Originally Posted by John in Santa Cruz
above that bracket, I see the chain goes through a small tapered spring, and then is anchored by a sort of cupped washer. I bet the cupped washer has a slot the top ball of the chain is secured through....
I think I would take a pair of long skinny needlenose pliers, compress that spring, and try and fish the washer and chain out from the top... then put a new chain on the washer and feed it back through...
this might be easier to do if you can remove the hinge pin and take the whole top off the trailer so you can work with it on a table while seated
I had this break on me a couple times and this is exactly how I fixed it. The chain is attached to a bell shaped fitting on the end. this is the part that fits in the spring. I had to use the needle nose pliers to pry open the bell end to get the ball out. I had to deform the metal of the bell slightly to get it open far enough, so there will be a limit to how many times you can do this before the metal fatigues. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find a replacement for the bell part, so I'm still using the original. The ball size on the chain is 3/8", I believe, which is the size that is used on window covering chains.
Once I get the old ball out of the bell end, I pop the new chain in and pinch it back together. Then I feed the chain back through the spring and into the trailer.
Try doing that in the middle of a downpour!