Ironhorse trailers require very little servicing. Nevertheless a few things are worth mentioning.
Hinge Lubrication—On the flip tops, there are hinges at the front of the top and between the tailgate and rear cross member. While the hinges on the WideBody are easy to see and lubricate, the hinges on the 1Bike and 2Bike tops are harder to access. Each has one long vertical leg and one short horizontal foot one which is bolted to the floor. It’s the “ankles” of those hinges that need lubrication—otherwise the movement may oxidize and make it hard/impossible to raise and lower the top. A liberal dose of WD-40 once or twice a season is typically more than enough to keep the top and tailgate operating easily—will need doing more often the colder and damper your weather.
Wheel Bearing Lubrication—Ironhorse trailers typically have a hub cap that covers the end of spindle. The hub caps typically have a removable plug in the end. Behind the removable plug in the hubcap is a silver cap over the end of the spindle. Some of the silver caps are removable with a special tool. Others have a removable rubber plug in their center. In either case, theirs is a zerk grease fitting in the end of the spindle. About three full length strokes of a manual grease gun once a year are enough to keep the wheel bearings happy.
Maintaining Your Trailers Trim
If you store it outside in virtually any climate, the edge trim on the bottom of your top will accumulate grit between its outer edge and the top. The only fix for that is to rinse that area once or twice a month. Leaves and tree sap will also discolor the outside surface of that same edge trim. About the only thing we’ve found that corrects that is Clorox Clean-up and elbow grease.
Regardless of where you store your trailer, the endless black weather strip attached to the top edge of the body of your trailer will dry out enough to resist rather than encourage the top’s opening and closing. Wiping the weather strip with Armorall will quickly return it to operating condition but don’t wait—continuing to use excessively dry weather strip can quickly turn an annoyance into a real PIA.
While we’re on the subject—neither the weather strip nor the edge trim is held on with adhesive. Instead molded in the center of each is a “snake’s backbone”—u-shaped metal segments with inward facing fishhooks on the outer end of the snake ribs. In both cases, the open side of the ribs is forced down over the fiberglass edge to which they are to be attached. If a several rib pairs in a row are too narrow, the trim or weather strip won’t go on over its respective edges. If a section of the ribs are too wide, the weather strip or edge trim won’t stay on. Fortunately, squeezing either material with strong fingers can reduce the gap enough that the material will stay on the edge to which it is supposed to be attached.
Maintaining Your Trailers Surface
Gelcoat is much harder than automotive paint so it is much more resistant to rock chips. Nevertheless it requires much the same kind of periodic maintenance as a nice auto. If your trailer is garaged it will require no more frequent washing and waxing than a family auto that you plan to keep several years. But if you store it outdoors under a pine tree for several months, bringing the finish back to life will take a lot of time and effort.
In general, the same kind of detergents and waxes that work on automotive paint will work on your trailer. But the gelcoat on your trailer will inevitably oxidize and the more the sun exposure it gets the faster that will happen. So here are a couple of recommendations.
If you garage your trailer, give it an annual cleaning and polishing with Duragloss Marine and RV polish. If you store it outside in Florida, Arizona or somewhere with a similar climate, you will probably need to do that three or four times a year.
Restoring Oxidized Gelcoat
If your gelcoat becomes so oxidized that you’re ashamed of it, consider taking your trailer to a local boatyard and having it professionally buffed–even small boatyards typically offer such service. They use professional grade buffers and a gelcoat friendly rubbing compound to remove the microscopic oxidized surface layer of the gelcoat and bring the remaining gelcoat back to its original high gloss. Keep in mind that the worse your trailer’s gelcoat is oxidized the more gelcoat will have to be removed and the fewer times that can be done over the life of the trailer (some professionals say three times is usually the max).