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92 Trailer Box Tube to C Channel Conversion

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desertskier View Drop Down
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    Posted: October-23-2019 at 2:34pm
In case anyone else decides to do this. The main tubes on my trailer rusted through. Rather than buying a new trailer I decided to have the tubes replaced. Here are some before and after pictures. The cost to have this done was $1500 labor and $300 parts. Tough decision but the fabricator did a great job. Next is new fenders, some rust cleanup and paint.









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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MrMcD Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October-23-2019 at 6:16pm
Wow, that should be strong. You rusted out in Arizona?
I am guessing the trailer had some history near Salt.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote desertskier Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October-23-2019 at 6:40pm
It's been in covered storage in AZ since '97. Before that it was in NE TN. It was basically new when I bought it so no salt. I was very surprised when the cracks first started showing but after researching there are plenty of reports on this forum of trailers with box tubing rusting out. Mostly Ramlins but this one was built by CC so pretty much the same design..
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Donald80SN Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October-23-2019 at 8:41pm
I like it. Nice job
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MrMcD Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October-23-2019 at 11:35pm
Wow, In my area trailers pretty much outlast the boat. I have repainted to improve looks but never needed to replace metal at least in the Sacramento area we are good.
1 nice reason to live on the west coast.   I know, they tax us so much here we should all bail and head east but the weather is pretty nice.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tryathlete Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October-24-2019 at 8:05am
I wonder if you considered having the entire trailer frame shot blasted and powder coated? The paint on those trailers isn’t very corrosion resistant by any measure and unlike a lot of our nice toys that get to sit in the garage, lots of these things sit out in the elements year round.

I’ve got an ugly trailer. It probably sat outside for a decade and fortunately it’s galvanized. I’ll take ugly over rust, but a powder coated trailer will last a long time as long as the inside of box channels doesn’t have drainage issues. Then of course there’s brackish water and saltwater.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 81nautique Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October-24-2019 at 8:32am
Looks like a nice job so I'm not bashing it but I'm not sure I could make that work financially over buying new. Having "rebuilt" several trailers myself they always seem to cost much more than I figured when I started and while looking good I still end up with 20+ year old trailers. Unless a trailer is unique in some way I would have a hard time rebuilding another over buying new.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote desertskier Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October-24-2019 at 11:59am
The main tubes on this style of trailer rust from the inside out. Before I noticed the cracks starting the outside of the tubes looked fine. No exterior paint issues until the rust started poking through. It went from looking like it was in great condition to almost broken in half within about two years. I think it's because the bunks are screwed into the top of the tubes so they get water inside and it doesn't all drain out. There are lot's of holes drilled in the main tubes and it looks like the rust was the worst at the holes. There are posts on this forum regarding the bunks coming loose on this style of trailer and the owner having to drill new holes because the old holes won't hold. That is the first sign that the tubes are rotting at the holes. The worst cracks started at the bunk mount holes. I have another box tube trailer for my '89 which has the bunk mounts welded to the frame and that trailer doesn't show any signs of having a problem but all the tubing is basically sealed.   It wasn't turned into swiss cheese by the factory.

As far as buying a new trailer. I think the main problem is living in the Southwest and not being near any trailer manufactures. There are manufacturers in California but they are expensive. I got quotes in the $5k (Pacific) to $6k (Extreme) range for a basic no frills single axle. I contacted Boatmate and Phoenix. Phoenix didn't ship to the SW, Boatmate has a dealer in Phoenix but that is the guy that gave me the Extreme quote and he would never give me one for the Boatmate other than to say it would be more than the Extreme. And to be honest I didn't really want or need a brand new trailer. I store my RV and boat near the lake we go to. I drive about 20 miles round trip down a really rough dusty road (The Apache Trail). Everything gets trashed, the boat, RV and trailer.

So during this time I ended up buying a trailer from a 2014 Centurion Carbon Pro. The boat fits well but this trailer also has rust problems. It came out of San Diego and was used in Mission Bay. So it's not a long term solution but it bought me some time. I like the design but it is lower than my CC trailer and doesn't handle the trail or campsites as well. It scrapes and hangs up in the deep ruts.

So back to my original trailer. I like the design and other than the main tubes the other structural components are sound, no rust because they used C channel for everything but the main tubes. Although it was probably not a very sound financial decision when it's finished I will have most of my original trailer that should last forever which makes me happy . Plus I retired earlier this year so I needed project.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gary S Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October-24-2019 at 12:33pm
My Phoenix is built the same way. For the money their getting for these trailers they really need to step up to the plate and simply add some internal rustproofing, there is no excuse it is 2019 after all. I ended up coating mine with a English product called Waxoyl came in a kit with a pump that attached to the can the product came in, a trigger assy and extension wands. The same product was known as Rusty Jones here in the states. Better than nothing I guess. If ziebart was still around I would have took it there.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GHTILL Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October-24-2019 at 4:00pm
My '93 sits on a "C" channel trailer and after 26 years, a little repainting, and some rewiring the old trailer is good as new. Wonder why more trailers aren't made with the C channel instead of the box channel. Our newer 2015 G sits on a box channel trailer, which is already showing its age.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TRBenj Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October-24-2019 at 4:28pm
I think this is a fabulous idea and have considered doing the same myself when the time comes. Love the 90+ Cc/ramlin trailers but the box frame just doesn’t last. If anyone else is considering, the only change I’d recommend is bring the rails together a touch further aft and add a swing tongue (like the 03+ version). Looks great though.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gun-driver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October-25-2019 at 4:48pm
Originally posted by Gary S Gary S wrote:

If ziebart was still around I would have took it there.


Don’t waste your money, I maxed out their reimbursement claim and still have a rust riddled truck.
This wasn’t the first and I won’t ever use them again, waxoyl is a much better product there’s just nobody around me offering it anymore.
I had that applied to my ‘81 Camaro and it’s held up well though it doesn’t get driven in the winter anymore.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gary S Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October-25-2019 at 5:12pm
I guess it depends on who applied it and if you went back for yearly checkups Paul. My 01 Jeep is just starting to rust the rear quarters. Illinois is not known for dropping the plow,the kick backs for salt contracts are lucrative
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gun-driver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October-25-2019 at 8:34pm
I did everything plus some to try to fend off the rust.
You have to go back and pay for the annual check and it has to be within 30 days either side of the original date's anniversary or your guarantee is void.
They got out of guaranteeing my Bronco II because I missed the annual check because I was stationed in Alabama and they didn't have Zeibart there.!!!!
Ziebart sucks!!! it traps moisture inside the panels and the undercoating peels off the undercarriage.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote desertskier Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December-02-2019 at 10:39am
Finished up. Here are some pictures and a few ideas I had along the way.


Decided to use bedliner over 3/4 BCX Plywood for the sidesteps. Not sure how well this will hold up but I can always carpet over later if it doesn't work.


Welded on washers to run the wiring through rather than using the clips supplied with the kit..


Worked pretty well and the 3/8 tubing fit through them as well.


The fabricator was concerned about the strength of the c channel at the bends so he welded 10 ft of plate on each side. He mentioned he was going to use some plate to support the bend but I thought he would use a few small pieces not a continuous 10 ft. So I had to drill some holes to mount the bunks rather than use lag screws and had to paint behind the plates. I used a 1 inch hole saw.


I covered the holes with plastic plugs.


Bought these on ebay and welded several on each side for cover tie downs.




Bought these at the dollar store to paint behind the plates. Pushed them through with 1/2 cpvc and a 45 on the end to paint the top and then removed the 45 and went straight in for the sides and bottom. They worked pretty well. The sponge is pushed through a hole in the stem and the stem can be cut to the desired length.
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