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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had some trailer malfunction on the way home from crabbing this weekend. After hitting a speed bump at slow speed, the Ziemans trailer beneath my Whaler Montauk made an oddly loud thump. I pulled over and had a look and noticed the right side trailer tire was rubbing against the fender and that side of the trailer was riding low. Upon further inspection, I could see that the three inch arm between the rear of the leaf spring and the trailer beam had pivoted flat (in other words, parallel to the trailer frame) and was stuck in that position. I jacked the trailer up and, once enough weight was off the tire, the spring popped back into place and stayed there. I hopped up and down on the fender a few time to see if it would collapse again and it did not. I drove home carefully despite not having much confidence in the trailer. A few blocks from home, the same thing happened. I'm not sure what is wrong with leaf spring system, maybe the springs are worn out? I'd love some ideas of how to fix it or a good shop to take it to (in the Portland area). I've attached a couple pictures of the suspension in the area of concern. The pictures are the way it sits right now, which seems fine, not the "pancaked" position where the tire rubs.
 

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The end piece attached to the spring is called a shackle. The shackle bolts sit inside a rubber bushing. I would remove the axle. Remove the springs and shackles. Inspect the bushings and bolts. Sounds like the bushing is shot. I like www.etrailer.com for parts. Call them up and they may be of some help.


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Agree with the above. The spring is bad and the bushing are likely bad as well. Springs tend to flatten over time because of use but also because they're constantly supporting weight.
You could try just replacing the springs/bushing but if you hit the axle on your frame once you've likely done it many more times. So the question becomes... Is your axle bent? But the time you factor labor and parts (bushing, bolts, springs, and new bearings - because they likely need service too) you maybe into it the same or nearly the same price as replacing it all. And if the axle is bent you'll chew through tires pretty quickly. Replacing the axle isn't as expensive as you might fear.
I had the same thing happen to my 5,500 lb axle (likely much heavier than yours) a year or so ago and it was about $400.
This happens and it is what it is. Especially with older trailers.
 

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That spring arc looks fine to me if it's under load. I'd inspect the the bushings first.

Also that u-bolt closest to wheel in the first photo doesn't look right. The bolts should be parallel to each other. Are the nuts loose?

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I just built a new axle a few months ago. New springs flattened out when I
loaded the boat on it. Added 1 more leaf to it and good to go now. Pretty
simple job.

fop
 

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Yes the shackle must be binding on the spring hanger bracket when the spring is force up from a bump in the road. Pivot bolts and or bushings are shot. Good part is those are cheap and easy to R/R. Pull one side apart before ordering parts, there are two sizes for the bushings in the spring eye. If you have a local trailer shop, dosen't have to be a boat shop, trailer suspension parts are all the same,, rv, horse,, sans a few galvy parts on some trailers, but thats the only difference,,,gregg
 

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That first pic tells the story-- bushing in eye of spring is shot and the u-bolts dont look tight. I would replace bushings and u-bolts on both sides and I would bet that you would be good to go. I dont know if they are still in business but Oregon Spring in portland for your parts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for all the help and suggestions. Just knowing the part is called a shackle helped me find lots of information on the web. I pulled the shackle and found the bushings are very worn and need replacement. Flipping the axle seems like a good idea, too, because I don't think it's great that my wheel can hit the fender if the spring bottoms out. I'm heading to Six Roblees this morning to get some new bushings.
 

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Sure looks like your springs have lost their arc (fatigued). If you look at your first picture, it wouldn't make much difference what you did with shackles, you'd still have your leaf springs extending beyond the frame mount. You either need helper springs or new leaf springs. Otherwise you aren't addressing the root problem and your fender rubbing will only get worse.
Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I purchased and installed new shackle bushings but broke one of the U bolts trying to remove a rusty nut. I plan to install new U bolts when the parts arrive and then swing by a repair shop to get an expert opinion. It does seem like the leaf springs might be tired, but I'm not sure. I'll post the doctor's diagnosis.
 

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I bet there are a few good youtubes out there and a bunch of how to short cut a good install. Having the spring perch welded in the correct location is the challenging part, then it needs to be welded in place imho. A little 5' utility trailer may be just ok for a bolt on relocation kit, but I would weld it too just the same as one would for a travel trailer. If a guy can cut, weld and measure accurately then by all means have at it. But if those perch's are off center by even a little, there will be some binding on the springs they weren't ment to have. This is something done all the time with success by guys that are handy with fab'n and welding,,,gregg
 

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Ultimately the question that needs to be answered here is:
Why would he flip the axel anyways? Does he need more clearance? No. The suspension worked fine for many years indicating that there's sufficient space between the axle and frame. He's dealing with a worn out suspension and flipping the axle just perpetuates the wear issue without resolving the underlying problem. Why create more work when that isn't actually the problem at hand?
 

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Springs are cheap. Here's an Amazon kit with everything needed to replace all the parts on one axle for $125.

Southwest Wheel 3,500 lbs. Trailer Axle Suspension Kit Incl. Leaf Springs, Hanger & U-Bolt kit
 

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I still see good arc in that main leaf.
You could "add a leaf" to that spring pack to produce a beefier spring.

Oregon Auto Spring looks like they are still in business.
They can take care of everything that you have going on.
Including making U-bolts while you wait.
Bring the trailer with the boat loaded on it.
 
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