August 8, 2012

Fenders & running boards

The fenders that came with the Harbor Freight trailer were two things; very ugly and very impractical.  So it was top priority to find a more attractive fender that we could actually install on the trailer ourselves.  In researching styles, we found a bunch of really cool retro designs we liked a lot.  Unfortunately the three digit price tag per fender was a bit more that we were hoping to spend.  Darrell finally found these 12" fenders that were the right size and the right price.  The design was a little simpler that what we originally wanted, but the galvanized finish really tied in with everything else we had done to date.

To attach them, Darrell first marked out the height of the fenders on the metal frame of the trailer with a pencil to give us their rough positioning - this ended up being about 2” above the wheel.  By removing the wheels he was able to access the frame and pre-drill the holes required for the fender brackets (which we had to buy separately here).  After the bracket holes were drilled into the frame, they were mounted loosely using stainless bolts (1 per fender bracket).  With the brackets in place, he then laid the fenders top of them to mark out the locations of the bolt holes that needed to be drilled in the fenders.  The holes were then drilled and the fenders loosely attached to the brackets using carriage bolts and nuts.  Prior to tightening everything down we decided to add an additional piece of aluminum to the sidewall of the trailer (between the finish wall and the tire).  The bottom of piece was cut flush with the trailer frame, and the top followed the curve of the fender, slipping up between the lip of the fender and the bracket.  This would protect the wood side walls from any debris or damage while we were driving.

After the fenders were installed, we moved onto some running boards.  We really didn’t like the look of the red trailer fame against the richness of the okoume.  We had thought of using some type of wood to cover the frame and add to the ‘woody’ style we had initially dreamed about in the very beginning stages of design.  After a trip to Home Depot, we decided on 1x6 cedar boards.  Though not the prettiest of woods, we wouldn’t need to treat, stain or really do anything to them besides attach them to the trailer and they would be a nice contrast against the dark side walls.

Before installing them, we first used a router to cut a simple bullnose into the top edge of the wood.  We had decided that at the back of the trailer, we would cover the trailer frame and wood frame with aluminum, so no cedar was needed back there.  This aluminum wrapped the corner of the side walls, and the cedar would run straight to the back edge of the trailer.  Darrell had already installed the running board at the front, so at this point we only had to do the sides.

W first had to cut the boards to length.  Since they weren’t going to run behind the fender, we had to cut the boards to the shape of the fenders.  This was a little challenging since they were already installed, but we managed.  The cedar was then glued and screwed into the wood sidewalls of the trailer. 

After trimming down the long sides at the front, we used an elliptical sander to round the edges to match the top and back.

With these done, we got to install the markerlights.  Because these weren’t being installed directly into a metal frame, we had to tape a grounding wire we had run to the back of the light.  Luckily this worked like a charm!

1 comment:

  1. Great to meet you in Michigan! What a well designed, well executed trailer! I hope you post some pictures of your further adventures.

    Kathy and Fred