Had to put new wood on my trailer the other day. The original wood lasted ~7 years. So I figured I would do a quick write up for those of you who don’t know how to do it.
First step, spend a bunch of money on wood. My trailer is a 16 + 2 car hauler. Which means it has a 16 foot deck and 2ft worth of “dovetail” which makes it easier to load cars with low ground clearance. The only part that is wood is the 16 foot deck portion. To replace it, I had to make a trip to Home Depot for eleven 2×8-16ft weather treated boards (11 @ $16.27 = $178.97).
Now the fun begins.
The wood on my trailer was so rotted that for the most part we could just break a piece of it off so we could remove it. For the ones that wouldn’t break, we took a circular saw and ran it across the boards (making sure we avoided the metal crossmembers beneath)
Most wooden deck trailers are pretty simple. They build the frames so that there is a pocket at the front for the boards to fit in then once the boards are put into place, they weld a piece of angle iron on to make a pocket at the rear.
I kinda forgot to take some pictures but after I got the wood out, I had to go back in with a grinder to remove the metal plate on the dovetail then the angle iron piece that holds the rear of the boards in.
Next I put in the boards one by one. Insert the board into the pocket at the front starting at one side then use a small sledge hammer to fully insert it into the pocket and make sure it is all the way over to the side.
In my case, I had to “rip” one of the 11 boards down to 6″ instead of 8″. This is a common practice since all trailers and boards vary slightly in width. To do this, I took a square and marked a line all the way down the last board then cut it with the circular saw down to 6″ wide.
Of course, Gertrude was helping the whole time.
This picture shows the new boards in place and the piece of angle iron that will hold in the rear of the boards.
First I welded on the angle iron that makes the rear pocket to hold the boards down. Then put the steel diamondplate decking back down so I could weld it on top.
This picture shows the boards inserted into the pocket at the front of the trailer.
And Viola, you’re done! Not a bad afternoon project. You will need an angle grinder, sledgehammer, welder, and lots of motivation, but is a fun project that will make your trailer last another 5-10 years.
In this case though, I wasn’t done. Ol’ Blue is too freakin tall to hook straight up to the trailer with its factory jack (unless I stack lots of 4×4’s under it).
I have had this massive jack laying in my basement for many years now and have finally found a use for it. So I decided to weld it on.
The new jack has a removable pin that can lower the leg prior to actually cranking the jack. This gives me the extra height I need to hook the trailer to Ol’ Blue.
Welded on and testing. Appears to be a success!
This new jack will just about make the rear of the trailer touch the ground, which will make it easy to load disabled vehicles. I also have a small winch inside the toolbox that will appreciate the better ramp angle.
Here is a pic of my winch setup. It is a remote controlled harbor freight winch. Not the best setup, but it works and I like the wireless remote so I can winch and steer at the same time while loading vehicles by myself. The space on the left is for tie down straps.
Has a roller fairlead on the outside and a snatch block for heavy vehicles.
Thanks for reading, I hope this helps you out in the future if you ever have to take on a project like this!
Gotta love some Gertrude!
I wouldn’t get anything done without Gertrude’s help… ;P
Now I know to grind the back piece of angle iron off the by the dove tail.
Nice post you wrote up here!
I see you mentioned the use of an angle grinder.
You might be interested in this massive guide we wrote about Buying and Using an Angle Grinder which has a tonne of FAQ’s and answers:
Wow, I had no idea that the wood in the bed of a trailer would need replacing. It is good to know that the wood lasted around 7 years. My husband and I are thinking about investing in a flatbed trailer, and we want to make sure that we know the maintenance and repairs ahead of time. I want to make sure that our trailer lasts for a long time.
This is some really good information about flatbed trailers. It is good to know that you can replace wood in this type of trailer. I liked that you had pictures to go along with your instructions. It does seem like a good idea to have a good trailer when you are doing some towing.
You make it look so easy! I think the needing “lots of motivation” part is where I fall short. My husband and I are looking at trailers to buy. I think when it comes time to getting some maintenance done, we’d just end up calling a professional to help us out.
I really like your article, its good and beneficial also like you have told and share pic with this article Most wooden deck trailers are pretty simple. They build the frames so that there is a pocket at the front for the boards to fit in then once the boards are put into place, they weld a piece of angle iron on to make a pocket at the rear…
I replaced the boards on my 5x10ft trailer. For the rear ‘pocket’, I had to grind the welds off the angle iron. When I put the new boards on, I put the angle iron on the end but did not weld. I drilled 4 holes thru the top iron, thru the boards and out the bottom iron of the frame. I put stainless stell bolts thru it. Now when i need to redo the boards, I just unbolt the back pocket iron. I have my 16 ft trailer to do next. I hope I can do similar on it.