Repainting Trailers
Sat, 28 Aug 1999 12:50:24 -0700

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West Wight Potter Website at URL
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I last repainted my trailer in 1970. I don't think the "Allis-Chalmers
Orange" paint I used was actually Rustoleum, but it must have been good
stuff to last so long. I know nothing about metallurgy and such
(non-arrogant disclaimer), but I'm getting the impression that zinc may be
the magic ingredient. Zinc chromate has long been used as primer on
aluminum aircraft.

Champion Trailer sells "95% Zinc Rich Cold Galvanized Spray Primer" for
$6.95 in an aerosol can. "Use as touch up for galvanized boat trailers.
Superior adhesion and corrosion resistance. Unique electro-galvanic
'self-healing' process. Pre-heat area to be sprayed for best results."
Spray cans would be an expensive way to go, but if that primer could be
found in a gallon can, it might be the best stuff. One could use a heat
gun, heat up a section, brush on the paint, and eventually end up with the
near equivalent of a hot-dip-galvanized trailer.

Iron oxide is used in the red auto primers and may have been the effective
ingredient of the "Allis Chalmers Orange."

The Champion catalog also has a product called "Chemprime - Rust Solvent,
Rust Inhibitor, Rust Convertor." It converts rust into an
iron-zinc-strontium cellular film which is bonded to the parent metal and
ready for priming and painting. Increases rust resistance of a painted
surface up to 300% if pretreated with Chemprime." It's available in 1 pt
spray bottle ($3.95), 1 qt spray bottle ($5.95), and 1 gal jug ($14.95).
Orchard Supply Hardware sells an etching solution that may or may not be
the same thing.

For the task of removing old paint and rust, there are places that have big
tanks where they can immerse an entire auto chassis to chemically strip
paint and etch to prepare for repainting. There is one at the far end of SF
Bay, but I imagine that it would be very expensive, and then there is the
problem of getting the trailer frame up there and back. I don't think I
will pursue that possibility.

I'll post this to the list in the hope that there are some paint or
metallurgy experts here who will express some humble opinions on the

All the new trailer parts I ordered from Champion Trailer arrived Thursday
and Friday, even quicker than the week and a half they promised, and the
Spindle Lube axle was made to order to my dimensions. . The woman who took
my telephone order was very knowledgeable, knew exactly what I was talking
about, and stopped me from ordering the wrong springs. Excellent service
and reasonable prices. In addition to the axle and bearings, I bought new
U-bolt kits, new hubs, and new springs - everything more subtantial than
the original. The boat may get a harder ride, but I'll have more confidence
in the 32-year-old trailer with all new suspension and rolling parts. The
bill from Champion was $276, including shipping cost. I plan to buy new
wheels and tires locally, probably from West Marine.

[Harry Gordon has no financial or personal connections with Standard Trailer.]

My wife has never understood my filing system. It requires keeping anything
I might need on the top of the pile.


Harry Gordon
P14 #234, Manatee
Mountain View, CA

>Harry: not a renewal job, but it is time for me to be thinking about
>painting the trailer. I had previously gotten some information from
>Rustoleum that looked interesting, but it's "lost" in my filing system - not
>an uncommon fate, since my filing system involves neither "filing" nor
>When I emailed Rustoleum for information, I go the following strange reply:
>"Thank you for contacting Rust-Oleum.
>Unfortunately, we do not currently have paint that can be recommended for
>any kind of water immersion situations. After a while of immersion and the
>salt water the product will eventually fail, they are not "marine grade"
>paints. I would recommend checking perhaps with an auto/boat parts store
>and see if they can make a suggestion.
>Skye Wildey
>Consumer Service Representative"
>This from a company which prides itself on it's maritime history. Needless
>to say, I will follow up on this one. I also have a couple of other queries
>out and will let you know what - if anything - I find
>I see that you're starting some afternoon sailing sessions. I'm envious,
>but in spite of that wish you the enjoyment of them.
>Best -- dwf
>-----Original Message-----
>From: <>
>To: Dennis W. Farrell <>
>Date: Friday, August 20, 1999 00:03
>Subject: Re: tongue weight and length
>>Thanks, Dennis. Are you also about to undertake a trailer renewal job?
>>>Harry: I just sent the following to Rustoleum. I'll share the answers
>>>when/if they reply. -- dwf
>>>I'm looking for recommendations for painting a sailboat trailer which is
>>>used in salt water. This will be a "driveway paint job" - I don't have
>>>access to sprayers, stripper vats, sand blasters, etc.
>>>What paint and paint schedules do you recommend for maximum rust
>>>Thanks -- dwf