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TOPIC: Restoring an old Gator trailer

Restoring an old Gator trailer 6 years 6 months ago #52924

  • Eduardo
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I have been following JimL’s Gator thread lately and I thought to add my restoration since the recent topics have been about Gator trailers. Mine is very similar to JimL’s but close and possibly identical to Stashm2’s. Andrew’s is a younger model but close with tubular frame. I think the winch and fenders are the two different features on his. My Gator trailer is a ’56 model 214. The reason why I know this is because the numbers 1956 214 is stamped on the trailer. I picked up two Gator trailers from my friend Bruce in Redding , CA back in 2010. The other trailer is a ’60 model 216.

First pics are when I just brought the Gator trailers home.
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Gator Stripped 6 years 6 months ago #52925

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I had stripped the '56 Gator in preparation of getting her sandblasted. Beforehand, I needed to straighten out one of the fenders, re-weld one of the fender side panels, remove the trailer coupler (welded & damaged), and weld a new coupler.

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Under Carriage 6 years 6 months ago #52926

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The axle was in pretty good condition considering it's a '56. The leaf springs are unusually long. The standard today is 26". The one on the '56 Gator was considerablly longer, around 32+". I could have pur chas ed new leaf springs (26") and had a welder replace the current eyelets to accomodate the shorter leaf spring. That would have been more inexpensive than to have the leaf springs made to the original length. I chose to keep the existing springs. They seemed fine and plus the boat that will go on the trailer, my ’60 G3, is very light. Anyway, here are some images of the under carriage stuff. Man, they painted everything Gator yellow.

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Gator Sandblasted 6 years 6 months ago #52930

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Once all of this was done, I had delivered the parts to the blaster. At the same time I did the Gator, I also stripped down another trailer, a ’60 Sun Valley trailer out of San Fernando Valley . This trailer is now under my ’60 Dorsett C atalina. More on this later. I gave a ’57 Lil Dude trailer to my buddy Glenn, he did the same as well, and all three trailers were blasted at the same time. After Sandblast, I picked up the parts and delivered to the have the stuff powder coated.

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Gator Powdercoat Done 6 years 6 months ago #52931

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You’ll see three trailers in these pictures. They were all done at the same time. Saved in cost and that’s why we did three. My friend chose to do his in hammer silver and black. I chose the vintage school bus yellow for my two trailers. Since I like the Gator color combo, I chose to do the same with the Sun Valley , red gloss on the wheels and hammer red, same color, on the winches.

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Rubber Bushings 6 years 6 months ago #52932

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I had gone to a couple of trailer places in the Sacramento area and none of them had the rubber bushings I needed for the '56 Gator. They did have one brand new one as a sample but that was all. They didn't carry them anymore. I was advised to go to Napa and they found what was the closest they can get to the original. Had to special order them, 12 all together for one trailer. The bad news is that they were not the exact size as the original. The outside diameter was correct, however, the inside diameter wasn't the same. Had to drill the hole out so that the 1/2” bolt can fit. The overall length too wasn't the same but that was easy to size with a nice blade cutter. After cutting the length to size, the problem was that the head on the rubber bushing, after fitting them on both sides of the eye on the leaf springs, was too thick to fit in the bracket. The head wasn't the same size as the original. So that's when I had to trim down the rubber bushings. Did 12 of these and installed the black powder coated non-standard size leaf springs.

The first picture shows that the left is the new original size, the middle is the modified version, and the right is how they came from Napa.

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Re:Restoring an old Gator trailer 6 years 6 months ago #52936

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Great thread Eduardo, thank you for sharing! You guys are setting the standard pretty high, very nice work. :P

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Mark

The fun part, putting the trailer together 6 years 6 months ago #52937

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With these old trailers, you really appreciate the extra work and details that they had put in them, the shackle design, the light brackets, the punch outs for the roller brackets so they are vertically aligned. Not sure what they call it. Even the three different places you can set the rear bunks. Just little stuff like that.

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Rope, really? 6 years 6 months ago #52938

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Installed the fenders, the winch and winch stand. Had my buddy Glenn work on the new rope for the winch. Yes, I'm going with rope for period correct. I know, I've heard it already but the G3 is a lightweight glassic and this rope will handle it easily.

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Gone Fishing... 6 years 6 months ago #52939

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...for stripped down 12 gauge copper wire. One of the cool features of this older Gator trailer is that the wires for the brakes and lights are totally concealed. The round tubular frames allow for that with a slight transition at the tilt using a 1/2" conduit and connectors. Not sure if this was original or someone’s ingenious idea. The hard part was trying to fish the wire through the little hole near the rear lights.

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Bunks and test fit 6 years 6 months ago #52940

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Cut out the wood supports at the keel and carpeted both supports and bunks. Took a few tries setting up the bunks since the G3 has a "V" bottom at the stern where these old trailers were designed for flat bottom hulls. The bunks are a bit taller than standard upright 2 x 4 stock. I adjusted the height of the three rollers after setting the winch stand location. The leaf springs are bit on the soft side, maybe because they are longer than standard, but they will work. It actually trailers well. Check it out and let me know what you think.

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'56 Gator 214 rolling again... 6 years 6 months ago #52941

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First use in who knows how long…

This was the '56 Gator trailer's first trek and first dump in the water since the restoration, 60 miles of combined freeway, 2 lane country roads, and switchbacks. Gator and G3 are officially together.

Happy Holidays FG and to all its members.

Eduardo & Mercedes
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Re:Restoring an old Gator trailer 6 years 6 months ago #52954

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Thanks Mark.

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Re:Restoring an old Gator trailer 6 years 6 months ago #52959

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The finished product turned out fantastic, IMO. I obviously jumped the gun and posted before you were finished, sorry. I'd venture a guess that they didn't look THAT nice when they came out of the factory! The G3 looks great sitting up there my friend. ;)

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Mark

Re:Restoring an old Gator trailer 6 years 6 months ago #52975

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Seeing posts like this are one of the reasons this forum is so great. Eduardo fantastic job / fantastic post!

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Great to be on board.
Rick

Re:Restoring an old Gator trailer 6 years 6 months ago #52982

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Eduardo,your gator is stunning !! The detail is incredible. Fine work. Very sharp G3 also. jim

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Re:Restoring an old Gator trailer 6 years 6 months ago #53046

WoW good for another 50-60 years. Looks good.

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Re:Restoring an old Gator trailer 6 years 6 months ago #53056

eduardo,very ,very,good restoration,you went above and beyond with it,it fantastic,very nice job,john

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\"too soon old,too late smart\" my pap

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.“

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Re:Restoring an old Gator trailer 6 years 6 months ago #53261

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Thanks guys for your comments. This was definitely a fun project and one of four vintage boat trailer restoration that I have done so far. I have a Gator, Tee Nee, which are both broken down and put away, and a Holsclaw that I just picked up recently. You never know, I may just start on another vintage trailer restoration soon. Thanks again men.

Happy New Year to all of you.

Eduardo

Here's a picture of a '60 Continental trailer that my cousin and I did. We did this trailer after my '56 Gator was done. Check out those fenders. I believe these fenders are one of the best looking out there. Not all Continental trailers come with the aluminum trim on the fenders. I found this trailer and advised my cousin to get it. We picked up the entire package just to get the trailer. What do you think?
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Re:Restoring an old Gator trailer 6 years 6 months ago #53268

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What do you think?

I think you and your cousin are cranking out some of the sweetest looking trailer restorations I've ever seen! You guys set the standard pretty high, gives the rest of us incentive to do better work - THANK YOU for sharing. Can't wait to see you work your magic on the Holsclaw, I'm especially fond of those. :laugh:

You're so right about the fenders on the Continental Eduardo, very unique - definitely adds classy styling points IMO.

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Mark

Re:Restoring an old Gator trailer 6 years 6 months ago #54069

  • Split
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..ED.: GREAT PROJECT, CONGRATS.. Also on a G-3's center Deck. SWEET.
Hey I went looking at a rig today , Thought 59 AL boat.. Cream color trl & the fenders & the slight upswept round tail light identical to your project.... Did not see the Word Gator on it,
WHERE abouts would that serial # be stamped on the trl .?? The year & model #.? CLIPS on the faded red rims , about 12 "
.....................

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Re:Restoring an old Gator trailer 6 years 6 months ago #54341

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Thanks Split for the response. That is definitely a Gator trailer just by looking at the fenders and round tube frame. It looks like my year; it all depends on the winch stand. If it looks like mine, possibly a '56. If it has a different winch stand, it's a year or two younger than mine. I didn't see a serial # and I don't think Gator stamped a serial number back then. It's only the year and model. If you are facing the trailer from the back, it's at the right bend of the frame. You should see the stamped year and model there. Mine didn't have any Gator decals on it, but after looking at Jim's, I'd like to get that decal instead. I like the graphics on Jim's plus his year and model Gator is close to my '56. The 12" wheels with the clips are a plus.

Eduardo
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Re:Restoring an old Gator trailer 4 years 11 months ago #81320

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I live your Gator Trailer! Looks great! I did post in another spot my problem, so I hope me posting here is not frowned upon. I have a Gator mod. no. 216. My boat is a 14ft. Wolverine, that you can see on my avatar. The 216 is too long. The distance between the axle and the rear of the trailer frame is 4 ft. When bunks are made, they will stick well past the trailer frame to get them to balance. This will also put the boat too far back on the trailer and the towing balance will be terrible. What are the differences between a 216 and a 214. Maybe I can cut and re-weld this 216 into a 214 trailer.

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Re:Restoring an old Gator trailer 4 years 11 months ago #81509

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Hi DaveK, your model 216 should work with your Wolverine boat. Not much difference in the 214 and 216 other than the 216 is 14" longer. 214s were designed for 13'-14' boats and the 216 for 15'-16' boats. Weight capacity is 900 lbs. and 1000 lbs. respectively. Number of keel and guide rollers are the same, they both use the same size wheels, 4.80 x 12, the difference in length is 15'9" and 17'1", per my Gator catalog. It's better to have a longer tongue anyway so your wheels doesn't get wet when launching. You don't want to balance the boat on the trailer anyway; you want some tongue weight. My Gator was under a 13'7" Glasspar G3. Though the 214 was designed for a 14' boat, I wish I had it a foot longer. The two transom cradles originally are 33" long for both models. The transom cradle swing brackets should be placed in the middle or close to the middle of the transom cradle. When the boat is on the trailer, almost half will be exposed behind the transom of the boat. That's how Gator designed them. Hope this helps.

Post some pictures of your Gator trailer. We like pictures. I wander what year you picked up?

Eduardo

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Re:Restoring an old Gator trailer 4 years 11 months ago #81517

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Your right,the transom cradle swing brackets should be placed in the middle or close to the middle of the transom cradle. With enough bunk going aft so that the bunks swivel down at the stern. As it is now, because of the length of the trailer, the boat would need to sit so far back to even have a bunk that would swivel down, when loading the boat. Being that the boat is 14', to get a manageable tongue weight, I need about 4 feet of boat behind the axle. This gives me a tongue weight of about 20lbs. In the avatar picture on the trailer the boat is currently on, that is what I have now. I really think I ended up answering my own question. To have the bunks long enough to swivel and support the transom and rear hull, the trailer is about 12" to 16" to long.If the bunks are 33" long, I think it would be good to have about 20" of bunk beyond the transom cradle swing brackets Unless, you think it is ok to not have the rear bunks swivel as currently the transom sits about 3" past the rear cross member of the frame or about 66" aft of the axle. You are so right on tongue weight, I just don't like to maneuver a trailer with too much tongue weight as to be unable to lift the tongue. Hopefully this makes sense. The picture attached is the current trailer under the boat. Hopefully you can see the amount of boat that is behind the axle. This is what gives me a tongue weight of about 20lbs when the boat is loaded ready for travel. I have no idea what trailer this is, but it has been modified allot. Thanks so much for the response!
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