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Thread: Busted trailer spring

  1. #1
    Sponsor potbuilder's Avatar
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    Default Busted trailer spring

    One of the springs on my boat trailer snapped the other day, i'm thinking of making a "splint" out of steel plates and bolting it over the snapped parts to hold them together so i can get the rig home and work on the replacement here, only problem is the boat will be on the trailer if i bring the whole mess home. Its in whittier so you guys know what its like to work on stuff over there. Guess i could bring the new spring, generator, and sawzall over there and dump the boat in the harbor while i try to fix it. Lets hear some ideas ???
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  2. #2
    Member GOT TOYS's Avatar
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    Default Spring repair

    I would be worried that as the spring worked up and down, the shackle would act to try to pull the splint apart.
    Unfortunately the best thing to do is buy all the hardware and spring needed to do the repair in Whittier, all while it's raining and blowing on your parade. Bring a portable cutting torch with, and plan on replacing all the u-bolts and spring bolts.
    Kingfisher 2525. 225, 20, and 2hp Hondas.

  3. #3

    Default

    Don't know if this'll help, but I got some springs from Alaska Spring in Anchorage before. They can custom make them if you need.

  4. #4
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    Default

    The splint will only work to get your boat back in the water, I cannot recommend going down the road with one (1 mile MAX while loaded). I tired it once and had to replace the axle.

    You will need to replace the u-bolts, it's standard replacement on a spring change. Get a new spring, all of the necessary bolts and bushings before attacking. Take along a couple cans of PB Blaster (preferred) or other penetrating oil. Soak everything for an hour or so, work on loosening while working on it.

    Another route is to use wax, heat the bolt near the nut with a portable propane torch, then touch wax (candles work) to the bolt, it will seep into the threads and allow them to turn freely. Only cut if you cannot turn. A sawzall will work, but a portable cutting torch is much faster.

    Utilize grade 8 bolts for the springs to hanger, the u-bolts are typically grade 5, but you can get stronger if you desire. The shop can usually get new ones for you depending on the axle itself. It appears to be a dexter, which is fairly common. If you do not have the exact model, take detailed pictures of the spring and all the measurements you can (http://www.easternmarine.com/em_stor...tech_info.html is one location for measurement tips) and take that with you.

    Hope this helps, good luck on the field repair.

  5. #5
    Member chico99645's Avatar
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    Default

    Steve

    I did the same thing last fall with my 20' Flatbed 4 Wheeler Trailer double axle trailer with a load of Dirt on it. When the loader dropped the dirt on it, one full bucket of a huge loader he just dumped it on off center and to one side. One spring just snapped. Before I could stop the guy he dumped another bucket on for my load that I had requested. I got a 4x4 block and jacked up the load taking the weight off the axle. I slide the 4x4 block on ontop of the axle just above the ubolts and lowered the load on to the frame. The weight kept the bed off the axle due to the u-bolts were jammed into the 4x4 and gravity worked to my favor. The only thing I worried about was the 4x4 which was about 12 inches long was that it might split. I could have wrapped it with rope or strap but I didn't. I didn't have any give to it and it drove fine. I later got my spring from 6 Roblee's in the Valley. They have a pretty good selection of different springs. Bylooking at your pictures, thats exactly what happened to me. I wouldn't want to drive over a rough road with potholes, but it will get you home. Adjust you 4x4 to what ever clearance you need, 6x6 etc.... Cut a few exta for the road and check your load once in a while. If it looks like the 4x4 is splitting, wrap or bind it and put in a new one. Good Luck


    Mark

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    Last edited by chico99645; 08-10-2009 at 15:07. Reason: word ajustment

  6. #6
    Member theultrarider's Avatar
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    Default

    If I were in your shoes, I would talk to the harbor master and try to get the boat in a transient slp for a couple days and bring the trailer home with a bandaid and fix it up right. Then go back and retrieve the boat. If that is not an option, I would bring a torch set with me and fix it right there. Not worth the headaches or accident that could happen on the trip home with the boat on it if your patch fails.

  7. #7
    Member Dupont Spinner's Avatar
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    Default

    Dropping the boat back in the water and bringing the trailer back would be the best option. It can be done with the boat on but a lot easier with head room. Looking at your pic those nuts are not going to come easily and you may find you need a few more pieces when all said and done. PB or Kroil, plus heat and a good impact might get 'er done.

    If you are just bringing the trailer back strap the axle up to the frame and remove the tire and run it home.

    I would consider at a minimum changing both springs on that side and would really consider doing all four.

  8. #8

    Default Block idea

    I drove back to Anchorage from just past Hope cutoff with just three wheels. A hub exploded, the fender kept the wheel from disappearing into the wilderness. Point is, three wheels on a tandom can take the load. Block and strap it in place so it can't bounce out, drive slow with a buddy following in another car behind you keeping an eye on it and you'll be fine.

  9. #9
    Member Rod in Wasilla's Avatar
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    Please, please, please... do not tow it all the way back to town like that, or with a band-aid on it. My wife drives those roads, and I fear for her safety (and the safety of others, including you). There are several other options. Please be considerate and use one of them.

    If it were me, I'd probably splash the boat, moor it in transient parking, and make the repair in the parking lot. It shouldn't take more than an hour or so if you've got all the parts you need (shackle bolts, spring, u-bolts, etc.) and the right tools (cordless sawzall or torch, wrenches/ratchet/sockets, a good jack and jackstands, etc.).

    Heck, I've swapped out entire axle and spring setups on a couple of different trailers in the past few years. The first swap I did took a saturday afternoon, including setting new alignment and welding new spring hangers on the frame and spring pads on the axle... and there were even a couple of beer breaks in there too. And I did that one with the boat still on the trailer. Seriously, it really shouldn't take long to swap out a busted spring.
    Quote Originally Posted by northwestalska
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  10. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rod in Wasilla View Post
    Please, please, please... do not tow it all the way back to town like that, or with a band-aid on it. My wife drives those roads, and I fear for her safety (and the safety of others, including you). There are several other options. Please be considerate and use one of them.

    If it were me, I'd probably splash the boat, moor it in transient parking, and make the repair in the parking lot. It shouldn't take more than an hour or so if you've got all the parts you need (shackle bolts, spring, u-bolts, etc.) and the right tools (cordless sawzall or torch, wrenches/ratchet/sockets, a good jack and jackstands, etc.).

    Heck, I've swapped out entire axle and spring setups on a couple of different trailers in the past few years. The first swap I did took a saturday afternoon, including setting new alignment and welding new spring hangers on the frame and spring pads on the axle... and there were even a couple of beer breaks in there too. And I did that one with the boat still on the trailer. Seriously, it really shouldn't take long to swap out a busted spring.
    Potbuilder,

    Take Rod's advice. It isn't any harder to fix right there and if you get at it today, you probably won't get too wet as the forecast looks at least decent down that way. Look at it this way, you have to go down then anyway, so bring the tools that you will need and do it in the parking lot. Regardless of all these sucess stories of towing and limping home, blocking stuff, and the like, there are many more stories that are complete nightmares. Another option (the safest if you MUST travel) if to put the whole boat and trailer on large flatbed and bring it home.

    Tim

  11. #11
    Member Maast's Avatar
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    Default Another vote for PB Blaster

    Its amazing the bolts I've easily broken loose after using PB, the stuff is incredible.

    I had to move the bunks on the boat trailer up a few inches and when I crawled under there (after jacking the boat up off the bunks) I found the bunks had been attached using regular steel bolts and nuts. Nasty blobs of rusted mess (what were they thinking??!)

    Chipped off the external rust and tried to break them loose with a box-end wrench and a breaker bar and all I did was bend my breaker bar/pipe.

    After a few choice expletives I soaked them with PB and let it sit for an hour and they came right off using just the wrench.

    The only stuff I've ever found that works better is Aerokroil, but thats almost twice the cost, hard to find, and its only a little better.

  12. #12

    Thumbs up Getting the right parts

    To measure for springs:
    1) Measure center of eye to center of eye without a load (jack up the trailer to take some load off a good spring).
    2) Count the leaves.
    3) Measure the height of the stack of leaves.

    Six Robblees can match up a spring to your measurements.

    To measure for U-bolts:
    1) measure bolt Dia.
    2) measure length of bolt
    3) measure distance between bolts (not center to center)
    4) is U-bolt round or square at the bend?

    Don't worry about trying to save old bolts, they are very cheap to replace with new ones and Six Robb will have them.
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  13. #13
    Member breausaw's Avatar
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    Steve,

    I’ve been there and done that.

    Unbolt the whole mess and take it to Alaska Spring, they’ll make you a new spring and supply you with all the hardware to bolt it up. You should be able to jack up and block your axel to remove the old spring, make sure you take the old u-bolts and hanger bolts so they can match up. They’ve helped me with repairing and replacing springs on two trailers, top notch service and it won’t break your wallet. If their not busy they’ll take care of you while you wait.

    Don’t waste your time measuring and trying to buy at 6 Robme or other place, you’ll just be frustrated.

    If yea have 3/4 inch drive sockets you should be able to just break the bolts easily, or a 1/2 inch beaker bar and pipe cheater should do.
    Good luck,

    Jay
    07 C-Dory 25 Cruiser
    OurPlayground.


  14. #14

    Question What a price difference

    I wanted to check pricing just for comparison sake. I called Alaska Spring and Six Robblees gave them both the same spring info and I used a very common spring size so it would not be special for either.

    3500# axle (1750# each spring)
    25.25" eye to eye
    1 spring only no hardware.

    Alaska Spring: $100.00 if in stock, $150.00 if they have to bend it.

    Six Robblees: $37.15

    I think for that I would go ahead and waste my time measuring.
    19' Lowe Roughneck
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  15. #15
    Member breausaw's Avatar
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    If indeed Six Robblees will sell you a spring that cheep I’d still bring in the whole mess, it has to be removed anyways. Nothings worse than having to make another trip because a U-bolt is and 8th of an inch to small or the axle notch is too far forward. When you replace one spring it has to be exact or else your trailer won’t track properly.
    Sometimes it pays to get-err-done right from the git-go… price isn’t everything.
    Jay
    07 C-Dory 25 Cruiser
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  16. #16
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    Thanks for all the advise guys I was out shrimping again yesterday (got my 30lbs in 3 soaks again) so dumping the boat back in the harbor is no problem and after looking things over i'm just gonna get the new parts take a bunch of tools and do it in whittier. No way would i try to bring the boat home the way the trailer is now, i just don't want to cause myself or anyone else any headaches or worse yet hurt anybody.
    On another note the troopers were out in force giving tickets out last night on my way home. One guy passed me just north of girdworld doing about 75 or better well next thing i see is flashing lights & smoking tires coming out of one of the parking lots on the arm side the speeder just pulled over no chase needed got that guy. I think there were 3 more pulled over after that guy.

    Thanks again for the advise and now its off to 6 roblees.

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  17. #17
    Member Queen of Kings's Avatar
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    Glad to see them working the highway and giving tickets
    2003 220 Hewescraft Sea Runner 115 Yam'y, Soft Top "Schmidt Happens"

  18. #18

    Talking Troopers

    Speaking of the Troopers; My father and I were just past Girdwood having a nice conversation about how nice it was to finally see a Trooper after how many summers? He was so happy to finally see them out in force that he got excited and waved at one in a "thank you for being here jesture", THEN they immediately pulled us over thinking something was up! My poor father is an old man, a retired fire captain from Anchorage, and was just into all the safety hype that they were showing that day, that he waved like a lunatic thinking they would understand he was happy to seem them. First lesson, don't wave at the cops, second lesson, don't get old. It was the most classic old-timer backfire move yet! At least he got his chance to chat with the Trooper and thank him for being there. I'll never let him live this one down!

  19. #19
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    Default Need U-Bolts - See Six States

    I recently needed a pair of odd ball u-bolts for the axle. Six States Dist.
    made them up and they were quite reasonable in price. Something to keep in mind.
    How stupid is it to be wasting tons of salmon and halibut as bycatch in the Bering Sea and then have the coastal villages hollaring they have no food? It's got to stop!

  20. #20
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    I picked up all the parts i think i'm gonna need to do the job yesterday at 6 Roblees in wasilla, 2000lb spring, ubolts in 2 lenghts (just in case), and 4 hanger bolts(two lenghts again) with all the nuts needed total came out to just a bit over 70 bucks . Guy behind the counter was more than helpful, now its go rip ,tear & swear in the parking lot in whittier.

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