You Don’t Race a Trailer – Or do you?

That question is one that is on-going among sportsman racers of all types. Trailers of course come in all sizes and styles with your imagination and pocketbook sometimes being the only controlling factors regarding them. And you can just about customize one anyway you like it from any trailer manufacturer for a reasonable amount of money. Of course what one thinks is reasonable is probably highway robbery to another. But back to that headline – there has always been a conversation about trailers or rather “how much” trailer is needed to race.  Again, it really comes down to what you want or at least think you need to get the job done.

My enclosed trailer was built in Indiana in the summer of 1999. I purchased it through a trailer broker and customized it a bit spending what I could at the time. It is a 28 foot box with a foot of extra height, 48 inch side door, finished interior, 12v lighting and 5200 lb torsion axles. After getting it home, I was able to obtain some used but really heavy cabinets to use as storage for spare parts and other racetrack items plus I picked up a Sears toolbox. At this time I was waiting for the delivery of my dragster, so I set the trailer up to accommodate a dragster and not much else. The trailer is now 16 years old and in need of some TLC for the next racing season or even this one if I can get my act together.

Over time, I had added 120v outlets and light fixtures to the trailer along with vent covers to keep out the rain and junk yet allow the trailer to be ventilated. Various changes were made to carry fuel cans, a small moped, racing helmets and jackets, plus the usual assortment of spray cleaners, oil, filters and etc. But now I want to be able to carry a regular car and not just the dragster. I also want to get rid of some stuff that I put in there, thinking I would need it yet never really did. I also want to cut out some of the cabinets, again these were extremely heavy and removing whatever weight I can will certainly help – plus again I simply don’t need all of the storage space that I originally thought I would. I honestly know a few guys that could rebuild their entire car in the pits with what they carry in their trailer. That’s just not my deal anymore, I would rather pack it up and deal with it back in the garage.

So over the last couple of days, I have started on a trailer re-do of sorts. I am tearing everything out of the trailer except for 2 wall cabinets that I have on one side – and if the car doesn’t clear those, they’ll be gone too. I have some new indoor/outdoor carpet to replace the worn out stuff I put in 16 years ago, although I will not carpet the entire floor. Right now the trailer is about 70/30 on carpet and some vinyl tile squares. The tile is going and will be replaced with grey porch paint – something that I can touch up when it needs it. There were three wall cabinets on the other side, and four floor cabinets plus the tool box. The toolbox is staying and just 2 of the floor cabinets. All of this is being placed at the front of the trailer now. I haven’t quite figured out where I am putting some of the other stuff just yet but I would like to keep most of it near the front.

The interior walls are in sad shape in some places, this is a vinyl or plastic coated luan 4×8 sheeting and so far I have not found the same thing in a home improvement store. The 48″ side door also has a piece of this that is ruined from rain water getting to it which was due to some door seal leakage. The door seal will be replaced of course and I am looking at a 4×8 vinyl, pebble surface sheet to replace the interior piece. One thing that I like in some of the newer trailers is the carpeted side walls. They will carpet them with indoor/outdoor carpet about 4 foot up from the floor and cap it with a piece of aluminum trim. This would be one way to eliminate some of the damage that has occurred to the side walls. Other bits and pieces of trim have come loose or fallen off completely. And while I have vent covers, the actual plastic vents are dry-rotted and crumbling so those need to be replaced as well.

I also started on the outside of the trailer. First off was to replace the 16 year old tires. Out of the 4, two of them were actually in decent shape. I kept one as a spare and gave the other to the guy doing the tire changes for me – he needed a spare for his race trailer too. While getting the tires changed, I repaired some damage to the electrical connectors on 3 of the 4 brakes and I also adjusted the brakes. I had never adjusted them and while I know they would slow the trailer down, it’s questionable as to how effective they were doing so. I pulled the fiberglass fenders off, cleaned them up and shot them with several coats of white Rustoleum thinned down about 25% with paint thinner. I also painted and coated the wheel boxes with a spray-on rubber undercoating. Next will be washing the entire trailer to get rid of the dirt and skin of faded paint. Most of the screws are rusted and I plan on replacing them all with a 3/16″ aluminum rivet. That is a long-term project as it is panel by panel. I am looking for a really good stainless steel screw to replace those that hold the trim in place – but so far I haven’t found what I am looking for yet. And I forgot, but late last fall I cleaned up the roof and resealed all of the edges with a Dicor Lap Sealant. My trailer has a one piece aluminum roof on it – which is great – so I only have to worry about the edges and where the vents go through the roof. I also picked up a cheap trailer tongue box from Harbor Freight. And yes it was cheap to buy and it is cheap in looks. I think before I mount it I am going to go ahead and paint it. What paint it has looks more like a primer coat. P0001235

I don’t have much in the way of pictures but I will take a few as I get things done. This picture is the open trailer after the last paint job sitting in front of the enclosed trailer that I am working on.


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