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Old 04-23-2016, 06:50 AM   #1
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Travel Trailer Shackle Bolts ?

Long story short, In preparation of a trip to AK. next month, at the local trailer / hitch company I had them repack my wheel bearings and adjust the brakes. I also ask to have 2 extra shackle bolts to have as spares (just in case). A day later I picked up the trailer and the 2 extra bolts. I asked if the bolts were 100% the right ones because "if" I had a break down in my my way to Alaska there not many stores "in the bush". Yes, they were.

Got home and was about to throw the bolts in my toolbox and I thought to myself, let me see if these look the same as what I have. UM? crawled under the trailer, and to my surprise, they were too big. I assume being in the trailer repair business (Mostly construction / landscapers) the service tech who worked on my unit would have relayed what bolts I needed.

So I went back to the store the next day and the young girl with red hair said she was the one who pulled the bolts from stock and "assumed" they were the right size because that size was the most popular. She said she just guessed on the size, she was there when I first picked up my unit and I stressed I had to be sure they were the right ones.

So they swapped out the wrong bolts, for two more which when I got home were wrong again. Here is my real question? What is the proper way to remove a shackle bolt. I loosened the nut, went to lightly tap the bolt ( with the nut still on as to not damage the threads) thru the spring to remove it, but as I did the hanger on the head side of the bolt bent slightly, but the bolt didn't move, just bent the hanger outward about 1/4". Do I need to jack that axle up off the ground? At least I can see the diameter of the bolt and sleeve. Both bolts they gave me were too large on the diameter.

I guess I should never assume
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Old 04-23-2016, 07:32 AM   #2
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You need to support the trailer as well as the axle.
The shackles are attached to the frame of your trailer as well as the springs which are bolted to your axle.

But, If you have the nut removed, just take that to the Trailer supply store and have them match up the bolt using your existing nut.
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Old 04-23-2016, 12:19 PM   #3
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Just got back from the trailer shop. I have the right size bolt now, but the diameter of the threaded end is larger, with a larger nut. It is the right sized diameter bolt and length now. He also mentioned the most common thing that breaks are the the shackle links (straps) that attach the end of the spring to the equalizer on tandem axle set-ups.

He did say my best bet would be to jack the trailer frame up to take any weight off the spring to change a broken bolt. I tested the small bottle jack (2 ton ) to see if it would raise the trailer enough.

I think I'll go next week to pick up a extra shackle link too, but I'll take measurement and a picture to get the right item the first time.
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Old 04-23-2016, 04:02 PM   #4
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There are very few differences in the parts you are looking for. I think you need to find a new source for parts, what you want is as common as dirt.
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Old 04-23-2016, 06:42 PM   #5
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I have come to learn even the most simple of tasks can be messed up if not paying attention.
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Old 04-24-2016, 09:13 PM   #6
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Superslif,
The 2 things that fail the most are the links and the plastic bushings in the springs. I would siggest that you install a set of wet bolts and bronze bushings in the spring eyes and equalizer. Then you can grease them every year to prevent wear. An upgrade is to install a dexter EZ-flex or equivilant to replace the equalizer, these smooth out the trailer ride and give you better reliability. An additional note, the Dexter links that come with the wet bolt kit are twice as thick as the stock links.
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Old 04-26-2016, 08:00 AM   #7
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If the hanger bent just hitting the bolt to knock it out--that isn't much of a hangar.
Also, most shackle bolts have a knurled section just next to the bolt head to keep the bolt from turning in the shackle hole--this may be part of the resistance you encountered when you first tried to knock it out. And, the spring/bolt needs to be at zero load, or as near to that as possible to take the weight of the trailer off the bolt.
As you mentioned, the simplest of tasks can go wrong...last summer, I had the fun of replacing all the bushings on a pair of 8k axles/springs and I turned 'simple' into a 3-week project....

"There are very few differences in the parts you are looking for." One would think this, but try it in practice----1/2" or 9/16", 5" or 6", shoulder or no shoulder, smaller thread, same diameter thread? Lots of actual variables even in the 'few differences'---
And, if you beef up the shackles, the original bolts are too short...

Further, Dexter was mentioned--I dealt with them for my replacements first--may not want to do that as I got wrong stuff first--and much more expensive than taking the part to a local spring/axle shop to show them what you need.

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Old 04-26-2016, 07:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
If the hanger bent just hitting the bolt to knock it out--that isn't much of a hangar.
Yes that is what I thought. The guy at the parts counter showed me a example of a hanger they had for display and it was twice the thickness.

Quote:
Also, most shackle bolts have a knurled section just next to the bolt head to keep the bolt from turning in the shackle hole--this may be part of the resistance you encountered when you first tried to knock it out. And, the spring/bolt needs to be at zero load, or as near to that as possible to take the weight of the trailer off the bolt.
Yes, I found that out. What I plan to have handy is a "C" clamp to "squeeze" the hanger, as I tap the bolt out. It didn't take much tapping of the bolt to release it from the "Knurled end". The C clamp should help in not allowing the hanger to bend to pop the knurled end loose.

Quote:
"There are very few differences in the parts you are looking for." One would think this, but try it in practice----1/2" or 9/16", 5" or 6", shoulder or no shoulder, smaller thread, same diameter thread? Lots of actual variables even in the 'few differences'---
And, if you beef up the shackles, the original bolts are too short...
Ya, and after explaining to the counter parts girl, it was very important I had the "right" bolt. All she had to do was ask the guy in the shop who worked on my brakes and repack of the bearings what size. Don't want to be caught on a gravel road in the Yukon and reach into my toolbox and it's the wrong bolt. Then having to return the next day and she says she just gave me the most common one they sell.
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Old 04-26-2016, 09:33 PM   #9
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You might use that C clamp on the nut end and the other side of the hanger--tightening the C clamp with one seat on the nut and one on the hanger side should force the bolt out without using a hammer--if not, well brute force can get a lot done at times.
You have a 'lite' trailer, perhaps the hanger size is one of the 'lite' tricks...
If you really want it all beefed up, take it to a competent spring/axle shop and let them upgrade things.
Joe
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Old 04-26-2016, 10:54 PM   #10
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Not too sure about RV trailers, but I presume shackle bolts are shackle bolts where ever you go. On old cars, Jeeps, farm equiptment etc what I always did was to just spray the snot out of them with penetrating oil prior to trying to pull them. Usually a couple days before. And if possible spray them and cycle them via driving (pulling) the vehicle.
Another easy trick if you intent to put new shackles in is to cut them suckers in half with a 4.5 cut off wheel or torch. This really cuts down on the binding that can take place. And my last tip is, drive the bolt in, but don't turn it. Tighten the nut, not the bolt. I'm sure it's tempting to just put an open end wrench on the nut and spin the bolt down with an impact. Don't do it. Trust your jack stands and send you kid under there with the impact gun and you hold the bolt steady from the outside where it's safer. Kids love impact guns. Once that bolt starts turning in the shackle, regardless of thickness, it's all over. On some of our bigger equipment I've been know to put a tack weld on that bolt once tighten.
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Old 04-27-2016, 07:54 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Bob1340 View Post
Not too sure about RV trailers, but I presume shackle bolts are shackle bolts where ever you go. On old cars, Jeeps, farm equiptment etc what I always did was to just spray the snot out of them with penetrating oil prior to trying to pull them. Usually a couple days before. And if possible spray them and cycle them via driving (pulling) the vehicle.
Another easy trick if you intent to put new shackles in is to cut them suckers in half with a 4.5 cut off wheel or torch. This really cuts down on the binding that can take place. And my last tip is, drive the bolt in, but don't turn it. Tighten the nut, not the bolt. I'm sure it's tempting to just put an open end wrench on the nut and spin the bolt down with an impact. Don't do it. Trust your jack stands and send you kid under there with the impact gun and you hold the bolt steady from the outside where it's safer. Kids love impact guns. Once that bolt starts turning in the shackle, regardless of thickness, it's all over. On some of our bigger equipment I've been know to put a tack weld on that bolt once tighten.
You have offered some good tips here. As he was saying, the reason for not allowing the bolt to turn, while tightening the nut, is that the knurled portion of the bolt will enlarge the shackle hole. If the bolt is not held tightly, it will move and wear the shackle till there is a total failure. Also note that most shackles have a punched hole that is tapered which doesn't allow much for engagement in the first place. I have seen heavy duty shackles that are twice as thick and have neatly drilled holes.
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Old 04-28-2016, 01:26 AM   #12
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I just got my MorRyde wet bolt kit today. They have the bolts pre-pressed into the shackles. They are tight in there. Massive shackles.
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Old 04-28-2016, 10:06 AM   #13
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Let us know how the install goes--based on work I did on my fiver, getting both bolts on a shackle lined up at the same time was a real problem for me.
Good Luck.
Joe
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Old 04-28-2016, 02:59 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by wingnut60 View Post
Let us know how the install goes--based on work I did on my fiver, getting both bolts on a shackle lined up at the same time was a real problem for me.
Good Luck.
Joe
I am thinking it could be tricky. I'm doing it next week. If need be I'll knock one bolt out. There are no instructions that came with the kit. I am thinking you replace the bolts and bushings on the ends first then do the center/equalizer section. That makes sense to me anyway. Anyone know what the torque is on those bolts?
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