I needed to rebuild the trailer on a Dovekie I
recently bought, and while doing so I took a few pictures.
Chuck said he thought some of you might want to share
the experience with me. Here it is….
The length of the original tongue is too short [the
bow of the boat was too close to the rear of the truck],
there’s no jack, no spare tire holder and the
coupler was worn out. There are a million trailers
like this out there that need to be rebuilt.
I cut the old tongue off with a chop saw. It leaves
a clean cut that needs no clean up. This can also
be done with a cutting torch, of course, it only requires
more work. You don’t have to worry about being
poisoned by the galvanizing if you wire brush it off
prior to cutting or welding. Galvanizing is a compound
added onto the outside of metal—it can be cleaned
off. Galvanized metal can be welded safely if the
entire galvanizing compound is wire brushed off the
metal first. This needs to be done with an electric
wire brush, not with a hand brush.
I bought a new piece of square tubing to fit. This
is the time to decide exactly how long you want the
tongue to be. Long enough to accept your additions,
but not so long that the integrity of the tongue is
threatened. It was an exact outside diameter match,
but the inside was as heavy as I could find. This
piece I also cut with my chop saw, but with a very
slight angle so the new tongue would cock down and
accept a load with out bending.
The new piece was aligned with vise-grips and a piece
of straight steel drop.
I welded the main pieces together on all four sides.
Special care must be taken so the piece stays aligned
during this stage. After grinding, I welded Plates
of flat stock over these welds to strengthen the originals.
I didn’t think the top and bottom needed the
extra plates, as the strength was only needed in the
vertical plane. After dragging this rig through some
of the worst roads Mexico has to offer with no structure
problems, I believe that I may have accidentally got
it right. I made certain that I was burning no galvanizing
during this welding process. I’ve used cold
galvanizing on many trailers and it seems to work
well. I buy it from Lowes or Home Depot. It comes
in a spray can and I check the area often and respray
The cold galvanizing doesn’t look like hot
galvanizing and it doesn’t hold up any where
near as well, but it works if you keep ahead of the
I cleaned the axle and galvanized it, put on new
springs, hangers and bolts, new bunk boards and trailer
slicks completed the job and we’re off to Mexico.
If you have any doubts about welding or cutting
galvanized steel please disregard this information.
Do not breathe fumes that come off any welding that
you are doing. Stay upwind of any cutting or welding.
Always wear a respirator when possible. Be safe….
or flame cutting galvanized steel will cause dangerous
fumes to be given off. Protect yourself accordingly
and use extreme care.
More articles about trailers
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