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JohnD

Replacement Decking For A Trailer

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All,

Once again, may I consult the Faculty of Engineering, Sideways University, please?  Especially the Materials Sciences Department.

 

I have a Brian James car transporter trailer, a "Minno sport" which is in excellent condition, except for the decking.

It was supplied with plywood sheets between the wheel tracks, covered with a nonslip material, and the plywood is rotting/rotten around the edges.

See pics.

 

This decking is most useful, as you can walk on it, and carry non-car objects with ease.

 

The trailer, its frame, the spare wheel rack and the wheel tracks are all galvanised steel, while the mudguards etc are Polypropylene mouldings.

What material could I use to replace the decking between the wheel runs?

 

Marine ply?   It lives in the open, and even marine ply might suffer as the original sheets have in about ten years

Steel tread plate, gavanised?  Ideal for longevity, but very heavy!

I favour aluminium tread plate?   Light, but what about galvanic corrosion? 

 

On the last, I read of fasteners with a "Geomet" coating, that can avoid such galvanic problems.  Any with experience of such, or similar?

And if those don't corrode, would I need to put something between the alloy and the steel?    Plastic blocks?   What material to use?

 

Thanks!

John

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HI John, ally tread plate on rubber strips to isolate from the zinc in the galvanizing - use 316 stainless fixings as should be no galvanic reaction between any of the metals that touch one another directly - will not be any cheaper than replacing the wood with proper decking material - if I remember correctly tis bloody expensive in its own right :blink:

the proper way to do it (and it last) is to put protective channel around the edges of the wood - fully sealed on to stop the water ingress on the edge's of the sheet and also protect them from damage.

 

dave

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Ah!  "protective channel around the edges of the wood - fully sealed on to stop the water ingress"

That's clearly what was lacking, and if I can put hat on new plywood decking, would acheive lightness and could be long life.

 

But searching for ply and channeling, I found this stuff, "Ecoply": http://www.slpw.co.uk/ecoply.php

About twice as expensive as ply, but no need for the channeling or sealant, impervious to wet and rot, and comes with a non-slip surface.

 

I'll investigate.   Thanks!   As usual collegiate dioscussion leas to new ideas!

John

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I was going to suggest Ecoply (or I would have if I could have discovered what it was called) as I've seen it used to great effect instead of marine ply on pump enclosures.  ISTR that if you compare it with top quality marine ply the price difference is not that great.

 

Nick

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Hi John

 

The material generally used for trailers is phenolic ply. It is ply impregnated with a resin and has a textured none slip one side and smooth on the other. The proper quality stuff is expensive. There is a cheaper coated ply that is about that I was told to avoid as it wouldn't last, so you would need to research the correct coated ply from someone who will guarantee it.

 

Mark

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John, I await with anticipation to see what your eventual result is.

 

I likewise have a trailer to recover, a 16 foot indespension flatbed (with sides and ramps) where one piece of plywood had vanished! (We will not mention nearly 7 tonnes of wood that caused the demise mind you).

 

Cheers,

 

Phil

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Just had a helpful reply to my enquiry to the Ecoply makers, inc. the name of a local stockist and advice on using it. Ill go and see some, talk to the shop and decide. Have say, it sounds ideal! Resistant to weathering, rot, and chemicals, strong,easily worked with woodworking tools, and made from recycled plastic rubbish!

John

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Never heard of Ecolpy before but looks like it could be a good alternative. Phenolic Ply is expensive and I believe  the edges need treating when cut other wise the rain etc. gets in and rots it. I have owned a Brian James trailer for about 20 years and removed the decking a few years ago as in places it had become like a Biscuit. I want to replace it but have been put off by the cost.

 

The only concern i would have with the Ecolpy would be if the surface had enough grip to walk on, especially when wet. Interested on what you find out.

 

Mark

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John,

 

May I also suggest checking if they do bulk discounts at all?

 

They may not have anything suitable, but if they do see what they can price with an additional 10 square metres (or 100 square feet if you prefer that), if it works out better price then we can come to an arrangement?

 

Cheers

 

Phil

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Excellent idea, Phil!

 

The standard sheet is 19mm thick, 2.440m x 1.220m (full size 8ft x 4ft) or just under 3m^2

I need 900 x 1640mm, so two such sheets., or 6m^2

 

Mark, they make a sheet with a "non-slip" surface at a slightly higher price, £57.35.    And colours otsher than Grey for another premium.

If you want some, and assuming that all trailers are more or less similar (mine is rather small, only just big enough for the Vitesse - it was built for Minis, but anyway) so another 6m^2?

 

Phil, how much would you need - is it for a trailer? We might achieve no more than six sheets, 18m^2, unless more come on board.

 

And I fear that there might not be much of a discount.  Their standard price for a palletload - 40 sheets -  is only £2.35 a sheet less than the price for one sheet!  At that rate we might save 35pence a sheet, and we won't get that discount for six!

 

I have another two events this year, and the decking is not so bad as to need replacement urgently.  I'll not start work on this until the winter, so I'm not in a hurry to order.

 

John

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If you fancy a trip to Hove.....

Visited the local amenity tip yesterday. And couldn't help but notice 6 sheets of that phelonic ply (about 4x3 from a quick glance). each had a pair of handles attached, looks like it may have been from some sort of storage thingymajig.

 

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Thanks, zetec!  But Hove?  That would cost more to get to than a couple of sheets of Ekoply!

I visited the local shop that is supposed to stock Ekoply, to discover that they don't.  So I asked the makers for a sample, which arrived today.   It's just three inches square, which makes its ability to withstand moderate loads, like me walking on it, difficult to assess. but I put it in a vice and hit it with a hammer.     Nothing!    So I did it again, as hard as I could with a soft faced hammer.    It withstood this crude test without any mark, damage or distortion.     The sample has a 'non-slip' surface, with small plus signs, embossed on the surface and roughened.  Seems to me ideal!

Removing one of the coach bolts that secure the ply, to check thickness, found that it was markedly rusted, despite having a galvanised head.     Would stainless steel bolts be suitable?  They will not be structural, so no great strength required, but how does stainless react with galvanised?

John

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You may have been wanting to visit the best seaside town in the UK? Sample the delights of the nightlife? Fish and chips on the lovely pebble beach, that sort of thing. 

But odd how stuff turns up at the most unexpected of times. It was right in front of me as I got out the car.

https://www.galvanizeit.org/images/uploads/drGalv/Stainless_Steel_in_Contact_with_Galvanized_Steel.pdf

Looks like stainless fasteners should be OK. Unless I read that wrong. (just looked at the little table)

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John,

 

Sorry for the delay, been busy discharging cargo in Israel for last couple of days, and over a week now fighting a recalcitrant fire detection system that simply refuses to be fixed (ships general alarm going off several times a day and night, every day and night gets very wearing!!).

 

I need approx 10 square metres for the big flatbed, however it has also just occurred to me that I wanted to redo the ramps etc on my old transporter before I sell it, so that would be an additional say 3 square metres. So 13 in total.

I have (if this forum works with a smartphone) attached a pic of the big trailer for reference (the sides come off if I use it as transporter!)

 

Cheers,

 

Phil

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Since my last I've sourced the Ekoply decking and some stainless dome-headed bolts, nuts and washers.

Over Xmas, I stripped out the old decking.     Many of the nuts were seized on the old bolts, which turned in the soft ply, so I had to cut them out.   After cleaning up the frame, it was in near perfect condition, no deterioration of the galvanising except where the mild steel bolts had rusted, so I wired brushed those places and sprayed them with some zinc-rich, weld-through primer.

The Ekoply is easy to work.   I cut the panels to fit with a hand ripsaw, to get straight lines, and fitted them to mark out and drill the bolt holes.     I was happy to use stainless fasteners here, as they only stop the deck bouncing about, it's held up by stout flanges on the sides and ends, so the bolts aren't load bearing.   And the trailer looks great, almost like new!   Looking forward to using again in the coming season.

Here's some pics, the restored trailer, the front and back of the decking, the old, rotted marine-ply and some corroded bolts.

 

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Edited by JohnD

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Alan,

This model of trailer (BJT) uses hold-downs that have a special t-keys, to lock into the perforations, so that each wheel is held down by the tyre, with no risk of damaging anything behind the wheel, out of sight.   Today, BJT uses wheel decking perforated as you show and different hold-down keys, but same system.  Most effective.

John

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It's all very well doing cosmetic restoration on the decking, the under bits need attention as well

On my recent trip to Spa, I was concerned by the 'snatching' I experienced from the trailer, when anything other than gentle braking got a smack up the backside from the load behind.    I suspected a failing damper on the hook, and  I can juuuuuuuuuust compress it by hand, when it should be almost incompressible.    But lets check the brakes too, as the tow car did seem to be doing all the stopping work.

That turned out to be a bit scarey.    On three out of four leading shoes, the brake material had detatched and was floating around the drum, where it hadn't jammed in the adjuster.   See pic.  That fully accounts for the poor braking, and could the snatching too

I'm off to try and get some new shoes, and it's going to be a messy weekend, cleaning up the very rusty drum/hubs.  Then I'll assess the original damper in use.

Better maintenance required!

John

 

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Edited by JohnD

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At least you checked them John after you noticed something amiss, too many people just shrug and carry on regardless.

Funny, Freelander Mk1 rear brakes seem to have a habit of doing that too (break material parting company) - usually manifests itself as a handbrake that won't release on those though.

 

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Ordered new ones, the dealer commented that it's a problem for trailer brakes.   Unused for weeks, the damp gets in and the rust dislodges the backing.  Although you'd think that manufacturers would have thought of that.

JOhn

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Another problem is that the shoe lining rusts to the drums, encouraging them to be pulled off when you try to move the thing. 

This seems to be a function of lining material. Our Arosa is terrible for this and in damp weather the rear brakes release reluctantly with an audible bang after only an overnight stop. Leave it a week and it's a struggle to get it to move. After it stood for a couple of months at the beginning of the year I had to take the rear wheels off and clout the drums with a mallet before they would turn. Once released everything worked normally so nothing else was seized.  After that I left it in gear with the handbrake off which stopped it happening.

My PI a bit similar but nowhere near as bad.

Nick

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Yes similar problem on Helen's FreeLander, slightest bit of damp when parking and NS rear shoes locked the following morning. Friend (time served Land Rover Mechanic) says they all do it. Slightly worse as parked on slight slope, have discovered that as its an Auto, if you stop, put into Park, let the gearbox take the load, then apply hand brake problem virtually goes away.  Also discovered that it must also be something to do with handbrake leverage and possibly some sort of leading shoe effect. Normally parked facing forward up a slight slope, so normal first move after parking is reverse, at which point even after one overnight shoes can be locked up that it can take 5 yards or so before it goes BANG! and releases. However move forward a ft or so and it almost instantly goes bang and releases.

Had similar experience stripping trailer brakes last winter, realised that truck had been doing all the braking!  New shoes, bearings etc, and it feels a completely different trailer now.  I never leave the handbrake on on the trailer when parked up, and likewise on any car that I know is going to be unmoved for any extended period.

Alan

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Do them justice, Brian James Ltd. say strongly that the hand brake must not be left on for lengthsof time, but the trailer chocked.

I'm going through the bearings - may order a new set of those too.

John

 

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