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Thread: Trailer primer options

  1. #1
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    Trailer primer options

    I'm wrapping up a project to convert a fender type 5 ton trailer into a longer, deckover version.

    I started with this:

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    and ended up with this. I still need to build a set of fold-over ramps.

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    I have some really high quality industrial paint that is made for oil rigs that I intend to paint it with, but am debating about options for prep.

    It seems to me that I can do the traditional sandblast, or wet blast method down to bare metal, or do some type of rusty metal primer that sticks to the light surface rust w/o my having to blast it.

    Is anybody experienced in using the rusty metal type primers and can advise me on how well they work over the long haul? I'd prefer not to have to spend 1/2 a day sandblasting this, but on the other hand don't want to have paint problems a few years down the road.

    Thanks.

    Scott
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  2. #2
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    Re: Trailer primer options

    Some of those 2K primers look really good, don't know enough to advise you on a specific brand though...

    Really surprising results here, looked like some of the "Rust Converts" actually promoted rust! ->

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    Re: Trailer primer options

    When I want to "prime" I use Caterpillar paint,, the can says the paint is good to use as a primer, as well as a top coat.

    Price wise, it is not much different than the Tractor Supply type paints,, but, it sure seems durable.

    This is good stuff, as long as the colors yellow, black, and white fill your needs.
    If this is gonna be the primer, and finish paint,, add hardener that is available at Tractor Supply.

    The hardener (if you are patient enough to wait the FULL required amount of time before spraying) will make the paint level beautifully, as well as add a high gloss.
    The leveling, and gloss are beyond the intended hardening.

    If you spray (or brush) before the hardener reacts, the paint will simply end up like no hardener was used.

    DO NOT use hardener if you are going to add another layer of paint,, the hardener MUST be in the last coat.
    If you try to paint over the paint that has hardener in it, the next coat of paint will not adhere well.

    If you decide to top coat the hardener enhanced paint, you need to sand first.

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  5. #4
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    Re: Trailer primer options

    I've had real good luck with Rust-Oleum " rusty metal primer". Personally I wouldn't sandblast due to the cost. I use a reduced acid wash, followed by a thorough drying with a leaf blower , followed by a wipe down with laquer thinner or acetone. My first application of the primer involves taking a brush and applying it directly to welded joints and areas such as where bolts or other obstacles are. Then depending on the size and shape of the piece, I will then brush, roll or spray the primer. I reduce as little as possible with laquer thinner or acetone. Follow the top coat directions on the can as if left too long before top coat adhesion may not be the best. If that's the case , scuffing or light sanding is required as I have had some cases were the topcoat didn't adhere everywhere. I generally use Rust-Oleum or other alkyd enamel for the top coat with the hardener from TSC , majestic brand, I believe. This has held up as good as anything else in the toxic road brine used in Wisconsin.

  6. #5
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    Re: Trailer primer options

    Thanks guys for the advice and links.

    The pol rig paint that I have is supposed to be a very durable 2 part paint, so I’ll keep the tractor supply option for the future.
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    Re: Trailer primer options

    If it was a choice about blast or wash with all that stuff, faart with that or 1/2 day blast it would be the blast and after that would simply scuff with maroon Scotchbrite, blow the dust off and spray. Trailers are hard to paint, lot of parts. I have a knock off paint pot I got from auto parts, thought it would be a temp deal and use it the other day and still works 25 years later.

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  9. #7
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    Re: Trailer primer options

    That 2 part epoxy is the best. As for some other stuff,,,, so much is based on,,, "I dont wanna do this again" so a lot of things are tried that dont work so well or details that make it work are skipped. As I mention, blast,,, it needs light sanding or scuffing after. Blast a bit, feel it, then swipe it with the brite and feel it again.
    I dont care for the etching primers, the washes, none of it. Epoxy is the best, fussier to spray and cant save any mixed paints but is generally thicker which helps but some of that etching stuff gives a false sense of confidence.
    Look under a mag glass, blasted surface is peaks and valleys. While the valleys hold the paint the primer litterally runs off the peaks and they often sticking thru the day the top is applied. The brite knocks the tops off, leaves them flat, paint stays and it scuffs splattered sand loose. After the scuff blow off well and spray.
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    Last edited by Sberry; 3 Days Ago at 07:50 PM.

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    Re: Trailer primer options

    For a trailer I would use POR-15 and then use the paint you have for a top coat. You don't have to worry about sand blasting, etc with POR-15. The main weakness to POR-15 is UV damage, but if you top coat it there really isn't much that's going to hurt it. I've lost track of the stuff I've painted with POR-15 and have yet to experience a failure. In many cases even UV doesn't cause it to fail, but it fades and looks ugly. Don't breathe the stuff while applying it, don't let it dry on your skin and know that it's pretty much permanent on anything it touches. The funny thing is POR-15 goes on really thin, dries faster with more humidity and hardens to a coating that looks darned near like a ceramic coating. Even just using a brush will leave a smooth, shiny finish that doesn't look at all like normal paint. It's pricey, but worth every penny I've spent on it.
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  13. #9
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    Re: Trailer primer options

    The mill scale will give you more trouble than rust. As mentioned, they make rusty metal primer. I haven't seen anything yet that has a reliable bond to mill scale. So I just use rustoleum. That's my go to. I just assume everything will need to be repainted at some point. If blasting before paint is an option, then I'd go with that and then a good paint for best results. Otherwise, simple and cheap like Rustoleum.

    The paint on my trailers has held up well. At least as well as I expected. Fronts have had the paint blasted off by sand going down the road. The diamond plate floor in my dump trailer has retained a surprising amount of paint despite hauling rock, sand, and dirt. There are scratches all over from dragging sharp metal objects, shovels, buckets, scrap, chain hooks, etc.
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    Re: Trailer primer options

    Best damn paint on the planet. https://www.vansicklepaint.com/ The primer goes on well over mill scale. You know me..............I never clean anything to shiny metal. I wipe it down with mineral spirits, and shoot it. I've got stuff over 20yrs old that's still in good shape. The color coat will get damaged from use, but the primer stays on like steel. Good stuff, if it's available in your area.

    I'm at about 8yrs old on my little flatbed trailer. The bed is down to primer in many areas, but never goes below the primer to bare steel. Even the stake pockets still are holding the primer after all the chain that's been run through them over the years. I exclusively use their red primer. Never the gray.

    I tried Sherwin Williams one time, and it sucked. Same with Rustoleum.

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  17. #11
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    Re: Trailer primer options

    Prep is more important than paint.
    We have multiple trailers on our farm, some were shotblasted before paint, some weren't. Regular alkyd primer and topcoat used on most things. The shotblasted trailers last years longer without rusting.
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  19. #12
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    Re: Trailer primer options

    Thanks all for the great info!

    Rather than blasting, I may just try a wire cup brush on a grinder, wash, prime and paint.
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    Re: Trailer primer options

    I really dont wash anything. The bucket is Corlar epoxy primer over old paint was scuffed off. sticks like peanut butter.
    On that trailer wire wheel would work, sand the flats that you can see.
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  22. #14
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    Re: Trailer primer options

    I agree
    I always just use a wire brush and red oxide primer.
    Finish coat was oil base enamel paint.

    The paint would last 30 years outdoors before re-coating. Automotive paint was great but chip off on equipment use.

    Dave

    FYI A thin coat of primer does best. A thick coat of primer will wear off faster.

    At one time in my life I was buying over 2,000 gallons of primer a year. I would only buy the best price.
    So painting equipment I would just used what in paint gun.

    Quote Originally Posted by scsmith42 View Post
    Thanks all for the great info!

    Rather than blasting, I may just try a wire cup brush on a grinder, wash, prime and paint.
    Last edited by smithdoor; 2 Days Ago at 11:38 AM.

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  24. #15
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    Re: Trailer primer options

    I would sand blast and then get bridge primer, that stuff is no joke at least the one I used to use, the fellow I bought it went out of business so I cannot get the brand. the only problem I have seen is that some tree sap can get under the top coat and separate from the primer but the primer is just bullet proof.

    Sincerely,

    William McCormick
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  26. #16
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    Re: Trailer primer options

    Quote Originally Posted by William McCormick View Post
    I would sand blast and then get bridge primer, that stuff is no joke at least the one I used to use, the fellow I bought it went out of business so I cannot get the brand. the only problem I have seen is that some tree sap can get under the top coat and separate from the primer but the primer is just bullet proof.

    Sincerely,

    William McCormick
    If I recall, and forgive me if I'm wrong.......................bridge primer is the only primer left in the U.S. that's a lead based primer. Not exactly user friendly. In fact, and go check it out, the guys that spray it, have a limited "shelf" life...........they can only be exposed to it for so long, until they're forced to quit spraying it per OSHA, or other laws. Forced retirement.

  27. #17
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    Re: Trailer primer options

    I just grabbed a few sections from the Code. They're serious about this stuff.

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  28. #18
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    Re: Trailer primer options

    Quote Originally Posted by scsmith42 View Post
    I'm wrapping up a project to convert a fender type 5 ton trailer into a longer, deckover version.

    I started with this:

    Name:  Old trailer.jpg
Views: 190
Size:  101.9 KB


    and ended up with this. I still need to build a set of fold-over ramps.

    Name:  Flat deck corner.jpg
Views: 186
Size:  110.4 KB

    Name:  Dovetail.jpg
Views: 185
Size:  107.7 KB

    Name:  Flat deck axles.jpg
Views: 184
Size:  89.0 KB

    I have some really high quality industrial paint that is made for oil rigs that I intend to paint it with, but am debating about options for prep.

    It seems to me that I can do the traditional sandblast, or wet blast method down to bare metal, or do some type of rusty metal primer that sticks to the light surface rust w/o my having to blast it.

    Is anybody experienced in using the rusty metal type primers and can advise me on how well they work over the long haul? I'd prefer not to have to spend 1/2 a day sandblasting this, but on the other hand don't want to have paint problems a few years down the road.

    Thanks.

    Scott
    Gee, I wish you had said something. My built for me, with a few communication failures It was supposed to be 18' plus 3' beaver tail deck over. He called me, wanted to have me look at it before it went to hot dip galvanize.
    I had specified smooth deck steel. He built it for PT wood. I showed him my copy of the build specs. He said "Oh well, too late." He then added 1-1/2" ribs lengthwise to bring the steel up flush. It should have had 1/8" deck, he put 1/4" diamond plate. Ultimately, It weighed 4400 with a 10,000 GVWR. We discussed changing it, but decided to sell it.

    Currently shopping for something close to what you had.

    Grainger sent an Email last week about a product they sell, a rust converter/cold galvanize primer.
    An optimist is usually wrong, and when the unexpected happens is unprepared. A pessimist is usually right, when wrong, is delighted, and well prepared.

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