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  1. #1
    Platinum Member
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    2006 Kubota L3400

    Default Horse Trailer Floor Rebuild

    i just bought a 1979 2 horse trailer and figure it's a good time to replace the boards - start fresh. the existing boards are 2x10 and i am wondering if i should replace with the same size or go with a 2x8 or 2x6 (maybe even 2x4's). There are 3 angle iron cross beams about 3ft apart. What size boards will give the floor the most strength? Also there is a 2x6 peice of metal that runs across the front of the boards at the very front of the trailer. this is starting to show pretty bad rust and there are a couple areas where it's starting crack. I was thinking of using a piece of sheet metal starting up about 10" from the floor, running it down to the floor then across the rusted out section and attaching it the new floorboard overlapping 4-6". (I have mats to cover all of this). Does this sound like a reasonable fix? Are there other options that might be better?

    thanks for any input.

    cheers,
    bigballer

  2. #2
    Veteran Member LarryD's Avatar
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    Whidbey Island, WA.
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    TC33D

    Default Re: Horse Trailer Floor Rebuild

    Can you post a picture of the section that's rusting? I don't think I would replace structural members with sheet metal, but if it's only holding the end of the boards in place it should be alright.

    Having said that, I would make sure if I was moving the wife's horse, NOTHING went wrong with the trailer.
    Make welfare as hard to get as a building permit

  3. #3
    Veteran Member weldingisfun's Avatar
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    West Bell County, Texas
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    Mahindra 4500 4WD w/FEL, and Scotts S2048 lawn tractor

    Default Re: Horse Trailer Floor Rebuild

    Take a look a these sites, you may get some help for this project from one of them.
    Welding Projects - Welding Projects Message Board

    Weld Talk Message Boards - Powered by vBulletin

  4. #4
    Old Timer Soundguy's Avatar
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    ym1700, NH7610S, Ford 8N, 2N, NAA, 660, 850 x2, 541, 950, 941D, 951, 2000, 3000, 4000, 4600, 5000, 740, IH 'C' 'H', CUB, John Deere 'B', allis 'G', case VAC

    Default Re: Horse Trailer Floor Rebuild

    The bigger boards will be stronger.. remember.. a horse could get a hoof on a 2x4 and if turned right, could go right thru.

    Having mats on top of the boards is a great idea for a couple reasons.. it evens out the pressure and takes some of the strain off the horses legs.

    I'd put back what came out..

    Soundguy

  5. #5
    Super Member schmism's Avatar
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    Peoria IL
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    New holland TC(33)

    Default Re: Horse Trailer Floor Rebuild

    have any small bandsaw mills in your area.

    They often cut flooring for trailers. The nice thing is you can get full 2" thick oak or other hardwood for the floor.

    if not, 2x10's are the way to go. (think about standing on a 2x10 plank and a 2x4 plank spanning the same 6', which would you like to stand on!)
    Steve - TC33D 4x4 FEL, dual rear remotes with toys

  6. #6
    Platinum Member
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    2006 Kubota L3400

    Default Re: Horse Trailer Floor Rebuild

    thanks for the replies so far. i will see if the mill can cut out some actual 2x10's, if not, i'll try to find the hardest wood at the local lumber yard. As far as the rust, I have uploaded some pics in hopes to give a better idea of what i have to deal with. of course the goal is to make sure the horse being hauled is as safe as possible whether it's 2 miles or 200 miles. I should have known this was going to be a bigger project than anticipated. Even so, I feel I got a good deal on it and figure even if I put $500 into it I can easily get that back out when it comes time to upgrade. Not to mention this type of project is new and interesting and i get to learn something in the process.

    This is looking at the front of the trailer from the inside, i marked LIP with an arrow where the original floorboards rested. They also rest on the piece of angle iron which is back about a foot but they were originally screwed down on the lip


    Closeup of the middle section:


    A bit more zoom on the middle section - you can see the deterioration good in this one:


    I set the old board on the lip to give you an idea what it looked like with the floor in place:


    here is one from underneath - the drawn in red is the floorboard. funny didn't realize i was getting my tractor in the pic! :-) Oh the blue tape is holding some bubblegum looking sort of stuff, i guess this was the previous owners attempt to fill the rusting holes.


    And this is from the front underneath as well. the section where the wiring is attached is the main part of the frame, the lip section is welded onto that. from what i can see the main section is ok.

  7. #7
    Gold Member dbdartman's Avatar
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    central New Jersey (No. Burlco)
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    JD4400

    Default Re: Horse Trailer Floor Rebuild

    I'd cut out & replace that angle iron "lip" & seriously consider replacing the front cross beam. I know the cross beam replacement is approaching "major job" size, but considering that's what holds the front of the trailer up, plus the front of the floor, I'd rather know it's good than HOPE it's good. I take it the tongue is welded directly to this front cross beam? If so, even more reason to replace it. If the pics are any judge, there's some significant rust in it.

  8. #8
    Old Timer Soundguy's Avatar
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    ym1700, NH7610S, Ford 8N, 2N, NAA, 660, 850 x2, 541, 950, 941D, 951, 2000, 3000, 4000, 4600, 5000, 740, IH 'C' 'H', CUB, John Deere 'B', allis 'G', case VAC

    Default Re: Horse Trailer Floor Rebuild

    Good idea.. some of those trailer floors are actually made to fit rough cut lumber, and fit much better with that.

    Soundguy

    Quote Originally Posted by schmism
    have any small bandsaw mills in your area.

    They often cut flooring for trailers. The nice thing is you can get full 2" thick oak or other hardwood for the floor.

    if not, 2x10's are the way to go. (think about standing on a 2x10 plank and a 2x4 plank spanning the same 6', which would you like to stand on!)

  9. #9
    Silver Member Coyote's Avatar
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    Yanmar 2000B & Skat Trak 1300D skid steer

    Default Re: Horse Trailer Floor Rebuild

    Throwing this out as a warning....go as stout as you can! My wife hauls horses a lot, shows almost every weekend. We know a couple that bought a used single horse trailer...while at highway speeds the floor gave way partially and at 55 MPH the horse was being dragged from the knees down on his front legs. The most horrible scene you can imagine! Still upsets my stomach typing this. He had to be put down immediately but not until after hours of suffering! Go with oak planks not pine, 2 - 3 inches thick, replace all rusty cross members. Don't skimp, go stout!
    Coyote Creek

  10. #10
    Elite Member
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    the Steernbos (Holland)
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    Zetor 3011, Zetor 5718

    Default Re: Horse Trailer Floor Rebuild

    Our horse trailer is built from a galvanised frame and multiplex board, i think it's just 18 mm. The floor is covered in rubber mats so that horses dont dig holes during the boring waiting hours on a horse trial, when you're there with 2 horses in 2 different classes with 2 or 3 hours inbetween...

    At the trailer manufacturer i work, we used to pour a liquid rubber over the wood. If you dont have access to this, i'd go with hardwood not just board, even though they sell board as waterproof, horse wee is very hard on the board glue.

    1" hardwood supported every 1 1/2 foot is more than enough. At work we now have a 19 ton semi lowbed in the welding shop. It is going to get an 28 mm hardwood floor. 25mm is 1" so 28mm is slightly over 1"

    the 3" hardwood planks other people suggested, is what contractors use to put under the tracks of 40 ton draglines, when working in peat fields. It doesnt make sense to put that in your horse trailer. If stoutness is so important, why not use whole trees as a floor ?? Oh wait, it's supposed to be a horse trailer, not a logging trailer

    About the steel work, i suggest to do the same thing as i wish i had done when rebuilding my brothers trailer: keep the aluminium sideboards and axles, throw away everything else. It has cost me lots of hours to weld new crossbars in, cut out some more steel that wasnt worth keeping when i wire brushed it, and weld some more new channel in.

    When you start replacing rusted through material, you end up replacing more and more pieces, and when you're done, you'd probably wish just like i did, that you had thrown it all away and used it as a jig for a new frame from new steel. The new steel also welds way better than old rusted or painted.

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