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Thread: Trailer suspension question

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default Trailer suspension question

    I’ve got a Wells Cargo trailer i’ve converted to a camper. I reworked the springs/shackles to put in their heavy duty stuff. Photo below.

    It’s been sitting for a while as my planned trip has been postponed.

    It all went as planned but in one area, the bolt holding the top of the shackle on cannot be property torqued because it mounts the vertical legs with no bushing(?). That is, tightening it would compress the metal supports. As you can see, the spring holds the bottom section apart.

    I’ll need to take it apart and check it again, but I recall that eventually it the nut would rest against the shoulder of the threaded part of the bolt but I don’t want to bent the metal “ears” that much.

    Do I simply need a longer bolt? Or should I get a heavy piece of metal tube to that will hold the supports apart when I tighten?

    The instructions were not helpful in this regard.

    Any thoughts appreciated.

    Thanks

    Tom

    edit-looking at the kit again, it seems obvious that I need to tighten the bolt against its shoulder, but doing so will bend the mounts. That seems wrong. Checking in before I make a mistake.

    IMG_20210409_163022393.jpg

    442B0857-8752-493F-8C83-AEA502F68DEE.jpg
    Last edited by bluedog225; 04-16-2021 at 07:04 AM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Trailer suspension question

    Maybe ask the tech support folks at eTrailer? It’s their product after all, they ought to have an opinion about how it’s supposed to properly be installed?

    My Trailex came with a bunch of flanged, solid steel lock nuts - the kind with the swaged threads at the non-flanged end - that can be tightened to hold just shy of the flange bottoming out where necessary. Those’d work for your application too but I can’t tell from those pics if those are what eTrailer sends with that HD suspension kit.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Trailer suspension question

    What are the 4 spacers in the center bottom of the pic? They look about right?
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Trailer suspension question

    Those are bronze bushings. They are the right length. But I didn’t want to use bronze to support a torqued bolt. They are inside the lower spring eye if I recall correctly.

    I will try etrailer tech support but I’m wary of their advice. I am leaning towards finding a piece of heavy tubing to keep the legs apart when I torque the nut down.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Trailer suspension question

    I just checked my trailers. The big one is double axle, so a different setup. My 3,000 lb single axle has the same setup as yours & no spacers. IOW- it looks identical to how your pic looks - though lighter duty.

    Remember that the side pieces need to pivot - to allow for the curved spring getting longer & shorter as it flexes (probably 1" longer under load than empty). So - the side plates need to be snug, but not too tight to allow them to pivot. If you have them so tight they start to bend the pieces on the trailer they are too tight. I presume the nuts are lock nuts of some sort so they won't loosen? They need to be.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Trailer suspension question

    That’s exactly it. The more I think about it, the nuts must torque down on the flat bolt shoulder. It’s the only thing that makes sense. But the trailer supports prevent this. I’ll get in there and see how short I am.

    Something will need to give-different hanger, narrower shackle, or I’ll need a longer bolt.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Trailer suspension question

    I would definitely go with a longer shoulder bolt. You can adjust the shackle clearance using different thickness washers. I'd go for either a nyloc or a prevailing torque nut and at last choice use some blue Loctite. Torque isn't all that critical as you're not trying to maintain an even stretch on the bolt, but you do want the shackles to move freely.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Trailer suspension question

    Agreed. Given what these do and how they work, I wouldn’t mine a cotter pin and/or crown nut on the end.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Trailer suspension question

    Those nuts should be self locking, an interference fit.
    If you look closely at the nuts, you should see some " punch marks on the hex distorting the threads.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Trailer suspension question

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoeyawl View Post
    Those nuts should be self locking, an interference fit.
    If you look closely at the nuts, you should see some " punch marks on the hex distorting the threads.
    Most, yes, but not all. There are some that have been swaged to reduce thread ID. Both kinds need a wrench to get a stud or bolt past that point, that’s the real sign they’re self-lockers. Nylock are a different animal entirely.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Trailer suspension question

    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh MacD View Post
    I would definitely go with a longer shoulder bolt. You can adjust the shackle clearance using different thickness washers. I'd go for either a nyloc or a prevailing torque nut and at last choice use some blue Loctite. Torque isn't all that critical as you're not trying to maintain an even stretch on the bolt, but you do want the shackles to move freely.
    Rather than a nyloc nut, I'd be inclined to poke a hole through the bolt and use castellated nuts with heavy split pins to retain them.

    John Welsford
    An expert is but a beginner with experience.

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