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  1. #1

    Cool Successfully Applied Herculiner To Trailer

    This is my first post on here, and thought it could be useful to someone. I recently purchased a new 2014 Yamaha FX HO Waverunner. The dealer was running a promotion at the time where you received a “free” 2013 Load Rite Trailer (Aluminum) with the purchase of a new waverunner. This didn’t include the cost of registration, tags, taxes, etc. but I didn’t complain about the trailer since it was essentially “free”.

    After roughly 2 months of use heavy use in salt water, I noticed a small amount of surface rust on the back of the trailer about the size of a dollar. After seeing my neighbors 2012 Load Rite Trailer with a good amount of surface rust and being in rough shape, I figured I would deal with this issue now before mine ended up looking like his after the season.

    I ended up going with Herculiner bed liner paint. I didn’t really see posts on here with the results of anyone doing this, so I thought I would share my experience with this product.

    Here at the list of materials I used and the cost of the project:
    $4.75 (3x) Cans of Rust-Oleum Self-Etching Primer
    $22.47 (1x) Quart Herculiner Black Bed Liner
    $6.98 (1x) 4in. Foam Paint Roller With Extra Foam Rollers
    $0.71 (1x) 2in Foam Paint Brush
    $12.99 (1x) Rust-Oleum Truck Bed Coating Spray
    $2.68 (2x) Plastic Drop Cloth
    $9.98 Gator Paint & Rust Remover Wheel for Grinder
    $4.98 Simple Green Cleaner
    Total Cost: $77.72 + Tax

    I contacted Herculiner to see what they recommended for the primer, and the process of applying this to a trailer that would see saltwater. I am also doing all of this with my waverunner still on the trailer because I had no place to put it during the process.

    1. I grinded the hell out of the trailer to remove the coating that was on there and to scuff up the trailer so the primer had something to stick to. I used a grinder with a Gator Paint & Rust Remover Wheel. This took off the coating and rust on the trailer and gave it texture for the primer to stick to. Preparation is key. I made sure the entire trailer was roughed up. During this time I removed all the hardware and brackets to the trailer. Time: 4 hours

    2. I coated the entire trailer in Simple Green Cleaner to remove any dust, oil, etc. on the surface. Then I rinsed the trailer and let it dry off in the sun. Time: 1 hour

    3. I covered my waverunner with the plastic drop clothes and paper to ensure the primer and Herculiner didn’t get on it. Time: 20 mins

    4. I applied Rust-Oleum Self-Etching Primer in several light coats. I was surprised at how well this stuck to the trailer. The primer dries in a green color. I let the primer dry over-night just to make sure it was 100% dry before applying Herculiner.
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    5. The next morning I began the long process of applying the Herculiner coating. It is very important to thoroughly stir the can of Herculiner before applying, and every few minutes while applying. I started applying the Herculiner to the corners and hard to reach places with the foam paint brush. Next I applied Herculiner to the rest of the trailer with the foam roller. The quart size can allowed me to apply almost 3 full coats with emphasis on the parts that would see the most abuse. I also coated the brackets, etc. with Herculiner to give it a blacked out look. It is important to only work with a small portion of the Herculiner in a roller tray at a time since it dries/thickens up very fast. I also kept the lid on the can closed tight while not using it. For the portions of the trailer where the inside of the framing was exposed, I used the Rust-Oleum Truck Bed Coating Spray since the brush would not fit. Time: 6 hours

    All of the brackets and hardware went back together without any problems even with the thick coating. The trailer turned out better than I thought it would. Herculiner informed me if I ever needed to make “repairs” to the coating, Herculiner can be applied to itself.

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    Also, is almost impossible to get off your skin, and will not come off your clothes, shoes, etc.

    Hopefully someone will find this useful!!!
    Last edited by RLysaght; 06-08-2014 at 09:21 AM.


  2. #2
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    I am pretty sure you have a galvanized trailer. Aluminum doesnt rust.

  3. #3
    That's what I thought at first, but on my registration and paperwork it says aluminum. I know aluminum doesn't rust, but there were rust stains on the back bar of the trailer. I would assume it came from hardware or something that sat on the trailer at the dealer. I basically wanted to protect and make the trailer look half decent without spending too much money. Is there anything else I could do to protect from the saltwater besides rinsing the trailer off each time?

  4. #4
    Click avatar for tech links/info, donation request K447's Avatar
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    Find a magnet and see if it sticks to the trailer frame. Aluminum does not stick to a magnet, steel does.

    If the bolts holding the trailer together or holding that hardware on are steel or galvanized steel, you have the option of replacing the bolts with stainless steel bolts. If you do this, pay attention to the strength rating of the steel bolts and what the bolts are holding.

    Triton, for example, used SS bolts on the top line Elite aluminum trailers and galvanized bolts on the less expensive versions of the same trailer.

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  6. #5
    Echo's Avatar
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    Looking at the contrast of your rims in the avatar pic and the way y I u talk about coating, I also think galvanized. Get a magnet like sugested above. I have sprayed several galvanized trailers with u-pol raptor without grinding, just used a good quality self-etching primer. Looks good regaurdless
    Last edited by Echo; 06-08-2014 at 06:45 AM.

  7. #6
    gp1200rider's Avatar
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    Ditto Galvanized :leaf springs and axle will rust and snap long before that frame will do anything , if you had a painted steel fresh water lake trailer they rust out quick on salt water but they rust from inside out (outside being painted) it looks good and you wont slip when walking on it in the water .

  8. #7
    I really appreciate everyone's input. I took a magnet to the trailer and it only sticks to the axle and where the trailer is welded together. Even though my paperwork & registration says aluminum, I looked up the model number on the load rite website and it says galvanized steel. That being said, I updated the post and I have a few questions:
    - Is this trailer going to last with the amount of time it sees saltwater? It sees saltwater about 3 times a week (Fri-Sun)
    - Since the outside is "protected" with the
    Herculiner, is there anything I can do to protect the inside?
    This is my first pwc and trailer purchase, so all of your input is greatly appreciated!!

  9. #8
    Click avatar for tech links/info, donation request K447's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RLysaght View Post
    ... I took a magnet to the trailer and it only sticks to the axle and where the trailer is welded together.

    ... model number on the load rite website and ... says galvanized steel.

    That being said, I updated the post and I have a few questions:
    - Is this trailer going to last with the amount of time it sees saltwater? It sees saltwater about 3 times a week (Fri-Sun)
    - Since the outside is "protected" with the
    Herculiner, is there anything I can do to protect the inside?
    This is my first pwc and trailer purchase, so all of your input is greatly appreciated!!
    Was this test done with a weak magnet? It does not make sense that the welds are magnetic but the frame is not. My guess is that a test with a really strong magnet will confirm the frame is steel.

    Galvanized steel protects the underlying steel with a thin coating of galvanized zinc on the surface of the metal. It has the interesting property that if the surface gets nicked or scratched the zinc layer will creep and 'self-heal' over the exposed steel.

    You said you "grinded the hell out of the trailer to remove the coating that was on there". If your trailer really was galvanized steel then what you actually did was strip away the factory applied zinc coating from the steel. So now you have a bare steel trailer frame with bed liner coating instead of zinc.

    The liner material is tough but probably not self healing. Eventually salt water will creep underneath the liner material at the edges and through any nicks or gaps and attack the underlying raw steel. When you start to see bubbling and bumps forming underneath the bed liner material that would be rust in action.

    With the original galvanized surface you would have been able to see small rust spots and treat them directly. Now the metal surface is hidden underneath the bed liner coating where it may be hard to detect early rust stages and harder to counteract.

    What may help with corrosion protection for the insides of the still galvanized trailer frame rails is to have an anti-rust oil based spray applied to the insides of the frame. In regions where road salt is used in winter it is common for vehicles to have oil spray applied inside the unibody structure, even inside the doors. Long spray wands are used to get the product deeply into the vehicle structure.

    The spray is essentially a sticky light oil that sticks to the metal and creeps into crevices and displaces water.

    Salt water use three times every week is effectively continuous exposure to salt water.

    A factory galvanized steel trailer uses the zinc surface coating to protect the underlying steel. The zinc protection layer is sacrificial over time, so eventually the zinc coating thins and rust can begin. Frequent exposure to salt water may accelerate the sacrificial action and shorten the frame lifespan compared to the same trailer used only with fresh water.

    When the times comes to replace this first trailer, consider a torsion axle trailer, possibly with aluminum frame. Torsion axle does not have steel spring leaves to rust and rattle, and generally speaking trailers with torsion axle tend to be better made trailers overall.
    Last edited by K447; 06-08-2014 at 11:42 AM.

  10. #9
    I really appreciate you taking the time to reply back!

    It was just a general magnet that I had in the garage that has a hook on it to hang items. This was not my first choice for a trailer after reading all the posts on here about them. However since it was basically free, I figured I would get my use out of it and upgrade when the time comes.

    I did grind/sand the trailer down which did remove the top coating. The primer I used did contain rust preventives, so hopefully it will protect the frame somewhat.

  11. #10
    Click avatar for tech links/info, donation request K447's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RLysaght View Post
    ... trailer ... was basically free ...

    I did grind/sand the trailer down which did remove the top coating.

    The primer I used did contain rust preventives, so hopefully it will protect the frame somewhat.
    Lessons come in different ways

    My take is that for $77+taxes and a lot of labor you have a trailer with weaker rust protection than what it started out with.

    If you want to extract some value it may be better to sell this trailer right now to someone who only rides on fresh water, then purchase a different trailer that is better suited to frequent salt water exposure. Don't wait until the salt starts to eat at the frame under the coating as it will become hard to sell.

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