Trailer Repair  
By Lee Martin - College Station, Texas - USA

I needed to rebuild the trailer on a Dovekie I recently bought, and while doing so I took a few pictures. Chuck said he thought some of you might want to share the experience with me. Here it is….

click images to enlarge

The length of the original tongue is too short [the bow of the boat was too close to the rear of the truck], there’s no jack, no spare tire holder and the coupler was worn out. There are a million trailers like this out there that need to be rebuilt.


I cut the old tongue off with a chop saw. It leaves a clean cut that needs no clean up. This can also be done with a cutting torch, of course, it only requires more work. You don’t have to worry about being poisoned by the galvanizing if you wire brush it off prior to cutting or welding. Galvanizing is a compound added onto the outside of metal—it can be cleaned off. Galvanized metal can be welded safely if the entire galvanizing compound is wire brushed off the metal first. This needs to be done with an electric wire brush, not with a hand brush.


I bought a new piece of square tubing to fit. This is the time to decide exactly how long you want the tongue to be. Long enough to accept your additions, but not so long that the integrity of the tongue is threatened. It was an exact outside diameter match, but the inside was as heavy as I could find. This piece I also cut with my chop saw, but with a very slight angle so the new tongue would cock down and accept a load with out bending.

The new piece was aligned with vise-grips and a piece of straight steel drop.


I welded the main pieces together on all four sides. Special care must be taken so the piece stays aligned during this stage. After grinding, I welded Plates of flat stock over these welds to strengthen the originals. I didn’t think the top and bottom needed the extra plates, as the strength was only needed in the vertical plane. After dragging this rig through some of the worst roads Mexico has to offer with no structure problems, I believe that I may have accidentally got it right. I made certain that I was burning no galvanizing during this welding process. I’ve used cold galvanizing on many trailers and it seems to work well. I buy it from Lowes or Home Depot. It comes in a spray can and I check the area often and respray when needed.


The cold galvanizing doesn’t look like hot galvanizing and it doesn’t hold up any where near as well, but it works if you keep ahead of the rust.


I cleaned the axle and galvanized it, put on new springs, hangers and bolts, new bunk boards and trailer slicks completed the job and we’re off to Mexico.

If you have any doubts about welding or cutting galvanized steel please disregard this information. Do not breathe fumes that come off any welding that you are doing. Stay upwind of any cutting or welding. Always wear a respirator when possible. Be safe….


Warning: welding or flame cutting galvanized steel will cause dangerous fumes to be given off. Protect yourself accordingly and use extreme care.

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