Problem with Springs - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-12-2007, 01:30 PM   #1
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I hooked up my trailer to take it to AAA today to get the VIN verified again. I thought it was sitting at an angle in the garage but attributed it to the wheel jack being on one side. But hooked to the Forester it was also leaning to the right. So I looked underneath and saw that the metal piece that is shown in the picture below open was closed, so that the thingamjig was flatter against the frame (hard to describe but if it isn't clear I'll get another photo when it settles again.)

I figured I could drive carefully and after a mile or less the trailer was riding level. I checked at AAA and it looked as the picture shows. Yes, everything is pretty rusty but looks solid despite the rust, except I can't tell about this part. It's obviously sticky; I'm not sure how it is supposed to act. What do I need to do?


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Old 11-12-2007, 01:42 PM   #2
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That nearly vertical item is the spring shackle and it should move freely as the trailer is rocked. Sounds like it's bound up a bit. I'd try some oil at the inside and outside of the top and bottom bolts.

I suppose that ideally it would be nice to remove both the bolts and clean them up and reassemble but it might be a bear to get the nuts off the bolt and and bolt out of whatever they're run through. I think a little oil would do it and the pieces will slip more easily as you use the trailer.
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Old 11-12-2007, 01:51 PM   #3
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That nearly vertical item is the spring shackle and it should move freely as the trailer is rocked. Sounds like it's bound up a bit. I'd try some oil at the inside and outside of the top and bottom bolts.

I suppose that ideally it would be nice to remove both the bolts and clean them up and reassemble but it might be a bear to get the nuts off the bolt and and bolt out of whatever they're run through. I think a little oil would do it and the pieces will slip more easily as you use the trailer.
What kind of oil do I need for that?

Bobbie
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Old 11-12-2007, 01:55 PM   #4
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The shackle swings to allow the spring end move horizontally as the spring flattens (to compress as the trailer moves down) and regains its curve (when the trailer springs back up and the spring curves more). In the photo the shackle has swung to accommodate the spring flattening, which matches nicely with the observation that the same side of the trailer is low.

Sure, it could be that the pivot at either end of the shackle is binding, and not allowing the spring to pull it back to the normal position. It could also be that the spring is collapsing, and staying flatter under the trailer weight than it should.

If after lubricating and bouncing it appears the suspension moves freely, but settles back to this position, then I would guess the spring is dead. If it reliably comes back to level as it did after driving - and doesn't just stick at level occasionally - it was just a sticky pivot problem and the spring is fine.

Shackle pivot points often have grease fittings, and in that case a gun can be used to add grease without disassembly.

If the spring really is collapsing (probably not in this case), it's time for a new one... and the one on the other side should be replaced at the same time. Fortunately, leaf springs are cheap - a shop will likely charge more for the installation than for the springs themselves.


Bobbie - the description and photo are fine
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Old 11-12-2007, 02:02 PM   #5
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If the spring really is collapsing (probably not in this case), it's time for a new one... and the one on the other side should be replaced at the same time. Fortunately, leaf springs are cheap - a shop will likely charge more for the installation than for the springs themselves.
I suspect it is really collapsing as it settled as it sat in the garage. (Although then I'm not sure why it springs back up in travel.) I'll try lubrication first, though. What kind of shop do I need if it is the springs?

Bobbie
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Old 11-12-2007, 02:09 PM   #6
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I suspect it is really collapsing as it settled as it sat in the garage. (Although then I'm not sure why it springs back up in travel.) I'll try lubrication first, though. What kind of shop do I need if it is the springs?

Bobbie
Buy a spray can of WD-40 at almost any store and spray the heck out of all 4 shackles and that should loosen them up and let your trailer set and stay level.
$1.00 says that it is all you will need!
John
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Old 11-12-2007, 02:11 PM   #7
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What kind of shop do I need if it is the springs? Bobbie
A spring shop Benz Springs .... I guess it would depend if you're looking for a DIY solution or not. You might see if a utility trailer manufacturer in your area would be willing to work on your fiberglass trailer if you want to have the work done. I know an RV place probably would, but they're going to "stick" you too and springs are springs.
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Old 11-12-2007, 02:11 PM   #8
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Buy a spray can of WD-40 at almost any store and spray the heck out of all 4 shackles and that should loosen them up and let your trailer set and stay level.
$1.00 says that it is all you will need!
John
I have the WD-40 and will try that before anything else.

Bobbie
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Old 11-12-2007, 02:19 PM   #9
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I have the WD-40 and will try that before anything else.

Bobbie
I forgot to tell you that WD-40 is a penetrating oil and will need a time to penetrate into the bushings around the bolts on the shackles so don't give up if it does not work instantly.
John
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Old 11-12-2007, 04:20 PM   #10
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What kind of shop do I need if it is the springs?
I agree with Donna - this is a spring thing, not an RV thing. I would try, in order
  1. truck and trailer suspension businesses (such as Standen's, who supplied the original springs and axle for my Boler; this type of business often has "spring" in its name, such as our local City Spring)
  2. trailer manufacturing and repair businesses (have common trailer springs in stock and recognize what is needed)
  3. any random garage
  4. RV shop
Okay, that's not fair to the RV shops...

What I would prefer to do personally is pick up new springs and bolt them in myself. They could come from a spring shop, or some types of automotive and industrial suppliers (such as Princess Auto in Canada).

With any luck, it's just sticky shackle pivots.
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Old 11-12-2007, 06:57 PM   #11
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I agree with Donna - this is a spring thing, not an RV thing. I would try, in order
  1. truck and trailer suspension businesses (such as Standen's, who supplied the original springs and axle for my Boler; this type of business often has "spring" in its name, such as our local City Spring)
  2. trailer manufacturing and repair businesses (have common trailer springs in stock and recognize what is needed)
  3. any random garage
  4. RV shop
Okay, that's not fair to the RV shops...

What I would prefer to do personally is pick up new springs and bolt them in myself. They could come from a spring shop, or some types of automotive and industrial suppliers (such as Princess Auto in Canada).

With any luck, it's just sticky shackle pivots.

I agree completely here with the bolt them in myself. Cheaper is always better. Another possibility for a spring supplier in the U.S. would be a farm & fleet, or a Tractor supply. Measure the length of the spring from eye to eye while suspension is unloaded, as well as from the eye that is in the fixed position, to the center bolt of the leaf. Buy the springs to build the leaf pack, 2 grade 8 bolts and nuts, and new spring u-bolts with nuts. It sounds like allot but the satisfaction of not having paid for the labor can be worth the price of the parts.

One word of caution, "RUST", find the best penetrating oil you can, soak, wait, soak, and then breaker bars, for those of you who don't have access to the "Blue Wrench" (Oxy-Acetylene)
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Old 11-12-2007, 07:37 PM   #12
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I agree completely here with the bolt them in myself. Cheaper is always better.
If it comes to that, I'm having someone do it. I'm willing to make repairs that don't render it impossible to tow the trailer to someone else to fix the problem I caused. Other than that, no thanks. But I found a vendor and servicer of leaf springs in town so I'll call them if I decide it needs doing.

Bobbie
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Old 11-13-2007, 07:05 AM   #13
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What kind of oil do I need for that?

Bobbie

A product call PB Blaster is about the best penetrating oil I have used to loosen stuck parts.
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Old 11-13-2007, 09:17 AM   #14
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A product call PB Blaster is about the best penetrating oil I have used to loosen stuck parts.
Gerry the canoebuilder

Is that short for Peanut Butter Blaster? lol.

I'll look for it in case the WD-40 doesn't work.

Bobbie
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