A Road Ready Trailer

If you’ve been reading this blog, you know I’ve spent a fair amount of time working on improving a flatbed utility trailer I purchased a few months back. When I last left you, I had new wheel hub/brake assemblies on order, all of the old wiring removed, and the trailer still parked in my driveway. Oh how things have changed.

The weather was starting to make a turn. The days were getting wetter and colder. I knew the last thing I wanted to do was work on the trailer in my driveway in the rain, sleet, and eventually snow. Thankfully the shop space I’m renting for the bus also had room for my trailer. However, at this point, I’d removed all of the lighting and both hubs on the rear axle. So naturally, I improvised. I threw the taillights back on, temporarily rigged up the 4-pin connector to the truck, wrapped the spindles in plastic bags to keep the junk off of them, and brought it a few miles away to the shop.

Good 'nuff
Good ’nuff

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Look Ma, No Hands

It’s about time our bus made its official debut. As we’ve mentioned before, we own a vehicle that once enjoyed life as a coach bus. One of the outstanding items that’s been driving me bonkers since we bought it, is the lack of any functioning air springs on all of the various storage compartments. Nothing’s more obnoxious when you’re digging for a tool, or trying to work inside a storage compartment and having the door swing down on your head or back. Or having to find a scrap of something to prop the door up. That got old, fast.

So now you know the why. Before I jump into the how, I’d like to show you something never seen on our bus for as long as we’ve owned it, and likely for years prior.

Look Ma, no hands!
Look Ma, no hands!

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The Trailer Saga Continues

I spent much of Saturday evening reading about electric brakes. Everything I read online about this style of brakes said that the condition I’m seeing means they’re due for replacement. The magnets are a wear item and can be replaced with ease. After replacing the magnet, the magnet surface is now flat/smooth and would not effectively transfer energy when pressed against a rutted drum. This means the drum should either be ground down to a smooth surface again, or replaced. Grinding down the side walls is common and shops have the means of doing this. Grinding down the rear, however, is harder and requires equipment not easily found.

It was starting to look like I might be replacing these after all. I started pricing out a repair. At $20 +shipping for a magnet, plus minimum of $30 per drum to grind it down if I’m able to find someone who can do it, and then I still have to clean the whole assembly to get it smoothly moving again. An entirely new hub, bearing, and brake assembly kit goes for $100 /wheel on eBay, shipped. For and extra $50/wheel, the time saved is probably worth just buying a new set. I was going to be placing an order for a new set anyway for the front axle that’s currently brake-less, so why not just double the order. I resigned to solving this problem the way I solved most problems in the days leading up to our move to AK: throw more money at it.

Read more The Trailer Saga Continues