1974 Horse Trailer Restoration! w/Pictures (shameless brag!)

Discussion in 'Horse Chat' started by Royal_Alexia, Jul 27, 2012.

  1. Royal_Alexia

    Royal_Alexia Senior Member

    Mar 23, 2009
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    So I posted awhile back about my new horse trailer:


    And thought I'd update everyone on it's restoration progress!

    After chatting with the daughter of the original creator (business went under with the economy a couple years back...they were making her dad's homemade trailer for 40 years in Kansas), I decided that I didn't want to lose this piece of history and family pride. So instead of getting it "up and running", I started restoring it...

    The original ad for my trailer, as the daughter of the creator sent to me.

    The trailer was bought in January this year, and I really got started on it in March.

    The Blair Trailer, the day I bought it. Not bad for $900.

    We started by addressing any structural issues. There were 2 spots that had rusted through in the front tack room, BECAUSE someone had installed rock-guard and not caulked the edges. Dirt and water got in and trapped, and rusted it out. Other then that, the back doors had rusted at the bottom in a similar way (wood rotten, dirt got trapped, etc).

    ...after we stripped everything off, she wasn't quite as pretty...rust showing...

    So my dad (he's the best) welded patches on the front of the trailer, and we rebuilt the bottom of the doors from scratch. He also welded all of the old rivet holes closed, since the new ones would likely be in different spots. We also hammered out the worst of the dents

    Someone had done a poor job welding a plate in the front window to close it up, so we carved that out as well. Get it really "stock-sided".

    My dad also reversed the hinges on the rear doors so that I could remove them completely. While he was at it, we replaced the old break-away chains with stronger ones with real clips (the last owner used those carabeeners you buy at the dollar store!).

    We noticed the trailer hitch mechanism was missing some parts and cracking, so hey, why not put a whole new coupler on it too?!

    The BF and I then took it home, and I searched for what to do about painting. I had originally planned on just throwing some rustoleum on it like everyone else does, with maybe a bit of rust converter. Sounds good, right? I mean, I paid $900 for the trailer...

    But I wanted it to last longer. So I had it sandblasted to a near-white (no paint or rust left on it), and immediately hauled it to an indoor facility with paint booth.

    Looking naked after a good sandblasting...

    Between my dad, BF and I, we repainted it. The process took 17 hours, working almost non-stop.

    Before the paint went on, we primed everything with a DTM primer and went so far as to put some black paint on the axles. Having access to a paint booth was literally, a god-send.

    Primed and ready for coat #2.

    I had purchased a custom epoxy polymer paint (longer lasting then enamel), had the guy match the colouring to an old board that was painted with the original paint, and it even had metal flecks like the original. The paint was, the MOST expensive part of the entire project, because it's very, very high quality paint.

    Once it was dried, it was hauled back home.

    First coat of paint goes on...

    In the mean time, I had the fibreglass roof off, and it was coated in moss. I scrubbed it all off with a scotch pad by hand, and noticed that there was cracking, flaking and holes in the fibreglass. In addition, the UV rays had broken down the paint and oxidized it so that when it rained, white streaks would appear on the walls of the trailer. Fix time.

    I spent days filling in every time whole and crack with fresh resin. I rebuilt areas that had cracked off or broken away. When that dried and was sanded flat, I repainted the entire roof with a UV-stable fibreglass paint.

    This was placed back on the trailer, and riveted with aluminum pop-rivets. Over the entire trailer, there are over 250 pop rivets. And I put every one in by hand.

    The original trim I hand polished with a scotch pad, and where the old paint wouldn't come off, with a dremel. The process for all of the trim took me over 7 hours.

    The trim was reattached. I polished the front window the same way and straightened it up a bit too. I had removed the original door handle and took it to a lock smith. They had two new keys made up for it. I gave it a polish and reinstalled as well.

    A friend gave me some tongue and groove pine they had left over from their house build, and I cut it all down for the rear doors. Every piece was lacquered on ALL sides with three coats of polyurethane to prevent it from rotting out. It was then hammered into the doors.

    I replaced all of the old lighting with LED lights from eTrailer. Clearance, tail, marker, everything. Added a licence plate lamp and an interior dome light as well. I replaced the old reflectors with new chrome trimmed ones. We added ALL new wiring (9 hours in the hot sun), new 7-pin connector, and water-tight connectors on everything.

    I opted to put electric brakes on the trailer as well, so we had new hubs, bearings and brakes to install and wire. I added in a break-away module that automatically applies the brakes should the trailer ever separate from the truck.

    I installed pressure treated plywood into the tack area, and replaced the rotten floor boards with pressure treated 2x6 lumber. I also installed pressure treated plywood into the feed bunks and bolted it in place.

    The centre divider got two new bum chain hangers, and I greased up the pins. The tack room received 3 new bridle racks and a folding saddle rack from Schneider's. To keep things from banging around, I put adhesive foam on everything.

    I bought two matching bum chains, add heavy duty hooks to them and installed.

    I bought two touch LED lights that were magnetic to give me easy lighting in the under manager tack spots, and a couple of magnetic hooks for storage. I bought a folding grooming bag to hang from the from door. The flashing was reinstalled over the door as well.

    I put on ALL new diamond plating from Diamond Life Gear, which is REALLY thick (17 gauge). Not that thin cheap stuff. The diamond plate covers the whole front, the front door, the wheel wells and the rear doors.

    I added two door catches to keep the rear doors open while loading, since I don't want to remove them all the time (they're really heavy now!).

    We fabricated a new wheel for the front jack, and lubed everything up. I caulked EVERY seam with RV sealant (more flexible then household caulking), used RV putty in the joints to prevent dirt from getting in, and then caulked any holes the wasps could get in and build nests (they've been doing that...).

    I polished the original hub cabs (4 hours), repainted their interior which was rusting with rustoleum, and then hand painted silver paint on any part of the chrome that had chipped or rusted away. While I was at it, I hammered them back into shape wherever they were dented.

    I also created a custom magnetic logo for the front door, based on my stall sign business.

    At FleetFarm, I bought new trailer ties, and two matching buckets for it. A friend provided matching hay nets, I bought a plastic storage container with drawers for our gear to fit under the manger, and a canada flag to fly off the front door.

    There is NOTHING original on this trailer besides the metal. And even some of that isn't original.

    I am soo proud of it, and have shared the story and pictures with the daughter of the creator. She's pretty proud of it too. I'm beyond excited to haul Moon around in it, and look forward to having a custom BLAIR logo made for it. Really, the only thing left is new mats (still using one original one, and one older one) and new tires! Both which should come by fall.

    For my first time doing most of these things, I think it turned out wonderfully. The BF took a real hands-off approach so that I could have it my project, and in the end, the welding, the painting and the wiring were the only things I had help with. As a gal in her late 20's, I really feel like with the right mindset, we can all have our dream trailers. The cost wasn't anything more then buying a similar, slightly rustier version of what I wound up with. So why not bring new life to an old trailer?

    Original, When I bought it, Today

    Enjoy the pics!

    Trailer Today, restored.






    Tack Racks!

    Tack Rack!

    I should say, I'm still hoping to add screens or opening windows to the sides, there's metal strips I need to install (have them already) to the tack floor and rear doors and I want to sew some chest bumpers for the horses. New mats from Fleetfarm will finish things off, and I'll use the old rubber mats to line the feed bunkers. : ) It's an on-going project, obviously!
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 21, 2015
  2. charming

    charming Senior Member

    May 22, 2008
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    Beautiful. Great work :)
    TrailBlazer likes this.
  3. MissAdventure

    MissAdventure Senior Member

    May 13, 2011
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    WOW! Can you make one for me? :D It's beautiful- I love the color with the diamond plates, it really pops! Congratulations on all that hard work paying off :applaud:
  4. trish12

    trish12 Senior Member+

    May 13, 2010
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    OMG... :eek: you guys did a FANTASTIC JOB !!!!!! that looks incredible !!!!
  5. kaitybug

    kaitybug Senior Member

    Sep 26, 2010
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    Wow great job!
  6. CJ

    CJ Senior Member

    Mar 20, 2004
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    Wow Niiice! Wanna work on mine ;) ??
  7. doublelrider

    doublelrider Senior Member

    Oct 14, 2010
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    That is AMAZING!!!! You should be so proud!! I would be!
  8. palimino57

    palimino57 Senior Member

    Nov 12, 2005
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    WOW jealous!! Looks amazing!
  9. JinxedDream

    JinxedDream Senior Member

    Dec 24, 2009
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    Holy... :eek2: I bow to you that is WICKEDLY AWESOME!!!

    Like so awesome... I now feel embarrassed by what my horse has to subject herself to be hauled around in...
  10. mustang_dodger

    mustang_dodger Senior Member

    Sep 2, 2004
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    wow you did an awesome job.

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