Welcome to a work in progress

This blog is dedicated to the restoration and modification of a Glasflügel Standard Libelle H201B, and a tribute to those who have dared to do the same, and to those who are helping with seeing this dream take flight.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Trailer! Part 1 - How to rebuild this old trailer, or, Boy did I ever lose my mind!

What can I say..... It looked usable, but changes need to be made to the trailer to support the planned new modifications to the glider.

 Dig those fancy brake lights! And custom wiring!

With the plan to install the wing root fairings, the wings will no longer fit since the roof of the trailer tapers lower toward the front hatch. 

Aside from the obvious issue with the fairings, another issue, the floor boards were so dry rotted, the mid-wing support wheels were sinking in and starting to fall through worn-out wood between the wing dolly tracks.

 I visited Robert at the airport to do a walk around on a Cobra trailer to see what the construction was like. 

He showed me a few neat features that I want to adopt on my trailer.
The big difference is the trailer hitch

A word of warning!
The hitch states that it's for a 2"ball, but it is actually for a 1 7/8" ball!

...which beats this old crapper, hands down!

I took the trailer over to our local trailer dealership, Sandia Trailer, to see what kind of work they could do with the trailer and the cost.
The dealership quote was a shocker! From their walk-around, they stated that resealing the aluminum , floorboard replacement, sandblasting, and wheel packing could send the price up to several hundred dollars, and that is not counting refitting the trailer with new tracks.

So, we discussed another possibility, what if I stripped the trailer down to just the lower, main bottom steel work, no side panels, and no floorboards... All I will need is to have the steel cleaned off, repainted, with the skin replaced and new floor boards! .. That quote changed to about $500! This looks like a plausible remedy to an aging trailer!

After reviewing the work needed on the trailer, I had to do something to improve the way the sailplane was to be protected. The only option I had is to create a fiberglass clamshell cover. But before I can start work on that, the trailer needed to be prepped for the basic improvements and repairs to the lower half.
So on the next weekend, I started stripping the trailer down to the bare steel tubing.

I had to cut the steel away from the top alligator cover. While cutting the vertical supports for the forward cover, water began to pour out of the tubes as I cut through them. It's no telling how long that water was trapped in the tubing especially since it had not rained in New Mexico for over four months!

The top was dropped on the other side to be cut down for scrap.

Now that the top has been totally removed, I can now strip the rails out.

The back of the trailer had a sheet of aluminum to protect the boards from excessive wear,

......  but in fact, the board were so rotted that there was nothing holding them to the trailer!

Here is the culprit for being the cause of the damage to the trailing edge of the rudder. Notice the wing nut and bolt, these were fitted through the axle of the trail wheel to hold the glider in place, but after a few hours of driving, the wing nut an bolt will work themselves loose and the glider will roll back and forth, and the rudder banging against the tail shell on the trailer.

I loved cutting this cancer off of the trailer and chucking it into the trash!


The track rails popped off with just a single strike of a hammer. The old rivets had worked themselves loose through the rotting wood.

While I was removing the tracks, my foot punched through a floor board.

With the tracks removed, the side skin was next.

The side skin came off easily, since the only thing holding them in place was the aluminum rivets. The screws that were used to hold the trim and skin in place on the top and bottom edges were rusted trough, and the floor board they were anchored to were so rotted, that they were no longer holding the skin over eighty percent of the bottom edge!
I used a Saws-All to cut the edge and center rivets (not many of them) and the wood flooring fell away.

Now it's off to have the metal cleaned, painted, new siding and floor boards added

While the remains of the trailer top and sides were cut down to be recycled!

If I'm not committed now, I should be!

Stay tuned for Part 2 of "This Old Trailer"

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