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Old 18 July 2006, 17:11   #1
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Bent trailer leaf spring "spacer bracket"?

When loading my boat at the weekned I noticed that there is a metal strap/brace/spacer/bracket thingy (technical term!) which is part of the leaf spring assembly - on one side this bracket has bent out of place. As the boat is now back on the trailer I can't get a photo just now. but I have sketched what I remember it looking like!

It looks to me as though the purpose of this metal "bar" (probably about 50cm long, 3 cm high and 0.5 cm wide) is to somehow hold the ends of the leaf springs appart. For some reason (presumably a large pothole) the left suspension has bent this bracket. So my question is how do I fix this?

Can I straighten the bar or should it be replaced? (trailer is less than a year old and done about 5-600 miles max)

If I can straighten it - how - would it be sensible to fit say 3 U bolts over the bent part and gradually tighten them, whilst loosening the u bolts that are fitted at the end, and then retighten the end ones before removing the "new" bolts i have fitted.

thanks,

neil
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Old 18 July 2006, 18:18   #2
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Neil

A new bar will be quite easy to fabricate and will be far stronger than the original bent straight.

Nasher.
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Old 18 July 2006, 18:34   #3
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Nasher,

I had a nasty feeling this might be the case! I have never had cause to remove a leaf spring from a trailer (or anthing else for that matter). It looked as though complete removal and refitting (as would be required to replace the bar) might require some degree of engineering competence and/or muscle! Straightening in-situ looked as though it might be technically easier in that the leaf spring could stay were it belongs.

So, sorry if this is a dumb question - if I remove the U-bolts that hold the spring in place - will the spring go flying? i.e. is it under any compression/tension with just the weight of the trailer on it? and if so how does one refit the spring so as to get this force back on again (I assume they are quite difficult to "bend"). Or am I just imagining that there is actually a spring force between the trailer and the spring - and I can just unbolt the U-bolts pop the new bar in and bolt it all back up again?

Finally is this a common problem with leaf springs on trailers that I will need to keep an eye on? Am I right in thinking that it was probably caused by hitting a speed bump or pot hole too fast?

Thanks,

NEIL
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Old 18 July 2006, 19:03   #4
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Neil

Unfortunatly I'm not that experienced with leaf, sprung trailers, but I'd imagine there could be a small amount of pre-tension in the spring.
There are so many different types it would be hard to make a general comment.

However I wouldn't have thought there would be so much pre-tension that its going to be dangerous to strip it down, you should be able to tell whilst loosening it all off how much force is being applied to the various bits.
You can obviously take all the weight off the springs by jacking up the trailer frame.

If you really do want to do something about it without stripping it down, then your suggestion with the U bolts sounds good, but leave them, or just one, in place afterwards to replace the strength lost in the bar by being bent.

Nasher.
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Old 19 July 2006, 01:45   #5
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Should be a place-in-position-and-bolt-through operation.

Leaf springs are installed at full bend; they compress (straighten) as the weight of the trailer (and boat) come onto them.

Jack up the trailer, support it with a couple of jackstands, mark where the front and rear hanger brackets are on the frame (bounce those measurements against the other side to see what moved), and mark where the axle hits the leaf spring.

Should be a matter of a few nuts and you'll be able to get the whole thing off.

I'm not sure what part you have bent, as mine has the hangers and all on a plate that lies under the frame rail. The plate is then U-bolted to the frame rail.

When reassembling, make sure you locate all the parts as accurately as possible (with regard to the other side, at least), lest the trailer crab down the road behind the tow vehicle.

jky
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Old 19 July 2006, 02:23   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polwart
Nasher,

I had a nasty feeling this might be the case! I have never had cause to remove a leaf spring from a trailer (or anthing else for that matter). It looked as though complete removal and refitting (as would be required to replace the bar) might require some degree of engineering competence and/or muscle! Straightening in-situ looked as though it might be technically easier in that the leaf spring could stay were it belongs.

So, sorry if this is a dumb question - if I remove the U-bolts that hold the spring in place - will the spring go flying? i.e. is it under any compression/tension with just the weight of the trailer on it? and if so how does one refit the spring so as to get this force back on again (I assume they are quite difficult to "bend"). Or am I just imagining that there is actually a spring force between the trailer and the spring - and I can just unbolt the U-bolts pop the new bar in and bolt it all back up again?

Finally is this a common problem with leaf springs on trailers that I will need to keep an eye on? Am I right in thinking that it was probably caused by hitting a speed bump or pot hole too fast?

Thanks,

NEIL
Flat out this weekend and fully booked next but give me a shout.

Bring it over and we should get it sorted (have a few cars with leaf springs easy to get on and off) got impact guns and other handy bits of kit to make it an lazy job.

Can stick a 10 tone port-a-power on it if all else fails?

M
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Old 19 July 2006, 10:07   #7
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Thanks guys for all your help as usual. Your wise advise and experience is appreciated.

Matt I may well take you up on your offer. A week and a bit should give me long enough to find a suitable piece of replacement metal.

Cheers,

NEIL
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Old 19 July 2006, 14:37   #8
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I realize that a lot of people don't like spending money, but a replacement plate shouldn't be much cash at all. Factor in that a replacement part (as opposed to a fabbed part) will most likely be hot dip galvanized, and possibly a better heat treatment, and I personally can't really see going through the trouble of making one if a replacement can be found (that does, of course, assume you *can* find the part. If you can't then just ignore this post. )

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Old 19 July 2006, 18:45   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jyasaki
I realize that a lot of people don't like spending money, but a replacement plate shouldn't be much cash at all. Factor in that a replacement part (as opposed to a fabbed part) will most likely be hot dip galvanized, and possibly a better heat treatment, and I personally can't really see going through the trouble of making one if a replacement can be found (that does, of course, assume you *can* find the part. If you can't then just ignore this post. )

jky
jky - I am scottish so spending money is always an undersiable option! However I am also a lazy b*s*a*d so buying rather than making the part is also preferable. Having said that I don't know what it is called. When I noticed it was bent - it litterally looked like it was just a straight bar of metal so should be simple enough to obtain a replacement similar sized bit of metal locally. Getting it from the manufacturer is probably a nightmare - as the trailer was imported from the US. Parts seem to only be available via their UK imported who are absolutely terrible (supplied the trailer with wheel fitted the wrong way round!). It took them 2 weeks of several phone calls to get a spare wheel arranged when I wanted one - and it was always me calling them. Not the best customer service.
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Old 19 July 2006, 19:06   #10
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Fair enough; and good luck, Polwart.

One thing I'd look very closely at is how the piece could have been damaged. If my understanding of your description is accurate (which it may not be), then one or the other spring hangers had to migrate. This would have been uncompressing the leaf spring, and recompressing it backwards, wouldn't it? Seems to me that it would have had to have taken a direct shot to the hanger to move like that.

jky
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