Tweakin' the Lil Monster *
Updated: Jun 9
After several trips with the little beast, I figured it could ride better. The inside is cozy and dry and everything works well as a camper. However, the original trailer was built in the 60’s and I reckon it was a farm rig; sturdy and high-off the ground for rough country. All well and good, but on the highways and without half a dozen sheep in the tray, the suspension barely budges and the ride is a bit stiff and harsh. This transfers through to the tow vehicle and I want to reduce the inherent wear and tear. Also, the trailer frame engineering is so heavy duty, I could do with losing the weight of the current axle and suspension: 8 leaf springs!
My plan was to also lower the ride height of the trailer with smaller 13” wheels, (two of the original rims from my Triumph), keeping it within the wind-shadow of the car to reduce drag. Losing the existing 16" wheels would also drop weight from the rig.
To remove the old axle and suspension took 2 hours manually oiling the blade on a recipro saw as I cut through the 4 sets of massive 10mm hangers. 2 hours!!!!!!
When I cut off the old axle and suspension, I had to weld up mounting plates for the new leaf-springs hangers as they were shorter than the originals.
I hadn’t done any welding for 35 years so after borrowing a mates combo, I needed a few practice swipes with the handpiece.
Any fantasies as a result of having no engineering career options available when I was younger have dissipated for all time. Gravity changes everything. Lying on gravel and dirt under the trailer, my neck supporting the weight of the welding helmet, striking an arc overhead when blind, weld spatter burning through my clothing, negotiating cables and electrical connections through the available space amongst the dust and dirt, stinging sweat dripping into my eyes … no, not the same as standing upright making a few practice fillet welds on a clear workshop bench with a lump of mild steel.
I’m stubborn. Two sessions of swearing, ranting and groveling over the weekend and the new brackets were lined up, re-measured multiple times and finally welded on.
I bolted the new leaf springs to the axle and jacked it up into place. A few adjustments, then everything lined up and fitted. Praise Jah.
I put the refurbished wheels on, dropped the trailer off the stands and pushed it out of the carport. So much lower than before. Great, less wind-resistance.
I did a test trip with Gabby the dawg, an overnighter on the coast. Big thumbs up for the barely noticeable trailer, smooth and quiet behind the tow vehicle.
Next job, air in our hair. (To be explained.)
* With thanks to Teja Brooks Pribac for the moniker