Friday, April 24, 2009

Houston, we have a problem.

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Building something. It's just so incredibly, wonderfully fun and, well, empowering. To that end, our little trailer has been nothing but a godsend. First it was the internal systems - finishing the water, correcting and completing the electrical, sorting out the propane. I couldn't help but celebrate this evening as I wrapped up my latest mechanical project.

Tonight I finished replacing the leaf springs. That's right. Dropping the axle, removing the leaf springs and completely replacing them.

OK, so there were only six bolts per side to deal with, and it really was easier than building any number of Lego structures, but I'm still thrilled to have completed this project under my own steam. All those hours spent watching Dad, handing tools to Dad, helping Dad under various vehicles over the years really did provide QUITE an education. (Thanks, Dad!)

Why bother replacing the springs, you ask?

Well, when I purchased the trailer in June, it sagged slightly to the driver's side, but the water tank was on that side, so we chalked it up to years of overload on that side. Other vintage trailer folks said the sag was too minor to worry about. After our recent Monterey run, the trailer started keeling pretty hard left.We plan to use the trailer in a couple of weeks, and I didn't think we should hit the road again with such a lean. It definitely needed to be addressed.

The frame looks OK, as does the tongue, so that leaves the springs, right? I talked to a few trailer folks (friends and online forums alike) and the general consensus was that the leaf springs must be damaged, broken or merely worn out. Only one way to tell for sure.

The camping trip provides a definite deadline - a tool that works VERY well with me. Yesterday, after school and games of Scrabble and Sum Swamp, the girls headed for the trampoline, and I opted for the toolbox and trailer. After about an hour, with lots of rust and WD-40 on the garage floor, filthy hands and exhausted shoulders, the original springs were OFF. Today, I purchased a new set and this evening completed the installation, complete with cleanup and repainting of the axle housing, frame, spring hangers and shackles (and their welds, which still look solid).

Though the project is complete, I'm still feeling a bit silly and remind myself of Henry Ford and his quadricycle. Like Ford, I built my machine inside. Like Ford, I didn't take into consideration the door. Next question: Will I, like Ford, have to cut my incredible machine's way out of the garage!?

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  1. OOOHHHHH NNNOOOO! So you don't fit out the door any more? Just flatten your tires a it roll it out and pump them up again....

  2. Wow, that looks fun, And Please lut us know how you get it out of the garage with it's newly aquired highth. Could be interesting!
    KP IN UT

  3. Mr. B and I both thought it wouldn't fit. I tested it this morning, though. GOOD fits! (barely!) ;)

  4. Dear Jenbest: Believe you need this tip from the Redneck Rules of Manners: "Dirt and grease under the fingernails is a social no-no, as they tend to distract from a woman's jewelery and alter the taste of finger food." Well done on the trailer. I often say to myself "thanks Dad" for all the things he taught me, and the love he shared, also.


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