The past week’s project

The utility trailer needed suspension repair, thanks to the extreme roughness of the road it travels on. To be fair, the shackles were original and I’ve had that trailer for … oh, twenty years? I don’t know how many thousands of miles it’s travelled; up and down the canyon, back and forth to the cabin, usually loaded if not overloaded. Anyway the suspension was pretty well worn:

Holes are supposed to be round, not oblong.

It looked worse when I got it apart:

Oh boy!
Oh boy oh boy!

It took me two hours to take the two sides apart. That was fast. I should have known that boded ill, as it took over a week to scrounge and in some cases modify all the necessary bits to get it back together.

New shackle and bolt above, old below (that bolt wouldn’t even come out it was so distorted).

Now ordinarily what you’d do with the old mounts is cut them off and weld new ones on in the right place. However I don’t have the necessary tools to do that, and don’t fancy spending a few hundred dollars just to complete one job. So I saved the new mounts out of the hanger kit, and fixed the old ones.

New parts saved for ‘Plan D’ just in case.
Welded up the old mounts, adding some ‘backing’ plates.

The tiny wire-feed welder I have got is not up to even this job, really. I didn’t like the way it worked when I used it to fix the side bars last year. So I modified it. I won’t say how as I’m sure what I did was unsafe, illegal, immoral, unethical, and all-around bad and absolutely no one should ever do it under any circumstance. But hell, I’m just an engineer not a tow truck driver or mechanic or any other Internet celebrity type who knows everything based on a limited amount of education and experience. After the modification I found the welder worked better, but still it’s a pain.

Side note: welding with bad eyesight is really, really hard. But since the welds are going to be bad anyway, what does it matter? The important thing is that it works – and holds together. We’ll see about that last bit soon enough.

If only something was the right size.

This was one of the other problems: the spring bushings. The one on the right is new and full-size. Unfortunately that size was too large outside diameter to fit the spring eye, so I had to grind it down to the size on the left. Buy the right size? Why yes, that would have been nice. But I wanted the project done this year, not in whatever century the item in question gets restocked. That has been a major issue for all sorts of things I’ve been trying to get done.

Bushings re-sized and installed.

I had to modify the bolts that came with the hanger kit too, as the locking shoulders were not necessary to the design and interfered with the fit. As I said, I should have known I was in trouble when it came apart so easily!

New parts in place.

But there it is back together, and after a brief bounce down the road and around the yard and some expected re-tightening it seems to be okay. At worst it is better than it was before. It may even last through this year’s wood harvest. Or it may fall apart when I take it out to the cabin tomorrow. That’s why there’s a ‘Plan D’.

You may notice I didn’t paint it. Why bother when it’s just going to get ‘sandblasted’ with every trip down the gravel road?

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