How To Stop Rust On a Trailer

POR-15’s Three Must Use Rust Remover Products

By John Gilbert   –   Photography By the Author

Sometimes a plan goes sideways. The first step to turning a tech article on how to stop rust on a mangy old Model A frame into a how to restore a 20-year-old car trailer is to temporarily redirect one’s priorities.

- Advertisement -
02 Rusty chains used only as a tether gain an enhanced appearance coated in POR 15
Rusted trailer safety chains potentially under load should be replaced. Rusty chains used only as a tether gain an enhanced appearance coated in POR-15.

Originally, I was gearing up to use POR15 products to stop the rust on “East Coast Graffiti,” my 1931 Model A. On the day I ordered everything I needed from POR-15 to begin the Model A project I mentioned to friends on Facebook I was thinking about thinning out my collection of classic trucks, starting with my favorite, a 1979 Chevy C10 Big 10. The trick to shedding a collection of vehicles without any regrets is to get rid of your favorite one first, then dumping the rest should be easy.

Read More: Precision Hot Rods Rust Repair On Door Shells

03 these busted Harbor Freight LED brakes and tail lights still work
Hit numerous times by Amazon delivery trucks, these busted Harbor Freight LED brakes and tail lights still work but offer good probable cause for a traffic stop and getting cited.

Within hours after the Facebook post my buddy Jay Jones bought not only the flagship ’79 C10 Big 10 but my ’73 Chevy C10 as well. I’m a procrastinator but I’ve learned how to trick myself into getting things accomplished. Restoring my tandem car trailer to reward it for 20 years of excellent service had been on the back burner of tasks I’d wanted to accomplish. Then a disabling blow to the trailer; while in storage one tire peeled a tread cap and I knew the other three 5-year-old radials were not to be trusted. I found the best price for new trailer radials and rear tires for the GMC was from Westlake Tires; I can’t imagine how an expensive brand of tires could have performed any better.

- Advertisement -
04 This 15 year old remote control Harbor Freight winch still works like a champ
This 15-year-old remote-control Harbor Freight winch still works like a champ and easily disassembles for repairs should the cable jump the spool and jam.

Deadlines and commitments work best for me to get things done, so I committed to Jones I’d deliver both C10s to Lake Havasu City, Arizona, using my car trailer. But first I needed to make it roadworthy and that’s why you’re reading about a car trailer rehab instead of the latest progress on “East Coast Graffiti.”

Read More: How To Remove Rust From Truck Chassis

05 Water shortage in California so just a stiff wire brush and 100 psi of air pressure worked to knock off the dirt clods
Water shortage in California, so just a stiff wire brush and 100 psi of air pressure worked to knock off the dirt clods and loose rust scale.

Applying Metal Prep Coating

I’m using POR-15 because it will stop rust without requiring one to completely dismantle a project down to the bare frame to be able to sandblast rust off. In fact, POR-15 works best on rusted or seasoned surfaces. For smooth metal surfaces POR-15 adheres best if a “foot” is etched with POR-15 Metal Prep, as it leaves a phosphate coating.

- Advertisement -
06 Typically trailers have a Zerk fitting on axle ends to add grease to wheel bearings
Typically trailers have a Zerk fitting on axle ends to add grease to wheel bearings. The drums were removed, brake lining checked for wear, and wheel bearings repacked

Fifty years ago, I met an old guy repainting a very old steam locomotive with a brush. He said it was a special paint called Locomotive Black. I thought to myself that Locomotive Black would leave dirt in it with brush strokes, but the next time I saw the train it looked like flawless black porcelain. There are two methods that work well to apply POR-15: by brush or with a spray gun, and both provide perfect results.

07 The street rodder in me dictated installing new CAD plated lug nuts for cosmetic reasons only
The street rodder in me dictated installing new CAD-plated lug nuts for cosmetic reasons only. Original wheel studs and lug nuts were not stripped. If threads drag get new lugs.

Forty years ago, I leased a 3,000-square-foot paint shop, but now I’m down to working in a two-car garage. After painting the car trailer out in the street in front of my suburban Orange County home I’ve decided against spraying POR-15 on the Ford Model A in my garage. POR-15 can be used successfully in primitive conditions.

08 Nothing beats this Harbor Freight 2 ton low profile floor jack for getting into slammed places
Nothing beats this Harbor Freight 2-ton low-profile floor jack for getting into slammed places. Harbor Freight jack stands now equipped with double locking safety pins.

Applying The Rust Preventive Coat

But I’m getting ahead of myself. To describe using POR-15 rust preventive permanent coating its characteristics are not going to be what a seasoned car painter will expect. “Stirred not shaken” describes the most important step to using POR-15. I used semi gloss black and the first thing I noticed was although drying slowly dust and dirt was not appearing in the paint as it cured. POR-15’s cured hardness and flowing out dust-free with porcelain-like qualities reminded me of Locomotive Black.

09 To cover the trailer I used one 1 2 gallon of POR 15 Rust Preventive Coating
First step is to use a Cleaner Degreaser. To cover the trailer I used one 1/2 gallon of POR-15 Rust Preventive Coating and one 1/2-gallon POR-15 Matte Clear Coat.

Read More: Is It Better To Buy A New Door Vs. Repair The Original Door?

 Applying The Clear Coat

The final step painting the car trailer was to spray two coats of POR-15 UV Matte Clear Coat, a two-part waterborne semi gloss polyurethane clear used as a UV screen topcoat over POR-15. I wasn’t surprised POR-15 semi gloss black air dried to a hard-shell finish, but I was expecting the waterborne matte clear coat to dry squishy and was amazed it air dried to an impressive hard-shell finish equal to POR-15. MR

10 Using POR 15 Metal Prep is the important second step to promote adhesion
Using POR-15 Metal Prep is the important second step to promote adhesion. Small parts can be dipped in Metal Prep and then Metal Prep poured back into the container. 
11 From a squirt bottle spray POR 15 Metal Prep everywhere on painted and rusted surfaces
From a squirt bottle spray POR-15 Metal Prep everywhere on painted and rusted surfaces. Keep the surface wet with Metal Prep on for 20 minutes.
12 After 20 minutes hose off POR 15 Metal Prep with ordinary tap water and then allow the surface to dry completely
After 20 minutes hose off POR-15 Metal Prep with ordinary tap water and then allow the surface to dry completely. Direct sunlight took two hours to dry as needed.
13 Spending money on gun cleaning solvents needed to flush and wash petroleum based paint from spray guns gets expensive quickly
Spending money on gun-cleaning solvents needed to flush and wash petroleum-based paint from spray guns gets expensive quickly. Harbor Freight disposable paint cups save money.
14 Harbor Freights economy HVLP spray gun under �20 works great to spray POR 15
Harbor Freight’s economy HVLP spray gun (under $20) works great to spray POR-15 unreduced straight from the can. The paint cup interchanges with other spray gun brands.
15 The hot setup for controlling air pressure at the spray gun instead of running to a wall mounted regulator
The hot setup for controlling air pressure at the spray gun instead of running to a wall-mounted regulator is to install a “cheater” for adjusting incoming air pressure.
16 The downside to a gravity feed HVLP spray gun is its unhandy to set down
The downside to a gravity-feed HVLP spray gun is it’s unhandy to set down compared to a siphon feed spray gun with the cup on the bottom.
17 A glass tool works great to pop the lid retainer shipping clips from the top of a POR 15 paint can
A glass tool works great to pop the lid retainer shipping clips from the top of a POR-15 paint can. A paint can opener works better in lieu of flat blade screwdriver.
18 this handy paint paddle in the utensil drawer
Unprepared, I couldn’t find a paint stir stick, but fortunately I went into the kitchen and found my wife kept this handy paint paddle in the utensil drawer. (Editor’s note: Now we understand why John isn’t allowed in the kitchen anymore! —B.B.)
19 Stirring not shaking a can of POR 15 ensures the heavy pigments and rust preventive goodness
Stirring not shaking a can of POR-15 ensures the heavy pigments and rust preventive goodness that settle to the bottom will rejoin the mix and provide excellent results.
20 POR 15 covered the trailer easily in one coat and flowed out nicely
Cooking in the California summer sun, POR-15 covered the trailer easily in one coat and flowed out nicely. One 1/2 gallon of POR-15 provided two heavy coats.
21 In the middle of drying semi gloss black POR 15 stays glossy while wet and then dries to a semi gloss finish
In the middle of drying semi gloss black POR-15 stays glossy while wet and then dries to a semi gloss finish. Notice it dried dust-free.
22 POR 15 can be touched up afterward with a paint brush
Hard-to-reach areas missed while spraying POR-15 can be touched up afterward with a paint brush instead of having to clean a spray gun twice.
23 POR 15 UV Matte Clear Coat is a two part waterborne semi gloss polyurethane clear used as a topcoat
Mixed with a hardener at 2.4:1, POR-15 UV Matte Clear Coat is a two-part waterborne semi gloss polyurethane clear used as a topcoat over POR-15.
24 Milky white in the can inactivated POR 15 UV Matte Clear Coat sprays on milky white
Milky white in the can inactivated; POR-15 UV Matte Clear Coat sprays on milky white and turns semi gloss clear as it dries to cure.
25 Harbor Freight totally submersible LED taillights a simple operation
The two-bolt pattern for trailer tail lights is universal, making the installation of the new Harbor Freight totally submersible LED taillights a simple operation. And they are bright!
26 With the car trailer done its back to working on East Coast Graffiti and using POR 15 high build primer
With the car trailer done, it’s back to working on East Coast Graffiti and using POR-15 high-build primer over POR-15 with Graffiti Yellow as the gloss topcoat.

Sources

POR-15
(800) 457-6715
por15.com

Harbor Freight
harborfreight.com

Westlake Tires
westlaketireusa.com

- Advertisement -

Related Articles

Search Our Site

More Modern Rodding

Beth Myers’ 2024 AMBR winning 1932 Ford Phaeton Built by Roy Brizio Street Rods

By Brian Brennan   -   Photography By Michael Christensen ...

Vintage Sheetmetal: Repair Or Replace?

An age-old question for DIY Hot Rodders By Gerry Burger  ...

Not Your Everyday Ford Pickup

This 1940 Ford Pickup’s Rare Restoration With Plenty of...

Inside the 2024 Detroit Autorama

The Great 8 & Don Ridler Memorial Award Recipients By...

Intricate Fabrication On Myers’ Fenderless Ford Roadster

Part 3: Custom Fabricated Decklid, Wheel Wells & Floor By...

Deuce Coupe With Vintage Vibes

The 1932 Ford Three-Window Highboy Coupe Brings Back Dry...
More Modern Rodding

Unmistakable Bahama Blue Deuce Coupe

Custom Flair & Hot Rod Appeal By Brian Brennan   - ...

1000HP LS Engine Built For Street, Strip, & Track

The Best Engine Oil For Your LS Engine By Ron...

Building a One Of A Kind Roadster

Part 1: Rad Rides by Troy Builds a One...

2024 Grand National Roadster Show Names ’32 Ford Phaeton As Winner Of The AMBR

Roy Brizio Street Rods Build Winner Of America’s Most...

2024 Grand National Roadster Show … First Look At AMBR Contenders

Want To See Who Is Competing For America’s Most...

Looking Back at Some of America’s Most Beautiful Roadsters

By Brian Brennan It’s just around the corner … the...