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For a truck enthusiast, a trailer is an inevitable need. There will always be the debate about whether a truck should be driven to or trailered to a show, but trailers are much more than just something for towing your show truck. How about the day you bring your new project home? You can’t really drive the “barn find” home from the barn in which you found it. Or, in our case, what if you own a shop and need to trailer a chassis across town to get it powdercoated? There are so many times a trailer comes in handy when you own a truck or a business building trucks.

For us, our previous trailer had seen a lot of miles and was getting pretty tired looking. The trailer brakes had gone out long ago, the fenders were banged up and surface rust was setting in. Sure, we could’ve put some work into the trailer and made it nice again, but it was a starter trailer for us. We were ready to step up to something a little nicer. Also, we wanted to outfit our new trailer with some things that would make our lives a bit easier when using it. Security was also a concern we wanted to address.

After purchasing our new trailer, we started reaching out to a few companies to help us outfit it. Our first call was to Summit Racing. Not only does the company have all the parts you’d ever need to work on your truck, but it also has a ton of trailer related accessories. We turned to Mac’s Custom Tie Downs to set us up with a complete set of tie downs that we could use to secure any vehicle we put on the trailer. Lastly, we contacted Bolt Lock to help us protect our new investment. Check out the steps we took to outfit our new trailer with some great products that will make using a trailer easier and safer.

Our new trailer has a 22-foot-long deck, which gives us some extra room at the front of the trailer. The trailer was also built with this ¾-inch-thick winch mounting plate. Sure, you could bolt a winch directly to this plate, but we have some better plans.

Like installing this 12,000-pound winch (part #SUM-931120) from Summit Racing. This comes complete with a roller fairlead, a wired remote with plenty of cable length, and 100 feet of steel cable.

In addition to the Summit winch, we also grabbed one of their battery relocation kits (part #SUM-G1231-K), which not only came with a battery box, but also some extra wire and accessories. We’ll show you want we did with the wire and the plug (part #TAY-21518) in a bit.

Here’s our “better plan,” a 60-inch-wide toolbox from Summit Racing (part #OWE-44008B). We thought it would be a great idea to install the winch inside the toolbox and sandwich the toolbox between the winch and the trailer. This will not only keep the elements off of our new winch, but it will conceal it and protect it from theft as well. The toolbox will also give us a place to house a battery and tools, and it’s even large enough for a floor jack to fit as well.

Our first step to getting all our new parts installed is centering the toolbox on the trailer, all the way to the front rail.

With the box centered, we made marks through the winch mounting plate for the holes that will secure everything to the trailer. We also marked the larger hole for our wires to pass through the winch plate.

For the larger hole we used an appropriately sized hole saw, and for the winch mounting holes we were able to use a step bit to get the job done.

We then set the toolbox back in place and installed the winch in its new home.

Just so nothing moved around while we continued on, we bolted the pieces together. The winch will have to come out again though.

Supplied with the new winch is this roller fairlead, which needs to be installed on the outside of the toolbox. We used it as a template and marked where we needed to drill holes and cut the toolbox to allow the winch cable to pass through.

We began drilling out the mounting holes with a standard drill bit, then jumped up to the hole saw again to start the long hole that the cable will pass through. Using an air saw, we connected the two large holes which gave us the correct size opening for the fairlead.

Using some new hardware, we secured the fairlead to the toolbox.

Along with the wires we showed you earlier, the battery relocation kit from Summit Racing also came with this battery box, which we will use to protect the battery from anything else we put in the toolbox with it.

The toolbox came with studs that secure the battery, but the holes are not drilled in the bottom of the box. A step bit quickly solved this issue.

Once we had the holes for the mounting studs drilled, we set the box inside the toolbox and marked the floor of the toolbox. Then we drilled some holes straight through the bottom of the toolbox, all the way through the wood on the trailer.

The mounting studs ended up being long enough that we could mimic what we did with the winch and run the hardware all the way to the bottom of the trailer. This sandwiches the toolbox between the battery box and the trailer.

It was now time to install a battery, but what battery do we get? Well, that’s exactly what we asked Optima Battery. The company suggested using one of its 34/78 Yellowtop batteries. The Yellowtop battery will hold up very well to the needs of the winch. It provides plenty of cranking power, but it also will survive the inconsistent charging cycles that we will put it through.

Since we did our research before ordering all these parts, we knew that the Optima battery would drop right in to the Summit battery box. We used the metal strap that came with the battery box kit to secure the new battery in the box.

Turning our attention back to the winch, we unbolted it and pulled it out of the toolbox to begin wiring in. The control box mounting plate goes on first.

Once the mounting plate is secured to the winch, the control box and wiring is positioned and bolted up to the plate.

There are several wiring connections that we made before bolting the winch back in place. Summit makes it pretty easy; we just matched the colored terminal to the corresponding colored wire. This left us with just a red and black (positive and negative) wire to hook up to the battery.

After bolting the winch back in place, we cut the winch wires to length and connected them to the battery. You’ll notice we have two wires going to each terminal of the battery … well that’s because we want to be able to charge the battery while driving the truck.

With the excess wire we had from the battery relocation kit, we ran a positive and negative wire through the floor of the toolbox and out the bottom of the trailer. We then grounded the black (negative) wire to the chassis of the trailer, ran another black wire off the ground point forward with the red (positive) wire, loomed them in a mesh wire loom and routed them toward the front of the trailer.

Using the plug kit we ordered, we connected the wires to terminals and inserted them into the male side of the connector. After we run a positive and negative cable from the vehicles battery to the receiver hitch area, we can plug the two sides of this plug together and our new Optima battery will charge off of the tow vehicle’s alternator.

Now that we have all the wiring on the trailer completed, we can button up the battery by installing the lid. The box comes with these cool little knurled plastic pieces that grab the hardware and make tightening down the lid super easy.

Here’s a look at the inside of the toolbox, with the winch and battery secured in place. You can see that there’s still plenty of room for tools and such in the box.

The last part of the winch install we need to tackle is the cable. We hooked up the remote to the winch and ran some slack out.

Then we installed the hook onto the cable and secured it with the supplied pin and locking pin.

Now it’s time for some security. Bolt Lock makes a wide variety of locks, but what really makes them unique is that they can be used with the same key as your truck. This also means that you only need your truck key to unlock any of the multiple locks that they offer. We picked up a bunch of different styles so we can lock our trailer while it’s parked by itself, or while it’s attached to the tow vehicle. We also picked up the lock that secures the hitch to the tow vehicle’s receiver, a cable lock for anything we might tie down to the trailer and also some new locks for our toolbox.

There are really only two of these types of locks that need explanations, so we will show you how those work beginning with the toolbox locks. The process begins by removing the existing locks on the toolbox. Using the correct size drill bit, we drilled out the rivets that secure the locks to the box.

Here’s a look at everything that comes with Bolt Lock’s Toolbox Retrofit kit.

The system for setting up our truck key to this lock was the easiest thing we’ve done so far on this trailer. We just inserted the key and turned it one time, and just like that it was set to go.

Included with the kit is the arm and C-clip that will catch the mechanism that locks the latch. Once we had the lock cylinder all setup with our key, we assembled the complete latch and were ready to install it.

Positioning all the parts into the toolbox takes a little bit of effort—and some toolbox trimming in our case—but once everything was lined up, we were able to install the new rivets and complete the installation of our new toolbox locks.

To keep our new trailer secured when it’s all by itself, we grabbed one of these Off-Vehicle Coupler Locks. The kit comes with two different adapters to fit different size couplers.

Since we have a 2 5/16-inch coupler, we installed the corresponding adapter and assembled the base piece.

Here’s a look at how the Coupler Lock fits the trailer. This should be a pretty good theft deterrent. Not only is the lock bright red, which will hopefully make any interested thief pass up an attempt to steal the trailer, but it is also constructed of hardened steel. The locking parts of all these locks are all stainless steel, which will resist nearly all corrosion as well.

With our installation complete it was time to test everything out and see how it works. We hooked the trailer back up to our truck and decided to try something heavier than most the stuff we will be hauling with this trailer. We grabbed our Mac’s Combo Bridle, attached it to the chassis, let our new Summit winch out, and attempted to pull a diesel box van cab and chassis onto our new trailer. The 12,000-pound winch and Optima battery handled it with no problem, and having the bridle attached to keep the winch pulling from the center kept the winch from binding up on one side or the other.

Once the box van was up on the trailer, we grabbed our Mac’s Pro Pack Premium Tie Down Strap Kit (part #511606) and used the fleece lined axle straps and 10,000-pound ratchet straps to hold the van in place while we hauled it across town.

We are extremely happy we opted for the 22-foot-long trailer. Even with the toolbox taking up some real estate up front, we still had enough deck on the trailer to fit this long van and securely strap it down with the Mac’s Tie Downs.

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