20′ Enclosed Race Trailer – Part 5 – D Rings

The first outing with the trailer went well, but I really wasn’t happy with the new D Rings. Or at least, with how they were secured to the trailer.

They have fairly large backing plates, but at the end of the day, they’re still just secured to plywood.

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Cinching the car with ratchet strap induced a visible bow in the floor, and didn’t exactly give me that warm-fuzzy feeling about its ability to hold the car in place. More drastic measures needed to be taken in the form of a pair of 12″ x 15″, 3/16″ thick steel plates to be welded to the frame of the trailer.

The first job was to cut off a handful of floor screws that were hanging right in the way, because of course they were (see photo above).

I had to grind a bunch of paint and surface rust off so I have something decent to weld to:

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Because I wouldn’t be able to get at much of that steel after welding, I hit the trailer frame and the tops of the backing plates with a coat of weld-thru primer:

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The next day, both the trailer and the welder got dragged up the hill. I’ve never had the occasion to use the 110v plug adapter for the welder, but it did just fine. I’m honestly surprised I didn’t blow the garage circuit breaker.

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It was a multi-step process of figuring out where they needed to be (the frame is made of Z channel, so 1 side I had to be right against the frame rail, and the other I had a couple inches of flat steel to play with. A buddy helped me get them more or less centered from above, then we popped a pair of transfer punch marks on the plate. Drilled those, took it back up and bolted it to the floor to confirm alignment, then back to the shop to drill the other 2 holes. Rinse and repeat. But once that was done, the floor supported the plates for welding, which made that part significantly simpler.

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The view from above, centering line definitely close enough.

Without a doubt these aren’t the prettiest welds I’ve ever made, but they’ll do the job.

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The finished product looks exactly the same from top-side, but I feel a LOT better tying a car to these now.

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And because nothing’s ever simple:
I had put down the rear ‘RV leveling’ jacks to stabilize the trailer as I unhitched it from the tow pig prior to welding. When I retracted them after we got done, 1 of them went up fine, while the other one just unthreaded the jack-screw, which shouldn’t be possible in normal operation. I the jack off the trailer and disassembled it in the shop and found that a roll pin that secures the inner washer (to prevent it from just unthreading) had sheared off. A quick trip to Ace got that sorted out for about $0.35 (and a lot of cussing)

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20′ Enclosed Race Trailer – Part 2 – Jack & Paint

As hinted at in the prior post, the manual jack the trailer came with broke immediately upon arrival home. Thankfully it lived long enough to get the trailer off the ball, but not much further.

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There was a secondary issue, which was with the trailer being longer, I can’t back the Armada as far down the hill, so the ball is effectively higher off the asphalt. Due to that, I had to stack about 8″ of lumber under the jack’s foot to get it high enough off the ball.

Thankfully, they make a “drop leg” jack which has a telescoping foot that can drop down further, essentially increasing the total height the jack can. Shopping around, it turns out that an electric jack with a drop leg was almost the same price as a manual jack of similar spec, so going manual at that point seemed silly. Electric it is!

Here is the new jack. It has a few extra inches of lift over the manual jack right off the bat, and with the drop leg it’s not even close.

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Got it installed on the trailer and did a quick test with a battery. It’s now connected to the hot 12v coming out of the trailer plug, which is convenient. Once the battery for the winch and lights gets installed, it will pull power from there as well so it will be able to run without the truck attached.
You can see here the issue with the hitch ball height.

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With that sorted, it was time to prep for paint. EVERYTHING had to come off the wall. The florescent fixtures, the wiring & outlets, the shore power panel, E-Track, all of it.
It was covered in the usual dust and grime you’d expect from a trailer that’s had a race car living in it, so next, I hosed the hole thing out.
Before:

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After:

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I found that the original shore power plug had been replaced with…whatever this is… so that’s going to get replaced while I have everything apart:

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Next up was paint prep. I taped off as much as possible and put some sheeting down to protect the floor.

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After a gallon and a half of primer…

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…And a gallon of paint, the results are pretty fantastic. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty darn good for a car hauler.

Hey look, a kart fits!

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It’s not perfect by any means, but it’s pretty darn good. A heck of an improvement, and hey, it’s kid approved!

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Continued in Part 3