Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Making our "Dream Home" - Camper Trailer Style Part 1

Our camper trailer was just what we wanted, tough, reliable and in good condition for a second hand trailer.  But with everything, there is always some things that just don't seem quite right or don't exactly fit our needs.  As mentioned in our previous trailer post, we were looking at making a few improvements.  Our main areas of focus were the stone guard, the electrical system and the wheels and tyres.  This Part 1 post will focus on the the stone guard and also some work we did on the paint work.

The original stone guard on the trailer was pretty flimsy and we were concerned as to how long it would last.  Our concerns were realised pretty quickly as the first time we took the trailer into the bush, the stone guard supports cracked.  We decided to do a bit of a patch up job with a length of metal wired to the frame to keep it in place while we researched our options for a new guard.

In the end we decided on a Stone Stomper.  Whilst expensive this seemed like a good option to protect the trailer, the drawbar and also the rear of the landcruiser.  We measured it all up, ordered it online and it arrived a week or so later.  Fitting was relatively easy and it looked pretty good and the company was great to deal with. 

So of course we had to try it out.  We decided on a long weekend away to Bulburin National Park about 120km South of Gladstone.  We hooked the trailer up and set off early.  We arrived at the main campground at about 9.00am and it looked okay, but we had heard there were nice spots along the track as well, so decided we had time to explore and try to find a more secluded camp spot.  This was our big mistake!  We starting towing the trailer along the track and soon realised that this wasn't going to be an easy drive.  There had been a bit of rain overnight and the track was slippery with no where to turn around we were committed on a 30km track.  The trailer and car were performing beautifully and while slippery it was all going okay. Until we got to a steep incline, with a gully running through the middle.  We made it to the gully, but didn't have enough traction to make it the rest of the way up so it was time for the winch.  We winched the landcruiser and trailer through the gully and it came out okay, but it did drag slightly, but we were through and as we unhooked the winch we checked the trailer and realised a couple of big holes had ripped in the Stone Stomper.  Not good for a brand new stone guard.  At only about 2 km in to the trip, the day continued to get harder and harder and 9 hours, 4 winches and 3 trees that we had to cut and drag off the track, later we finally rolled back into the same camp we were at 9am that morning.  It was an epic day and really tested our team work in a remote area, but unfortunately the Stone Stomper was in disrepair!  Now it wasn't really the Stone Stomper fault, as we should of removed it from the trailer before taking on that epic track, but it did tell us that it probably wasn't suited to the type of touring that we do.

So it was back to the drawing board, what to do about a stone guard.  In the end we decided to get Lacey's Trailers in Rockhampton to custom make us one, that was suitable for the type of 4WDing that we do. Lacey's were servicing our trailer, so we asked them to fabricate as heavy duty stone guard at the same time.  Our next post will focus on exactly what they came up with for us.

During the times that we had some issues with stone guards, the trailer did sustain some stone chips, as we did have to tow the trailer along gravel on the way home from Bulburin and we also got a few with the flimsy original guard.  So we decided we should give the trailer a touch up coat, to make it look better but also prevent rust forming.  So a wash and clean up, some fine sandpaper and coat of kill rust later, the trailer came up looking just like new.

Tent pole box with stone chips

Electronics box with stone chips

Draw bar before and after.  Outside rails with stone chips, middle rail re-sprayed.
We used White Knight Rust Guard Hammered Finish and it matched the trailer paint perfectly.

We think the results speak for themselves and it was definitely a worthwhile afternoon job.

Tent pole box re-sprayed

Electronics box and draw bar re-sprayed

Don't miss our next post, were we outline the new and improved stone guard and some other improvements we have made to the trailer.

Not long to go now, time is flying. I have finished up at work and Mat only has until Friday, wow it is all happening, it is really going to happen!!

Posted by Jess


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