Installment #5: "Don't Break Your Finger, Just Install My Axle - The Axle Saga Continues"
In the last episode we rescued our axle right before it was sold to salvagers and it has been sitting on the garage floor for over a month. I finally decided to
and started looking for options to have it installed.
Suddenly, I remembered there were two horse trailer shops that I checked with intially that said they could do it. The other one, was right across the highway. Off I go to see if they are willing to install my axle for a reasonable price.
This shop was smaller, which is why I had picked the other one, but they had a well equipped shop and an installer who seemed to have a lot of experience. Price was reasonable so I made an appointment.
I brought the Scamp and Dexter up to the shop on the appointed day and the installer and I went through how I wanted to mount it. I was told it would be ready late afternoon or next day.
Two hours later I get a call from the shop that I needed to come up right away to discuss...
Now, in most cases, that wouldn't set off too many alarms, but this axle install was haunted so I began to think - WHAT NOW!
I go up to the shop and there's my lil Scamper up on jacks with his old feet cut off. The installer comes out and is lookin pretty whipped. He tells me that he got the old axle cut off, but it was a bearcat. His assistant had also dropped the trailer the last few inches on the jacks, and unfortunately his finger was still on the top of the jack and was now broken... Oh no, more broken bones.
Now he can't get the new one aligned properly. We went to take a look and he had it underneath as a trailing arm setup.
Ah, I said. You forgot I told you we needed to flip it.
We went through a whole bunch of stuff with Dexter when we originally ordered the axle and they don't make a leading arm axle anymore, but the Dexter pros said that we could flip it and it would be fine.
He looked at me and said, "Oh, you mean spin it? I couldn't figure out what you meant by flip it." (Now I don't even resemble an axle expert, so I'm not sure why he thought I would know the axle installation jargon) He immediately "spins" the axle on the jack and we proceed to align it. One problem down. Next he tells me that the way these trailers are built with the wood flooring and the location to where the axles have to be welded on that it would be very easy to catch them on fire when welding. Remembering Marjie S post on how she lost her Scamp I relayed this to the fella. He said when he began welding they would proceed very cautiously and he'd have the assistant standing by to put anything out that started smoking.
I left the shop with "Marjie S" syndrome. Oh, to come all this way to have the lil Scamp smoked. How dreadful, can't even imagine what she went through. I tried to stay busy that afternoon so as not to think about it.
At noon the next day they called and told me she was ready to go!
Off I went to pick her up.
Everything looked great and it raised it about 1-2" which is what I was looking for. We have an HOA and I have to store in the garage, so I was wanting pretty much a stock install with a bit of height gain, but not much. The job came out perfect.
Install cost was $245 so the total for axle with 7"brakes installed was $445.
Now this journey began the first week of May 2008 when the axle was ordered. It has now officially ended six and one half trying months later.
It was the last big item needed to restore the 81 Scamp and it is done.
My wish is that all of you won't encounter anything near what has transpired here in this axle tale when it is time to change out yours. Maybe, in the hearing of this tale you can avoid one or two of the issues that have plagued axle changes in the past. Marjie's tale made me have the fire discussion with the installer and perhaps allowed us to avoid a similar fate.
As one comment asked, does it help to write about it? Yes, it does.
It also helps that when I step into my Scamp it now springs back up instead of the way it used to sink down and stay there.
God bless, and may the roads rise up to meet your wheels for many safe trips ahead.