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?

Somethings going on around here

Well hurrah! The travel trailer is out and away. Should have done a video of that getting snaked through the trees, but it took three of us to manage it so there was no forth to take the pictures. Jane agrees it’s because the trees got bigger in the past couple of years, making the passage narrower. (Okay, the angles are completely the other way ’round going out from coming in. I was not looking forward to doing that job by myself!)

Where the trailer was. Now to clean up all that remaining reno debris … and continue with the reno.

The next big projects are putting an underground power line right through that area so the generator can be in the generator shed instead of on the front porch, and completely redoing the bathroom. Why? Well …

Packrat next #1.
Packrat next #2. Numbers 3 & 4 are smaller and haven’t been exposed yet.

This was all supposed to have been done by the contractor, who instead just did a bad job of paneling over the destroyed plaster board with some T&G pine. It took me 30 minutes to remove that, and looks like a solid day to take out the board and nests. It all started that fateful day years ago when I was re-roofing the place (by myself) and the Mrs. fell in the woods and broke her wrist. Took her to the hospital and by the time we got back … Well a full month’s worth of rain fell and the rear of the roof was all exposed. So after I fix the ceiling I have to fix the walls too.

Isn’t this fun?

One of the jobs involves reaching up as high as I can, the other reaching down as far as I can. It’s like a workout, only it actually accomplishes something.

Meanwhile I had another visitor at dinner last night:

Is it the original Bucky, or just some cousin of his?

My list of things to get is pretty lengthy already, so in to town tomorrow to see if any of it can be got. Artificial product shortages and price gouging will be the undoing of us this year.

Ever on Sunday

I spent today (as many hours as I could stand) fixing up my utility trailer.

A couple of broken welds redone, a dash of paint to retard instant rusting, some new bolts and … it’s almost done! I still need to repack the wheel bearings, and frankly it needs new tires.

One thing I learn from this is that I don’t like wire-feed welders (I learned on stick welder more then 40 years ago). But it did the job.

Cheap, and bought on sale.

Today’s adventure

I took the camping trailer out to the cabin.


If I want to bring it back I’m going to need a 1 ton 4×4 with a big engine as the ol’ Ford E-250 had a awfully hard time dragging that thing up the hills. I doubt it could bring it back out up the hill at the lake.

There were a few other problems along the way too. 80 KPH on the highway? Not possible. Potholes on the gravel roads necessitated going to slow at times the speedometer wasn’t registering. Then there was the problem at 28 kms where a truck came at me around the corner in the middle of the road (the “no one drives on this road” syndrome). I went to the right shoulder, which was soft and sucked the van and trailer in. Somehow I had enough momentum to get the van back on the hard surface and it had enough weight to pull the trailer out. I had visions of having to cut wood and jack wheels to get myself out of the mud. Good ol’ Whale managed it.


On the left: Ford E-250 tow vehicle; “The Whale”

The second road wasn’t any fun either, as I had to drive straight down the middle (it’s about 1 1/2 lanes wide) to avoid hitting the overgrowing flora on either side. This meant no dodging potholes. A lot of slow going and the bumps were bad.

There’s a tight ‘S’ turn on the skidder path leading to our place and I had cleared the ground around it to make sure it would fit. It was still hair-raising. Then, wouldn’t you know it? Scraped the awning on an inward-leaning tree right at the gate! The filled potholes gushed out under the weight of the rig too, but I got it into the yard.

Which brought up the problem of having to turn it around. 25 feet of trailer and 18 feet of van doing a ‘K’ turn in a yard full of trees. Whee! And then backing it into its spot and leveling it up and … Well I got it done.

It would have been nice if I’d remembered the computer so I could have sent my wife a message saying I’d arrived.

It would have been nice if my cell phone hadn’t died so I could have called her when I still had signal and let her know I’d forgotten the computer.

It would have been nice if I’d remembered to unload the things I’d brought along to leave at the cabin.

As it was I made it home before the rain started, which is good because the wipers no longer work on the Whale.

Next step, sometime next week, is to pack up and go out and stay and work.

I’d better remember the computer.