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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I bought a horse trailer! Got it through word-of-mouth from a 92 year old lady who bought it brand new 15 years ago and has not used it much. It is a 2004 McBride extra wide, extra tall two-horse bumper pull. We found out about it through a friend of a friend who knew I was looking - it had not been advertised for sale yet. I got it at a great price, but it hadn't been registered or inspected since 2015 (those are required yearly here). So first we had to sort out the registration issue (the owner couldn't find the most recent registration, only one from 2012, so we had to fill out a few extra forms for that), and get it inspected.

This lady was just delightful - she still rides! But she says she only walks now, and that her showing days are "probably over", hahaha. This is why she decided she didn't need the trailer anymore. So while it has gotten little use, the fact that it stood around for years means there are a few rust spots to touch up, but the frame is very solid, and there is nothing else wrong with it. The tires had to be replaced because the sun cracked them. I picked up a really nice set of 4 tires at a great price so they're going on this week. We hooked it up to our truck, and lights and brakes worked like a charm, even after sitting that long. But it will get a thorough inspection by a mechanic as is the law here anyway.

When we got it home, opened it up, and completely removed the rubber mats, we did discover that one board is quite soft on the end near the ramp. The other boards seem fine, but snow was seeping in from the sides (I am going to add weather stripping to prevent that from re-occurring). and dripping into that corner which was slightly lower where it was parked. I dug at the board with a screwdriver and scratched off what I could. The wood is still fairly solid under the top layer (I couldn't jab the screwdriver more than 1/16th of an inch or so), but I'd still feel better if we replaced this board. While we could probably use it as is, especially with the heavy rubber mats on top, but it's probably going to keep getting worse so while we're putting on Rust Check and have it all taken apart, we thought we might as well replace it. Only, we're stumped about putting a new board in. There is a metal lip on both ends (front and back) with very little wiggle room. How will we get the new board in there???

Attaching photos so you can see what I mean. You can see some surface rust on the frame underneath which we will treat with rust protector.
 

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First, congrats AA - that’s a good looking trailer and you’ll love having it and wonder how you could ever have done without one before.

Second, I would like to suggest that if you’re going to replace that one floor board (no argument there - it needs to go) that you replace the others as well. We’ve replaced floor boards a couple of times over the years and it’s not hard and it’s not too expensive. Please see following notes:

1. With any new floor board it’s a very good idea to put a water sealant (we used Thomson’s) on the entire board - all six sides. That greatly increases the longevity. You need to allow a day or two to paint it on and let it cure.

2. Floor boards are easy to take out. Cut the junky one with a saw and pull it out then the other ones pull out quite readily. Note you may have to cut a second one in the event you’re not getting enough wiggle room. A pry bar or crow bar may be needed. Will take an hour or so to complete.

3. Floor boards are easy to put in. The first bunch will be slipped in at maximum or correct lengthy ..the last board or maybe last two boards will require a combination of either ever so slightly shorter than the others and/or a tiny corner cut off (looks like a tiny triangle when removed). The last boards are done this way because if all boards are the exact same you run out of wiggle room (I’m sure there’s a physics term for that). Also, the shortened boards, if they are needed, should not be shortened so much they fall out of the channel. A hammer and scrap wood to tap boards into place will be required. Will probably take three or four hours to do.

4. Old floor boards can be recycled into various projects around the place so won’t go to waste.

5.if you do decide to go with replacing just that one board, I think you’ll probably still have to cut it out and make it slightly shorter with the corner cut out to get it back in.

6. This is just my personal preference but if you’re going to replace all boards, and the frame can handle it, perhaps you would consider going side to side instead of back to front with the boards. I think short boards provide better strength than long boards.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
First, congrats AA - you’ll love having it and wonder how you could ever have done without one before.


3. Floor boards are easy to put in. The first bunch will be slipped in at maximum or correct length..the last board or maybe last two boards will require a combination of either ever so slightly shorter than the others and/or a tiny corner cut off (looks like a tiny triangle when removed). The last boards are done this way because if all boards are the exact same you run out of wiggle room (I’m sure there’s a physics term for that). Also, the shortened boards, if they are needed, should not be shortened so much they fall out of the channel.
I really don't see how this can work as the board needs to get under both lips (front and back) and since it is the last board, there is no wiggle room. I was told we'd have to cut the metal lip on the back and re-weld it, which we can do, but if there is a better way, I'd love to know what it is... I can try your method, but I don't think it will work here.
 

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Actually, I take back that one statement about nipping the corner off and I take back the statement about going horizontal.

Now that I think about it, we cut a corner off at each end, same side, so we could wiggle the board in. I wish I was closer to you as I’d gladly come over and help. The first time we did I was extremely sceptical about it working but it did. I think one of the reasons it works is that boards are not snugged up to each other like you would do in house flooring as you do need gapping to let horse fluids out and to also allow for weather related expansion. By pushing the already in place boards as close together as possible, you gain a few more millimeters of openness for the last board/s to slip in and once they are in, you even out the boards to create equal gapping.

Looking at your trailer again, I do not think you could do horizontals as it looks like there are no channels on the sides to use to slip the boards in. But not to worry, it will still be good.
 

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Hi AA!
In the one foto of the bottom, notice how one, maybe two of the boards are a little shorter than the rest.
Cut all of the boards full length, and fit in as many as you can by installing then at an angle, and then pushing them straight. A small cut-off at two opposite corners will help with this. (see sketch)
When you get down to the last couple, trim them a little, and use a couple of big pry-bars to flex the board until you can get it past the steel. If you can't make it happen, trim a bit more.
Even if you have to trim off a full 3/4 - 1 inch, there will still be enough to hide the ends under the metal lip. Put countersunk screws thru the board and steel crossmember to hold it in place if you feel the need, altho once covered with the rubber mat, you'll never notice the small gap. If you do put in screws, use stainless steel or brass hardware so you can get them loose easily if the need arises.
The boards in this trailer appear to be rough-sawn Oak, and where you live, you shouldn't have any trouble finding more material. You may find that you need to have one board narrower than the rest to get a good fit. Unless you have a full sized table saw at home, have the lumberyard do this for you. My trailer has between 1/8 and 1/4 inch between the boards; this one looks more like 1/2 inch, and that's probably just fine, but I wouldn't go much wider than that.

(edit to add) The soft spot doesn't really look too bad. As a temporary fix, install a square of scrap Aluminum sheet over the damaged area, and extending onto the adjacent board; something about the thickness of a street-sign would be ideal. Put two small screws down into the wood to hold it there, and bury it under the rubber mat. Periodically inspect from below, but I wouldn't worry too much until you notice the rotten wood creeping down toward the bottom of the board(s). Then do them all.

(edit again) Fill both sides first, and save the final board for in the middle. You will be able to get the steel angle-iron to flex a little bit in the middle, but not at the end where it is welded.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ok, now I sort of get the idea of the two opposite corners cut off... and I could see how it would be a little easier to slide all the boards against each other, then spread apart again.

Thanks @Chevaux and Steve! We're going to try to find hemlock to replace the old floor, with oak being the next option. We'll definitely put something on to seal them all up. But honestly, they all look pretty good except for that one corner. And even that corner isn't that bad - I can't jab a screwdriver in there very deep. But I figure we might as well start with a fresh floor, though the aluminum plate would be a great temporary fix if we want to haul Harley to lessons before we can get this fixed. I know someone who could get us a piece easily (he's a welder). We'll have to see how much we can get done this week. My daughter is itching to haul Harley to lessons so she doesn't have to ride the lesson horses anymore! This will allow us to take him along every week and do as many shows as she wants. It's not as nice as the one we were renting, but it's ours! And it's a lot nicer than any of the other trailers we looked at in that price range, so I'm pretty happy with my purchase. The quality of a McBride isn't on par with Merhows or Sundowners, but it's what we can afford for now, and as long as it's safe, I'm happy.
 

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You can cut the rotten board with a saw to remove it, cut the replacement board a little bit shorter to get it to fit, and then using a drill, drill holes through the board and metal cross frames the board sits on. Use bolts with beveled (rounded heads) to secure the board to the frame with a nut underneath the frame. Use pressure treated pine if you can get it, and like Chevaux said, treat the wood with Thompsons water seal. NICE TRAILER!!
 

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If you're pulling out that wood, you could make a lovely rustic ledge-and-brace door from it! Personally, I'd dry it out, apply antifungal to the hole, dry it again, bog it up with wood filler, waterproof the whole floor, and expect another 20 years' service out of it, first. Really, really! You can keep on checking the structural integrity of the wood meanwhile. You can even fix the rubber mat on top so that there would be no risk even if an entire floorboard fell out. Which it won't!

And I don't say that lightly. Wood lasts, unless you've got termites or dry rot or borer etc. Unlike the metal floors in some of our local trailers here. One of those rusted through in someone's float that wasn't getting checked out on a regular basis, and the rubber mat on top was flimsy and not well attached. Result, the horse's leg went through, and abraded against the road, and the horse had to be put down. Complete horror story. Trailers need checking. But not everything needs to be new, all the time. It just needs to have structural integrity, and a decent mat properly fixed on top of it.

I suspect the hole in that corner would have come from manure or urine pooling there, against the door. Moisture seeps in, and microbes start to digest the wood. That's why you keep the wood dry. If you treat the wood with a surface waterproofer, make sure you do both sides so the wood doesn't warp - the underside as well, or atmospheric moisture / moisture from wet roads will cause the wood to swell on one side only, and buckle it.

Great instructions for floorboard replacement! :) A very DIY crowd here. :cool:
 

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Nice trailer.... :thumbsup:
The road now beckons that you don't have to rely on others... :smile:
FREEDOM!!!

It does appear that your boards were laid from edge to center from both sides...
Center board is cut shorter...

It is hard to see clearly, but watch the second board in next to the one with rot damage...
I think there is shadowing of wet/dry that has occurred to it although not as extensive a issue.
With the water damage and corner rot that is also the spot to check for the metal closure angle-iron to be damaged underneath and not seen.
Your mechanic can and should inspect that weld and area closely for weakness as a precaution.
He may need to cut the weld to do a inspection which at that moment would be the time to remove and replace all the boards if you are of that mind...
Do some prep work at home of sizing/pre-treating before taking the trailer in..if it needs to be weld cut, run the boards to the mechanic and do the deed before he neatly re-welds shut that corner completing his inspection.
Just clue him in to your plan and needs so he can be "in-the-know" and help you help you... :cool:
:runninghorse2:...
 

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I hope I'm not high-jacking this thread, but since some of you have mentioned Thompson's Water Seal........

Do you need to seal pressure treated lumber?

When I got my second hand (but nearly new) stock trailer, I really had the urge to put deck oil on the boards, to help preserve them. But more than one person told me, "No, you don't have to seal pressure treated lumber." Should I? Would it do any harm?
 

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Urine is pretty caustic and acidic....
Pressure treated lumber is for protection primarily against rainwater, puddling..and insect invasion.

Thompsons Water Seal applied...
Well, think about what the floor endures and what we can do to protect better our investment over time...
My barn is made from pressure treated lumber...
Carpenters told me to seal it one year after if was built so it stands up against the brutal of Florida sun and weather...
What to seal it with...they did mention product same as above and another similar they have seen good results with.
My trailer needs mats stripped and power washed and some floor care done this year...
Yes, it will probably see a roller and paint brush and application of something to the floorboards too...
And then under it I will go and do the same to the hidden bottom many forget that is exposed to all nasties and oft neglected. :frown_color:
Once allowed to completely air dry, the power-washed clean mats will go back in so the horses can make deposits on them again..:|
:runninghorse2:...
 

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I just wanted to say congrats on the new trailer, YAY!!!! It looks a lot better than my first trailer. Time to hit the road, you're going to love it.

Your daughter is probably pretty excited that she can take lessons on Harley too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I just wanted to say congrats on the new trailer, YAY!!!! It looks a lot better than my first trailer. Time to hit the road, you're going to love it.

Your daughter is probably pretty excited that she can take lessons on Harley too.
Thanks @LoriF ! And thanks to everyone else. I think it will do just fine for a number of years if we stay on top of the rust. My daughter is really excited, and can't wait to start training for show season now. It will be fun to go to the coach's barn with Harley and hang out with her friends there and their horses. We can even do "sleepovers" occasionally if she wants - the coach has extra room if we ever want to stay for a two-day clinic or something.

@horselovinguy , yes, the other boards look like they have had water at the end, though nothing really significant. I think I will leave them for now unless we have to cut the metal, in which case, I will probably redo the old floor. Great suggestion to inspect the joint closely once we get the board off. I am scraping down any rust, sanding it, then using Rust Converter on the worst areas, and Rust Check on the milder spots, then painting on top with rust paint. I have not done anything on the outside yet, just the inside because I figure it doesn't have to look perfect. There's very little rust, but we want to stay on top of it.

There is one area of concern, though it doesn't really affect the structural integrity. On the very top of the back, they installed the license plate and lights using a metal plate. They screwed this metal plate into the metal bar that provides the frame for the roof. In doing so, they lost the waterproof seal of the fiberglass roof, and the water got into the metal tube, running all the way down. There are visible holes at the top from the rust, and it's possible this is how the boards got wed. I have scraped off some rust, sprayed some Rust Check inside the hollow tubing and on the outside, and will sand and use body fill to fill the holes (you can see them in the photo below), but I don't want to plug it up until we have found a way to prevent water from getting in again. What would you do? the plate is rusty, but not about to fall off or anything, and it just holds up the license plate and back lights. Is there some kind of sealant I can apply to metal to prevent water from seeping in further? Or should I use body fill or fiberglass? I might as well get to the source of the problem before I do the surface fixing. I just don't understand how no one thought of the fact that they were putting holes in the metal tube, and that water would get trapped in there!
 

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AA, I'm not sure what you are asking.
Use Silicone Sealant to seal up the screw penetrations? Just put a dab in the hole and install the screw. Seal the rusty top cross-rail? Use a piece of rubber sheet under the steel plate, with more Silicone Seal if that looks like a good idea. Seal the fiberglass? New epoxy doesn't adhere well to old epoxy, even after sanding the old. If you have large holes in fiberglass, the usual route involves fabricating a new fiberglass piece considerably larger than the damaged area, and installing it over the hole with pop-rivets, then sealing the patch with . . . wait for it . . . Silicone Seal.
So. Get a caulk gun and a tube of the good GE Silicone, and go to town. Use the old-school stuff with a stinky "Acetic Acid Smell" cure; the "low-oder" types don't work as well IMO.
I will add that it is good practice when building with steel tubing, to put a drain hole where water might accumulate, ie at the low point where a vertical tube meets a horizontal structure. These often get plugged up with dirt and/or paint. If you really want to go overboard with prep, look for these spots, and be sure the drain holes are clear (if there were any to begin with), or if not, use an ~1/8 inch drill-bit to make them. In the case of your roof, this would involve a small hole at either side, right where the cross-piece is welded to the top of the sidewall. I hope this makes sense; I haven't had enough coffee yet this morning :)
 

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If I have a trailer that has never had had any wood replaced I always cut the angle going across the front in two pieces. I cut it two joints wide. In other words the second opening between the individual pieces of wood longitudinally. Then remove it and starting from that side lifting the front end of the outside piece and it will pick right out. To remove the rest just side them to the opening and remove the same way. When you have replaced the boards you want replace the section of angle and screw the vertical leg back in in place of welding so it can be removed in the future if your floor needs any attention. I don't like my boards to be cut any shorten than a 1/4" shorter than the overall opening. I always use treated yellow Pine as it is rot resistance and very strong.
 

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Automotive silicone sealant....
Or look at what campers and motor-homes use to re-caulk a roof with seams...
I'm not sure why you would attach a license plate up there in the first place...referring to hitting branches and tearing of the roof material & fiberglass membrane every single solid bump.
I would ask your mechanic about relocating that plate to one of the doors that swing or to the ramp which is a common area I see license plates attached on trailers here.
Some trailers have a plate holder attached to the wheel fenders, if it gets wet it is made to drain...

I would expect to find your trailer wiring inside that tube as none is visible in your pictures trailer inside...
Caution with what you sand, seal and fill holes with as that wiring is going to be fragile, some from age and mostly just because it is thin wire.
Have you ever done fiberglass work, true work where you use fiberglass cloth and then the activation chemicals to make exactly what you need fixed...
A lot of work but if you know what you are doing and have done prep correctly the fix & repair is forever and strong...painted to match or make a different color for contrast...

If you don't have a fly mask for Harley you might want to consider one...
You need to take a ride in that trailer with the front vent opened, side windows cracked/open and feel the force of the wind specifically he will have on his eyes...
If he has hay for traveling it will be in his face with the wind...protect his eyes from that and any debris that will come through those vents.
My trailer has those vents, they are wonderful for air movement and you can open or close as much or little as you want...
Even using the off-side vent creates the swirl...just something you might not have thought about, yet.

Also, today trailers often have far more visibility marking tape on them than yours probably does.
Most stores by me carry it in small length pieces that are reflective...you see it on every tractor-trailer and most larger trailers.
Here in the states anything over a certain weight is mandatory used...it makes good sense for it to be on all trailers, period.
Adhere to the back door in 2 height locations so those following during day or night by headlight get that reflective in your face...
Also consider the reflective CAUTION HORSES sign that can go on the ramp...same idea of be seen!
Put along the bottom edge of your trailer sides, a piece on the fender between the wheel space...
Your lights are marking trailer top...which leaves your sides vulnerable when trailering in darkness especially at the bottom...
You want to be seen, as visible as possible as so many don't see the trailer and do the pull out right into the trailer side...
Even consider putting a reflective stripe around the entire trailer as decorative, but serves a visibility issue too.
I know you plan to be on the road during daylight hours, but things happen, shows run late, mechanical issues occur that can put you moving at dawn, at dusk and later...be prepared and be safest as you can be.
Your taillights are legal and correct, if you though want better seen consider upgrade to LED...they do make a huge difference.
Look at a new car lights compared to anything more than 8 years old and factory original equipment...HUGE.
Road fog from snow, fog from rain...just inclement driving conditions...anything again to make you SEEN!
:runninghorse2:....
jmo...
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks @horselovinguy, I hadn't thought of reflective tape! You're absolutely right, I will put some all around. While the lights at the top work well, being as high up as they are, people might not notice them, or wonder what the heck is up there without realize there is a whole trailer under them. There is a CAUTION horses sign on it, but it is faded, so I was going to put on a new one anyway.

I also hadn't thought of debris flying in Harley's eyes. But I was wondering if I should add some fly netting to those vents... it's weird to me that they're just wide open. I have lots of old fly netting kicking around so could easily cut a shape to fit over them on the inside of the trailer if I can figure out a way to fix them in place. But meantime, the fly mask is a great idea. He wears one all summer.
 

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Nice trailer AA - and for what its worth our horses wear fly masks (Cashel light weight ones) in the trailer all summer. They never travel without wearing one. My trailer is enclosed with screens on all of the window but we have found that small particles get in through the screens and the extra layer to protect their eyes never hurts.
 

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how the heck do I start a chat or make a comment? I replied to you post because it was the first "reply" opportunity I saw
Hi Dave!

Basically, the "Quick Reply" link just posts your comments to the end of the thread you are viewing. If you want to reply, or comment on a specific post, use the "Quote" button. You can snip off irrelevant parts of the post you are quoting by simply selecting and deleting. The "QUOTE=davemcls;1970706971" and "/QUOTE" delineate the quoted text, but keep the [...] brackets where I have inserted "...".
If you want to upload fotos, choose "Go Advanced", and then "Manage Attachments".
To start a new thread, go to "FORUMS", select a sub-forum, then "Post New Thread"
You can send private messages, and there is a "chat" function in the menu bar, but I don't know how much use it gets; THF has members globally, and so no common time-zones.
There are other ways to get 'er done, but that covers the basics.
 
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