Steve and I started some major stripping down of the trailer (who we've aptly named "Rusty", yes we name all our vehicles). We removed all the trim, the aluminum gravel guards and started removing caulking that has probably been there since 1995. It appears previous owners just caulked over the bad caulk instead of removing it and doing it properly.
We started with the roof, removing the trim and scraping the caulk and rusty areas in preparation for rust conversion. We are going to fully seal the roof and work our way down, then work on the inside of the trailer.
The worst was the seam above the tack room. To get all the material out we used wire brushes and razor blades. You don't have to bring it down to metal but you have to get any loose material away for the rust converter to work properly. In order to re-caulk seams, the area has to be clear of the old caulk to make a good bond.
The scariest area was under the gravel guard. I'm surprised the guard wasn't caulked along the edge to prevent seepage. Since it wasn't, this area was a perfect place for water to just sit on the metal. It looks bad but it's still just surface rust we'll have to sand down a bit later.
I want to replace the gravel guards with diamond plating, how nice will that look? The fender gravel guards weren't as bad as the front of the trailer but they will need some work. Diamond plating will look awesome here too!
While Steve was working on roof areas I couldn't reach, I worked on removing the reflective taping on the sides. I'll get new strips to put on after the paint job. These came off easily with a razor blade but I'll have to get some Goof Off to remove the sticky residue.
After all was said and done, we removed a lot of stuff off the trailer and have prepared the roof for rust converter treatment, sealing of the seams and then a roof coating. I'll get into that during each post as I continue with each step. It feels good to be finally working on this trailer. Can't wait to see it finished!
And as a recommendation for those with new steel trailers. Maintain it!!!! Check paint annually and touch it up! Remove and re-caulk regularly to prevent water getting into seams. Seal off any holes created when you add trim or hay racks to the roof. This trailer is still in good condition. This is just surface rust that hasn't hurt the integrity of the trailer. My husband keeps reminding me, we have rust covered battleships still in commission since WWII!!!! People tend to freak out about rust and don't really understand when it is something to worry about and when it's just something to address before it becomes an issue. I've learned a lot about these preconceived notions about rust but still feel it would be better to prevent it in a newer trailer for sure.
Stay tuned as I continue with further steps in the renovation process!!!!