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Replying to:TRAILER REPAIRS -- URGENT ADVICE SOUGHT
I have almost completed a major refurb of AWOL's Nathan tandem boat trailer. I've struck a seemingly minor but potentially major problem. The axles, along with everything else on the undercarriage, needed grinding back, anti-rusting, and fish-oiling and fishplates and U bolts were replaced. The axles were about 40mm square but after descaling rust and grinding back they are now about 36 -- 38mm where the U bolts attach springs to the axles. The U bolts are 40mm internal consequently there is a gap of a few mm between the U bolts and axles. I'm told they should be flush to prevent movement. I do not want to replace the old axles with new axles especially having treated them, replaced bearings etc and having refitted them. Additionally, on the cable operated, disc brake, front axle, a new axle would require brake attachment modification to suit my 25 year old brake system. A trailer manufacturer / repairer recommended axle replacement. Although they relied on my sketch and description rather than a physical examination, they gave a few reasons against my suggestions of either accepting the gap (and consequences), or stuffing shims or spacers into the gaps and, as a supplementary strenghtener, welding the bottom spring pad to the old axles. (That's the little pad seated between springs and axle with a hole in which the spring thru-bolt seats). A major objection was that Dept of Transport might not like my solutions and if the repairers did the modifications then they might be liable. This consideration may have affected acceptance / rejection of my various solutions. This may well of been a factor in their recommendation of axle replacement; a quick and safe, but expensive solution all round. I expect that not a few sailors will suggest that I take the trailer manufacturer / repairer's advice and it may well be that I will do that. However, as much time, money and effort has been expended to date and as zero sailing has been done for months (including my much discussed Mooloolaba 'outside trip') I am eager to find a quick fix. Even if it was a short term rather than long term fix I would consider it as it would allow me to get out for the big trip and also allow me time to save the pennies for 2 x axle replacement. I'm in need of advice! As I have little competence in mechanical / engineering matters I am sure that any comments or contributions will assist me greatly. Best wishes Terry AWOL RL 24 Toyota Landcruiser HJ45 (Which weighs twice that of the boat and trailer and can effectively tow without trailer brakes)