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Bonding alum panels to a steel trailer

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  • #16
    Sounds like a really cool project, post some pictures if you have time.
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    • #17
      I've been told (never saw one personally) there is a company building smooth side trailers. Sorry, I don't have the trailer name. When I asked how they do that he said 100% adhesive. He also said trailer dealers don't like them because replacing panels is not a fun undertaking.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by pro70z28 View Post
        I've been told (never saw one personally) there is a company building smooth side trailers. Sorry, I don't have the trailer name. When I asked how they do that he said 100% adhesive. He also said trailer dealers don't like them because replacing panels is not a fun undertaking.
        My guess would be that there is a substrate material which is mechanically fastened to a framework. The cover material can then be applied to the substrate with adhesive to give a smooth appearance by covering the first layer of fasteners, much like a veneer.
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        • #19
          Why not use adhesive followed by aluminum rivets then grind the heads down and TIG weld the panel to the now headless rivet.... or you could fab up some brackets to bolt to the tubing and weld them to the inside of the al panels.
          George W. Bush was saving your butt whether you liked it or not!
          Fear is temporary, regret is forever
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          • #20
            i would think the heat from the TIG process would kill the adhesive properties. also is it possible to get aluminum rivets with aluminum pull pin's ?? all the ones i have seen have a steel pull pin that would reak havoc on any attempt at TIG.
            thanks for the help
            ......or..........
            hope i helped
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            feel free to shoot me an e-mail direct i have time to chat. james@newyorkmetalart.com
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            • #21
              If you use ones with steel rods once you pull the rivet then knock out the steel rod as it isn't going to be holding it any more once you weld it.....and if he is using al than thin I don't think the heat from welding them or brackets onto the inside will cause any problems with the adhesive.
              http://www.rivetsinstock.com/rivet13.htm
              George W. Bush was saving your butt whether you liked it or not!
              Fear is temporary, regret is forever
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              • #22
                Here is the trailer progress so far. And one of the cars with the old trailer. The new one tillts to minimize the ramp length to 2 feet and handle the ulta-low clearance needed (1.5 inches at the oil pan).

                TIG isn't an option.

                And I was planning on a few backup screws in the corners just in case.

                If I have the energy, I plan on polishing the alum a bit and leaving it bare.
                Attached Files

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                • #23
                  I just built an enclosed tirailer with a ramp door like you have posted. The main runners are 2x4 .120, the sides and floor are 2x2, .083 Its a 14ft enclosed. 1 inch hoops on top and in front.

                  However, I cheated, once I had the frame built, axles and hitch in place, I took it to a trailer manufacture for the sides, front and rear aluminum panel install. The aluminum came painted and is held in place with double sides 3M tape. No rivets, screw or nothing. Many of the trailer manufactures are doing it, gives you the smooth slick look you want. I went to the trailer manfacture cause they have the big shear and brake to finish the job, plus I know them. I never checked on the type of aluminum, but they have been building them like this for years. The top is one piece .050 aluminum screwed into the top hoops. If you want I can get the nomenclature of the tape, but I am sure redneck or quality trailers would probably have it in their catalog. Again it is 3M, let me know if you want me to chase this down or send a PM.
                  Last edited by Geezer; 07-13-2008, 08:41 PM. Reason: correcting content
                  Geezer
                  Miller 175
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                  Ranger 8
                  1974 Wisconsin 5K AC Only (Cherry)
                  Spool Gun
                  185 TIG
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                  • #24
                    Interesting trailer. Car looks like fun.

                    Can't speak to the bonding, leave that to the experts.

                    What I have seen at the tracks that I like is the aluminum flat beds, have not seen any all aluminum enclosed trailers.

                    With the price of fuel they may become cost effective.

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                    • #25
                      "The aluminum came painted and is held in place with double sides 3M tape."

                      That's an interesting idea. I'm familiar with that tape, they use it a lot to hold on car moldings and emblems. I didn't know trailer makers used it for panels. It's practically impossible to get off. I'll consider that. I just need to find a source few a few hundred feet.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by zbxb006 View Post
                        "The aluminum came painted and is held in place with double sides 3M tape."

                        That's an interesting idea. I'm familiar with that tape, they use it a lot to hold on car moldings and emblems. I didn't know trailer makers used it for panels. It's practically impossible to get off. I'll consider that. I just need to find a source few a few hundred feet.
                        It is 3M VHB (Very High Bond) tape and comes in a variety of width, mils, and lengths. I usually get mine from a local supplier, but you can easily order it here. http://www.mcmaster.com/
                        Just search 3M VHB and you'll get all the options to suit your needs.

                        I use it regularly for work and home when I don't feel like using a screw. It holds like the devil. As with any application like this, the key is to clean and dry the surface well prior to application. I know this sounds like a no brainer, but it truly is the simple key.

                        Remember, once it's down... it is down, so get your ducks in a row and have a system to get the panels in where you want them before you stick 'em, or you'll be deforming the panel to try to move it a 1/4".

                        Good luck, and post pics of the progress. That's going to be a nice looking trailer.

                        What class are you running that Seven in? Is it purely a slalom car or do you road race it?
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                        • #27
                          Amen to the clean!!!!! On my trailer, the steel was initially prep with 80 grit to remove millscale, cleaned (then cleaned again) with lacquer thinner, prep'd with 2 part epoxy and shot with industrial paint. The tape stuck great to the paint and the aluminum. Allot of work for an old man....
                          Geezer
                          Miller 175
                          Power MIG 255c
                          Ranger 8
                          1974 Wisconsin 5K AC Only (Cherry)
                          Spool Gun
                          185 TIG
                          Victor/Harris O/A

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                          • #28
                            I did find some reasonable 3M VHB tape on EBAY so I ordered up a bunch. I'll use that with a few judicious screws at the corners.
                            ---------
                            This car runs in E/Mod for autocross and various classes for road racing depending on the club rules - usually it gets thrown in the highest-performance/largest-displacement class. Itís faasst. The smaller engine ones runs D/Mod.
                            --------
                            Now itís time for ideas about how to handle the 90 degree joint between the sides and the top Ė and the sides/front. I was thinking maybe some small alum angle to cover the panel joint, but not sure how to fasten it. I want it to look nice and sleek. I notice a lot of trailer makers use some really large angle.

                            Any help here on the attachment or any other ideas on handling the joint? I'd prefer to have the two panels meet without covering up the joint with more metal, but I can't think of a good way to do that.

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