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Old 02-02-2013, 07:25 PM   #1
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1959 24' Tradewind
Quantico , Virginia
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Leaf Springs

Hi,

My '59 Tradewind is single axle and came with only leaf spring suspension from the factory. The trailer tows great but we are preparing to take it on a 3000 mile journey and I wonder about some items on the leaf spring suspension.

1) Some of the leaf springs began to slip diagonally up to 3/4". I hit them with a hammer to realign them

2) The U bolts that bind the springs to the square axle are pretty rusty

3) The grease fitting on the hanger bolts had not seen grease in about a decade or more. Only 3 of 6 will accept grease with a gun. I wonder about their wear.

4) Condition of the bushings is unknown.

Considering doing this in my driveway. I've got plenty of jack stacks and jacks. concerned about getting new parts and the unforeseen.

Thoughts? Is there a simple way to check for wear which would warrant new bolts and bushings?

Steve
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Old 02-02-2013, 07:31 PM   #2
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Is is an optical illusion, or is there space between the leaf pack sides and the U bolts? There should be no clearance between them. Also, although I am no expert on this, I have read of some not so good thing about that flat tire draggy thingy bottom plate. Hopefully someone else can chime in on that.

You can remove the pack and take to a spring shop for inspection and "tuning up". I wonder if some leaf retainers are missing. I see one on the photo, but others may be missing, allowing misalignment of the leaves.
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Old 02-02-2013, 07:54 PM   #3
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You are correct. There is space between the u bolts and the springs. Perhaps a 1/8" on each side.
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Old 02-02-2013, 09:39 PM   #4
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Then I don't think you have a proper bottom plate. Probably replaced with a "universal" when the skid bar was installed. I don't think they were standard. I'd pull it off and take the spring and U-bolts and plate down to the spring shop and get the proper mounts. Might as well take the bushings and shackle and see if they can hook you up with all the refurb pieces.
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Old 02-03-2013, 10:08 AM   #5
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Ditto what dznf0g said
this is also an excellent time to evaluate the condition of your original axle and brakes. If your trailer sits too low for your comfort you can order a brand new one with less/no drop and with new brakes and much lighter weight pretty inexpensively compared to the torsion axles. Any decent spring shop can refurb your spring pack and adjust them for any weight changes you have made in your trailer very reasonably also.
tim
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Old 02-03-2013, 11:14 AM   #6
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Seems pretty straight forward. I'd just buy the u bolts and grease pins from etrailer.com but I cant seem to find u bolts for a 2.25" axle.

Where do you find a "spring shop"
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Old 02-03-2013, 11:51 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by steveirving View Post
Seems pretty straight forward. I'd just buy the u bolts and grease pins from etrailer.com but I cant seem to find u bolts for a 2.25" axle.

Where do you find a "spring shop"
Hunt for an offroad vehicle spring shop or a commercial trailer repair joint. I have always gone for the off road shops as they often do custom re-arching and a lot of fabrication work. They could easily make your u-bolts and bottom plate as well if you need any shackles etc replaced.
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Old 02-03-2013, 12:01 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by steveirving View Post
Hi,

My '59 Tradewind is single axle and came with only leaf spring suspension from the factory. The trailer tows great but we are preparing to take it on a 3000 mile journey and I wonder about some items on the leaf spring suspension.

1) Some of the leaf springs began to slip diagonally up to 3/4". I hit them with a hammer to realign them

2) The U bolts that bind the springs to the square axle are pretty rusty

3) The grease fitting on the hanger bolts had not seen grease in about a decade or more. Only 3 of 6 will accept grease with a gun. I wonder about their wear.

4) Condition of the bushings is unknown.

Considering doing this in my driveway. I've got plenty of jack stacks and jacks. concerned about getting new parts and the unforeseen.

Thoughts? Is there a simple way to check for wear which would warrant new bolts and bushings?

Steve
1) There should be a strap around the spring to prevent movement sideways. I see there is one on the spring in the picture, is there one on the other side?

3) If the fitting won't take grease, try a new fitting. Available at any auto parts store, a couple of bucks for a pack of 10. For all they cost, you could replace all of them.

If it still won't take grease, try heating with a torch. In the garage I used an acetylene torch but a propane torch may work. The idea is to soften the old grease so new grease can flow in. Once the grease starts to move, you won't have any more trouble.

I don't know how bad the axle, U bolts, bearing, brakes etc are. You will have to use your own judgement here.

You could order a new axle complete with springs and brakes for about $300 bucks.
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Old 02-03-2013, 01:11 PM   #9
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If you are thinking of total replacement measure your spring length shackle to shackle. You will probably find they are not a standard length but are quite a bit longer than the currently available sizes. Still easy to work with, have the springs rebuilt and order a new axle if needed.
tim
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Old 02-04-2013, 10:19 AM   #10
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Look in the yellow pages for spring shops. There used to be lots of them around but since cars don't use leaf springs so much anymore, they are getting fewer. Still a few around though, working on trucks and trailers.
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Old 02-04-2013, 06:48 PM   #11
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Quantico , Virginia
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Found a guy that specializes in trailer repair here in Dothan, AL. Shop is called Wagon Works. Says he'll put on all new hardware for $250
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