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SUBJECT: # 8739: What's the best way to remove paint/rust to prepare trailer for painting?

Submitted by JW from Tims Ford ( from TENNESSEE on 2/27/03 2:31:00 AM

I'm getting ready to fix everything on my trailer. New paint job, new wiring, lights, tires, jack, winch, and whatever else I see the need to. Also, I'd like to add some sort of backup lights on the trailer.

First things first, though. The trailer is mostly angle iron; there's no tubular stuff to worry about. For a 20 year old trailer, there's not an awful lot of rust, so I don't beleive that I need to look into sandblasting or grinding. I would imagine that some form of sanding disk on a big drill would do the job, maybe with a grinder for the worst of it. What kind of attachment would work best for this, though? The wire disks look to me like they might work. I'd like to know what to get to begin with rather than trying everything. Thanks for your suggestions.


  1. 2/27/03 5:09:00 AM Submitted by Indiana Jack from INDIANA says Trailer revamp
    If it were me, and since you're going to have the boat off the trailer, I would have it sand or glass bead blasted. This will get areas you're not going to reach with any other method. However, another option would be to get an air compressor and use an air powered sander. Use a palm style sander for the straight areas and a pointed finishing sander for the angular areas. As far as paint, I'm sure the body men on this site would have updated specs on primers but I've always used rustoleum zinc chromate. Good luck, Jack

  2. 2/27/03 7:38:00 AM Submitted by Gene Gauss ( from NEW YORK says Trailer rust
    Wire wheel or sanding disk rust removal only works for very light rust. It there's any pitting, or rust in grooves, etc., the only really good way is sand blasting. If you're going to try it yourself, you'll need a fairly large compressor (4-5 HP) to do it anything like continuous duty. Consider renting a setup if you don't have one. Also make sure you have a good face/eye shield and respirator. Sand blasting brings to mind Marilyn Monroe's objection to making love on the beach. Sand gets into everytning. Gene

  3. 2/27/03 12:26:00 PM Submitted by Donny ( from MASSACHUSETTS says Rust removal
    The amount and severity of the rust will determine what would be best for removal. Light rust - Wire Wheels work great. Different shapes and sizes and you can usually get into the nooks and crannies pretty well. Medium rust - Some sort of grinding type abrasive - where some amount of material (metal) will actually be removed. Heavy Rust - Sand or bead blasting is the best option. Of course you could use any of the options to remove any severity level of rust. After removing the rust - there are products out there that etch the metal after the rust is removed. I believe its some sort of acid - and will stop the rust from coming back. I don't really understand the science of it all, but once the metal is discolored due to rust - even after it has been ground down to 'fresh' metal - the chemical (molecular?) process of rusting has already occured. Even after you paint the discolored metal - it will eventually continue the process of rusting and come through. Painting it will slow it down - but it will eventually come back. I'm not sure how much the acid actually stops the oxidation, but it slows it even more than just painting over it. If you go the sand blasting route - word of advice - sand will get everywhere. If you don't entirely cover your head, ears, face etc. you'll have sand on your pillow when you wake up and find it in places you won't believe - for a week. Trust me

  4. 2/27/03 1:01:00 PM Submitted by miker ( from FLORIDA says hydro-blast
    northern hydraulics sells a $100.00 sand blasting attachment for pressure washers.they are absolutely super for this kind of job.they also work good on bottom paint.

  5. 3/2/03 9:47:00 PM Submitted by Cooter ( from SOUTH CAROLINA says Blasting
    Donny is righta s far as the level of damage determining the best method of removal. It sounds like sand blasting is your best option. I did it 4 or 5 years ago. I borrowed an air compressor and bought a cheap gun at lowes and bought the beads there alos. It was a 15 foot boat and it took me 4 or 5 hours - with the cheap gun I mentioned (about $20). Beads were $30 for a bag of 20lbs? Part of your decison should laso be based on how you plan to repaint it. Seen guys go from high speed lacquers or auto paints all the way to rustoleum.

  6. 3/3/03 8:14:00 PM Submitted by JW from Tims Ford ( from TENNESSEE says Sandblasting
    To be honest, I don't know anything about sandblasting. How much would it cost to have a trailer for an 18' boat blasted? Or, as Cooter recommends, how many bags would it take? Thanks for the help.


  7. 3/4/03 9:42:00 PM Submitted by SurFishaLot ( from NORTH CAROLINA says I was quoted $125 to have mine blasted...
    This was last year for my trailer for 17 foot boat. The same guy would prime it for another $75. I would definitely make some calls before I invested in a sandblasting set-up.

  8. 3/6/03 2:51:00 AM Submitted by JW from Tims Ford ( from TENNESSEE says Thanks guys.
    It's gonna be a little while before I can get to this. The guy that's rebuilding my motor is semi-retired, and he doesn't seem to be in a hurry. I guess I don't blame him. Thanks for the advice.


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