Getting the Trailer Fixed Up

Last year at one of the last Dressage shows of the year, I was stabled at the end of the barn.  I looked over toward the end of the day, and saw a woman loading horses into my exact model of trailer not 10 feet from me.
This post will be punctuated with "Before" photos.  Even before pressure washing.

I ran over and said, "Hey, I have a weird question for you.  I have that exact same trailer - have your back doors ever rotted out?"

"Oh my gosh, I am so glad you came up to me!  I was just taking pictures of the metal bracing system you have on your ramp to show my husband, I hope you don't mind.  Yes, my back doors and ramp have both rotted out."
The bars she was talking about.  These are after market.

"Who fixed them for you?" I said, "Yours look amazing and mine need done.  They're not even on the trailer right now."

She said her husband did them, he does all of the maintenance on her trailer, and that he's an auto body professional by day that does some moonlighting on the side.  She said he'd probably do mine as well, and we exchanged numbers with a text from her that said "It's Robin, your Trailer Twin!"

Poor, sad upper doors in the tack room.

Now that I'm either fixing my trailer up to sell it or fixing my trailer up to keep it, I decided to take her up on her offer, and dropped it off at her farm on Sunday.  I was just going to have him do the doors and was going to take it to the dealer for everything else it needs, but that was before I learned this guy is a freakin' early 00's KieferBuilt expert.

Things I learned about my trailer that I did not know before:
- The bar that goes through the springs at the bottom of the ramp was coming out.  Two whacks with a mallet fixed that.

- The doors and the ramp both are missing corner weatherstripping, so the side weatherstripping starts to fall off and the combination of both allows water to get into the doors.
I wish I had post-pressure washing pictures to share.  It looks awesome..

- On Saturday, I pulled up the dressing room floor to discover that it's totally rotted through in one small section on the front wall, but I couldn't figure out where the moisture came from.  The skylight was an obvious suspect, but the roof didn't leak when I sprayed water on it, and the rot was nowhere near the skylight.

TURNS OUT it's because KB didn't caulk between the diamond plate gravel guard and the body of the trailer on the nose.  Water gets between them and makes its way into the dressing room floor.  I am a pretty good "moisture where it shouldn't be" sleuth, but I never would've gotten that one.  People with aluminum trailers with gravel guards and wood floors, public service announcement: make sure that bad boy is caulked.
The location of the rot is just to the right of those two bag chairs hanging on the wall.

Side note:  This is a good reminder to pay attention to moisture issues and floor quality everywhere, not just in the horse compartment.  I knew there was a small amount of moisture getting into the dressing room, but I had no idea how bad it was til I pulled the carpet up.

The offending not-caulked gravel guard.

- KB liked to use a type of metal that rusted in their fittings, leaving ugly streaks all over the place.  Except in one place, my trailer has stainless steeling fittings so I'm thankfully immune from that.  His wife's KB is not.

- The butt bars are made of aluminum, and the rings will eventually wear straight through from all the metal-on-metal action and the butt bar will fail.  Mine are just starting to get a groove - I would've never known about that unless he showed me, but now I'll be keeping a close eye on it.



Needless to say, after talking to him and seeing his home shop, the quality of his work on his wife's KieferBuilt and on his mint condition 50's Bel Air (swoon) I felt pretty confident in saying yes when he offered to do the work I had intended to have done at the dealer.

The full list:

- Rebuild and reinstall back upper doors with brand new weatherstripping, including corner
- Add corner weatherstripping on ramp.
- Install a new fender
- Remove JenJ's Texas plate that's riveted onto the trailer (sidenote: never got pulled over.  #winning) and put my plate on the new fender
- Replace subfloor in dressing room
- Move spare tire to outside of trailer (my only non-repair request.  I want more space in that dressing room.)
- Repack bearings and check brakes (will send me a photo of the pad that's left)
- Fix broken rivet in back upper corner that's causing the fiberglass roof to pull away from the body (brand new issue as of the haul up there.  Nothing like looking in the side mirror and seeing a 4' section of trim flapping in the breeze 45 minutes from home.)

All that had to happen anyway, his rate is much cheaper than the dealer's rate, and I feel good about throwing cash at a fellow Indy equestrian's family, so it's a win all the way around.

I can't wait to see what it looks like when it's all fixed up!

18 comments:

  1. That's so awesome that you met someone so knowledgeable and able to sort you out cheaper than the dealer!

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    1. Totally. I plan to give him a good tip regardless of what he charges me. People like that are invaluable.

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  2. How awesome is it to find someone like that to help!! And, holy cow, trailers are a lot to think/worry about/fix!!!

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    1. That is so, so true. Even one without LQ feels like a second house to maintain, and as a new trailer owner it feels very hard to stay on top of all the things that could go wrong. I haven't really ridden in a week because I spent a total of 12 hours pressure washing it over three days, then another 4 getting it to the trailer guy's place. Worth it in the end though.

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  3. So great to have an expert to call up like that!

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    1. Totally. Makes me feel a lot better about this trailer.

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  4. Oh man, how cool that you met this couple!!

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    1. Yeah! Pretty awesome chance encounter.

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  5. You totally hit the jackpot with this guy. That trailer's gonna be like new!

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    1. I did, it's a match made in heaven that's for sure.

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  6. Hmm, well that made me slightly glad that I didn't get a Kieffer when I was trailer shopping!! That's awesome that you met that couple and that the husband can do all the work.

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    1. They're good trailers, especially the newer ones, but they did seem to cut a couple corners in the early 00's. The farm's 6H head to head though is amazing. I think it's a 2012.

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  7. Trailer restorations are fun!!

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  8. Sounds like an excellent connection made there 👍

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  9. While you are at it, have you thought about asking him to lower the chest bars? T

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    1. I'm holding off on that. I'm going to try taking the divider out and shipping him loose now that I'll have back doors so he can't jump out. It will also be easier to sell if I don't lower them, and I'm still on the fence about that.

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    2. You could see if you can make them adjustable if you do need to move them and still want to sell in the future. Three adjustments for short and tall horses would be a great selling feature.

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  10. What a great find! We have a local trailer place that charges great prices and does a great job, so much nicer than going to a dealer

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