from bouncing around behind my 1-ton dually. It's rear suspension was too stiff and the trailer was bouncing like a trampoline and I could not really tell what was happening back there. So the softer suspension of the Volvo will work fine. I have a new hitch installed and wired. So I am hopeful.